Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beach Huts and Cabañas and Tents, Oh My!

When I'm visiting other blogs I usually check out the blogroll and if I spot something that looks beachy I click to see where it will take me. This morning I was visiting Fifi Flowers, since her post was about painting at the beach. Now visiting Fifi is always a pleasure, but the beach? Of course I had to drop in today! After looking at her wonderful paintings of Adirondack chairs and two girls with their beach umbrellas, I decided to check out Fifi's blogroll. First I visited Mermaid Cottages, a delightful blog from Tybee Island, Georgia and if you love mermaids you'll definitely want to check out her mermaid sightings posts.

Next I visited another blog Fifi had listed, but before I tell you about it, I want to share a little background of why I found this blog so intriguing.
Most of you know Maya over at A Beach Lover's Place and Completely Coastal and probably read her posting on the Beach Huts in Dorset and saw the lady who created one in her backyard. I was amazed by these and would get out the hammer and nails if it wasn't so hot and if I had a resident carpenter.

Notice the smiles on everyone's face, this is a natural occurrence at the beach!

Since reading Maya's posts I've been searching on the Internet for a photo of a vintage canvas cabana used on the beach as a changing room. I have a new design in mind for my Zazzle store and the image is only vague in my memory. Anyway, while in Google images I came across this picture, not what I'm looking to use in my design, but it reminded me of the huts Maya was blogging about and I can tell you I wouldn't mind having one of these at my beach. It even has an Adirondack chair calling my name.

To makes things even better, I discovered this photo on another wonderful blog called {Just Beachy}, you can read the original post here along with more photos of other wonderful cabanas.

But I digress, while I was at Fifi's the other blog I spotted was shore(house) chic and I decided to drop in and what do I find? Beach Tents! These are located in Orange Grove, New Jersey and have been a summer tradition since 1870! They start putting them up in the spring and take them down when summer is over. Currently there are 114 participants and the original post from last year is a must read!

It's like a whole little community and I just love that they have little flower boxes and front porches.

Here are a couple closer up and before the decorating has begun.

Just look at this bedroom! AND it has an Adirondack chair lamp! You must visit this blog and see the bathroom and the kitchen in other tents. Now I love tent camping, as many of you know, but I have never seen anything like this. Jersey, here I come!

So, now I've seen beach huts, cabanas, and tents that have blown me away, but still haven't found a pic of the canvas cabanas. If anyone has spotted one in their Internet travels, please let me know. For now, I hope you enjoy these photos and a glimpse into how people enjoy their time at the shore. How do you spend your time in the sand?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vintage Beach Photos - 1922

I love combing through archives of the Library of Congress, especially the old photos. I have used many of them in the family history book I'm working on for my children. BUT, I have to admit that my favorites are those related to the beach. I've decided that each Monday I would share one from my collection with you and hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Col. Sherrell, Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds, issued an order that bathing suits at the Wash[ington] bathing beach must not be over six inches above the knee. In this 1922 photo we have Bill Norton, the bathing beach policeman, measuring distance between knee and bathing suit on woman, Washington, D.C..

National Photo Company Collection. Library of Congress.

Don't you just love the vintage beach caps? I mean I really do love them and want one like the lady on your right has on! I'm going to goggle vintage beach caps and see whats out there. If I find something cute I'll put a link under Cool Stuff for the Beach to your right.

Anyway, I wonder if Col. Sherrell was inspired by this 1898 theatrical poster? Have You Seen Smith? opened on Broadway at the Star Theatre on October 3, 1898.

Printed by the Strobridge Lithography Company, Cincinnati & New York. Collection of the Library of Congress.

Except for the beach caps, I am very glad that beach attire has changed. I have to admit though that I no longer wear bikinis and the folks around me at the beach are very happy about that!

Come back next Monday for more vintage beach photos, I think this is going to be fun!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Seashell of the Week #8

Time once again for my weekly seashell contest. Identify this shell and you could win the mousepad of your choice from my Zazzle store. Remember whoever get the most answers right first in twelve weeks will be the winner. The competition is close, so it's still anyone's game!

Here is this week's seashell, do you know what it is?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Foodie Friday — Southern Potato Salad

For today's Foodie Friday post, I thought I would share my version of a recipe that just about everyone has, especially if your a Southerner. Yes folks, it's Potato Salad! We eat it all year, but when the summer heat rolls around, as it has now, there is always a bowl in the fridge.

