Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back To Where We Started From

So, Jack and I have been home for about a week now.  I must confess I have been very tired from the trip so I've just been laying low a bit.  Well, that and I've had to start throwing again in earnest to get a jump on the many pottery orders I have.  One of the stores I sell through does corporate gift baskets and they start early to get their baskets in time for the holidays.
As you may see from the flowers and such, fall is in full swing here.  In fact, it's been quite cold here the past couple of days.  Well, cold for us anyway, for this time of year.  We were enjoying a wonderful Indian summer last week but that has ended abruptly.  I truly hate to see summer go even though I do enjoy fall.
So, we are through with the festivities and back down to gardening and chicken business!

Due to that nice, aforementioned Indian summer, the eggplants and peppers are doing great!  I'm still harvesting peppers of various kinds and hope to get a few more eggplant before the frost gets them.  The raspberries are still going strong and I even picked a few strawberries this week!

I actually managed to get most of my fall/ winter garden planted before the wedding so all that is doing pretty well.  I have one short row of bok choy (upper right), 2 rows of broccoli and just one row of cabbage.  We have eaten all of the last sauerkraut I made and I am really wanting some more!  I still need to finish mulching here also.

I planted about half of the coldframe in loose leaf lettuce and it's doing well.  We enjoyed our first salad from here the other night. Can't decide if I want to do more lettuce or carrots in the other half.  Well, it may be too late for carrots anyway.

The fig trees have received their heavy winter mulch and I got Jack to mulch the tea shrubs also.  They are still doing well and I hope to see some good growth from those things come spring.

The chickens are doing great and seemed to mature a bit while we were gone, getting their tail feathers and such.  They're looking like real chickens now!  Unfortunately, the roosters are also starting to rehearse their crowing.  Mostly they just sound like someone stepped on a squeaky toy.

We let them into the defunct okra patch to scour around for bugs and such.

I just love my little Speckled Sussex.  They are so sweet and talkative.  They are also quite spoiled and waste no time scolding me if they feel I've slighted them their treats or such! 

So, these next few weeks are going to be very busy but it's a good busy.  Lots and lots of pottery to make and I still want to put up what few remaining fruits and veggies we have such as the peppers and apples.  Our apple trees are not producing yet but Jack bought a couple of sacks from a local orchard so those need drying.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Still Taking The Long Way Home...

I know ya'll are probably getting sick of seeing wedding/ honeymoon/ travel photos but I have just a few more to inflict upon you!  I'll get it over with pretty quickly I promise and get back to gardening/ chicken raising/ DIY stuff.!
So, after we left Dunnellon and the Rainbow Springs area, we headed for Cedar Key.  Now, those of you who also read Pure Florida know this is the often written about stomping grounds of the adventurous Florida Cracker!  And guess who we actually met!!

Of course, if you also read Pure Florida, you've probably already seen his post on our meeting! lol!  Anyway, FC was at the Cedar Key Seafood Festival selling his wonderful clam chowder (which is really good) to raise money for his science department, so we naturally scarfed down a few cups.  And numerous other seafood delights too!  Due to FC being a vendor, however, we didn't have much opportunity to visit with him unfortunately, but we did get to chat for a little bit.  As he mentioned in his post, it is a bit of an odd thing, although happily so, to finally meet someone in the flesh that you have "known" for so long.  I estimate FC and I have read each other's blog for about 6 years now, so we have seen each other's lives change; seen a lot of each other's joys and sorrows.  The cyber world can be a wondrous thing.  Or horribly embarrassing (for me), I haven't decided which yet..LOL!

We also got to finally meet our good friends Myamuhnative, a regular commenter here, and her sister Julie.  They very graciously showed us around the seafood festival and we got to spend a fair amount of time chatting before we had to leave in time to make it to our next destination.  We also found our one purchased souvenir in one of the Cedar Key art galleries, so that was nice.

FloridaCracker dishing his tasty clam chowder!  And yes, as he mentioned, I immediately stuck my foot in my mouth, dork that I am, by exclaiming that I thought he would have been taller. LOL!  He just seems larger than life on his blog! 

So, we reluctantly took off for more northern destinations and made it to St. George's Island by that evening.  I had never been here before but Jack had many years ago before they made the eastern part of the island a State Park.
These are views from a 5 mile hike we did through the park and out to the shore.

Very pretty.

This is Jack being dramatic after we had reached the shore and halfway mark of the hike.  We did pass a few other hikers but as far as I could tell we were the only people out here on the shore. 

While we were lounging here we saw a bald eagle flying overhead!  It was my first sighting of one in the wild.

There were tons of these butterflies flitting about in waves practically.  I've been to a couple of those "butterfly gardens" you know, where they have captured butterflies in buildings.  Those places had nothing on this area.  We would occasionally spot a Monarch in with these Gulf Fritillary and numerous other types also.

Our last morning on St. George's.

