Archive for the ‘Second Month Cedar Key – February 2012’ Category

END OF THE MONTH WHIRL


As February comes to a close, the last few weeks have been exhausting.

Fun, but exhausting.

After Matt and Pam’s visit, we celebrated my birthday

Guys on the Beach -- same day Feb 22

Jeff and Suzanne - from Indiana

Bucks & John watch Daisy pursue the ball! Feb 22

(and the facebook shenanigans – I’m seriously considering dropping my facebook account altogether as I now am getting unsolicited texts on my cell phone and the ONLY source of that is Facebook – not a good vibe).

We also put up the blue shade tent

Smurfed!

my brother and sister-in-law so kindly presented to us at Christmas, which gives us shelter from drizzle, tree droppings and sun  – plus it makes the outdoor table more cozy.

Socially, you can be very busy in this town. They have modest fundraisers for many good causes.  Valentines Dance was a fundraiser for the Lion’s Club food bank, I think. The local consignment shop is hosting a fundraiser Style Show in March to benefit the school.

So midweek, we attended the SUMMER CHILDREN’S ART CLASS fundraiser – catered by the ISLAND ROOM (Yum) and held in the art gallery /workshop area above the Cedar Key Art Coop

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Benefit - Cedar Key Style!

Unlike the hotsy-totsy overpriced events in Bucks County – these are warm, cozy, homespun and friendly. You can sit down with strangers and get up with new friends.

We met some new friends (Russ and Debbie)

Deb - fiber artist, and Mike - retired sports writer

Russ -- artist - creating portraits on the table paper

at the EAGLE CLUB – a private drinking club – where we had a warm martini with one, pinky nail sized olive.  OK, not so good, but it was only $3bucks and the beer’s $1 dollar. So we’ll teach them how to make our Martini’s!

Then we walked around the corner to the dinner where I met up with a woman I briefly met in early January. Bev – a retired emergency room physician, who spends 6 months in Cedar Key with her semi-retired researching physician husband, and the other 6 months in Oregon.  I really liked her on our first encounter and was so pleased to see her there. As circumstances worked out, we sat next to each other at one of the long tables and met their visiting friends.

Barb and husband/sportswriter Mike from Kansas City

Bev and Husband, Mike - Oregon Physicians

Barb is her longtime college or HS friend and her husband Mike who is a recently retired sports writer from Kansas City. It made for interesting conversation.  Before and after the meal, Russ drew on the brown table paper with supplied crayons and made a great caricature of the Sports Writer Mike, whose wife loved it and ripped the paper to take it home.

Raffle Prizes

And we won two of the raffle prizes — two of the same prize – a cement cast mosaic.

And the winner is!

Fun.

Jean - 92 - my art therapy buddy

And we were home by 9 — all good.

Shari and John in her garden

Shari's Mosaic Pots

Then on Thursday, we were hosted to a lovely dinner at Shari’s garden – a local artist.  She is preparing her garden for the April Art Festival and it was lovely to see some of her work

Sharis stained glass

and the conversation kept us sitting outside despite the increasing drizzle.

Raw Oysters with Greg!

John and Greg mug for the camera

whooohoooo!

Greg is quite the skilled firetender

Then on Friday, my old friend Greg Andriate arrived – we haven’t seen each other for decades!  He made margaritas and we cooked up a storm that night — oysters, clams, pasta.

Shari's organic parsley - marvelous!

YUM!

The pics clearly tell we felt no pain that night.!

Captain Gerald Beckham

Then on Saturday we went fishing with Captain Gerald Beckham.

Redfish!

He asked us to meet him at the main doc at 10 — we got underway around 10:30 am and he drove around the back bay to get out to the islands along the coast — he chose to go that way because the waters were a bit choppy and had he gone around the island from the gulf side, we’d have gotten wet.  Well, I wondered about the time we went out – because high tide was at 3:30.  And as it turned out, we couldn’t get out until about 11:30 — we had to wait for the tide to fill up enough to get over one particular sand spit. (I’ve got video on this!) But when I asked, Gerald explained to me that fishing is best on an incoming tide.  The Fish are hungry and looking for new food sources to come in with the tide. Oh, OK.

