The new cozy mystery series, The Marcia Banks and Buddy Mysteries, are set in two fictional towns in Central Florida — Mayfair where Marcia lives, and Collinsville, where Sheriff Will Haines enforces the law. Other locations mentioned in those stories are real places that are used fictitiously.

photo by by Ebyabe CC- BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons)

photo by by Ebyabe CC- BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

The Ocala National Forest is a national park but quite a few private citizens live within the confines of the park. And it’s advisable that those not familiar with the Forest not wander too far from the paved roads.

 

 

 

 

The Forest is full of thousands of Southern pines.

Pinus_clausa_USDAFS pub domain

 

 

The Forest is full of thousands of Southern pines. These are tall spindly evergreens that can live in sandy soil and survive both droughts and hard freezes (which Central Florida does have occasionally during their otherwise mild winters).

What eventually does these trees in is either wildfires or high winds that blow them over (one in our backyard took our our electric wires during a tropical storm the first summer we lived in Florida).

 

 

 

Another reason to be careful about where you go in the Forest — you may encounter a black bear or gator.

The bear triggered a hidden camera; no sane human would try to get this close

This bear triggered a hidden camera; no sane human would try to get this close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida is fairly close to sea level, so we have lots of lakes and swamps, and they have lots of alligators also.

Male_Alligator_near_swamp-by-Kate-zperez-CC-BY-SA-4pt0-wiki

Male Alligator near swamp (photo by-Kate Z Perez CC-BY-SA-4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

 

(photo by US Fish and Wildlife CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

photo by US Fish and Wildlife CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a sweeter topic, a Magnolia Blossom (photo by Donald (Donnie) Pardue CC-BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

On a sweeter topic, a Magnolia Blossom (photo by Donald (Donnie) Pardue CC-BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)