Thursday, June 21, 2018

Birthday Bash

I can't believe that our grand baby is three years old! On one hand, she hardly seems to have been on this earth very long at all... and on the other hand, she seems to have been here forever!!






Our son and daughter-in-law invited us to Alexis' third Birthday party.... and then mentioned that maybe they could use some help with the Birthday cake! OK... I can help. I used to enjoy making themed B-day cakes for my kids.

Alexis does not watch TV (they don't have one)... but she has been allowed to watch Puffin Rock shows on the computer, an animated show originating in Ireland. So... Grammy CiCi looked at pictures from Puffin Rock and planned how she could make a cake... and cup cakes... that were Puffin Rock themed:


Then I checked the online RSVP's... 54 people were coming. 54?!!! You MUST be kidding!!

We thought they were crazy!

My son had sent me a link to an applesauce cake recipe he thought would be good. I went to the store and bought the ingredients.... then I went back to the store again to buy the applesauce I forgot on the first trip. Evidently... applesauce is a key ingredient of an applesauce cake!!

One batch of the recipe made... one 9" round cake... or 15 cupcakes. I baked 5 batches of the recipe... two for the cake and three for cupcakes. Oh, and I made another trip to the grocery store for more butter. Ugh!

Then I began icing the cake... using a cream cheese icing. The "Mr." made another trip to the store for more powdered sugar. I was less than organized!

I forgot how long it took to making icing, color it and squish it out of a decorating bag. I became very frustrated. The cupcakes weren't going to happen... not as I imagined them. But, a quick fix was to color the icing and make a rainbow... it's all part of "Puffin Rock".

Image from the Internet
The party was being held in a small park just down the street from our son's house. The weather was perfect. The bounce house was delivered and set up and people began arriving. There were toddlers and babies and kids all around. The moms and dads stayed, too. Pizza arrived. Many, many pizzas!






Then we brought out the cake(s). The party goers enjoyed the cake. I received many complements on the applesauce cake itself. After three hours, folks began to leave and the party wound down. The party did not meet our expectations of a disaster waiting to happen. Everyone had a great time. There were only a few tears from minor bumps or affronts. There was one scuffle over who should have a certain stick. And there was only one toddler who went home in wet pants! It was a phenomenal day!




Monday, June 18, 2018

Just Like Kids

I saw it first.


No you dint.

Well, I got to it first.


Yeah, but you run pastted the clump of grass. 
I flushed the turkey out.

No... I did!

I chased after it fastest than anything.

Did not.

Did too.

Sometimes we think the dogs are like kids, arguing about who gets the front seat, or who gets to drink first, or who gets to go out the door first. So, this conversation may really have gone on between Gypsy and Tucker. 

On my morning walks with the dogs we often come upon turkeys. One day a Tom fanned out his feathers to try to intimidate us. Most often the turkeys turn and go away from us. The dogs are really curious. They tug on their leashes and want to go after the turkeys in the worst way.


Recently the gate into a large open area that once housed some sort of huge industrial tank, was open. I figured this might be a safe place to let the dogs off their leashes. Safe for the dogs, perhaps. But it certainly put Mama turkey's life in peril! 

The huge tank is on the right in this historical picture of the bay side of Point Richmond.
The area where the tank stood is now an open field.
The dogs came upon her in a clump of grass. She flew out, with two dogs in mad pursuit, not even thinking of paying attention to my calls to come. Tucker gave up first, returning to the clump of grasses. Oh no! He was walking away with an egg in his mouth. He put the egg down and I was able to keep him away. I replaced the egg using some dried grass to pick I up.


I don't know if Mama will accept the egg with a bit of dog slobber on it!

I guess we won't be enjoying off-leash time in the tank field in the near future!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Euglossa dilemma

Here is one last post written in April and recently discovered....

The other morning I noticed movement among the flowers of my giant leaf Begonia. I became intrigued by the shimmer of light coming from what looked like a green bee. A very shiny, green bee.

Luckily I was able to snap a picture of the insect:


A quick Google search yielded the information that I had spotted a Green Orchard Bee, also known as Euglossa dilemma. What an interesting scientific name! 

Picture from the Internet
The bee first appeared in southern Florida in 2003. It was thought that the insect was a Central American species. However, further study shows that it exhibits slight differences and thus was a new species, a "cryptic species". Thus it seems the insect created a puzzle... and thus its name!



