Cooking with salt

Pete and Donna joined us for dinner and dominoes again, but this time we made them cook their own dinner. Randy likes to experiment with cooking techniques like cooking on salt blocks. Pete and Donna had not had that experience yet, so we decided tonight was the night to change that. 

Randy made scalloped potatoes and vegetables as side dishes, and prepared the shrimp and steak.
When the salt blocks were properly hot, he put one beside everyone's plate and passed the raw food around so we could take what we wanted and cook it on our personal salt block. 
The salt did a good job, but we talked enough that the salt blocks cooled down before we were finished. So Randy cooked the shrimp as shrimp scampi, then finished the steak in the same pan.

Welcoming friends back to Florida

The weather is getting a smidgen cooler now - at last! And one of the things that cooler weather blows our way is friends from the North! Brenda and Woody have retuned from their northern wanderings, glad to be back in the South where their hearts belong. We met them for a long visit and a good lunch at Oakwood Smokehouse, where the lunch special worth having: ribs and a couple of sides (but avoid the mac-and-cheese).
We met Brenda and Woody in 2013, when we were all at the Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort. We had a lot of fun and adventures together there, and were glad to find they were in the Homosassa area in March, when they welcomed us to Florida. Shortly after we headed to Orlando they went North; it's good to have them back!

Finally, another boat trip

We haven't had the boat out for over a week, which is a shame. What with the storms blowing through almost daily, Randy's part-time job, and me getting ready to sell jewelry at Renniger's, there just hasn't been a good chunk of time to do it. But Monday we got the chance and took it.

Getting out of our little canal onto Lake Griffin is always a cautious trip because it's narrow and full of fallen tree limbs. Around one bend we met another small boat coming in. Since there wasn't room to maneuver two boats, we both stopped our boats and Randy hand-pulled the guy around us. 

On our last trip out we found the mouth of the canal that joins Lake Griffin with Lake Harris, but the water was so low that we couldn't get through the weeds. Now, after the hurricane and all, the water level is a little higher so we tried again. The water depth here is just really shallow, all around the canal entrance. But there did seem to be a little more water and Randy swung the boat wide around the entrance to come in a little more on the north side, so we made it in, past the bird sentry perched proudly on the signpost.
This canal is a lot longer than the one between Lake Harris and Lake Eustis. There was nobody on the canal today, so we had all this beauty to ourselves.
We saw one small alligator (back where we turned onto Lake Griffin) lots of ducks and some lovely big waterbirds, but nobody felt like having their picture taken today. They all scooted out of focus as soon as they saw me.
The only thing willing to sit long enough for me to take a picture was this guy, hitching a ride on our boat. He's the biggest, blackest fly ever.
It's actually "Tabanus atratus", which sounds like something Harry Potter would say. It translates to "big black horsefly, and don't let it bite you!" I didn't know that when I got closer, to get the scale of the thing. Fortunately, he wasn't interested in me. 
We only went about a mile down the canal, before turning back so we could spend time drifting around Lake Griffin, enjoying our packed lunch with the relaxing rocking of the boat. Then back down our little canal, and home.

Rural King

This is the first place we found a Rural King store, although they are in several states. It's a big store that sells work clothes, lawn and garden supplies, power tools, fencing, and all things hunting, including guns. They are so rural that they sell live chicks - not just at Easter, but all the time. These are "Red Sexlink' chicks. That's a funny name for a chicken, but these were bred so that boy chicks are one color and girl chicks are another, which makes it a lot easier to tell which kind of chick you have. These are girl chicks, aka pullets. I guess their wing feathers are about to show up, which makes them look like they are wearing mittens on their stubby little wings.
Rural King also sells a limited range of groceries, including something that only the South could come up with - Microwave Pork Rinds. I didn't feel like trying these.
But the best thing about shopping at Rural King is that they pop fresh popcorn all day, and give out free bags to all their customers! 

Goodbye tomato

Recently we covered our tomato plant with bird netting to prevent Eastern Lubbers from eating it. The net didn't keep the grasshopper out, but it did prevent it from leaving until I could find the big ugly thing and get rid of it. 
Our plant got down to business and grew a tomato. Just one, but it was getting bigger. Until today, when I discovered something else had gotten inside the netting. It's a big fat caterpillar with one horn and it's called, rather specifically, a Tomato Hookworm.
And boy, does it like tomato plants. The beast ate our  only tomato, then stripped the plant bare. What a little monster!

Out with the old!

The stove that came with the house is an older model. It does work, but it heats unevenly, the burners don't sit level, and the drawer fall out. Not good. 
So yesterday we replaced it with a new one. This sleek thing is much more efficient and has a ceramic range top. Plus the drawer doesn't fall out.
And tonight Randy used it to make dinner, including something called Fondant Potatoes. Excellent!

Bank of the West

In the future I will avoid Bank of the West at all costs. When they fall behind on their processing and it affects my life, it's just business as usual. 

Hurricane Hermine passes by

Hurricane Hermine rolled in yesterday evening. Our weather radio and phone alert went off at the same time, with a tornado warning located 10 miles south of Leesburg and moving north. We are a little north of Leesburg so we gathered the pets together and I kept them in the bathroom, while Randy kept an eye on what was going on outside and on the news. After a short while it was over. And although the hurricane caused a lot of damage in some places, it didn't do much here. Here it just blew a few small branches into our yard and tore the new tarp that is fastened over our boat shelter. I am so glad we have friends and family who were praying for us!

What is a level 1 hurricane?

Yesterday we went drove around with Pete and Donna, going to a Senior Expo (it wasn't much), then out to lunch at JB Boondocks. Today we will get together for Mexican Train and a lasagna dinner at our place. But along with the fun is a pretty serious weather watch because a bad storm has been curling in from the gulf for a couple of days. That curl has formed it into a hurricane, and it's supposed to hit us today. At this point it's supposed to be a level 1 hurricane, and I don't know what a level 1 hurricane will be like. I guess we will see.