Friday, August 29, 2014

Free Range Friday ~ What IS that smell? No Mystery Here.

One result of the storm last week, as I've mentioned, was the piled up sargassum seaweed on almost every shore around the island. As it has deteriorated, there has been a smell emitted that, as also mentioned, is akin to raw sewage (ok, I still wonder about that). It is not the best smell to have permeating Paradox, no matter your viewpoint on Nature and her wonders. So today we are free ranging a bit far afield from food, because truthfully, the aromatic unpleasantness is less that appetite inducing, killing any cooking desire with a definitive inhaled thud. To put it simply, feeling nauseous keeps hunger at bay, no pun intended. Maybe this is a great diet idea, I'll have to think about that.

Upshot, when a friend proferred a beach swim time, I was in! Usually we'll be there an hour or so, but even as dark clouds grew on every side, we stayed, breathing the beautiful air, cleansing nose and mouth and lungs of...well, that other air. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

While there weren't a lot of people there, a variety of birds were industriously feeding and socializing

Anyone know what this bird is? It reminds me of a ruddy turnstone (I love that name!) but without the ruddy.

Jokers to the left of me, humans to the right. 

Daphne was a brighter spot on an already bright afternoon.
Still unwilling to relinquish good air, we headed to Zaco's, where I didn't take photos of the pork belly, gyro tacos and smoked tuna tostada that came to the table; they disappeared quickly. But one can only linger over that last sip of wine so long - it was time to head home and find some incense.

Wind had been blowing steadily and happily and the air was a bit cleaner than hours before. Then a rain settled in, helping move the fug along and away. Color me grateful. This morning, there is a lingering of fugugh, but not much, and while piles of seaweed await on the waterside of El Batey for some brave and smart soul to make use of its fine nutrients for gardens (thanks for the tip, Annabelle!), I'm going to leave well enough alone. Being older does have a few perks, one being learning to sometimes leave well enough alone. Sometimes.

My garden needs something though. Maybe seaweed would deter iguanas and thrushes, who have reaped most of the potential bounty from my plantings this year, along with a very sporadic amount of magic rain water. But occasionally, an heirloom cherry tomato or pepper survives, like little jewels of oh yes!ness.

Have a fresh-air Friday! Do something fragrant.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Long Has This Been Going On?

Lots of little things have happened while I've been s l o w l y putting my ether world back together and the connection is still so wonky, I'm not sure if this post will even happen, but let's give it a whirl! A swirly, last turn of the swing after wild spinning whirl, tossed in the wind. I'd toss it on the water, like the proverbial bread, but since my pitching arm is less that adequate to get it past the sargassum choking my bay where it would just sit there, I'll try the wind instead.

Last day landscaping at Zoni. If you have to work, it's good to have this view!

Work turned into spending the night and getting to see this dawning. 

One more crazy cat story, but it came with this brilliant quickly improvised cat carrier

At last the day had come. It was time to say da svidania (until we meet again).
If you didn't get to do so, this hug is from you too.

Finally, she's OUTTA HERE! The long awaited day as a new journey and new adventures begin for Francie. See ya on the flip side, chica!
I got an invite the other evening for a dinner of chicken and dumplings. I don't think I've had homemade dumplings, I can't remember. I showed up early (what a surprise) to be reminded how it is done.

Flour and milk and butter and baking soda. And maybe other things. So easy! So rarely made.

Dropped into the Dutch oven already filled with chicken that had been lightly fried and then deeply simmered. Aromatically alluring.

Not too long after this, it was all ready. I now had my hungry pants on and forgot to take a photo of the plateful soon demolished. Yum!
After the storm the other day, where the wind blew out of the south (not our normal wind direction), the bay filled up with sargassum. At first I thought, how interesting! Now it is turning from interesting to seriously smelly. Not as bad a smell as that emanating from the area where the road goes to Flamenco, just so happening to be where the sewage station is also located. I'm not sure what's going on there. Here, I'm just waiting on the wind.

