Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cold Weather? Time to Deep Fry Gluten Free!

Zuccini on the way to becoming deep fried goodness!
Full Timing is all about the Food.

Really, it is. We take eating seriously! The one thing we refuse to compromise on is settling for substandard food.

You can't eat out every night and trust me, restaurant food gets old after a while.

Also, we Full Timers generally have a few health concerns that keep us from feeding at the collective trough,(read "Buffet"), on a regular basis.

So we all cook a little. We like to think we eat pretty healthy these days, but every once in a while we just have to run off the deep end and get out the grease for some good old fashioned home cookin'.

I also just found the electric fry pan of my dreams at a Flea Market lately, so I've gone a bit overboard recreating those recipes that I haven't made in a couple decades.

Would have liked to had a picture of the Zuccini, but it's already gone!
We had just come back from the County Line Produce Stand up by Palatka, Florida and we had some great vadalia onions and some awesome fresh zuccinin.

Nothing like eating smart, but we had to go one step better and bread and deep fry it all!
I had just picked up a box of Hodgson's Mills Chicken and Vegetable breading, (Which is Gluten Free by the way), and we just had ourselves a time frying up and gorging on deep fried goodies.

Now if you think it was unhealthy, think again, our oil is zero trans fat, at least that's what it says on the label, so it's safe to drink by the gallon, right? OK, maybe not.

But we couldn't resist doing this anyway and are delighted with the results! Who says you have to give up real food to be gluten free?

Sunrise to Sunset Daytrips - Matanza Beach

Sunrise over the ocean
We woke up at 4:30am for a day trip to St. Augustine this particular morning, from Georgetown.

We drove out to the Matanza Beach area to watch the sunrise and spend the day just enjoying the surf and miles of endless and unpopulated beach.

It was chilly and windy, but we didn't mind, it assured us of the solitude we sought.

Note: The beach parking lots are closed until 8:00am, we had to park in the parking lot driveway and leave a note on our door saying we would be back to move the truck and pay the $3.00 day fee after the sunrise, which was OK since we didn't get ticketed...

The history behind the name of this beach area seems innocuous enough, but roughly translates into the Spanish word for "Slaughter". It seems a hapless group of French Huguenot settlers landed here and settled at what is now known as Jacksonville.


On the Beach Looking North
Norman navigator Jean Ribault René Goulaine de Laudonnière, landed at the site on the May River (now the St. Johns River) in February 1562

Ribault's second-in-command on the 1562 expedition, led a contingent of around 200 new settlers back to Florida, where they founded Fort Caroline (or Fort de la Caroline) atop St. Johns Bluff on June 22, 1564.

In June 1565, Ribault had been released from English custody, and Coligny sent him back to Florida. In late August, Ribault arrived at Fort Caroline with a large fleet and hundreds of soldiers and settlers and took command of the settlement.

However, the recently appointed Spanish Governor of Florida, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, had simultaneously been dispatched from Spain with orders to remove the French outpost, and arrived within days of Ribault's landing. After a brief skirmish between Ribault's ships and Menéndez's ships, the latter retreated 35 miles south, where they established the settlement of St. Augustine.

Ribault pursued the Spanish with several of his ships and most of his troops, but he was surprised at sea by a violent storm lasting several days. Menéndez marched his forces overland, launching a surprise dawn attack on the Fort Caroline garrison which contained 200 to 250 people. The only survivors were about 50 women and children who were taken prisoner and a few defenders, including Laudonnière, who managed to escape; the rest were massacred.


The seaweed covered beaches and rolling surf
As for Ribault's fleet, all of the ships either sank or ran aground South of St. Augustine during the storm, and many of the Frenchmen onboard were lost at sea. Ribault and his marooned sailors were located by Menéndez and his troops and summoned to surrender. 

Apparently believing that his men would be well treated, Ribault capitulated. Menéndez then executed Ribault and several hundred Huguenots (French Protestants) as heretics at what is now known as the Matanzas Inlet. The atrocity shocked Europeans even in that bloody era of religious strife. This massacre put an end to France's attempts at colonization of the southeastern Atlantic coast of North America.

They were the first people to come to North America seeking freedom. The Huguenots were Protestants fleeing persecution by Catholics in their homeland.


"Had the French not sailed into that hurricane, Jacksonville would be America's oldest city. Jacksonville is America's first coast, the first place people came seeking freedom.

One can almost see the Spanish Fleet on the horizon
It was so odd to spend the day in a place that at one time was filled with so much violence and death, but it seems the ocean has swept clean the scars of the events and time has healed the windswept beaches of her sorrow.

Although, it almost seemed as I sat staring out over the waves that I could see the Spanish fleet at anchor and the long boats pulling for shore, the hapless Huguenot's apprehensively awaiting their arrival and wondering at their eventual fate, first marooned by Storm then left to be slaughtered by Menéndez's fleet.

Sometimes I could hear voices in the breeze calling to one another and the smell of shoreline campfires lit. It was an odd sensation and one worth experiencing in an area that is now a protected natural beach area and the refuge of the wealthy beach home owners in their Spanish revival homes facing the sea.

Sometimes the best way to study history is to go to the places where it was made and immersing yourself in the feeling that seems to pervade these areas.

Although the day was bright, crisp and cheerful, one felt compelled to take a moment of silence for the people who bravely tried to settle this region and payed for it with their very lives.

One also couldn't help but think of the tens of thousands of Timucuan Peoples who inhabited these regions for thousands of years only to perish in a twinkling from the diseases and brutal treatment of their captors.
Sunset over the Intercoastal

By all means, enjoy yourself, get out your pail and shovel and build a castle, pick seashells to your hearts content, but never forget what has gone before and give a moment to reflect on how things can change in 450 short years.

