New Market in Town…..

Homestead has another first with a Sprouts Farmers Market that opened a few weeks ago. I made a quick pass through there trying to line up an interview for the paper. The very nice manager referred me to their Corporate PR department who hasn’t answered back. I’m not sure why one advertising and then doesn’t want free publicity in the local paper, but they are based out of Phoenix. (https://sprouts.com)

My impression was of a smaller Fresh Market which we almost always stop at when we go up to Total Wine near The Falls. The fresh meat, seafood, and produce all looked good. They had some nice prepared meals and I found cornichons in the condiment aisle. If we still needed coffee, they had bins of beans, too (we now use the Black Rifle Coffee Club delivery as I have posted about before) and they do have a bakery. Hubby went today instead of going to Publix to check them out. He got salmon and swordfish for dinner tonight plus some other items, but they don’t carry many of the things we usually buy. So, we will treat them in the same way as Fresh Market which will be go there for special occasion stuff (or something like the cornichons). It’s certainly much closer and I’m happy for that. While we do buy organic at times, it’s primarily if we need something specific and organic in that item is all that’s available at the moment. However, for my friends who do care about buying organic Sprouts makes for a good option. I don’t know for sure they have a larger selection than the big Publix although they might.

It is a brand new store laid out well and the staff certainly seems friendly. We’ll see how they do as community partners.

Tricky Weather….

My hopes for going diving yesterday had already been disrupted because I had to schedule a meeting instead. The weather was going to be a bit tricky anyway and sure enough, they had to cancel the trip. I felt badly for everyone who could have gone and much of yesterday afternoon it did look as if we were going to get rain . We didn’t, but apparently the front simply slowed down as we’ve been having rain for a while now, to include thunder.

Hubby had decided it wasn’t going to rain and put water in the pool yesterday so I’m not sure if we caused it. We had a breakfast event this morning and after we returned, he got his gear together to head for the Everglades hoping for lightning shots and birds. I think I have explained before I do have a level of concern with the whole photographing lightning even though he does have some pretty spectacular shots. He did take a workshop where they emphasized all the safety measures to take. I don’t quite get the fascination, but he’s by no means the only one in the Camera Club who enjoys it. They do have a app for their phones that provides distance and I guess direction for lightning that’s within ten miles. (I think that’s how it’s set.) It all seems a bit odd to me, but I also think when he did his last camera lens upgrade, he may have gotten one that does better in the rain. It does do better in low light since he has to shoot nighttime events and I may be only imagining the rain part. Ah well, here’s hoping it passes before I leave. I do keep an umbrella in the vehicle as everything from light drizzle to torrential downpours are known to happen when they say, “isolated, scattered showers”.

Talk About Long Friendships…..

BFF may be a fairly recent term, but many Babyboomers have at least one friendship they can date back to decades. It may have started in elementary/middle/high school or like one friend of mine when we met at Fort McClellan going through WAC (Woman’s Army Corps) training. In some places, it can go back to simply being raised as neighbors.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman contacted the paper and said her mother and another woman have been friends for a long time and both are coming up on their 100th birthdays. Oh yes, that’s the kind of community story we always love to share.

The editor was hoping we could get both women together, but that was going to be difficult so Hubby and I arranged to go see the mother and daughter that called and then go over about fifteen minutes away to see the other mom and daughter. Both women were in remarkably good shape and the first one had her pack of cigarettes on the table. Interestingly both originally came from Ohio, and met their respective husbands in college. The friendship began in 1954 and is going strong. They don’t see each other as much today with it being more difficult to get around. Over the years, they both lost their husbands and each a son. There are, however, the surviving children and lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The second woman lives on what is basically a “family complex” of 40 acres and when they have their Sunday dinners, 20-25 are usually involved. As we were leaving there, her daughter confided her mother insisted on putting her pack of cigarettes out of sight for the interview; that coffee and cigarettes were still her daily habit.

This is a really long link and I’ve given the important points, but the photos are nice. You probably have to cut and paste since I don’t know if a link shows up when I publish the post: http://www.southdadenewsleader.com/news/best-friends-celebrate-100-together/article_b8f3eaac-b6c1-11ec-b309-c3f81eddbdea.html

 

 

Intriguing Presentation……

As I have mentioned before, writing for the local paper means I meet people I would probably not otherwise. Sometimes things come into me although more often to the editor first. In this case, it was both as I am now on several email notification lists.

