Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fall is Back! Let's take Flight.

Well, we were a little off with the warmer weather statement.  It seems we had forgotten that it always chills off again before Easter.  So, we are back to cool mornings and evenings and today even the afternoon is pleasant enough to open all of the windows and put a chill in the condo.

Thus, in honor of the return of fall we will go back in time to share with you something that we experienced just a few weeks after moving to Stuart.

That thing is the...

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I know what you all are thinking.  But you two don't really "DO" things.  And, you are right.  We don't.  Not in the sense that others do, anyway. 

You see... the airport is only a couple of miles from our condo.  And the "show" therefore wound up being right in front of our condo.  Sometimes it even flew right over our heads!

So, we were fortunate enough to watch the whole event from the comfort of our front stoop. 

Nicole grew up with lots of talk of planes and going to plenty of airshows since her father worked for Pratt & Whitney, one of the sponsors of this show.  Needless to say there was some perma-grin going on throughout on her part.

Being so close to the show we experienced a few extra days of practice flights, arrivals and departures.  The real kick off though is the night flight on Friday evening just after sunset.  It is quite something to watch even if our camera wasn't able to capture it well.

Night Lights - Glider Bob Carlton Jet Powered (2)
                 The highlight was when Bob Carlton lit up his jet powered glider.

                  The next two days were started off with the Navy Leap Frogs.


                             Here comes the C130 and it's two tiny escorts!

Navy Leap Frogs (1)

Navy Leap Frogs (3)

Navy Leap Frogs (12)

And then there were the planes...

AT6 Texan Bill Leff (5)
                                            Bill Leff and his AT-6 Texan

AT6 Texan Bill Leff (12)

Bi-Plane Red White Striped 1942 army air corp Gary Rower vintage Stearman (23)
                              Gary Rower and his 1942 Army Air Corp Stearman

Bi-Plane Red White Striped 1942 army air corp Gary Rower vintage Stearman (24)

Bi-Plane Red White Striped 1942 army air corp Gary Rower vintage Stearman (26)

Bi-Plane Small Stunt (3)                        Pretty sure this is Patty Wagstaff in one of her bi-planes

Douglas C47 Skytrain Tico Belle (1)
                                 The beautiful Douglas C-47 Skytrain Tico Belle

F16 (2)
                            It was not easy to capture a non-blurred shot of the F-16

F-18 (3)
                                        or the F-18 despite their multiple passes.

Glider Bob Carlton Jet Powered (3)

Helicopter (2)
                                                 Vintage Bell Huey Helicopter

Helicopter (3)
                                                   another 'copter sighting

Mig-17 Randy Ball (12)
Watching Randy Ball in his Russian MiG-17 was quite a thrill.  Photographing him was a challenge even greater than the F-16 & F-18. 

Mig-17 Randy Ball (15)
              Here he is getting ready to buzz the roof off the building across from ours.

Stunt Plane Red White Blue Stripe   John Black Super Decatlon (8)
                            Stunts and Smoke Trails were the name of the game...

Stunt Plane Red White Blue Stripe   John Black Super Decatlon (12)
                                     for John Black and his Super Decathlon

Stunt Plane Skip Stewart Prometheus
     Skip Stewart and Prometheus did some decorating.

Stunt Plane Small (4)
                      The stunts the small planes performed were impressive.

Stunt Planes Matt Younkin Beech 18 (8)
            Matt Younkin and his Beech 18 must not have gotten word that a plane

Stunt Planes Matt Younkin Beech 18 (16)
                                           like this is not supposed to do

Stunt Planes Matt Younkin Beech 18 (1)
                                                         stunts like this!

Incredible.

Last up are the T's.

T6 (2)
                                                           The six.

T28 (4)
                                              And, the twenty eights.

Their path repeatedly brought them directly over our condo numerous times over the course of the three day event.  They are spectacular to see and hear.

T28 (5)

T28 (47)

              Oh, no.  It's 5:15 already.  We've got to go.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Everything old Is new Again

Looks like we've hit our usual three week mark.  Time for another post. 

We're really not sure where the time goes these days.  All we know is that it is going... fast!

One good part of that is that the snowflakes are heading back north. 

The roads in our usually quiet town are returning to their rather sleepy condition (comparatively speaking, of course, this IS still FLA) and our retirement community will become a wonderful ghost town.  Not that we really noticed any of them were here other than more cars in the lot and a few more hello's now and then, in passing.

The weather is warming up.  The evenings and mornings no longer have a chill on them.  The wind, however, is still wonderfully oceanic.

Did we mention that our landlord bought herself another condo across the road? 

Well, she did but she didn't like the furniture that it came with and she missed the stuff she had at this place.   We were not as fond of the stuff here as she was.  So, the other day we did a switch and now we have a whole new bedroom set, new dining room table and we let every piece of art and decoration go that we could so that things are getting closer to our preference for minimalistic design. 

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We did keep this awesome painting by an artist in Quito, Ecuador though.  When we rented the place the landlord told us she had some stuff she really liked under the bed.  We never looked at it.  When we pulled them all out she decided she didn't want this one.  It quickly found a new home over our new dining room table.

We've really been enjoying the bikes but would like to say that the phrase "it's like riding a bicycle" probably did not refer to small foldables with 18.5" wheels.  We are still getting the hang of the unique balance issues with these but all in all they are a complete blast!  And as the weather begins to warm, it sure is nice to have that motor to relieve us and generate a solid breeze.

