Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cockfighting Florida Style

You might remember that we bought a handful of chicks so we could have fresh eggs for breakfast. However, they all turned out to be roosters.
So why not select two to train to be cock fighters to earn some cash for the farm?

Here they are in their first fight:

Do you think we're going to make any money?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Scalping or Scalloping?

When we suggested to the scouts that we go scalloping, some, being wild and crazy as they can sometimes be, thought we meant wild west scalping. They soon found out what we really meant. Here we are at Crystal River on the Gulf a Mexico getting ready for our adventure and heading out to sea.


My official job was to be the spotter and constantly count heads bobbing in the water to make sure that no one disappeared at the bottom of the sea even though the water was only 4 feet deep.



We had a great time and got better at finding scallops as the day wore on. Our limit was 2 five gallon buckets. We got only got about 1 gallon--not bad for beginners.

Afterwards we swam in Three Sisters Springs to get the salt water off then headed home to clean the scallops and share them with our families.

They were delicious cooked with butter and sprinkled with lemon, This is what scallop shells look like.
The Florida season for scalloping is July and August strictly off the coast near Crystal River. We went on a Thursday and there were lots of other scallopers all around us.

Don't Fence Me In!

That was grandma's reaction to my latest project--putting up that last two fences that I've wanted to put up for three years. She's an open range type of person. But now we can control where the cows and horses are in our fields. That keeps the grandkids and animals separated when it comes time to safely do some hiking, biking and perhaps camping in the fields, especially when we have bulls.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mermaids and mermen?

The ancient mariners are rumored to have thought that the manatees they saw in Florida looked like mermaids and mermen. When last January we went manatee hunting, we were so excited to see so many that we forgot to take a closer look to check the rumor out.


This last week we saw some more and decided to take a closer look this time. Were the ancient mariners right?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gone fishing!

This month's adventure was to go fishing with 10 of our grandchildren under the age of 8 in the northwoods of Minnesota. Be sure to click on the pictures for a closer look so you can check if you recognize everyone. Aren't we a great looking bunch of adventurers?

They say the fish get pretty big up here
so we asked some pretty big friends we met for advice as to the best places to fish.






They warned us about the bears


but suggested we scout out the headwaters of the Mississippi



and Lake Superior at Duluth.





But we found the best fishing and the most fun at Lake Thirty One.



Of course you had to dress right so as not to scare off the fish!!
We caught lots of Northern Pike for a delicious fish fry. Here you can see the fish about ready for us to eat. The large aluminum foil covered things on the stove top are just three more of the Pikes ready for us to eat. On the center block are another whole Pike and another Pike cut up into fish bites dipped in batter,  fried and ready for hungry fishers to dip in various sauces. Of course, as you can see, we had a nice pot of grits to keep all the Florida born happy. There were no leftovers.

The fishing expedition with the grandkids was a joyful success. The grandparents, the parents and the children all had a great time.

But of course, in my mind the best part was early morning swims to get my blood circulating for the day while everyone else was sleeping, group swims across the lake and back, and every evening perfecting my Finnish sauna techniques.




Monday, June 18, 2018

This little pig went to market

Miss Piggy, a wild pig, has been enjoying the company of our horses and cows for some time now. She is about the size of Choco, our miniature horse and often trots around the fields with the other animals. She usually joins the horses and cows when Caroly feeds them in the morning, gobbling up the food they spill.

But about three months ago she started tearing up our lawn as though she thought that she knew a better location for our garden. She even rooted out our blueberry bushes. So we called out the Pig Busters to capture her and move her to a more suitable location several miles away. Now we can keep the garden where it is and have a smoother ride when we ride the lawn mower,





It turns out that Miss Piggy was actually Mr. Pig

No new fences yet!

My project of putting up some new fences keeps getting pushed back with all the rain we've been having and with fun trips to visit grandkids. I had to accomplish something visible this month so I landscaped around the gazebo, the favorite gathering place for everyone who visits.
BEFORE:





AFTER:




In about a month or two , the bottle brush bushes around the gazebo and the bird of paradise on either side the entryway should be 4 or5 foot tall and the bamboo in the back should reach the roof line. It should be a visual delight from both the cabin and from inside the gazebo while swinging in the hammocks!

