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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wordless Wednesday
February 18, 2009, 10:40 pm

The sun setting over Stock Island as seen from our beach.

April's Shower of Photos
Happy Saint Valentine's Day!
February 14, 2009, 10:40 am

picture hosting

picture hosting

Outdoor Hour #2 - Using Your Words
February 12, 2009, 12:23 pm

Hurray! For the second time I've joined in the Outdoor Hour Challenges over at the Handbook of Nature Study! We're on a roll here - LOL! The second challenge is entitled - Using Your Words and I found a bit of timely advice -

"Nature study is for the comprehension of the individual life of the bird, insect, or plant that is nearest at hand."

Taking this advice, I continued with my daily observations of the flock of ibis that frequent the waters beyond the beach behind the boat.

An individual ibis.

My Notebook page on the White Ibis. I followed the assignment to come up with - One word to describe something I heard, Two words for something I saw, and Three words for something I felt. The result is a nice little poem of sorts.
Dabbling, Swaying
Cool Wet Sand

I rounded off the assignment with the optional journal entry, giving some info on the habits of ibis.

Marianna did a fantastic portrait of a Little Green Heron in one of my favorite poses. Isn't it great? I do love Little Greens. :)

Please visit the Handbook of Nature Study Blog to join in the fun!

Nature Study
My Datebook, February 9
February 9, 2009, 1:08 pm

Stop by Peggy's for more entries.

Outside my Window...
Sun! The Keys have been having an extended period of cold and cloudy weather. Yesterday afternoon the sun returned and we sat out with our faces lifted to it like little sun starved sweetpea plants. As a result I have quite rosy cheeks today and a dab of raccoon eyes to boot!

I am thinking...
about travel plans. Lots of traveling needs to be done, just trying to figure out how to fit it all in!

I am wearing ...
Black yoga pants and a green tee shirt, haven't changed for the trip into town tonight yet. :)

I am thankful for...
a new camera, so tiny it'll fit in my littlest purse or a pocket. Perfect for photos in town when we ride our bikes in!

From the kitchen...
Today we head into town for RCIA and Youth Group so we'll have pizza on the beach, I want to show Hal Truman's beach area. Tomorrow is Saint Scholastica's Feast Day and I think I can adapt her recipe to the crockpot as I work in the evening.

Towards a Real Education...
Totalitarianism in Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia; Research Papers with Cited Works; and our usual Spring focus on Birds! I'm eyeing Journey North's Weather and Songbirds Unit. It kicks in Feb. 25.

I am creating...
I'm wrapping up a project I've been working on since Christmastime. I want to get it in the mail to arrive by Valentine's Day but I don't want to finish as I've been having so much fun. Definite conflict of interest there!

I am reading...
The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman

Around the home...
Nothing of interest! Marianna and I should get going with Valentine's decorations soon!

One of my favorite things...
The aforementioned crockpot. So nice knowing dinner is ready no matter if I'm the one working or if Hal is.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Work Tuesday evening and Wednesday day shift, CCD Wednesday evening, Mass and choir on Friday and an orthodontist appointment too.

Here is a picture thought or I am sharing with you:

The tiny new camera.

Who turned off the heat?
I think even the frigates are fleeing further south!
February 5, 2009, 10:57 pm

From Wunderground:

... Daily low maximum temperature tied at Key West...

The maximum temperature at Key West International Airport on
Thursday February 5th was 55 degrees. This tied the record low
maximum for the date... last set in 1966.

This was the coldest maximum temperature observed in Key West since
Christmas day 1989... when the high temperature reached only 54
degrees. The coldest high temperature previously observed during the
current decade was 56 degrees... which occurred on January 24th 2003.

Our minimum temp as seen at the front gate was 44 degrees, at the airport, 48 degrees. I am so glad we have reverse cycle airconditioning! Most houses down here do not and folks resort to sleeping in odd places just to stay warm.


Crockpot Chocolate Cake
February 4, 2009, 12:59 pm

Recipe found here. It is definitely one to try, even if you have an ovento bake cakes in! Marianna says ( and I agree) that the cake batter is one of the most delicious things she ever has tasted.

The cake ain't too shabby either.

1 pkg. two layer chocolate cake mix
3 oz. pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup water
2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chocolate chips

Spray a 4 quart crockpot with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and pudding mix. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the water, then add the sour cream and oil and beat until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and beat well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into crockpot. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until top springs back when touched very lightly with finger. Alternatively, as I can never properly follow a recipe - we cooked it on high for 1 hour and low for 2 or maybe 3 additional hours.

Very moist, very delicious. We melted chocolate chunks over the top and smeared it around like frosting, upping the delicious factor by 10%.

Just try it. You'll like it!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Happy Birthday, Hal!
February 3, 2009, 9:01 am

One of my favorite photos of my husband. I wish I could claim to have taken it, but all credit goes to the fabulous photographer Billy Cooksey.

Dear, I wish we could hang out in the deeps today for your birthday, but with air temps in the 60's and falling low enough tonight for locals to be talking of cold water fish kills I think we might pass this week! Instead we have a fabulously smelling Fudgy Crockpot Cake simmering away in the galley - hurry home or it may all have mysteriously disappeared!!!

Lovely Lemonade
February 2, 2009, 2:00 pm

The coolest Bookworm I know has sent me a Sweet and Fizzy Lemonade Award this past week. Isn't she the nicest? You really do need to go check out her tutorial on the differences between various English puddings, I might even have it straight now! Anyway, I'm hungry at least, they look sooo yummy!

I wish I could share a lovely glass of lemonade here in the cockpit with you, that would be divine today!

February 1, 2009, 1:37 pm

or the old Moon in the new Moon's arms has been quite pretty down here the past few nights.

How about where you live? Has the moon at sunset been spectacular?

Nature Study
Outdoor Hour #1 - Let's Get Started!
January 29, 2009, 8:45 am

For the longest time I've been wanting to join in the Outdoor Hour Challenges over at the Handbook of Nature Study. I hesitate to tell you when I actually began printing out the Challenges each week but suffice it to say a very long time ago. So quite appropriately, the very first challenge is entitled - Let's Get Started! - obviously the hardest part for me!

Now, once I finally sat down to get this adventure started the very first sentence of the assignment electrified me with it's timely advice -

Nature study is, despite all discussions and perversions, a study of nature; it consists of simple, truthful observations that may, like beads on a string, finally be threaded upon the understanding and thus held together as a logical and harmonious whole.

Simple, truthful observations strung one after another on a string like beads. This I can relate to! So in keeping with my new theme of simple and truthful I will honestly relate that my nature walk consisted of my morning walk across the beach to the shower house with a stop at the screened porch for coffee. Then I turned around and came back, coffee in hand just as the sun was clearing the horizon.

Later on I sat down with watercolor pencils and tried to capture my memory of the morning. I adore working with watercolor pencils, it's like magic when the water-ladened brush brightens, and yet softens, the picture.

Finally, I am going to do a bit of research on my own on those gorgeous Ibis I'm enthralled with right now. That would be 3 matures and one immature in my picture above. Marianna, on the other hand, is awfully fond of the Little Green Heron that likes to hang out on seawall behind our boat. She chose to put him on the roots of the mangrove island just off the swimming hole for her sketch. Make sure you click over to her blog as she posts along with me for her take on the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Phew! I think that just about wraps up our very first Outdoor Hour Challenge! We've Started! The first step has been taken - hurray!

Please visit the Handbook of Nature Study Blog to join in the fun!

Nature Study

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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Who: Capt. Hal, Jennifer, and our daughter Marianna, a great photographer!
Port: Boca Chica
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