Monday, July 9, 2018

We're Live!

The Colonel and I have been volunteering with the Blanchard House Museum for 12 years now. We have been exposed to many new people and experiences because of our time with the museum.

We have visited other museums, attended state sponsored conferences, participated in scientific endeavors, been guests on the local radio station, were featured in the local newspaper, told our story for StoryCorps, partnered with the Smithsonian Museum, to name a few things.

Our latest experience was being interviewed by Lee Pitts for his Lee Pitts Live show. Lee Pitts' award-winning program has been airing for 28 years. His program reaches over 750,000 households in seven surrounding counties. It airs on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. on the area channel of FOX 4. His previous programs can be found on YouTube. Our interview will be aired on August 5th. Lee Pitts Live has only been doing on-site, full-set interviews for six years.


Lee Pitts was invited to use the Blanchard House Museum as the backdrop for his show by our museum director and her son, who is a city councilman. Our director ordered asked us to be interviewees for the show.

Lee Pitts arrived at the museum on the morning of June 18th and began setting up for the interviews.



14 guests would be interviewed throughout the day. Each interview would be around eight minutes in length. Two of those guest were our city's mayor and our director's son, the city councilman. Some of the other guests included a politician and a local business man.


The Colonel and I were interviewed around mid-day. We sat down at the round table and were fitted with microphones and had a sound check. Before the tape began rolling, Lee Pitts gave us some ground rules: look at him, not the camera, answer in full sentences, and bump our Lee Pitts Live cups upon beginning and ending the interview (we got to keep the cups and Lee Pitts autographed them for us).




Lee Pitts started our interview saying something like, "It doesn't take a genius to see that you are not black, so how did you become involved with an African American museum?" We discussed how we became involved and what we do for the museum (you will just have to Google Lee Pitts Live on YouTube, in August, to find out what we said). The eight minute interview flew by. We were not nervous. Lee Pitts has a way of posing questions that makes you feel at ease and gives you plenty to talk about.

Lee Pitts and his team tapes shows on location one month in advance. To make it look like he was taping a new week's show (July 22nd  through August 12th), he brought along four different suit jackets and ties. He changed into a new jacket and tie before certain interviews. Lee Pitts is looking into perhaps returning to the Blanchard House Museum in the fall. I am pretty sure The Colonel and I will not be on the roster then.

I studied television and radio in college and got my degree in Broadcast Technology. I was once a television anchor and reporter for a little station in Indiana. Even though I knew what I could expect with the Lee Pitts Live show experience, it was interesting and fun to watch it in action and be part of it.

I am looking forward to watching our interview on television. I have my DVR set to record.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mystery Solved

In two days it will have been two months since I last blogged...so sorry, let me explain...

One month ago today I had Carpal Tunnel surgery on my right (dominant) hand. For two weeks post-op I had to be in a brace and now my hand, although still a bit sore and stiff, feels comfortable enough to do some typing.

What about the other month you ask? Well, life got in the way as it is wont to do at times. I also was away from home on a little vacation to Key West.

So...I'm baaaaack.

Before my Key West vacation and my hand surgery, The Colonel and I had decided to put up a bird feeder in the backyard. We have many kinds of birds that live around our backyard like, Cardinals, Blue Jays, woodpeckers, doves and Thrashers, to name a  few (we also have non-seed eaters like Bald Eagles and hawks).

We chose a pretty post and a Victorian-like bird feeder from The Home Depot. Once The Colonel and I put the post in the ground, I painted it white. We put birdseed in the feeder and waited for the birds to arrive.

Days passed and no birds...the only critters that visited the feeder were hundreds of ants. Who knew ants like birdseed. Well, during the bird-less days we also had heavy rainfall. Heavy rainfall followed by hot, sunny days equal sprouts in a bird feeder. I cleaned out my new feeder and put more seed into it (less this time so that I would have less to scrape out in case no birds came and more rain did).

Finally, a couple days after the ant and sprouting debacles, the birds discovered the new feeding station. We put seed in the feeder each morning (as well as peanuts on the ground for the squirrels).