Lost a Spoon?

Did anyone lose a spoon when they last visited us? How would you like a spoonbill as a replacement? Here are two that have been spending the week in our fields with the cows and horses. I think they have been feeding on all the frogs that have come with the inch or two of rain we've had most every day for the last couple of weeks, as you can see from the pond.
Isn't Florida filled with wonderful sights?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Important Family Business

If you know us, you know that nothing can get us to drop our projects faster than to receive a picture like this announcing granddaughter 20 and grandchild 38.
So we jumped in the car and spent a month celebrating birthdays, blessings, baptisms, missionary home comings, acting debuts and doing pioneer family history research.

After passing through a snow storm in the Rockies, we celebrated our oldest daughter's 50 birthday in Colorado. Can you tell what kind of food she decided was her favorite? We rode in their fancy electric car to soak in the steamy spring water that Steamboat is famous for. We forgot our camera so you'll just have to imagine how good it felt.

 The grandkids in Colorado are all the same height or taller than grandma, much to her dismay. She says she is probably just shrinking!!

Grandma gave all the granddaughters on our trip collector dolls and everywhere we stopped we helped them with their chores.






Next stop was the southeast corner of Idaho, stopping  in Lallatin country for a sip of delicious bubbly Soda Springs Hooper Water (well, we think it's delicious) before a mini Powell reunion with Caroly's brothers and sisters near Preston.



Then  it was off to Utah for bonding with and blessing granddaughter 20. You'll notice that the men in the family are practicing up on how to entertain her.





Then it was off in a surprise snow storm to Salt Lake City to be guided by Aunt Gwen, the official Moffat/ McLean/ Lallatin family history expert to show us how the Moffats and McLeans entered the valley in the 1850's and 60's, how Janet Moffat and John McLean met each other and where they lived in Salt Lake both before and after they were assigned by Brigham Young to settle Meadowville in the Bear Lake valley east of  Logan. We found their gravestones in the Salt Lake Cemetery.






The next stop was Minnesota for a birthday and baptism. The birthday, baptism boy is an avid golfer so his Minnesota grandmother made him a birthday cake that included a golf course with miniature golfers, sand traps, greens, roughs, and everything.


We rushed to Florida to welcome home our first missionary, who finished her service in the New York City Mandarin Mission.  You may have been following her blog. Grandma made her a special Candy Gram to welcome her.



As soon as we had welcomed her home, we jumped back in the car and sped off to Missouri for another baptism and an acting debut. First the baptism...


 then the acting debut of his sister--she was the "first policeman" in a south seas version of Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors. " Her brothers were so excited watching the play they thought they'd try out their acting skills...



that is if it doesn't interfere with their rabbit business!

Oh, yes. One more grandchild is taller than grandma!


We brought some family treasures home:
1. A chest of drawers that belonged some 100 years ago to my great grandparents Schnell that my mother painstakingly refinished to change its Pennsylvania Dutch painted designs to a more modern American look. It fits perfectly under its matching mirror in the family history guest bedroom next to copies of the pictures that my grandmother, 18 year old Agnes McLean, painted of her childhood home near Bear Lake not long after the McLeans moved back to Salt Lake from Meadowville..

2, The violin or fiddle that my great grandfather John McLean played at church dances and other social events back in pioneer times in the late 1800's. Once I get it refurbished, I have several violinist descendants who will love to bring it back to life in his memory.

3. The Minnesota branch of the family loves playing hockey in their backyard. The tarp they use to hold the water for the ice developed some tears from the ice skates so we inherited it for use in Florida as a covering for our wood and machinery until we get around to building another shed.

Of course the best surprises were the giant vegetables in our garden since we weren't home to harvest them for a month. Here is a sample zucchini squash and some giant radishes that look more like turnips. In fact, we sliced, boiled and mashed them and ate them like turnips---delicious!!
Now we'll get back to our projects.