Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!!!!!!!!!

Once again...we are childless for the next few weeks, while our children attend camp in North Carolina....I have never had all three of them gone at one time for so long.  This is a first...Elizabeth is a full fledged counselor (getting paid -  yay), Sara is a counselor in training and Ellen is a full fledged camper...we spent last week in North Carolina, enjoying a friend's house that overlooks Lake Nantahala, where our
  cell phones or Internet did not work!!! Great for quality, family time - hence my lack of blogging last week! 
I have all these posts swirling around in my head,  but I am just going to jump in with the Fourth of July, and then go back and try to catch up! I have some beautiful photos from North Carolina to share with you, but we would be here all day if I try to make this one long post, soooo ~ here we go for our first, completely childless Fourth of July!!!!!

Pat (Gary's brother) manned the anchor

Louie and Gary piloted

Courtney and I relaxed!!! Their children are gone right now too!

We moved our great, grey, hunk of steel out of the marina to catch up with some 
friends who were anchored at a nearby island.  

The weather was a tad rough...but we made it  - because of the  weather, I wasn't
focused on taking too many I am regretting that!

Some friends joined us...dolphins!

and our Louisiana state bird ~ the Pelican

We visited for several hours then headed back to the dock and thankfully, the winds had died down a bit, so the ride back was calmer and items weren't flying around the cabin! We dined on shrimp the size of your hand for our "Fourth of July Dinner"...a friend of ours is a shrimper and he calls us when he gets the "big" ones.  Lest you think I am exaggerating.....

They were an average of seven inches long!  Three or four shrimp are a meal.

I saved all the heads to boil and make a seafood stock! That is today's project.

We all laugh, because from the outside, we truly do have the ugliest boat in the marina, but when you step inside - it is quite impressive and very functional.  However, it looks pretty from the outside in this photo with all the lights glimmering and glowing in the marina.  I was pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised at the fireworks display on the beach.  Hundreds of revelers started shooting fireworks at dusk
 and the celebration didn't stop until around 11:00 PM!

At first we were watching from our boat, not expecting this
beautiful, exhibition of colorful explosives!

 When we realized what was going on, we walked over to the beach to join the party.  I practiced trying to photograph fireworks.  It isn't easy!  By the time you click the shutter button - the display has evaporated into thin air and all you have is black night.
 Trust me, there were a lot of those photos!

Finally, I figured out that you have to click the shutter just before the rocket explodes, and just hope it is a good one!  Fortunately, there were a lot of fireworks for me to practice on! You can see how many folks are on the beach!

Around 10:00, the city joined in and provided an additional
display of incredible pyrotechnics.

I wonder how many dollars went up in smoke that night????

By the end of the night, I got the firework photography thing down!

Just thought this one was funny....looks like Gary has blue hair!

This one is named "Brotherly Love"...see how there is a perfect heart of fireworks?

Part of the "Grand Finale"...I have always loved fireworks and definitely got my fill of them this year.   When the grand show died down....we still had something beautiful to behold.

Ms.  Moon decided to provide her own lunar exhibition.

It was stunning, and even though I didn't have my children
with me ~ a most enjoyable Fouth of July....
Now, that I have caught up on the current part of our life - my next post will be about our awesome trip to North Carolina..
we vacationed for a week, and then dropped the girls off at camp.
Here are a few "teaser" photos.

We are home for a while I hope to be "here" a little more frequently!  Also, to all my winners - I will be getting your winnings in the mail tomorrow or Monday!
Have a great weekend!

PS:  Clove says Hi!!!!! (and is doing great!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Everyone is a winner!!!

This is a short, but sweet post as we having intermittent cell service right thanks to my sweet daughter ~ who burned enough CDs for everyone and thanks to my very prolific yard long beans I am going to send everyone that commented a CD and some bean seeds! So please email me at - leave your email and mailing address, and I will send them to you! 
You will love the CD and I hope you plant the bean seeds..
they will feed your, family, friends and neighbors! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Wow ~ I am managing to get more than a post a week out right is a miracle! 
The "camp count down" is on! Five days till we leave for North Carolina ~ we will stay there next week and the girls are on different departure schedules as Sara is a Counselor in training and Ellen is a regular camper;  Elizabeth is a full fledged counselor and has been there for a month already...getting a paycheck and everything! I will be completely without children this
 July, and this Mama will be sad. 