Greg and John Fishing the Holes

So he took us to all his spots – really wonderful spots – and I, personally, had a great day, catching redfish, whiting, catfish, stingray and trout.  Only one redfish and two whiting were keepers – but the best part was the catch.  I really listened to Gerald – and finally learned the technique for fishing these waters.  You cast and let it lie –waiting for a bump or two before your line begins to move (fish taking away the bait).

Simple Skiff - Extraordinary Fun

That’s when you snap up the line, setting the hook, and reel them in!  It felt good.

There is also a technique in baiting the hook, curling the shrimp around, tucking up the tail – which is what they do in the wild. Gerald told us that when you learn how to do it right, you become a master baiter (ahem)

I didn’t realize fish can smell the bait – that’s what attracts them, not the motion. At least for this group of fish.

As the day ends

Sea Bass, I believe, is a different technique altogether!  And shark – well, I don’t think I want to know that one.

8 hours on the boat

After a great day fishing, right until sunset, Gerald filleted our catches and met us back at the house for a drink.

Of course our neighbor Martin came over – solo, as Lonna stayed home to prep the house for a big week this week (more later)

And we fired up the grill for steaks and such.

Sunday morning, Greg and I had a chance to catch up over breakfast and then he left, returning home to Palm Coast.

But in the middle of all that fun, we got an email from Dan Lemanski, John’s dear friend from Chicago, who told us they would be in the area on Monday or Tuesday and could they stop by!

OF COURSE!

Dan at the Shell Mound Overlook

Dan and Carol Lemanski at the diner

So on Monday morning I cleaned up the house while John went to Chiefland for his Physical Therapy and I cooked up a fish soup with all our smoked clams and left over oysters and whiting and redfish (which we grilled, skin side down – called “redfish on the half shell”)

DAN and CAROL arrived around 9pm on Monday  and left around noon on Tuesday.

Buddies - John and Dan at Shell Mound

View from the Shellmound

We had

Shellmounds walk to dock

breakfast at the diner, toured the town and showed them Shell Mounds before they had to go – returning to Chicago.

So now it is Wed — and the busy week is not yet over.

Tomorrow – Thursday, March 1 – we are going to Gainsville for a follow up Dr. appt for John’s back and then to MARTIN and LONNAs, with the dogs, where we will be staying to attend the WILD GAME FEAST that Martin is in charge of – it’s a charity event – and features Water Buffalo, Alligator, Frogs Legs and many more things for 2000 people.  Should be a lot of eye candy!

All this whirlwind has put me in a mind of looking forward to our last month with relative quietude.

I realize how whipped up one can get in the excitement of it all – but I would like to have some space and time to noodle creatively – so I’m going to slow down socially in March – to read, to go to yoga class, to go to knitting club, to bead, to outline my creative writing, to allow time for nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I know, I know,  I can already hear some of you saying –  “Good luck with that”

But I’m going to try my darndest to do so.  Happy March!  xo  Laura

PS: Happy “5th” anniversary (leap year wedding) to John and Lisa Hahn!

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ROMANTICISM DEFINED


Osprey Nest

ROMANTICISM — now that’s a word I feel akin to — conjuring warm feelings and blue eyed notions. Yet I often hear it dissed with a negative spin:

“Oh, you’re such a (foolish) romantic.”  “That’s just a romantic ideal”

So the other day I was surprised to discover the actual definition of Romanticism.

