Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Hike in My Backyard

It isn't far, one house down...just turn the corner and there is a path into the woods.  Today, after living here for almost nine months, I ventured in.  

My sister Patty and Bro-in-law Wayne were my guides. 
 Once through the woods....it's all sandy.  Well, it's actually sandy through the woods as well..all the way to the Gulf of Mexico a scant quarter mile away.
This brave soul never gets lost.  Patty and I were turned around not long after the first stop!

 We saw Tortoise tracks
 I forgot what he said these were, but in the middle there was some sort of skirmish.
Snake tracks from one side to the other.  Can you guess which way the snake was going?  Wayne knew.  Right to left.  

 There was more vegetation as we got closer to the canal
 An entrance through the vegetation to the freshwater canal.  I was waiting for an alligator to run out at us, if you open the picture big...you can see the eyes.  Just kidding.  We didn't see one.  However, Wayne did see a 12 footer a few days ago.  

A better view down the canal

We found this turtle shell.  It's a turtle not a tortoise.  This one is much smaller than our tortoise.  The scales were thin and as I walked the wind blew them off.  I jumped a foot the first time this happened.  A few spiders crawled out but I made short work of them!!  I brought the shell home for my garden.  

Then we hiked a couple of hundred yards on to the pond.  I was so surprised at how large it was.

Hiking back....


 Wayne was the last one out of the wood...he lingered behind to find a snake to show us. 
 It's tiny but mighty.
 Quite colorful.  Wayne assured us it didn't bite.
We all held it.  Patty worried I had gotten sunburn.  I said no...just exertion.  But later I discovered it was sunburn as well.  We should have gone an hour earlier when it was a bit foggy and misty cool.  I also should have worn a hat!


I took a quick video to show how wiggly it was.  Too bad I held the camera sideways! 

  We walked to the canal and then the pond.  Then back to the road where Wayne found the snake.  It was about an hour but only because I was slow and I made everyone stop and rest often.  Ummm, just about every time I found shade. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


My three sisters, my mom and I all spent the afternoon together!  What is better than lunch at Applebee's and shopping?  It was just us girls today.  A very rare occasion when it's only us. The original family.

Later when some went home and husbands joined us, we did some long neglected chores around Mom's house, had some home cooking and chocolate.

The evening ended with five of us over at my house, all around the dining room table playing Apples to Apples.  Wayne remarked that all of us have known each other since 1970.  Some of us going back to as early as 1951. And here we are laughing together all evening.    Nice.  We are making memories here at Tortoise Cottage.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thrifting Saturday

My sister is visiting from California so what better excuse is there to go out to lunch and do a little thrifting afterwards?  Actually a little before and afterwards!

Here are my finds today!

These cute Pyrex dishes were $1.06 each and are just perfect for individual servings of fruit or dessert.  Since there are just two of us here....I snapped them up in a hurry!  I love the sunny yellow.

I had a little accident and a cupboard shelf tipped forward sending four or five coffee mugs to the tile floor and several Coke glasses.  One was a favorite mug I recently thrifted. (top right)  I blogged about finding it last fall for a stocking stuffer.  BUT...I loved it so much I began using it and decided to keep it.  It was my mug of choice up until last Saturday.

So I've been looking for replacements.  I'm pretty picky about my coffee mugs and I loved this one.  It is sized just right, colored inside, it has some aqua color and is very spring-y.  It's artsy, hand painted and good quality.  Happy me! $1.06

 I do not need this, I do not need this.  I don't even collect them, but I just loved it.  It's a pink Luster Ware plastic salt shaker.

You can barely make out the etching that spells SALT on the front.  The lid untwists and it can be filled.  It's tiny, maybe holds a quarter cup salt.  I loved it.  $.39 

Was it the aqua design?  Was it the oriental feel?  Was it the Melamine name embossed on the bottom along with Japan,  MG-156?  Was it the script "Threeline" jauntily written across a circle?  Was it the fact it looked similar to an ash tray I made in school?  Is it Saturn and her moons?   I had to own it. It set me back $.39

 I actually needed this compact mirror for my purse!  Isn't it cute as a button?

It magnifies on one side and has an actual reflection on the other.  Will I use it?  Maybe.  I have a horrible habit of forgetting all about what I look like until I get home and look in the mirror and see that my hair needed attention, my chin grew three hairs while I was out and I have a piece of parsley decorating my front tooth.  

This pink compact mirror is so cute I may get it out just to admire it.  Then I will remember that others have to look at me and I should try to fix problems that crop up after I leave the house.  It's about time I learned if I'm ever going to.  It's just that other things are just so much more interesting than me and old habits die hard.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Liebster Award

One of my favorite blogs, Wendy over at Salt and Wine won the Liebster Blog Award and  passed it on to me and 4 other of her favorite bloggers.  A couple were blogs I have been reading for some time but several were new to me so I checked them out and are now following them!  What a find!

