Monday, April 27, 2009

Fast-forward to Myrtle Beach, SC

Well, it seems I have been remiss with the blog....but time just mosies on; there's always something up, back at the Farm, or at the River, where we are spending our time. There are many tales from the Chicken Coop and those will be shared sometime!

But fast-forwarding to today(Sunday), we left the MH at the Farm and headed South to the Condo in Myrtle Beach for a couple weeks....We've enjoyed Spring in Florida, in Texas, in Virginia and now, in Myrtle Beach! And what a joy it is to see the Azaleas, Dogwoods, Flox, Blue Bonnets, Wisteria and Jasmine blooming across the regions....and, yes, Dortha, I cut the Dogwoods (Virginia's State Flower) too, for my little vase, just like those lovely Blue Bonnets! :) I will share some with you if you come to Virginia!!

The new background photo, above, is the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean from the porch. (Yes, Deb, that is sunRISE as in AM!) The previous photo was of a Church spire viewed from the San Antonio River, through the bougainvillea on the RiverWalk

Eric on first base
Eric (Kristy's youngest son) is playing baseball in the Little League, so it's been a lot of fun going to his games. It's his first year playing, and he's doing pretty well...he's a good hitter and gains confidence with each game, so I hope we can see more of his games when we get back to the Farm.

Katie's mare, Heaven Can't Wait, is expected to foal next week, so we may miss the big event. Paul installed a wireless camera and has uplinked it to this website and Heaven can be viewed in her stall every night, so the big event can be watched from wherever....She will have the foal during the nighttime, and they will call so we can participate!

So, there will be some sun-n-fun and maybe some Shaggin', and lots of Beach Music, on Ocean Boulevard......I'm so grateful to be here in one of our favorite spots!

Bob chillin' out!

Hugs to everyone!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Homemade Coconut Cream Easter Eggs

Happy Easter Week to everyone!

We arrived at the Farm on Sunday April already know that the TV wookalars were with us!!! That "little" project is well underway....updates later!

Paul and Katie welcomed us home with this sign on the Farm lane when we arrived ..........

No, it's not Happy Hour yet!

.....the kids often call us when they leave work around 4 PM, we, of course, can't chat long, as we would be heading up to Social or "Happy Hour" most days. Do you think they were worried about us????? It's good to have kids with a great sense of humor!!! :)

It has been mostly COLD and rainy since we embarked on Springtime in Virginia.....just following the course of this colder -than -normal winter.....Gee, Summer, hurry and show up!!! I can't wait for 85 degrees!!

Bob and Paul started Farm "projects" last week and have already completed the fencing for Heaven's new pasture. There's going to be an addition to the family....yes, indeed, I'm going to be a "grand-something" to a little foal soon! Katie has tiny pink and blue halters ready for the occasion! We have been there's always something to do!

Last weekend took us up to Catonsville, MD to spend Easter weekend with Tiff and Scott. We love our visits with them and the time always flies......we all cooked Easter dinner together, with Ham, Sweet Potato Souffle, Butter Beans, Spoon Bread, Fruit Salad and homemade bread. Their friends, Adam and Shoshonna joined us for dinner with their sweet little girl, Sophia. It was a lovely Easter day, and Spring was trying to bloom in their pretty neighborhood. Everything is lush this year...rain, rain rain!!

Coconut Creme Cherry Pecan Easter Eggs

1 cup butter (2 sticks softened)
4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese, room temp
1/2 tsp. vanilla and/or 1/2 tsp coconut flavoring
1/2 tsp. salt
2 lbs. confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz.) maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup coconut
Semi-sweet and milk chocolate morsels, melted, for dipping/coating eggs

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt. Mix well with electric mixer. Beat in the confectioners' sugar gradually. Stir in the chopped cherries, pecans and coconut. Add just enough cherry juice to moisten and hold the mixture together. Knead the mixture until well blended (I use a KitchenAid mixer with the heavy duty paddle). It should be easy to handle and shape, but not sticky. Use the palms of your hands to roll the mixture into egg shapes. (Spray hands with Pam to prevent sticking to fingers) Place the egg shapes on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Melt the chocolate as desired, dip each egg in the melted chocolate to coat, then lay on a waxed paper lined tray and allow the chocolate to harden. Decorate as desired.

