Winter Storms – do not have names.

This is just so annoying. Tropical storms have names. Too many names to recall ….

Hurricanes have names. We have had Ivan, Dennis, & Katrina,  since we have been in hurricane alley.

Winter storms – no. names. ever.

I think it is just something the Weather Channel does to increase ratings. People, it is called winter and, guess what – that means you in the north get snow in February and those of us in north Florida are in the low 70’s with polo shirts and jeans. Until we get two good days of cold, which for us, is winter. Suck it.

Granted, you northerns get your revenge when we said hurricanes make landfall and we are miserable in August or September or October. Turn about is fair play, non?

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A real hurricane – Ivan

 

Hello Tourists

Tourists –  We thank you for visiting our fair state. It makes it possible for us not pay state income taxes. But here is the problem – do you act like such jerkish dillweeds at home?  I am just wondering, because I am really hoping you do not. I would like to think I would not be a total dillweed in your hometown. Honestly, I am pretty sure I would not be.

Pensacola Beach SignYou drive like the speed limits do not apply to you, especially on our bridges which are our lifelines between Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, and Pensacola Beach. Honestly, we have enough of our own dillweeds for this idiocy – just saying.

We do not mind not being able to get to our own beach in the summer.  We understand first, the snowbirds, then the spring breakers, and then the tourists – we get it. Just please do not try to run us down on our own streets. It is just not right.

It will not be long until we get our beach local back, and while we appreciate you supporting our places for a few months each year, we support them when you are all gone – through the fall and winter. This is our hometown and it would be lovely if you were not so cavalier in our home.

 

Weyer Works

DSC_6078When we moved to Pensacola in 2003, we had no idea how many festivals take place throughout the year. Because of the climate, we have festivals basically year round. One that we first went to was the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival which takes place annually in early November, usually the first weekend. There are all kinds of very beautiful things (read: expensive), from jewelry, pottery, wood turning, paintings, photographs, just as you would expect in an art show. In addition to this the GGAF has a space for what it calls Heritage Arts and this tends to be my favorite part of the festival, well, that and the liquid refreshments. Guys serving champs in tuxedos –  cool.
It was at the 2003 Arts Fest that I first met Mr. Weyer. He and his wife are from Iowa and I can understand why they would want to be in Pensacola in November instead of in Iowa. Totally get it. He was hand crafting spoons and other kitchen items out of Iowa hardwood that  has been air-dried for at least seven years.  It was fascinating to watch him make spoons on site, and the spoons were beautiful to hold and seem to fit perfectly for me. So I bought a couple.
I use them all the time, especially when making pasta sauce or working on a chutney recipe. They just feel right when you use them. It is hard to explain if you have never had a hand-made spoon like this. They are balanced, but sturdy.
So it became a thing – go to the GGAF, look at all the art (?) and then buy a couple of spoons from Mr. Weyer and his wife. All of the spoons have the year on the back and Mr. Weyer’s initials on them so for many years I would pick up one or two. The only year we did not was the year of Ivan (2004) because there was no Arts Festival that I remember.
My collection is pretty complete now, but I do stop by and look each year just to see if there is something new that I must have to add to the bunch.

This particular spoon was damaged (chipped and put in the dishwasher – thanks to the Boy) and I took it to Mr. Weyer and said, can you fix it. And of course the answer was, duh, yes. And he did.

 

It’s raining … again.

It rains pretty much every day in our part of Florida during the summer. It is annoying to some degree, but mostly it is a good thing. Do not have to water the garden or my potted Meyer lemon and it does bring the temperatures down. But this weekend was an experience. Hurricane Patricia hit a front that was coming our way and – boom – lots o rain. While it is not as bad as Texas – thankfully – it just keeps coming. It is the way a storm works and it is pulling water up out of the gulf just to say hello to us. And with gusts that feel like tropical storm which I really enjoy – you can go outside – get rained on but not worry about lightening – okay – I love it. It is not terrible, but it definitely is different. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same and I’m kind of excited about it. It is not a hurricane, or a tropical storm, but it has all the best parts of both – if that makes a weird sort of sense.   Guess it is a Gulf Coast thing. I can hear another line of rain coming in right now and I am thinking that will make sleeping tonight some kind of excellent.

