August 30, 2019 – Up the Mountain with Gabe

From yesterday, Pamela asked why it is called a spit. Well, I dunno. That is just what I’ve always known the landform to be called. I asked Wikipedia and got the definition:

Spit (landform)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigationJump to searchFor other uses, see Spit (disambiguation).

Diagram showing a spit

A spit contrasted with other coastal landforms.

spit or sandspit is a deposition bar or beach landform off coasts or lake shores. It develops in places where re-entrance occurs, such as at a cove’s headlands, by the process of longshore drift by longshore currents. The drift occurs due to waves meeting the beach at an oblique angle, moving sediment down the beach in a zigzag pattern. This is complemented by longshore currents, which further transport sediment through the water alongside the beach. These currents are caused by the same waves that cause the drift.

But, that did not give me the etymology. I could not find the origin of the word on the web. So, my theory is that it is called a spit because it looks like a tongue, which is used to spit. Anybody have a better idea?

Thanks, Pamela. I love to look up stuff like this.

We had a delightful day with Christopher and his good buddy, Gabe. His inlaws gave him and his wife a piece of property on the mountain overlooking Humboldt Bay. Her sibling also has an adjoining lot and have recently built a house on it. Gabe is in the planning stages of building a house on their lot. In the meantime, they have been using the lot for recreation and partying. Christopher wanted us to eat lunch up there and called Gabe to let him know. Gabe decided to join us.

This is the view from the sibling’s back deck. Humboldt Bay, city of Eureka, and the Pacific Ocean. Absolutely stunning.

They have also been gardening. Gabe gave me a complete garden tour. There are so many varieties I did not recognize.

This might be the most artistic vegetable gardens I’ve seen.

Now, this is something I’ve never seen before. It’s a Lemon Cucumber. So named for its appearance, as it tasted like a cucumber, and I did not detect any lemon flavor.

I went home with a box of veggies. Christopher added the Cheetos for a more balanced diet.

Christopher was enjoying the view from Gabe’s lot. It is more south and west than the existing house and has more mountains. I thought I took a picture of that view, but don’t have one.

We went for a ride in the All-terrain-vehicle through the paths they have carved out of the forest. Christopher drove slowly because I threatened him with a spanking if he didn’t.

I baked an apple pie with the apples we picked the other day. I cheated and used a store-bought crust (because I love them better than homemade). It was delicious!!

My sister Barbara told me I had not posted any pictures of Cordelia so I asked them to pose for me in the back yard.

I love this expression on her. It captures her personality. Adorable face and heart.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

We took an excellent senior adventure trip up to Miami with our adventure buddies Martin and Betsy.  Here’s the thing.  I took 465 pictures and I don’t know the names of anything I saw. So I’m just going to post some of my favorite pictures here for you to enjoy.

b Orange and Yellow Flower Dr Seuss
Dr. Seuss Got Inspiration Here

b Water Lily

b Bananas

b Black Butterfly w Blue and White Spots

b Butterflies

b Blue Butterfly Pair

b Butterfly on Martin's Sleeve
Butterfly on Martin’s Sleeve

b Andy Looking for Butterfly on Hat
Andy Looking for Butterfly on His Hat

b Owl Butterfly  b Exoctic Red Flower

This Great White Egret was across a lawn from us, but then decided to come over to our side. It was not the least bit concerned with four humans and walked very close by us while Betsy and I took pictures.

b Great Egret on Grass

b Most Amazing Flower at Fairchild

b Orange and Yellow Orchids

b Small Yellow Orchids

b Orange Flower  b Pink Flowers on Vine

This is a Rainbow Tree.  The bark is stunning.

b Rainbow Tree

Fairchild has exotic tropical plants from all around the world. There are so many strange things to see and marvel over. When we were there at Christmas, most of my attention was on grandsons Owen and Cam.  This time, I enjoyed the plants more.


Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

We planned to meet the kids at the Einstein Bagel shop at 8 a.m. We got there at 7;30 and bought some coffee to drink while we waited outside. The man sitting in the background in this picture was panhandling.  I realized we were in the fancy neighborhood when I listened to him. Every time a person came out of the bagel shop or the Starbucks, he would ask the if they could give him $50.

b02 Panhandler

He moved around to the sidewalk next to the building, very close to us. Many of the customers handed the man money.  Andy noted that a good number of them were $5 bills. After half an hour, Andy figured the man had taken in $50.  That was $100 per hour. Certainly a lot better than minimum wage.