The meaning behind the award ~ An award given to blogs with less than 200 followers, that recognizes the blog author's creative writing and dedication.  It helps to bring blog owners together to exchange ideas and information 

As a recipient of this award, it is up to me to pass it along to five amazing bloggers of my choice. This isn't an easy decision folks!  I follow and read many blogs that I would nominate in a heartbeat.  I hope to have more opportunities and so these are the blogs I love and never miss reading.  I get a lot of inspiration from them.  Thank you for choosing me, Wendy!  I'm honored :-)  

Here are my five choices:  

Tam from Pennsylvania is always updating fun but trashed items that still have good bones!  This is one of my favorite thing to do!  Check out some of her projects! 

The House at Bluebird Lane
Sharla writes a DIY blog that keeps me updated on her ideas for home improvement.  I love to visit and see the variety of her projects!

 My Alaskan Cottage Home
You'll love Sandy!   Every post is different and interesting.  I tried her 1938 muffin recipe and loved it.  She lives in, now famous, Wasilla!  I love her style, her casual blog and all the interesting things she does!

Thoroughly Modern Me 
I enjoy seeing the newest vintage items from yard sales that she decorates her modern home with.  This mom of three takes great pictures and has wonderful ideas.  I always stop in when I see she has posted a new blog.

A Little Bit of Everything
This is a blog I have recently discovered and I love to stop in and see the latest scores from her thrifting!  She always buys exactly what I want to find!  I love thrifting blogs, don't you? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beaching It on Honeymoon Beach and Sand Key

How do you go to the beach twice and not take any pictures?  Especially when you have children and grandchildren in tow?  I was just enjoying the day so much that I didn't make the effort, much to my sorrow today.

At Honeymoon Beach it is just a very short walk from the parking lot to the beach.  You walk on a short path through the sea oats and cactus and emerge at the beach entrance where there was even a bench swing.

We put up our canopy that shaded all nine of us and assembled beach chairs and blankets and towels in the sun and shady areas and spent four hours there on Monday.  We had a lovely picnic lunch with cold asparagus, ham sandwiches, egg salad, crisp veggies and several bags of various chips.  The cooler was filled with water bottles and ice.  We learned this after our first beach trip to Sand Key which was sans food and drinkless.

Sand Key is the beach next to Clearwater Beach and much less crowded.  We went to Sand Key on the day before Easter.  It was wall to wall blue beach umbrellas in sections though!  There was a vacant spot near the banana boat launch and we set our chairs out right by the water and toasted in the sun for two hours.  The water was so refreshing on both beaches.  The tiny waves on Sand Key were higher but the shell content on Honeymoon Beach ruled. We looked into the cost of the banana boat, which looked a little dangerous to me.  It was $20 for 15 minutes.  We checked the time when one left and came back and they were out less than 10 minutes, so we decided against it.  

We emerged from the two days relatively free from sunburn except for a couple of faces, arms and one chest where sunscreen failed to be applied thoroughly or washed off.  The down side to sunscreen is no one increased their tans.

Bill and I waved everyone home yesterday.  We are smugly happy that both Honeymoon Beach and Sand Key are close enough to visit often!  Ahhhh retirement is just the best!

Posting on Pink Saturday in honor of the zillions of pink shells, pinkish sand, a deep rosy pink canopy, several pink bathing suits and my  favorite pink and white beach towel. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changing the Chandelier

I knew it was going to be a job.  I am crafty, my husband Bill is an organizer.  We are not handy.  When a home repair is needed I know it's going to be an ordeal.  It doesn't have to be a difficult repair.  My prayer is always a big whine. "Lord....why does this have to be soooooo hard??"  It is usually uttered when we are over an hour into a repair and on our second or third go around.  

Removing the old chandelier that was here when we moved in last summer wasn't too difficult.  I was astounded at how lightweight it was though.  I was also surprised at how much dripped paint there was on it. and how dusty it was.  Things sure look different close up.

A bonus was, years ago I found a white ceiling medallion at a yard sale for only $3.00, still new in the package.  That went with us in to Florida because I knew I was taking my nice chandelier from the old house and this medallion was larger than the one I had in the old dining room.  

 I was all set and yesterday.  I firmly announced "Today is the day we switch out the chandeliers".   That was a bold statement as we had been ignoring this job for seven months.  Anyway, it was about 3:00 when we started.