College of the Florida Key (CFK) is in adjoining Monroe County, headquartered not surprisingly in Key West. The Upper Keys campus was previously smallish and in August last year they opened a new facility in Key Largo with greatly increased capabilities. Hubby did the photos and I wrote the story although I didn’t have the chance to actually go to the Center. The recent press release and note from the editor to look into the story was about a VIP Lecture series in it’s 8th year and for the first time, a presentation was to be held at the Key Largo Facility. The topic was “The Discovery, Early Mapping, and Charting of the Florida Keys and the Gulf Stream.” I contacted the initial individual because I wanted to engage with the gentleman who was doing the presentation for more background than was provided in the press release. We connected and his is a fascinating story, only part of which I had room for in the article. (http://www.southdadenewsleader.com/eedition/page-a03/page_d371bbf1-3af1-5861-99b7-4068df76a1af.html)

Hubby and I decided to attend if our schedules worked and they did, so we went down Tuesday night. In swapping emails and a phone conversation with the gentleman, we were able to spend about five minutes with him prior to the presentation. There were obvious connections among most of the almost full crowd, and he said for the first time, some of his family members, to include his 97-year-old mother were in the audience. Things did start a bit late and the Q&A was running over which meant there was a lot of enthusiasm in the room. We slipped out at 8:20 as we wanted a nice dinner, plus the drive up would put us home about 10:00. Buzzard’s Roost was the closest and a standard place for us.

Easter Memory……

I don’t recall if I posted about this before; if so, it’s been a while. I’m sure I have mentioned in the past that I don’t eat eggs. There’s no allergy involved; I simply don’t like them. I know I ate them as a kid because all kids do and I don’t know when I determined I didn’t like them.Anyway, I grew up with the tradition of dying Easter eggs although we didn’t go in for the extra decorating. And as is tradition, leftover eggs that didn’t get inadvertently stepped on were later consumed in some form or the other.

Moving forward to when son was old enough to get into the egg hunting mode, I may or may not have gone the traditional route once, but maybe not as he was not a boiled egg eater (strictly scrambled) and there wasn’t anyone else to eat them. Plastic Easter eggs filled with different candies were the perfect choice not to mention easy to pack away and be re-used at least a couple of times. The memory jogged though was one Easter when we were at my parents. The eggs had been carefully hidden in the front yard and as son was again the only “hunter” it was merely a matter of remembering how many had been hidden and where in case he needed a little assistance. My parents and I went onto the driveway, me with my mug of coffee, son with his Easter basket, and “Papaw” ready to assist in the hunt. Son was either four or five years old and as he prepared to step onto the grass, he turned to me and Mother and said, “Mom, you and Granny stay here. Papaw and I will get the eggs because this is man’s work.”

Daddy did look slightly chagrined as I tried to keep a straight face. All the eggs were found fairly quickly.

Aromas of Slow Cooking….

I have posted before about we enjoy our Instapot, although I don’t actually use it. This is like when we had the bread machine and it was Hubby who could manage it. We haven’t tried the Instapot in the slow cooker mode as we have a nice slow cooker that we don’t want to feel neglected. It’s been a while since we did a roast and Sunday was the day. One of the advantages of Instapot is you can sear, then cook all in the same pot. With a slow cooker, that’s still a two-pot action and with a 3-pound-plus roast, you do have to be careful with the turning to ensure all parts of it are seared. Once you make everything happen though, it does take a few hours for the aroma to kick in. At that point, you now have another few hours until it’s ready to eat. In the case where you set it up to have the dish cook while you are out of the house and to be greeted with this wonderful smell, that’s both comforting and practical. When you’re in the house during the process though, waiting for enough time to elapse can bring on the urge for eating. That of course applies with any long-cooking dish no matter the technique used. The difference between being in the slow cooker and say a stove top situation it does seem to be easier to taste – and hmm, a little bit later maybe I should taste again. After all, maybe the seasoning isn’t quite right yet and another spoonful is needed. The one other thing about either the Instapot or slow cooker is I always add in too much liquid, especially if I will be out of the house. I envision a ruined meal no matter how often I read the recipe that calls for less liquid. On the other hand, having extra delicious sauce means it can be the base for a soup.

“Lost a Week”…..

Or so it seems since I haven’t posted. Things have obviously not slowed down at all and at least some of it has been for fun. Not for diving unfortunately and if Mother Nature doesn’t let up on the wind, I might not make it out in March. I am keeping fingers crossed though. That’s what happened as I saved today hoping to go. Hubby had to take his student to Jules and they did have something special – a sea horse! I haven’t seen many in all the time I’ve been diving and never one around here. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some hammerheads have been hanging around in different spots. None on the more popular reefs yet so we’ll see if they head on their journey or other people have a chance to spot them. Our bud Richie Kohler and Katy were in  last week doing all really deep which is why I didn’t go with them. They did come up last Saturday along with some of their friends – one of whom we also know and two of our friends joined in. Richie had fond memories of the Redland Hotel and wanted to enjoy it again. There were nine of us which worked out pretty well other than running late for a couple of reasons. Anyway, the food was excellent and great conversation, plus the “extra” couple we met have the potential to be future companions.