I took pictures of Owen and Cam while Mama and Papa were inside buying breakfast.

b03 Cam and Owen at Bagel Shop
Cam and Owen at Bagel Shop

There were some dark clouds passing by, some of them dumping rain on us. When the sun went away, Cam pulled down his sunglasses and folded both ears down in the process.  He didn’t seem to notice.

b04 Cam's Folded Ear
Cam With Folded Ears

We were walking to the vehicles when Owen noticed the tree growing on top of a building and asked me to take a picture of it.

b05 Tree on Roof
Tree on Roof

Before they came to Coral Gables, the kids went to the Kennedy Space Center.  Owen wore his new space clothes today and told me he is an astronaut in training.

b06 Owen Astronaut in Training
Owen – Astronaut in Training

Then I took a few pictures of him in the palm fronds.

b07 Owen in Palm Frond 1

b08 Owen in Palm Frond 2

The outing today was to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

b09 Flowers

b01 Pink Flowers

We took the guided trolley tour through the park.  The tour guide got out to talk about the Baobob tree and invited the children to get off the trolley to feel the tree.

b10 Boabab Tree

I loved the statue/sculpture of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, author of “River of Grass” and was the force behind getting the Everglades protected rather that filled in and developed.

b11 Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Statue
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas

Cam was struggling to carry an umbrella so Andy held the tip and the strap to help him.  It was funny when Cam got distracted and walked out from under the umbrella as Andy continued carrying it.

b12 Andy, Cam, and Umbrella
Andy, Cam, and Umbrella

b13 Purple Flower

We ate lunch in the cafe overlooking the butterfly enclosure. This is Son-in-Law George’s brother JD.  Cam enjoyed sitting on Uncle JDs lap.

b14 Cam and Uncle JD
Cam and Uncle JD

This tree was in front of the cafe.  It started raining while Owen was posing in front of it and we made a dash to the building overhang to stay dry.

b15 Owen in Front of Tree

This is a Cannonball Tree from the rain forests of Central and South America.  The stem with the cannonballs came right out of the trunk.

b16 Canonball Tree
Canonball Tree

Andy and I decided that we will make another trip to Fairchild and spend a day walking around and taking pictures of the plants.  It is a beautiful place.

We headed back to Marathon from the garden and traffic was horrific heading back into the keys.  It took us almost two more hours to get home than it should have.

December 17, 2015 – A Change of Perspective

Thanks to other bloggers who posted words of encouragement, I tore into the “manuscript” (is that what it is called when it is electronic?). Today, whenever I spotted a typo, an unnecessary sentence, or one that needed to be rewritten, I would say to my self, “I’m making this book better every day”. Suddenly, the job became fun again.

Thank you commenters, for your encouragement! I am NOT going to use the word commentator spellcheck.

Andy bought me a Garmin Vivosmart activity tracker for my birthday to replace the umpteenth pedometer that quit working.  When I’ve been sitting at the computer too long, it buzzes and tells me to MOVE!!!!! So, I get up and take a short walk, or check my garden, or throw a load of laundry in the washer. That keeps me refreshed.

The garden is still growing and doing well.  I made a killer pesto with the basil the yesterday, using Mark Bittman’s recipe from How To Cook Everything.

Basic Pesto

2 loosely packed cups fresh basil, big stems discarded, rinsed, and dried

Salt, to taste

½ to 2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet

½ Cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ Cup freshly grated Parmesan (or other hard cheese)

Combine the basil, salt, garlic, nuts, and about half the oil in a food processor or blender.

Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container occasionally, and adding the rest of the oil gradually.  Add additional oil in you prefer a thinner mixture.  Store in the refrigerator for a week or two or in the freezer for several months.  Stir in the Parmesan by hand just before serving.

For extra special pesto, stir in 2 tablespoons of softened butter just before tossing with lean foods such as pasta.

Of course, I don’t follow the amounts meticulously. I used more pine nuts and more cheese (because I didn’t want to measure it after grating)

I have put a net over the garden to protect it from the iguanas. Something has been eating tomato blossoms, but we are getting a good many.  One little tomato has turned orange, so we’ll be watching it closely.

b Gargen



December 6, 2015 – Snowman in the Keys

Two years ago, we went to Wisconsin in December for my exceptional grandson Cam’s birth. While there, we went to Discovery World Science and Technology Center.  Just inside the door was a snowman made of plastic cups. Here is Daughter Jennifer holding newborn Cam and admiring the snowman.  I was charmed.


Log Plastic Cup Snowman

I vowed to make a snowman for myself, even though I think it is silly to have a snowman in the Florida keys.  We came here to get away from cold and snow, after all. This is the year.  We drove to Key West, to the restaurant food store, and bought some plastic cups.  Then I started stapling them together until I got a cramp in my hand.

I am not a craft person!  My snowman is uneven and crooked.  He tilts forward. Some of the cups stick out uneven with the ones around it. The three sections don’t match up very well. He was pathetic. But after I painted the bottoms of some small cups with Magic Markers to make eyes, nose, and buttons and then put a scarf around his neck.  He looked great!

b Snowman Day

We stuck a rope of lights in the top of his head and this is what he looks like at night.

b Snowman Night

Andy named him Cuppy. He is about 40 inches tall, bigger than I expected him to be.

