The Paws That Refreshes

The 'boys' have been having a lot of fun lately, since it's been hot enough for their swimming pool to be filled. Of course, because they have full run of the yard, going in and out of their doggie-door whenever they want, they run around and play like this every day.


Carry On.

It was Cousin Larry's 50th birthday party. We all went to Lafayette to help him celebrate.

Well, it's always a little crazy and a lot of fun. It was a party befitting of Larry-Pie's tastes and personality.
As from Cappy's postings this week, you can see the week he was off the boat, was packed with a lot of fun. (Alas, yesterday he had to go back out pushing the oil barges with his tug.) I'm not sure if he mentioned that among other things, we had gone boat riding way out in the beautiful bayou country and tried fishing. We mostly just laughed and passed a good time with our crazy-nutsy dawgs. I swear if SparkyBear had thumbs, we'd buy him his own fishing pole, he loves it so. Monday, Cappy's night to 'kick back' and have a few beers, as he calls it, we lit the outdoor fireplace Dan got him, and cooked some weenies, corn from Sonia, across the street, (that was so nice of her) and some marshmallows. (more to come on this adventure) We just plain had a very fun week!
When we had gone to Lafayette for Cousin Larry's birthday party this past Sunday, I had dropped off my accordian there to be repaired. After taking Cappy to work yesterday, I drove on back to Lafayette to pick up my 'axe', which was being repaired by the one and only Junior Martin,himself, who makes the world famous Cajun accordians, and is a well-known, extremely talented and accomplished musician.http://martinaccordions.com/ Mr. Junior Martin had checked out my accordian a few years ago, so when it somehow managed to get broken this past week, of course I took it back to him. When I got to his workshop to pick it up,he was working on Buckwheat Zydeco's brother's accordian! Whoa! (Buckwheat Zydeco, people!) While I was there I played a couple songs to let him see that it was working fine, then (shock) I was privileged to 'jam' with him and his grandson, Joseph. Mr. Junior plays a Steel guitar in ways that just boggled my mind. He played Amazing Grace as I'd never heard it before....it truly WAS amazing Amazing Grace. His grandson played bass guitar, but he's also an accomplished musician on many instruments, Cajun accordian being one of them. I kept wanting to pinch myself to see if I really was there playing music with them. As I was leaving, they invited me to come back and play with their get-together this Sunday. I took my accordian and floated out to our truck. I sure hope I can make it this Sunday.
From there, I went to visit Cappy's SWEET MawMaw (grandmother), who sadly was suffering with an injured leg in her nursing home. After I left there, I went to visit Aunt Gussie, her daughter, and Cappy's aunt. I cannot tell you how much I love this dear lady, and was so glad to be able to spend a few hours with her, sharing family news and laughter, which has always been her hallmark.
After that whirlwind week of fun, silliness, family goings ons, I'm busily trying to stuff the tiny 'suitcase' that has wheels and a puller-thingy. Next Wednesday is the day I plan on flying (for the first time EVER) to NYS for son Dan's wedding, and I'm Determined to jam everything I'll need for a week into that stubborn little suitcase, have it actually fit through that metal detector size thing, and be able to carry it on board. Cappy is still rather dubious, but I'm undaunted. It's a Carry On so it's going even if I have to drag it on, with the seams popping. Oh it's going alright.


Nuthin' Like A Gooood Butt Rub

So, we been seein' those BBQ shows on the Food Network where they slow cook their meat for like 2 days or something and make a big deal over their pits, booths,decorations, etc. and barely mention the meat they cooked. The judges seem to spend lots more time worryin' bout whether the parsley garnish is wilted or not, than the taste of the ribs. Anyways, they always harpin' bout the great bbq places like Memphis or Kansas City , Texas,or the Carolinas or Somewheres.

Well, I got news for em. My family aint never decorated a plate of bbq with parsley or had no big fancy bbq pit shaped like a pistol or nuthin' but I'd stack our bbq against most anybody's. Shucks, I was prolly a teen-ager when I roasted my first whole hog and even younger when I put my first ribs or roast on a pit. One of my earliest memories is of us boys goin' out in da woods and shootin' birds with B-B guns and roasting em on an open fire. Well enough bout that, I figured I'd try one of those dry rubs like they use on all those tv shows. We usually season and marinate our meat and then mop it with sauce just before it's done. I mixed brown cane suger with some of me and Peg's spice mix and rubbed the heck outa dat butt roast, then put it on my ole bbq pit for bout 6 hrs. It came out wonderful! Tender, smokey, flavorful , with a definite Cajun 'kick'. I think next time I will adjust slightly, go ahead and marinate the meat in our spices over night, then rub it. I can guarantee ya it won't be served in a bed of parsley or curly lettuce leaves with radish roses, but as sure as ya readin' this, it's gonna be finger-licking, "slap yo Mama" good!


