Thursday, August 27, 2015

Surfside Sights and Sounds

Strolled down to the beach this morning and saw quite a few interesting things.

Of course, there were sea oats...

And just beyond, the sea.
There were seagulls...

...soaring just above the surf.
There were shells that spell and....

...the ones that beckon to be taken home.
There were chairs and umbrellas,

umbrellas and chairs.

And chairs and umbrellas, waiting to be shared.

There were umbrellas and flags,

raised for all to see.
There were flowers and....

the promise of flowers.

There were blue ones,

and pink ones,

and yellow ones, too.
There were crosses to remind us....

who died for you!
At first it was the sights.....
(to listen, click the link above)
Have a great night,

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Flight of the Dove

We had a crazy busy Saturday at the lake. Don't worry, I'm going to keep it short. It all started early that morning with a 14-mile bike ride. The ride was called Flight of the Dove, benefiting Hospice of Lauren's County. And, in light of the name....they released doves to fly over us just before the ride began.

  Cliff, Lidia, Sawyer and I joined hundreds of people in Clinton to ride for this cause. 
Some rode 100 miles, some rode 60, some rode 30 and then there was us.

We rode the family fun ride of 14 miles. 
We rode on some pretty country roads with a few gently rolling hills.

 There were barns and cows. 

The cows were curious enough, until I jumped the ditch...haha!

When we stopped to take pictures of the cows, I had to jump a ditch to get close enough. 
I scared the bejeebies out of the cows and they took off running. HaHa! I almost started a stampede. But they only ran a few feet and then settled down enough to turn and look at me, trying to figure out who or what the heck I was.

L&S were starting to get tired. It was a good time for a snack. 

Lidia and Sawyer rode like champs. We made sure we had plenty of Gatorade and snacks for them. Sawyer, in particular, runs out of gas pretty quickly. So we stopped several times for them to get a drink and then about half way for a piece of a PB&J that I had packed for them. We didn't know it, but just down the road at the half-way point the ride organizers had snacks for us. So we stopped again.

Flags with yellow ribbons lined the avenue on our return route.

We left the rest stop and continued down back-country roads until we had made a huge circle around the outskirts of Clinton. We arrived back to the Presbyterian College Stadium, where the race began.

 I saw these Lantana on the grounds of the stadium in full bloom and looking glorious.
 Betsy Brock, these are for you.

The organizers of the ride had a delicious meal prepared for us at the end of the ride. But before we could sit down to eat, L&S had to have a massage.

Lidia wanted a foot massage. 

 But, Sawyer wanted a back massage. 

 The masseuse was as excited to give Sawyer a massage as he was to get it.

After all was said and done, we were so proud of Lidia and Sawyer for being able to make the whole 14 miles. They were awesome!

Sawyer was pretty tired after it was over.

In addition to the bike ride, I had planned a surprise birthday cookout for Cliff. I had the help of his mama and Emily or I wouldn't have been able to pull it off. They stayed back at the house and prepared the food and cake, while we rode bikes. They hid the food and cake pretty well, before we got back home. We had a couple of hours before guests were to arrive. Ms. Wanda, Emily and I spent that time tracking Cliff's sister on the Find My Friends app, while he took a short nap on the couch. His sister and her husband were the first to arrive shortly after he woke up and he was surprised to see them, but what he didn't know was that there were more guests to come. He asked at one point what were we planning and I just told him that we were going to grill chickens. Emily started grilling while Ms. Wanda and I started bringing out all the food. And as the other guests arrived, he was pleasantly surprised to see them, too. I was glad we were able to pull it off without him finding out. He said, "I was wondering why you had two pitchers of tea in the refrigerator". HaHa!

So, we had a great time with Lidia and Sawyer, riding for a good cause and then celebrating Cliff's 60th birthday and our 35th wedding anniversary. Yep, we got married on his birthday. He planned that just right!

Sunday was laid back....everyone kind of did their own thing. Cliff took L&S across the lake for their ritual lake picnic, while I dozed on the dock. After their picnic, we kayaked to Grape City (a patch of grapevines on the bank of the lake) to pick grapes. And just like that the weekend was over.

But before I close, you know I always have something here you go. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Canning Tomatoes

There is just nothing better than rice and tomatoes and homemade biscuits. It's one of Cliff's and my favorite meals. And there are no better tomatoes in the world than the ones you can yourself. It kind of makes me feel like a pioneer woman. And although I can't make a decent biscuit to save my life, Cliff's mama can. I mean they are downright melt in your mouth delectable. And she loves to make them for us.

Of course, I didn't grow enough tomatoes to put up, so I headed on down to the farmers market to buy what I needed. Last summer, I canned 25 lbs. of tomatoes and they didn't last through the winter. So this year, I  bought twice that amount. Yep, 50 lbs. Well, law! When I started preparing the tomatoes, I got a little bit overwhelmed. I had to channel Granny to get through it. It took me nearly 4 hours to wash, blanch (makes peeling easy), and to cut them up.

But once that was done, I started prepping the jars and it felt like I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Humph! There's always something. It quickly became obvious that I would need more jars. After a quick trip to town, I was back in business.

I used the boiling water bath method and that took the rest of the day. Every year, I learn something new or a better way in the process than the year before. Next year, I'm definitely going to have a couple of gas burners to get the job done. The stove is too slow!!
I lost 2 jars because by the time I was ready to put the jars in the bath, they were a little too cool. When I put them in the hot water, the bottom just popped right off. I soon figured out that if I put the jar rack in place at the top of the pot and place the jars on it until the heat from the water below and the steam heated them up enough, I could submerge them in the boiling water bath, safely.


I finished with 11 quarts and 20 pints. I think that will do!!

Roll out the biscuits Ms. Wanda. We're ready for some tomatoes and rice!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Seaside Sunday Sunrise

 I walked down to the ocean this morning to watch the sun rise.

 The shore birds were looking for breakfast.


 It was quiet and serene.

 Palmettos and sea oats. 
 Seaside flowers and plants.  

I spent a nice hour watching the sun rise and the seaside come to life. 

Afterwards, I ran for 3.2 miles. 
A great start to a great day.