When you live with three teenage girls, music becomes a big part of your life, a very big part of your life! I am fortunate, as my girls like various types of music but they gravitate towards the "oldies" (70's, 80's and 90's....there are some current bands (if they are true bands and not "pop stars") that they like, but for the most part, their preference is older music (yay for me).  Because if you are reading this, and you do not have a teenager, trust don't go anywhere without music playing! Maybe, it is the fact that we played "Oldies" (oldies to them, but music we grew up with) a lot while they were growing up...I really don't know, but all three of them like the same genres. I will never forget when Elizabeth came home from an 8th grade dance and I asked ~ "Well, how was it?"..She said "fine"...but, if they would just play music like "Build me up, Buttercup", we could actually dance to the music.  
This morning Sara made some CDs for her me (and her friends)  to enjoy while she was at camp for five weeks...and as she gave it to me, I happened to be making coffee.  This bright idea of slipping the CD into the coffee filter burst into my head....and it fit perfectly!  

 Wow..what a great way to easily keep lots of CDs from scratching as you transport your favorite CD to and from your car or wherever you are going.  Sara didn't really think it was that cool ~ and I guess teenagers wouldn't  - in fact, she said it was weird...but, I thought it was a great idea and worthy of sharing ~ so there you go...
Pin it, share it, tweet it, blog it...
prove me right to my teenager! Please! And leave a comment because I am going to do a giveaway and send two lucky commentesr a "Giddyness" CD in their very own coffee filter! 
It is named appropriately, as you do feel giddy when listening to it. The first tune is "Boogie Wonderland", followed by "I love you more today than yesterday" ~ and you won't stop dancing through the next 30 tunes! 
Comments are open until midnight on Wednesday and I will draw a name on Thursday.  If I can figure out the random generator by then, I will...if is the old fashioned,
  put your name in a hat trick! 

Our latest adventure this weekend consisted of taking the Zoric to Mississippi, where it will be docked for the next two months.  A short drive and we are at this awesome marina ~ easy to enjoy the boat, and everything else which consists of good restaurants and a nice beach!  The government just spent forty-six million dollars of your and my hard earned tax dollars to build this unbelievable marina after Hurricane Katrina wrecked the previous one, and it also imported nice, white sand so one feels like they are on the beaches of if only they could figure out how to make the water clear blue! 

Clove - our new fawn, accompanied us as we cannot leave her over four hours at this point, due to bottle feeding. She quickly got her "sea legs" (don't worry, the boat never left the dock!) and she had a ball running all over and exploring everything! 

A 'deer's eye view"

Uncle Dick ~ a long time family friend ~ was quite smitten with our Clove....
she is so interesting to sit and watch! And this long carpeted hallway
 was perfect for to frolic about. 

Finally, it was feeding time, so Ellen had to "corral" her.

Even though we didn't take the boat out, it was just enjoyable to be on the boat and relax in the sea breeze.....and the sunset was spectacular.  
We are so glad to have this awesome marina to be able to enjoy! 

A cute photo of Uncle Dick, Ellen and Clove!   

Our friends, Debra and Walton, came to visit and of course, were inducted
into the Clove club by having their ear sucked on. 
Sounds weird, but when you are on a boat, with a baby deer on it...
you gotta do it! 

Uncle Dick and Ellen again 

 Pat ~ (Gary's brother) brought their parents and they all looked so dapper
that I had to take their photo! So color co-ordinated!

 See, I am telling you, white sand....just like the beaches of Florida.  The government spared no expense in renovating the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.....
and I paid the taxes to prove it! At least Sara and Ellen are enjoying it!
Sadly, here is where my Nikon battery died so I had to finish the trip out with the Iphone...which did Ok...but I missed my Nikon friend. 

 Meanwhile, Clove is making friends....
She doesn't know it, but Louie is an avid deer hunter. 

Later on that evening, she took big time advantage of Ellen's free ear lobe!

We enjoyed the sunset - it really was beautiful!

Good friends and good times....great weekend!!!

Love this photo of Uncle Dick.

All good things must come to an end so we came home on Sunday...but not before 
Ellen bought a cute new running outfit. She and Sara get up at Six AM every morning and run around five miles with the cross country team.
 More fun to do when you look good! 

The deer and new running outfit walked over to visit GranE and Charlie!
They have a raised porch so you feel like you are in a bird's nest when you
are sitting outside in her "SIP"...that is fashionable
 lingo for Screened in Porch.  I want a SIP.....

Sippin on the SIP with the deer , Gary, Ellen, GranE and Charlie (and the alligator in the background) I practiced some editing with the Iphone here...not quite sure if I like it. 

Now, this morning, (see what an up-to-date-blogger I have become) I thought it would be fun to go walking with Clove while I drank my coffee.  A nice, quiet walk in the woods, enjoying the beauty of it, through Clove's eyes....big mistake!

 Holding a my fully recharged camera, Clove and a cup of coffee is not possible and something had to it was the coffee.  She has gotten quite active now!  Maybe it was her time on the boat ~ so she was very happy to be out in nature, back to perusing through the woods and nibbling on all varieties of grasses and shrubs (no azaleas :: poisonous); but, she was idea 
of a leisurely walk through the woods quickly evaporated! 