Glad Tidings

Our Gladiolas are really starting to bloom and look beautiful. Peg has done such a wonderful job with them this year. It is a great source of joy to me, seeing them blooming in our yard. They were a favorite of my father's, and til Peg came into my life I wasn't able to grow them. Being gone for weeks at a time on da boat made it impossible for me to care for gardens or flowerbeds. This is a small example of how Peggy has enriched my life and one of the countless reasons I love her so. As the flowers bloom we will continue to add pictures to the slide show. You can find it by clicking the link, which is the title Glad Tidings, at the top.


A Katrina Survival Story

You may recall from an earlier post Peg mentioning the oriental couple and their garden. One of the 'down sides' to my job is often having to wait looooong hours for our turn to go through the Algiers Locks. Well, ya always try to find something to amuse ya self while spending hours in the wheelhouse waiting ya turn for a locking. I usually spend the time catching up on the ever-growing pile of paper work we are required to do, or talking to my Sweety on the cell phone, or just gawking outa da wheelhouse windows. For years now I have seen this oriental couple, who I refer to in my mind as Mamasan and Papasan tend their garden. Their garden is a big sprawling afair divided into 4 sections divided by natural fences made of banana palms. I have enjoyed my little spells of voyeurisms watching this industrious couple work their garden in the early mornings and evenings when I was shoved into the bank waiting for the locks.
I peer at them through my field glasses watching their work, trying to imagine what they are growing; "some aisian things" I imagine, for they are far away and hard to see through my binoculars. I didnt even realize that they had become a part of my life til Katrina. I have been on a boat that didn't go in the river for over a year and honestly hadn't even thought of the couple I had watched gardening so often, while waiting for da locks. Suddenly one morning last month, I found myself sitting shoved inta the north bank of da Intercoastal Waterway waiting for my turn to lock to da river. As the mist cleared, I was moved by such joy, I found myself tearing up. For there through the mist, the garden came visible and there in her big straw hat was Mamasan moving through the mist harvesting her garden. Soon I saw Papasan with a huge hoe, hacking and turning away at what appeared to be a compost pile I guessed. "Dang these smaller field glasses"and I must tell ya my heart was filled with joy. Its funny how da storm has effected us all. One thing it has done for me is make me realize what is truely precious to me in this world. Whoever these people are, I am soooo very glad to see them back among the rubble and blue roofs tending their garden.What a symbol of strength and determination.

Young Show-Off

I was sitting at the dock the other day doing paperwork when I looked outa my 'office window' and spied a young Egret primping in hopes of attracting a mate. Like many a young man of many species, he primped, combed, fluffed and then posed in all his splendor. I think his efforts were not in vain cause ya gotta admit he is a handsome young cuss. Alas, his efforts seem to have been for naught, for he sat there alone the whole time I was doing my paper work. I spooked him when I stepped outa da wheel house and he flew off. Well, if ya gotta spend a morning in your office doing paper work, might as well have a preening, fluffing young Egret to keep ya company. This is one of the many things I love 'bout my job and life on the water.

There is no place like home

As most of you can tell from the earthy brown print, I, Cappy, am finally home. After 35 days on da boat it is very good to be back in my Baby's arms. It's good to be on a different boat and back to traveling around some. The boat I was on was on a dedicated run. This means always going back and forth 'tween the the same 2 ports. This has disadvantages in that the same run gets boring, and while you're back and forthing, the waterways change and evolve, docks come and go and ya kinda get outa da loop. It was very good to get back out on da River again and see the ships and sights of the lower Mississippi. I took these pictures while waiting in the river for our turn to lock through the Algiers Locks one afternoon.


