Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Good Catch ~ Saturday, June 4, 2016

There were storms all around us last night, with magnificent displays of lightning and lots of thunder, but... we barely got any rain. Greg didn't even think that it rained at all but I heard water dripping from the roofline when I got home after my outing at Starbucks, and this morning there were tiny puddles on the top of the trash bins.  However, no progress in the rain barrel so it really was nothing.

Not many plans for today... my daughter took the S.A.T. again this morning, as she wanted to improve her score and then she went shopping for supplies for a group science project she's supposed to present next week! Kind of cutting it close...  Update: she texted me after she got out of her test and said she thought the math was harder this time than last. Crap, I was hoping she would improve her math score.

Our son slept until 11:30 a.m.  Greg and I went fishing this morning, more on that at the end of the post.

To Do List for this Weekend (what I didn't accomplish last week plus some added tasks):

  • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
  • Iron
  • Finish letter to my great aunt
  • Clip and sort coupons
  • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
  • Scan more old pictures
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew
  • Get new potted flowers for the patio
  • File paperwork
  • Enter some Coke codes into MCR
  • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
  • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns
  • Look into fertilizing the raspberries
  • Trim weeds alongside berm edging
  • Add more mulch to berm
  • Research bird feeders at Ace Hardware and poles too.
  • Download all May photos to my external drive
  • Write May grocery shopping recap post
  • Replace roach traps
  • Check remaining self watering bins and refill if needed (including strawberries on side of the house)
  • Grind the dehydrated basil Done
  • Declutter 10 items (thanks, Bless, for the inspiration!)  Done
  • Inventory battery drawer and see what I would need for hurricane season and add to shopping list
  • Inventory supplies for master bedroom painting project
  • Research extension cords for generator
  • Call eye doctor to make annual appointment
  • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
  • Wash car (Sunday afternoon) - Done, kind of. I didn't wash it per se, I sprayed it with the hose to get rid of last weekend's road dust. It might look worse once it dries off!
  • Find the cats' rabies licenses
  • Exercise! 
  • Make a solar oven
  • Check the Lake County Extension Office website to see if need to register for Tuesday's gardening class
  • Compose reply email to Viviane (désolée Viviane!)
  • Print and laminate medical cards for daughter
  • Refill hummingbird feeder
  • Refill bird feeder
  • Refill bird bath


  • I reused water collected in the shower to flush the toilet (after letting it "mellow" all night).

  • Last night at Starbucks, the cream dispenser was empty so the barista had handed me a cup halfway full of cream for my coffee. Since I used very little of it, I brought the rest home.  I used some of it in my coffee this morning and I'll keep on using it instead of milk until I run out.

  • I saw, in a local columnist article, that the Lake County Extension office will be offering a free class to learn how to create an English-style cottage garden using annuals and perennials, on Tuesday morning in Tavares.  That's about 20-25 minutes away from my house, but I'm thinking that I might make an effort to attend. Plus it takes place in Discovery Gardens, which I have never visited.

  • My daughter saved me a Coke product cap :)

  • I packed us a picnic for our fishing trip. However, we got home at about 11:00 a.m. and didn't eat the picnic!

  • We stopped by RaceTrac with our Sodapalooza cups on the way.  I had brought my son's along so I got 2 free refills of CF Diet Coke and Greg got a free refill of Diet Dr. Pepper. I also redeemed a survey reward code for a free blueberry muffin.  We shared the muffin on the way back from fishing.

  • On the way to the pond, we discussed the wasp nest/window ledge replacement situation. Greg doesn't want to call an exterminator, and said he would take care of it and of the window. Although... who knows when that'll get done. It's really hot and working on the roof in this weather is very uncomfortable.

  • We also talked about what to do with his bonus.  I was leaning towards sending it all to the mortgage company but didn't tell him that... and he told me that he thought we should send it to the mortgage company!  Woohoo!  So I need to figure out if I can just mail them a big check once we get the bonus and see how much of it they let us keep after taxes :)

  • On the way home we stopped by RaceTrac again and got more free drink refills for the both of us and a free frozen drink for our son. I redeemed a 2nd survey reward code for a free Monterey Chicken hot grill roller item for his lunch too. He was really happy about it!

  • Greg caught a large-mouth bass!  It weighed 14.6 oz and he cooked it for lunch.  That fishing license is already paying off, lol.  I figured that if it retailed at $5/lb (I'm probably being generous), and, after cleaning it, he ended up with maybe 1/2 a lb of meat. then he needs to catch 8 fish this year to pay for the license.  I tasted the fish and it was very good (I gave him Old Bay Seasoning and Cajun Seasoning to put on it). But now my house smells like fried fish.
He caught it, cleaned it, cooked it... and ate it.

