Shrimp, Blue Crab & Grouper

Lucky to live here on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where any day of the week Buck and I can drive the shady lane from house to gate in the Longleaf woods and drive roughly 17 miles to Joe Patti’s Seafood down on Pensacola Bay. We come away with treats like the ones you see above. Two pounds of Gulf shrimp go a long way with us: first night peel and eat with Buck’s spicy cocktail sauce, second time around a version of scampi redolent with garlic and laced with capers, then a third go chopped for a lunchtime salad. Similar story with the blue crab claw meat: tossed with a smidge of lemon butter as a delicacy with the boiled shrimp, then another night as a luscious topping for garlic-Parmesan baked grouper.

Hello Again, World

Like my old friend who lives here at Longleaf, gopherus polyphemus, I think it’s high time that I stick my neck out just a bit and come out of my well-upholstered shell.

I awoke this morning from the deepest sleep I can remember in a long time, hair tangled and damp and though a fever had broken. And maybe it has. A fever of the spirit, chronic for many months.

Maybe it was last night’s chicken soup?

Made from a whole (Publix Greenwise) chicken, carrots, celery, onion, broth and lots of fresh-ground pepper

More later, but the time for early morning walking is here and I’m not going to miss this incredible 52 degree Florida panhandle morning. We have had rain for two days, beautiful rain, breaking a high-heat drought that went on the entire months of August, September and the first week of October. The morning is glorious. Lou, the little Lab, and I are heading off to the gate. She of course wears a fur coat every day. I plan to wear my usual shorts and t-shirt and savor the shiver.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods whether it is morning, evening or dark night when you read this post. (Funny — when I first posted this, I wrote “Hope all is well in your neck of the words.” Freudian. And my true thought — I do hope the ink is flowing for you.)

Have a good one!

Toad in the Hole

I love a supper that makes me smile. Toad in the Hole is best in class on that score. It’s comfort food, too, especially after full days of meetings in offices, meetings in restaurants, meetings at our home. After all that talking, I want to put on my soft clothes, sit on the sofa with Buck and drink a nice scotch with a splash of water, enjoy a warm plate of Toad in the Hole, and go to bed.

my summer of no writing, no art, no music

Sounds pretty terrible, right? I missed the interior thinking, storytelling, and creative connection, but Buck and I have been working hard on a couple of projects that absolutely required our attention and best thinking. And are, in their own way, enormously creative.

We’re a little ways past midstream, so I can’t share yet, but that time will come and along with it, some interesting yarns.

Meanwhile, I did at least snap a few photos over the summer and when I looked at them this morning, that old desire to memorialize them in this space bloomed like the scent of a much-loved and nearly forgotten perfume.

Here, then, some summer snapshots:

Cicada shell on a fencepost.
Fragrant summer peaches, the best in memory. I remembered the old trick of dipping the whole fruit into boiling water for a few seconds. The peel slips off like a snake’s skin.
Some sort of fruiting spores on a mushroom. I don’t know if the spores were opportunistic travelers or part of the mushroom itself. Strangely wonderful.
American beautyberries in the morning light.
A favorite lunch: my friend, Bette’s, bean salad and half a buttery avocado.
Even the hottest summer in memory will moderate soon. Already, the morning temperatures are cooler and the before-7:00 a.m. air has turned from blast furnace to baby’s breath.
Collaborative supper with family: honey-bourbon balsamic glazed salmon, asparagus (half wrapped in prosciutto), cauliflower, and new potatoes.
Black beans, brown rice, salsa, wok-cooked chicken-apple sausage with onions and red peppers, and luscious papaya spritzed with lime.
Sugar snaps on romaine, tuna, and homemade hummus. Favorite lunch #1.
Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger on romaine. Favorite lunch #2.

pins in the ground, flags in the woods

It has been many months since I saw the first of these mysterious pins in several spots along the edge of the gravel road leading from our home to the gate.

Walking east through the woods toward our neighbor’s old farm fence, I couldn’t miss a plant the flag operation that was launched when we weren’t looking.

Since those spottings, we have attended meetings, met with engineers, striven in vain for timelines, and pondered.

At Longleaf, nothing stays the same.

When Wild Turkeys Return

2019 June 16 ~ Longleaf ~ near Pensacola, Florida

It wasn’t a rafter or a flock, but my heart soared to see two wild turkeys and at least six big-enough-to-fly poults strolling the clearing between house and woods last Sunday.

For years, so many turkeys lived in our hundred-acre wood that I collected enough dropped feathers to share with an artist friend who treasured them as do I. Several years ago, however, the population dropped precipitously due, I conjecture, to coyotes, bobcats, foxes and feral cats. Last year I caught a glimpse of only one lone hen.

It was pure luck that I was able to snap several fuzzy pictures. Two curious does emerged from the clearing, adding to the bucolic scene.

I don’t know the ways of nature well enough to know for sure why the turkeys disappeared or why they have begun to reappear and raise chicks. Perhaps they have been here all along and I have been shuttering myself in the house too much rather than walking the woods and observing as I used to.