Friday, September 25, 2009

Mosquito Camping

Camping in Florida can sometimes be a challenge. We try and camp when it's cooler. September's a little early in the camping season for me. We're still in the dog-days of summer during the month of Septmeber and it can be steamy. But there were sites available at Fort DeSoto! We love Fort DeSoto: sugar sand beaches, Australian pines, a long fishing pier, miles and miles of trails, camp sites right on the water and ocean breezes. It's a beautiful place to camp.

We didn't luck out with the site. We were on the lagoon side. Lots of heavy brush blocked the water from view, but apparently not from mosquitos. We've had a lot of rain and the shore and some of the woods were water logged. I have never seen mosquitos like I did last weekend--not even in Alaska.

We battled. Citronella candles, yard fogger, Skin-So-Soft. You name it and we probably sprayed it on ourselves or the camp. You couldn't walk through the grass without disturbing them. The mosiquitos lifted like helicopters on attack! Someone brought a fan to the dinner table, so we could blow them away. It worked nearly as well as the sprays.

Still, bitten and sunburned --we had a great time. We spent an amazing day at the beach. Inhaled "cheesy pouffs", took the boat to the beach's point, reveled in nature and laughed with friends. What's a few (million) bugs to all that? Nothing.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Book Club

We could have called it Tart-a-Palooza, like Julie Powell's description of the tart fest she cooked up in Julie & Julia, but it's just book club. After a year of invites, I finally went to a teacher book club this past week. I used to belong to one a decade ago, it seems. It was fun. We met at Panera--teacher friends and family. My mom used to go with me. The book club I went to Sunday is a little different from my earlier foray into book clubs. Instead of meeting at a restaurant they meet at a member's house. Members host one meeting a year and do all that cooking for that meeting (dinner, drinks and treats). So you only work to put it on once a year; the rest of the time you relax.

Sunday's book was Julie & Julia. The possibility of French food prepared from scratch was a huge incentive for going to book club. That and I knew Rebecca, Lee and Beth would be there. Rebecca cooked for a week. She learned how to make pastry crust in a food processor! How cool is that? It sounds cool to me because I don't go near pastry. I have a residual memory of home-made pastry in my collective unconscious-- I'm sure--but I've never made it. My mom's made it.

Me? I buy the frozen stuff, thaw it and roll. Maybe I'll try it. Rebecca made lots of pastry for the tarts she baked us: mushroom and cheese, fresh tomato, bacon and onion. Buttery. Did I mention the butter? Close to 4 pounds I think was the shout out from the kitchen, but who's counting. Instead of water weight this week I'll put on butter weight.

Delectable. Delicious. Definitely worth it.

Maybe next post, I'll actually talk about the book!