Thursday, September 30, 2010

Florida Vacation Part Two

After leaving the Alligator Farm we had looked through some coupon books and ads and saw an affordable scenic cruise and decided that would be fun and something we had never done before while down in St. Augustine. We paid for our tickets and were a bit early and so we waited on the dock. As we stood around we had a pirate guy pass us and he was into his part completely as he passed us saying AY MATIE in a growly voice. We had seen the pirate ship but didnt know that it was taking off soon, it was due to leave port just fifteen minutes before our cruise. As they left I took a few pictures. Shelby wished we had known about it so we could have taken that one instead. It was a different kind of cruise though, not scenic, it was more interactive with the pirates with songs and games and such. It looked like a lot of fun and we promised we would do that the next time we came to Florida. Next to that, for a teenager, I am sure the scenic cruise was lame, but we enjoyed it anyway.

The route took us around the bay. As we passed by things the ships captain told us what we were looking at. The pictures in the slideshow are labelled. If you want to know more about what you see you can go here:

The cross you see was erected by the Catholic Church, and you can read about it here:

Here is the best picture I took of the giant steel was beautiful in the sunset.


Even if you are not a religious person, this has to be awe inspiring.

It was dark when our ride was over and we were more than ready for supper. I had been looking up some local restaurants independently owned and we settled on a place called Hurricane Patty's. I had no idea what it was going to be like, and it was somewhat of a surprise when we got there.

Here is what greeted us at the door! I giant lobster, or shrimp statue.


My battery on my phone was going dead and so the flash didn't work since it was low on power, but I still wanted to get a picture of it anyway.

This was a waterfront bar and grill type place. The night life was in full swing when we arrived. We usually don't eat at almost nine o'clock, but this night we did. There were lots of people on the deck outside eating, talking and having a beer or such. When you walked in it was deserted in the dining area, and the kitchen was about to close, but we squeezed in an order before it was too late. The food was fantastic! Delicious! We all enjoyed it very much. We could see the bar area and there was a small crowd of locals having beers and there was a local band playing, just a few guys. They were actually really good and we enjoyed it a lot. It wasnt what I was looking for when we went to go find somewhere for supper, but it was different, in a good way.

Afterwards we went back to our room and collapsed for the night, tired from a full day. Oh I did forget, we stopped by the local Walmart to find me a plastic sand bucket to be told it was 'out of season'. Yet they had boogie boards where I stood? How can that kind of thing be out of season in Florida? Now I was on a quest, so we went to a local souvenir shop and found one, so I was ready to go shell hunting the next morning at dawn.

The next morning I went out as soon as I could see to get down there to the beach. Actually I sat on the steps of the walk at the beach til I could see well enough to go on out. I had my little bucket and I started out. Surprisingly after about two hours of walking the beach I didnt come up with that much. There were a lot of dead jellyfish, some driftwood, some trash (ugh) and shells here and there. I did find some unusual things, something that looked like green beans, sea green Funny. Lots of seaweed was washed up on the beach too.

When I returned to the room Shelby and Ian were awake. I set out a few paper towels on the coffee table and began unloading my treasures. I usually have an overflowing bucketful, but that was just not the case this time around. Here are a few pictures of what I found.





Now that I have posted about my morning excursion on the beach, I realize I have my events out of, this was Thursday morning, not Wednesday morning, but we will rewind to Wednesday right now.

Wednesday Shelby and Ian and I got up and made out for a full day at the beach. Everyone had their suits on, I slathered Shelby with sunscreen. Ian said he wanted to get some color while in Florida, even if that color was red, so he skipped the sunscreen. I didn't use any because I am outside all the time and knew I wouldn't get burned much at all. I thought we could drive down to the beach, that way we could carry our cooler of water and drinks and chairs, all that we needed, but, when we drove to the beach access ramp it was closed and the sign said open to 4 wheel drive trucks only. Mine is not, so back we went to the parking lot, and back through the hotel down the path to the beach carrying less than we had in the truck.

