Sunday, May 31, 2020

On Guard Duty

This dove was watching from the roof of my car port. When she saw me watching, she flew to the crape myrtle tree and watched patiently from there, aware I am certain that I was still watching her.

Now she is casually sauntering around the lawn trying to convince me she has no harmful intent.

HA! I know what she is up to. She is not wandering far from my parsley plant.

I had noticed a black swallowtail butterfly visiting the parsley and last week I found the future generation. I covered them with netting but I have to remain vigilant over those wily birds.

My sister opined that I am being cruel to birds by depriving them of a food source. I consider it stewardship of increased food supply for the future.

They are growing fast and quickly demolishing the parsley.

I was kind of starting to think about the trip back to Vermont but now I am torn
over maternal responsibilities.

It may take a while for the process to unfold.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Missing This!

Beaches are open in Florida now. I took a ride on Sunday to see if the beaches might be thronged with people. They weren't so crowded around here, perhaps because rain was predicted.

I stopped my car and snapped a quick picture of this stretch of beach. You can see that the sky was quite cloudy, but just look at the color of the water!

The Gulf is gorgeous starting in March. Unfortunately some are predicting earlier hurricane season because of climate change. We have started having afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Walk, Continued

Plumbago was named after the Latin for lead (plumbum)  because the plant was once used to treat lead poisoning. It's native to southern Africa where some tribes rub a powder of the charred roots into cuts to produce the raised scars for body decoration. I suppose a similar impulse leads others to get tattooed.

These beach plums are pretty but completely inedible. I have seen beach plums in New England but somehow they don't look like these at all. The sign said they were beach plums though.

These are one a several different kinds of date palms.

Baby live oaks, but still providing shade.

FUN FACT: Palms are technically not trees but a herbaceous plant more similar to grasses and sedges. 
Oleander blooms are quite beautiful, but all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Florida panther statue.

Sweet gum tree.
When my step daughter moved to South Carolina her husband told the kids there was a gumbo tree in the backyard. They thought he meant gumball tree and had visions of a lifetime supply of sweet candy treats. The seeds are ball-like in that they are round, but they are also spiky and sharp. No fun for bare feet.

Fish tail palm.


If I remember correctly, this is a Cuban royal palm.
They get quite tall and line the main street of Venice to nice effect.

Friday, May 22, 2020


I felt the need to expand my walks from just making circles around my neighborhood. Parks have reopened in the Arboretum
is one of my favorites. There was a young mother with two young children and myself the only ones about so social distancing was not a problem.

The weather is getting hot so shade was welcome.

Jacaranda trees are starting to bloom. The flowers are pretty up close but the thorns are quite forbidding.

Variegated hibiscus --

the flowers are pretty

but I think the foliage is amazing.

Pony tail palms always make me think of a Dr. Seuss illustration.

Bottle palm. This bottle seems a bit wonky.

Fluffy fox tail palm.

Fragrant jasmine.

These are some kind of lily. They actually grow in  thick clumps but these guys were taking a rest on the ground.

Now I am taking a rest, not because I am tired from my walk but because I am tired of trying to wrestle photos onto the post. I'll save the rest for another time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Bon Appetit

I am always surprised when people assume I don't cook. I always say, "But I like to eat!" Had I been in the habit of eating all my meals out I would have been in a world of hurt for the past couple of months now wouldn't I?

 I inherited a couple of pepper plants when neighbors went back north -- viola!
A chicken, peppers, scallions stir-fry over quinoa.

This was baked mahi-mahi (love-love) with a lemon-butter sauce with fresh herbs from my patio. The cole slaw is the way my grandmother made it -- very lightly wilted vegetable in a warm vinaigrette.

Salmon cakes made a couple of meals. My salads lately have been very simple:

Cooking can take up a nice chunk of my day.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Oh, No!

It is a rumbly, rainy morning here in Florida this morning. The weather report says two day of this. Damn! I will be stuck inside by myself for two days. Whatever will I do with myself?

Seriously. How can these weather people get away with obstructing my right to go out wherever and whenever I want? So unfair.

And my cable box went kaput yesterday. All the remote fixes were to no avail so a tech can come to fix it . . . someday . . . but not  someday soon.

