Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Florida Christmas

In sorting through our things, we found our collection of bells. We now use a nice loud cowbell to call everyone to eat. The grandkids especially like bell ringing duty. In good Pavlovian style, I now get hungry as soon as I hear it.
Last year on Christmas eve, we moved into our log cabin so we didn't get to do our traditional Christmas Eve caroling. But this year we surprised the neighbors that we have visited with during the year with our lovely carols and a plate of warm cookies and banana bread.

One family was hosting a "low country boil" (clams, mussels, shrimp, oysters, potatoes, corn on the cob) for their extended family. They run the feed store that we visit every week so we know them quite well. They said they had prepared way too much food so they sent home a large plate filled to the brim. We decided to have it for breakfast. It was delicious. I didn't need the cow bell this time to get me ready for breakfast as I had dreamed about it all night.

Oh, yes, the records say that this was the warmest Christmas day ever for Bunnell! Too bad that I don't have my pool yet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Grandma's Christmas Time

Everyone knows that grandma LOVES Christmas, and especially Christmas decorations. However, with missions, travel, moving and house building, she hasn't been able to get out the Christmas things and do "her thing" since 2009. But not so this year. When we unpacked the shed a couple of months ago, she found all the lights and decorations that she has saved up through the years. This past week she has gone crazy seeing how a log cabin looks when filled with Christmas cheer. Besides lights, ribbons, music boxes, toy Santas, reindeer antlers and garland everywhere, she has put out an extended Christmas village, all our manger scenes that we have collected in the many countries we have lived in, plus our Hungarian hand embroidered table cloths. We are ready for visitors who need a good dose of Christmas cheer.
Merry Christmas!!

The last projects for the year

As of Christmas Eve, we will have been living in our log cabin for one year. Today, I finished up the last project for the year, building the master bedroom closet. Mom now has her long-hoped-for door with a mirror. We also put up bulletin boards around the pantry door for our yearly calendar and table manners directions that Victoria made for us. Now I'm organizing the shed so we can transfer the tools and other building materials out of the house. In January we'll put in the downstairs floors, finish the window trim and the ceilings on the porches. With all of the excitement of everyone coming to enjoy the cabin, we didn't have time to go to the sawmill to get the lumber for these last projects. But the house looks great!!

Scout Master Thompson

This is the fourth time I've been a scoutmaster. However, my last training was in 1981 and according to the local scouting council, they don't keep records back that far so in order for our troop to have a "trained" scoutmaster, I had to take the scoutmaster training again. I was in the Buzzard Patrol and as our patrol flag suggested, food came to be the most important part of our training. We did the usual knot tying, fire building, first aid, and axe sharpening that I had just done with my troop to get them all to be first class scouts (and as of the last court of honor, they are now star scouts), but one of our patrol members in the training program was an executive chef for a chain of gourmet restaurants and he decided that for the same amount of money, we could eat in style rather than have the suggested food. We had Italian sausage, potatoes, eggs for breakfast cooked in a dutch oven, trout imported from Idaho cooked wrapped in parchment paper and stuffed with thin slices of tomatoes, oranges, and various fresh herbs, asparagus cooked over an open fire, toasted gourmet bread, and heavenly apple cobbler topped with whipped cream for the cooking contest dinner (we won by a landslide and I'm getting hungry just thinking about our cooking fun), and eggs, ham, cheese with various herbs on flatbread for our second breakfast. The lunches were boring meals provided by the camp. Cooking our meals was like being on a TV timed cooking contest--someone watching the clock as we mixed, cooked, timed, and tested the dishes. The cooking made the whole experience worth the time. We were also able to prepare our required three meals over an open fire 60 cents under the $13.70 budget per person, including the cost of the charcoal. It helped that our master chef could get everything wholesale through his restaurant.
Next week I am starting my backpacking training. All this should keep a 74 year old young. We may be hiking the Appalachian Trail next summer.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


We've officially put down roots: we have a mailbox in front of our place. We'll see now if the postman notices.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Party time

You know that the Thompsons are famous for their parties at Camp Thompson Ranch, especially with the extended family, Wednesday was Sage's 46th birthday so we put on a wienie roast birthday party with Savannah Thompsons, Wilcoxes, and Hendersons. Hendersons were late and didn't make it until the guests had left and guest of honor Sage missed the party since she was on a movie/dinner date with her husband, but the 15 of us who made it had great food and a great time. We had roasted wieners, shrimp and stuffed mushrooms. Summer discovered a great way to roast marshmallows to perfection for smores 7 at a time. I didn't get a picture of that as it was too dark.
The next day was Thanksgiving with the usual yummy food. The Thompsons and Hendersons started out the feast, with the Wilcoxes joining later for the birthday cake and the 12 pies. Of course, the grandkids zoomed around on the golf cart and played capture the flag, soccer, and other games with the adults. It was an intimate group of 26. Our log cabin passed the party test run with flying colors.
Of course, the grandkids have chores when they come to the ranch. Here they are mowing the grass, the old fashioned way...
and getting ready to check the fence line.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

More shelves

We've spent the month converting the dance floor for Chrissy's and Debbie's weddings to shelves. Here are the latest ones in the mud room, the jungle bedroom and the library above the door.
I also finished the last "access to void by owner" for extra storage with the air conditioning ducts hidden away. The grandkids love them for playing hide and seek. We have two more sheets of dance floor that we'll be using when we convert the workshop in our bedroom into a master walk in closet.
Some say that the house has developed its own personality and interacts with people in unexpected ways.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Driver training Thompson style

We start them young teaching them how to drive at Grandma's grandchildren paradise--even throwing in some flight training.
Of course, there is some parental supervision.
Grandpa's famous sauerkraut roast served on homemade Betsies with lots of different breads is always a favorite with the drivers and fans.
Grandma's is still a favorite place for the grandkids to hang out and have a great time bonding with each other. Grandma has lots of pictures of the two days of Thompson and Wilcox fun but still needs to learn how to get the pictures from her phone to the computer so you can see them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Eating on the Veranda

Now that we have one of the porches cleared off, we've started eating breakfast and lunch on the veranda, Southern plutocrat style, on the patio furniture we inherited from Wendy and Daniel.

Forever Family

On Saturday November 7, Roger Dodger (me) was sealed to his parents Viv and Bob in the Orlando Temple.
The proxies for Bob and Viv were son Rob and wife Caroly.
Here's me Roger Dodger at about the same age as my father Bob in the picture and my son Rob. Can you see any family resemblance?