June 24, 2019 – Prince Frederick, MD – Crabs

Sister Barbara signed us up for a painting party/class. I had no idea what to expect.

The event was held in a very large garage behind an even larger house that already had a three-car garage. There were about thirty women in attendance. First, we chatted and nibbled on the spread of food laid out in the garage kitchen.

The instructor had already painted a version of our artwork. I was concerned that I would never be able to draw a crab. I didn’t need to. She provided us with a line drawing on a sheet of paper and a sheet of carbon paper.

We painted the background boards first. I was pleased with how mine turned out. A little dab of two or three colors on the brush and, voila!, wood grain. I drew the lines between the boards with a fat Magic Marker and a ruler.

Next, we traced the crab onto the dried background, nibbling more snacks while the paint dried. We also walked around to check out everyone else’s work. All that was left was to paint the crab. For those who don’t know, that is part of the Maryland state flag on the crab’s shell. That crab/flag has become the defacto state logo. It is on everything these days. (I got the t-shirt.)

It was tedious work. The instructor had provided us with a Papa brush, a Mama brush, and a baby brush. The baby brush was too big for parts of the task, and our flags were messy. Most of us did not have our paintings finished at the end of the party. So, I went out the next morning and bought a set of small brushes in the toy aisle of the drug store. Barbara and I painted our masterpieces for the next two days. Brother-in-Love Tom took our pictures when we were satisfied that the paintings were done.

Since we are now artists, I suggested that we paint some rocks. Barbara went outside and found a few for us to paint, and we got to work. I didn’t take pictures of those before burying mine in the RV. Barbara’s rock was not done. Later.

Advertisements

Trip to Marathon, Florida

We have been so overwhelmed with medical appointments and issues for the past six months that we have not had time for a trip to the keys for a look around. We’ve been here for about a week now and will head back north on Wednesday. This is not the time of year to visit the Florida keys. It has been hot. Even though it seems bearable with a nice breeze, I can feel the sun burning my skin.

I was craving seafood and had to go to Sparky’s for fish tacos the first day. Another day, we ate Hogfish sandwiches at Keys Fisheries. Today we ate with Jim and Bettye Chaplin at Burdines. Tomorrow, our last day, we are going back to Keys Fisheries for more hogfish. My stomach leads the way.

We have stayed inside (in the air conditioning) in the heat of the day, and I have caught up with my Florida Keys Concert Association ticket sales records.

I do have a few pictures to share.

Our RV lot looks kinda bare with the small RV and no car, screen room or patio furniture. Hurricane Irma stripped a lot of the mangroves bare of leaves. We still have some behind our site, but it is not the lush jungle it was before Irma blew through.

This is how the mangroves look behind the lots between ours and the ocean.

I was dismayed to see this “castle house” under construction down the street. I should have taken a picture of the other side. It has a large bas relief shield with dragons on it. Fanciful maybe, but not fitting with the island vibe at all. I made some snarky remarks about it to Andy the first day.

We took a drive through our favorite picnic lunch spot, Oceanfront Park, behind City Hall. It was damaged beyond use and the picnic pavilions on the water’s edge have a plywood barricade in front of them. We have been going down to the waterfront in our RV park to sit and watch the ocean.

This iguana was on the rocks across the canal from us.

Iguana

One day, there were seven or eight crabs on the rocks below where we were sitting. They are super skittish so I was lucky to get any pictures of them.

Crabs

I just love those bright red legs!

Crab
Black Mangrove Blossoms

The Black Mangroves behind our pad are in full bloom, but you have to look closely to notice. The blossoms are tiny.

Another day, it started raining on us as we walked to the waterfront. We turned back, but the rain came harder. We took shelter under the castle house under construction. As we waited for the shower to pass, Andy said I can’t complain about the castle house anymore.

The photo does not show it, but it was raining hard at that moment.

