Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Marinating in Florida ~ Wednesday 6/29/16

It's been hot and humid but not to the point when my glasses fog up automatically and as soon as I go outside.  Still, we're getting there.

Last night I fell asleep on the couch while watching TV quite early, it was before 10:30 p.m.  I woke up at 12:30 p.m. and dragged myself upstairs... and then tossed and turned for 2 hours.  I was warmish.  I had 2 fans going on but the noise was keeping me up and they weren't cooling me off anyway.  So at 2:30 a.m., I admitted defeat, went back to the couch AND turned down the AC to 77F too. Then I slept until 8:00 a.m.  I felt guilty, thinking about our son and Greg in their tent, but oh well! Update: he texted me just a few minutes after I typed this and he said that it had been cool at night so they were comfortable.  Yay for them :)

This morning I'm on the back patio again because the pull of the garden in the shade is strong. But it's not very enjoyable.  The humidity level is at 80%, according to my app, but it might as well be higher.  It's hard to breathe, sweat is slowly dripping off of me, and I'm thinking, right at 9 a.m., that I might not stay outside until noon as I have been doing most mornings so far!  Of course, as soon as I type this, a nice cool breeze starts blowing as if to entice me to change my mind and stay longer. Oh, OK, then.

Also, my lower back hurts.  Just lifting those two heavy recycling bins to get them out of my laundry room and onto the hand cart did it. Ouch.

So, plans for today... well, I still have the darn dishes to do but I've made progress because they're piled up neatly and by category now, waiting for me to unload the dishwasher and then reload it. However, since my back hurts this morning, I might wait until later on tonight.

I typically go grocery shopping on Wednesdays but I don't really feel like going today.  I'm meeting a friend for lunch tomorrow so maybe I'll go grocery shopping afterwards.

A few things to ponder: why do stores wait until a month into hurricane season to hold their "Storm Season Stock-Up" sale (Publix) but start the "Back to School!" craze when it's not even July yet (Aldi)?!? That makes me cranky.

10:05 a.m. It's either become much cooler since I first came out at 8:30 a.m. OR my body has adjusted to the heat and humidity, but right now it's quite enjoyable being out on the patio!  Of course a slight breeze always helps!

On to the big scary To-Do List:

  • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
  • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
  • Scan more old pictures
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew - this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!
  • Get new potted flowers for the patio - still thinking about going to buy vincas from Lowe's. I did check and the sale runs through today.
  • Enter some Coke codes into MCR - Done!
  • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
  • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns
  • Fertilize the raspberries
  • Add more mulch to berm
  • Download all May photos to my external drive
  • Replace roach traps
  • Inventory supplies for master bedroom painting project
  • Research extension cords for generator
  • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
  • Find the cats' rabies licenses
  • Exercise! 
  • Sweep the main stairs
  • Mop kitchen 
  • Dust
  • Look into getting new connecting hose for the propane tank - waiting to get an answer to my email from Weber
  • Study dSLR camera manual
  • Read reply from insurer about son's prescription
  • Prep master bedroom with painter's tape
  • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
  • Declutter linen closet
  • Take donations to thrift store. Done
  • Clean kitchen cabinets
  • Investigate new paint shade for cabinets
  • Harvest and dry old basil plants. Harvested some basil, will microwave it to dry it later on.
  • Collect lettuce seeds. Done
  • Take items to the dump
  • Inventory seeds for Fall plantings
  • Recalculate Greg's W-4 with new paycheck info and bonus
  • Look at what's in the large bin on front porch and declutter
  • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
  • Declutter the top of the fridge
  • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
  • Purge filing cabinet
  • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
  • Send email to my French BFF
  • Add new genealogical information to Rootsmagic
  • Do the dishes 
To be done when Greg and our son get back:
  • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
  • Declutter coat closet/son's closet (shared closet)
Well it's past noon and I'm still in my night gown!  I'm off to take a shower, wash my hair, and probably run a couple of errands: RaceTrac (of course!), probably dropping off donations at Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift store since I have 2 large bags in my entry room that I want to get rid of. I need to put my thinking cap on to see if there are any other local errands that I could run while I'm out.

