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Friday, April 30, 2010

Red Winged Blackbird

I grew up with the twittering song of the red winged blackbirds. I think more than any other birds, theirs is the call I most love in the spring!

 I wasn't close enough to really capture him!

...But! I'm going to try again on Saturday!

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cormorants of Florida

Every day we were on the St Johns River, we watched these birds!

They are so cool! Stretching this way and that. Sunning themselves.

The 'Gators' would float by and the birds would be oblivious to the danger!

(But you know? They never seemed to get eaten?)

And here's the eagle again!

And I cropped this one so you'd have a close-up!

All of these photos except the cropped one were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Cat Tail Swamp

This is a swamp south of St Thomas, Ontario, that I drive past on my way home from work some days. A few weeks ago, I noticed these humps. 
Someone, or something, has cut the cat tails and humped them up, creating open spaces of water.

What are they?

Of course the first thing that entered my mind was... Beavers!
And then I thought, no... We're too far south for Beavers. We don't have them here...

And then Saturday Dick and I drove past and we saw a Canada Goose sitting on one and we cried, "Yureka! They're for the geese!" 
But no, I haven't seen any geese sitting on them since Saturday...

 So! I'll just have to keep my eye on them and see what, if anything develops!

What do you make of it all?

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Afternoon Tea

Another bit of fiction. Taking up after the post about the old yacht...

She straightened her back, her hands fell to her sides, she sucked in a slow breath and exhaled it just as steadily. The antique satin of her Sunday bodice rose and fell with the inhaled air. Breasts tightly encased in her very best corset defying the sultry, Florida heat.

Her gaze studied each unique item on the crisply pressed tablecloth. The yellow one, carefully chosen because it was spring and yellow was the color of the nodding daffodils and forsythia that were so abundant in the carefully tended gardens of her childhood home in New York.

Two winters ago, she had studiously embroidered the design into the cloth by the light of the fireplace and the flickering amber lamp there. Her eyes had ached with the strain and teared with the fumes of the lamp oil. (She should go to see the local quack for glasses, but nobody trusted him!)

She lifted one long, elegant finger and pointed at the objects that she had so studiously placed in geometric precision on the cloth.
The cozy where she would place the heated teapot when her guests were seated. The shiny silver sugar scuttle that was one of her most prized possessions. (She was the only local woman she knew who served the cubes from such an ornamental piece!)

The matching napkins, pressed by her own hand so that they would be absolutely without crease and perfectly stiff. Folded just so and strung into a silver ring. She had placed them side by side in perfect unison. It would be over eighty degrees today and even though this area was far more relaxed than the Yankee states, she knew from past experience that her newly arrived guests would take a few weeks to acclimatize to southern traditions and would need to dab at the beads of perspiration sure to form on their faces and necks. 

And then there were the teacups! 

Her husband had instructed the servants to carefully crate them and the box had sailed in the ship's cargo hold with her to this moss covered Florida swamp. Ten years ago it had been and she had fearfully unwrapped each one. (Only one saucer had not survived the arduous journey!)

China, so fine you could see the umber of the steeped tea through the sides if they hadn't been encased in pure gold. So thin that a firm grip could and had shattered a cup on previous occasions. The handles so elegant and lovely! Her fingers ached with the need to caress just one.

Afternoon tea!

A ladies' entertainment. Shunned by the men as frivolous and meaningless while they themselves sat in a closed up library with their bottles of  thick, Jamaican rum and those horribly putrid smelling cigars!

She sighed. Mens' entertainment of loud, argumentative talk and a ladies afternoon of gentle laughter, conversation and companionship. How different they both were!

For the men, thick slices of meat between course bread.
For her female guests, tiny sandwiches were in the pantry, covered with a freshly laundered cloth. She had supervised their preparation with care in the kitchen that morning. Thin, transparent slices of cucumber that would help to ease the heat and the freshly caught fish with dill mayonnaise that cook was known for far and wide.
There was a compote of fresh orange and lemon for the tea. Also specialty of the house.
(A girl had to have something to be remembered by!)
She hoped her guests would arrive appetite in hand as well as with the most recent gossip of the parlor's of the north.

Her ear caught the sound and she quickly re-checked her appearance in the mirror hanging in the hall.

The boat had docked!

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dick loves beef jerky!

 ...And so I make it myself when we are home for a day.

1/3 c Worchestershire
2/3 c soy sauce
1/3 c teryaki sauce
3 to 4 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili pepper
I bought some Carolina hot relish and added a generous dollop for some heat!
This will marinate about a 2 to 3 pound cut of beef.