  • Hmm, close your eyes and go "la la la" if you are against hunting, but he also "harvested" a squirrel from our backyard this morning before we left.  He eats them so that's a savings,  I guess, plus one fewer squirrel to dig in my garden.  I'm sure it'll be replaced by 10 more, those things are like the Hydra.

  • We drove to RaceTrac for a 3rd time so Greg could get another free refill of soda.  I went along and brought my and my son's cups as well to top them off (might as well!).  

  • We stopped by the local liquor store and bought a bottle of the whiskey that we usually buy. They had the local "Coupon Book" on their counter and as I flipped through it while Greg was paying, I saw that they had BOGO coupons for Bruster's, the really good ice cream place the kids and I visited last weekend, so I ended up grabbing 3 of the brochures. I'm being way too optimistic in thinking we'll use all the coupons, even though they don't expire until 7/2, because I don't eat ice cream generally so even less so if I'm on a diet, my daughter is flying to CA in a week, and Greg and our son will be gone for a couple of weeks as well. Plus, it's on the other side of Clermont so we'd have to make a special trip altogether just for that. But I'm thinking that we'll go after my son's promotion event next week.

  • For lunch, I decided to grill a package of chipotle chicken sausages on the barbecue. I had one of those in a left over hot dog bun from last weekend, with some chips and grapes. Not the healthiest lunch but I was starved and didn't want to cook anything else.

  • I saved the sandwiches that I packed this morning for tomorrow.

  • Greg found his grandfather's antique fishing pole in the attic. It looks like it would work but it's very long, probably too long for us to use in the pond that we visit because of all the trees around it. I suggested he uses it off the dock at Lake Minneola.

  • Zinio alerted me that a new issue of Taste of Home is available for me to read for free via my library's e-magazine subscription. I checked it out to my account.

  • I ordered 2 rechargeable batteries for my Canon Powershot camera so I never run out of "good" batteries when I'm out and about. I ordered them from Amazon, got free shipping with Prime, earned $1.00 digital credit by choosing the "No Rush Shipping " option and they were free to me as I applied the balance of my Bing Rewards gift card and some of my Amazon Rewards earned via my Amazon Chase Visa card.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks.

  • I took a RaceTrac survey and earned a survey reward code for another freebie!

  • I was going to get rid of a box of unopened glow sticks when Greg said he wanted them to go camping.  So I put it aside for him. Hopefully he'll go put them in his shed :)

  • I checked all the pockets of a soft briefcase that I was going to donate and found a quarter. Woohoo!  Adding it to my 2016 Spare Change Jar.

  • Researched resources on our county's Parks & Trails website and found a bird watching map for Lake County.  I always appreciate suggestions of where I can go to watch birds (beyond my own backyard, that is!).  I also found out about Emeralda Marsh, which is about 30-45 minutes North of here, that has a 4.3 wildlife drive. I didn't know about it so I'll be exploring this soon! 

  • I redeemed a store coupon to get a 2L bottle of Diet Coke free with the fried chicken dinner we bought at Publix. Also, I charged it all to Amex so we'll get 3% back in Rewards. We'll save the soda to drink it after our Sodapalooza cups expire (on 7/31).

  • We stopped at RaceTrac for a 4th time today (!), Greg, our son and I got free refills with our Sodapalooza cups and I redeemed my June freebie coupon for a 32 oz drink so my daughter could get a free drink as well.  She also has the same coupon on her phone but she'll use it later on this week.

  • Greg and I watched (well, he watched and I read blogs while halfway listening to the nonsense of) the last 3 episodes of "Arrested Development" on Netflix. So glad to put this behind us because that season was really horrible. I don't think we'll bother watching the new season that's supposed to come out in the near future.


  • $3.21 for a bag of plastic worm baits at Ace Hardware. We earned a few Ace Rewards points.

  • I've decided to go ahead and order more rechargeable batteries for my digital camera. I only have 2 of them that hold a pretty good charge but it's not enough when we go on nature trips that last several hours.

  • The whiskey we bought was $3 more than at Winn Dixie.  But Winn Dixie still wasn't stocked when I stopped by on Wednesday and it's a 15 minute drive compared to a 2 minute drive for the local store, so that was a no brainer.