The lighthouse as we were leaving...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Take The Long Way Home

As scheduled, we started off the Florida part of our honeymoon with set reservations at Longboat Key but then thought we would "wing it" on the second half and I think it turned out pretty well.  I took the photo above our last day at the Hilton on Longboat.  I had gotten up kinda early to enjoy a hot cuppa on the beach and discovered that the birds and dolphins were also enjoying an early breakfast.  The little fishies were schooling in large numbers right at the waters edge and it was a smorgasbord for everybody.  The dolphins even came in rather close but I didn't get any pictures of them.  My camera is just not that good for action and I was mostly just enjoying the moment.  I think sometimes trying to get "that great shot" sometimes actually spoils the experience.

Later that day we moved into the Sarasota area and went to Lido Key and then Turtle Beach on Siesta Key the next day.  Turtle Beach (in the photo) was my favorite, although we didn't see any turtles!.  Not many people were there and the place was very lovely.  I actually like these gray sands better than the white beaches in Alabama.  It's easier on my eyes than that glaring white.  I know some of you native Floridians will be appalled by this confession but...I actually can't take too much sun and surf.  I have been known to get very sick from the blazing sunlight and salt water and our last day here I wasn't feeling very well.  I mean, I felt kinda crappy through most of the trip, due to the tooth and pain issue, but the sea effect added to it.  I really enjoy the beach because it is so exotic to me but I'm not the type that can just lay there like a slug.  I have to be swimming or walking or playing in the water and it gets to me.  I am, at heart, a creature of the forests and cool mountain streams.  So, we left Sarasota a couple of days early to begin our meanderings home.  On our last night there however, we did get to meet Island Rider and her hubby for dinner which is always nice! 

And on Island Rider's suggestion we made our way to Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon.!  This was a wonderful experience.  The people that run the Rainbow River Canoe and Kayak were great.  Very friendly and helpful.  I would fully recommend employing their services if you want to canoe or kayak any of the area rivers.  We decided to rent a canoe and go on the 4.5 mile Rainbow River cruise.  It was absolutely beautiful! 

They don't take you all the way to the headsprings but you are close and you can paddle upstream to see it is you want.  We went upstream for about half a mile or so and then turned around to float downstream, so it was probably about a 5 mile or so trek.  I really can't describe how beautiful it was.  Many parts of the river are shallow but there are very deep spots also and even at 20 feet or so you can still see the bottom because the water is SO clear.  It wasn't too populated but we did pass a number of other kayakers, tubers and swimmers.  Not so much that is was annoying though.  I would LOVE to go snorkeling here one day.

Over the whole trip we saw so many water birds of various types.  There were lots of cormorants on the river that day.  Maybe one was the one I rescued that day several years ago!  Probably not but I can pretend. lol!  We also so tons of turtles, one alligator, otters and bunches of fishes of all types because you can just look down in the water and see whole schools swim by!

The trip took around 4 hours and by the end our butts were a little numb but it was still great.  You really didn't even have to paddle but Jack kinda guided us along, especially when passing other groups.  Jack used to be a big, white-water kayaker so he's a master with anything like this.  I just took pictures!

I did, however, miss getting the picture of the one alligator we saw and will never, ever live that down.  There were tons of these turtles!  and they were pretty good size.  The only thing we have this big are our snapping turtles. 

Lots of cypress trees.  These pictures really don't do it justice.  Maybe if I had a better camera.

If you look close you can see some little fishies!  We saw some really big ones too.  I have no idea what they were.  This is, of course, a freshwater spring (the 8th largest in the world) so these looked to me like little crappy or bream but the larger fish sure didn't look like anything I knew.  Some of them were big, flat, round looking fish.

And just tons of birds.  I could pick out the egrets and herons but wasn't sure what the others were.  So, we had a wonderful time on this and more great seafood that night.  The next day we continued our trek down the backroads to......Cedar Key! and a seafood festival!  more food!!

And that will be continued!......................

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Down To The Sea

We finally made it to Longboat Key!!  Yay!  Actually, we've been here for two days but I just now got around to posting anything.  Hey, this is a honeymoon...we've had other things to do.  Ha!  Yeah, like eat and take painkillers.  Where I used to have a tooth is still hurting fairly often but I'm down to just a half a pill a day and half at night.  And walking on the sand hurts my foot a fair amount and the rest I won't go into...  BUT, other than all that, we are having a great time.  The beaches are beautiful here and due to location, fairly unoccupied.  And virtually no little screaming anklebiters running around!  Pure bliss.

I have swam quite a lot and Jack sits on the beach and reads.  That's okay.  I did get him to come in the water some yesterday.  It is so warm; it's just about the perfect time of year here.  Not so blazing hot you can't stand it but just warm enough to swim and laze around all day.

