Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

Saturday was the day for our date....After we had our coffee and for me some breakfast we dressed and did our chores then headed to Jacksonville.  We headed north on highway 309 picking up highway 17, then northeast on highway 207. Instead of taking scenic highway 13 north along the St John's River, Jim chose to hit I-95 north for a faster trip.  It's about an hour and a half drive and the Cummer Museum is on the north side of the river right in Jacksonville.

By the time we got there we were both hungry and Jim had planned it that way!  There is a cafe in the museum, Tree Cup and you can eat outside on the patio or inside overlooking the patio.  We chose outside and it was lovely.  No wind so the cooler temperature wasn't that bad although I ordered hot herbal tea while Jim had some iced tea.  The light menu allows you to choose something tasty to eat.  Since Jim was hungry we each had starters, he chose the cheese plate for one and I had bruschetta.  Presentation was very nice, artsy, as an art museum should be!



This water fountain kept some of the traffic noise muted.  As we sat there we could see people walking back a forth from The Riverside Arts Market a couple blocks down the road.

For our actual lunch we each had sandwiches.  The veggie burger was quinoa and black bean with grilled onions plus lettuce and tomato, so I opted to try that and it was very good but huge!  Jim had a French dip and he managed to finish his.  Sandwiches come with a choice of salad and I had the house salad while Jim chose the orzo salad.  We skipped dessert!

A few weeks back I had suggested this museum because of the large collection of Meissen Porcelain.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love dishes!  And I was not disappointed.  I chose not to take pictures because everything is behind glass and I didn't want to be disappointed with the results.  If you like this style of porcelain and you're in the area you must see this exhibit as it's part of the permanent collections.

We also enjoyed strolling the galleries of Medieval and Renaissance art. Fascinating art and the colors!

Outside on the river side are the gardens.  Not much color going on this time of year but walking around warmed us up after the chilly galleries inside.


Diana of the Hunt greets you on the upper tier


The English Garden is on the right


The Italian Garden is on the left


I found the Italian Garden more photogenic!
 


this boat interrupted my stroll, he was heading down river
 
 


Not sure where this Gargoyle came from, no plaque, but he belongs in this garden.

We didn't see all the gardens and I'd like to go back in spring to see what's blooming.

As we drove away from the museum we passed through the Historic 5 Points area and spotted a Starbucks so Jim turned around and we stopped in for hot coffee and a pumpkin muffin.  Great way to end our date.  I think another visit to this area would be fun.  We spotted some old, big homes and of course a park and lots of condos and apartments.

We drove home via Roosevelt Dr, US Highway 17 south to Palatka and over the St John's River to Welaka.  All in all a very nice afternoon.

139 days

  • 12,043,295 seconds
  • 200,721 minutes (rounded down)
  • 3345 hours (rounded down)
  • 139 days (rounded down)
  • 19 weeks (rounded down)

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this week in Welaka

I keep forgetting to mention the mundane...we replaced the batteries in the rig.  First time since we bought it.  By 'we' I mean Jim of course, he does all the heavy, nasty work around here.  Also, our electric hot water heater has stopped working again.  Jim has poked and prodded but so far no luck. Another thing to get repaired!  And the toilet isn't holding water....yuck.

A cold front has settled in the area and we are enjoying Autumn here in Welaka.  Wednesday was the first day we've gone without using the air conditioner all day or night! Last night Jim broke an ear piece off of his glasses and we made a run into Palatka to get them repaired.  All I can recall about the day was how pleasant it was and sitting out having our coffee that afternoon and watching the birds and squirrels.  Struggling through the summer heat was worth it!

Thursday was a shopping day for me. Needed to pick up some groceries and the ingredients for pico to take to the Thursday night pot luck.
Again, it was a lovely day and we had our first campfire of the year 



We're still not fans of this but most everyone sat around and enjoyed the warmth, especially after the sun went down.  Speaking of sundown, Jim and I spent some time on the dock watching the sun sink below the tree level. It was so pleasant sitting there with my honey, watching the calm water and the day fade away.  Not sure why we don't do this more often.  It's a short walk to the river.
 


Met some new folks at the potluck, a young couple from nearby but she happens to be from Texas.  Once the darkness settled in we headed home and decided that tonight we'd sleep under the duvet!  The forecast was for lows around 47 degrees, perfect for snuggling.

Friday Jim washed the truck and got it clean inside and out for our upcoming date.  I got a much needed haircut and basically we enjoyed the outdoors.  This weather is awesome!  I'm guessing the highs have been in the mid 70's.

We don't care for most of the network TV shows and our evenings are spent watching something on Netflix, playing games on our laptops and catching up on Facebook (for me).