It was in my book about the history of language. (The Horse The Wheel and Language – David ANTHONY)

“The Romantics wanted to discard the cold, artificial logic of the Enlightenment (1650-1700)  to return to the roots of a simple and authentic life based in direct experience and community”

Which led to looking it up on Wikipedia:

Romanticism (or the Romantic era/Period) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe and strengthened in reaction to the Industrial Revolution.[1] In part, it was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature.[2] It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography,[3] education[4] and natural history.[5]   The movement validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, made spontaneity a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu), and argued for a “natural” epistemology of human activities as conditioned by nature in the form of language and customary usage.

Our experience in Cedar Key is very much aligned with a Romantic point of view – not as romance (albeit it cultures that) but in the way we live here: Simple roots, authentic life, based in direct experience and community.  So is New Hope for that matter.  And when I look in the rear view mirror of my life, I see that most everywhere I’ve lived has those elements. (maybe because: wherever you go, there you are)

This past weekend, we had house guests to share this ideal Romanticism: Matt (an old HS friend) and his new girlfriend Pam.

Hurt Osprey

When visiting the cemetery on the first day, we saw an osprey in his nest. He flew off  but later on, walking back from the cemetery park, we found the same osprey in the grass, unable to fly. As we continued our driving tour of Cedar Key, I made dozens of phone calls, hoping to find someone who handles such things.

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Pam and Matt - off to bike the trail

Our search brought us up to the Wildlife Refuge where we dropped off Matt and Pam to bike a 9 mile trail while we went to the refuge office to see if they knew what to do.

Well, the direct experience of community on that score came from the new head of the refuge (Andy – direct from Washington DC) who said: “we just let nature take it’s course – otherwise, we’d be overwhelmed”  mmmnnnnmmm.

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Daisy Enjoying the RIde

He’s got a point — but I was glad to make the calls and at least try. The next day, we met another couple who’d also seen the fallen osprey – but found it gone, later on. I also learned how to capture one from one of my  calls  who left a message, (blanket over their head, gather in the wings, pick up from behind, put in box). Now THAT would be an Authentic, Direct, Experience +  Community = a Romantic way of life.

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my Johnny

While waiting for Matt and Pam at the bottom of the nature loop, we took a walk along the road….. It is a hard packed, one lane, dirt road that’s usually empty. A few weeks ago, we attended a lecture about the refuge and they explained about the controlled burns they create  to keep the landscape available for a wide range of creatures. The thick underbrush prohibits certain species from thriving, so they conduct regular burns — section by section – every 3-4 years. As we walked along, we had direct visuals of the process:

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BEFORE BURN — AFTER BURN  — PLANTING OF GRASSES IN BURN AREA —- A YEAR AFTER BURN

BEFORE BURN: Thick Brush - something in the bushes Daisy likes

It’s a very dramatic difference

But as this area is also the lightning capital of the world – or at lease florida –

it is a natural phenomenon.

Recently Burned Area

One Year after Burn

Grasses planted after the burn

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Then they have volunteers help plant the grasses

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Pam and Matt complete their 9  miles and we head back to cedar key – in search of oysters and other such goodies.

First Stop:  ATKINS to buy oysters.

With no one at the counter, we wandered around back and found the OYSTER SHUCKING MACHINERY —

Shuckers in Action

INSIDE: a line of people whacking shells, scooping out the oysters and sliding the shells down a shoot to a conveyor belt leading to an every growing conical mountain of shells.

Shells on conveyor belt

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That’s where we found Miss Joan, the owner, working alongside her workers.

Miss Joan

Usually, Miss Joan has on beautiful western attire – but not today.

She sold us a half bushel of oysters and gave us the box and ice to transport them home.  Right friendly!

Off we set again, headed for MOES famous mullet dip –

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MOE, as you may remember, is our neighbor who is in his 80’s and fishes and preps his smoked mullet dip (yum), selling it from a roadside stand every weekend – along with shrimp and stone crabs.  (Note to self: You want a long, contented life – find yourself something to do that you enjoy.)

Moes Seafood Stand

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Matt was very hungry and bought out the stone crabs

Mr. Moe

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Back home — it was a feast, AGAIN!