Cappy's Oldest Godson Graduates

Owen is the oldest son of Cappy's best buddy, David, whom he's known since grade school. David's beautiful wife is Ginger, who is an extrememly talented artist. This lady handcrafts her own cards and stationary, among other things. Owen's graduation card, here, is just one example.
David and Ginger have two boys, the younest being Patrick, who will also be graduating in a few years. The boys have both been home-schooled and I've never seen such fun-loving, highly intelligent, sweet-natured teenagers...ever! They are more than well-educated. Their parents have taken them to places of historical interest to help them better understand what it is they are learning about. They are well-rounded, being heavily involved with all kinds of sports, such as kayaking and snow skiing. (Cappy doesn't understand how someone born and raised in the warm South could travel north to FREEZE and have fun doing so. From past blogs, I guess you know that I've never had fun in the snow while growing up.) The thing that makes the difference with these boys is that the parents are involved with the kids in most of the sports and family activities; a rare commodity in today's mode of parenting. I mean they GO kayaking, etc. as a family. The boys have also always interacted with other kids in their sports and education. They haven't been raised in a bubble, or vacuum just because they are home-schooled.
Cappy is "Paran" (Godfather in French) to both boys. Every year these "mens" get together for their anual squirrel hunt in Mississippi. "Mens" only. It's been a wonderful time for them to bond, and for Cappy to be able to pass on down to the boys what he's learned from his father and grandfathers.
Since our blog is sort of like our Friends' (of which we consider you) and Family's 'newspaper', we wanted to share Owen's Graduation with you, and send him Big Congratulations. (psst, Owen....a card is in da mail!)


Guarding the Grapes...The Last Straw.

Agent Double O....what...eleven? "My name is Crow....SCARE Crow." I just went out and had a good look at the grapes. Soooo far, they are looking pretty good. This guy must be helping out a little bit then. He's standing guard under the arbor.
The gladiolas are coming along nicely, as well. Today at church everyone brought a flower for Jesus' Mother. I took this gladiola to add to the bouquet of a myriad of different kinds of flowers, which ended up being three baskets full and gorgeous. Tomorrow, since I will be singing with the Gospel Group, the people going to mass will also be bringing flowers. Three masses. Three massive masses of gorgeous bouquets of flowers. Well, since I already brought a flower to Mary, tomorrow I want to bring this one to church for my Mom. I sure do miss her.

If my Mom had've been in church today, tho, she probably would've wanted to paddle my behind. It was bad enough what I did during choir practice, when the ladies were talking about an older lady who had tried to stomp on a cockroach, but in doing so, had fallen and broken her hip. The poor thing. We all vowed to certainly pray for her...what a terrible thing to have happened! I sincerely feel bad, and hope she recovers well, but why in the world did I have to open my mouth, like a dumb-head and ask, "Did she get it??" I guess as 'punishment', after choir practice, somehow a bunch of the keys on my accordian got stuck, so now I can't play it . Subsequently, today I got to sing with the choir instead. I certainly can't sing as well as most of the ladies in the choir, so I leaned over to Danny, one of the guitar players, and said, "I don't know which is worse; the accordian squawking, or my singing, so I'll just sit here and play my arm-pits with you guys". He chuckled. Well, it went well, I think, singing with the group. I couldn't keep my fingers still during some of the songs that I like to play. We were about to start a very deeply respectful song, when I got Danny's attention again, put one hand under my arm-pit, leaned over to look at his sheet music and asked, "What Key is this in?"

My Little Bay-bee!

This card was sent from my youngest son, Joe...my 'baby'. I just got it yesterday for Mothers' Day. Actually, Joe was the biggest of all of my babies. I guess 8 should be his favorite number. He was born on the 8th day of the 8th month, weighed 8lbs. 8 oz. and the delivering doctor and nurse were both saying, "Hey! What are the odds!" because it was both of their birthdays too.
In the box along with the card, he had sent some squares of sponge candy...oh, I coulda killed him and hugged him at the same time. I only have two left out of about a dozen of them. Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I've tried making sponge candy down here, but because of the high humidity, it always melted into a SOG. I guess that's why nobody down here in South Louisiana has ever heard of sponge candy.
He also included some Texas Hot dry mix for hot dogs. Oh, is that stuff good!
Below is the poem Joe wrote in the card last year. He also sent me some red miniature roses that are blooming on the carport. I should have taken pics of them to add to this post. The poem below tells about the fun things we did together...I 'grew up' with the kids, myself. To read either of the poems, click on them.

This is what I have left to savor tomorrow on Mom's day.
These are Joe's 'babies'. Ashley and Zachery. His beautiful wife is Jessica. I can't wait to get my hands on these Sweets when I get to NYS soon.


Full of Beans!

Well, this is another day's haul. Even with giving a pan full away to the neighbors, and eating a bunch of them daily, there are 6 qts. washed and snapped sitting in the freezer. I can just tell this tiny garden is going to be giving me fits this summer. Good fits. The grape arbor has bunches and bunches of grapes peeking out from under the lush leaves. One of the 'scare owls' is sitting in the arbor with the scarecrow 'scaring' the mocking birds, which have been flirting with the grapes. Next comes the aluminum pans. No pantyhose or bright yellow bars of soap, tho.

