This is how a photo of the Wakulla River came out today. Just a simple snap! as the old metal jungle tour boat started gliding away from the dock and down the river. I think it is rather lovely.
Dinner went fine. My husband's old friend is a laid-back, mellow guy as very tall men so often are. He is hugely nostalgic but not in a mourning the glory days sort of way. More in the way that he appears to still have a lot of love for the people whom he knew and loved back in the old days of being young and playing ball, first for Auburn and then in Europe. He brought pictures and he and Mr. Moon had a great time going over them, remembering, sharing stories and memories. They were happy. And I was glad for that.
The wife is a fine woman. She is the mother of two and also the grandmother of five. She and her husband have always been extremely family-centered and they still are. She and I are not much alike although she, too, was a nurse and yes, a mother and now a grandmother. I have a feeling that our lifestyles are a bit different but I felt comfortable showing her my house which, even if there is mold and a lot of it needs painting and the floor goes downhill in the kitchen, I think is dignified and beautiful and welcoming and cozy and I am proud of it.
When I was cooking, I asked her if they had any food allergies.
"Oh, no," she said. "I'm just very allergic to cats."
Even as she spoke she was about to sit down on the towel I keep on one of the bar stools in the kitchen for Maurice to sleep on.
"Wait! Don't sit down!" I said. "Here, take a Benadryl!"
And she did. She seemed to be fine. It was not a big deal.
We ate our supper and I think everyone was happy with it and made our plans to go to Wakulla Springs the next morning. I take everyone from out of town to Wakulla Springs because I think it has a little bit of all of the best of this part of Florida. Some outrageously beautiful untouched nature as well as the lovely old lodge with its dining room that has absolutely terrific, local food which is representative of a uniquely Florida menu.
And so we went today and as always, it was lovely.
Here's the lobby of the lodge with its pecky, painted cypress ceiling, its marble floor, its cool old furniture and the graceful iron arched windows. You can see the dining room entrance at the end of the room.
This is one of the iron herons that form the balusters beside the stairs guests take to their rooms on the second floor.
We ate fried green tomatoes with a sriracha mayo sauce and goat cheese and greens and smoked mullet dip as a shared appetizer and between the four of us there was a grouper sandwich, a Cobb salad, a Beekeeper's salad which had shrimp and greens and pasta and a delicious orange/honey/poppyseed dressing, and an order of shrimp and grits.
Fresh and delicious and soul-satisfying.
And then we took the jungle boat cruise which I have probably done at least twenty times with family, with school classes, with visitors. And I never, ever wish I hadn't gone. It's always beautiful. Today we saw so many types of birds and we saw manatees, including a small baby, spider lilies, ancient cypress trees, turtles, gators and the beautiful clear water (not as clear as it used to be) that boils out of the spring head beneath the high dive at the rate of 300 million gallons a day.
It is a holy place.
I loved our guide and boat driver. She was small but mighty and she knew her birds and her trees and where we would probably see the most gators.
I am a terrible nature photographer but here's one fairly large gator, sunning himself on the river bank. As our guide explained, those bumps on his back are called scoots and are essentially solar panels which collect the sun's heat and distribute it through the body. Every time I take this tour I learn something new although I generally forget what I've learned before we even dock to depart the boat so each new journey down the river and back is educational for me.
And then we drove back to Lloyd where I was dropped off and our guests drove back to Tallahassee where they are staying and Mr. Moon drove in to town behind him as they are all meeting up to go to a basketball game which of course you know I am not attending.
I'm here at home, making a birthday cake for our darling Rachel. It is her birthday tomorrow and we are meeting up at Persis, the Indian buffet to celebrate her. She is doing so well in her new job and it is a job that is making a difference in people's lives and I fall a little more in love with her each day. How fortunate we are to have her in our lives now and for her to let us be a part of her life. We love her more than she can know.
So. In one more bit of chicken news, Dearie has also disappeared and I feel certain that she, too, is sitting on eggs.
People. This means that I have at least two hens on eggs and possibly three. Do you remember that Dearie's first hatched clutch amounted to ten babies?
Oh for god's sake.
Can you spay a hen?
Well, at least I won't have to be giving the Farm and Tractor Supply store any of my money for chicks this spring nor will I have to have a pack-n-play in my bathroom with peeps in it. Whatever chicks are hatched from these mothers will have full reign of the yard and coop from their birth because I'm just going to totally let those jungle fowl have their mama way with their babies.
Speaking of which, I feel certain that our visitors from Chicago now know far more about chickens than they ever wanted to know. It's like I'm obsessed with chickens or something.
Time to go make the frosting.