 

 

 

Reuben Casserole

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Reuben Casserole

It’s March (totally late posting this – ugh. It is now early May – how does this happen?) which means I’m thinking about the end of casserole season (true) at least for here in the North West Florida Gulf Coast. It’s already starting to get in the 70’s during the day (now in the 80’s). One of my favorite casseroles is a Reuben casserole – all the flavor of a Reuben, but the ease of a casserole and, better still, leftovers! Excellent.
I started making this years ago, and I’ve modified it and scaled it down for the two of us (the Boy is not a fan – I think I didn’t raise him right. He also does not like collards, or boiled peanuts – yes, I’m a disappointment as a southern cook – or mom). I’ve taken some tricks from Cook’s Country’s recipe from their “Best Reuben Sandwich” especially their version of the traditionally-used Thousand Island dressing. I mean why buy bottled stuff (ugh) when you can make your own version with things you have on hand – mayo, chili sauce or cocktail sauce, and relish.
This is a pretty quick and easy meal and this time of year (March) you can bet corned beef and Guinness are on sale. The Guinness is for drinking (mostly!), Brownies, and Chocolate Cake – in that order.

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs chili sauce
2 Tbs sweet relish
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbs minced (or grated) onion
6 slices of rye, cubed (seeds or no – I go for no)
8 ozs sauerkraut, drained (recommended: Boar’s Head)
3/4 pound corned beef, cubed
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
4 Tbs butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 x 8″ ( 9 x 9″ whatever you have) with non-stick spray.
In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, chili sauce, relish, sour cream, and onion.
Arrange rye cubes in the bottom of the pan reserving 1/4 cup of cubes for topping. Layer on sauerkraut and corned beef. Spread with dressing mixture over the corned beef. Sprinkle with cheese, top with remaining rye, and drizzle with butter.
Cover with foil, and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes until bubbly and lightly brown.

The USS Alabama

January 9, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of USS ALABAMA (BB-60) Battleship Memorial Park. Eighteen years to the day since she last ran under her own power, the World War II heroine was dedicated in Mobile, Alabama to the memory of Alabama veterans of all branches of the armed services, Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine.

USS Alabama

USS Alabama

In 1964, a campaign was launched to bring the “Mighty A” home to Alabama, as a memorial to the state’s sons and daughters who had served in the armed forces. Alabama school children raised almost $100,000 in mostly nickels, dimes, and quarters to help bring her home to her final resting place.

http://www.ussalabama.com/battleship-uss-alabama/

The first time the Man of the House* (way before he was the man of the house) and I came to Pensacola for our first vacation, we went to the USS Alabama in Mobile. It was amazing. I had never been on a battleship before. But I have a special place in my heart for the USS Alabama. – or just about anything else the Man of the House loves.

*Quiet Man – just watch it.

The Battle of New Orleans

The Battle of New Orleans (on Chalmette Plantation) was the last major battle of the War of 1812 on January 8, 1815.* 200 hundred years now and a victory for Andrew Jackson (5,000 soldiers defeated 7,500 British). And it kinda, sorta, took place in New Orleans-ish, but, really it took place in a part of Louisiana that most people had never heard of until Hurricane Katrina – Chalmette, Louisiana. And maybe not then either really, unless you are from the North West Gulf Coast (FL, AL, MS, LA).

We know it because when the Man of the House went in for S&R (Search & Rescue) after Katrina (2005) –  they were the first S&R group into Chalmette. The area was devastated thanks to the Mr. Go – an example of all the things that go wrong when we, humans, try to control nature (read: stupid & not good).

Read this –  not all of our Independence happened in the New England area –

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/battle-new-orleans-birthed-american-democracy

And if you are really brave listen to Johnny Horton – The Battle of New Orleans (you tube it). It’s pretty silly, but you get the idea. I remember this from when I was young, but  I didn’t understand what it was about.

*I’m getting all Jane Austen on this – between Mansfield Park (May 1814) and Emma (December 1815).