Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Chesser Island Homestead

_MG_1171 _MG_1153

My assignment for today was to be the docent at the Chesser Island Homestead.  This homestead was built in 1927 by Tom and Iva Chesser.  They were third generation ‘swampers’ farming in the Okefenokee. 

71 Okefenokee NWR 2012-1320

There is a whole lot of history here that would take pages to go into, so my suggestion is you just come to visit me here to hear the whole story.  I’ll give you a few interesting facts, but there is so much more.

71 Okefenokee NWR 2012-1319

Tom and Iva raised seven children in this house without any electricity.  They were basically subsistence farmers that raised their own food and hunted the land for deer, bear, alligators and otters.  They had chickens, pigs, and bee hives constructed from hollow cypress logs.  They raised sugar cane to make syrup and harvested sap from the pine trees to produce turpentine to sell for things like flour and cloth that they needed to buy.  I could go on and on…


My job is to sit on the porch in one of the two rockers, and wait for visitors.  I know it’s a tough assignment, but somebody has to do it.  Winking smile  I was there for about six hours today, and only had 16 visitors.  That left me with plenty of time to enjoy the peace and quiet and observe the little nature things going on.


Marching up the front steps’ railing was this formidable looking insect.  It was about two inches long.

71 Okefenokee NWR 2012-1321

I haven’t had time to investigate what it is, but I’m hoping my friend ‘Bugman’ Jack can figure it out for me.  That oblong area on its abdomen was just iridescent in the sun.


I also had plenty of time to enjoy this fence lizard that was skulking about the stairs.  I think this is a female, and I’ve seen her near the stairs each time I’ve been at the Homestead.

At the end of the afternoon, I sped back to the VC to use the phone to once again check with the hospital in Waycross about my doctor’s December surgery calendar.  I was not surprised to hear that a calendar has not yet been set up.  Baring teeth smile  At least this time, they took my name, birthdate, phone number, surgery request, and promised to call me back as soon as a calendar is developed.  Yeah, right!  I have yet to receive a promised call.  I’ll give them two days, and then I’ll bug them again.  Uf-dah!


                                                                              THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Judy I have to ask but the ground seems white in your photos. Is that the way the light is reflecting or was that an early morning shot. Looks like there is more white there then the dustings we've gotten the last few days here in southwest Ontario. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. It is white sand. And it gets in everything!

  2. I bet you have fun watching for those end pics!

  3. Sorry you are not making any progress with the schedule. You are right to be persistent. Sad that you have to do all that work to get them to do their jobs.

    I would have enjoyed seeing the Chesser Homestead again, without so many people around. To get a really good peek at that woodburning stove etc .... What a cool place!

  4. That is one nasty looking insect. Hope someone can identify it for you.

  5. Miss Judy, I only know of 2 bugs. Live ones and dead ones. That one is live.
    Do you have to dress in period costume at the Homestead?

  6. Hi Judy,
    I think that is an assassin bug. Belongs to the Family Reduvidae, or some such spelling! They can inflict a nasty bite. I knew a guy who worked at the National Museum in DC who contracted Chagas Disease from an assassin bug that bit (stung?) him in the eye. We have them here in MO as well, and I give them wide berth! Deanna Tolliver (vet from MO)

  7. Sounds like a fun assignment. Do you ever send your pictures to ID them at Bug Guide? http://bugguide.net/node/view/6/bgimage

    I used them to identify the bees we were using in the display and they usually got back to me within 48 hours.

    Good luck on scheduling surgery.

  8. I love old homesteds, would love to visit one day.

  9. So when visitors come to the homestead, do you go off your rocker???

  10. What an awesome way to spend a day. Working, and making it look so easy. Love that you had time to photograph those crawly critters. Great shots!!!

  11. I believe your little friend is a "wheel bug".... closely related to the assassin bug. They have a very painful bite so be careful around it. (Arilus cristatus.... Reduvidae)

  12. It is a buggy area. I always try to imagine what life was like for those early settlers. It had to be a pretty hard scrabble life..

  13. I'll bet you could channel some great history sitting on that front porch stoop...Oh, the things that family endured in that wilderness...amazing stuff...Odd Essay knows her bugs..

  14. I think I would qualify for that job.... but I'd have to bring my knitting ;-)
    Great pictures, Judy. Isn't it just fascinating how many different types of bugs there are???? Some, like this one, looks like it came from the age of the dinasaurs.

  15. I thought it was a stink bug, but I guess not.

    I wonder if the are stalling on the calendar to keep the schedule light for the Christmas season?

    Keep pestering them.

  16. That sounds like my kind of job. I love old homesteads and especially their kitchens. Reminds me of our old house.

    Sorry to hear about the stalling. I had heard such good things about Mayo. No schedule for the month of December yet? David just made an appointment for January at Moffitt. Of course they know him far too well now and he can just email the nurse and she does it for him. Hope you don't get that familiar with Mayo.

  17. Thanks for the homestead tour - 'cept for the buggy creatures!!

  18. When I saw that picture of the porch, I thought it was such a great place to sit and chill ... then I read that's what you did while waiting for visitors. Great minds ... :-)

  19. Front porch rocking. Wow. That looked so relaxing. Loved your "little critter visitor pictures."

  20. Yep, the squeaky wheel gets oiled first!