Tip is ten years old now. She is still doing very well for an older dog. Border collies don't seem to know they are getting older. I saw her daddy live two years after developing cancer. It was like he didnt know he had it, he never slowed down. It did finally get him, and he had to be put to sleep, but he seemed oblivious to it for so long. It has been several years since Tip has seen the ocean, but she loves it. She jumps the waves coming in and keeps heading out til she can swim back in, back and forth she goes. She loves to come out of the ocean and scrub in the sand. She loves to dig holes. At one point everytime Shelby and Ian would start to build a mound of sand she would playfully come over and rake her paw across it, messing up their beginnings of building anything. She had a great time, and thats just what I wanted for her before she got too old to enjoy it.

Shelby went out with her boogie board, fearless as ever. Further and further out she went, trying to catch a wave to ride back in on her boogie board, but it was not cooperating, they would break and fade out too soon. Later Ian joined her and they were way out. There was a little bit of a rip current and at one point Ian got swept off his feet and feet went flying in the air, but he wasnt worried. As long as you don't panic, you will be okay.

I watched them from as far out as Tip dared to go back and forth in. We keep her on a 24 foot retractable leash for her safety, and for the courtesy of others at the beach. A young boy came up and asked if he could pet Tip and I said yes. She loves children. He began busily talking to me and it turned out they were from Acworth, Ga., small world. He began telling me of all the dangers of getting stung by jellyfish and sharks and whatnot if you go out too far, like Ian and Shelby were doing. I shook my head and listened. His mom must have told him all this wonderful information to scare him into not going out too far. We know there are things out in the water. Its the OCEAN. We are fully aware. We do not live our lives in fear though. We are ones that take chances and live life to the fullest. Not with reckless abandon, within reason, but we don't live in fear of things that 'might' happen. No one got eaten, no one got stung, or bit. It was a good day. We spent a few hours out there and then Ian had had enough sun and thought we should go in. I wasnt ready to, I was really enjoying myself, but, I relented and we went in. We all took showers and rinsed the ocean water and sand from us. Ian was right to come in, he was red, and getting redder! Shelby had a few places I had missed on her that were red, but all in all she was fine. I was red, but I knew it would fade fast. By the next day it was already almost gone. Ian is STILL peeling today from his burn.

Here are a few pictures from the beach...








I didnt take as many pictures as I would have like to that day, but my camera quit on me some time ago and so I use my phone now to take pictures. We got new phones and I picked out the MyTouch Slide. I love the phone, but I didnt want to get sand in the slide out keyboard so I put it away most of the time we were out there.

Well, its noon, and I got to get a few things done around here before we are off to the grocery store, including making out a list, so I am going to stop here and I will pick back up tomorrow. I hope you have enjoyed todays entry. :) Dad, thanks for keeping after me and getting me to keep blogging. Some days it comes easier than others. Oh and I do think that was the St Johns River we went over on 295...I think. Have to go look on a map and make sure! Thanks to each and every one of you for stopping by and reading my blog. I know I was gone for a long time. I had people reading that I didnt even know read my blog, and when I quit, they came out of the woodwork and I found out about them. They were disappointed I had stopped blogging, so I am really trying to make an effort to blog more. I do enjoy it too, and I know this winter my blog will be full day after day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Florida Vacation Part One

It has been several years since we have gone back to our favorite spot in Florida for vacation. I had forgotten how wonderful it is there. That is easy to do when you have a nice house out in the country on five and half acres. Nevertheless, getting away from it all, including daily chores for me, work for Ian, and school for Shelby is still very attractive. When you go on vacation things are simplified, and I like simple life.

So we left the morning of Monday September 20th and crossed the main bridge in Jacksonville that afternoon. I was so excited to be in Florida, we all were.



We weren't far from where we stay on the A1A now. We stay in Crescent Beach at a place that has individually owned rooms, very nice comfortable rooms called Beachers Lodge. This time we went and got a King Suite instead of settling for a Queen Suite. I was not disappointed. Our room was very nice.

Our first evening there we made it down to the beach before dark. The desire to feel the ocean spill over our toes and to sink those toes in the sand was very strong. It felt heavenly. There is no other place like the beach. Where we stay there are no 'tourist' crowds, just local residents and the few people that stay at the Beachers Lodge. Most seem to want the same peace and quiet we do.