  • Breakfast was a mug of the free hazelnut coffee from Wawa and a chunk of the stale chocolate chip banana bread mini loaf that I baked a week ago.

  • I never feels like going grocery shopping... until I look up the new weekly ads for Aldi and Save A Lot! So many good deals on produce and I'm almost out of it.  I might just need to go to Aldi.  And if I go to Aldi, I might as well go to Target, Walmart, CVS, Dollar Tree.... darn it.  Well I looked at the Publix deals too on IHeartPublix and there are a few things that I could get from the ad that start tomorrow. So tomorrow will be my shopping day. The sweet corn might actually be cheaper at Publix (if I get the same prices as that blogger who is in TN), the cherries won't be that much more expensive (and probably better quality than Aldi's, let's be honest), and I have that Publix gift card to make it all free to me so I'll definitely be stopping by.

Save A Lot

  • I reused rain water from the rain barrel to water the Peace Lily.

  • I emptied a jug of cat litter when replenishing the cats' litterbox and later on I refilled it with rain water at the rain barrel and stored it for a dry day.

  • I reused water collected in the shower to flush the toilet.

  • I remembered to turn off the water while I was showering.

  • I let my hair air dry.  I rarely, if ever use a hair dryer and it's usually only on my bangs before going out to meet someone.  Which is useless with the humidity here anyway :)

  • Remembered that I had pledged to take my coupons everywhere with me, even if I wasn't planning on going shopping. So I took a few minutes to file the coupons that I had clipped!

  • Took a RaceTrac survey and earned a survey reward code for a freebie.

  • Making errands count:
    • I drove the Focus (better gas mileage than the SUV!)
    • RaceTrac:
      • Topped off the tank @ $2.21/gallon. AAA states gas prices were dropping but I guess not in my neck of the woods, where they've been holding steady. Still, I only needed about 1/4 tank so that cost me $5 and some cents, and I obtained a new receipt with which to earn a freebie.
      • Got my 2 Sodapalooza refills (pretty much free to me that this point, I've gone so many times!) and put one of the cups in the fridge when I got home, for dinner tonight.
      • Redeemed a survey reward code for a free corn dog.
Uh, that thing in the foreground is the corn dog.
    • Habitat for Humanity ReStore:
      • Dropped off all the donations from when I decluttered the cabinets in the freezeway: a box of frame, 2 full large trash bags of miscellaneous donations, 2 bags of party supplies and greeting cards
      • Resisted going inside to buy more stuff to bring home!

    • Decided to drive to Lake Louisa State Park. I decided to go to the back entrance of the park, because the way there is a little more scenic.  The entry fee was $4 on the website, but only $3 according to the sign at the entrance. I paid it in cash.
I wonder if I could have just paid $2... I mean, what is the difference between a bicyclist
leaving its bike in the parking lot or me leaving my car? Oh well.

  • I ate the corn dog from RaceTrac on my way to Lake Louisa State Park, for my lunch.

  • Back home, I was still hungry so I made myself 2 egg and bacon burritos with 2 flour tortillas that I had bought with coupons at Dollar Tree a couple of months ago. I had 4 tomatoes from the garden too. They're good enough to eat plain :)

  • I ate while I watched an episode of Seinfeld on Crackle via the Roku (free channel).

  • I harvested the garden: tomatoes, jalapeños, serrano peppers, 2 small green peppers (but one had started to show yellow spots so I thought I should harvest them before they rotted on the plant), a few green peppers.  Woohoo!  Now, what to do with all those jalapeños and serranos?  LOL. I guess I'll have having jalapeño soup for lunch every day for a few weeks?

  • I also harvested some basil, rosemary, and thyme. I reused Chinese take-out containers to hold them until I decided how to process them. I'll dry the basil in the microwave, but I might let the thyme and rosemary air dry.

  • I watched more episodes of Seinfeld on Crackle while harvesting Bibb lettuce seeds from their pods that I had been drying for a few weeks.

  • Then I went in the garden and harvested more lettuce flower heads and set them out to dry.

  • Thanks so much to Rosie who send me a couple of Coke Rewards codes that she and her wife had collected and weren't using!  You are awesome :)  I also input more codes that I had been saving, up to my weekly limit. I need to remember to do this every week so I enter them all because I have quite a few saved up.