Awh...rats, I've been in a funk again with the Cappy being gone for more than a month this time, so taking care of all the great stuff in the yard hasn't been all that fun by myself. But...since I have a wedding to go to in NYS on June 3rd (I'm the mother of the groom), I shook it off and went shopping...yee-haw...so much for da blues. I got the 'slut' shoes! Our friends, Trishy, Taffy and Carol, long time ago inspired me about always making sure to have a pretty pair of them on hand for special occasions. Since the wedding colors are lilac/lavendar...whichever, I got two dresses (on sale!) both gorgeous and in the lavendar/lilac family, for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding ceremony. So then...the 'slut' shoes and purse to match, both being lusciously lavendar; I'm good to go! Only wish Cappy would be going with me.
I've got the plane reservations and all. It'll be my first time ever flying on a jet. Maybe I'm not being practical, but I'm going to try to only take one carry-on piece of luggage. Cappy, a seasoned flyer, guffawed at the thought of that. He said, " Peg, when you pack to go on a two day visit, you have the back bumper of the truck dragging sparks all the way there, and you think you are going away for a whole week with just a tiny bag?! This I've gotta see." Ahhh...he's full of beans. Or I am. We'll let you know.


"Well, Who'da Thunk It", as my Mom used to say.

Cappy called early this morning. He said he was so touched that he was near moved to tears. Since the Hurricane rolled over the River last Fall, he really hadn't been going up and down her, but rather had been visiting oil fields out in the back bayous. When he did happen to go down the River, lately, it was at night and so, couldn't see anything. On his travels he has become familiar with some of the people along the banks, although he has never spoken with any of them. He relishes watching them and talking about them, the life they must have, according to the stories he imagines they live; nice people. As he drives the boat, I too, can almost see what and who he is describing. Sadly, most of what he has relayed to me of late, is that of destruction and not a whole lot of recovery. He hadn't seen any of the folks since last Fall. This sweet Cappy obsessed about each family and prayed for those whom he no longer sees, and wonders if they 'made it' through the Storm. Today, as he was about to enter the locks at Algiers, to get into the River, he was able to spot one of his 'couples'. He was just thrilled. They are an older Vietnamese couple, who have, "it's gotta be two acres, Peg, at least!" garden. He decribed "Paw Paw" workin' his compost pile with a huge hoe, and "Mamasan" in her big straw hat,picking something, maybe some kind of vegetable, and putting them in a five gallon pail. They have all kinds of things growing in their huge garden that he's unfamiliar with, like perhaps lemon grass. He said they are up in the garden working at 5 a.m. and work til around 9 or 10 a.m., then go inside and come back out and tend the garden some more around 4 p.m. til around dark. He so much enjoys their enterprise and the fact that they are an inseperable team. Here Cappy doesn't even know these people personally, he thinks so very highly of them, and sincerely cares about them. It was seeing them today together, their garden, tho ragged around the edges, has sprung to life and is producing exceptionally well.
Then of course, he asked me how our 'back forty' was doing. It was around nine this morning. He asked if I had gotten out and picked our beans yet. NOPE. But I did after that...I was going to anyhow. I may have mentioned in past blog entries, that when Cappy suggested we put in a garden, I thought, "Ok, sure". But then when he put in this tiny boxed in area, 4 feet x12 feet, filled it in with good soil and called it our garden, I truly was wondering about the man. When he had me help him put plants in each and every marked off square, I just knew it was going to be a snarled mess, with everything fighting for space, sunlight, and nutrients. I've been around gardeners all my life. My Dad, my Mom, my grandparents. They all had huge gardens, not unlike the Vietnamese couple. Well, about this square foot garden. I held my tongue the whole while we planted and things started growing. I finally let go of my tongue long enough to say, "Wow!!" After a couple of years now, I'm totally sold. Look at the big pan of green beans I picked this morning. It's the second picking. There are a whole lot more growing that were still too small to get today. And then when I told Cappy, he said, "And the season isn't really going full blast yet...I'm tellin' ya, you gonna be busy with those beans and tomatoes this year." The tomatoes...they are still green...today anyhow.
And before I head out to mess around in the yard weeding, etc., here's another 'update' on how Cappy's grape arbor is growing. Oh! And the grapes are really in there. Pictures of them to follow mayhaps soon. Have a great day! We Love Ya'll!