Matt could barely stop to breathe in his rush to crack and eat the crabs And then Pam got to shucking oysters for the first time and found out she was really good at it.

Stone Crab Claws are so pretty

Stone Crabs bring out the creative in everyone

Pam seizes the shucking

Proper Gloves and Knives make all the difference

WhackaWhacka

Fresh Shucked Oysters

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Laura and Matt mug for the Camera while cleaning oysters

The evening continued on it’s bacchanalian theme –

Shucker Extraordinaire

Cooking them up on the grill - with garlic butter!

This slup says it all -- YUM

The next morning – Feb 18 –  ooooo, the kitchen floor was disgusting.

After a clean up, we rented kayaks for three hours.  Nice paddle in the back bay.

Then Matt and Pam rode their bikes around town,

They returned and fired up the grill again – for there were more oysters and stone crabs and steaks and sweet potatoes and rice & beans to consume.

I have to admit, I almost lost it that night.

One thing I’ve learned is that oysters and darkness is not a good combo.

Being the organized hostess I am, I’d already made a plan for the sequence of cooking events.

Raw Oysters first, followed by a few open-face on the grill, followed by the steaks and while we are eating the steaks, the rest of the oysters can roast on the grill top.  But instead, our neighbor Martin came over and decided to show Matt and Pam how to steam oysters.  That threw the schedule off – into the darkness – and we don’t have a bunch of tiki torches to rage against the dying of the light.

dinner by lamplight

Well, I didn’t lose it altogether – I just removed myself from the cooking process  –  found extension cords and a standing lamp and pierced the darkness with it!  Alls well that ends well — and I FINALLY got my roasted oysters – which I like very much, indeed!

"Its so romantical"

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Happy Birthday Dear Buckaroo!

BTW- THAT night was Buck’s official Birthday -13 dog years!  (91 human years!)

He sleeps a lot but still has a great appetite, solid poops and walks about and is a lovely cuddlebug.

After Dinner on  Sat Night – we went over to Martin and Lonna’s – who have a deck and open sky – to view the stars.

I let everyone go ahead so I could spruce up a bit —

(sweep and give the floor a quick wash — sand tracks in – ugh)

And took this shot of the empty but lit campsite. (smile)

Ahhhhh

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Matt had his telescope, Martin had one too, and there were blue binoculars too!

stargazing equipment

Ipad Star Watch App - a great learning tool!

but the best thing for John and me was Lonna’s I Pad with the Star Watch App — how much fun it was to hold it up to the sky and actually see the shape of the creature or personage the cluster of stars represent.

I now actually see the shapes —

My Mom would have LOVED that App.

Enough for now.

Must prep house for Greg Andriate arrival this afternoon — and if the weather holds – a fishing trip on Saturday on an Airboat!  yeeeeha!

This Romantic Life is a delight.

Thanks for checking in! xoxo  Laura

IS FACEBOOK LINKED TO SCIENTOLOGY?


We interrupt this journal of our Cedar Key adventures to pose a serious question: Is there a link between Facebook and Scientology?

We ask because on the morning of January 20, The day after Laura’s happy Birthday,

Smile like the statue Dee found for me.

She was suddenly blocked from her Facebook access – a mere two hours after she replied to an unsolicited message from a group of scientologists. She requested they “unfriend” her. Then, FB began asking her to jump through a series of hoops to “verify” that Laura was Laura – including: ID pictures of Facebook friends and then requesting a phone number to call or send a text to – and when she opted to have them call her on her home phone, so as not to give out her cell, access was completely denied.

Here’s what happened from Laura’s point of view:

For the past several months I periodically received a Facebook message that warned me I had an “SP” or “Squirrel” on my list of friends and I should “unfriend” them, immediately.