It has been raining for days and days.  My garden is growing.

b Garden

We have a large crop of tiny green tomatoes. I just hope they make it to harvest.  The iguanas are a problem here.

b Green Tomato

November 8, 2015 – Marathon, FL

We’ve been back in Marathon for a week now and are just about settled into our winter home. Here is Sao snugged into our small RV site in Key RV. It was late afternoon so I took the picture right into the sun.

b Sao in Marathon

I was pleased to see that our neighbor’s trailer had been painted during the summer.  It had been looking a bit shabby.  I love the tropical  colors.

b Neighbor's Trailer

The first morning here, we went to the Home Depot and bought three huge bags of potting soil and plants for my garden.  I like to call it my farm. I got three large tomato plants, in the largest pots, and three cherry tomato plants, in the medium sized pots next to the street, and basil, cilantro, and mint, in the smaller pots in front of Sao.  The square pot is a coconut I planted two years ago.  There are no signs of life yet so I probably need to find another coconut to grow.


b Garden

The ugly orange Home Depot buckets are Andy’s method to keep people from using our small space as a place to turn their cars and trucks around.  I bought some spray paint to turn the buckets tan. And, I planted a plum tomato plant in the one in  the far corner.

The Marathon Yacht Club, where we lived on our boat for five years, added a swimming pool while we were gone. I loved the garden that was in the space before and was not too sure I would like a small pool, but it looks a bit bigger in real life than it did in the drawings we saw last winter. That is the Gulf of Mexico in the background.

b Yacht Club Pool

We did not go swimming that day, but plan to make use of the pool on a regular basis. Andy said he is going to swim while I work on that book.

b Yacht Club w Pool

After a sweaty day of setting up the screen room and patio furniture, we walked to the water front here in Key RV.  This is where we sit a watch the ocean. You’ll see more of that little lighthouse, I take pictures of it just about every time we sit there.

b Key RV Waterfront

I noticed a large iguana in the mangroves on the far side of the canal.

b Iguana in Mangroves

Here is a closer look. I love my zoom!

b Iguana Close Up

Iguanas are cool in a prehistoric kind of way, but it doesn’t take long to get tired of them and learn to dislike them.  They eat the shrubbery.  AND I have already chased one away from my garden.  Didn’t even stop to take a picture of it.

I zoomed in on the coconuts across the canal too. It is interesting to me that they don’t all ripen at the same time like an apple tree.  New clusters emerge on some regular interval.  I have seen a tree with green, yellow, and brown coconut clusters on it. These two clusters were on neighboring trees


b Green Coconuts

b Yellow Coconuts


Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

We finished our business in Key west in the morning and, after lunch, went to the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.  It is on College Road behind the golf course.   The property is an interesting mix of natural-looking forest and garden.

The courtyard is just behind the visitor center entrance to the site.  The far end is raised as a stage – and it has a moat. There are a few strings of lights hung overhead.  It would be a very nice spot for a reception.

f Courtyard

North Side Lake looks pretty shallow, but it has turtles in it. The two ponds on this property are fresh water, which is extremely rare in the keys.

f North Side Lake 2

The Western Loop is natural-looking tropical forest.

f Dirt Path

Desbien’s Pond was shockingly red from tannin in the water.

f Desbien's Pond

My only guess is that it came from the dead seagrape leaves. A long section of the path around the pond was carpeted with them.

f Seagrape Leaf Carpet

Some sections were a paved path.

f Paved Path

Much of the path was a large boardwalk with numerous wide spots for a bench or a gathering. This gnarly-branched gumbo limbo was just before the loop around North Side Lake.

f Gumbo Limbo Branches

There was a large patio across the lake with several musical instruments.  These bells sounded great. There were also two large and artistic xylophones. Note the nice boardwalk behind Andy.

f Bells

This very large terrace is across the lake.  It also has a stage area and lights strung up.

f Lake Terrace

This mermaid sculpture is at the edge of the terrace.

f Mermaid

Here is her view to the right, back to the bridge across the lake.

f North Side Lake

We spotted this huge palm behind the terrace.  Andy, my scale model, posed in front of it for, well, scale.  There was no sign telling what it is. A good breeze was blowing through and those huge fronds/leaves were flapping and the fringe was fluttering.

f Large Leaf Palm

The surprise of the visit was what they called “Cuban Chugs”, boats that Cubans have used to cross the Florida Straits in to get here.  Andy recalls that there were about a dozen of these boats.  Looking at them sure gave us time to think about how desperate those Cubans were to leave Cuba and get here, and how creative they were with what materials they had.

f Boat 2

f Boat 3

f Boat 4

f Boat 5

This one actually looked like a pretty good, seaworthy boat. It has a Florida registration number on it.

f Boat 1

This is a Cuban Petticoat Palm.

f Cuban Petticoat Palm

The tropical forest and botanical garden was well worth the $5 senior entrance fee.