Jim and I had a discussion about our trips into the 'big' cities.  It seems like all we do is schlep for doctor visits and hit stores just because we're in the area.  Oh and we usually have lunch.  This is all good and necessary but we're not 'seeing' anything.  So we're going to have 'dates'!  Not sure how often, but we're going to go somewhere just for fun!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dining Out and Travel Plans

Tuesday Jim had an early (0940) appointment with his doctor in St Augustine.  Once he got up and dressed and I had breakfast and dressed we hit the road around 0845, under threatening skies, for the leisurely drive into town.  I even managed to skip some of the views and read a bit of the book I carried to entertain myself.

We made the appointment on time but, as usual with any doctors office, he wasn't seen for at least a half an hour.  Good thing I had my book.  This was a followup visit and he's to continue taking Nexium and doesn't need to be seen again unless there is a problem with his GERD.

When we left the office it was sprinkling...so I figured that would stop us from visiting the old town and having lunch at the Columbia Restaurant http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/st_augustine.asp.  But as drove we found dry streets and no rain!  This happens a lot in Florida, you drive right out of rain showers into sunshine.

Jim found us a spot to park and grabbing the umbrella we started walking towards the restaurant which was only a couple blocks over.

We started with Sangria and ordered the Famous 1905 salad 



I ordered Salteado which was very tasty.  Onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, chorizo and shrimp stir fried with a lovely, rich sauce.  This was served with yellow rice.  I didn't finish the meal, bringing at least half of it home.  Jim had it for dinner.
 
Jim ordered Champinones Rellenos which is spinach stuffed silver dollar mushrooms.  There were six of them but I forgot to take the picture before he consumed all but two of them!


For dessert we shared a flan...and tried to finish off the Sangria....I was stuffed and left some in my glass...

On the way back to the truck we stopped in a few shops.  One had pottery from Mexico that I know is cheaper in the Valley!  Especially when you go to Progresso.  But there was also some from Spain and I noticed a softness with those pieces.  The colors were the same as those used in Mexico, but more muted.  Should have taken a picture!

 

As you can see the dark clouds had vanished and blue sky could been seen.  We never did use the umbrella



When we got home the new truck bed cover had arrived so while Jim was emptying the black tank he got it installed on the truck

During our outing we discussed where we would like to spend next winter and we both decided on Kerrville, Texas.  By the River RV Park http://www.bytheriver.com/  is a favorite of ours and today Jim made the reservations for December 2014. We'll stay for 4 months.

He also set up an appointment to get three windows de-fogged in Hudson Florida.  We'll arrive there March 19th.  I'm sure it won't take but a day so we'll need to find a place to stay so we can explore the area. Any ideas?  Maybe we'll just stay on base....I'll have to check on state parks and see if they can accommodate big rigs like ours.



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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lazy Days

We've been hanging around at home this past week.  Because of the Columbus Day Holiday the cabins were booked until Tuesday so everyone was working Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thursday and Friday Jim did a few jobs around the house, ordered some needed 'stuff' and relaxed a bit.

We've been talking about and researching future travel plans.  We're leaving here the middle of March 2014 and we know we're going to Hudson Florida to get a couple windows de-fogged.   If you look on a map you'll see it's north of Tarpon Springs and the Tampa, St Pete area.  So we'll probably hang around that area for awhile because we haven't seen it all!  If you've been to this area we'd love to hear about campgrounds (state parks too) and places to see.  Of course restaurant suggestions are always welcome!

It's after this that we're trying to figure out. Should we continue south and head to Key West?  Who knows when we'll be back this way again and we both want to see and experience Key West.  I was thinking that maybe late spring, early summer, even summer would be cheaper.  And we can stay at the Naval Air Station once we get there.  Would love to hear from you if you've been to Key West.

Also, since we're Texans now it would be good to visit the state....and that could take awhile!  Jim was looking at places to stay for winter 2014-2015.  We both like the Hill Country and we've stayed in Kerrville.  

North Carolina would be fun too.  From the coast to the mountains....decisions, decisions...

Yesterday we drove down to Ocala on a scouting mission. Jim wanted to see Wilderness RV Resort  http://www.wildernessrvparkestates.com/ in Silver Springs just east of Ocala on Highway 40.  The trip was roughly 90 miles heading south on Highway 17 and picking up Highway 40 in Barberville.  The drive took us through the Ocala National Forest and over the Ocklawaha and St John's rivers. We passed a sign that told us to watch for bears for 33 miles.  Alas, we did not see any, but we did see a gazillion motorcycles!  Apparently it's Biketoberfest week and they were heading east on Highway 40 for destinations unknown.  

After seeing all those motorcycles it got me to thinking about how they find their bikes among all the other lookalikes in the parking lot?  It's no wonder they get custom paint jobs!

We had lunch at Horse and Hound http://www.horseandhoundsrestaurant.com/ mostly because the sign intrigued us and they had tables with green umbrellas outside that caught our eyes.  Turns out the pub has good food!