Friday, June 8, 2018

Trapper Nelson

Here is another post from March that never made it onto the blog.

I wish I could have met this guy. He sounds like he was quite the character! Nelson (Vince Nostokovich) was known as the Tarzan of the Loxahatchee River in Florida, or the "Wildman of the Loxahatchee".



After a close call with the law when he was in his early 20's  Trapper came upon a clearing along the banks of this winding, narrow river.


There was a lean-to, but no one seemed to be living there. So, Nelson moved in and eventually purchased this property and 1000 acres around the  original site.

 Trapper constructed a very rustic cabin.




Later Nelson built a larger cabin and rented his original cabin for $8 a night.


When the Park service re-chinked the fireplace they found over $1000 in coins. Evidently Trapper would "deposit" his money in a void in the fireplace.


Trapper prepared food for his overnight guests. His meals were cooked outdoors, and often were comprised of Gopher Tortoise (kept in the pen) and tropical fruits.



Trappers homestead became a curiosity for locals and Florida visitors in the 40's and 50's. He became a Florida tourist attraction and visitors would come by boat, just as we did. Trapper created a small zoo with native animals, including alligators. He also sold plants and fruit.




Nelson would entertain visitors wrestling Stumpy, the alligator.


As Nelson's notoriety grew the State began to intervene, imposing restrictions and requiring "upgrades". Nelson had to provided a public restroom. The original still stands today. The docent insured that no one would consider using the facility by commenting in an off-hand way that we should be cautious and looks for snakes if we went inside, as they enjoy the coolness of the concrete floors. 

In order to provide water for the restrooms Nelson and to dig a well. This is his well and pump house.


Government regulations and red tape eventually led Nelson to shut down his operation. It wasn't worth the hassle. 

Nelson was found shot in the heart. Controversy still surrounds his death, which was ruled a suicide. 












Monday, June 4, 2018

Koreshan Unity

When I visited the Shaker village in New Hampshire I was intrigued by the similarities and differences between the Shakers and the Korseshan Unity community. As I wrote the entry about the Shakers, I realized I never posted my entry on Koreshan. So I will rectify that oversight. Here is a post that was originally written in March this year.

We Dreamers visited the Koreshan State Park in Estero, FL. The park includes buildings from the Koreshan Unity community, a utopian society founded by Cyrus Teed in the 1870's in New York. Teed established a few communities and garnered followers in Chicago and other northern states, as well as a small group in San Francisco, before establishing the "New Jerusalem" in Estero. The community flourished in the early 1900's. Teed's vision was to build a city of 10 million people. He had an elaborate plan, with a very structured governance. However, the unity declined following his death in 1908. The last to join the society in 1940 was a German woman escaping Nazi persecution. In pictures of the society I noticed there were a lot of women and children. A park docent explained that this society, like other communal living arrangements, offered a promise of lifetime care in exchange for all of one's goods and money. In an era where widowed women or unwed mothers had few opportunities to support themselves and their children, a commune was a haven of succor.
The surviving buildings and land were given to the state by this last surviving woman.


Cyrus Teed lived in a large frame house. This is his sitting room. Other rooms in his home served as classrooms. Education was valued in the community.


This building was called the Planetary Court. It was centrally located and housed 8 women with key positions in the community. The only man in the house, Henry Silverfriend, brother of one of the women, lived in the cupola and served as "Watcher of the House" or "Protector of the Women". He was also the town clerk. 
Picture from the Internet
Arts were an important part of the society. The Koreshans were known to produce elaborate plays and those outside the community would come see the entertainment in the arts building. The building is still used for concerts and community theater performances.

Children in costume. Picture from the Internet.
Teed espoused the position that the stars and sun existed in a central orb, and the planets were on the inside of a rotating sphere surrounding the stars, planets and sun.


 Teed set out to prove his "Cellular Cosmogony" theory by purporting to measure the concave nature of the earth with an elaborate structure of large beams. This is a model of his measurement device.


Teed's vision for "New Jerusalem" was pictured in this painted map. The central core of the community would included the property that was used in creating the utopian community in Estero. Large streets would radiate out to huge apartment style homes and business buildings. 


The Koreshan flag, which still hangs in the art building today, reflects Teed's design for his utopia.