Years ago, I would make homemade Coconut Easter Eggs with cherries and pecans. They were always very rich and I made them this year for the kids and Bob. The recipe is shared, just in case you feel the need to gain a few pounds in this good, old fashioned way!!! (They are you are forewarned!) Remember, the four main Southern Food groups are Butter, Sugar, Chocolate and Cheese.......we got three out of four in is good!!

Scott and Tiff
So, it has been wonderful to see the kids and their "fur kids" again, and to enjoy the lush green fields and's good to be back in ol' Virginia!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Digital TV Wookalars!!!

Those of you who know Bob, know that he is a "Master of the buttons", a true Audio/Visual/Electronics guru and he likes his TV "well done".......well, lately the TV Wookalars have been upon our televisions and satellite! Without a lot of boring details, I will just say that we have made several changes to our systems, and it "just ain't working"! After the recent installation of this "fluchi" (spell that $$$) HD antenna...we could hardly ever get FOX or CBS....well, I don't watch much television, but I LOVE Survivor and I like to watch Nascar races, which are on FOX. Cutting to the chase...... we arrived at the Farm and guess FOX, no race!! Paul reminded us that Fox has made the switch to "HD only" broadcasting.....and our TV's are not HD! OK......that did it.......within two hours of landing at the Farm, Bob had removed both TV's and the cabinet fascia's......we made a roadtrip to Costco and returned with HD TV's to replace the analog ones. He has the 22" TV temporarily set up in the front, while he makes arrangements to have a woodworker modify the cabinets to permanently re-install it and the 32" TV. Hey, and guess that "fluchi" HD antenna is working and we have FOX!

This was NOT one of the projects on the Farm list...but it's on there now! So I will be antsy until they get those cabinets remade.....I like stuff to "work the way it's designed to work" and "look the way it's supposed to look"......gee, I hope there's a dose of patience in the works for me, right away! :) But, hey, it's all good.....I can watch Survivor on Thursday night! :) And Bob can get all of his A/V "stuff" squared away so all of the "buttons" work! Life will be good again! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mom's Flowers still bloom

Mom and Dad always loved flowers and something was always in bloom at their house. Daddy had such a green thumb...everything he touched would flourish!
Last year, as these Jonquils and Hyacinths began to languish in their pots on Mom's little terrace, she asked my sister Wanda to take them home and plant them.

Wanda took them to her home last Spring, and planted them by her stone wall. As the Spring sun began to warm the ground this year, they came to life with blossoms just as lovely as the ones Mom had enjoyed last Spring.
After losing Mom this year, it's good to see her flowers flourishing! Mom would be so pleased to see them!

Dad's Calla lillies and Mom's Tiffany Rose bush were also transplanted from her home, to mine, and then to Tiffany's, so hopefully June will bring blooms from those much loved plants also. Some things just keep on living and giving.......

Thanks Wanda and Stuart, for sending these photos to brighten our days!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Deep in the Piney Woods heart of Texas...Lufkin

The beautiful Azalea Gardens, at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, TX

We first met Keith and Donna in Branson, Missouri and we enjoyed their company so much in Kerrville, that when they graciously invited us to visit them on our way East, we said "Oh, Yes...we'll be there!"...and we sure are glad we did! Talk about Texas hospitality....Paula Deen better be moving West from Savannah!

Serving tender and juicy Texas Rib Eye's for dinner after we arrived, Donna and Keith kept us well cared for! On Wednesday we all played tourist and visited the Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, the "first city in Texas",where we enjoyed the charming Azalea Gardens (an extensive garden, just a few days past full bloom, and truly lovely, see photos above) and then took in the Old Stone Fort Museum, getting a little history on the early settlement of Nacogdoches in East Texas. Legend has it that an old Indian chief had twin sons, Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, whom he directed to walk three days distance, one to the West and one to the East. Thus were born the twin cities of Nacogdoches in East Texas, and Natchitoches, Louisiana, 100 miles apart. Fact or fiction?....don't know, but Nacogodoches is a charming town!