After lunch we drove to downtown Ocala and just a wee bit further east just to get a feel for the area.  Lot's of shopping and eating establishments. Being Saturday there was a farmers market with what looked like ample parking.  Sometimes a venue sounds good but parking our truck can be a problem unless you like to walk.

If we decide to spend some time in this area it looks promising!  We may actually stop at Wilderness RV Park for a couple nights as we travel to Hudson next year.

On the way back home we did stop in at the resort and the kind lady at the office let us in so we could drive around the resort. It's a gated community and I'm guessing it's for security as they're in the woods so to speak and right on the highway.  We liked what we saw.

Back home we settled in with our coffee at 1600, watched a couple movies and had a light dinner.  The rain clouds we saw off and on during the afternoon finally decided to dump some rain on us.  The brief shower didn't last long and it managed to bring the temperature down.

This morning I was up at 0500, don't ask me why!  Just could not go back to sleep. Once the sun decided to come up I couldn't help but notice we had overcast skies and it stayed that way up until 1400 or so.  The sun started peeking out and we have mostly cloudy skies but the temperature finally broke 80

Jim is working today, as am I....stripped the bed and I've been doing laundry.  Roasted some beets too, smells real nice in here.

A lot of our friends are heading south this month.  Be safe as you travel.  Some will be scattered over the Rio Grande Valley, others in the southwest.  Wherever you're spending the winter, enjoy it!  Please keep up your blogs so we can stay in touch.

Hope your weekend has been a good one!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Getting up way to early!

Monday I was up around 0530.  I just woke up and could not go back to sleep...does this happen to you?  As I tossed and turned trying to go back to sleep I kept thinking of things to do, the people in my life, writing this blog, Boo....etc

So I just got up.  It's really dark and quiet at that hour of the morning.  But I was treated to an unfamiliar sound, that distinct hoot of an owl.  Sounded quite close

It was a dreary day with more and more rain as the day wore on.  I stripped the bed and laundered the sheets.  Jim was going to work outside but that didn't happen. 

We went to Belle's Bistro in Crescent City for lunch and enjoyed a nice meal.  We both had sandwiches which came with a side and we both chose salads.  Mine was a garden salad and Jim had a pasta salad
After we got home Jim took a nap and I caught up on emails and did some reading.  I also checked my eyelids for light leaks while listening to the rain fall.  It was coming down so hard it reminded me of the gully washers we enjoyed in New Orleans

Just some soup for dinner and our TV was tuned to NCIS.  Kind of anticlimactic after all the hype about Zeva leaving.


This picture is from a year or so ago when we were traveling through the south during fall.  So far I've not seen much difference in our foliage.   It doesn't get that cold here until later in the year. But we do have Rain Trees!  
http://toptropicals.com/cgi-bin/garden_catalog/cat.cgi?uid=Koelreuteria_paniculata
Haven't noticed seeing any since we left New Orleans.  Quite lovely!

Today I've been up since 0445!  Not sure what's going on but I know for a fact I won't be late for my 0815 appointment to have my blood drawn.

What time do you usually get up?  And is Autumn color showing up near you?


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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Do you ever get tired...

of doing the same thing day after day?  I get up, lately between 0600 and 0700, fix my coffee and drink it while I read magazines, books, cookbooks, blogs, email...etc.  Then it's breakfast followed by getting dressed, making the bed and doing the dishes.  Thrown in there on any given day is laundry and cleaning.  Day after day it's the same routine....I think I need a vacation where all I have to do is nothing!



It was ever so nice for this Tufted Titmouse to sit still long enough for me to get a picture.  He likes sunflower seeds and takes one from the feeder, finds a branch nearby and breaks it open.


It might be my imagination, but I think the squirrels tails are getting fluffier.  Do they do that for winter?


Almost to far away to snap a good picture.  This butterfly would have flown off had I got up to get closer

What a difference a week makes!  The mum is looking so much better.  Can't say the same for the marigolds, but the pots have been perked up with felt stickers from Michael's.  Jim thought the generic black pots looked tacky and I didn't want to buy decorative pots


Yesterday Boo discovered a lizard like this in the house.  Drove him (and me) crazy for about a half hour.  Not sure where it is now.  If he's in the house he can eat bugs.

This Carolina chickadee loves to snatch a seed and fly off...I took 6-8 pictures and this is the best one!

It's Sunday and that means Jim is working today.  The Saints are in Chicago and I hope the weather isn't so cold that they can't play well!
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Saturday, October 5, 2013

running around

Jim's days off have been a blur of activity.  He's been working on the honey do list, washing the truck and in between napping and enjoying the birds outside.