I start with simple ingredients:

On this day I started with the last six potatoes we had left in the pantry. I use one egg for each medium sized spud and add another one for each six potatoes to use for garnish. My technique for boiling is simple, I cover the eggs with cold water, cover the saucepan, bring just to a rolling boil, remove from heat and let sit for about ten minutes. Be sure to peel them while they're still warm, so the shells won't stick.

I should note here, for those who don't know, that for potato salad you need to use a low-starch potato. Why? Because they hold up to boiling and won't fall apart. For everyday potato salad, I use good old white potatoes. When it's a special occasion, I use fingerlings, I love them, but they don't fit my budget for everyday. I have other potato salad recipes in which I use red potatoes, but today we're making just plain old Southern-style.

Onward and upward. While my eggs are boiling I peel my potatoes and cut them into bite-size pieces. Now, this is where it gets tricky and getting it right takes practice. I boil my potatoes until they're just past that "firm" stage, but not too soft. This is a personal taste and everyone will tell you different. When I mix my salad I want the smaller pieces to "mash" and the larger ones to stay whole, but be soft to the bite. My cousin Doris likes her almost completely mashed and I dislike intensely deli-style where the potatoes are hard. It's all a matter of personal preference.

Okay, we have our potatoes and eggs boiled and we're ready to go. But wait, we need to chopped the eggs. I like my eggs cut chunky. I put them through one of those little egg slicer thingys and then quarter them.

Now, when I was growing up our potato salad was always made with Miracle Whip, French's Yellow Mustard and diced sweet pickles. As you can see I use non-fat mayo (my use of mayonnaise caused many arguments with my daddy when I switched), spicy brown mustard and Wickle's pickle relish. If I'm out of Wickle's, I resort to chopping sweet pickles. I don't care for other brands of relish.

Measurements for these condiments is again, personal preference. I use about a tablespoon (not the measuring kind, the table kind) of mayonnaise, a small teaspoon of mustard and a teaspoon of pickles for each potato. These measurements produce a nice, creamy potato salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper and voilá, it's ready. One more thing I should mention, and something my non-Southern friends can never understand, is that I serve my potato salad warm. Yep, that's how we do it in the South. Even when I eat the leftovers, I pop them in the microwave long enough to take off the chill.

So, here is the result. You can see I garnished my potato salad with sliced egg and a sprinkling of paprika.

The finishing touch at the Tiki Hut is to add the tiki salt and pepper shakers.

While we're in my kitchen I thought I would introduce you to Fannie, my kitchen flamingo. She is my cooking companion and always brings a smile to my face. Isn't she just too cute?

That's it for today's Foodie Friday, now git on over to Designs By Gollum for more of today's postings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - Blog Friends

Today is the fourth time I've participated in Outdoor Wednesday and it has turned out to be my favorite blogging day! I just love visiting everyone's blog and seeing what they've posted to honor our great outdoors.

On my first OW I posted a photo of my Blue Heron buddy at the beach by my house and received wonderful responses. One in particular came from Kathy over at Emptynester, in which she stated that this would be the first year (in 11) that she would not be vacationing on St. George Island, Florida.

Well, in a follow-up post, I wrote that I would write her name in the sand at low tide as her promise that she would be back next year. Kathy responded with "We WILL be there next year as God is my witness." AND, she said this in her best Miss Scarlett voice, so I know it is true.

With that said, and as one not to go back on my word, I grabbed my camera a few days ago and headed to the beach. So this Outdoor Wednesday post is dedicated to Kathy, my new blogging friend, but it is also for everyone who has gently stepped into the lives of others through blogging.

Okay, Kathy the Gulf has claimed your name and is waiting for you to fulfill your promise to come back next year!

For my other blogging friends who read my OW posting last week, I want to thank you so much for your sweet words on the passing of my Aunt Tish, it just did my heart good. Don't you just love blogging? Connecting with others who share common interests, sharing snippets of our lives through photos, recipes, stories and such. I feel like we're neighbors talking over the fence or sharing a cup of coffee. I had to head out of town and didn't get to make many visits last Wednesday and I didn't get to participate in Foodie Friday, but I'm back and looking forward to stopping by your place to sit for a spell.

