I planned breakfast with Cooper at Lake Manatee State Park but am thrilled to have ended up at Rye Preserve instead. As far as nature walks go in Florida, this is a good one and a new one to us. The 125 acres located in Manatee County off of State Road 64 offers five walking trails, the remnants of a post Civil War era settlement, and people, dogs and horses are all welcomed visitors. Coming off a sun-blazed trail, it was a treat to take off our shoes and stomp through the cool water of the creek. On our way back to the car, Cooper caught the tail of a skink. The rest of it got away. That detachable tail—what a defense mechanism! It looked like a baby snake wriggling through the weeds. The spasms lasted so long that we finally got bored and walked away.
I’ve seen a lizard lose its tail more than once…when your method of catching them is to stand on a chair tossing baskets and hats at them as if it was a carnival ring toss game, a tail is bound to come loose. But the lizard tails have nothing on skinks! Really hoping not to see any more of those slimy skinks but looking forward to my next trip to Rye Preserve.Not our skink tail…YouTube’s:
Because today is the 21st day of the 3rd month, it is World Down Syndrome Day. Some clever person came up with this idea and day to represent the 3 copies of chromosome 21; also known as trisomy 21, it is the chromosomal condition that causes Down syndrome.
We spent the evening on Lido Beach eating cupcakes, drinking sangria, chasing birds, learning to skim board, looking for the green flash in the sunset, and celebrating Ella. She’s well worth it. And instead of pointing out something that makes her different because she has Down syndrome, I’d rather point out something that makes her just like every other kid – partly to emphasize that she is no different and shouldn’t be treated as such but also because I’m her aunt and it was just plain cute. My brother Bobby did the same thing at her age. In fact, I can’t remember one picture of him not hovering the classic bunny ears over someone’s head. Little brothers are always good targets, so Doodlebop Dylan was the bunny tonight.
And here we are trying to light the candles…
LOL for trying so hard. The candles lit, but the wind kept beating Dylan to his repeated plea of, “Mommy, can I blow out the candles?” Not tonight, Doodlebop, not tonight.
Dinner was on Cooper last night…Not only did he catch it, he cooked it!He fried the grouper and smoked the little fish on the hibachi.The grouper was divine. The other three got mixed reviews.Cooper was clearly a fan. His grin and the leftovers reminded me of the old cartoon cat that puts the fish in its mouth and pulls it out with nothing left but the spine. As for me, I don’t care much for heads on my plate. It started at the hibachi…their mouths were opened too wide and looked too circular. It was as if they were pleading with us, “Nooooooo!” Plus it’s a lot of work to eat a whole fish like that. You have to pull the skin back and watch for bones. Cooper looked like he knew what he was doing; John did not. Big men shouldn’t eat small fish…he was spitting out bones every other bite. Still, life and dinners are good when you live by the water.
John’s birthday was yesterday, but since we love him so much, the celebration is being extended to include the whole weekend. That being said, it didn’t have the most glamorous start. They both start with a “g” but a garage sale is anything but glamorous. Unless, you spend some of your earnings on lobster.And one was free! Lotsa Lobster is just South of the Sarasota Square Mall, and they’ll give you a free lobster on your birthday…but sorry, kiddies, you have to be 18 to indulge. You also have to spend $10, which is no problem considering their selection of fresh scallops, clams and fish.With our bellies full of lobster and drawn butter practically seeping from our skin, we floated off to the Sarasota Boat Parade of Lights. The weather was perfect and the sun was setting as we made our way over to Marina Jack.
Sidebar for the house Katherine Harris is building. The word on the street is that it’s a house for entertaining not living. There’s supposedly multiple fireplaces and a large ballroom surrounded by balconies.
Now back to the joys of nature not inheritance…I haven’t sorted through my pictures of the boat parade yet. To be continued…
The ingredients for ceviche were a bonus; yesterday’s goal ingredient that we could not and would not leave the farmers market without were organic potatoes…not for cooking, for science class.Cooper’s hypothesis: If I introduce fertilizer and pesticides to a potato, then it will produce more phosphoric acid therefore increasing the voltages. The YouTube video that sparked his interest: How to Make a Potato Battery.His hypothesis was wrong; the voltages were about the same regardless of organic versus non-organic, but anything that requires a knife and voltage is a fun project for a 13 year-old boy. And by the end of the weekend he had transformed the potato batteries into potato targets.He made a slingshot out of a stick, clothespin, duct tape, ruler, hollowed-out pen, and piece of elastic. The arrow is a skewer with a nail duct taped to the top. The gadget works so well that he was slinging the skewers into our back fence and they were sticking in the wood!
Cooper has suffered a series of unfortunate events lately. First his computer blew, literally, it was smoking. Second, our cable company made a change that requires a new box we haven’t picked up yet, so he’s down on channels. Third, he came home with a terrible report card and got his tablet taken away. His situation is now what I grew up with – basic cable…boohoo. But on the sympathetic side, in teenage wasteland today, no Facebook equals desert island. I can’t wait to see what the upcoming five-day holiday weekend will bring…hopefully nothing sharper or faster than flying nails.
Oreo has definitely outgrown her cardboard computer box/chicken coop. She’s gotten used to her wings and flies out whenever she feels like it now…which is all the time. We had to either drape a towel over the top or accept her following us around the house. An upgrade was overdue, so it was off to Lowe’s for supplies.
There were quite a few design concepts discussed ranging from simple to extravagant. Since I had the cash, simple won out. Oreo is cute and all, but I still want to know what these organic eggs are costing us. The chicken coop supplies were $53 bringing our total up to $83. Of course, she’ll cost us more money in feed; chicks have to eat too. But that should be it. Chickens live off needs not wants – she needs food, water and shelter safe from the racoons. Done!
To this point, we’re at $2.37 a carton. That’s a conservative estimate based on the fact that she’ll produce between 200 and 250 eggs per year for two years. To put it in a different number, I’m hoping for about 35 cartons. And for one last number, $53 really isn’t a whole lot of money to spend for a full family day. A trip to Mote Marine and Selby Gardens would have cost us $51, and Ringling would have cost $60. Yes, Oreo has been a good investment.