The Seven Year Hitch

Be forewarned; you are about to be "O.D'd" with our wedding "pitchers".This week marks the passage of seven years that we've been married. (Actually, we did it twice) Now whatcha got here is the very first picture taken of us 8 years ago. It was Cappy's family reunion/"jambalaya". What a huggable 'pony-tailed' teddybear he was. He still is. We made it through our first Christmas, still so happy and my extreme willingness to become a 'danged' Yankee (one that won't go back north) that we decided to make it permanent. I really never liked the bitter cold, but kinda missed the snow at Christmas time. Uhhh...I got used to the warm balmy Christmas holidays vey quickly:-)
So...June 29, 2002, for the family reunion/"jambalaya", under the gaudy red and white circus tent which had been rented every year, we got 'hitched' "in front of God and everybody" as Cappy is wont to say. His whole family showed up to see, I guess, if he'd actually go through with it or not. He was 44, never been married or had any kids; their 'confirmed' bachelor was getting married!?! It was a lot of fun. Bib overall shorts for the bride. A shirt and shorts for Cappy that I had made myself...I mean, come on...how much more trashy can ya get? Before I came down the aisle of the tent, Cappy's grandmother made him put his shoes on, instead of being the bare-footed boy he'd always been. Just as the justice of the peace was about to begin, she looked up from her book and snatched Cappy's straw hat from off his head. LOL, what a couple of Rubes we were.What made it more special to me was the fact that daughter, Jennifer (Sookie) was on the phone, in my ear the whole time, listening and commenting. It was almost as though she were here. Sadly, at the time it just wasn't possible for family from western NY to attend in person.
The next time Cappy got off the boat, we got a puppy. All within a month, he had aquired a wife and a dawg. SparkyBear the Brat, the dawg he's always wanted all his life, but never could have, being on the boat and all.
As soon as the annulment went through, we quietly got married again. At the time we didn't want to bother going through a big huge "fancy" wedding. We loved our delightfully tacky wedding that we'd had in our own yard. The church wedding was of necessity, more solemn and respectful. Son, Dan was there as one of our witnesses, along with our friend, Pam.
A couple of years later, we got MarkyBear, SparkyBear's mischievous, messy little brother, caught in the act of nosing around in crawfish chimneys in the yard. He grew up fast and quickly became whom we call, Jabba da Pup, or Cowwwwboy, or da Pig. SparkyBear is dwarfed in the back there.
So, that's our little family. The Cappy and Pegody world. Seven years. Seven Wonderful years, I might add. We are each other's best friends and confidants. It's kind of strange, tho; we see things almost mirror image in a lot of ways. For instance, Cappy will tell me his ideas for our Christmas cards, so I'll draw them out. When he comes home and sees them, he's delighted, but puzzled that they are laid out on the opposite side of the card. I say all this to explain the anniversary gifts we got one another this year. If you read the post about the great attic cleanout, you know we are trying to keep an handle on clutter in our little house, so have to keep all that in mind whenever we buy anything. We like to buy each other fun things, and give it a lot of thought. Well, I don't know how much more polarized our gifts could have been. One from deep inside the earth and one from outer space (kinda/sorta). Last year Cappy had gotten me what we lovingly refer to as a "box of rocks". Raw mined emeralds. This year he found a necklace with precious emeralds, each completely exposed and polished; each with it's own unique personality. Twenty carats total with gold chain interlocking them. I love the weight of it and the way it hangs around my neck. I feel soooo good wearing it! Is that man wonderful or what? He managed to order it from out on his boat.
I usually find him something he loves, too, such as series of books about tall ships or science fiction, or CD's...he loves the Blues! This year, he opened his gift to find...uhm...six authentic United States astronaut ice cream sandwiches. Kinda "off"...kinda strange...kinda weird. But...unique. They can't get ice cream very often out on his boat...he loves anything NASA...soooo. I'm glad he said he thought it was great.
It's been an amazing seven years being hitched to my best friend.
So where is he? My beloved faithful husband? He's out with his buddy, Sam, whose wife, Louise, is in Tennessee spoiling the grandbabies. (lucky girl)Sam just retired today after a long successful career working as a 'head honcho' up on the River. I'm ashamed that he's told me more than one time exactly what he did and for how long...but you know by now that I tend to blonduh out sometimes. But he is well-respected and well-loved. People have been having parties for him and inviting him over today. We can't tell you how honored we are that he joined us today, too, so that we could be a part of his celebration. I gave the guys their space so they could be "guys"...but....
do you know what our guys are doing to celebrate??? They are out trying to get a couple of chicks drunk, that's what they are doing.
(...and they have my approval:-)

Ohhhh, I think I'll keep him, and sign me up for another seven years...as Cappy would say, "Oh,what da heck".