  • I think I'll pay Lowe's a visit tomorrow: they have cone flowers on sale for $3.33 and also 3-quart vinca planters for $5 and 1 pint annuals for just $1.15 each.  I need to remember to bring the SUV then and not the Focus!

  • I used rain water to water the indoor zombie plants.

  • I dried the basil in the microwave. I will process it in the coffee grinder tomorrow.

  • My dinner was the 2nd steak and the rest of the tomatoes that I grilled yesterday. I ate them cold, with a side of whole grain mustard for the steak. Yum!  Oh, and I had the 2nd CF Diet Coke from RaceTrac. 

  • I ate my dinner while watching episodes of the Jeff Foxworthy Show on Crackle.

  • Greg and our son went on 2 cavern tours at Mammoth Caverns
  • Gas and $3 for admission to Lake Louisa State Park

  • The small non-stick baking loaf pan that I used to bake the banana bread mini loaf last week is losing its coating. I can't remember if I had bought it from Dollar Tree, but I think I'll just throw it away because I don't want that stuff mixed in with my food. Today I was able to scrape it off the bottom of the loaf.

  • I wanted to listen to some classical music but IheartRadio doesn't seem to be working today... Amazon Music to the rescue!  Well, no, somehow now I can't seem to play anything else than what's in "My Library" on the Roku app and none of the Amazon Prime music that I download actually shows up in the Amazon Music app and now I can't seem to be able to play the music on my laptop either because it requires me to have Flash. I have Flash, as a matter of fact, I just updated it this week. But it won't let me play the music.  Arrgh. Kindle Fire?  Finally, yes.  

  • I had some food waste: a cucumber that I bought and never used and a few serrano peppers from the garden that went from ripe to rotting.  I composted all of that.

  • Fed the cats
  • Organized the dirty dishes so they're ready to be put in the dishwasher
  • Watered the Peace Lily
  • Swept the laundry room
  • Cleaned the two litter boxes
  • Filtered water for the cats
  • Worked on my shopping list
  • Caught up on blogs and commenting
  • Made my bed
  • Put laundry away
  • Took a customer satisfaction survey
  • Put clipped coupons away in my organizer
  • Confirmed lunch plans for tomorrow
  • Ran errands
  • Cooked my lunch
  • Harvested the garden
  • Deadheaded roses
  • Pulled weeds
  • Harvested lettuce seeds
  • Harvested more lettuce seed heads
  • Pulled more weeds
  • Propped up tomato plants
  • Pulled dead branches off tomato plants
  • Watered indoor zombie plants
  • Texted my daughter
  • Texted Youngest Son and Greg
  • Scanned daughter's final report card and emailed it to her and my ex
  • Dried basil in microwave
  • Picked up hairballs (yuck!)
  • Fed the cats
  • Prepped my dinner
  • Texted with Greg

  • Air conditioning!
  • When all else was failing, my Kindle Fire and Bluetooth speaker came to the rescue and I was able to listen to classical music.
  • Being able to harvest seeds and cuttings from my own plants and regrow vegetables and plants from them

When I first came out on the patio to wipe out the furniture, a dove and a squirrel were in the bird bath, but I didn't have my camera.  Then, as I sat down, a female cardinal showed up and used the new blue bird feeder, finally!  Later on, the male also showed up, first landing on the electric cable running over my backyard and squeaking his little song, and then he went to the cardinal feeder.  My birds don't like their picture taken, I think.  They always either present me their backside or go hide on the far side of the feeder where I can't get a good shot :(

I haven't seen the red bellied woodpeckers in over a week.  They're not supposed to be migratory birds but I wonder if they've moved?!  I miss them.

This morning, there were lots of blooms on my roses (well, lots for me!) and on my hibiscus.  I love to see flowers in my own backyard!  I'm not a good flower gardener.

Also: the grass needs to be mowed. It's time for Greg to get home!

I saw a picture of my verbena in Birds & Blooms and they call it "Babylon Neon Rose Verbena".  I've had it in large pots on my patio ever since Greg built it for me over two years ago, and they have never stopped flowering, although this year they're noticeably less showy than in years past.  I never knew what they were!  So Bless first told me they were verbena and now I know the official name too, which makes me happy.  I'll need to find some more next Spring (I had bought them in April 2014, I believe).