Yesterday we did some running around in Palatka.  I needed some potting soil so off we go!  First stop was lunch at Corky Bell's.  We both chose shrimp, his was fried and mine was boiled ( I only ate three and brought the rest home for Jim to enjoy), a baked potato and slaw were our sides.  Of course hushpuppies came with the meal and we washed it down with nice, cold mug of Shock Top

Next stop was Lowe's for the potting soil.  I looked at the plants but nothing jumped in the basket to come home with me.

Verizon was next to see if we could get a screen saver for Jim's new phone.  He ordered and received his Droid Maxx a few days ago and spent the entire afternoon setting it up and playing with the new features.  Alas, no screen saver, apparently it's a new phone design and all the extras aren't in the market yet

Then it was off to explore.  Since we got the State Park Pass we thought we'd check out the local park, Ravine Gardens State Park.  http://www.floridastateparks.org/ravinegardens/ We only drove through, stopping to get out once.  It's very....green...this time of year...I'm sure when spring comes it's quite lovely.  There were only a few people there and I'm sure the locals use it for biking, walking and running.  There are places to picnic and overlooks to view the ravine.  We both agree we need to go back.  Maybe take the trikes and enjoy a short ride.

Back home Jim napped for a bit.  Boo and I just left him be.  Dinner was yellow rice, black beans and sliced green onions.  The rice and beans were leftovers, they go well together.

Watched some TV then Inspector Lewis on Netflix. 

We're both enjoying the cooler weather.  I'm guessing it gets into the upper 80's during the day, but dropping into the upper 60's at night.  The AC isn't running all the time.  Of course this means outside critters are coming in and we're disposing of them as fast as we can.  One of the hazards of sitting still for long periods, the locals want to drop by and stay!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Recipe Wednesday--Cranberry Apple Salad

One of our fellow work campers went on vacation and brought each of us a gift when they returned. Knowing I like to cook, Becky gave me a cookbook, How About Them Apples from the Monroe's Orchard and Farm Market in Hiram  Ohio

I made this salad for our Thursday Pizza and Pot Luck gathering. Don't let the ingredients throw you, when mixed all together it is very tasty.  When I make it again I'll probably halve it for the two of us and skip the lettuce...maybe even try it with dried cherries.

Cranberry Apple Salad

2 large Granny Smith Apples
1 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup green onions
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
3 Tbs sugar
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup oil

Chop apples.  Slice green onions.  Sprinkle sugar on cranberries (I skipped this as the cranberries I used were sweet enough).  Tear lettuce into small pieces and line a serving platter with it.  Combine apples, onions, walnuts and cranberries. Whisk together the lime juice, mustard and oil (I think less oil would work!) and pour over the apple mixture, toss well and arrange over the lettuce

If you try this, let me know how you like it!




Cloudy Days

Monday started out sunny but more and more clouds moved in and by noon it was mostly cloudy.

Jim is working and I am too, kinda...Laundry is almost done and I worked more on updating my blog.  I'm still trying to learn how to add pictures.  I've noticed some folks on blogspot have a picture at the top of their page as part of their title or above it.  I'll take any advice and help you want to offer.

The cloud cover got heavier and by 1500 they covered the sky. But no rain so I guess that's good.

It never did rain and the rest of the day was good, just cloudy.  I made blt's for our dinner and afterwards we both showered and got settled in to watch the Saints beat the Dolphins.  Unfortunately we both went to bed at halftime!  So we didn't know the final outcome of the game until the next day.

Tuesday started cloudy too but we never did find any rain, just where it had rained.  Jim had a doctor's appointment in St Augustine at 1100.  So we had waffles for breakfast and a slow morning of getting ready.  A stop at the post office to mail a couple books and we were on our way.

He was in and out of the office before 1100!  That doesn't happen often....then we hit a couple stores, Bed Bath and Beyond and Michael's.  Then we headed to the beach for some lunch.  We tried a new restaurant:



Typical Pub Grub, Jim had shrimp tacos and I had fish and chips.  Mine was a bit greasy but tasty

After lunch we again headed to the beach and stopped in at Anastasia State Park.  We've been wanting to get a Florida State Park Pass since we got here and now was our chance.  For a non-resident it costs around $120 but there is a discount for military members of 25%.  A bargain if you like to spend time in state parks.  But what we didn't know was there is no charge for Disabled Vets!  Can't beat that price...

We drove around the campground and all of the sites are very nice.  Lot's of trees and privacy in most of them.  Not to many that will fit our big rig and the brochure says nothing over 40 feet.  This time of year there weren't that many campers.


Still have some wildflowers in bloom


the sea oats were looking a bit bedraggled


Northwest we could see the St Augustine Lighthouse


As we were leaving we came across this tortoise munching some grass.  As soon as I got close he froze up

Our drive home was an easy one, it's only an hours drive.

It was an NCIS night on TV
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