Several years ago when we went I would be up every morning, waiting with my little plastic sand bucket for it to get just light enough I could see to get down the walkway over the dunes to the beach to pick up the treasures the ocean had washed up overnight. The next morning I didnt make it. I am getting older and my body didnt want to get up that early, so I relented and got up after daylight, fixing coffee and tidying up a bit.
The hotel has room service, housekeeping, but I dont really want anyone in there messing about. Not because I think they will steal something, its just the way I am. I get towels, coffee, toilet paper and such from them when they come around and I can manage the rest.

Our first full day in Florida we struck out and had some lunch at a place called the Seafood Kitchen. It wasn't busy at all and we had a great lunch. After our lunch we made our way up to St. Augustine's Alligator Farm. This is a place we all enjoy very much and we stayed there most of the day. Not only do they have alligators, but they have all 23 species of crocodile in the world housed there. They also have educational bird and reptile shows. They have a whole room dedicated to Gomek. He is in the center of the room, no longer alive, he is stuffed. To read more about Gomek you can go here: and look under Gomek Forever. They have live demonstrations of feeding the alligators, that is always a treat, which is narrated by the zookeeper that is feeding them.

We had a full day at the Alligator Farm and enjoyed it very much. After we left there we headed to historic St. Augustine across the Bridge of Lions...and tomorrow I will tell you what we did there...complete with pictures. :)

I hope you enjoyed todays entry.

I have a lot of thoughts in my head I want to get out onto this blog, thoughts that stretch out beyond our trip, and I really want to share them here, and I will in the coming days, I promise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yesterday I looked to the top of the stairs and saw Shelby with her face in her hands crying, sitting on the floor next to her two serama roosters pens.

I quickly made it up the stairs to see what was wrong and Shelby says to me through tears, "I think Rayne died, he isnt breathing or moving."

I could see he was gone. I gave her hugs and consoled her the best I could. When we lose an animal that is close to us around here it is always very hard.

Rayne was just a baby when we got him. He was one of the many seramas I recieved from a very nice and generous young lady that lives not far from us. From day one he took right to Shelby. You could say that he claimed her as his own, following her everywhere and wanting her attention, as much as she would give him, he ate it up. It was that behavior that made him a house chicken right away. I fashioned him a diaper outfit right away. He outgrew it of course, since he was just a young thing, but I intended on making diaper outfits for him and Jackie (her other house chicken)both for the winter.

Rayne was a show chicken for one season. He made Shelby proud taking Best in Breed and Best in Variety back at the beginning of the year. After the season was over she decided she was not going to show anymore and just wanted her beloved rooster to be home with her. He was such a character, so full of life. Seramas are just the liveliest little things, and so sweet. They get into your heart forever.

We agree that there is only one way to spare ourselves the awful gut wrenching heart break we feel when we lose a pet. That is to not have one at all, and to us, that is not an option. For all the love and joy they bring into our lives, it is worth the pain we feel when they are gone.

Rayne, you were a good boy, and we will miss you. -



Monday, September 13, 2010

NW Georgia Poultry Show

I usually don't show any chickens in the later part of the year, simply because they are all busy getting naked, so it looks like chickens have exploded in the yard. Yep, its time for everyone that is not under a year old to molt. Time to get rid of the old feathers and in with the new feathers for winter.

This Fall season I have some newbies out of my bantam barred rock show stock (Shelbys former show stock, champion, that is). I sold all but four, two pullets and two cockerals. It turns out people want to buy these good looking birds from me and I am out of them already, so I won't have any to sell at the upcoming shows at the first of the year. I could hatch more now, but I am really going to try and restrain myself and have a chick free winter. We will see how long I can resist the temptation to crank up the incubator.

This past Saturday there was a poultry show at the Northwest Georgia Fairgrounds. The fair is or should have been going on while we were there. It started the day before at 5 pm, and runs through next Saturday night. We found out the hard way that even though it was the weekend, the fair was still not going to open until 5 pm. Seems like a waste to me. The bad part of this is I didnt pack any drinks, snacks, lunch, breakfast, nothing. I thought we were going to get to have some fair food, but it was not to be.

My good friend Karen and her daughter Tiffany, a long time friend of Shelbys came for the weekend to go to the show and hang out at the fair with me. My best chicken buddy Dwain was going to be there too.