On an entirely different subject, I’m making at least some headway with my father’s estate in the sense of gathering information and getting various instructions. There are certain aspects that cannot be done electronically and thus extra time will be required. I really hope to have everything done by my birthday in August – or at least have everything that involves others done. His taxes for last year and the estate taxes will mostly involve me and the lady I’ll be working with. The woman who did his taxes in 2020 is seasonal and she has referred me to one of the only staff who is year-round.

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day….

As luck would have it, an event scheduled earlier in the year was re-scheduled and they either didn’t have a choice about dates or picked this evening without realizing it was Saint Patrick’s Day. We have to cover it for the paper and even though it is at a place with a really nice restaurant that part is only open Fri-Sat this time of year. In light of what time we’ll be done, we won’t be able to get anywhere to eat until a little late and it’s not as if we have Irish pubs around. Although a couple of places are doing special dinners, they’re likely to be really crowded by the time we arrive. We decided to swap our usual Thursday pasta night and did that last night to save the lamp chops and mashed potatoes for tonight. We’ll prep everything before we go and it will be pretty quick once we get home. Granted, I normally do a nice Shepard’s pie, but things have been really hectic this week and I simply didn’t have the energy to juggle that.  I think there’s one or maybe two Guinness in the fridge and a Smithwick and I did go get a bottle of Jameson as we are almost out. Not sure yet if will go on the rocks or in Irish coffee.

A friend whom I lost track of was about as Irish as can be – Boston, former cop, and played the bag pipes. We met my first summer ROTC camp which was at Fort Riley and we overlapped for two summers. He was great fun and played the pipes well. In one of those ironic placements, his ROTC assignment was in Alcorn, MS – about as far culturally from Boston as one could be. He did have some adjustments to make for sure. I hope he’s doing well and having a great time tonight.

 

Good Food With a Little Whimsy……

Yesterday was another of a couple of extra tasks thrown in when we already had multiple tasks to handle. The additional began to verge on “juggling” instead of handling, although the extra did mostly include fun.

I read about, then was told about Royd’s being open; something new for Redland, the historic agriculture area where markets pop up periodically. The individual who wrote them up in the weekly Redland View said he’d been keeping an eye on the place because he was curious as to what was going on. A family – still not sure if it’s just husband and wife or if there are two generations involved – have one of the farms and decided they wanted something more to share with people. Royd’s has a set of swinging saloon doors of The Gateway with the store front of The Jail and R l Everglades General Mechandise to the right and City Drugstore to the left; in the Western Store style. It’s actually open on three sides, but has overhead covered with picnic tables inside and the area set up with the mechanical bull. The kitchen truck (might be two) are outside and servers take orders and bring the food. It’s a breakfast and predominantly lunch place closing at 5:00 Wed-Thurs; 7:00 Fri-Sun and opening each day at 8:00. It’s a blend of American and Cuban dishes with sandwiches and full entrees plus desserts. And like most places in Redland, milkshakes are a big draw.

I had the hamburger and brought most of the fries home to Hubby and resisted ice cream. Well, I resisted asking about it because I thought the temptation might be too much. There is also supposed to be a petting zoo or at least animals to see on weekend. I’ll find out more about that when I talk with one of the principles on Monday.

Not Exactly Catching Up……

This is one of the times when the absolute “musts” due to deadlines are being done and other things are staying high on the priority list with no let-up for probably another week. It is simply the “nature of the beast” because several events/obligations were previously scheduled and other important items were put on hold as I dealt with everything surrounding the trips to Louisiana. There are limited tasks others can assist with and while some of that will improve in the future, it doesn’t apply right now.

Okay, with that said, I have been up since 4:00 this morning and may very well try to lie down for a bit before dinner. No doubt that will cause the phone to ring or a text to come in, but maybe not. Speaking of dinner, it’s grilled pork chops and leftover clean-up for sides plus salad. Nothing is complicated nor time-consuming which helps. I managed to polish off one leftover for lunch so refrigerator space is becoming manageable again. I did forget we are dining out Thursday as we have an art swap to do. This involves about an hour and a half of somewhat chaotic swapping art in an exhibit, getting drinks for people, having some individuals who are coming for the social aspect and others merely to pop in and out. Hanging the exhibit might go fairly quickly although that is never a guarantee. Then it’s dinner which probably will go fairly quickly as they now close at 9:00 and won’t be urging us to linger. The “forgetting” part means I bought groceries I will have to freeze which is okay as we had also cleaned that out somewhat.