Great Blue Heron

While at work last week, this handsome young Heron payed us a visit, perching on a pylon that we were moored to. Summer on the bayous is so lush and rich an ecosystem, it takes on a tropical feel on these hot humid days.

We Got Pickled last night

Yesterday I went out to our little square foot garden and picked 32 lbs of big caveman club-looking cucumbers from our 4 ft wide, 7 ft. tall trellis. We let them get that big 'cause they were destined to become bread and butter-style pickles. Here is our recipe for this version complete with pickleee pictures:-) CAPPY AND PEGODY'S BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES
Part One: The Brine
3 gallons of sliced cucumbers
1 gallon onions cut in half then sliced(about 10 medium)
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
4 large bell peppers julienned
4 chili peppers sliced
1 small bag of ice(8lbs)
After slicing and dicing and having a few beers, ya combine the veggies in a large pot. If ya aint got one, ya can use an ice chest; that works well too. Toss the veggies with the kosher salt then dump in the bag of ice, get it mixed well (running ya hands in warm sink water knocks the chill out). It needs to sit for 3 hours being stirred every half hour 'til the veggies 'sweat down'. A cold beer makes a good 30 minute timer; just be careful not to get pickled before the cucumbers do;-P After 3 hours add a gallon or so of tap water, melting any remaining ice, stir them around some then drain well. If ya aint got a big a gigantic collander, take a large loose-weave dish towel, stretch it over half of the top of the pot holding it tight and strain the water through it, leaving just the pickles in the pot.
Once the pickles are drained let them sit while ya construct the pickling syrup. Part Two: The PICKLING SPICES
10 cups of apple cider vinegar
10 cups of granulated suger(5 lb bag)
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoons black pepper corns
Combine vinegar and spices in a big pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the brined cucumbers (first, drain any remaining water that may have accumluated under the pickles since the time you had drained them into the sink.) Then, using a cooking thermometer to check, bring the pickles to a temperature just over 200F degrees and hold it at that temperature for 5 minutes, then maintain that through the canning process. Part Three:The CANNING PROCESS
1 case of quart mason jars with lids
1 jar funnel
1 big spoon
1 ladle
dish towels
We place our cleaned jars in the oven and set it at 200F degrees, and place the lids and rings in a pot of water on the stove and bring them to 2ooF degrees, as well. Peggy and I have a well-practiced technique for this stage; I'm sure you will work out your own technique. If ya have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let us know. In a smooth motion, I grab a hot jar outa the oven, QUICKLY place it in my other hand in a folded dish towel. As I reach for the spoon, Peggy places the funnel in the jar. I spoon in the hot pickles 'til the jar is almost full then shake it a little to settle them down in the jar. I then ladle in some liquid to cover the pickles, then I reach for a lid and it's ring outa the water and shake them to remove "drippages". While doing this, Peggy removes the funnel and wipes the jar mouth. I place the lid and the ring onto the jar and give it a twist, then place it on the counter to cool. This is done faster than the time it took for me to type it. This will yield from 7 to 10 quarts of pickles; it 'pends on how thin ya slice your veggies and how much they sweat in the brine. The less ya get the more pickely they are. Find what you like, they are all good.


Swamp Rabbits

Last hitch, while easing into the Gibson Canal late one evening, I looked down a couple pipeline rite of ways and saw these rabbits feeding on the freshly mowed grass. Looks like this hunting season I may have to take a stroll down that rite of way. It was nice to see them and they got a chubby Cajun immediately thinking of different ways to cook them. :-)


Safely Home Again

Another long hitch is over and I am safely back in my sweet Peggy's arms. It was a very hot rainless hitch making outside work very difficult except for morning and evening times. On these dangerously hot days it's hard for me to take pictures 'cause every time I stick my camera outside it immediately fogs up from sitting in the air-conditioned wheelhouse. On this particular evening I noticed what promised to be a nice sunset in the making, and set my camera outside for an hour so it could adjust it's internal temperature and unfog. I think it was worth the trouble 'cause this is what I saw. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of this story.