It rained some today so we explored the island a little and the next one over.  And the food!!!  I have stuffed myself on more than one occasion.  Like I said, we are having a great time despite some physical ailments.  It  kinda gets me down that I seem to have these issues a lot of the times we try to go anywhere but I guess crap just happens when you get older.  It's not like we are a couple of twenty-somethings on their first honeymoon. LOL!

Tomorrow we will move over to the Sarasota area and visit the beaches of Lido and Siesta Key, then start our journey northwards sometime Saturday or Sunday.  We are making that part up as we go.  Sorta.

If any of my regular Florida readers would like to meet up with us if we pass near your area we would certainly like to see you.  I don't ask people directly because I'm kinda self-conscious that way and don't like to assume someone would even want to meet me.  However, some of you I feel like I really know and wouldn't mind seeing.  I assure you Jack and I are harmless and are not axe murderers, bird poop collectors or obnoxious yahoos that drone on for hours about ourselves!  Anyway, email me if you have time for lunch or something.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Up To The Mountains

Hey Everybody!  we are home for a short period before we take off again on the extended part of our honeymoon so I thought I put up a quick post to show ya'll where we've been.  Jack's brother and sister (and respective spouses) were not able to make the wedding so we met them in Tennessee to visit for a while.  We all had a great time.  Jack's family is fun-loving and friendly, unlike some of mine, who can be major Sticks In The Mud.

I think the Smokies are the 10th National Park Jack and I have visited together.  It is also the most visited of all the National Parks.  It is certainly beautiful this time of year but was not horribly crowded.

This was on our way to Clingman's Dome.  Long way to Maine on this trail!  I would love to do even just a part of the Appalachian Trail.  Jack is not quite as enthusiastic. lol!

This was taken in the parking area just below Clingman's Dome.  Any further up and you could not actually see the vistas for all the fog and clouds.  They don't call 'em the Smokies for nothin'!

We got the park ranger to take our picture at Clingman's.  You can see what I mean about the fog.  You couldn't see squat and it was about 45 degrees F. and very windy.  We had a great time though.

Hiking back!  It was still beautiful, even with the clouds.

This was taken on our hike to Laurel Falls.  We saw all kinds of animals but no bears!  I was kinda glad actually.  Bears scare the beejeebees out of me.

And this was at Laurel Falls.  Jack was a little disappointed I think.  He was expecting more water!  There was more actually; he is standing in the middle of the falls, as there was more just behind where I was standing.

Well, we are off again shortly to Florida!  It will, hopefully, be quite the change in environment on this leg of our honeymoon.  We got home just in time yesterday for me to have a dental emergency so I am ready for some rest.  A tooth I had thought was fixed just became unbearable over the past few days and I ended up having it pulled today.  Not the way I wanted to spend part of my honeymoon but, crap happens.  I was just so thankful my dear dentist was willing to see me on Sunday and fix it for me.  Of course, I'm doped up now from the extraction but hopefully it will all get better over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Knot Part 2

We had our rehearsal, instructions and final go all at one time!  I just made it up as we went!

I did NOT expect to start crying during my vows though!  That caught me totally off guard and then Jack kinda started crying and I thought "Oh Nooooo, I can't make him cry!"  It was very obvious in some of the photos we were both about to start bawling. lol!  We got through it though. 

My brother kept it fairly short! ha! He only prayed once.  It was very touching for us though, seriously.  I know it meant a lot of both of us.

Chigger had a great time through the whole thing.  She thought that day was the best EVER, because there were so many people to play with her.  She did real well and didn't jump up on anybody or knock anybody down or anything.

Then there was FOOD!  The cake was just fabulous.  Everybody raved about it.  It was really good.  The top layer was all vanilla and the bottom was chocolate cake with vanilla icing.  YUM.

Me and Betty.  Betty was the personnel director, payroll clerk etc. etc. at my old company for about 4 decades!  She is the sweetest person and I miss getting to see her.  We had some laughs, that's for sure!  I was so happy she made it to the wedding.

The guys finally getting to take a break and eat!  Konstantine is my Russian friend on the right that took the vast majority of these pictures.  They helped out so much.  I must get a gift for him and his wife.

Jack, my husband, finally getting to enjoy his beloved fruitcake!  I ordered one from his favorite bakery in Texas for his groom's cake.  It was really good too.

More eating!  The food was really good.

Me and my brother!

And my whole family!  I'm not sure if Chigger was embarrassed to be seen with us or mad we took pictures without her!

And the bouquet toss!  As you can probably tell, Sveta was a little excited.  She's been single for some time now. lol!  In case you're wondering, my niece goaded her little brother into getting out there too!  We all had fun with it.

Sveta was determined though!

And she got it!

This is Jack's son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, now mine too!  They were the only ones of his family that could make it but Jack's brother and sister came into town tonight so we did get to see them and will be spending the next few days together.  Then off to Florida!!

So, part one of the honeymoon starts tomorrow so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post or even respond to comments.  I'll be back when I can though!