I was intrigued by our visit. There is so much more to learn and understand about this community and their beliefs.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Canterbury Shaker Village

While visiting in New Hampshire we visited the Canterbury Shaker Village. This village was founded in 1792 and was operational for 200 years. In 1992 the last living Shaker in the village passed away and the village became a museum. How strange to visit this museum where at one point 300 Shakers lived, worshipped and worked on a 3,000 acre tract of land on which 100 buildings once stood.


The original owners of the farm on which Canterbury Village stands were converted to the faith and invited others to join them. The Shakers were celibate so growth could only occur in this manner. Orphans were often brought to Shaker villages to be raised by the community. Married couples who joined the culture lived separately. In all areas women and men entered buildings and sat and worked in separate groups. Although education was initially not valued, boys attended school in the winter and girls went in the summer. Many single mothers found security amongst the Shakers, knowing they could join the community and the needs of the mother and children would be seen to. 
The Shakers divided labor in the village. Men and women would work for several months at one task, and then everyone would shift to a different task.






The Shaker culture was more than one focused on religion. Although the group originally formed to escaped religious persecution in England in the 18th century, their way of life focused on communal living, equality of the sexes, living simply and dancing during worship, which is how the group originally called the United Society of Believers became know as the Shakers. They were inventive and forward thinking. At Canterbury Village they produced and marketed medical syrups, made clothing and furniture and invented a large washing machine that was sold to hotels and large establishments. They farmed the land for their food and lived a simple, communal life.


It was fascinating to tour many of the buildings where the Shakers "put their hands to work and their hearts to God." Our Docent, not although not a Shaker, lived on the property in his youth. He was passionate about the village and shared an amazing amount of information with us.


The culture reached its zenith in the mid 19th century. Societal changes led to its demise and currently their are only two remaining Shakers in a village in Maine. How sad to see a culture dwindle away to nothing.






Sunday, May 27, 2018

Life After the Wild Ride

I have been busy, and now I can finally relax in our California house. Relax? Who's kidding who? Now the work begins!

To recap:

We travelled from southern Florida to the San Francisco Bay area. We arrived on Saturday before Mother's Day, so we could enjoy a lovely brunch with both of our sons, both of our grand kids and the other grandmother. I had the opportunity to visit the new (to us) house for exactly three days, then I was off to the airport.

I opted to take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from the station nearest our neighborhood to the airport so that the Mr. didn't have to drive all that way (31 miles). The trip went well - what a way to travel. Oh, and once I get my "Clipper Card" I will get special discounts as a senior!

I flew to Manchester, NH to visit with my BFF. She is also a quilter and secured a spot for me in a Bonnie Hunter workshop. offered by her quilt guild.  I have participated in a few of Bonnie's annual Mystery Quilts, so my BFF knew I'd love meeting the woman and participating in the fun. And... fun, it was! Of course, any time I'm with my special friend we manage to have fun!



Following my NH visit I flew to Denver to visit with my stepmom and my dad. I took Stepmom on quite a few shopping jaunts and accomplished a lot of minor "to do" items on her list. As for visiting Dad... well, the Assisted Living facility where he lives was shut down due to a rampant GI infection making its rounds. The Director was kind enough to let me gown up, mask up and don gloves to visit briefly with my dad, as long as I went directly to the airport and did not go back to the Independent Living section of the facility. I complied with his directives, gave my dad a kiss on the forehead before heading out. He was sound asleep! So much for my "visit"!

Finally, I arrived "home"... and have no plans to leave for a few weeks. I can settle in... maybe!

The Mr. and I had previously ordered electric assist bicycles. We figure we can use them to drive ride the 3 miles into town, and maybe brave the roads and do some shopping. On a recent Saturday we traveled almost 10 miles and met our son and granddaughter for a picnic. What fun!


I recently sent off for kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs. They arrived while I was away. All of the homes in this subdivision have no cabinet knobs and it drives me crazy! So, one of my tasks was to make a jig, drill holes and install the knobs. Ta-daa....


I purchased fabric for curtains... that may be my next post!


Let's just say I never have trouble falling asleep at night... and despite the fact that my body has no idea what time zone I might be in, I sleep late enough in the morning to find that my body is recharged and ready to go!


Birthday Bash

I can't believe that our grand baby is three years old! On one hand, she hardly seems to have been on this earth very long at all... and...