All's Not Lost

Well, dang, I was going to put a quick garden update on here with photos of how it's going so far. Our friend, "dhubb" aka David from Mobile, Alabama has taken the idea of square foot gardening and run away with it. He's got several gardens which are doing just great and has the PHOTOS to prove it. I've taken lots of pictures of our garden, from the begining planting 'til yesterday, but when I went to take the pictures off the camera and load them onto the 'compuker', I see that I've got several drives missing, and one of them is the one I use for my camera. Wha??? Now what? Just in time for Cappy to get home and in the middle of everything else that we've got going on, to have to mess with this. Now I'm wondering if I didn't do some mischief the other day while talking with the DELL 'geek' about another problem I was having. I don't think I've tried to upload...or is it download...I get those two mixed up and don't try learnin' me...I'm just too blonduh. What I meant was that I don't think I've tried messing with my camera since then, sooo....
Speaking of the garden, Cappy's concerned about the okra again this year because, even tho the plants are almost as tall as I am...which really isn't all that tall...but still, the okras should be having those beautiful flowers by now. We dunno...things just seem amiss this year. Things just don't seem normal. I've heard other gardeners talk about the lack of honey bees this year and I think they are right. Hey! Where'sss the BEES??? I haven't seen any in quite awhile, that being the last time I mowed; about three weeks ago, before our young neighbor, Brett started mowing for us again. When I mowed, tho, I only noticed a couple of honey bees circling the clovers. Because of that, I winced as I mowed them down. Some of the 'ol guys on the local town Forum have mentioned that the pollinating job seems to have been taken over by wasps. Now that's really strange, isn't it...or is it? We are getting enough yellow crookneck squash, tho, and cayenne peppers. The cucumbers are covered in yellow flowers, but the produce is very slack and pulpy. We are also in the midst of a drought here in South Louisiana. Yesterday the weather 'peeps' said we are already 9" below in rainfall totals compared to what we should have already gotten. Hey! Spring is when they make bayous around here; we need the rain! I water the gardens and flowers most every night, but I've also heard on the news that in some local areas they are starting to call for a watering ban. NoT good. This morning the weather services issued a severe weather alert. The heat index was supposed to reach into the 100's today and this evening, so people were advised to stay inside if at all possible. Ohhh, it's possible. Would you believe that we are still working on the kitchen??? I'm spackling and wallpapering, cross and crabby to poor Cappy who only wants updates to hear how it's going. I did managed to install a new old-fashioned dark red wall phone. So now I've been strutting around the house about that one... putting off the inevitable climb up the little orange ladder with the danged spackle spatula again. I'll be glad when this is all over and completed; it makes me feel like I'm losing my marbles. If you find any; they're mine!


Miss Willie-Mae's Meet, Greet & Eat

Last Wednesday evening, our dear ball of energy, fun-loving friend, Miss Willie-Mae had a get together at her house for everyone to get to know Peter, a Vietnamese missionary Seminarian who is visiting our parish. There was quite a turnout, as you can see. I'll try to get all the names in order and go around the table counter clockwise. Front and center with her always present beautiful smile, is of course Miss Willie-Mae. To her right is Peter, the guest of honor, then Miss Eva, Miss Florida in the sunny orange blouse, and behind her is Joyce, whose name I always remember because of her joyful smile, then in the back is Jackie next to some strange white person, then Marian, then Miss Anita, Miss Catherine and Miss Imelda. Mr. Raymond is to the left of Miss Willie-Mae.

It was nice seeing them all again and visiting with them. Peter seemed to be having a great time and enjoying the Cajun food. Miss Willie Mae's son BBQ's the ribs to PERFECTION, but somehow escaped my camera, having left the party early for prior commitments. At least I got to tell him those ribs were "Goooooooood!" (I got a what I'd call a secret tip from Willie Mae about how her family bbq's, which I'm excited about and going to use from now on!!! ...an' I'ma goina keep it a secret for sure...sorry:) It was fun being part of such a warm and friendly group, who kept the laughs going.

Miss Willie Mae has a beautiful home, and so many lovely things to look at, that the last time I was there I hadn't even noticed the portrait of the Black Jesus over the fireplace. I absolutely love it.

The pretty (young) lady in the yellow tank top is Willie Mae's daughter, Kaye. It's obvious she's her mother's daughter...what a ball of fun she is! She kept us entertained and laughing the whole time while we waited for her mom to get home. She's standing with her daughter, Haven and Miss Catherine.
Then she bustled around the kitchen being the gracious co-hostess, making sure everyone was taken care of, before she got a bite of anything to eat. I sure did enjoy meeting her. She's every bit as classy and sassy as her mom.