The Colonel remarked that the new feeder did not have any perches for the birds to stand on while eating. It did have a little lip running around the base but The Colonel did not think that was good enough. We went to The Home Depot to purchase some dowel rods for the feeder. We chose a small enough diameter so that the birds' little feet could easily grasp the rods.

The new perches were in place for only a day, when we noticed that they had been snapped off. The Colonel had some left over dowel rods so he fixed the feeder. Day two and the perches were snapped off again. What the heck? Those little birds could not be heavy enough to break those perches. We decided to keep an eye out for the culprit.

It did not take long to see just who was to blame for the broken perches...


A rascally raccoon was the culprit. There would be no stopping its daily visits, so The Colonel and I made another trip to The Home Depot to buy a larger sized dowel rod. Thus far, the new, heavier perch is holding up to the raccoon's repasts.


The raccoon's sense of balance it very good. There is not a lot of surface area for its feet to hold onto as it stuffs its mouth full of birdseed.


I think the raccoon knows it is not really supposed to be dining at the bird feeder...as it approaches the feeder it stops to take a look at the house to make sure we are not around to see it and chase it away (which we have never done nor would do). Then it starts to climb up the post towards the feeder and stops part way, looking towards the house again, making sure the coast is clear before it reaches the feeder and begins its feasting.

The other day The Colonel and I ordered some Chinese food and some Wonton Soup was thrown in our order for free. We did not eat it and a couple of days later we threw the wontons in the back yard, near the bird feeder. We figured the raccoon would find them. The next morning all eight wontons were gone and the bird feeder still had some seed left in it (also the lid to the feeder was still on. The raccoon always lifts the lid off to gain better access to the seeds inside).

I bet the raccoon thought the wontons were a nice change from birdseed and I bet the birds were happy to have more seed for a change.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Fish Shack Fun

During the first week of December, my little town celebrates Founder's Week. Many groups, especially historically-minded ones, host events as money makers. At last year's Founder's Southern Supper, an auction was held. One item up for auction was a boat trip for you and five of your friends to the historic fishing shacks located in the Pine Island Sound (circa 1920's, 1930's and 1940's).

Image from Internet

The Colonel and I have wanted to visit the fish shacks for as long as we've known of their existence (about 12 years). Frank and Michael, who are co-owners of one of the historical fish shacks, were offering the boat trip. When it was up on the auction block I made a bid. Someone across the crowed room immediately made a counter-bid. Back and forth it went (forever it seemed). I was not going to let this trip slip out of my hands. The Colonel was at my side, supporting me (and egging me on) as I continued to bid against the other person. I was prepared to go higher when the other bidder dropped out after my $600 bid. I could have strangled the auctioneer...he took forever to say "sold". He kept asking if there were anymore bids from any one else. Finally, he said the item was sold. I could breathe easier and my blood pressure returned to normal. Look again at the aerial photo of the fish shacks above...the shack we won a trip to is the third one from the top of the photo, before the red shack.

Now that we had won the boat trip, it was time to ask friends to join us and to set a date. The original friends list and date changed due to job obligations and weather. 

April 30th was the new date for the boat trip and joining The Colonel and I were Judy, Kelly, Martha and Mary. We all met at 8:00 that morning and Kelly carpooled us to the Pineland Marina in her new SUV.

We pulled into the parking lot just as Frank and Michael were pulling up to the fuel dock of the marina. After a visit to the restroom for all the ladies (no T.P. in the restroom. Thank God Mary had a packet of Kleenex in her purse) it was time to board the boat.





Before the boat left the dock, Frank and Michael made a mimosa for anyone who wanted one. You can see we all, but Kelly, had one, as she was our designated driver for the day.

We pulled away from the dock. Frank was piloting the boat and Michael was our tour guide (Frank also chimed in with facts and stories).


We passed by islands like Useppa, where we saw the beautiful Collier Inn and Cayo Costa State Park with its gorgeous water and white sandy beaches.




We also saw some manatees in the water but I could not get any good pictures of them. As Frank piloted us through the water, Michael told us about the area and recited some of his poems which gained their inspiration from this environment.