Well, I am out of fabric and I am mostly out of yarn, but I do have other crafty things to do.

I have been making cards. Lots of family and friends with May birthdays!

I have to give most of them away, then I don't have to put them in the trash myself. I get on a roll and make far more cards than I will ever need.

I have been doing some painting practice.

When I get sick of that I tear the paintings into pieces and make a collage.

Isolation fun.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Vegetable Bounty #2

What to do with a lot of summer squash when you cook for one person?

Make a big batch of Summer Squash Au Gratin.

My recipe was similar to the one from Taste of Home magazine that can be found here.

I used half and half because that is what I generally have on hand. Even in non-COVID times I would not run out for heavy cream unless there was some kind of strawberry shortcake emergency.

I used considerably less garlic and I added carrots just because I really like carrots.

I divided it into six smaller containers and froze three of them for future meals. I have had some for three days in a row now and I am not at all sick of it. I add a "salad" of celery and carrot sticks and I am a happy camper.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Vegetable Bounty

I might be the only snowbird left here in my neighborhood.  Five of the six places surrounding me emptied out over the past week.

The HOA reopened the pool but social distancing must be maintained and there is no moving of the lounge chairs all carefully placed six feet apart. In order to access the pool you have to sign a waiver drawn up by the lawyer for the association board because they "care about the safety of the residents." My reading of the form was that they seemed more concerned about not being sued but I'm not a lawyer and I don't even watch them on TV.

The beaches near here are open but the last I heard the parking lots were all still closed. That's one way to control crowds. There are miles and miles of beach but so many people want to park their cars as close to the access as possible and then park their bodies as close to the other end of the access walks as humanly possible.

One of my neighbors left a bag of about six pounds of zucchini and summer squash, two big cucumbers, and a shallot on my car port since she was leaving and had already cleaned her stove and oven. She, her sister, her male-main squeeze friend, her daughter and her son-in-law make up three of the places surrounding me and are all leaving together. Since I knew they were very busy closing houses and packing for the trip, I made them a zucchini and summer squash lasagna. What was I thinking?!? (Probably: HA! Think you're going to stick me with six pounds of zucchini) Dropping off a lasagna to a bunch of Italians -- that was a risk I didn't clearly think out ahead of time.

However, they all thanked me profusely and seemed to have genuinely enjoyed their dinner and claimed to have had not a speck of leftover. I also sent a cucumber salad and some bread. I had some for myself and I thought it was good but I am not much of a carnivore.  I did have some hamburger in the freezer, but I used my fake-news burger that I make from brown lentils, bulgur wheat, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, onions and anchovy paste (my secret ingredient is lots of things I make). No noodles, just the vegetables. I make my tomato sauce with Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes, fire roasted.  The self-appointed Lidia Bastianich of the group, who also claims Mafia connections for her family, said, "I am not sure what you put in that dish but it was really tasty -- not Italian, but really tasty."

I think Italians use lentils, just maybe not in lasagna so much. Anyway, I dodged a bullet!

I still have about three pounds of summer squashes to deal with tough!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

I borrowed Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld on my Kindle. It was described as a modern update of Pride and Prejudice.  It was also available with no waiting, which is something these days.

I am not sure the if Jane Austen were alive today this is the book she would have written, but it's possible. The times have certainly changed. It's not hard for me to believe she would have observed life as presented in the update although many reviewers do not seem to agree.

Reality TV, helicopter parenting, self-absorption, all kinds of other current manifestations of pride and prejudices. I recognized them and I have no reason to think Jane Austen would not have as well.

Rewrites of old favorites require a certain suspension of belief. And let's face it-- these days we have to take amusements where we find them. I found the book light-hearted and amusing.

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Monday, May 4, 2020

Staying Put

I am staying put. This is the time I am usually packing up and thinking about my life in Vermont. But, honestly, at this point I think what difference does it make if I am safely in place in Florida or in Vermont? And the weather has been nice here. I can walk around the neighborhood. I don't really think about going to the beach. The HOA is opening the park pool, but they are requiring a signed waiver  on legal advice.

When I get back to Vermont I will be facing plumbing decisions and quite frankly I am thinking about selling the condo. I'm not in a hurry to deal with all that.

I miss my family though!