Sunday, February 27, 2011

The weeks are flying by...

 My brother, Jim, was here this past week. I love the opportunity to connect with my siblings. Paul and I were able to help him do some painting in their Florida home. Note: paint does not dry very quickly down here in this humid climate. We also had opportunities for fun during his visit, including sunset at the beach.

While we waited for the sunset, we enjoyed the sights.

However, I may consider bringing my passport with me the next time I go to the beach! Three of these patrolled while we sat obediently in our lawn chairs.

Another beautiful ending to a sunny day.

Beth, Gary, Jim, Mary, Paul and I also spent a couple of hours kayaking on Little Sarasota Bay.

We even had a view of Stephen King's home.

Happy times! We are discussing going out again when Dave and Rosie visit.

 Paul and I swing through the seafood market several times weekly to see what is available.

One night, we had stuffed clams.

And also a meal of grouper cheeks! I kept slipping and called them gopher cheeks, much to my own disgust!

They were tasty! We do love our seafood!

The weather has been so wonderful. We sit out each evening and enjoy the breeze.

We really do live mostly outdoors, just like our plants. Flowers grow so well here.

A little water, a sunny spot and they are happy, just like us.

Meanwhile, Nick, who started a new job this week, takes care of our house in our absence. Thanks, Nick! Hang in there.

I do miss being home. But, I do love it here.

I'll talk to you soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Paul and Barb's New Discovery

"What do you want to have for dinner tonight?" 
"Let's check out that seafood market on Tamiami Trail."
"Great idea, Paul!"

That discussion brought us yesterday afternoon to the South Venice Seafood Market. How could it be we had yet to visit this establishment? We learned they have been open less than a year and so last winter when we were here, they did not exist. 

I hope they are successful as they have great fresh fish and seafood. They told us they sometimes get freshly caught fish delivered twice a day. You can buy cooked takeout, too. Yesterday was blue crab day.

We chose a nice serving of Triple Tail to take home and grill. I always want to know what I'm eating, so here's a picture.

One can understand why it received its name.

We brushed a little olive oil on the fillet and seasoned it with a little Florida Seasoned Pepper from Penzey's before we placed it on the grill.

And, we had a glass of wine while we prepared a pineapple/mango salsa to accompany the fish.

I must admit, it was EXTREMELY excellent.

With this seafood market and a fruit and vegetable stand between us and the beach, I see the beginning of a trend. Maybe Paul will stop requesting steak so often! Talk to you soon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

You're Never Too Old For A Field Trip!

Paul and I took ourselves on a field trip this week.  We could not begin to count the number of field trips we have supervised in our lives. We still remark how nice it is to no longer have to collect permission slips and bus fees! Our destination was Historic Spanish Point, along the Gulf in nearby Osprey. The 30 acre site has been preserved to give a perspective of prehistoric life in the area as well as pioneer settlements and early 20th century life.

We set our own "curriculum" and gave ourselves a self-directed tour. We were interested in the restored and preserved buildings.

And the replicas of the boats used by the pioneers who first settled here.

However, none of the pamphlets mentioned the huge euphorbias we saw growing up through the trees.

And, I don't think the tour guide would have said, "Hey, let's run over here and look at that tree's incredibly strange growth habit !"

And, we stood and watched this little guy until he grew tired of us.

Look at these philadendron! I think there are dinosaurs in here!

After another day of cracking each other up with our clever remarks, we head back to our little "cabin on wheels" to cook some good food. Grilled vegetables keep finding their way to our plates.

We even stuff our chicken breasts with the left overs! Yum!

The weather lately has been too beautiful. Most days we "just" go to Caspersen Beach.

Paul is impatiently waiting for me to be done so we can get back out there. Have I said today I'm glad I'm retired? I'll talk to you soon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Family, Flowers and Fruit

We watched the Super Bowl with Mary last Sunday.

In fact, we watched the first half while we swam in the pool. I've been in a Super Bowl pool before, but I've never been in the pool during the Super Bowl.

Earlier that day, we went to the Venice Orchid Show.

If we lived here, our yard would be a jungle.

There are so many to see.

We love the different colors

and shapes

and varieties.

We also admire the different sizes, both small

and large

and the abundant flowers possible on one plant.

We are learning what it takes to be judged a champion, both in an individual plant

and in a general display.

 A few little varieties found their way back to the camper.

A desert rose joined our world as well.

We also added a fruit and vegetable basket to our "Florida" room. I ordered it from Amazon. My goal is to eat an orange every day while we are down here. It's that whole, "when in Rome" thing, I guess.

Can you see the orchid planter Paul made from the base of a palm frond? Perhaps he has found his cottage industry. Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Settled In

Life is back to normal for us. We arrived in Venice earlier than planned to be able to see Jim while he was here during his vacation. Then, Nick and Ellen arrived and also Al. For the past three weeks, it was like "Disney World For Adults" for Paul and me as we kept a much busier than usual social calendar. We were tired from having so much fun! Such a deal.

We moved on Saturday from Oscar Scherer State Park to Camp Venice Retreat, where we will stay for the months of February and March. We are in the same spot we were last winter, so we picked up a few plants 

to enjoy in what we call our "Florida Room,"

which is just our extended awning with an added sunscreen. We sit out here every morning and evening. Paul usually smokes a cigar at night after dinner. We visit with people as they walk their dogs.

Our days are definitely quieter. Maybe I'll start working on my recipe collection again.

Off to the beach! I'll talk to you soon.