  • About $14 for a new headlight bulb for my SUV. The Advance Auto Parts clerk was very helpful and looked it up for me so I was sure we got the right thing. Greg installed it for me :)

  • A little bit of water to spray my SUV to remove the grime from our Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive last week.  I couldn't take walking by it covered in dust anymore, even though we're supposed to go back there tomorrow and my daughter and I both agreed that, with a 10 MPH speed limit, driving the SUV (automatic) would be less of a hassle than driving the Focus (stick shift).


  • I had to run the dishwasher again this morning as the top rack dishes didn't look like they had been washed at all!  Grrr.

  • I didn't think Greg would catch anything today so we didn't bring anything to carry the fish!  So after a couple of hours at the pond, he decided to pack it in and come home before the meat would spoil.  Doh.  At first, he kept it wrapped into palmetto leaves, but he carried back to the truck in the net. It's only a failure because if we had planned and been more optimistic, we would have had a cooler with water or ice and we could have stayed longer. I was really bummed that we came back so early because I was having a very relaxing time!

  • The Lake County Extension Office's website is down... I wanted to check whether I needed to register for the free English Cottage Garden class. Update: I finally found a functioning link to register for it but by then, it was full.  Waaaaaaa....

  • I was droopy when it was time to cook so Greg suggested we get take-out. The kids insisted on coming with us so we ended up at Publix.  We got a family fried chicken dinner for our son (and Greg), a sub for my daughter and sushi for Greg and me.  I did redeem a store coupon to get a free 2L Coke bottle but the OOP was $37.  Argh. 


  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Set the breakfast table for him and my daughter
  • Packed a picnic lunch
  • Went fishing
  • Ran errands with Greg
  • Greg replaced the bulb in my SUV for me :)
  • Sprayed my car clean
  • Put the dehydrated basil through the coffee grinder
  • Found several items to declutter
A bag of old eyeball gumballs (threw away the gumballs, saved the zippered plastic bag), a bunch of old Valentines (consolidated all the cards in one "assorted Valentines" lot and put them in the zippered plastic bag that I had just saved), a counter bell (donation), a couple of space guns with a container of their foam discs (donation), my old soft-sided leather briefcase (donation), 2 Easter egg decorating kits (donation), a set of "love" themed notecards (donation), a book of Valentine stickets (donation), an unopened child-size raincoat (donation), an unopened tube of glow-in-the-dark bracelets (donation), a can of temporary black hair spray (donation), an empty metal box (recycling).  That's 12 things, Bless!
  • Went to pick up dinner


  • When I stepped on the scale this morning after getting up, I was 2 lbs lighter than yesterday. What. The. Blank.  But I'll take it.

  • I had my usual cup and a quarter of generic rice crispies with half a cup of skim milk and a cup of sliced strawberries.

  • Mid morning, I had about 1/4 of a large blueberry muffin from RaceTrac and 4 peanut butter crackers.

  • Lunch was a chipotle chicken sausage on a hot dog bun, 15 wavy chips (or thereabout) and a cup of grapes.

  • The house smelled like fried fish... and then my daughter made the chocolate cake castlettes... and now the house smells like chocolate cake!  I cannot be expected to resist chocolate cake when the whole house smells like it.  She cut off the tops of the cakes so they would sit flat, so I ate a couple of tops, one of them with whipped cream on it.  I'm not counting it in MFP. 
Tara, avert your eyes!
  • I had sushi for dinner. Quite a bit of it, but I don't think it was as bad as if I would have eaten fried chicken!


The mourning dove was in the feeder again this morning.  I didn't bother taking a picture today.  Later on, I saw a beautiful blue jay on our neighbors' roof and, as it jumped to the ground in their backyard and I got up to try and take a picture, I realized that they had a blue-roofed bird feeder and he was eating seeds that had spilled on the ground. But he was very skittish and I was never able to capture him, even when he was perched in the trees because he kept on moving every time my camera would finally focus on him. Arrgh, so frustrating! Maybe it's not the camera, maybe it's me!

Hear ye! Hear ye!  My husband is no longer a fishing virgin!

If you're a member of PETA, avert your eyes: today was a great day for Greg as he bagged a squirrel AND caught his first fish!  He said he truly felt like a redneck now, ha.

Last night, we were chatting after I got back from Starbucks, and he mentioned that he wanted to go fishing this morning.  So  I invited myself, mentioned packing a picnic and my chair (his reply: "See? You're already planning everything. Grrr." Whatever, Greg.) and made him agree that it was a good idea for me to come along :) He had warned me that he was going to want to leave early, but early in Greg's terms means 8:30ish.  That left plenty of time for me to get ready since I wanted to get up early at 6:45 anyway to make sure my daughter didn't sleep through her alarm as she was retaking the S.A.T. this morning.

