Holy Mackeral! I Love Fishing!

The things I discover after all these years…Thursday broke at the crack of 7:30, my body and brain still not comprehending the concept of sleeping in. But that’s okay. It gave me the luxury of writing time before the others awoke. Mary Beth had gotten up before me, but she was at the stables since her horse, Cal, was getting shoed that day.

By the time she came home, the others were awake so we packed some food and headed to the dock to load onto the boat. It was fun seeing different personalities emerge in the unique way we made sandwiches. Chris and Jen are quite meticulous, and layer everything just so. Jen added some basil flair. Mike wraps his cheese on the outside of his meat and cheese sandwich, and I opted for Peanut butter and butter (a favorite of mine in spite of the fact that one of my co-workers had just publicly labeled this delicacy as one of the strangest things she had ever eaten. For the record, I find that fact strange).

We headed out to the Gulf of Mexico, stopping to get some shrimp for bait along the way. There was a house boat next to us on the dock, and it had cool art on it. There was a chair I could imagine Chris making, and some people designs that were reminiscent of Jen’s Kokopelli people.

Although I grew up on Long Island, I had more of a beach/sand upbringing than an actually out on boats upbringing. And while we have sailboats on Lake Ontario, I’m not really used to motor boats. We kicked the motors on and flew, and I loved it. When I was standing, it felt like snowboarding as  I adjusted my balance according to wave, speed and turn. And I really loved the wind on my face as I looked around at jumping fish, playing dolphins and diving birds.

We anchored and started fishing. I remembered most of my lessons from the day before. About one minute after casting my line, I got a bite. And it scared the heebie jeebies out of me as I hauled in the mackerel. It was huge (in my opinion), wiggly and mad! Everyone was reminding me to stay away from the teeth.

Our hosts were impeccable (as they seem to be in every arena), and they kindly and calmly walked me through the steps of staying safe as they got the fish off the hook and into our ice bin. We spent hours hauling in trout, pompano and mackerel as well as some ladyfish, blue racers and jacks (which we didn’t keep). Poor Jen was feeling a bit sub-par so she rested while we hauled, but she was a great sport and is willing to try again. Maybe with some meds ahead of time.

After a few hours we went back to shore.

We were humored as we motored in to find a crow yakking away to a stationary carved owl that guarded the marina. It had a swiveling head so we wondered if the bird thought the owl was real.

The guys cleaned the fish while we girls cleaned the boat.

We headed back to the house and had a swim and soak in the hot tub before eating our catch from the day.

hot tub

Lionel and Sheila (David’s parents) joined us once again, regaling us with tales from life in South Africa, where they grew up. Another delightful day on Marco Island.

dinner

 

 

 

Zeb’s Last Year as a Teen

Yeah, he was cute as a little guy (says this totally un-biased mamma). But he’s even more awesome now! How do kids do that? They just keep getting better and better… Anyway, I digress. Today is our Zebulon’s 19th birthday. And we are so thankful for him.

 

Zeb’s sense of adventure and eagerness to live life to its fullest is so inspiring.

 

I especially love when he shares this love of life with the next gen:

Life with Zeb is never dull.

We love you so much Z-Bob. Happy Birthday!!!!

A Testimonial to a Tree

Yellow Transparent Apple Tree
IMG_20140704_170532230
See that beautiful yellow transparent apple tree over the shed, shading our kids as they play?

We almost chopped it down the year we bought our house. That was 20+years and un-countable pies and cans of applesauce ago. We had this large tree right smack where our driveway ought to be, and it didn’t even bear fruit.

Or so we thought.

An elderly couple stopped by and asked if they could continue getting fruit from the tree. Observing our baffled looks, they explained that we had a unique tree in our yard. It was the yellow transparent apple tree and bore fruit every other year. It was the key ingredient in applesauce such as you have never tasted before.

That tree inspired us to chop, peel, and puree and even inspired this high-powered applesauce gadget. When winter winds trapped us indoors, we could pull a frozen pie out and pop it in the oven. The aroma and slightly bitter taste brought back memories of blue skies and picnics up in the branches of this beautiful flowering treasure.

Two years ago we came home from a trip to my mother-in-law’s and discovered that the tree was so heavy with fruit that a giant limb fell. It was a sad moment for all. But time went on, and the tree still showered us with enough fruit to keep us super-busy at canning time.

This Tuesday morning was pretty uneventful. My husband and I were were at my mother-in-law’s house once again while the kids held down the fort at home. The phone rang, and when I answered, my son said, “Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we are all fine. The bad news is that the apple tree fell during the storm last night.”

That tree gifted us right to the end. It blew down in the sweet-scented pile of its own blossoms. While it could have hit cars, the neighbor’s house, our house and/or our shed with kayak and canoe on top, it didn’t. It slightly scraped the neighbor’s house (and she didn’t care at all, bless her heart), and fell without damaging anything. I took pictures just in case we needed records of this in the future then put my phone away and moved on with life.

Later in the day, my phone chirped, telling me it put together a Life Events reel. I giggled a little at the dramatic impact music the device threw upon the saga of our fallen tree. But as I reflect, I do believe the phone was right. It was a life event. That tree gave us food and beauty, drew us closer to neighbors, gave our kids a hangout spot when they were younger, shaded our yard, and it will now provide warmth for my husband’s studio this winter. Thanks, tree.

Bliss

Swain Resort

What is your idea of bliss? That’s today’s assignment for Photo 101.

I tried to remember my latest feeling of bliss, and it occurred just a week or so ago at Swain Resort. It was a perfect day, and I was snowboarding with my husband. We weren’t freezing, and the snow was coming down in big, fluffy flakes.

As I charted my way down the slope, I heard the laughter of school-kids calling to each other and the whistle of a train wending its way through the valley below.

I inhaled clear, thin air and lifted my face up so the snow fairies could kiss my cheeks. Memories of time spent with my kids and friends danced around me as the smell of chicken wings lured me into the lodge after “just one more run.” Yeah, that’s bliss.

My Favorite Beach

While I love the Long Island Sound and have body-surfed waves in the east coast Atlantic and the west coast Pacific, my favorite beach is filled with love, laughter and a few tears. It’s a beach on Lake Ontario, and we camp there every year with our kids and friends.

Home and Roads

This month I’m helping out in the Photography 101 course from the WordPress.com Blogging University

I’m fine with the editing stuff, but have tons to learn in the photography arena. Still it’s fun to start somewhere. Lessons 1 and 2 — images of home and the road. Taken on my Moto X – cuz that’s the best I have 🙂

Home and Roads

This month I’m helping out in the Photography 101 course from the WordPress.com Blogging University

I’m fine with the editing stuff, but have tons to learn in the photography arena. Still it’s fun to start somewhere. Lessons 1 and 2 — images of home and the road. Taken on my Moto X – cuz that’s the best I have 🙂