Being a curious person, I inquired why and someone explained that an SP or Squirrel was a category applied to a person who was “dissing” the church of Scientology.  Well, that stirred my curiosity even further so I investigated and found articles about the situation. Turns out, the woman they are calling out as an SP, Debbie Cook, had been a leader in Scientology for decades and was calling out them for some shady financial practices of the Church.

It’s a long story – going back a year – where they imprisoned her in a hot box in a desert until she signed a non-disclosure agreement – but then she took them to court to get the restraining order removed and just recently won that court case against Scientology. I then reported those findings on my Facebook page.

When I did that – I got several scientology devotees “dissing” me openly on my Facebook page. I thought it amusing – as they parroted whatever they were told to say. They seemed blindered – unable to see anything but their  own (wet) dogma.

Then I got another unsolicited message from a Jo Jo Zawawi – urging me and a group of people to “unfriend”  Debbie Cook, again. This group message came in early January, to a list of people..  I replied that I didn’t agree with their practice.   Group Messages on Facebook are funny. They lie dormant until someone else in the group replies and it stirs all up again. So I again told them I didn’t agree with their behavior

I even copied and pasted it to my actual Facebook page, bringing it to the attention of my actual friends.

That led to JoJo adding me to the list of people to unfriend and when I saw several of them had, the idea clicked to use this opportunity to get all the scientologist to unfriend me and clean up my Facebook list of friends. I had an overwhelming number of scientologists on my list – which was fine so long as they aren’t preaching at me all the time.

Two hours later, I couldn’t even access my Facebook account.

And when I went to check on the situation via my husband’s account, I notice my picture had disappeared next to my name on his list of friends.

And when I clicked on my name while in his account a statement came up: “no such account”

And when I tried to send a direct message to my account, a statement came up “You are unauthorized to contact this person”

Really?!

So I have to ask: Are the Facebook Police linked to the Scientologists?

I sent a note to my friend Mark through my husband’s Facebook account and he sent back this link:http://leavingscientology.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/facebook-and-scientology-making-the-world-more-disconnected/

It talks about the same people doing the same thing — in 2009!!!

“It started, as we reported earlier, with JoJo Zawawi advising people that they should disconnect from Sherry Katz. “Sherry Katz has resigned from our Church,” says JoJo. “She is committing suppressive acts and attacking the Church and making effort to pull people off the Bridge. I have personally verified this with OSA Int. I recommend that you delete your Facebook friend connection with her.” She ends with ”xoxox” – lots of hugs and kisses to go with her generalities and character assassination.”

Wow.  I was unsure about joining Facebook for a long time before I did. Now I think my initial instincts were right.

I also sent a message to Mark Zuckerberg via John’s FB account – inquiring specifically about a Facebook – Scientology link, but I doubt he will reply back.

I raise this issue because Facebook is a big brother atmosphere without any recourse on the user part.

First of all, you can’t simply unfriend someone – you have to block or report them.  What’s up with that?

Then, if someone or a group decides to call you out, declare you as a spammer, (because they didn’t like what you said)  there is no court of adjudication on Facebook. He who calls out the other first, wins.

This  is not the philosophy of an organization I want to be associated with.

So this morning, I noticed my Gmail account (which I mysteriously couldn’t access either last night) had a FB notice stemming back to 9pm last night –about 2 hours after I sent the message to Zuckerberg.

But I could not get onto my Facebook account until I surrendered my cell phone number – to get a text with a code – to put into Facebook – who then wanted me to agree to received Facebook notices by text (denied) and to let all my “friends” know my  cell phone (denied) before they gave me access to my account.

By now I feel really squeamish about this entire Facebook Experience.  I wonder who is lurking being the curtain.

“Pay not attention to the man behind the curtain” the Wizard of Oz boomed to Dorothy and her entourage.

But I must, and I will.

Anyone have a similar Facebook or scientology story?  Please Share!  Shine light on the darkness.

“Rage, Rage against the dying of  the light”

xo Laura

coconut cake with bavarian chocolate shells! yum

VALENTINES DANCE


VALENTINES DAY on Cedar Key features a DINNER DANCE at the Community Center, Hosted by the LIONS Club!