Happy Outdoor Wednesday Y'all! Now stop over to see Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for links to other Outdoor Wednesday posts!

UPDATE: I've been surfing around the various OW postings today and ran across a blog I haven't visited before. I browsed around and found this bit of poetry on a posting from several weeks ago and have "borrowed" it to add to today's post, because it fits so well! Thanks to Regina @ Daily Living!

Alone I walked on the ocean strand,
A pearly shell was in my hand;
I stooped, and wrote upon the sand
My name, the year, the day.
As onward from the sport I passed,
One lingering look behind I cast,
A wave came rolling high and fast,
And washed my lines away.

—Hannah Flagg Gould
American poet
(1789 - 1865)

Reflections on Outdoor Wednesday

What a wonderful time I had yesterday surfing around the OW posts — stunning photos, mouth-watering recipes and great stories.

Then I came back to my post and read all the great comments left by all y'all and it just warmed my heart. What a great circle of bloggers I've found my way to, I wish you all knew just how much I enjoy reading and visiting with you.

I've added recipes to my files that I can't wait to try and I don't know about you, but it's much more fun trying new things from someone you "know" rather than just doing a search. It's as though you served it to me at your house and I said, "Oh, you must write down the recipe for me!"

I get lots of decorating and craft/project ideas from you also. I love anything beachy (of course) and anything shabby chic! How in the world was I lucky enough to come upon blogs that share these styles with me? Again, it's a lot more personal when I can tell someone that my friend Maya told me about those crazy expensive beach huts in Dorset and then showed me how another lady created an inexpensive one in her own backyard! Or, how Sue gave me the inspiration to redo my bookcases?

Then you find those blogs that make you think about your life in a different way, that lift your spirits when you are down, that make you laugh, that make you cry (in a good way), and those that just make you feel all good inside. There are so many of these and I want to share one with you today. After reading my post and the poem I found on Regina's blog, Rose Marie over at APOGEE Poet left a poem that she wrote for the occasion and it is so beautiful and I believe it captures the way many of us feel about our online friends in blogland:

Thank you for your visit to my tree
And I now come to sit by the sea
Sands to hold, sands to wash away
The coming and the passing of a day
And what you have in heart at the end
Is the joy and gratitude of a friend
'Tis a smile brought here now to bear
For a post of delight and loving care.

Thank you Rose Marie, you bring such beauty into my life with your poetry and art.

The wine was flowing around the Tiki Hut yesterday and I want both Sue and Carolyn to know that I look forward to the day when I can share a glass with each of them. Sue, I'm happy getting to know you also! Carolyn, my family's farm is in Coffee County, but I travel all over Georgia and the next time I'm going to be in Valdosta I'll let you know and take you up on your gracious invitation. I believe Valdosta is midway between Coffee and Grady counties.

Rain, I'm so glad you joined us this week and you can tag along anytime! For everyone else — thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for visiting, thank you for commenting and thank you for being such a great group of blogging friends!

And finally, for Kathy: I'm so happy you enjoyed my photos and glad to hear you will be able to visit the beach in Texas over the 4th. {{{hugs}}} back to you!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Summer Solstice!

Early dawn — late sunset, today is the longest day of the year and the day we celebrate the first day of summer here at Shellbelle's Tiki Hut as does the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.

If your looking for the seashell competition/giveaway, I double posted today, so look at my earlier post and guess what seashell is in the picture!

What better day to also celebrate Father's Day! Even Google is celebrating Father's Day with their daily picture showing a father and daughter at the beach with a sand sculpture of the Goggle logo.

When I lived in California I would often spend the day in Santa Barbara for their annual Summer Solstice Parade. The parade has grown over the years and it is bright, colorful and fun! Typically I would be camping down the coast at McGrath State Beach the week of June 21st and then would head over on the weekend for the parade and festivities.

Santa Barbara is one of my favorite beach communities to visit. They have wonderful shopping and equally wonderful restaurants. My favorite place to eat is the Sojourner Cafe; they serve all natural food and buy from the local organic farmers. I can always count on the Sojourner for a great meal.

Sunday afternoons on Cabrillo Blvd. you'll find an eclectic mix of arts and crafts from local artists and I mean local — only Santa Barbara residents are there. Santa Barbara Zoo should also be on your list of things to do. Consistently rated as one of America's best small zoos, they are also partners with the USFWS Condor Recovery Team. Did you know that in 1985 there were only nine condors living in the wild? Because of this program, as of last December, there are now 167 condors flying free and another 160 in captivity for the breeding program.

