Sunday, January 30, 2011

"The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friends"..

Remember that episode of Seinfeld?

We laughed about that quote from George "The Marine Biologist" Costanza as we headed out on Friday morning for a day of fishing on the Gulf of Mexico.

My brother, Al, spent the past ten days in Venice. One of his goals for his vacation was to go deep sea fishing.

Because we had a few challenges making the arrangements,  I like to believe serendipity led the three of us down to

Fort Myers Beach to Captain Lewis, skipper of the

Not that we are superstitious or anything, but the Mac-Attack also happens to be the name of Al's fantasy football team and dart team.  We also took it as a good omen the boat had a fellow Scotsman, Lewis MacDonald, at the helm. Our premonitions were correct, because it could not have been a better day!

The seas were not angry, fortunately. We enjoyed the beautiful view as we left the marina and had time to find our "sea legs" as we were two hours and twenty two miles away from land before we dropped anchor.

I have been known to exaggerate a little, but this time I am telling the exact truth. Paul was the first person to drop a line into the water. Within 15 seconds-honestly, that quickly- he caught this huge gag grouper and brought it up into the boat. Al and I had yet to put fishing rods in our hands. This is one happy person!

That variety of grouper has to be released, so back into the ocean it went.

For the next three and a half hours, the three of us pulled in one fish after another. We were so involved in the moment,  Al and I both lost count of the number of fish we caught. Paul knows he brought in at least thirty two. Unbelievable. Paul and Al caught these red groupers simultaneously.

I caught this hogfish.

We learned they are considered to be an excellent tasting fish, so it was a good thing.

Before we knew it, the time was up and we headed back to land.

We had a cooler full of red grouper, red snapper, grunt fish and the hogfish.

We caused a bit of commotion on the dock with our catch. Captain Lewis cleaned the fish right there for us while we waited.

We took our catch back to Venice, cooked up a wonderful dinner and placed several more meals in the freezer! Here is a picture of one happy chef!

Thanks for making this day happen, Al.  It was too good to be true.

It was great spending time together! We'll miss you!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good times! Nick and Ellen come to Venice!!!

Nick and Ellen escaped Minnesota for a few days to come to Venice for a visit.

We took them out to Caspersen Beach

on their very first evening to enjoy the sunset.

They stayed with us that first night at Oscar Scherer. Nick practiced his golf swing in our camp site

to warm up for his first round at Lake Venice Golf Club. Nick discovered there are new challenges when golfing in Florida.

Beth and Gary joined Paul and Nick for the round while Ellen and I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the beach.

After golf, what else? Another sunset view

from Sharky's, a "must see" when visiting Venice.

And, of course, there was great times with the family, including a feast of bratwursts from Geier's Sausage Kitchen enjoyed at Jim's and Mary's.

Nick and Paul enjoyed a round of golf at beautiful Pelican Pointe with Kent and Al while the ladies explored some of the finer shopping spots around town.

We gathered that evening at Kent's and Margie's. Four of the siblings were together.

I guess one could say we had fun.

Nick and Paul were up very early the next morning for one more round of golf with Kent and Al and a few of their feathered friends.

And then, all too soon, Nick and Ellen were gone. It was very difficult for me to say good bye.

We are so thankful they were able to come to visit us. And, we are thankful for our family who welcomed them so graciously into their homes. I'll talk to you soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Warning!!! Sorry, dear family and friends up north.

Already, our first week in Florida is behind us.

Caspersen Beach was waiting patiently for our return.

We arrived here earlier than scheduled because we wanted a chance to spend some time with my brother, Jim, and sister-in-law, Mary, before Jim had to return to reality. They own a beautiful home here in Venice. Mary gets to stay here and work from their home and Jim has to return to the frozen tundra. Too bad it's such an impossible daily commute!

The four of us went exploring one day this week and actually found the (supposedly) authentic "Fountain of Youth," located a short drive south of Venice. No offense to the nice people who run that place, but I would have to be extremely, extremely desperate before I would dip one toe into that festering pot of bacteria!!!

Our main goal for our exploration that day was to scope out Miss Cindy's Placida Fish Market.  We bought some Stone Crab, a few shrimp, a couple of pieces of grouper and red snapper and headed back to Jim and Mary's. We grilled some peppers, made a fruit salad and enjoyed the best meal of seafood I have probably ever eaten in my life.