Most anything with the word Dance in it, attracts my attention.

And new friends we’d met at the Tiki Bar super bowl party had mentioned it as well.

So  we arrive.

Ladies and gents, it really is like going back in time, being on this island.

Where’s Ellie May and when is the train due in Petticoat Junction?

Community Center Room

It was a mostly older crowd,

with a sprinkling of young girls who danced with their Pa.,

and every shape and size.

The drinks are $1 for water, $2 for Beer $3 for wine, filled up to the tippy top of those hard plastic cups.

Cheap wine but tolerable – and you don’t want to drink too much.

The tables were set around the center dance floor and I don’t know who made the gauze, wire, lighted Eiffel tower, but it was just precious.

Over by the band .. was a table of silent auction. The only thing we bid on was the airplane ride which we were planning on doing for my BD anyway – and the pilot was there and he said he made it an extra special trip!  Happily, we won it!

Edward Hopper Painting: Cedar Key

Dinner was served out of the kitchen so we lined up for “more, please”

Dinner Servers!

Catered by THE ISLAND ROOM, it was delicious.

We took a seat at the nearest open table and discovered Shannon – whom we met early on at the Blue Desert Restaurant, with her sweetheart Wally.

Shannon and Wally

Wally had rough, working hands yet a tender grip. He told me he worked in  clamming at the Aquaculture plant, just down the road from our house. He also is a tree man.  Well, I asked him to drop off any good firepit wood at our house instead of taking it to the landfill. We exchanged numbers and I hope he does so. It will save me from scavenging fallen wood around town (. . . ” who’s that crazy lady in the red truck picking up all the wood in town?”. . .)

John Talking with Shannon - Kelly in the Background

Of course John and Laura did their thing on the dance floor.

Kelly - most interesting woman, must talk with her more

John, bless him, ignored whatever pain he was feeling and really enjoyed the dancing as much as I did.

And there was a song with a brazilian beat that gave us the entire floor — and a standing ovation. (grin)

Many a person said: “we could watch you dance all night – so smooth”And I told them about my daddy (yes, I said Daddy) who taught his 7 girls how to dance and I just couldn’t marry anyone who didn’t love dancing just the same. (the twang is creeping in)

They had a good beat we could dance to!

The Band was good!  And they looked like a cluster of hard living 60 year olds…..

Was that Keith Richards on drums?

great outfit!

Peter Frampton  on Bass? – and what a cool outfit is that!

We left around 8 – stopping by the couples house who lived around the corner –

And returned to the center at 9:30 to pick up our truck and found the place nearly empty but the band still playing, for the one last couple who danced nearly every song.

End of the Night!

But for us, it was time to go home and have PIE —

Can she bake a cherry pie? Billy boy Billy Boy

John bought a Cherry Cream pie from the ISLAND GIRL – who makes all her cakes and sweets from family recipes.

The Island Girl Sure Can!

Nice way to end the  night.!

I just hope we get to do more dancing before next Valentines day!

Another Happy Day

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Matt Lawskowski is coming to town today with his friend Pam.

We plan to Bike and Paddle and Feast on the fruits of the mer -So I’ll post again next week.

Have a great weekend and best to you and yours. xo Laura

POT ROAST ON THE COOKER!


I’ve been wanting to cook a pot roast over the cowboy cooker for a while now.

But every day something thwarted my objective.

Basically, you must have the day to build and tend the fire —

and I had no idea how long it would take to cook the pot roast.

So around noon, I built the fire base out of palm fronds, kindling and a fire starter square.

It took off and I kept feeding it until it was strong enough to sustain a big chunk of hickory.

Then I put the pot on to heat it up.

When we used this cast iron pot on the stove, it took a long time for it to heat up.

But outside on the fire – not so much!

It was time to sear the meat and that went quickly as well, given the heat.