Stearns Wharf was built in 1872 to serve cargo and passenger ships. In the 1930s, gamblers boarded floating casinos at the pier, and during World War II it was turned into a naval installation. Now, the wharf has shops and restaurants and is a great place to idle away an afternoon. Yes, there's lots to do in Santa Barabara! You have whale watching, winery tours, kayaking, horseback riding and don't forget the beaches! Beautiful, beautiful beaches and who could ask for more than that? So, if I've got you thinking about going to Santa Barbara next year for Summer Solstice 2010 besure to check out their website before you go. I just may see you there!

In the meantime, Happy Summer Solstice to you all, I hope you have a lot of fun wherever you are, all summer long!

Seashell of the Week #7

I can't believe we're already at Week #7 in my seashell competition! This is so much fun for me and I hope you're enjoying it as well. Thank you everyone for playing along. With that said here is the shell for this week. Do you know what it is?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - The Log House

Today is a sad day for my family. My Aunt Tish passed away yesterday at the age of 91-years-young. Tishie was actually my daddy's cousin, but we always called her Aunt Tish. She was our family genealogist, always recording the births, deaths and marriages in our huge family. She would send out letters asking for any family news and if you didn't answer, she would get you on the phone and not let you go until you told all! As one of the family genealogists of this generation, I am thankful for her diligence.

Aunt Tishie's momma was sister to my grandfather (doesn't that sound Southern?). For Outdoor Wednesday I decided to honor Aunt Tish and my family by posting a photo of the cabin where my grandfather, Tish's momma and their siblings were born. The cabin still stands today!

My great-grandparents, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ricketson and Elijah "Babe" Grantham were both born in Douglas, Georgia and married there in 1884. This is the cabin they built and where their ten children were born. We call it the log house and as you can see it is still standing after 125 years. Tishie's brother Herbert owns the land now and still farms. Herbert added the tin roof several years ago to help protect if from the elements. I love visiting and can just imagine all the children running and playing in the yard, after their chores of course! I took this photo last summer.

In 1902, my great-grandparents built the big house pictured in a painting here. This house stood just about 100 yards or so from the cabin, but it was destroyed by a tornado in 2005. I have a few bricks from the chimneys, a bit of the trim work, a window, and some of the wood. I plan to make a shadow box with these bits and pieces of my family history. Isn't it amazing that the tornado destroyed the house and left the cabin?

Also on this land is my family's cemetery. Everyone buried there is a descendent of my great-grandparents. My grandfather is buried there and tomorrow my Aunt Tish will be laid alongside her husband. Family means everything to me and Tishie will be missed, but the legacy she has left will always be with us.

Thank you for allowing me to share a few of my family memories with you. Happy Outdoor Wednesday to all y'all and remember to call a loved one today!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Seashell of the Week #6

This week's seashell of the week is a favorite among many of my shelling friends. The specimen in back is the largest in my personal collection and measures 11.5-inches. I found this one in the early 1980's in the bay across from my home in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. The smallest one I have doesn't even measure a quarter of an inch! Do you know what it is?

We are at the half way point of my seashell competition. Remember, the winner gets their choice of mousepads from my Zazzle store. Good luck!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Foodie Friday — Reunion Cake

Nothing goes together like food and family, so this week I decided to share the recipe that won last year's Golden Spoon Award at my family reunion. Our annual gathering is held at General Coffee State Park outside of Douglas, Georgia. Last year we had about 100 family members attend and when you get that many Southern cooks together you can imagine how well we feasted.

This cake was made by my cousin Frances, who thought she didn't deserve the award for such a simple recipe. The secret ballots told a different story. This cake is the tall chocolate-covered one on your left in the photograph.

Reunion Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box chocolate cake mix

Make cake mixes according to directions on box. Slice each cake into approximately six thin layers. Leave to cool while you prepare frosting.

Fudge Frosting (double the recipe for 12 layers):

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup canned milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Boil butter, sugar and milk for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Beat until smooth and ready to frost cake. While still warm spread frosting between layers and on top of cake so that it soaks into the layers. Be sure to alternate the chocolate and yellow layers.

