A Note From Our Friend, Linda From New Hampshire

One of our friends, whom we originally 'met' online years ago, then in person, is just one great gal. We had pictures of her and her family, but when our computer had that last breakdown, we lost all of them. Now she's a grandmother...and expecting another one! She writes us such interesting letters, so I asked if we could share them with "yall", cuz she is one of "yall". She and her retired Marine father look after each other up there in Londonderry, New Hampshire. From all I've heard about this distinquished gentleman, he sounds like somebody I'd want to salute if I ever get to meet him. Here's the link to the card and note Linda aka "Bakermetoo" (...I call her "Bakie"...) wrote:


Deer Hunting At Work

I am sure you realize that if I actually shot a deer from the boat I'd be breaking at least half a dozen laws. So, I shoot them with my camera instead. It don't put no meat in da freezer but it's still fun, and this way I can share my "shots" with you. The first picture was taken on the north shore of Atchafalaya Bay near Halters Island. The next two were taken along the bank of bayou Penchant.

A Young Swamp Eagle

Every time I see these wonderful birds, my heart swells with pride, knowing they have returned to Louisiana with a large healthy population.

Egrets On The Nest

Those of you who read our blog know by now that I am an avid nature fan, and one of the things I love the most about my job as a Cappy, is watching the wildlife as I cruise along the bayous and marshes of South Louisiana. There are several large egret colonies along the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway. These pictures are of a huge group of egrets that nest about 10 miles west of the town of Larose, LA. The colony stretches for a mile or more, with hundreds of birds. Typically, the birds fly in to their nesting area right at dark and spend the night there. In the morning, right at sunrise, they fly off in persuit of "Egretish" activities. This makes photographing them all but impossible, but with your mind's eye, try to imagine the sight, as I pan my spotlight over these trees at night, when they are covered with tightly packed, pure white sleeping 'ghosts'. Since the area is highly traveled by boats, we don't even disturb them. I come rumbling by, waving my spotlight at them, and they don't even stir. Good thing they sleep with their head tucked under a wing. I aint da only bird watcher on the ICW. The egrets sit their nests in the month of July, hatching and caring for their babies, and that is the only time ya find 'em on their nest and roost in the day time. That's how I was able to take these pictures. Keep in mind that this is less than half of the ones that roost at night though, as all the juveniles, and the mates of the sitters are off fishing for the family.


Okra "on the Hoof"

Yesterday son, Joe called and we had a wonderful visit. The kids, Ashley and Zachery are doing great. Ashley is 7 and reading 3rd grade level already. I used to love to sit under a shady tree and read to my kids on hot Summer days. Recently we sent a book of silly poems for her, and joy of joy, she loves it. Zachery is the funniest, cutest little boy!!! I love hearing stories of his escapades. Joe and Jessica are expecting a baby GIRL this September! I hope we are up there by then to see the new baby, as we plan on going up that month.

Joe always enjoys growing his garden in the summer months. Since he was curious about okra, we volunteered to send him some seeds, mayhaps for next year's garden, as it's kind of late for such goings ons in western NY this year. While I lived up there, the only experience I'd ever had with okra was in a couple of cans of Campbell's (watered down) chicken "gumbo" soup. So, that's pretty much no experience with okra. I explained to him that, in some circles, it's got a bad reputation for being slimey. And it's true that if it's not prepared correctly, it is slimey...yucky slimey. The Cajuns have a was of cooking okra that makes it luscious and not slimey. It is YUMMY!!!

Right now, our okra are at peak growing conditions. Every other day I carry a heavy "Malwort" bag of them into the house, wash, slice and put them in the freezer, or 'smother' 'em down then freeze them. Just now I went out to take pictures of the tall plants, which now, most of them, are about 10 feet tall, or more. All I can say it's a good thing that they are limber, so I can get ahold of them and bow them over so I can cut the okra off the stalk(along with the large leaf just beneath). I wanted to show you the beautiful flowers they make. If I waited until later in the cool of the day, the flowers would be all wilted. They only bloom for one day, then turn their energy into making the okra. This last picture is looking wayyy up into the sky of the tall plants, with the pecan trees towering over them. I wanted Joe (and those of you who've never seen them) to see what the plants, flowers, and okra look like, as Cappy would say, "on the hoof". The usual length of our longhorn okra are 9"! Since I think Walmart might carry okra in their freezer sections, as they do down here in the South, so, if you can find it, you might want to give this recipe a try. It's our own version.