Then I poured in the citrus marinade and canned tomatoes and let it cook for an hour or so.

The pot hung not far from the flames and, in retrospect, I think that was about 375-425 degrees because the meat was nearly done in 75 minutes.

Of course that makes sense, because what cowboy would be willing to wait 3 hours for a slow cooking potroast after a day on the trail.

Then I put in the potatoes and onions but I raised it too far from the flames – and I had to make further adjustments.

All throughout this, I was having a blast.  Really!

Then a new friend came by and joined us for supper and a long into the night stimulating conversation.

Our New Friend Shari

About Angels, and the end of the world and an earthquake on March 12 and where the waters will go and other solar systems that have sustainable life and why aliens heads are so big and what do they want with us and the intrigue of the art world and life on Cedar Key for a New Yorker, through and through, who came here temporarily – a year ago.

Cheers!

Our Neighbors, Chick and Marsha (we amuse them)

Anyway, IMHO, it was a great and interesting day and I can’t wait to try something else in the pot over the grill.

xo Laura

Bushed after a long, fun day!

BIRDS,BIRDS,BIRDS


PELICAN ON THE DOCK

WE LOVE BIRDS.

This pelican is gorgeous!  The yellow head, the blue eye, the white neck.

Unusual

and lovely.

He/She just sat on the dock railing and let me take pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we went canoeing on the back bay.

Besides the beautiful white pelicans, who take off with a whip of black on the end of their wings, lifting off one by one, following each other in a undulating line of rolling white. — there were also these pipers — small, brownish birds with long legs clustered on a spit of stones in high tide.

Couldn’t get enough of them.

The shadows are as cool as the birds.

Love Birds Birds Birds.

Love to you all for Valentines Day. xo Laura

Tangerines, Canoe and Blue Crabs, Too


TANGERINE

The Tangerine tree’s upper fruit was out of reach and quite ripe, now.

But we tried to gather what we could with the small ladder in the shed. 

Ladder to Tangerine Heaven

Then our neighbor offered his tall ladder, with a request for a few tangerines in return.

The most shocking thing about the tangerine tree – to this country slicker – are the thorns. 

Tangerine Tree Thorns

Look at them!  As we climbed up the tree, we had to be careful where we placed our hands.  And in my mind’s eye, I imagined the torn skin from a ladder fall, ripped by the jagged thorns.

John went up first.  Then he tried to put the ladder up to the heavens for the very top cluster. Just looking at it made me queasy.

I should probably be holding the ladder

We also tried to rope the upper branches to lower them to our reach, even on the ladder.

When I went up, I re-learned how to hold onto the tree, through the ladder rungs, as I climbed.  Wow, that made it so much more secure. But we finally had to give up and leave the tippy top tangerines to rot.  IF ONLY we had the tree trimmer John has in New Hope.  We could have snipped the last balls of orangery, tart, sunshine — but no matter.  We had plenty!

CANOE

Our Neighbor has a canoe and we borrowed it to explore the back bay.

In the process of trying things – from fishing to canoeing and art and fruit picking, I am making a check list in my head about the things I like, don’t like, would alter and such.

Sign on our neighbor's dock

View of neighbor's dock from water

A heavy canoe is NOT one of the things I would choose. This one was long, wide and heavy.  Plenty of room for the fishing gear and stuff, and good and stable in the water – but these waters are tricky.Heavyness of the flotilla makes it more difficult to glide over the rock and oysterbeds that arise as the tide lowers.

I also did not like having to drag the canoe through the grasses leading to the water, with the land underneath becoming more and more soft and mucky, while I found myself humming, like an old southern woman, to alert any crawling thing to skedaddle in the opposite direction, immediately.

Nevertheless, we got underway just after the height of high tide, when the waters start to turn, pulled back out to the gulf.

