“There’s a box turtle in our backyard!” AdventureMan exclaimed, coming in after making his early morning rounds to make sure all was well in the garden, and to bring us up to date on any new developments. I was eating breakfast with our house guests, getting ready to leave for water aerobics class. (If you come to visit, you get to come to water aerobics too!)
The two guys went back out to consider the box turtle, but the box turtle had disappeared. Of course we kidded AdventureMan.
“Are you SURE you saw a turtle? How would it get in to the backyard?”
He was mystified, but certain he had seen a box turtle. They searched all the spots they could think of, but could not find any turtle.
This morning, I was up early feeding the Qatari Cat when I saw a movement in the yard, and there he was, the box turtle.
AdventureMan was still sleeping; so I ran and got my camera and took some photos. I think he was aware of me, but couldn’t figure out where I was (I was inside, he was outside). When he got up, AdventureMan was delighted to have his observation verified, and hurried outside to see if he could spot him. Nope! Turtle back in hiding.
We’ve had three sets of houseguests in a very short time span, and today is our first day of ‘normal.’ We saw our friends off at 0430 (we used to call it oh-dark-hundred) and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so by the grace of God (and I mean that literally) I got up and walked.
I know I need to walk. I’ve always walked. I used to run, but I suffered for it – the knees – and decided I didn’t want to pay that price. But when my sister was here, we decided to take a walk and I said “don’t worry, I walk fast” and she said “I don’t, I am so slow now, my body has to warm up.” Confidently I started – and starting is uphill from my house. Very shortly, I discovered my fast was her slow, and I was HUFFING and puffing, and so embarrassed because I guess it’s been a while since I did this walk . . . but we did it. It felt good. And I was happy for a nice cool morning so I could do it again.
I ran into a neighbor, ignored that she was in her nightgown, we both pretended she was as fully dressed as I, had a brief conversation and she went inside with her newspaper and I carried on. About halfway through my walk, as I puffed along, I heard it.
The baboon coughed.
I could even smell a faint drift of wood burning fire. I could hear the doves. But it was only very briefly, very intangential, and I quickly realized it must have been a dog barking distantly; I could still hear him. For one brief moment I was back in Zambia, and while I love the magic of Zambia, I would not be out for a mile long hike early in the morning while the lions prowl for a last meal before they settle down for their day-long snooze.
We are off this morning to a grand plant sale across the bay in Milton. Symphony tonight. Back to “normal” for Pensacola.
We did this same cruise with the same house guests two years ago, and . . . we never get tired of it. We don’t do it that often, and it is always fresh and relaxing.
We booked with Olin Marler Charters out of Destin. Fortuitously, we had a Groupon. It was so easy, buy the tickets online, call for a reservation, be at the dock at 5 p.m. for boarding.
Yes, it can be a crowd. Yes, you always have to know where you want to be and head directly there so you will have a good view, although people do wander. Yes, you have to hope that people who take young children aboard will be responsible and watch them like hawks. Other than that, these cruises are fun and easy.
There are other cruises. The others that we saw were all very crowded, people packed like sardines on little barge-like boats. We like a boat with a couple levels and lots of places where you can take photographs without having to crawl over anyone – or having people crawl over us! – to get a photo. This is our second time with Olin Marler, and I expect it will not be our last – it’s just so much fun.
We saw lots of dolphins. Dolphins are not so easy to photograph as they surface and dive, oh aaargh. If you want to see dolphins from our last trip, click on the blue hypertext in the first paragraph.
Also lots of seagulls and lots of sunset Great times with special old friends from Germany, our sons have been best of friends for years, too.
This is the boat they took us out on, the yellow one:
When the sun actually sets, it gets cold quickly. We had a very warm day, maybe 80 degrees F. and it dropped almost immediately by 30 degrees. Fortunately, we knew this happens and came prepared this time
Great way to end a day, followed by dinner with the same good friends.
I took a wonderful photo at Easter, wonderful because I have the same exact photo at the same exact age of my son, holding up his Easter Egg exactly (or, oh pardon me, I can’t resist, eggsactly) the same way. There are just some little things that make a Grandmama’s (and Mama’s) heart sing
Because AdventureMan has worked so hard with him, little Q has been moved up to a more advanced class, and we are all excited about that. I know there are some who prefer to be the BEST in their group, but we always learn and achieve more when surrounded by people a little more accomplished and skilled than we are. We are happy he will be pushing himself to be a really GOOD swimmer!
When we pick Q up at school, all his little school friends say “Q – your BaBa is here!” LOL @ all these little kids speaking Arabic!