Returning to Lufkin, (after a yummy lunch), we took in the Texas Foresty Museum and the Museum of East Texas. Both were interesting as they depicted the impact of forestry in the Piney Woods region of Texas (where all of the trees are!), as well as an artistic interpretation of the discovery of oil in East Texas, and how these shaped life in this region. East Texas is lushly green and verdant, unlike the Hill Country, Gulf Coast, or High Plains. Frankly, Texas is a country all unto itself, so large and diverse....I really don't know why they need Washington DC at all!! :)

Donna, Keith and Bob searching for the geocaches in Lufkin! (above)

We spent some time Geocaching, and showed Donna the Oregon 200 handheld GPS. Deb and Rod got us hooked on the handheld GPS when we were in Kerrville, so along with Mark and Dortha, Norah and Howie, and now Donna and Kieth, we all have this gadget to tell us how fast and long we walk and to find our geocaches!!!

Molly, Donna and Keith

Keith and Donna's lovely Texas Ranch Home

Donna and Keith have a splendid home.....what we would call "Arts and Crafts" back home, but it's a lovely Texas Ranch home with beautiful Pecan trim and a welcoming Texas flair...the grounds are green and inviting with an amazing lake that almost surrounds them.
As always, the favorite part of their home was the porch (you all know I love porches!)......
....and we spent many hours on the porch, just we RV'ers love to do!!
In spite of the many delicious meals, we had to find a way to top them all!! And Keith and Donna sure did a long shot the BEST Mexican meal we have ever had, was at the Cafe del Rio! We love Mexican, but this one is over the top...and the warm, homemade tortillas were served with honey and butter...makes my mouth water just thinking of it. Thanks, Keith and Donna for this special treat!!

Cafe del Rio...the BEST Mexican food we're ever tasted!!
A few more grand days under sunny, Texas blue skies, in our life spent with good doesn't get any better than this!
Hugs Keith and Donna...hope to see you in May, and many thanks for the memories and the warm Texas hospitality!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fields of Bluebonnets in Livingston

Oh, I've been looking for them since we arrived in Texas! We saw them in Rockport, but it wasn't until we arrived in the Piney Woods area that the fields turned blue!

Joe and Marcia amidst the Blue Bonnets

Yes, I think they are Lupines back East, but in Texas, they are definitely Blue Bonnets!

We finally made it to Livingston....home of Rainbow's End RV Park and a true pilgrimage for RV'rs. Joe and Marcia greeted us and we spent many enjoyable hours with them. (Playing Hand and Foot...and the gals did WIN some!) While on a tour of the facilities, which were impressive, we stopped at Joe and Kay Peterson's (Founders of Escapee's and Rainbow's End) house to view their gardens. Joe came out to greet us and give us big SKP Hugs...what a true gentleman he is... it was an honor to meet him! They have little memorial tributes to fellow RV'rs in their garden, and as we passed by, our trolley driver, Jim, said "That's my Ruthie". Noticing that the plaque had the name Ruth on it with the dates "1926 - 2003", and confirming that she was his wife, he reminisced about her, and how sweet her voice was. In speaking with him, he relayed this little story about Joe Peterson: "Let me tell you what kind of guy Joe is......many years ago as he was departing in his RV for a journey, I noticed he had left his keys in the car he was leaving behind. I said "Joe, you're not leaving your keys in the car while you're gone are you?". To which he replied, "Sure, I am...someone might need it while I'm gone"

I sure hope we can be just like Joe and Kay when we grow up.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Remember The Alamo

While in Texas there were several visits to San Antonio...and, wouldn't you know it, we just loved this city also!
We've longed to visit The Alamo for quite awhile, so, along with Norah and Howie and Greg and Jean we drove up to enjoy this historic site. You know the story...the defenders of the Republic of Texas were killed at the hands of Mexico's Santa Ana and his army, as they holed up inside the walls of the mission at The Alamo. The women and children were spared, and lived to tell the story, and it is, indeed, a sad tale. The site itself is much smaller than anticipated, but the battle looms large, as one can feel the drama that unfolded on the historic grounds. We have gained a new respect for that Lone Star on the Texas flag.

Greg, Jean, Bob, Norah and Howie, above

After reliving the battle, we wondered up to The Riverwalk for lunch...... and to admire the boats plying the San Antonio river with tourists.