This morning's eye opener and getcherbuttouttabed starter was a glance out the window to see this dawning. I know from long experience that waiting around is not an option, as it only lasts for minutes most of the time.

Now the sky is a glaring grey/white. Rain is forecast, the wind is up. Good!

Why do we wake up in the morning? To see what happens next, of course! Keep your eyes and heart open, the flip side of any negative is positive and it will come around in due time, especially if you keep busy and reach out. Be nice.

Have a tantilizingly tangerine Thursday. Do something thick-skulled.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sometimes Some is Better Than None and Lots is Even Better

Invest 96 woke me up yesterday morning with that roof sound of rain that signals, to anyone who lives in a stormy zone, 'it's here'. The sound of rain and storms has (almost) always been a good sound for me. The afternoon rains of Florida, practically timely enough to set a watch, thunder and lightning breaking through darkness with mega-candlewatt intensity, no slow drawing back of curtains, but bursting open the world with light and negative ion energy. Like a high caffeine buzz without the jitters. 

But, it really wasn't that sort of storm yesterday. It was more like a slow rolling series of waves, some bigger than others, with occasional lightning and thunder in a low, mostly fairly distant, show of sound and light.  Cool enough for soup making, no mozzies nibbling, the cat curled was (in a 180° different meaning than terrible time years ago in the Northeast) a perfect storm.

Pretty much the all day view when I could open the window. There was very little wind around my place, though at one point we went up to a hilltop and it was honkin'! 
Having to go into town (and of course forgetting my umbrella) made me thankful for warm rain. I was surprised how many people were out and about, including a lot of people getting off the ferry. Yes. The ferry had made a run. Planes weren't flying and the ferry was running. Was I in an alternate universe?

I'm not sure what drew these very soggy horses to this spot. Maybe the grass was greener.
It's pretty much impossible to see the white caps looking toward Luis Pena, but there they were.
The bay was very calm with clouds falling over the hillsides. I've only seen that happen a few times's a sight!
How we hunker down for a gentle all day storm on Culebra

Back at home, we hunkered down a different way, most of it, though not all, in bed. 

Fan off. Soup on.

During the lulls, it was walkabout time. I'd not seen blooms on these plants for many, many weeks, including after Bertha's brief appearance.  I need one of those slo-mo cameras in the yard...

I enjoyed the slightly misty outdoor time. My steadfast companion? Not so much.

Incoming seaweed. I want to gather some and dry it out and grind it up for seasoning as an experiment. 
At some point in the afternoon during another lull there was actually color in the water. Those wacky painters!
This morning the sun is shining through cloud glazed skies, the heat is starting to climb and the wind is starting to pick up. More rain ahead? Perhaps.

The seaweed is now seriously piled up. Hey! I only wanted a handful.
There is a lot going on out in the eastern Atlantic and no doubt there are more rainy days ahead. Keep your eyes open and your batteries ready!

Have a serenely saturated Saturday. Do some skylarking.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Free Range Friday ~ Beach Food and Fun

Yesterday was what a few of us call a 'tiny day' for me. I really couldn't look at any more photos of food, fun and frivolity for awhile. Today, rainy and cool with Invest 96 passing through? I'm almost hungry again.

When it comes to food and parties around here, I can only pass on what I heard maybe five times the other day at Francie's farewell fiesta. "There won't be any parties like this, wherever she is going." No one would dispute that. Almost all of the parties, be they birthday or holiday or see ya down the road celebrations, are "Bring what you drink and something to eat." We rarely assign dishes because somehow everyone brings just what we all want and then more of what we didn't expect but find we wanted that too (like funnel cakes!).

Since I knew this party was happening and since it has been sooooooooooo hot, I've basically been eating avocados and cheese to avoid cooking. Good thing, as there was enough food here to make up for a week of eating lightly.

We had Carlos make what we thought was going to be way too many panini sandwiches, cut into thirds - Cubanos - outstanding! and vegetarian - eggplant, peppers, goat cheese and I don't know what delicious else, but in case you think vegetarian is boring? Think again. Far from being too much, I think there was one whole sandwich left. Well done, Carlos!