Smothered Okra

3 pounds of sliced okra

3 tablespoons cooking oil

2 onions, chopped

1 pound of diced Cajun sausage (or Hillshire, or facsimile, if you can't locate Cajun sausage)

5 cloves of garlic minced

1 can of Rotel original tomatoes

1/2 a bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon of Worstershire sauce

1 tablespoon Cajun spice

hot sauce to taste

Saute` onions and sausage together with the oil in a Large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the rest of the ingredients, in no particular order and cook uncovered. (<--This would probably horrify most Cajuns, but it works ok for me, Pegody.) Stir often to prevent sticking or burning. Deglaze, if necessary, with whatever is handy; water, broth, beer or wine. I let it simmer for about an hour, once it has really started cooking down. I don't think it's possible to over-cook this dish, as the more it cooks down, the better. Tah-dah.


Going Bananas

This morning I was sitting out on the patio, in the shade, in a quiet, pensive mood, contemplating all the things that I still need to get done before Cappy gets off the boat this coming Thursday, and then the things that we will be plunged into doing as soon as he 'hits da bank'. We have his family's annual reunion aka "Jambalaya" which is coming up in the next few weeks. I drew a deep sigh, trying to savor the downtime of the still morning before I knew I'd have to get busy. Something caught my eye in the clear blue sky. Oh my goodness; it was an hummingbird who was hovering around the big dark purple banana 'flower'. He was feeding at it! I didn't know they could find nectar on a banana palm; but there he was, and in his doing so, knocked a loose leaf off it, which sent it floating to the ground. As I was watching, suddenly I noticed the bananas, which I hadn't noticed before that. How could I not have seen them? This year the bunches are huge! I guess sometimes I'm guilty of not actually focusing on the details of what I'm looking at; just kind of mindlessly enjoying the quiet of the view as a whole. I wasn't clearly awake either, hence the cup of coffee...my one and only cup of rich, sweet, creamy coffee that I enjoy every morning.
I've been having a problem; waking up in the middle of the night lately, for whatever reason, and can't get back to sleep, so I put on the tv with the sleeper button on, so I can, hopefully, be lulled back into dreamland. It just so happened that Larry King was interviewing a panel of people who were discussing UFO's, of all things. Pushing off sleep, I listened to what they had to say. Nothing new...the same old debate. It brought back memories of one morning in the Spring of 1966, around five o'clock a.m. when it was still pitch dark outside. I had gotten up to get the baby a bottle, padded through the darkened kitchen to the sink, began washing my hands when I noticed, out the window, lights on the pipeline on the nearby hill. We lived wayyyyy back in the woods, a mile from the nearest neighbor, and never, but never saw any activity on the clearing of the pipeline. I was still half asleep, but I thought it must be some kind of vehicle because I could see a row of windows that were lit up. I shrugged. Oh well, I guess they have to work on the pipeline sometime; they are getting an early start this morning. But just as I was about to walk away, an extremely bright light began strobing through it's windows shining around and around (and now it was obvious the thing had windows all around it, and that it seemed to be a rounded structure, rather than flat-sided). It lit up the trees in the woods and the entire kitchen, nearly blinding me, each time it made it's pass! Scared the daylights outa me! I ran to get somebody else to come take a look at it, but they wouldn't be roused. I'd never seen anything like it, and wanted to make sure I wasn't seeing things, even tho I was seeing things. I couldn't get anybody out of bed, so I ran back to the kitchen to see what was going on now. It was still strobing, and I was still shaking in my ...well, not boots, ...barefeet. I stood there ramrod still watching when suddenly this HUGE white beam shot straight up into the black sky. What??? I leaned over to the window to look up to see how far it was shining, but there was no end to it, and no diffusion...that is, for instance, when there's a new car lot opening, they'll hire these spotlights to shine out all over the sky. The farther up, the more scattered and 'faded' the light becomes. This beam of light was razor sharp from the bottom to the top; wherever that was. Again, I'd never seen anything like it, so ran yelling again, saying, "You've got to get up...you've GOT to get up...this is something very weird, and scarey!!!" Nothing. No amount of tugging or yelling or persuading could separate them from their pillow. Back to the kitchen I ran, just in time to see whatever it was that had been sitting a block away on that hill, slowly lifting straight up into the air, the huge beam now shut off, but the lights, once again silently, but surely strobing around and around. My screaming, "it's getting away!" (?!?) finally got enough attention to bring the person, slowly dragging out of the bedroom, to the kitchen window to see what was going on. By then, the 'vehicle' had leveled off, had shut off it's strobe light and was just gliding away, with nothing more than a red blinking light winking back at me. "You woke me up for that?? It's just an airplane; I'm going back to bed". Hmmmm. I know what I saw, but just chalked it up to an "oh welll", got back to life and forgot about it.