Don't get me wrong, we stopped and tried lots of things along the way...

but, the older she gets, the more she wants to GO, and TRY and DO.

Keenly aware of all that is going on around her....

Maisy came lumbering up...

and she cocks her ears at the slightest sound or movement.

Everything is on the menu....somethings she really goes for :: and others - she tastes;
 and quickly discards. 

Dirt is a favorite....they say they eat it to clean their system.  We have always had a saying
 in our family :: God made dirt, and dirt don't hurt!

She likes our barn?  More then likely,  she probably hears or smells the horses! Constantly sniffing the air, and also sticking her tongue out like a snake, she can detect odors way before she sees them.  One quick, interesting story...

The other day, she was at the end of that hall in our boat, and I got her medicine out that she LOVES because it is sweet.  She could not see it at all.  I opened it up and saw her start sniffing the air; she then takes off into a full gallop down the hall to me as she "smelled" that it was"medicine time" really was amazing!

Our dogs have been co-operating very well, and are still staying back from her...although it is getting quite confusing.  We are trying to teach Clove to "come"; and they hear the word "Come" and then when the dogs come...they get in trouble!  Poor things.

She just noticed Libby lying there. 

Our walk led us over to my garden, and I must share my tomatoes with you...maybe someone reading this can identify this brand of tomatoes or share a tried and true way of drying tomato seeds.  Here is the story ::  Mr. Vining ~ a dear gardening pal of twelve years just passed away last month.  A month before he unexpectedly had a heart attack at age fifty eight, he brought me some "salad tomato" plants.  He explained that someone had given him some twenty (yes, twenty year old seeds) and each of these plants would grow and produce about 100 - 200 tomatoes per plant....he brought me nine, so I gave four to GranE and kept five.  Well, turns out he was right on target, and we are swimming in the most awesome tomatoes that have an unbelievable taste, and are fairly impervious to our numerous insects and pestilence here in Louisiana. Only now, we only know the brand name of this as "salad tomatoes" which I am sure that he made up and it is probably some heirloom seed that has died out along the last twenty years.  We are just lucky he was able to grow seeds that were that old in the first place.  
Please ~ anyone that knows how to dry tomato seeds ~ Help...leave a comment or email that I can contact you with and then I will share this info with everyone...if I can dry enough seeds, I will even share some seeds with those that are interested and especially anyone that can help me with learning how to dry them! 

Don't have any photos that truly do it justice...but he was right - at least 150 tomatoes on each plant, and we had an awful thunderstorm last weekend that killed most of my other tomato plants ( remember my house got struck by lightning?)  and these five plants survived! 

My yard long beans ~ I just love these things...they are so prolific! I picked beans yesterday and here we are today....more beans on the vine.
They are seriously the solution to world hunger!
Hey - I have some seeds from these left over from last year, so I will
  include these in my giveaway!!!!

Every flower produces two beans, and they grow at lightning speed...these
beans will be a foot long tomorrow,  and ready to harvest.

Squash planted from seeds....

An heirloom variety ~ white - acornish.....don't quite know the name! 

Ms. Cantaloupe :: planted from seed, and is taking over my
 garden...really - do you have to be that prolific?
You have encroached onto rows that were supposed to be for other vegetables besides you! 

However, if you produce lots of these cute fellas, I will forgive you! 

You, my purple friend, are delicious! My friend (Anne) that owns a grand farm, and grows vegetables for all the local restaurants in New Orleans like the Brennans who own Commander's Palace, and John Besh, gave me some plants and this is one of them.  She grows what the chefs request, so I am excited to be producing the "best of the best". I need to get their official name because they are so sweet that they can pretty much be eaten raw......and anyone that knows eggplant, knows that is not the case for most varieties.  I will try to get the name and share it with you! One day, I will get up to her farm and do a post on impressive! So far, our busy schedules have not meshed :: but they will!

More squash....hope I am not being braggadocios, but this is also a documentation for myself so I can remember what I grow!  I love my garden this year!  Mr. Vining helped me till ground, Gary made my rows and I planted the vegetables/seeds....a group effort! 

Finally, my Basil...... last year - I failed miserably on the basil.  Thank goodness, Anne bailed me out with her basil, so I could make pesto and freeze enough to get through the year, but I was sweating it out. We are a pesto loving family and I have tried buying it and substituting the purchased version  without even telling the family :: it did not work and they know their pesto...they called me on it! So this year, I decided to stay on top of it! 
Don't forget ::
There will be TWO WINNERS!!!!!!
"Giddyness CD" in a coffee filter case &
Yard Long bean seeds!
and anything else I get excited about!!!!!!
Just leave a comment by midnight, on WEDNESDAY, June 20th and I will announce  winner on Thursday!