Clouds and sunshine. We had a backup plan for rain but the rain we got wasn't enough to make anyone scuttle for cover. Tough crowd!

What are those strange shaped plates Diane is carrying? Funnel cakes! I can't begin to say what was on that table in total, but there was everything from just picked bananas from Walt's tree to yummy pimento sandwiches from Yolanda to mini corn muffins to pasta salads to...well, you get the idea. Sort of. 

Rain? We've got plastic. It got rolled out a couple of times and worked just fine.

Peri made a very fun cake of memories she gathered by phone and text - moments with Francie here and there. Plus, the cake was delicious, hazelnut (or filberts, as Francie insists) and chocolate and I don't remember the whole description. I think there was one piece left in short order. 

 Boy, there sure were a bunch of old people there. I don't know where they came from.

Ok, they weren't all old. We had a few posers young'uns as well. 

At the picnic table next to us were some local guys who were fishing. I didn't take photos, figuring we'd intruded on their quiet time enough. They enjoyed some of the largesse. I didn't see any fish caught but a good cast of the net did bring in a lot of sardines for bait. Next time!

It's a beautiful day for those of us who live here and we're real glad we didn't plan the party for today. It's a day for curling up with a good book, a good cat (or dog, but they aren't on our agenda here at the shack), maybe putting on something for soup later. Or sooner. 

Settle in, it's going to be awhile 
Have a flower flourishing Friday. Do something forecastable. 

Many loved him, from the States to islands around the Caribbean and he will be dearly missed. Farewell, Gary. As Jo put it " The world has just lost one of its kindest souls, so glad to have had you in our lives."

Such a familiar sight.
photo credit - Jo Dechant

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Culebra Findings

Over the years on Culebra I've picked up plenty of bits and pieces, some found away from my yard but most found in it. One thing I've semi-collected (semi because I give them to kids a lot), is toy vehicles.

In thinking about Francie's long awaited road trip I thought maybe one of them would be a good back up plan (no pun intended) and chose a blue pick up truck. A Hot Wheels blue pick up truck, with the slogan Free Delivery on it to be specific. Then I thought, hey! maybe this is valuable! Maybe in some lonely spot on the road if it was needed, she could cash it in for big bucks! So I looked it up and there it was, on a collectors page, the very truck I was holding in my hand, albeit a bit newer, as in never out of the packaging, but so what? Vintage. Cool. Very cool. Very vintage. It even says so.

So, as it turns out, it's worth 5.99. New. Better to go for an alternate universe experience where Tony and Noah themselves come to the rescue. Sorry, Francie.

What remains of my shelf parking lot

Boats and horses. Sea and land. I love that this is an English style stirrup.

Under all this manure, there's gotta be a pony somewhere...

Some guy had this on his trash pile years and years ago. I wish I knew its story.

Oh! you don't want that? I do! Is the stove that burner went to buried in my yard too?
When I lived on St. Croix and collected chaney, I one day told a tourist asking why I was picking up broken china that I hoped one day I'd have enough to make a whole plate (back away slowly, lady). I have found pieces of this sewing machine over the years and one day...

Maybe my happiest finds are the ones that wash to the shore (and I don't mean the many, many plastic bottles, flip flops, broken styro coolers, etc.). I haven't found any really good ones (meaning, not made of styrofoam) in a long time.

The now defunct chicken coop in the background *sniff*

While wandering the yard, this guy, who, due to the drought has been seriously decimating my patiently grown ground cover with his sisteren and brethren - moved in languid fashion out of my way, waiting for my departure to continue the flora devastation. Of course, to me it's devastation. To him, it's the best salad bar going.

And thus goeth another day on Culebra, where treasures of the monetary valueless sort, the sort that have so much value to many of us (okay, maybe not the cars and rusty bits, that's just me) pile up tangibly and in memory. 

Have a wistfully wily Wednesday. Do something worthlessly worthwhile.