We got there about 6:30 am, got my birds tested and cooped in and I put on my apron my best friend Sherry had given me as a gift awhile back (it has chickens printed all over it, of course) so I wouldnt get messy while I was putting the finishing touches on my birds (mineral oil on the combs, wattles, legs and feet...shine spray on the feathers). After finishing that, we started to walk around the still closed fair section. We came to the realization it was not going to open soon enough for our growling bellies and our parched throats so we piled into the truck and took off down the road to find some breakfast. We wanted Waffle House, but believe it or not, there wasnt one. I thought Waffle Houses were on every stretch of highway on every exit. So we settled for Ryans breakfast bar. We got back to the show and milled around some more, I took some pictures of some of the birds I liked along with pictures of my own. Dwain was taking an awful long time getting there, so I called him to see what had happened. No answer, but he called back a few minutes later. Turned out he had had a flat tire of all things. He had to go to Walmart and ended up getting two new tires. He did finally make it thank goodness. A chicken show is not a chicken show without Dwain with me! ;) He is my good luck charm. It has become a superstition of sorts. I only seem to win when he is around. Yes, its true! This time was no different. He was late so I didnt win anything big. I got great marks on my birds, Best of Breed, Best in Variety, Reserve Best in Breed, Reserve Best in Variety, but no trophies, ribbons or plaques this time. It couldnt be helped though. I don't blame you Dwain! ;) You know you are my best chicken buddy!

So the kids were bored. It was a double show, meaning one judge was going to judge all birds, then a second different judge would come around and you would have a second time to win. The first time around it took about three and a half hours. I figured I had plenty of time to get the kids back home and be back before the end of the second judging. Nope. Karen and I threw together a packed lunch for the three of us when we dropped the kids off and we headed back fast as we could. Got back, and they were done! Crazy crazy day. I still had a lot of fun though, because I was at a chicken show, and I was there with two of my best friends. :)

I also ended up buying two birds. A blue silkie cockeral and a porcelain D'uccle cockeral. The silkie is named Percy and the D'uccle Hermes....and yes, we just watched the new Clash of the Titans, so that had some influence on their names.

Here is a slide show from the show. Andy Schneider was there broadcasting his radio show and giving away free stuff and prizes too. You will see a picture of him and one of my chicken friends sons standing with his rooster next to him.

Andy had deemed himself The Chicken Whisperer and he speaks up for the right for all to have backyard flocks. He has a radio show on Blogtalkradio during the week at 12 pm eastern time. Its a fun show, stop on over if your so inclined. He talks about other things too with special guests, but I always like the chicken talks the best. ;)

Enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where To Start? How About A Poultry Show

So its been a while hasn't it? I hope I don't hear an echo when I speak into my blog today. Its been a busy time these past few months and I haven't had a lot of time to really sit down and compose something that isn't jumbled up chaos in my mind.

Once again, I am in a hurry this morning, but I thought I would stop for a few minutes and make that entry, no matter how small. I did promise on my Facebook page that I would, and I want to live up to my promises.

We left off back there at the first poultry show of the season this year. With much poking and prodding I got Shelby to show some birds, and it turned out that she was a natural. It helps to have great birds, but wow, I never expected her to take home every top prize at this next show.

Pictures tell all...



In the first picture she is holding Babe, our top giant cochin hen. She won Champion Large Fowl with this wonderful bird. But it didnt stop there. Even though she had resisted showing, when the lady walked over and set the first trophy down for her bantam barred rock rooster winning Champion bantam, it showed that she was excited. Then, a few minutes later, here comes the lady again, this time with the Super Grand Champion trophy, over the whole entire Junior show! Thats when Shelby held her face in her hands as it turned red as an apple, she was floored to say the least. All birds also recieved Best in Breed, Reserve Best in Breed, Best in Variety and Reserve Best in Variety.

You may be wondering what my birds did at this show. Well, nothing...but who cares? When Shelby won so big, I was just beaming with pride and joy for her. It was the best feeling, better than winning myself.

I have to run, busy day today, but I will do my best to keep entries coming. We have a lot to catch up on!