There's a white ibis that flies all by itself over my garden every morning.  It's actually a lovely sight, almost like the signal that it's time to start a new day :)

It's supposed to be partly cloudy with 60% chance of thunderstorms today, but at 9:15 a.m. the sky is blue!

And you can still see the moon...

And a small place flew by. It looks like a toy plane, doesn't it?  I saw that the nearby airport is for sale.  My brother who flies his own plane would die if Greg and I bought an airport, lol.

It's now 10 a.m. and I've had cardinals flying to the feeder all morning!  I'd like to think that the cardinal population has increased since I've started putting seeds in the feeder again :)

I haven't seen any hummingbirds today. Not sure if I'm missing them as I'm typing on the laptop or if they just didn't show up today.

Well, I think it's time for me to go back inside as the neighbor is driving its ride-on mower next door and finally mowing their grass.  It's hard to enjoy the great outdoors when they get so noisy and I'm guessing the birds will stay away for a while. That's a shame because one of them had just started serenating me from the top of a nearby tree. Hey, the neighbor is mowing on my side of the property line.  Grrr. I'm very territorial.  We really need to put up a fence.  I'm going to talk to Greg about it.  It's time!

Later on this afternoon, I took a tour of the garden:

Remember the tadpoles? There are fewer of them and the ones that remain are still tiny, but they look more like frogs now.

Mutant jalapeño!

I was going to weed this planter and spotted this baby basil plant right in time!

It's much better all by itself, now!

Hey, I've got a strawberry that's ripening!

And more are forming.  They're loving that multi-level planter from Aldi. I should have bought more.
Although, the semi-shade location is probably the best factor since my other ones are pretty much in full shade.


My timing was off... I decided to go there after I ran my errands but we all know that we get thunderstorms in the afternoons and I had barely spent 20 minutes there when the clouds got dark and I heard thunder and then saw lightning in the distance... I was able to get on the Nature Trail but I thought that maybe being under trees in the middle of a thunderstorm wasn't very smart, so I doubled back to my car and left.  I'll have to go back one morning!

I went to the back entrance. It's closer to my house and reminded me of field trips taken with the kids when they were little since I used to bring them to the beach there to go swimming and playing in the water.  Ah, memories!

The short paved road soon becomes a short unpaved road that's pretty well maintained, and a small unmanned parking lot. The entrance is unmanned too and I guess you could tempt fate and not pay the $3 entrance fee by leaving your cash in the envelope and the special slot, but I'm honest. I'm cheap but a ticket would cost me more than the $3.

The boardwalk to the left leads to the lake and a path to the beach.  The boardwalk on the right is new, I think and it leads to...

A port-a-potty!  It's nice to have, but there are nice bathrooms and showers at the beach, which really is pretty close-by.

Meadow Beauty

Short boardwalk to Lake Louisa

Lots of beautiful pine trees all around!

Approaching the lake...

Lake Louisa is very large and part of the Chain of Lakes.

Pine tree. I'm too lazy to look up which one!

But its bark reminded me of brownies. I think we should call it the Brownie Pine Tree!
(What? I only had a small corn dog for lunch!)

White Milk Pea

Florida Tasselflower

I don't know what plant this is. but I thought it was interesting because the fruit were giving it fur-like stems.

That looks like an oak tree straight out of the scene when Snow White is trying to run away from the hunter (the Disney animated movie version)

I guess there aren't any gators in that swamp... the algae is completely covering the surface of the water.

I love the colors of that red and yellow leaf against the greenery!

Approaching the beach, there are a few barbecue stations and picnic tables.

Ohh, this is new. They didn't have a playground when my kids were little... dang it.

There were kids swimming at the beach.

I sat on a large bench right outside the bathrooms/showers, facing the beach.  Last time we were there, the lake level was much lower and the beach extended all the way to about the edges of those grass patches over there, where the sign in the water is.  Maybe even past that sign! . My boys used to boogie board in the shallow water and we caught tadpoles in our water bottles.