Later in the week, Bob and I returned to San Antonio to visit his cousin, Donnie. Bob had not seen Donnie for more than twenty years, so it was nice to visit, catch up on things, and to meet his lovely wife, Kimmie. There was more terrific Mexican food on the huge outdoor deck at The Hacienda; a nice day with family.

And yet once more, we were drawn to the lovely Riverwalk area, as Bob and I decided to enjoy a boat ride on the river and one last luncheon.....I wanted to dine on the patio by the River at Boudro's, where the waiter will create guacamole tableside....and so we did.

Definitely a memorable and delicious Tex-Mex meal.......... (the gaucamole was great!)
.....Bob chose the Chicken Fried Rib Eye Steak with Garlic Potatoes.....the picture says it all!

A wonderful shredded Beef Tapas with pineapple and raddish was my choice....fabulous! Now we have to figure out how to recreate this dish!!
One more Texas locale that has charmed us once again!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Balmy, Breezy Rockport

Well, you already know that we really like Texas, and especially this Gulf Coast area...the weather has been so lovely and warm. It's quite warm enough in the evenings for me to wear shorts on my nightly walks....heavenly!

We've taken the ferry over to Port Aransas and Mustang Island, then on down to Corpus Christi... an area remeniscent of Chincoteague and the Eastern Shore of Virginia to us!!

The ferry is much like the one that crosses the James River from Surry to Jamestown!
And, of course, the seafood is abundant!! Before departing, we made the rounds to the piers and purchased lots of HUGE shrimp, flounder and even some lump crab....while the hard crabs won't ever taste as good as Martin's fresh out of the Rappahannock, they were still yummy! And we ate our share, and even made some crabcakes to share with JB and Brenda on the evening that they served us a great Canadian steak dinner....Brenda is a terrific cook and hostess and we sure enjoyed our time with them. Safe travels as you head North, friends!

Um, Um good!!
We also had the chance to meet Deb and Gary Pearce for lunch here at The Big Fisherman. We have enjoyed their company in Celina, Ohio and in Elkhart, Indiana and it's always a pleasure to see these two neighborly North Carolinians!
So we'll sadly say good-bye to Rockport for now, but we plan to return next Spring!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas

Yes, there is a Luckenbach, Texas, and it is a haven from life in the fast lane!

The fastest drawing armadillo in Luckenbach

Luckenbach was just a sleepy village inhabitated by mostly settlers of German descent, until around 1970, when descendants of Jacob Luckenbach advertised the township for sale, consisting of 10 acres of land, a General Store with a post office, and a fine dance hall with a maple floor. Hondo Crouch, a music lover, purchased the property, mostly because, as a municipality, he could then set and control the laws governing the dance hall and saloon. Local musicians performed and many inpromptu "Jam sessions" took place in the laid back Texas country atmosphere.

Contrary to the song, Waylon and Willie had not visited Luckenbach prior to their 1977 recording of the famous song...they did however become patrons of Luckenbach and in the 80's kicked off the Fourth of July Celebration at Luckenback.....the rest is history...and it is still a tiny sleepy little place with a population of three or so!

We ventured up to Luckenbach on a recent Saturday afternoon, meeting Deb and Rod, Donna and Nolan, and Chuck and Kathy.

There was quite a crowd assembled, listening to the local country singer, crooning under the pavillion. It was also the weekend of the annual "Mud Dauber Festival".....when the mud daubers return to Luckenbach, much as the swallows return to Capistrano.....thus a reason for a celebration...Texas style!

Yes, there was this cowboy there enticing the women to ride this bull (funny, but he did not entice any men!), so of course, someone had to ride the bull....and some others had to watch!

Deb, Kathy and Donna, with The Bull and me!

Donna and Nolan (freshly beard!)

Chuck, Kathy and Molly

Venturing to "uptown" Luckenbach, you will find a small farm, and this friendly farmer, Monroe, is an artist. He paints bluebonnets on granite, plaques, ornaments and such. When he is away from his shop, the doors are left open, with a note to make your selection and drop the payment in his pot as you leave......I did just that, buying the little ornament above, and there was a fair amount of cash in his little pot! What a great way to do business!! We later met him at the local market and told him he had a little stash in his pot....he just smiled and thanked as usual in Luckenbach, Texas!