'Til... Six years, and three babies later, since we only had one car, I had to wait all day to be able to go do my grocery shopping. By the time I finished it was almost time for the store to close at 9. I loaded the bags into the car and headed on home in the dark of night. We still lived in the same house, way back in the hills of the western part of the state, near Cuba, NY. I had a lot of winding roads to travel, but it usually only took about twenty minutes to get home. As I was coming to a familiar farm which sits on a little bluff, where the road dips down before heading through the 'flats', I noticed what I thought was a big commercial airliner flying just over the top of the trees in the same direction I was headed, just behind the darkened farmhouse. You never EVER see big airplanes like that in our neck of the woods. The reason I thought it was an airplane was because I could see a long row of windows that were lit up. I had to keep my eyes on the dark road and my hands gripped on the steering-wheel, for the curves, but it suddenly dawned on me that I was about to see a major airplane collision...that thing must be going to crash!!! I couldn't stop on the curve, plus it went out of view behind the trees to my right. As I drove down the little hill, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to get in the way of the crash landing so, slowed down, to see where it was. The field was clear...no trees...no airplane...where did it go? I pulled over and stopped. I rolled down my window and heard absolutely nothing. It couldn't have flown away that fast...it had been coming this way; I should be able to see it...where in the heck did it go?! I leaned over and looked up out the passenger window and saw it. It was closer now, but standing perfectly still, hovering a stone's throw from my car, just above the bare trees. How could an airplane stand still like that? But just then, shocked, I realized, as the blinding light began strobing again, it was the same thing I had seen years before. Oh no! And me here by myself! The farmhouse was dark and seemed deserted. My mind was racing as I tried to figure out what to do when the thing suddenly started to slowly, silently lower. I screamed and put the car in gear, screeched the tires til they were smoking and roared out of there, groceries flying around in the backseat and sped home, taking every curve on two wheels. When I got in the door, I looked at the clock so I'd know what time this all happened, and it was 11:30 something....(??!) Everybody had gone to bed, but I tried to get somebody awake to tell them what I had seen, but once again, there was no rousing anyone out of their sleep. Frustrated, I called a family friend, who, so said, had seen UFO's before. I guess I had gotten them out of bed, as well, and they were totally unimpressed. "Yeah-yeah-yeah, well, you'd have to see something a lot better than that for it to really be anything"...(like what?) Of course nobody else found it remarkable either, so I just let it go again.