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The other day we rode the bicycles from our place to the Riverwalk.  The Riverwalk is a beautifully constructed boardwalk along the St. Lucie River.  There are a few sections that jut out into the water like this one right in front of Downtown.  We sat here for a snack and enjoyed watching the terns fish and the dolphins surfacing. 

One of these days, when we both have Sunday off, we'll head downtown for the morning's fresh market and follow it up with their free concert offering.

Let's see.  What other tidbits have we for you?

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                       Our oregano and basil are thriving on the back porch.

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        The basil has actually started to bloom.

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                    It gave Nicole her first macro work in a good long while.

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We haven't been doing many beach clean-ups lately.  But we have walked now and then.

The other day Nicole found another 'soldier' for her flotsam army.  Compared to the others he'd be more in the colossal range. 

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         But certainly a fire-fighter will come in handy during any upcoming battles.
    That black nut on the left is also our first Candlenut which was equally exciting.

We are both only working part time but things have been busy at our respective work places. 

Darlene is wracking up the free snacks and pizza hut personal pizzas for her great work in selling Target Red Cards.  Nicole has been enjoying her time at the Home Depot Service Desk.  There is a lot to learn but it appears she's doing o.k. as she received her first Homer Award the other day.

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All of this excellent customer service has these two introverts quite wiped out though and our days off lately have been utilized to binge on Call the Midwife episodes and doing quiet things around the condo.

One day, Darlene was working with the plants on the back porch and felt something in the dirt of one of them.  It was a statue of some sort.  When she pulled it out she thought she had just saved Jesus from certain death!  When we asked our landlord about it she laughed and said she thought her friend from Australia had put it there for some reason and she couldn't remember why.

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   We didn't think much more of it and figured we had another 'soldier' for the army.

Then Nicole started doing some research about why someone would bury Jesus upside down in a plant and discovered that this was not Jesus after all.  It was his "step-father" St. Joseph (aka Mary's husband). 

St. Joseph is thought of as the patron saint of workers.  Apparently, there is a very old Catholic tradition of burying a St Joseph statue upside down to expedite selling property.  It even goes so far as to say that the deeper you bury him (in other words, the harder you make him work to get out) the faster your house will sell!  Something about that just doesn't seem right.

Nonetheless, in addition to being the patron saint of selling homes, Joseph is also the saint of:

  • (Against) hesitation and doubt
  • Fighting communism
  • Enjoying a happy death (because Joseph is said to have died in the arms of Mary and Jesus)
  • Many countries, including Canada, Mexico, Austria and Vietnam
  • Expectant mothers
  • Immigrants and travelers

* We like that last one.... travelers.  Perhaps he will have to come with us when we next hit the road.

 

                                       ....... Happy Trails .......

Monday, March 13, 2017

Distracted

Two weeks have come and gone again.  Our poor blog is suffering despite our constant connectivity.

We've been otherwise occupied.

First with ...

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                  This 1000 piece puzzle that we picked up at the thrift store.

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                                      Thank goodness we finished it...

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                                       ... before our new toys arrived!

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                                                 Meet our new toys.

   Folding, Lithium Batteries, Regular Bicycle Mode, Assist Mode or Motor Only Mode.
                             Top speed so far in motor only mode - 18mph.

     The local "mountains" got nothing on us now.  We are cruising right up them!

                            Well... looks like it is time for another ride.
                Maybe we'll venture to the thrift store to find another puzzle.

                                                       Cheers!

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Operculum Discovery

Bean "season" as it is known is over in these parts.  So, as we wander the beaches these days, we certainly do not hope to find many of our usual drifters much less new ones.

Despite the lower overall numbers it seems that new beans continue to arrive.

Here are four recent finds.  Two of which we can identify and two which remain unidentified, thus far.

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                                    First up, the Asian Water Chestnut.

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It has a spectacular shape and is the only bean we've found that actually begins in the water and ends up on land.

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                                     This is one of our unidentifieds.

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         We are still searching for the ID of this lightweight and porous drifter.

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                                        Next up, the Mucuna Holtonii.

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     It is similar to the hamburgers we've shown you prior only thinner and wavier.

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Our second unidentified.  It is thought to be in the wood rose family but that remains unconfirmed.

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Of the 1700 people in Nicole's SeaBean Group we are the third to have found one of these drifters.  One was found in Texas, one in Cocoa and now ours found here in Stuart.

When looking for drifting beans in the wrack line one often comes across other items that are just too curious to ignore.  The other day, Nicole found this mixed in with the seaweed.

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                                               Interesting, isn't it?

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We brought it home, cleaned it up and went to googling for all sorts of ocean dweller parts.

When none of the search terms revealed anything, we turned to an authority better than google... Nicole's brother.  He came to visit and immediately said, "I know what it is!  It is a conch foot."  What?!

Well, for the most part, he was right.  Although it isn't actually the foot (that is more fleshy) it is the part that rests at the base of the foot.

It is the OPERCULUM.

An operculum is a structure that closes or covers an aperture; a secreted plate that serves to close the aperture of a gastropod mollusk's shell when the animal is retracted.

OPERCULUM.  OPERCULUM.  OPERCULUM.  Isn't that a cool word?

Well, it is a also a cool thing and conchs are not the only mollusks that have them.  They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors.

So.....

Guess what Nicole is on the hunt for now?!