Now wander down the beach to
Designs By Gollum for links to other Foodie Friday participants.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday — Bloomin' Daze

For my second week participating in Outdoor Wednesday I had planned on posting pictures from my photo hike at Weedon Island in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Well, as they say, "the best laid plans…often go awry" and in this case they did.

The weather was beautiful, but the scenery was on the blah side for someone who loves color. Lost in a sea of green with an occasional glimpse at some of our native wildlife, I ended up taking very few pictures. One of our mangrove trees that I took was used for Monday's Oceanic Blog-A-Thon in honor of the first official Worlds Ocean Day. If your interested, you can read my post here.

With that said, I've decided to post some of my favorite photos. I love taking close-up shots of flowers and that's what I'm going to share with you today.

On Mother's Day this year, my son surprised me by flying in from California and showing up at my door unannounced. What a good son! After I recovered from the initial shock we decided to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens, which happen to be just blocks from my house…I mean tiki hut. We were rewarded with beautiful weather and beautiful blooms. This is the magnificent Magnolia grandiflora "Little Gem."

After my son's visit, I headed to the other coast of Florida to visit my cousin in Neptune Beach. Again, the weather was beautiful…for two days. Then we had a downpour for the next five days! You may have seen it on the news, it was that bad. So, we couldn't visit Jekyll Island as we had planned and Merritt Island was even worse. Not to be outdone, we headed to a local shopping plaza that has beautiful landscaping. The rain let up for a minute and I managed to get this shot of a water lily in one of the ponds.

Last year I was taking pictures of one of the hibiscus plants in my yard and this is the result. Hibiscus need adequate water and because of the watering restrictions we have in place now, my hibiscus are pathetic this year. My soil is very sandy and watering once a week doesn't cut it for hibiscus. So, for this year I will look back at once was a pretty plant.

One plant in my yard that will survive anything is the Mexican Sunflower. Nothing kills this plant and believe me I've tried. My sister bought a couple of "sticks" at a local plant fair a few years ago and it is trying to take over our yard. Right now both plants are about 15 feet tall despite having been cut down to the ground before winter. We are determined to remove them, but the flowers are gorgeous and we always get compliments from passersby. I decided to take a few pictures to remember them by and while I was doing this I had a little visitor who decided to stay and ham it up for the camera.

My favorite staycation here in Florida is Dunedin, a quaint little town filled with fabulous restaurants, wonderful shopping, and great art galleries. My favorite place to stay is the Meranova Inn — the best bed and breakfast ever! A beautiful Red Passion Vine covers one of the fences and I spent the afternoon earlier this year taking photos.

One of my favorite flowers are plumerias and I'm lucky enough to have one in my backyard. I bought this plant as a cutting almost twenty years ago and it stands about 12-feet tall now. Last summer four seed pods formed and I am waiting for them burst open, so that I may start my own little plumeria farm. I use plumeria a lot in my designs and I've decided to carry it a step further. Plumerias just whisper tropical beaches and breezes to me!

So, there you have it, a peek into one of my passions. I hope you've enjoyed your visit, now surf over to visit Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for links to other Outdoor Wednesday posts!

Happy Outdoor Wednesday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy World Oceans Day! Oceanic Blog-A-Thon

Today is the first official World Oceans Day and as you can imagine this is a day for celebration at Shellbelle's Tiki Hut!

This year's theme is:

one ocean, one climate,
one future

We live on a blue planet, dominated by the ocean which covers 70% of its surface. The world’s ocean and climate are inextricably linked: the ocean plays a crucial role in maintaining the Earth's climate, and ocean life is vulnerable to climate change. Likewise, in our interconnected world, the ocean affects us and we affect the ocean. A healthy ocean helps to absorb excess carbon dioxide, provides jobs and food to people the world over, and regulates climate and temperature. –The Ocean Project

The Ocean Project has ask two things of us today. First, wear blue in honor of the ocean. Secondly, tell people two things they likely don't know about our ocean and how they can help.

Here in Florida we have mangrove trees and they play an important role in preserving our coastlines and the inhabitants of the world's oceans. There are three species of mangroves in Florida: Rhizophora mangle (Red Mangrove), Avicennia germinans (Black Mangrove) and Laguncularia racemosa (White Mangrove). Yesterday I was hiking at Weedon Island and took this picture of the distinctive roots of the red mangroves and the black mangroves.