Until. About another five years or so later, I was driving through a dark part of Wellsville, NY on my way to a prayer meeting around seven o'clock in the evening. I happened to notice some lights in the sky, which were low and headed my way. I didn't think much about it, but, kept going, and noticed...hey! This wasn't an airplane, either! I pulled over and parked on the side of the street, got out and began watching. This was different from the other two I'd witnessed. This thing appeared to be massively huge, because of the way it blocked the stars as it passed in front of them. There were three amber 'running lights', with a separate red light off to the side. This time I was determined to get witnesses. I ran to the nearest house, banged loudly on the door til someone answered. A man in his mid-thirties opened the door, and I started yelling "Look at that! LOOK at that!" and pointed toward the sky over that way. He only stood there looking at a weirdo who had been pounding on his door and now stood there practically foaming at the mouth. I finally got him and his wife to run out and watch it pass over us. By then there were several people standing in the middle of the dark street, on the sidewalks, everywhere just gaping up at the silent blackness with the 'running lights' ever so slowly moving along in the sky, not that far above our heads toward us. As it passed over the noiseless crowd, the sound of absolute nothingness was scarey. Who knew what could happen at most any second. We all stood there frozen, in awe, hearts racing, breathless. The moments were raw and powerful. Anything was possible. It kept moving and moving and moving, as we pivoted, our faces glued to it's presence, we turned to watch it, until the trees in the neighborhood blocked our view. All at once it was if everyone drew a collected breath, then began chattering excitedly about what they had just seen and several of them started running down the street to get another view. It was over and I'd seen enough, so I went about my business and entered the prayer meeting late. When I told them what I'd seen, they wailed, "Why didn't you come and get us...it's only just down the street! What did the lights look like?" I guess it's because I had been immersed in raising five children and watched enough Sesame Street to last a lifetime, that I blurted out that they were shaped like Kermit the Frog's eyes. They looked at me kind of funny, maybe trying to remember what in the heck a particular Muppet's eyes looked like. We got on with the meeting, but on the way home I stopped at the State Police to inquire as to whether anyone had reported seeing this UFO, and maybe learn if it was some kind of military aircraft. By then I had resumed my composure, enough to think I could make an intelligent query about it. Still, the guys behind the desk seemed bemused, exchanged glances with each other and chortled, "nooo, we haven't had any reports of a UFO sighting tonight". When they asked about what the lights looked like, I mentioned again, that the only way I could describe them was the shape of Kermit the Frog's eyes. Well, I shouldnta done that. I suppose you can imagine the impression that had on them, even when I told them I had witnesses 'this time'. Smarting, I stomped back to my car, vowing to never see anything out of the ordinary in the sky, even if I did see anything out of the ordinary in the sky. It was the middle of the 1970's, so I speculated that our government, or some government might be advanced enough now to put most anything up there. And, see? now, even after all these years, Ol' Larry King's guests, who are supposed to be on the cutting edge of such things...are still arguing the pros and cons about the validity of the whole subject. I turned off the tv, grumbled, "I know what I saw", then fell asleep, finally.

Now, this morning, after a fresh dousing of coffee, I'm seein' humming birds, bananas, and nuts. (Did I mention our pecans are growing too? ) See? Even without Cappy being home, I'm growing bananas and nuts! I think he can't get home too soon; a month is too long to be without dat man.


A Dream Job

Yesterday, since Cappy was going to be in Houma having some repair work done on one of his engines, and I had some shopping to do, he had me meet up with him to bring him and 'da guys' a few treats. The young tankerman, David, is especially fond of watermelon, so Cappy had me pick one up to 'surprise' him. David is a young man, about college age, a very hard and conscientious worker, who dreams of icy cold watermelons while he is dashing about the barge, all hot and sweaty. The pay is pretty good, so David is staying on the boat, with very little time 'on land', to be able to pay cash for the new vehicle he is also dreaming about. Out there on the boats it's very unusual to find workers with a very high level of intelligence, but David has that. Like Cappy, he uses the many hours, days, and weeks, where they are surrounded by quiet and God's beauty, such as the vast sky at night, to think deeply about things. Perhaps because of observing a sense of perfection in nature and within the universe, they would hope to find that within their own sphere of life. David sent me a link to his blog, whereby he was musing about...well, things one would expect to find a young man David's age to be thinking about; girls, women, love. I thought it gives a good insight into his thought processes, and probably of a lot of the guys out on the boats, who don't have David's talent for writing, but still, think and feel the way he does. It's a good window to peek into. With David's permission, here is his post (email correspondence attached):

Hey miss Peggy! Capt told me that you were interested in reading my blog, so I wanted to email you a copy.He was telling me that sometimes you write as a form of therapy, and thats exactly what this was for me. I've never been much of a writer, but I've come to find that it really helps me sort my thoughts. I wrote this blog after many days of evaluation over an issue that was very touchy for me! Once I reached a conclusion, I decided to write about it so I could let it go, in a way. I've received a great response since I posted it and I hope you enjoy it!