Once the old chandelier was removed we took out the new chain and cord we bought last month and realized it was a plug in type cord.  It took us awhile to figure out what to do.  I made a decision:   we had to cut off the plug in part, wire it together to the existing lamp cord to make it long enough to loop, since the ceiling wiring was not over the table like at our old house.  I did that part!  Yay, me!

Then the struggle really began.  Once the lamp was wired, we had thee pieces to put together in the ceiling, using one shaky ladder.  Everything kept coming down.  The screws weren't long enough to accommodate the medallion, and so on and so forth.  We struggled to adjust the screws.  Bill planted himself firmly on the ladder, while I braced it and held the medallion in place with a broom as he wired and unwired the chandelier dozens of times.  We gave up on the medallion but then the base wouldn't fit properly against the ceiling.  The screws were too long now and it dangled.  I prayed my whining prayer several times.  Then I switched the prayer to "Show us how this will work".  Suddenly, when the light was getting so dim (it was nearing 7:00 PM.) it all came together and it was up.  Whoopee!  With the medallion! 

As I flopped onto the sofa in the living room I looked at it from afar and realized with a sickening thump that the loop was too low.  Way too low.  It all looked odd.  The loop dangled almost to the bottom of the lamp.  Bill was on his way to flip the fuse box back on and I decided not to mention it.  Suddenly the ceiling fan light blazed brilliantly for an instant and then popped off.  Yikes.  We weren't even working on THAT ceiling fixture.  The light over the sink didn't come on and most importantly...... the chandelier didn't light up.  All three were on the same fuse.  Now none of the three ceiling lights worked.  We played around with it for a bit but they weren't going to come on.  We really missed not having Will Jr. just down the street.  My son can do all those wonderful home things.  He had put in tract lighting  for us in the other house and numerous other jobs. 

It was after 7:30 when I called Mom and asked her the phone number of her neighbor, the handy one, who fixed her light over the stove a few weeks ago.  He does odd jobs on the weekend.  She went over and asked if he would like a job... he said he would come right away.  He got here about 7:45. 

He was done by 8:30.  He discovered the problem was not Bills wiring job.  It was mine.  The only thing I wired....the original cord and the added length cord together.  It was shorting out everything.  He not only fixed that, he also shortened the loop chain and rewired the whole thing back into the ceiling.  All in 45 minutes.

He only asked a measly little fee.  I doubled it and restrained myself from kissing him as he left.  

All three ceiling lights were now working.

Praise God for people who know how to do things! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rambo Jr.

Today we discovered very tiny Rambo Jr in our driveway.  Tortoise Cottage is now a nursery!   We will have to be watching now every time we use the driveway because where there is one baby tortoise there may be more.   

We are busting our buttons over him!

We set out the small  matchbox so you can gauge the size

Look how fast Rambo Jr can crawl!

It looks like he may not be a fan of the camera, or of us...he is hurrying away pretty fast! 

 Actually you can see here that Rambo Jr is about the size of six keys on your computer.  Rambo Senior, our resident tortoise, is larger than the entire keyboard!  

For a look at our full grown tortoise, Rambo, click HERE
We have unofficially adopted him, but he only makes an appearance occasionally.  The tortoises live on the vacant lot next door and used to spend a lot of time over here, but only occasionally now.  Rambo has made it clear he is not fond of our dog, Gracie.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bessie's New Look

It's been longer than we planned, but Bessie finally has a new look. 

It was a cold icy day in January 2011 when she was pried out of the ice and away from her home at Shanty Hollow deep in the woods of Kentucky.  She had lived on the hill near the country road for many years and had seen quite a few makeovers.  Nobody argued that she was in need of some TLC. 
 She was placed indignantly in the back of the open trailer and trundled up to Dayton, OH, facing backwards toward the south all the way.   I'm sure startling other drivers and passengers.  Ohio was to be her new home and the story of the trials and tribulations getting her there is told in this 

A few months, (yes only 5 months) later our world turned topsy turvy again and we sold everything practically, packed up and Bessie came with us to Florida.  Again it was quite the effort to get this solid cement bovine who is standing upon a solid cement patch of grass, up and down ramps, across lawns, through Sherwood Forest, but we did it.  At least it wasn't snowing.  

I was able to meet my only neighbor that very day when she came out to investigate.  She said she was peeking out the curtains first thing in the morning to see what was going on and was shocked to see a purple cow standing there.  She came out to ask me about it.  

Bessie has been standing in the middle of a little grove of thirty or so trees we call Sherwood Forest that stands beside our driveway since August 1st awaiting her promised make over. 

Now that spring has sprung (and this being Florida, we could only tell by the calender because it never got cold here) we are sprucing up for company and Bessie finally got her makeover. 

I'm sure she is happy as a clam. Pap Pap is home with the Lord now, but we hope he can see her in all her glory.