Red mangroves live closest to the water and are actually in the water at high tide. The roots of the red mangrove drop down from their branches and embed themselves in the sediment below. These are called prop roots and they have the ability to take in water while keeping out the salt. The appearance of the prop roots of the red mangrove have given them the nickname of walking tree, because they appear to be walking on water. This tree takes in oxygen through pores on its bark called lentices.

Black mangrove roots are just as distinctive as those of the red mangrove. The black mangrove grows behind red mangroves and its root system sends out finger-like projections called
pneumatophores, which extend upwards through the sediment, allowing the tree to take in oxygen. Black mangroves remove salt by excreting it through their leaves.

White mangroves cannot survive in the water, so they grow the furthest from the coastline. They have neither prop roots or pneumatophores, but their leaf stems have two bumps that remove the salt taken in by their roots.

So, now you're asking yourself what all this information has to do with World Oceans Day, right? All food chains start somewhere and one of these chains begins in mangroves. The leaves of mangrove trees fall into the water, where they decompose into a substance called
detritus. Detritus is ingested by critters, such as small crabs and young shrimp, which in turn are eaten by fish, who are then eaten by bigger fish, who end up in the bellies of mammals, such as dolphins, thus completing the food chain.

The mighty mangrove doesn't stop at food chains in aiding our coastal ecosytem! The tangled roots of mangroves also provide a habitat for many marine organisms and protect the young of many larger species. Mangroves also serve as nesting sites for many of our beautiful birds. Mangroves protect our coastlines against erosion, they filter pollutants from river runoff and they're just darn beautiful! Unfortunately, mangroves are being lost. The good news? You can help!

Visit the Mangrove Action Project to help reverse the degradation and loss of mangrove ecosystems worldwide.

Quick Facts from the Mangrove Action Project:

• 75% of all tropical commercial fish species pass part of their lives in the mangroves

• Sea grass beds and coral reefs depend on healthy mangroves to filter sediments and provide nursery grounds for resident species

• Mangroves provide our coastlines protection from strong winds and waves and aid in preventing coastal erosion

• Mangroves absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon in their sediments, thereby lessening the impacts of global warming

As I wrote earlier, mangroves play an important part in a food chain, but there is something that that does not belong in our oceans — something that has been ingested by precious creatures and something that ultimately led to their deaths. What is this you ask? Garbage! We've all seen it on our beaches — plastic bottles, fast-food containers, tangled fishing lines and more. The garbage was thrown there or washed ashore from some unknown location. What are people thinking? Animals eat this crap or they get caught in it and they die. They die.

Did you know that an estimated 100,000 mammals and 2 million seabirds die every year after eating or getting caught in plastic? So, wherever you are or whatever you're doing, don't leave your trash behind. Take it with you and dispose of it properly. Please. Thank you.

To celebrate this special day I want to share the following with you from The Ocean Project:

The Seven C's for Ocean Conservation:

Commit to making a real difference

Aim to be carbon neutral by reducing and offsetting your energy consumption.

Conserve in your home
Upgrade to Energy Star appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Consume consciously

Rethink what you need, purchase “green” products, and buy locally grown foods and sustainable seafood.

Communicate your interests and concerns

Let your friends, family, colleagues, and the local media know about the impact of climate change on the ocean.

Challenge yourself daily

Walk, bike, carpool, and take public transportation to cut down your coral-reef harming carbon emissions.

Connect in your community
Get active as a volunteer with a local watershed or ocean group.

Celebrate our ocean!
Take part in a World Ocean Day activity near you or plan your own.

Find more information and inspiration at:
www.WorldOceanDay.org and www.SeasTheDay.org

For more World Oceans Day posts visit CrazyCris @ Here There and Everywhere who is hosting the Oceanic Blog-A-Thon!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Seashell of the Week #5

I'm posting the seashell photo early this week, because I'm going on a photo hike early tomorrow morning at Weedon Island in St. Petersburg, Florida.

For those who have not participated before, I am having a Giveaway! Whoever correctly identifies the most shells first in a 12-week period wins a mousepad with the seashell of their choice. Actually, you can choose from any of the mousepads in my gallery.

