Saturday, May 30, 2009

Turtles and Local Food (but not turtles as food)

On the way to the t-ball game this morning, I almost ran over a little turtle. John had me go back and get it and we brought it home. We realized it was bleeding a little from the bottom side of his shell. We think that a bird probably dropped it on the road trying to crack his shell. If he'd been hit by a car, he'd be smooshed by now. We warned the kids that he might not live, but as of this posting this 10 hours after rescuing, he's still alive. We put him in a cooler (don't worry, we'll sanitize before using it next) and left him under the tree. When we got home from t-ball, he had a few more battle scars from Smokey - a couple of scratches across his head. He's now inside so a raccoon (or Smokey) doesn't make a snack of him tonight. He may just live. We'll see. He's a little smaller than the palm of my hand. He's a size comparison.

He's fairly cute and looks like Sam, Alli's turtle at home. Possible names (if he lives) are Pants and Storm. The kids didn't seem disappointed by the prospect of a funeral either though. Kaity really likes him and keeps checking on him. Maybe he'll be alive in the morning.

For dinner tonight, I made something very different for us and with a lot of local ingredients. We had balsamic blueberry pork chops. The blueberries came fresh picked from the lakehouse. The thyme came from my garden. And, the pork chops came from the pig we fed out this spring. And, I actually had the ingredients for the rest of the sauce in my cabinet so I didn't have to make a trip to the store. Amazing. I liked the sauce okay, but would like to have it just a little sweeter. I might try a different recipe next time.

We also had fresh corn on the cob purchased from Brown's Produce Stand on the way to Melrose. We saw the guy delivering it straight from the field, so we know it's fresh.

Earlier in the day, I made zucchini nut bread with some of the zucchini from my garden (the huge, monster one!) I used a few of Henriettta's banty eggs in the mix (and had to borrow a few from Kathleen) and the pecans that Aunt Margaret gets for us from Altrusa. Along with a few recipe alterations from Kathleen and friends, it turned out great. They suggested adding a cup of apple sauce to keep it moist. Great suggestion. It worked like a charm. The bread is wonderful and the kids really like it. It's definitely a keeper recipe.

It was a great dinner and the kids ate most of it (no blueberry sauce for them, just ketchup).
PS - Mom, I'm almost out of pecans!

PPS - Georgia, don't you wish you'd come over now!  Turtles and local food!  It doesn't get better than this.  

Turtle Update - it didn't make it through the night, so we had a funeral for it this afternoon. Kaity prayed that God would give her a pet turtle.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Our 4th Annual Memorial Day Lake House Weekend was a blast. After almost two solid weeks of rain, we were hoping for a little sunshine and outside time. We did get quite a bit of rain, but also plenty of opportunity to play outside.

I took Friday off to help the school with their first field day. It poured, POURED, that morning. Coach is giving them a pep talk in the pouring down rain about what a glorious day it was and how much fun they were going to have.

Will was not great at hurdles, but then, neither were any of the other kindergardeners.

His team lost at tug-of-war, but had fun pulling each other around in the mud. No serious injuries for the day, the sun finally came out, and the kids had a great time. Overall, a great success.

We headed out to Melrose somewhat early Saturday morning. After unloading, we headed back into town for lunch at Bluewater Bay. If you've never been there, it's highly recommended. Instead of my usual fried shrimp, I ventured out on a limb and had a shrimp skewer with a chili sauce. It was amazing. John got crawfish and we discovered that the kids, especially Will, LOVE crawfish. After lunch, we headed back for a quick swim before the rain started.

Kaity loves taking pictures with my camera although she uses up all the batteries. This is a picture of Daddy that she took. This is what it must look like all the time in Kaity's world.

My friend Kim came out to practice crocheting on Sunday (and brought this great gumbo) and more friends, Nate and Becky came out later that afternoon. Nate and John smoked a Boston butt. It's a good thing Nate was there. Nate's a PA and John was starting to have kidney pains. Nate diagnosed him with kidney stones and saved us a trip to the ER. John's still in pain, but at least there was no hospital trip involved.

Kaity loves the lake, but as you'll see, hates the ocean.

Memorial Day Monday, we headed to Jacksonville to join Erin and Luke at the beach. We haven't been to the beach yet this year, so I was really excited to go. We had a picnic lunch and then later headed back to their apartment for dinner and some Wii. Will almost has enough change saved for his Wii so he was excited to play with Luke on it. (Will and I have a deal. If he saves $150, I'll pay for the other half of the Wii. So far, he has $100 in change and everything he finds, makes, or sometimes "borrows" goes to his Wii fund.)

My patriotic red, white, and blue swim suit.

Kaity was Terrified (with a capital T) of the ocean and the waves. It took us about four hours to coax her in. This is what happened when Daddy took her in to wash the sand off of her. And, yes, we were laughing at her.

Erin has more beach pictures posted on her blog.

Finally, we got Kaity into the tidal pool area. She didn't stay very long, but stood on the beach out of the reach of the waves as the rest of us played in the water.

Most of the time, Erin and Kaity built sand castles.

Will loved the waves and the ocean. He spent most of his time convincing either Daddy or Luke to take him out into the water. He also got to see a dolphin jump out of the water and a big crab chasing Daddy. The beach was definitely the highlight of the weekend for him.

We headed back Monday night. John and I had both taken off Tuesday also which turned out to be a great idea. We cleaned up in the morning, got a little swimming in, and headed back to Micanopy just in time for John to go to the doctor for his kidney stones. Hopefully, we'll get back out to the lake house again in a month or so.