It was time for us to go to the fish shack. Frank's wife Teresa was waiting there for us. She had been getting our breakfast ready. She met us at the shack's dock.




We all were eager to see what the inside of the fish shack looked like. The use of the space was perfect. Here is the kitchen area. It was just to the right as you stepped through the front door.


The dining area was opposite the kitchen.


The master bedroom was just off the kitchen.


Above the master bed and above the dining area were lofts with mattresses in them for more sleeping space. There was a hatch in the kitchen floor that when opened, could be used for fishing. It looked kind of Captain Nemo-ish.


There was a front and back door and large windows on each wall. These were open and a most wonderful and refreshing breeze was coming through them. The fish shack was surrounded by a wide porch. Some of us sat in the dining area for breakfast as others sat on the porch. Teresa had a nice spread set out for us. There were little quiches, fruit and cornbread.




Michael serenaded us as we ate our breakfast. When we all had our fill, Frank announced it was time for another boat ride. He took us to the other side of Cayo Costa State Park where we saw a rookery with several types of birds.



We also saw the old pilings of an ice house. The ice house would pack the fish the fishermen caught in ice and then it would be shipped to the local fish company for processing and then sold across the country.


We headed back to the fish shack and Teresa had a lunch of ribs and mac'n'cheese waiting for us. It ended with a delicious slice of Key Lime Pie. After lunch Michael broke out his guitar again and sang a song about the fish shacks. He said he needed the ladies to sing back-up for him (I think the beer helped).


The sun, wind and full tummies made some of us a bit sleepy. Martha and Judy stretched out in the dining area and Michael caught a few winks on the porch decking.




I took some photos of the other nearby fishing shacks and a visiting pelican.






I also took a photo of the gray fishing shack through a window of the shack we were in. It looked like a painting hanging on the wall. So pretty.


Frank was not sleepy at all...he decided to take a quick dip in drink.



The Colonel and I feel very fortunate to have been able to experience the historic fish shack and share our time there with friends. It is something we will always remember and treasure.


(Note: As a thank you for including her on the trip, Mary gave The Colonel and I a small basket of gifts and she wrote the following poem about the trip)

People and Places
In this great state
Make our Florida home
Exciting and great

A shack on the water
Like no other place
People that share it
Put a smile on your face!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Poldark Procrastination

In my previous post, I claimed poor time management and laziness as a couple of reasons why I have not been blogging as much as I should/could. I have one more glaring reason to add...

Procrastination because of Poldark.

I remember watching the original Poldark on the local PBS station back in the mid-1970s. It stared Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark.

Image from Internet

It was good. I bought the DVD set about two years ago and watched it again. Still good. Shortly after I re-watched it I discovered PBS was airing a new Poldark series. It stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.

Image from Internet

I began watching this remake of Poldark. It is very good and I do not mean that just because the new Ross is GORGEOUS! 

Especially without a shirt on...

Image from Internet

Uh-hem...need to stop drooling and start writing...After watching the new series I (of course) bought the DVD sets (Seasons 1-3). I am eagerly awaiting the start of Season 4. As always, books are much better than the movie/show, so I purchased the entire set of Winston Graham's Poldark books. There are 12 of them. I am currently reading the eighth book.


Now that I am reading book eight, I am in new story line territory. The previous books were very well portrayed in Seasons 1-3. I am eager to see how these next books and their story lines progress and how the following Poldark seasons continue to portray them. I have already been surprised by some deaths of leading characters. I hope to have the remaining four books finished before Season 4 of Poldark begins. I am pretty sure I can do that and still write new blog posts...think time management!

Not only do I have Graham Winston's books and the Poldark DVD sets, my dear friend gave me The Official Poldark Coloring Book for Christmas last year. Must keep thinking time management!


Robin Ellis has made appearances on the new Poldark series. He played Judge Reverend Halse.

 Image from Internet

So, you can see what I am up against...it is easy for me to be whisked away to Poldark's Cornwall via the written word, the DVDs/PBS and a coloring book. Please bear with me...