It certainly gives one pause to think, and I think one should consider such things when wandering the beaches of Florida, so much history has gone before that our present occupation is just a blink of an eye in comparison.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

She Sells Sea Shells

We have been to St. Augustine beach quite a bit this year, enjoying the surf and collecting sea shells.

We are collecting them for a few reasons, one of them being we are trying to put together a presentation of Native Pre contact living and we need certain shells for utility and adornment.

Natives used shells for everything, and they were traded as far North as Canada.

The other reason we collect sea shells is that we are both Beach Bums from way back. I grew up on the shores of Lake Superior and Doyle grew up on the Little Cedar River, so we have an extensive back round in filling our pockets with treasure.

We were agate pickers mostly, which are scarce and hard to find for the most part, so imagine our joy when we discovered that one of the few benefits from Hurricane Irene was that it is a bountiful year for picking shells!

We probably overdid it, but we do have projects and shells do pack down nicely and weigh less than most times one collects on the road. the entire lot of shells above fit easily into one plastic tote.

Every shell was sorted, cleaned in Muratic acid, oiled with almond oil, and then packed according to type and future use. I guess I take my organization a bit too far, but it makes it easier for when it's time to pull them out and use them.

Here is one of Doyles first projects, this is a recreation of an ornament, (Gorget), from a mound site in Alabama.

He used stone age tools to create it and I must say, it's very nice.

I plan on gifting many of my finds as well as putting together a complete set to dishes and utility tools for my re enacting.

I especially like strange and odd finds, shells that have worn away and pieces of shell oddities.

Doyle likes them perfect, so lets just say I have way many more shells than he does!

My favorites are conch or whelk shells that have worn away to become what I call "roses". Just the center spiral remains and the tip worn off to create what looks like a flower.

I am not alone in my fondness for these nature made sculptures, ancient cultures not only used these for tools, they were a coveted and favorite ornament.

We did find some beautiful perfect type specimens. but I find myself hovering nearer to the shells that show both time and wear.

I like to image the original occupant of this ocean mobile house, sliding across the floor of the sea, seeking love and adventure while gorging on shellfish. Such a unique creature of antiquity, the first true Full Time RVer!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Catching Up...with Full Time Friends, we have arrived in our Wintering Grounds!

Well, here we are in Georgetown, Florida again for another wonderful Winter, this is the first year we are at Scrufty's at Christmas time and it's been a real treat to be somewhere where Folks really "put on the dog" when it comes to the decorating and such..we woke up to a towering inflatable Santa at the entrance and all sorts of cute animated puffery all about the lot.

Of course this means I have to do my own part, so I decided my theme is "Recycle Christmas" and I'm trying all sorts of new projects that involve reusing throw away items and trying to make it classy at the same time. Why? I don't know....probably because Doyle and I are amazed that even to cook a few simple meals in a day we can fill an entire wastebasket with needless packaging....so I made some Christmas lights from water bottles, (see previous post for goofy video I made), and am making some Faux metal jewelry from So Be bottles just because I can.

It seems odd that a serious Historian Librarian type would be playing with plastic Christmas fluff when her whole life's work is recreating pre-contact native clothing, but it's been fun to get my head out of the research and goof off a bit.

It's also hard to take things seriously when there is an inflated Santa in an inflated outhouse just outside my window and he keeps getting up and peeking out, (yes, he is animated!). So I'm just going with the flow, for now.

We've been on a dead run for weeks now, we spent a month in Alabama, "Land of Enchantment" and we are firm believers! we spent most of our time at museums and old primitive historical mound sites documenting various aspects of pre-contact life. The area we were in is just North of Montgomery, (Actually Wetumpka), and we really felt the magic of the area, it was the sight of a major meteor hit way before humans walked the earth and it is geologically fascinating!

Well enough about that dry history stuff, if your not into it, I gather it's like watching paint dry... on to the Big Event, shortly after arriving here in Florida we went to the St. Augustine Flea Market, which is super cool if you like lots of vintage stuff and I found something I had been missing for 30 years....MY ELECTRIC FRYING PAN!


I am actually convinced this is the very frying pan I made the mistake of getting rid of back in the 1980's, a decision I have always regretted.

The gal sold it to me for a whopping $5.00, I almost ran out of the building and fled the area, thinking she'd reconsider and be after me.

I learned how to cook in one of these, my previous experiences being limited to wood stoves, fires and balky electric stoves, so this was the first kitchen utensil I actually embraced and became proficient at.

So I just had to make fried chicken, (Gluten Free, of course), with fresh green snap beans fried in the drippings after the chicken was done.

A meal fit for royalty and cooked to perfection!

We also have become THE premiere Beach Bums, running to the Beach at St. Augustine every chance we get, picking shells, wandering the dunes, holding hands and all that silly stuff you do when you realize you have just escaped another cold Winter in the North by inches....
So I do apologize for not posting more often, I'm sure there are plenty of Folks out there worrying as when we don't keep in touch they assume we are having health, or other problems, but it seems we are doing great and with it has come a burst of energy to get out there and live! 

Which we are doing to the best of our ability, although I will admit, even after working and keeping a regular schedule of eating right, exercising and daily long walks, the days at the beach almost killed us, requiring us to take a couple days off to eat Advil and whine a bit!

Hope you are all doing well and I hope to get back to some regular posts and picture taking, I think I'm going to invest in a new camera next week, my old 5 mega pixel Sony pocket camera is just barely limping along, (even the painting is worn off and you have to have a good memory to get the right settings), It does all sorts of unexplainable odd things that tell me it's time to put "Old Faithful" to rest.

I know I must have taken near ten thousand pictures with her....it's hard to say good bye to something that has worked so well and now all the new ones require a college course just to turn them on, (did I say that? The old computer techie crying about new technology? I am getting old!).

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