PS - I forgot! We also picked the first blueberries. Many, many more should be ready this next week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rain, Rain ... PLEASE Go Away!!

Since last Wednesday (today is Friday a week later), we've guesstimated that we've had 15 inches of rain. These pictures were taken yesterday afternoon and since then the water has come up even more.

This is our driveway. Today it was mid-calf high on me.

Will is standing in the water next to the house. It's coming up over his rubber boots.

My Easter lilies are finally starting to bloom.

Unfortunately, they are currently sitting in ankle deep water.

These are my new purplicious rain boots. I saw them last Sunday at Tractor Supply and we didn't buy them. It was only raining with no standing water then. By Wednesday, we had standing water everywhere and John had Larry pick them up. I wore them to work on Thursday and to the field day on Friday. I can't go anywhere in the yard without them.

My poor chickens and goats don't have a dry spot in the yard.

The rain has let up a little bit, but we still have a 60 percent chance through the weekend. As much as we need the rain, I'm ready for it to STOP!

Our First Float Ride

With many years of 4-H to come, we'll have plenty of opportunity to ride floats. Our first experience happened last weekend during Doc Hollywood Days in Micanopy. We recruited a couple extra friends and rode the float throughout the town (and threw candy). It took about 2 hours to set the parade up and a total of 10 minutes to go through town. I was the adult on board the float mainly because Kaity was also riding the float. I got to be the candy nazi.


Before we had 15 inches of rain, we were getting some nice flowers out of the garden. The zinnias, sunflowers, and coreopsis have done especially well. I did my best with my very little flower arranging skills.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Holy Zukes!

Look at the size of the zuke that just came out of my garden! It's bigger than my arm!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here a Zuke, There a Zuke, Everywhere a Zuke Zuke

Saturday, Kaity and I met my girlfriends, Kim and Georgia, at the Windsor Zucchini Festival. Every year, I say I'm going to go and, every year, we don't. Well, we finally made it this year and it was a blast! The zucchini festival is held in support of the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department. And, I don't think any zucchini is (or ever was) grown commercially in Windsor. Windsor is known for blueberries. But, it still makes for a fun festival. They had a great kids area, live band, arts and crafts, lots and lots of zucchini foods and even a beauty pageant.

We started off watching the pageant. It was pretty disorganized, but still fun. They crowned a Duke of Zuke and a Zuqueeni. Next year, I'm entering Kaity.

Since it was just Kaity and the girls, she got to do some fun stuff like ride the pony. Farm Girl wouldn't ride without me walking next to her. Some farm girl she is. I did buy her a pink cowgirl hat. She's always borrowing Will's so I figured it was time for her own.

Georgia and the Zuke Buggy.

Kim and Kaity dancing to the band.

I had Zucchini Honey ice cream. Kaity had strawberry (it's pink).

Kim, Kaity and I and the balloon Kaity HAD to have.

She loved the wind chimes.

One of the best parts of the Zuke Fest was the carvings and creations. Kaity and Georgia were both amazed by them. These zukes are tangoing.

The "AquaZuke"

Zucchini Island with an alligator, turtle and more!

It was a lot of fun and we might even go again next year. Next weekend is the Newberry Watermelon Festival (always a good time - watermelon eating contest, seed spitting, pageant, and rodeo) and the first Doc Hollywood Days in Micanopy. I think we'll be at the Doc Hollywood Days since Will wants to ride the 4-H float.

I love this time of year. There seems to be a food-related festival every weekend. It's great.

8 Years and Counting!

Eight years ago tomorrow, John and I got married. We don't usually do much for our anniversary (and definitely not Mother's Day since it's the same weekend). But, this year we actually got to do a few things.

Last Thursday night, we went to a play at the Hippodrome. I got free tickets through work and Nana and Papa kept the kids. So, I got to wear this pretty dress that Sarah picked out for me last year in Michigan. I got a lot of compliments on the dress (it's a handmade vintage dress) and we got to eat out before seeing the play.

Friday, John had off so I went ahead and took off too. We dropped the kids off at school and headed out to Cedar Key for lunch. We hit the museum and Cedar Key scrub first. Neither of us had ever been there. I'm convinced that it's the quietest state park in Florida.

We also ate on the docks at Frog's Landing. John says we've eaten there before, but we figured it's been 7 years or so since we last ate there. Guess what I got? Fried shrimp.

I've never seen John have such a hard time making up his mind in a restaurant. He kept going back and forth, but finally ended up with crab florentine.

Cedar Key is a cute little town. Hopefully, we can make a weekend stay of it sometime. These are some of the condos and houses right on the water. The one thing about Cedar Key is that there are absolutely no beaches. It's marshy and shelly and the mosquitos are apparently horrible on the islands.

Pelicans are one of my favorite birds. They're so funny looking. They also know the best place to hang out if you're a lazy pelican - on the pier.

This is the pier and the island you can visit. Cedar Key has one of the oldest lighthouses in Florida, but you can't get to that island anymore. It's a bird and marine research center and sanctuary. This island is about a half-hour boat paddle from the many, many boat launches. We'd like to take the kids some time soon, but we've been warned that the mosquitoes are very, very bad.

On our actual anniversary tomorrow, my friend Georgia is coming to babysit. John and I are going to see the new Star Trek movie. John is about to pee in his pants from excitement.

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