Lake Louisa is the 3rd lake from the top.  My former in-laws used to live on Lake Minneola (the top lake) so we would take their boat all the way through the chain of lakes, to Lake Louisa and would come waterski on this lake and also look at the "ritzy" homes.

This is the "tea colored" water. It's pretty clear when it's very shallow but gets much darker as the depth changes. This is why Jaycee Beach, on Lake Minneola, was closed for many years.  The city feared that it was too dark, in case of an emergency.

Memorial to a WWII serviceman who crashed his place in the lake in 1944. The plane wasn't
discovered until 2001, the year when the kids and I started visiting this beach.

Since the walk to the beach was very short (less than 10 minutes) and there wasn't much else to see, I decided to explore the edges of the main parking lot because I remembered seeing some trails there before...

I think these are Elderberries.

Elderberry flowers

Pond Cypress


The fruit of the Beautyberry turns purple when ripe.

I wasn't planning on walking the whole trail, just maybe half a mile, and then turn around...

Entrance to the Nature Trail

Trumpet Honeysuckle

Close-up of the Trumpet Honeysuckle flowers

OK, let's go... uh oh, what's that I hear?  Thunder?

Turning around, I see this... and hear loud thunder and suddenly lightning... well, time to hike it back the 10 minutes or so to my car!  Under the trees. near the water. Great.  A wonderful location for me to get struck by lightning!  But it didn't happen and I made it back to the car before the rain started.

But it when I was about a mile away from the park!
And yet... it never rained at my house!  Poop.  So I will need to get back to Lake Louisa State Park and try to hike that Nature Trail. Maybe Greg will come with me.


  1. I had to laugh at the title of today's post and the picture! Great photos as always. Love the pictures of the birds, the garden, and your field trip. You did a lot of chores, too! I wish you could send me some of that rain. Hope you have a great day, tomorrow.

    1. I wish it had rained here too but the rain never did make it to my house. Oh well, there's always tonight... but it's now 5:21 p.m. and it hasn't rained yet so we'll probably get another dry day.

      I hope you had a great day as well, Bless!

  2. Those egg and bacon tortillas look awesome good. And the steak and grilled tomatoes.....Mmmmm. Breakfast?? Not so much...."a chunk of stale chocolate chip banana bread" Are those the best descriptive words you got?

    What a fantastic tour you took us on today. I love this park with its boardwalks and trails through those wonderful pine trees. The flora here seems quite different from other trails you have taken us. I am glad you incorporated the descriptions of the chain of lakes, the green swamp, the tannin turning the lakes into tea-coloured water, and the memorial erected for the serviceman who went down. All of it was very interesting. I like pond cypress, Spanish moss and Beauty berry. That spooky oak tree would make a lovely framed picture. Yes, I think you will have to bring us back there. Ha.

    1. But, Susan, it WAS just a chunk of stale banana bread, lol! I'd make a very poor advertising executive.

      Isn't it nice to visit hot and humid places from the comfort of your own cool living room? I just looked at the pictures again and I'm so glad I can reminisce while being in a 74F room! There weren't many flowers and even fewer birds, but I was hoping that the nature trail would prove interesting. Oh well, we'll have to go back, won't we? But not today. Greg texted me that he's coming home tonight (well, at about 1:30 a.m. instead of tomorrow night) so on top of being tired because I spent the morning shopping, I now have to do the dishes, mop the kitchen, etc. all things that I had planned on doing tomorrow! My plantar fasciitis has flaired up again so standing up is painful and my back still hurts, but I'm glad they'll be home sooner!

  3. Lot's of nice pictures again and I especially like the oak tree. You're right it looks just like it came from a Disney movie.

    1. I was always terrified of that scene in Snow White (and of the witch of course, I'm still afraid of her and I'm 48!) so now that I have made that connection, I wonder if I'll dare walk by that tree on my own again,lol.

  4. Fantastic shots of the cardinal! We had a pair visiting our bird feeder, but I never got a picture.

    1. One of them actually sat there on the wire for quite a while and groomed itself. I felt bad for it because he kept scratching itself, here and there. It must be hard when you don't have hands! It was nice to see it sit in one spot for a while for once, they tend to move very often otherwise and my camera doesn't focus fast enough to catch them, a lot of times.


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