By the way, the watermelon you brought us was DELICIOUS!!!! Thank you so much ;) Dave


I have been told by two women (one that I dated and one that was only a potential mate)that the expectations and standards to which I hold women are too high. The first time I was told this, I was quick to defend myself and state that, "I just know what I want." After my most recent relationship ended, my ex said to me, "Your expectations are too high, and you don't know how to love someone for who they are!" I allowed her to say the things that she needed, without arguing my beliefs on my "lofty expecatations." Tension was so high at the time, that I was really just trying to avoid a breakdown in communication. After that conversation, I really started to ponder the things that have been said about my vision of what a women should be. Or rather, what I personally look for in a partner. I have always been a deep thinker, and am readily willing to analyze situations to better understand why I feel a certain way about an issue. I have always stood strongly by my vision of the ideal partner, but it became important for me to truly evaluate my stance, to know the exact reasons why. I thrive on analyzation! I like not only to know the core of an issue, but to break it down and have an understanding of all the underlying reasons. I spent many days in thought, truly asking myself, are my expectations too high?.. It has been an enlightening period of self-realization and I have come to a definitive conclusion. I have taken many things into account, including my actions and the actions of my partner. Things that I give in relationships and expect to be returned. Whether or not I overlook the little things. And if some of my personal needs are impossible for others to provide. Even after weighing out all of these things, and the arguments of these two women, I maintain with more clarity, that my expectations are not too high. They simply weed out the less than desirable from the elite. I have a lot to offer and I want a woman that can give me the same things in return. I only ask for the things that I give to be equally reciprocated.

Is that too much to ask?

Cappy will tell you, it's very trying for the guys out on the boats to have relationships work well. It's difficult to keep a young woman interested, while there's so much going on at home; "partying", etc., as she's waiting weeks at a time for her guy to get off the boat. We've heard of so many marriages breaking up, even for those who have been married for years and years. It's just so sad. Being a "parrot on Cappy's shoulder", I've listened to him talking on the radio, trying to comfort and old friend, who's wife just 'up' and left him. And this has happened several times. Such is the life of the men who work out on the water...it's typical all over the world, I'm sure. I just hope Dave finds his dream girl. Cappy's had his ol' heart broken before. I want to make it up to him, for all the trouble he's gone through. An' I don't wanna "party" when he's not around; by the time he gets back on that boat, after two weeks of him being home, I'm all "partied out". He "parties" us the whole time, running here or there, fishing, bbqing, making work fun, road trippin'...I need the time he's on the boat to get rested and ready for the next time he gets off the boat. I do admit it's not easy bein' "John Wayne", tending to all the stuff, when he's away,out there on the boat, earning our living. He tells me I'm a good Cappy's wife, and that just thrills me. I do try hard. But this sweet man is worth it. He's growing his 'Santa Claus' beard, to be ready when we go visit the grandchildren in the Fall.
And so, I loaded him up with a few videos, some of his favorite nut munchies, some reading supplies, and the beloved watermelon. Sweets for the sweet, I say. So, off he went, happily back to the job he loves.
He just called me a few minutes ago, to let me know he cooked the guys a big meal, (that has my mouth watering, just thinking about) and he knew there were several "pumpers" who stay isolated way, WAY back in the marshes, living on the oil platforms, perhaps weeks at a time, for their hitch, so had made extra, and invited them on board for lunch, as well. Then he said, "Well, I got me a full belly, an' I'm gonna make like a houn' dawg and take me a siesta, so I'll see you in my dreams!" I told him, "Have a good nap!"


Getting Our Ducts in Order

I mentioned in yesterday's posting, that I hadn't been feeling all that great lately. I've had trouble sleeping, waking up coughing during the night and feeling just miserable. It never occured to me that our A/C ducts needed cleaning or replacing. Recently, when I woke up coughing during the middle of the night, I realized that it's only been occuring when the air-conditioning has come on, even in the daytime. Being an "X-Yankee" the thought that A/C vents needed tending to, never crossed my mind. Well, Cappy found an ad for Advanced Cleaning Solutions and gave them a call. Yesterday a young crew showed up and gave us an estimate, then sent out Taylor and Alex today to do the job.

