Saturday, October 30, 2021

Temps are cooling off, neighborhood clean-up & puzzle action

We have finally started having some pleasantly cool days which means open windows (and doors) all around.  The Boss has been spending his days tinkering around in the garage doing clean-up, and organizing all the many bit's and bob's we seem to have accumulated, lol. After living onboard in the Eastern Caribbean for all those years it's tough to throw anything out, you're bound to need it the very next day or week! 

One of our neighbors is moving and some loose shelving ended up out front, fair game for the DIY'er in the house and now installed, we've added a few more square ft of storage space in the garage closets.

A lovely evening shot of our lake, brought to you by Ralph Bonna,
one of our excellent neighborhood photographers.

On the neighborhood front, one of our neighborhood "movers & shakers" organized a clean-up day aimed at picking up any yard debris, sticks, palm tree "boots" and general trash that might be keeping our little neighborhood from looking it's best as we head into holiday season. Several people showed up and within a couple of hours we had a couple of pickup truck loads of yard debris headed to the landfill for composting. It was a great day for it, overcast and high 60's at the start.

The focus was on the main entry drive, where the trash
(from pedestrians) tends to accumulate.

The boss, in the ball cap, and another stalwart neighbor.

Here's another sunset shot to amaze you, taken by an across-the-lake neighbor. We are so fortunate to have water in our views.

Sunset shot by Susan Merrill

As I mentioned in the previous posts cooking and good food make the world go around and in the spirit of that sentiment, I baked up the sausage, cabbage and veggie quiche-like casserole. It is covered in detail on the Recipe page on but here is a shot of the ingredients ready to be assembled.

On the left, smoked sausage & mushrooms, right is shredded cabbage,
carrots, and celery, and in front onion, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.

An egg, milk, flour and spice mixture is poured over the combined
ingredients and topped with cheese. Makes a great side dish.

And finally, to finish things off a shot of the last 2 puzzles I worked on. They were both fun and colorful.

Thanks a bunch for visiting, leave a comment if you feel like it. Bye for now.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Super busy playing catch-up at home

 A lot has been happening in the last couple of weeks what with the mandatory cleaning after being gone for 4 months and the (sometimes) big efforts of restocking the freezer with our favorite "easy" meals. These are the time-consuming, many ingredient dishes that take most of the day to prep and cook, like lasagna or elaborate main dish casseroles, or fancy side dishes. I don't always feel like cooking from scratch -every- night! 

More on this Lasagna later

When you are seasonal, whether to-and-from a house, an RV or a boat you can be faced with big problems or issues once you arrive back at it. Guess what kids, this is true going in both directions - double the fun, haha 😁. With any luck you may only be faced with smaller inconveniences like a build up of dust, some sporadic (hopefully non-persistent) mildew smells, some weeds in the yard and just lots of laundry, lol.  

Time for a change to the fall regalia inside and out.

We are pretty practiced in the art of "seasonal" after the several years of back and forth between the house and sailboat. We do a lot of things to try to bulletproof against major issues while we're gone, such as draining the hot water heater, shutting off the water at the street, plastic sheeting over the entertainment center, flipping off most of the breakers in the fuse box and making good use of our hurricane shutters.  However, over the years we have still encountered a few non-ideal issues such as a small roof leak in the florida room after a tropical storm has passed through the area. Oh well, into every life a little rain must fall.

We consider all these efforts to be a fair trade-off to getting to enjoy a nice change of scene once a year, rather like paying a toll to that Troll under the bridge.

So, that's what's been happening around here; vacuuming, dusting, lemon polishing, floor mopping, garage cleaning/organizing, leaf blowing and weed pulling and cooking - did I mention cooking??

One of our favorite casseroles is King Ranch Chicken. I talked about that in the last blog I guess. Another favorite is Spinach Lasagna with meat. That one is a big deal to make as well. There used to be a cooking show on TV that epitomized my style called "Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee". I do that all the time to save time, which means for this recipe I am using jarred spaghetti sauce as a base. Into that I will add canned diced tomatoes, sautéed onions, mushrooms and bell pepper, priana tomato pesto, red wine, herbs & seasonings, browned ground beef and italian sausage. Let me tell you, in my book that's homemade! And that's just the sauce. 

BTW, I made plenty of extra sauce so that; a) I don't run short while building the lasagna, and b) I end up with a couple of freezer containers of spaghetti sauce I can draw upon for easy meals.

 So you can imagine all the additional steps for the filling, and building the layers. Like I said, all day job. I finally broke down and bought a new Anchor Hocking deep 9 x 13 casserole dish so I can get 3 layers and no spillover.

Thing of beauty - mellows well in the freezer too!

Having a dedicated sewing/crafting room means I can leave a jigsaw puzzle on the table, no problem. I prefer 500 pieces or less as I can knock them out pretty quickly, and they are readily available at either the thrifts or Ollies etc. I use a poster board as a base for the puzzle while under construction, and use the plastic chopping mats ($1 @ Dollar Tree) for the pieces. That way if I need to use the table for something else I can easily put the mats on top of the poster board and move the whole kit and caboodle somewhere else.

It seems like I only get about 5 hours of solid sleep a night, so sometimes I'll get up in the middle of the night and work on the puzzle as a way to lull me back into snooze mode.

Well, that's about all for now. Thanks for taking the time to read this.  I'll leave by saying  "sleep tight (over the winter) Rustic, we'll see you next year." 

Final evening scene next to the Poudre River @ Rustic, Colorado

Leave a comment if you have a minute.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Cross country trip home, King Ranch Chicken, Meatloaf and Meatballs w/Spag Sauce

Well we got things all wrapped up at Rocky, including the last hour or two in the rain - 😒  - oh well, it all got done and things are ship-shape until the next time. Here's a shot of the buttoned-up rig.

The trip home was the usual combination of dread, boredom plus the unexpected highlights. A few shots from a fairly standard route through Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee then Georgia to Florida.

Here are some shots taken along the way.

A lot of flat to start with, a lot of grains, corn and cattle.


Here's a few more.

Ms. Google Maps treated to this route bypass on
a "nice" gravel road through this beautiful rural area. 
I was slow on the uptake on the picture front (I was driving at the time)
and missed another glory shot along the way. this one's pretty good though.

Here's a great shot from somewhere else (Missouri?) 

And a selfie, the first I've ever taken, that I suckered the Boss into..

Yes, he's driving - The camera made it look reversed, Confounding, lol.

We ran into a lot of fog in Tennessee in the Smokies.  

Luckily it burned off pretty quickly. It was pretty ethereal I must admit.

We made it back to our home and got started unpacking, getting settled  and getting things squared away.  Next up starts the whole shopping, cleaning and cooking delicious meals that will fill up our freezer.

First up, I made King Ranch Chicken which netted us 7 two-person delicious dinners. So good, we love that recipe.

Ingredients for our version of King Ranch chicken, not including
all the rotisserie chicken, a can of Rotel tomatoes & chilies
 and a few sprinkles of frozen sweet corn.

Here's the end results; YUM!

So I couldn't stop there, I had to make something out of all the ground beef and Italian sausage I had shopped-up, so it was going to be meatballs, meatloaf and spaghetti sauce. Lots of mincing up of celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms, green olives and garlic, but it all came together in one wonderful, hardworking day. I'm excited about actually getting the freezer stocked up on easy meals!!

Well, onward to the next set of chores, challenges and the daily business.

Hope y'all are doing fine, and thanks for tuning in for this missive.