So I did as I planned, saw my daughter off, ate breakfast, packed us sandwiches, put water in the freezer so it would be cool, packed grapes, my Kindle, gum, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, etc.

When Greg got up, I cooked him breakfast and then we were off.  We only visited Rebels Pond today, in the Withlacoochee Forest.  There is a maybe half mile long dirt road that you drive on before you get to the picnic/parking lot area, and we spotted 2 large black birds with red heads in the middle of the road. They were kind of far away and the sun was in our eyes so we couldn't focus very well, but they walked into the forest. We saw them behind the trees and bushes, and we're pretty sure they were two wild turkeys, either 2 females or 2 juveniles.  I need to remember to have my camera at the ready as soon as we turn off the main road when we go back!

We were the only ones there, once again, which it soooo nice.  Past fishermen have been filthy, though, and there is trash here and there. I want to remember to bring gloves and a trash bag and get busy picking up trash next time we go because it infuriates me that people are so careless as to do this!

Greg decided to head to the 2nd spot that we had visited last time, and I went on the small boardwalk on the water to see if I could spot birds. I did spot this one (actually, it was a pair of them and they kept flying from one end of the large pond back to this tree), but I also spotted a fairly large alligator swimming off the first spot where we sat last week (where my line got entangled in a tree) so I texted pictures to Greg and we decided, wisely I think, not to go to that spot today.
I can't figure out what those birds are... they flew in identical pairs and I couldn't get close enough to take a better picture!

After the dock, I meandered around the parking area. It's not a parking lot, it's a nice grassy area under pine trees where people park. There were lots of bird calls, it was lovely.  I kept on seeing cardinals, bright red against the lush green of the pines and the blue of the sky, flying from tree to tree and each time singing a little song. It was frustrating trying to take a picture since they didn't stay in place for very long, but I did manage to take one.
I don't think this app is accurate at all... there were actually tons of cardinals around!
Can you see the red cardinal?!
Otherwise, I took pictures on the outskirts of the parking area, and then I wandered down the slightly overgrown horse trail.

Invasive water hyacinth...
it's such a shame because it's so pretty!
Just look at it!  Argh.

Sorry for the blurry picture!  I'm glad I got to photograph the trumpet vines last Monday because today they looked shriveled and much less vibrant.

Great Blue Skimmer.  There were tons of dragonflies around and once in a while you'd hear a fish jump so I'm thinking they were trying to catch the dragonflies.

I had the hardest time getting my camera to focus on what I wanted it to focus on today!  Common tickweed (the yellow blurry flowers!)

Not sure what this is but I thought it was pretty.

Blue Curls

Pale Meadow Beauty

Sculpture by termites?!

Southern cattail, I think.

This might be Brazilian Elodea, I think.

I couldn't find this flower in my guides...

I was busy taking pictures of much of the same flowers as the ones I had photographed last weekend, when Greg texted me that he had caught a fish! He also mentioned that he was seeing "a lot" of birds. So I made my way back to where he was stationed and set up camp there. The fish was much larger than I anticipated, and my Audubon Florida guide helped identify it as a large mouth bass!  His first fish catch ever, we were so excited!  He did catch it with one of those plastic worms that we bought this morning.

Large mouth bass
Right as I was standing there, he got another bite on the line, but reeled it in too fast and lost the fish. After that, I just sat in my chair in the shade, facing the lake, and listening to the many bird calls and taking pictures. I was so content, I could have stayed there all day.  It actually didn't feel too hot, it was perfect.

The water was so calm, it was like the surface of a mirror.
Common Moorhen

This might be a cattle egret. It was very far away and I shot this with my 40x digital zoom so it's hard to tell.

There was a black bird of some kind on top of the bird box installed on the far side of the pond.

So I was very disappointed when he suggested we pack it up because he didn't want the fish to spoil. But we decided that we're going back tomorrow morning, albeit earlier in the day since bass bites better when the sun isn't strong.

Later on this afternoon... we have a bird in the fireplace!  We hear him chirp like crazy but he hasn't fallen all the way down yet. When he does, we'll catch him with a towel and release him outside.  10 minutes later... I caught it and we released it.

2 minutes later... there's another bird that's working its way down the fireplace! Dang it, I'll bet it's the same bird!


  1. You got some really nice pictures at the lake. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. I have that same book (the Audubon Society Field Guide) - ha! And, as you know, I took pictures of a water hyacinth, too. The picture of the lake with the perfect reflection in the water should be printed and framed! Yeay to your husband on catching a nice, big fish (and cleaning, cooking, and eating it, too!). LOL at "sculpture by termites" - I wouldn't want to encounter that on a moonlit night!