So, here is this week's selection:

I'm just looking for the common name. The seashell from week #3 is still unanswered, so there's still time to get another point.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and be sure to check out my post on Outdoor Wednesday to see some of the photos I'll be taking tomorrow. Good luck!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Foodie Friday - At The Beach!

I had such a great time on Outdoor Wednesday that I decided to participate in Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum.

Since I blog about camping at the beach, I'm going to share one my favorite recipes for breakfast over a campfire. This is a hearty meal, guaranteed to get you through a day of beachcombing, surfing, hiking, or boating.

Campfire Skillet Breakfast

• 3 Tbl. olive oil
• 5 cups unpeeled red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1 1/2 cups Vidalia or red onions, chopped
• 1/2 lb. fully cooked smoked turkey sausage, diagonally sliced 1/4-inch thick (Or use any of Aidelle's sausage if available in your area, I love the Smoked Chicken Apple.)
• 2 Tbl. snipped fresh thyme
• 2 tsp. cumin seed, slightly crushed
• Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over hot coals (or stovetop). Swirl your pan so that oil covers the bottom and up the sides a bit. Cook potatoes and onion, uncovered in hot oil for about 12 minutes or so until the potatoes are almost tender, stirring as you go along.
Add the sausage and a little more oil if needed. Cook, stirring often, until the potatoes and onions are tender and nicely browned.

Stir in the thyme, cumin, salt and pepper and cook for another minute.

NOTE: I cut up my potatoes and onions at home, add the oil and pack it all in a ziplock bag. Packed in my ice chest, this will keep for days. This recipe is very versatile, so add garlic, pesto, or whatever spices you prefer.

I serve this with Texas Toast (bread grilled over the fire), fresh fruit and, of course, lots of coffee!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Hope all y'all get to go to the beach!

Reflections on Outdoor Wednesday

Thank you everyone for visiting me on Outdoor Wednesday. I had such a great time and can't wait to do it again next week. All y'all have such wonderful blogs, that I got sidetracked and didn't get a chance to visit nearly enough of those participating…I think the final count was 121! I work at home about twelve to fourteen hours a day and needless to say, I got very little work done on Wednesday.

To all of you, my heartfelt thanks.

To Joyce: Thanks for commenting on my mom's pink hat, it brings a smile to my heart every time I see it. She's gone now and I miss her everyday. BTW, I made your Vidalia Onion and Peach Salad and it was a huge hit, thanks!

I also love your idea of collecting one shell every time you visit the beach, keeping them in a jar and then counting them at the end of the year to see how many times you went. I would need some really big jars!

To Sheila: We do have the most amazing birds! I never tire of watching and photographing them.

To Kathy: Sorry to hear your going to miss your yearly visit to Florida, I'll write your name in the sand at low tide as your promise that you'll be here next year.

To Chris and Jon: Thanks for stopping by again, you need to get in on Outdoor Wednesday with those beautiful photos of the Great Wall of Lutz!

To Shari: (Who turned out to be practically a neighbor and a fellow Georgia born peach) I love your cottage!

And finally to Susan: Thank you so much for hosting Outdoor Wednesday. A big Southern Well, bless your heart!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby Octopus

In an earlier post I told how as a child we would camp at Hobson Park in California and how we would find baby octopuses at low tide. I found this video on youtube of just such an event and thought I would share it with you.

As an adult I am more mindful of nature than I was as a child, but these explorations are what lead me to love the creatures of our world and do what I can to protect them now. As Maya Angelou says, "When I knew better, I did better."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday — Looking For Breakfast

Earlier this year, A Southern Daydreamer's Blog introduced Outdoor Wednesdays. Each Wednesday participants post pictures of anything outside their homes on their blog. This sounded fun and since I love the outdoors and I love photography, I've decided to join the fun.

The closest beach to my house is Indian Shores in Florida, about two miles from my front porch. I love to get there early and watch the birds as the day begins. This Great Blue Heron is usually there and allows me to share his space as he searches the shore for breakfast.

Wander over to A Southern Daydreamer for links to other Outdoor Wednesday posts!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mermaid Memories - Beach Movies

Growing up in the 60s, my favorite movies were those staring Annette Funicello. As part of my Vintage Beach - The 1960s post, I wrote about my experience of the filming of one of them at Paradise Cove in Malibu, California. This widget from Hulu contains full-length versions and has been archived here for those who wish to watch. Enjoy!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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Go to the Beach in Style!