The poor guys; today's temps are in the 90's outside, so the attic temperatures must have gotten way up over the 100's. It was dark, hot and cramped up there, but they worked patiently and quietly the whole time, even enduring a nosy Pegody who was underfoot, whether in the miserably steamy attic or outside in the broiling heat, busily snapping pictures. First they got rid of the old decaying vent system, then replaced it with the new; not an easy undertaking, under the best of circumstances.

The stuff looked unwieldly to work with, especially with a SparkyBear licking their ankles every time they came down the ladder. I managed to keep him away from them as much as I could, but MarkyBear was no problem; he was flopped in the 'shade' of the coffee table the whole time, panting. Whenever I thought the heat got uncomfortable, I thought of Taylor and Alex up in the attic, sweltering away, trying to do the best job they could for us. Even the camera wilted when I took it back up the ladder for another shot of the guys' progress.
I think they were still smiling by the time they got finished. Between the DOG and me pestering them, asking them their names, so I could put it on our Blog here...then forgetting their names and having to ask again, and as I said, having the camera stuck in their hot and sweaty faces practically the whole time; I do know they were glad to be out of here. As they were leaving, I was thinking they were "nothing but nice", and me, being me, I thought they must be thinking, "nothing but net...butterfly net". But ya know? As they were walking around the truck to leave, one of them said, "Have a Blest day". What a refreshing thing to say, in light of the way a lot of people talk nowdays. They are nice guys and they do good work...AND they brought a breath of fresh air into our house in more ways than one.

Taylor and Alex


I Swear I'm Gonna Smother 'em with my Bare Hands!

I'm just not going to pick 'em with my bare hands anymore...these things are prickery! A couple of times I thought I'd gotten stung by something, but it was just the tiny little...eensy bitsy needles that grow on these okras or their tall 'bean stalks'. Tonight I just went out and picked 33 of these 'long-horn' okra. We leave a few of them on the stalks for seeds for next year. Now the freezer is getting so full of them, that, to make room, Cappy told me to 'smother' a bunch of them down, to make more space. For those of you Yankees, (like myself), who've never 'wrapped your tongue around' smothered okra, ohmigosh, you've really missed something! I'll have to post the recipe or something, but it's got sauteed onions, Cajun sausage, and spices; and that's just the start. Mmmm-Mmmm.

Now, as you can tell by this other picture, the cucumbers are finally giving up, hence the browning foliage on either end of the garden bed. I knew one of us would have to give up,eventually; it was either them or me. I have about twenty of them sitting on the countertop waiting to be made into ...(gulp)...even more pickles. What I've been doing with them, is to make bread and butter freezer pickles, with honey as the sweetener. It might sound a little strange, but it's been the easiest thing I could do with all of them. The batches in the freezer have been dwindling because the guys out on Cappy's boat decided they love 'em, then made the mistake to dish some of them out to their pumpers (the guys who work out on the oil platforms). By the way Cappy talked tonight, they've been having their elbows in each other's eye-sockets to get their share. Well, dang! That's a good thing, all the way around.

I haven't blogged much lately, not having felt too well, myself, but am presently feeling much, Much, better, just in case you've been wondering where in the heck I've been of late. Working out in the yard in the fresh air has really helped, too. I'm sure the neighbors appreciate not having to look at the neglected yard. The weeds had the the trees surrounded, like so many green lilliputions of the plant world, waving their weapons of grass destruction, threatening to take over the trees, the yard, and those of our neighbors thru ill wind. Bad enough the neighbors swallowed tons of cucumbers and pickles that were dragged out of our yard by the sackful, til they'd see me coming, cover their mouth and say politely, that they'd had enough. It's a good thing we are running out, and that the last victims will be Cappy's crew. MmmmWaaaaHaaaHaaa...I've been killing 'em with kindness, smothering them with 'love' from my kitchen.