    Sushi from Publix is a good splurge - it's yummy and still a lot less expensive than getting it in a restaurant.

    1. It's a must-have book for Florida, isn't it? LOL. I can't stop taking pictures of water hyacinth, they're just so pretty. I wanted to gather some for a bouquet for my table today since no one wants them, but since we were in a state forest, I thought this might be frowned upon.

      Oh I love Publix sushi so much! It's delicious and the only store-bought sushi that I like. It really hit a spot last night and I could have eaten that much again, hahaha.

  3. Hope your daughter did better on the 2nd SAT, even if she thought the math was harder. Keeping my fingers crossed for her.

    Congratulations on Greg getting both a fish and a squirrel on the same morning!

    You did well with the decluttering! 12 items! Don't forget to keep track of your totals.

    Ooh, chocolate cake with whipped cream! Yum!

    Lovely nature photos as always! Thank you so much for sharing. Everything looks so nice and GREEN!

    Hope you are having a lovely day, today.

    1. Yeah, everything is green except for my backyard. Ugh. But it just rained a little so I'm hoping it'll help. Thanks for the crossed fingers and I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures!

  4. Beautiful pictures from your day out -- hope you had good luck today as well. We love Publix fried chicken and splurged on it last week. It's just so good. Today I'm trying to motivate myself to make dinner. We just got back from the gym and I am feeling a little worn out. I know I'll do it, I'm just having a moment right now... :)

    Our fireplace has a grill or grate or something fairly high up to prevent animals from getting in. We sometimes hear squirrels up there (I assume, anyway) but they have never actually gotten all the way down.

    My profile picture is of one of our kitties -- Princess Fluffy Bottom, in fact. ;) We inherited her from Michael's mother. She is in her teens but still gets into all kinds of trouble.

    1. Princess Fluffy Bottom?! Oh that's priceless, hahaha! Greg and I chuckled (well, he chuckled and I snorted). I'd be upset if I had to get a squirrel out of the chimney. We don't use our chimney and our roof is very very steep so there's just no way for us to get on top to see what's going on... and we're too cheap to pay someone. So every Spring we play the "wait until the birdie gets all the way down" game. I'm happy to report that the 2nd bird must have found its way up because we can't hear him now and he's not at the bottom either.

      I know how you feel about dinner. Ugh. I didn't feel like cooking tonight again but it's because I had to cook the fish that Greg caught today and to be honest I'm not in the mood for fish. I would have cooked burgers without any problems but there had to be a certain amount of prodding and begging and whining for me to finally get up to go cook. And now it's sitting next to me and I haven't even taken a bite!

      I know that you'll cook something delicious! My son could eat Publix fried chicken every day. Their family meal deal is pretty good (well, way cheaper than a restaurant if that's all we buy) and we usually buy it when there's a coupon to go with it.

  5. It looks like you had a lovely morning.

    Um so glad you didn't have to gut the fish. Yeugh! And as for the squirrel, big yeugh!

    I hope your daughter did well on the SAT and she was just feeling nervous about the math but actually did really well.

    I would have been able to resist the chocolate castle cakes either but well done on the sushi over the fried chicken.

    Have a nice afternoon xx

    1. Thanks Tara! And I'm with you with the squirrel, although I did taste it once and it's not bad. It's just a mental thing though. I imagine them riddled with horrible diseases.

  6. I did. I sang out "la-la-la" through the parts where you described Greg killing squirrels. But yay on him landing a good sized bass. It is wonderful that he knows how to clean and cook what he hunts/catches. And good for you finding all those great nature sites for you and your daughter to check out once she gets back from California. You seem to be surrounded by some terrific nature reserves for exploring birds and other wildlife, including wild flowers. Too bad you were unable to register for the extension class on cottage gardening.

    How disappointing that your fishing expedition was cut too short...and no picnic. Awwww. But you had a lovely time anyway, and you took some wonderful photos again. I particularly love the tree sculpture.

    1. I refuse to kiss him when he eats a squirrel until he's brushed his teeth, lol.

      I'm very proud of him for cleaning the fish, cooking it, and then eating it. The one he caught the next day was cleaned by him but cooked by me because he begged me to, saying that my cooking was better than his. Flattery will work every time, lol. But I should have frozen half of it because it really was too much fish... he ended up eating most of it for lunch today and that's all he had, because he wanted to make sure that it didn't go to waste.

      In contrast, I will baby my vegetables while they're on the plant, but as you know, sometimes I harvest them and then don't do anything with them to preserve them and I end up having to compost them. I think I like watching them grow more than anything else!


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