Today is Saturday and the first day of March. Chris and I headed out north-east of Orlando to find the Bulow Sugar Plantation .
All that remains today of this once prosperous plantation is the ruins of the mill and some wells. The land, 6000 acres, was bought in 1820 by Charles Wilhelm Bulow a rich merchant from Charleston. Here he grew sugar cane, indigo and rice, but after only 3 years died at the age of 44 and the plantation, plus a substantial legacy, was taken over by his son John Joachim (apparently a dashing young man who liked to live in style). He built a sugar mill which was the largest in Florida, a grand house where he entertained Audubon, and the plantation prospered.
This high life and the fortunes of the plantation were cut short by the Seminole war in 1836, when Indians burnt down the plantation and the mill. John returned to Paris where he had been educated and died very young, at the age of only 27.
It's a beautiful place to visit. The ruins lie quiet and still amongst pines and oaks. The wide creek which used to transport the sugar to the coast meanders its way down to the Atlantic and you are a million miles away from Disney here.
Apart from the chance to see some real un-Disneyfied Florida history, we went out of curiosity as Chris's surname is Bulow. A relative possibly? We don't know really but it made going there even more interesting. Here is Chris by the ruins of the (his)mill.
The woods were full of interesting fungi, plants and fallen seed pods which I have yet to identify and by one the old wells a carpet of pretty violets, their little heart shaped leaves unfurling as they push up through the moss and dead leaves of the forest floor.
The journey was made more exciting today due to the fact that this week is bike week at Daytona.. Bikes of every kind, colour and size accompanied us on the road. I have seen some Harleys to die for.
Today I only have time for a pencil sketch of a couple of the violet leaves.
The next stage of the course begins this month with an assignment using coloured pencils. I shall need some practice as it is many years since I used them. I will be trying a basic Prismacolor set and Bristol board to start with.
PS. I did remember to say "white rabbits" this morning 3 times, so I am expecting good luck this month.