Stinky Alaskan Fish Fertilizer better do some good

I love roses and determined that when we got a house, I would have beautiful roses. But I want roses that smell like roses and the ones in Home Depot don't. So I ordered 2 roses online. They came this week, with planting directions that include bone meal, peat moss and aged cow manure. I can hardly believe that I had to pay good money for cow manure, but I did. And for fertilizer, they strongly recommend Alaskan Fish Fertilizer. What does this look like?
Yea, it smells like that, too. But I held my breath and mixed it with water to feed the roses. One of them looks OK but my "Mr Lincoln" rose is a little skinny Groot.
Meanwhile Randy, who has more sense that I, decided we should not leave brush piled up at the canal's edge where the alligator likes to sun. It might make good nesting material, which would be a bad thing. I can't argue with that, although I did try. So he raked it all up. We were at Disney most of the day so I don't know if the gator crawled up on the bank again or not. However, a smaller cousin did show up, staying in the water, where good alligators stay.

"Doo doo doo, lookin' out my back door"

Shades of Creedence Clearwater Revival - looks what's out my back door!
We recently pulled a bunch of weeds out of the canal and instead of bagging them while they're wet, we are letting them dry first. I'm not sure if that what made this guy think about sunning himself here, but here he is, large as life!

He's mid-sized, so Randy named him "Appetizer".

I cannot say how much I love living somewhere where this happens. If Shorty or someone is hurt by an alligator, I will feel differently, of course. But whether or not we see them hanging around, we know they are here and we are always very careful when taking Shorty out or walking to the side or back of our property.  It's their home too. I hope they never disappear!  

Prime Rib for 8

Randy thought about going to a Disney restaurant for his birthday but the Disney restaurants have been disappointing us lately. Instead he decided to have dinner at home. Dan & Jaylene, Gary & Erin, and Rich & Kim joined us for a lovely meal that included baked potatoes, baked brie, cake and ice cream, and starred an amazing Prime Rib. 

Who gets the Oscar?

We recently went to Disney's Hollywood Studios and got our picture taken with Oscar!  They have an Academy Award statue there, waiting to be inscribed with a winner's name and awarded at the 2018 Academy Awards. I wonder who will get this one?


We spent the last day of Lance and Janice's vacation at Epcot. We started with by painting on the big paint-by-number mural set up near the front. Visitors are given a brush, a small pot of paint, and told which number to paint. The mural is huge and it's refreshed every day, so there are always parts that need painting.  
For a snack we got a big chocolate chip cookie, big enough to share. Since we were there during the Art Fair, it shaped like a paint pallet, with colored frosting as paint. The paint brush was pretty useless, though.
We had a fast-pass for Soarin', which is always great.
We had great luck getting on rides without fast passes. We went on Mission:Space, which is fun if your not claustiphobic. And Spaceship Earth, with it's classic depiction of the first computers' flashing lights (I don't recall any of that!) And the line for Test Track was short enough that we went on that one, too!
Then we went on Living with the Land, with its big pods that remind me of "The Body Snatchers".
We spent enjoyed going through the Miksukoshi Department Store in the Japan pavilion, admiring the kimono for sale and watching this lady open oysters for people to find pearls.
Today the "Jeweled Dragon Acrobats" were on display; this is the first time we've seen them. 
We had dinner reservations at the Rose and Crown. It's a great place to get a Guinness, but we discovered they have a small menu and charge too much for fish and chips. Oh, well, you never know until you try! We had planned to stay for the fireworks, but it had been a long day and the unanimous decision was not to wait another hour. 

A Christmas vacation in February

Saturday we picked our friends Lance and Janice up at the airport - refugees from an Illinois winter! They had decided to make this trip as their Christmas present to themselves. And that makes sense - it was 20 degrees when they left Illinois and mid-60s where they landed here. It was afternoon when we got home so we "snacked" on the antipasto tray and bread, before going to The Villages to hear a band. To our surprise, the band who was playing was the same band how played The Villages the last time Lance and Janice were here! They're not bad, but a cold wind picked up so we didn't stay late. We were still full from the antipasto so we just got some deli meats for dinner, instead of the steaks Randy had for dinner. And we ended up skipping dinner anyway!

Sunday we all went to church together, then came home for a lunch of deli meats. The forecasted rain came in so it wasn't a good day to do outside things. Lance and Janice like touring wineries so we went to Lakeridge Winery. And they were still having their 2-for-1 case sale! They bought some that we will store for them until their summer trip back. Later we discussed watching the Superbowl but none of us cared much about it; Lance would have been if the Vikings had made it, but as it was, no interest. So we had steaks for dinner, then Janice and I went over to Donna's to chat and borrow her Mexican Train game. After dinner we taught them how to play, and they learned so good that they both won several times!

Monday the weather changed to what people come to Florida for - high 70s and mostly sunny. We spent that good weather going to see the manatees. Lance and Janice have been to Florida many times but usually in warm weather, so the manatees were new to them. In spite of the upturn in temperature, the springs were full of manatees. There were over 200 there today!
It's good to see so many here, and less and less have prop scars. Although boats are still a danger to them, nowadays the cold is more of a threat. They live in the warm water during the winter but cannot eat there - there are no leafy greens in the springs. So they have to travel out to eat. And there is something called "cold stress" that can kill them. A docent told us that recently about 35 were found dead from cold stress. Not here, fortunately, but it's a very real problem for them everywhere.

Lots of babies are here with their moms. Since the babies stay with mom for 2 years, it's common for a mom to have a baby calf and an adolescent with her. 
A trip to watch the manatees is always so peaceful!

Good times with friends from church

Friday we had some folks over for dinner. Carlo and Ana told wonderful stories about their trip to Israel, Gary and Rich gave Randy some good advice about how to change the living room wall, and Erin, Kim and I talked about everything else. Good times! 

Randy had decided to do one of my favorite meals - antipasto. He creates it with several kinds of meats, peppers, cheeses, olives, tomatoes and grapes. I love this so much!
One of our friends isn't supposed to eat a lot of beef or pork, so Randy added a big shrimp tray. 
I don't think Randy can serve a meal without actually cooking/baking. At any rate, he baked true French baguettes to go with it all!
And he created my new favorite cheese dish: baked brie in a hand-made crust.
He spread the top of the cheese with fruits before baking. AWESOME!