I like to buy an eye of round roast. It's not fatty and is very lean. I've used other lean cuts, but I quite often find this one on sale.  I unwrap it and pop it in the freezer for about an hour so it firms up and I can cut it easier. 
Once it firms up, I plunk it on my cutting board, (plastic of course for the bacteria,) and slice it about 1/8 inch thick. It's tricky and I always sharpen my favorite knife really well to get the job done.

I combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

And piece by piece, I dunk the meat in the goop, making sure each slice is seriously coated.

I cover it with plastic and place the bowl in the frig for overnight.

I'm so lucky! My niece gave me a dehydrator for Christmas one year and it is just so slick!
I lay out the pieces so they don't touch and plunk the whole thing out in the laundry room so the noise doesn't drive us crazy!

So after about six to eight hours, this is what it looks like! Leathery and really nasty looking and by this time, our house smells like a polish deli!

 But Oh! Does he love me!

 Into a zip lock baggie and I keep it in the frig, although it never lasts very long! He takes it in his lunch for a snack.

 A couple of his buddies at work have gone out and bought dehydrators because Dick has shared samples! 
(I think he just likes to boast about me!)

 Looks pretty professional if I do say so myself!

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My neighbor's garden

One of our neighbors has this massive garden and it is alive with spring color and blossoms.
As you can see, it is on quite a steep hill and I really don't know how they can keep their balance while working in it, but we in the 'hood' certainly reap the rewards of their hard work.

 This is a summer cottage only, (they have no insulation or heat in the house,) so they haven't been down yet overnight or done any of the spring cleanup we all do in our year round homes.

The red tulips are so classic.

The garden is full of last years stalks and leaves, which in my mind makes it more interesting!

 Forget-me-nots bring back memories of the farm where I grew up. My mother had them growing as if wild at the lawn's edges. Their soft blue shade somehow brings to mind old linen?

Masses of daffodils with bright, yellow and white blooms nodding in the breeze always make me smile.

A little bug somewhere has enjoyed the petal.

Normally Forsythia this huge are only seen in parks and I can look at this one everyday!

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Hacker Craft

This is a true Vintage beauty and I am amazed at the feeling I got when I stood looking at this wooden antique. Where did she come from and who on earth owned her?

Mr Speas didn't have any history on her, just was fixing up a few 'spots' was all!

Hmm.. Is there a story here?

  Please don't reduce me to the numbers on my bow.

My owners have all crossed over. 
The children, the men and women, they've all gone on.
Who to look after me now?

Hacker Craft A boat building company still in Silver Bay, NY. Where my lines were drawn, my bow laid true.

Countless captains at my helm. My wheel is worn from many fingers, both adept and untrained.
Children sitting on their father's knees giggling as I carried the family clear of shoals and rocks.

Green on one side, red on the other. My markers warning others: "Make Way!" There's a queen sailing through!

Steady thrum of my engine.... Oh what power I have! 
I can glide through the swells in breathtaking glory! 

Fine chrome for my nostrils! 

The skiers I tow have my name burned in their memories....

Come! Slid into my cockpit and we shall sail the lakes and rivers!
I am Hacker... Take my wheel?

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring Has Me In It's Grip!

 I couldn't stop taking pictures! Yikes!

Barberry Royal Burgundy

 Such beautiful compact shrubs that don't need much pruning. 
 I have two and the only drawback is that they have pickers!

Looks completely different in this shot, doesn't it?

How could anybody not like these?

 Oh Well!

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hacker Craft - A Vintage Boat

 We discovered a fellow in Welaka, Florida who is a second generation boat restorer and the next couple of days are going to be about him and his boat shop and what's inside.

 Let's look inside?
The first thing you'll notice is stacks of lumber and shelves of tools. 
Some of the lumber is years and years old and from his father's youth.

This man fixes antique boats and restores them to their original glory. He and his father, Richard Speas, were and are masters of their trade and the work is amazing.
He was very open to sharing his knowledge and was happy to let me snap away.

A Hacker Craft.
More about this beauty tomorrow.

A couple of other interested fellows stopped in when we were there.

He has lots of bits and pieces and here are a few antique motors.

I don't know anything about this picture, but it was hanging on his wall! A cute threesome!
Anybody need a date for the prom?

This green and white boat is actually a prototype for a 51 foot commercial vessel that his Dad had built. 

This is a full length shot of the Hacker Craft.
Look at all the templates and pieces of wood!

He also keeps a maritime museum right in town. We had planned on touring it, but went over to Daytona instead.

I can't help but think there's a ship out there somewhere missing it's nose decoration?

I took more pictures and tomorrow I'm going to post more.
Thanks for coming along! This little town is jammed packed full of great places and people. I miss it and we've only been home a few weeks!

All of these photos were again shot and loaded directly from my Nikon P90 and then posted without alteration of any kind.