Oyster beds emerging - like shell waterlillies

It was fine when we began, the waters deep enought to paddle. But it changed, pretty quickly, and not knowing these waters, we had to watch carefully for the oysterbeds that can gouge the canoe bottom, chip the paddles, cut off access between two islands – because you can’t see them until you are just upon them.

John - with a patch of oysters inbetween the two islands

“Whooop, Whoop, Oysterbeds! Back Up! Reverse!” I yelled a couple times in our meandering around the bay.

Early on, we saw a lot of fish activity in certain areas.  They rise, just below the surface, and move along either towards or away, creating small, undulating circles on the water.  At first I thought I was seeing things, but then John saw them too.

Mouth to the Gulf

Learning how to read the waters is my goal.  Knowing what makes the just-beneath-the-surface-oysterbed-ripples from the tide-moving-in-the-channel-current-ripples is kind of important when you are out wandering unknown territory.

After doing a loop around one group of islands – taking a look at, but ignoring, the opening gap to the gulf, we meandered along the shoreline, east of our neighborhood.

Passing by boats – old and older.

boat for sale! DIY

I wanted to show John the property on the point, that had a built in bulkhead – wharf like structure for protecting the land, and connecting to a dock.  but is also had a  non-grassy, “beach” area, that was not mucky and allowed  one to pop into a canoe or kayak from land, without dragging it through the grasses.  That is a firm yes on my Want List.

Easy access beach

We saw another  property with just that that kind of access to the water, all the way around it’s point, which is so much more appealing than having to walk out on a long dock.  But I guess a low access point also creates easy access for water to overflow the land in a storm. Everything’s a tradeoff.

We made a few casts in the water but the only thing jumping was a mullet – teasing us again and again as he made his way from dock to dock.

John Fishing Back Bay

BLUE CRABS

After canoeing, Daisy of course demanded her time – beach time – so we took her over and threw the ball until she was out of breath – for the second time – and drove home – only to see a man put out a BLUE CRAB sign. So we wheeled around and talked to Johnny – but he had just sold his to Ricky – at the other side of the school. So we wheeled around again and came home with 12 blue crabs for $10, along with instruction for cooking.  Boil water with desired spices, pop in the crabs, bring back to a rolling boil = done!

Dozen for $10

Grabbing Crabs

LET GO!!!

OK – it was a scene from Annie Hall, only with Crab instead of lobster and John got nipped!

Protection!

He then put on some gloves.

(I’ve become obsessed with using gloves for everything – this land will really wear your hands out and mine are already old looking)

Hell No, I won't go!

And the screams of “help me! h-e-l-p me!” could not be ignored as the crab hung on, claw  clasped on the pot handle. (a most interesting picture)

I’ve never been a fan of crab because it’s a lotta work. 

My first introduction was at age 13 or 15, with my girlfriend,  in Baltimore, at a fancy crab party of our friend’s neighbor. She and I used to babysit for these folks when they lived in Glen Rock. So here we were, at a very grown up, society Baltimore party with big round tables covered in newspaper and bushels of freshly cooked crab.  It was quite a show and production as the help dumped the crabs into the center of the table and everyone began grabbing and whacking and cracking.  I watched how people opened them and my friend and I ate a few, when she became very jittery, jumping up from the table. I followed her as she got more and more agitated. Finally she asked me to get Ronnie, our host – who got a Dr. at the party – who sent her to the emergency ward – who diagnosed her with a shell fish allergy. In future years, I have seen her spit out a salad at a restaurant when she suddenly realized there was shrimp in it.  To bad for her. Shellfish is delicious to me. But crab is still a lot of work. I really appreciate the people who pick them and package them up for us to enjoy. Although, there is nothing quite like a fresh crab claw!

Yea!

Let's give it a go!

So we sat down and feasted – this house still needs pickers – on the list for the next shopping trip – and somehow we got through 8 or 9 crabs.  The rest I prepped for a little crab salad lunch.

This lemon was the size of a big orange!

So that’s the latest news. Hope your week’s been good!

xo Laura


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