Walk on Bahia Honda Beach

Low tide was at 0925 today so we took a morning walk on the beach at Bahia Honda State Park. This was my first beach walk since the spider bite.  There were only a few scattered souls on the beach when we got there.

f Andy Walking Onto Beach

We followed a little flock of birds up the beach for a while before they decided to fly.

f Birds Walking Ahead of Us

This cloud moved in front of the sun.  There might have been a little rain falling from the right edge of it.

f Cloud

We went as far north/east as we could and turned around.  Here Andy is brushing the sand off a shell he found.

f Andy Found a Shell

I always take a picture of these palm trees leaning over the beach.

f Palm Tree on Beach

There were dozens and dozens of little crab holes along the beach.  Some times we would see one skittering into the hole up ahead of us.  Three times, though, the crab sat still and posed for me. The first one had brown eyes.

f Crab with Brown Eyes

The second one was brown with black eyes.

f Brown Crab

f Crab with Dark Eyes

This little flock of birds stood by the water as we passed.

f Birds on Shore

We came across a shoe sole with barnacles on it.  Andy said there was a guy buried upside down in the sand.

f Shoe Sole with Barnacles

There were still only a few people when we walked back past the parking area. We practically had the place to ourselves.

f Empty Beach

Another brave crab was standing its ground down at the southern/western end of the beach. That one was yellow and white with brown eyes.

f White and Yellow Crab

f White and Yellow Crab Front

After I took the two pictures, the crab skittered a couple yards and disappeared into its hole. This pelican was sitting by itself on a sandbar  in the cove at the south/west end of the beach.

f Pelican on Sandbar

A lot of sand has been washed out at that end of the beach. We turned around and headed back into a great breeze. In fact, there was so much wind today that we actually had a little bit of surf. I mean waves you can hear break.

f Grass Sand Water

This beach always has sponges washed ashore scattered on it. This one looked nice with the sun shining through it. It is common to see someone, usually a woman, carrying one to take home.  I have considered it on occasion, but always decide that they are too sandy and I could buy a clean one in Key West. I haven’t done that either. These are as big as a person’s head.

f Sun Through Sponge

At one spot, people have been turning them into heads and lining them up along the grass. This is half of them and there are more than twenty in this picture.

f Long Row of Sponge Heads

Here is a closer look.

f Row of Sponge Heads

And here are two that I especially liked.  I think this one is a deer

f Sponge Deer

and I just call this one “hair do”.

f Sponge Hair

This beach is usually almost pristine.  However, trash does drift in from the sea.  Today, there were plastic bottles, shoe soles and this earphone with barnacles on it. I’m sure the park employees or volunteers will be out there today picking it up.

f Earphone with Barnacles

A good number of beachgoers had arrived when we got back to the parking lot.  Two fathers were giving their kids rides on paddle boards.  It was right into the sun so I got a silhouette.

f Dad w Two Children on Board

Sombrero Beach

The television weather report tonight confirmed my hypothesis of a few days ago: Winter is Over. The forecast is in the low 80s for the next week.

Last summer I got the great idea to scan all the recipes I have collected over the years.  You know, all those torn out of newspapers and out of the magazines in doctor’s offices.  And the handwritten recipe cards from friends and family.  And the cookie recipe on the bag of sugar. I dragged all of those out of the storage unit and took them with us in the motorhome. They filled a large box and three fat three-ring binders.  And, I’ve been falling over them ever since.  The scanner is way too slow. So today I decided to take photographs instead.  Today I took 347 pictures of recipes.

We got veggie wraps at Publix and took them to Sombrero Beach. It was very crowded and we were lucky to find a parking place. Then we were lucky to find a picnic table. A large iguana walked past us and into the tall grass on the beach side of the fence.  Then a young, bright green one came out of the tall grass to munch on the lawn. I made kissing sounds to get him to look at me.

Iguana

This very large tree is near the street.  I think it is a mahogany, maybe.

That looks like a Strangler Fig covering the trunk.  If so, it will kill the host eventually.  I’ll have to do some more research and a closer inspection the next time we go there.

There are many of these little crabs along the canal into the RV park.  I suppose they are all over the islands.  We regularly see this little one in the same spot at the entrance to the canal.

Crab

This yellow Hibiscus is in front of a trailer down the street from us. The pistil must be three or four inches long.  I didn’t remember that word; I Googled it. The pistil is a female part. I didn’t remember that either.

Hibiscus