I think Kaye must be a fantastic Mom, too, because I've seen her children before, Haven and Sean, and you've never met such sweet, polite, happy children as these...although they aren't so little. You'd never believe Kaye was the mother of kids this age...Plus, she has an older daughter, who looks more like her sister, than daughter. When I first met Kaye, I thought she was in her late teens or early twenties. Musta be nice ;-P
The icing on the cake, for me was when Jackie showed up. I hadn't seen her in awhile, and the last time I saw her she was having an health scare. I've been praying and praying for her for so long, and was thrilled to get to see her again. She's back to her bubbly happy self again! I got to see her, give her a hug. I hope to get to see more of everybody more often. It sure was fun, and I'd forgotten how much fun it had been and how much I'd missed everybody.


Island "Breeze"

Taking a nice relaxing sip of my fresh pinapple juice and thinking over the last week and a half. Even the computer hasn't been on in awhile. Last night I finally contacted AT&T and let Clyde, a computer 'geek' from the Phillipine Islands take an hour or so, to patiently guide me through the quagmire of erradicating a BUG that had taken over our computer defense system. Between 'bouts', instead of allowing myself to be subjected to a lot of 'elevator muzak', I took the initiative of asking about life in the Phillipines. I learned that city dwellers, even though they are limited in garden space, grow squash and sweet potatoes on vines outside on their apartment terraces. We also compared recipe differences of the two veggies. They also grow okra over there, but prepare it with something called 'bitter melon', of which neither Cappy or I have ever heard. Even tho' it took an hour or so (morning over there in his Island time) to get the computer back up and running smoothly, I had to compliment Clyde that, this time, it had been a breeze, and thanked him profusely.
The reason I hadn't contacted him sooner, was the fact that I had been otherwise occupied; entangled, if you will, with my own island. Here in our on-going kitchen remodeling project, it's always been about finding more storage space. Even tho', with all the new cupboards, a lot of them going empty what with our 'everything to da road' policy, we felt that we still needed a kitchen island. We had a couple of electricians put up pendant lights and what we call a small "Hagar the Horrible" pot rack dangling between them above the area where the island would float.
I looked everywhere for the right sized island and finally found one online, which was made in upstate New York in the Catskill Mountains. Oh how refreshing...made in the USA! We had only just purchased a couple of counter/bar stools and I had hauled out my toolbox, and put on my tired, worn out John Wayne personna again. The first chair 'only' took me about two hours to assemble. The second one, the next day...I needed a rest, go figger...but once I started, I breezed through it; had it put together in about a half an hour. Thus, I was pretty cocky when the 'island' arrived in two 75 lb. boxes. It took me two full days, of sweating and swearing like a sailor, tearing the thing apart and using my own know-how and corner braces...even my own screws in some cases. Maniacs. Maniacs designed the 'put together' of this thing. I don't care if it was made in the good ol' US of A...the printed page had to have been made in China. Directions, Kirections...Big Fat Ol' Shmirections!!! I staged a one-woman "insirection" and put it together the way I wanted it put together. Every Single Step of the Way fought me tooth and nail. I tried to stay calm, taking a few breaks. I went out on the patio to sit in the heat to cool off and noticed this beautiful lily (see above)blooming that I had bought about seven years ago. It had been moved around the yard several times, but had never bloomed. Cappy dug it up out of the grape arbor and stuck it in this pot, with no soil, thinking that maybe the final place to plant it was in the garbage can, but lo and behold! Aint she a beauty!?!

Well, that was a nice little tropical vacation.

And... refreshed, back into the house I went. Right away it thought it had me pinned in the corner. I refused to give up. By the time I got this miserable, son offa "Bastion fastening system" island assembled late that night, I was panting, every muscle in my body complaining, I was dirty, and dripping in sweat. I just stood there looking at it and had a sudden impulse to just take a hammer to it, but I didn't. I see that it's already got a "distressed look" to it in a few places from one or two skirmishes that ensued in the brawl to get it completed. But then, so do I; I'm sporting a bandaid, and my nerves are shot. I don't care if I ever look a screwdriver in the face again, manual or powertool. So, intead of a hammer, I took a knife to it. I chonked a big ol' juicy pinapple on top of it and went to work sawing on it. In this case, revenge is truly sweet.