Saturday, October 31, 2015


The All Hallows Eve came with a cool morning and a brilliant sunrise and we are taking it easy and enjoying the day preparing for ghosts and goblins.  We set out the pumpkin on a small table in the front yard where it gets a ghouly sheen from the flood light that is shining on our flag from dusk to dawn.

We began our day by having Pumpkin Waffles out in the summer kitchen.  I made the batter from a basic recipe with the most common ingredients such as three (3) eggs, milk, canola oil, and all kinds of sugars.  I used a tsp baking powder and half a tsp of baking soda to get a rise out of the waffles.

The aromatic fun is mixing the pumpkin spices of cinnamon, ground ginger, all spice, and nutmeg along with a tad of salt.

Finally, I used one (1) cup of store bought, canned, pumpkin.  Mix it all together and make waffles or pancakes.  We drizzled maple syrup over the waffles.  Yum!  Yum!  Our treat.

Our treat is also to enjoy the Cassia that is in full bloom along the fence on the Back Forty.  It seems that one day it was only greenery and then it exploded in sunny yellows.  The fall is here.

Actually, we have not had any tricksters visiting us for the last ten years.  The street have been empty and there have been no signs of children anxiously running around knocking on doors and asking for treats.  I miss them.

Schools and churches are organizing Halloween Events for the children to keep them off the street and away from harm's way.  Parents in communities are also having treat and trunk parties. All this in an effort to keep the goblins safe.

Have a Safe and Fun Halloween
Look out for the Goblins and treat them well
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Monday, October 26, 2015

Soaring with the Blue Angels

I was sitting in a lawn chair in my backyard waiting for the Blue Angels when I heard this deep rumbling thunder above my head.  When I turned my head, I saw the under belly of Fat Albert.  Whoa!  Then he narrowly missed the tree tops across the scenic creek.

Girl, that's too close for my comfort.  Or should I say Captain?  The Fat Albert may have been piloted by Captain Higgens.

Then the Blue Angels came roaring in skimming the waves, looping around and up and about.  Many times, they made turns and fly overs across the Back Forty.

Back in 1946, the original team selected the name after the famous Blue Angel night club in New York City and the first air show was t Craig Field in Jacksonville Florida in June of the same year.

(The Fat Albert picture is borrowed but the others are my own pictures taken at an earlier show in Jacksonville.)

It was somewhat difficult to follow the Angels.  Your hear the screeching and screaming and the thunderous sound and vibrations are left in the pit of your stomach.

The Blue Angels may fly as close as 18 inches within each other.  They are truly awesome!

The mission of the Squadron is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to the country.  So they did!

It is rather awesome to read the name and numbers of the planes as they fly over the Back Forty.  Saturday was a beautiful day for the air show.  Sunday was cloudy and rain was also in the air.  The Blue Angels have two shows:  one for good weather when they soar and leave contrails; the other one is during cloudy conditions when they fly low and skim the surface.

At the end of the day, my husband and I went to Mayport for pizza and drinks by the river and we had a chance to see Fat Albert take off and head home to the west coast of Florida.  See you in two years!

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Citrus Greening

I had a disturbing conversation with a neighbor this morning.  He was riding his bike on the other side of the "scenic creek" and I was picking butter beans.  He asked me if we had citrus trees and I told him that we did.  He then asked me if I had "greening of the citrus."  No, I told him, we only use fertilizer specifically for the citrus.

After recovering from my blunder, I went inside to confer with my "wise one" and he showed me a pamphlet that we got from UF IFAS Extension titled "Citrus Problems in the Home Landscape" when we attended a seminar at the local library conducted by the County Extension which I had totally forgotten.

I learned that citrus greening is a destructive disease that since August 2005 has reached every county in Florida.  One of the early symptoms is the vein yellowing.  Another symptom is the "blotchy mottle" where the leaves are small and upright showing a variety of "chlorotic patterns."  The problem with the greening of the citrus is that it resembles so many deficiencies e.g. lacking of zinc and iron.

The large citrus growing companies also have to deal with these problems and they are costly for them.  Once the citrus trees have been infected, the leaves will drop off and whatever fruit is produced will have a bitter taste.

The most disturbing fact is that there is no cure for this disease; however, good irrigation, weed control, and proper fertilizer may keep the trees productive.  My neighbor on the bike indicated that it was a lost cause.

I had to go out and inspect our citrus trees and to my surprise, I found that they were doing pretty good.  At this time, we are preparing the ground, weeding, around the trees and watering so that we can fertilize the trees according to instructions on the bag.

Satsuma Orange Tree

We consider ourselves blessed to have this wonderful plot to take care of and in return, it takes care of us. We are able to grow healthy vegetables and herbs as well as citrus and some berries.  We are surrounded by green trees and bushes. All kinds of birds visit us and small four legged animals also make an appearance once in a while and so does those without legs, the snakes.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Garden Shed

When we moved to the Back Forty, we most certainly needed a shed for the tractor, the lawn mower, tools, and fertilizers for the garden, trees, grass, and bushes.  The shed filled up pretty quickly.

The shed had windows with flower boxes and shutters.   I made curtains with John Deere tractor motifs.

The flower boxes are covered with dollar weeds as they lay scattered on the ground in wait of a wash and a paint job.

Now, I want my own garden shed, a small bungalow, a retreat where I can go and enjoy afternoon teas or a glass of wine while listening to my music or hear the birds twittering.

Some call this kind of a shed a "she shed" and they are trendy and seem to be here to stay.  Of course, men may also have their own sheds and fix it up the way they like to have it.

I would like to put up lacy curtains in the windows, hang a small but fancy chandelier from the ceiling, and show off my jams and relishes on a shelf.

At some home improvement centers, a basic shell of a shed may be purchased and be delivered and installed to your garden area.  You may also be able to select windows and doors.  Then it is up to you how you want to decorate it.  A day bed may be desirable as well as a small table and a comfortable chair. Who knows what you may come up with.

John Muir wrote that "Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world."  

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