Yesterday when I got home from a day-long seminar on Heirloom Feathers (a follow up to another one earlier in the week on making quilts from Heirloom linens), with Cindy Needham, well-known expert and instructor, (that’s Cindy giving us an extra demo during lunch on how to do beading embellishments while on an airplane)
I found a huge bouquet of flowers from my sister and her husband, who had been house guests this week. It’s one of those gorgeous days we have a few of in Spring, warm and sunny, not too hot, and oh, this bouquet looks like Spring. Arriving home and finding this gorgeous bouquet just made my heart laugh. Can you see the Easter Bunny? We had time to walk and talk, to laugh and share stories, and we were able to take them to Five Sisters. We hope they come back soon
We’ve had a busy week. AdventureMan is getting ready for the big Expo and garden sale in May, we expect our next set of house guests tomorrow morning, and meanwhile, we have our normal daily busy lives to follow. Tonight we meet up with friends we love, people who spend their lives doing good for others, and with whom we always have great conversations, and tomorrow, early, we pick up the house guests, get them settled in, and share an Easter banquet with them, and with our son, his wife, our sweet little grandson and her mother and her husband.
I found a wonderful new Spring salad recipe to share with you Very easy, very good:
Spring Asparagus Salad
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1. Whisk together the rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and mustard. Drizzle in the peanut oil and sesame oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify. Set aside.
2. Bring a pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus to the water and cook 3 to 5 minutes until just tender, but still mostly firm. Remove and rinse under cold water to stop from cooking any further.
3. Place the asparagus in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over the asparagus. Toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.
Tomorrow is our happiest of holidays, the day that sin and death are defeated and HOPE for all mankind is welcomed joyfully into the world. Happy Easter, my friends.
“That’s my very first gator!” our friend said, watching the reptile sun himself on the side of the big pond in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. We had taken the very short hike out to see the gators and the turtles, and any birds who might be migrating through this gorgeous February day between storms.
(That’s not a stick; it’s a turtle head sticking out of the water )
We had a great day for a drive and a ferry boat ride. The car ferry only handles maybe thirty cars max on the trip across Pelican Bay from Dauphin Island to Gulf Shores. It cuts off a long long trip back into Mobile and around the huge Mobile Bay, and takes us along the beach back into Pensacola.
February is a great time of the year to walk these areas and to take a day trip. We had a wonderful day, mild temperatures and calm waters – altogether a great adventure, counting in our unforgettable stop at Smokey Dembo’s Smokehouse en route along Douphin Island Parkway.
We had endured water aerobics, quickly dressed and hung up our swim clothes, and driven to Mobile en route to Dauphin Island with our visiting friends from Norfolk, old travel buddies and long time friends from Germany. As we left I-10. heading south toward the Island, we are starving, and all we see are McDonalds, Arby’s, fried chicken and Asian buffets.
“No! No!” we wail, and hold out for something better.
As soon as we saw it, we all knew. This was IT:
Look at that cow’s head! You take one look, and you know this place is going to be an original. Little did we know . . .
As we drove into the parking, we asked some people leaving how the food was. “Excellent! The best!” they said, and other people leaving chimed in saying “You won’t be sorry.”
As we walked in, we were greeted by “Smokey” Dembo himself, who said “I saw you taking photos outside, don’t you want a photo with me in it?”
Yes! Yes! I do! I do!
Smokey, as it turns out, is our kind of guy. Former military, from this small little town outside of Mobile, his dream was to own a place just like this, with his father, who taught him how to grill. One day, shortly after he retired, he was driving his daughter to soccer practice and he saw a for sale sign on this building, and on his way back, stopped – and made a deal. That was 11 years ago, and he’s never looked back. This is a happy man, living his dream.
He spends Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday marinating and preparing his meats. He is only open Thursday, Friday, Saturday (maybe Sunday, I can’t remember. Or maybe not; Sunday may be for church. Actually, you’d better call, because I might have gotten it all wrong. I KNOW he is open on Fridays and Saturdays, and I know he serves breakfast on Thursdays and Fridays, but the rest is foggy . . . . )
The aromas of BBQ are killing us; we have to order right away:
As we are waiting for the food, we continue to talk with Smokey and to learn about his restaurant. He has a wonderful wall, a tribute to his family and his family history:
I apologize. We were starving. When the food arrived, we totally forgot to take any photos at all, not a single photo of the boneless BBQ pork, nor of the potato salad nor of the cole slaw, nor of the baked beans. Although we are a very talky bunch, when the food came, we ate in awed silence. It was so GOOOOOOOD.
We cannot wait to see Smokey again. This is some fine BBQ.