The Tundra will be burning some gas in the direction of Miss Cindy's again soon!

We moved the cabin on wheels to Oscar Scherer State Park yesterday and will stay here for two weeks. We love this campground and the privacy it provides. I won't mention the no-see-ums.

Brother Kent is back in town from his work week, so the family gathered again at Jim and Mary's last night. We all enjoyed their private "fountain of youth" before dinner. Great times.

As Paul says to me often, "Lose the tension, you're on a pension." We're off to the vegetable market.
Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Camping in town

We made it! We finished the last leg of our trip on Sunday. We were up at 4 a.m. each morning and on the road early. Because we passed into the Eastern time zone on Saturday, our internal clocks knew we were actually up at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. We were concerned about the weather, so getting further south as soon as possible was important! Good thing, because right behind us was a bad ice storm!

Our location until Saturday is at Florida Pines, a snowbird "roost" right in Venice. It is a nice location for us to get everything set up and fixed so we can live in the North Trail until we return to Minnesota in mid-April.  However, we look forward to moving out to quieter surroundings. That happens on Saturday.

The ability to tether my computer to my phone became active this morning. I hope it works to my satisfaction, as being connected is important. 

Paul and I have spring fever. Yes, he already bought an orchid.  We went to the store to buy a shelf for the camper and a bunch of plants jumped into our cart. 

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Long Day's Journey In Many Ways

We drove 620 miles today, from Mt Vernon, Illinois to Cordele, Georgia. We ran into icy roads around Nashville, which was scary. Most of the way was clear sailing, and we look forward to tomorrow, when we will get to Venice and set up the camper for our stay.

My brother, Keith, had knee surgery yesterday afternoon. He injured it several weeks ago and the first doctor he saw thought the injury was torn muscle. Turns out it was a torn tendon.

Fortunately, he was able to go home today. He has a positive attitude, so I know he will do what is necessary to heal correctly.

This country needs a big dose of healing right now before it is too late.

Hate is tearing us apart.

My sympathy goes to the families and loved ones of those who were killed and critically injured in Arizona today.

Take responsibility, "leaders."  Do the right thing and stop breeding contempt. Placing politicians who do not share your opinions in "crosshairs" on a target list is corrupt behavior.

I am tired. Good night.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Florida, here we come!!!!

We did a "high five" at the top of the hill this morning at 4:50 a.m. Pulling the camper up that icy hill at the end of our driveway is always a scary moment for us.

We stomped a big old

today as we drove 640 miles from Inver Grove Heights to Mt Vernon, Illinois.

We took a deep breath every time we pulled into a gas station. Have you looked at those gas prices?

Oh, well. Guess that means we'll be eating canned tuna instead of fresh seafood! We hope to get through Tennessee and Georgia before icy weather hits there this weekend, so that means we'll be up early again tomorrow to get back on the road.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We're talking turkey!!

We roasted a 22 pound turkey yesterday. One might assume there was a large group here for dinner. But, no, it was just the two of us. And we each ate just a few slices for dinner. The rest is going to the kids.

We have been cleaning out our freezer and that big turkey was in there, waiting to get out.

We have cooked 56 pounds of turkey since Thanksgiving morning. Someone I know needs to curb the urge to buy things just because there is a "good deal." Baby steps...

We used a new injection recipe from my brother, Al. My people know how to cook!!! You can find the recipe in my collection. I've cleverly named it, "Al's Turkey Marinade."  The marinade ingredients include garlic juice, lemon juice, tabasco sauce and liquid smoke. Although the list of ingredients seems to suggest the meat would be spicy, that is not the case. The finished flavors are very subtle and very delicious. Paul took this picture right before we carved up the big guy.

Excellent, Al! Thanks for the recipe!!!

Today, I am making a ginormous pot of turkey stock from all of the bones, also to be divided up and to be sent to our children's kitchens. I hope their freezers can handle it!

Why are we forcing offering so much food to our children? Because, I am shutting down my kitchen here at the ranch for three months. We are

blowing this popsicle stand. Taking our cabin on wheels and

heading to warmer latitudes. Our freeze alarm, smoke alarms and security system are all tested and ready to go. The ranch is now a fort.

Florida, here we come. We have some International Rummy games waiting for us down there!!!