Still Life with Woodpecker

Hello in there.

Would you rather be called hunker downers or cool cats and kittens? I borrowed the title of this post from a Tom Robbins novel. Fitting for these strange times, and also because I’m sitting here watching red-bellied woodpeckers outside my kitchen window. We named them Mary and Fred, after my aunt and uncle. They built a home inside a tree stump beneath a staghorn fern. They might have eggs in there now. I hear them call to each other to take turns at the nest. Another spectacle to behold from our porch: the dancing lady orchids are in bloom! We inherited three of these giant orchids from our friend Jeep. They’re swaying in the breeze, dazzling us with all these brilliant yellow sprays of flowers. I’m still cooking up a storm. It’s bringing back memories of our time sailing Beautiful Dreamer. We had so many great dinners on that boat. I really learned to “make do.” So many times we were too tired and sunburned to cook with fire so we ate cheese and crackers and fell asleep right where we ate. Other times, especially when we caught a fish that day, we’d set the table with our finest plastic china and Tervis tumblers and throw down a feast. Snook and grits was (and is) my specialty and my ultimate comfort food. I’ve also been thinking of all the good times we sat on the deck playing John Prine songs under the stars with friends. We’ll miss him. The season for vegetable gardening is coming to a close around here, but I’m giving my beds some TLC to extend the season. The collards are going to be taller than me before long. Oregano, mint, parsley, and arugula are still doing fine. Sage, thyme, and dill are hanging on. I added some peppers, eggplant, radishes, and Malabar spinach. The cilantro seeds finally came up, but I’m sure they’ll bolt immediately in this heat.I documented my black sapote experiments on my Instagram stories. I made these truffles on Easter and I need to share that recipe with you.
Also, we have green papayas, which totally count as a green vegetable right now. It’s one of our favorite salads. What I miss most is swimming. Immersion, whether it’s meditative laps between lane lines or snorkeling around Big Pine Key, swimming is my happy place.If you want to escape in the perfect book or gift one, call up Books & Books in Key West. Judy Blume owns it, but I’m glad to hear she’s staying home, and by the way she’s doing just fine. Gia is at the shop and she’s way better at recommending books than amazon.

Some Good News

I’m making these sesame noodles tonight, extra spicy with lots of crunchy veggies on top.

We’re getting through this, in spite of ourselves.

19 Comments Still Life with Woodpecker

  1. Mary Ann Shambach April 14, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    We are all sad that there will be no more new John Prine songs ? but glad he shared his music and plain genius with us all those years. A modern day Mark Twain with a twist.
    And as for those woodpeckers, I am getting a good laugh!

    1. suwanneerose April 14, 2020 at 6:11 pm

      Modern day Mark Twain, I love that. I was hoping you’d get a laugh out of Fred & Mary. Just wait until we start naming the babies.

  2. bt April 14, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    What a nice read, d! I’m glad you are keeping busy. I can’t wait to sit in your kitchen and steal bites while you cook. Thanks for bringing some joy to our day!

    1. suwanneerose April 14, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks, bt! I’m looking forward to cooking while you graze around the kitchen, hopefully very soon.

  3. Capt. Frank Goody April 14, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Beautiful boat!! Unusual rigging for Florida?? Great shallow draft rig! Tell us about her, please!! Gaff top sail??

    Thanks, Frank Goody Hope you don’t mind my FRANK FW Emails, if they are too much just let me know.

    1. suwanneerose April 15, 2020 at 10:02 am

      Hey Frank, She’s a 46.5 ft ketch designed by L. Francis Herreshoff. A shallow draft thanks to the leeboards, less than 4 feet! All wood, even the masts are Sitka spruce. A perfect boat to cruise Florida’s Gulf Coast, as long as you don’t mind varnishing. Now chartered out of Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island with the name Alondra.
      I find some good recipes in those emails, so thank you!

  4. Evangelia Swindle April 15, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing, we you have such a gift of taking me to a place when I see your article and pictures. Your stag horn with the yellow orchids is a spectacle…. love the woodpeckers Mary and Fred. Stay safe!!

    1. suwanneerose April 15, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Hello Evangelia! I miss seeing you every day! I hope you and Bill and McKinley are hanging in there. Can’t wait for all of us friends to be back together again.

  5. Julie F April 15, 2020 at 8:11 am

    Thought of John Prine the minute I saw your words “Hello in there”. He certainly will be missed. Thank you for your uplifting words & photos during this unsettled time. We are hunkered down in the Myakka swamp. Stay safe. Julie

    1. suwanneerose April 15, 2020 at 10:11 am

      Thank you, Julie. I imagine the Myakka swamp is a good place to be right now, with more birds and alligators than people.

  6. MIsti April 15, 2020 at 9:49 am

    I was wondering if you were missing your trips to the Keys! I know I would be! That dancing lady is beautiful! I’ll bookmark Books & Books for when I need to order a book! Might just have to find something Floridaish and get it from them!

    1. suwanneerose April 15, 2020 at 10:22 am

      Yes, we’re missing our spring Keys trip for the first time in at least 12 years. Besides a great Florida book collection, they have art supplies and really good puzzles! I love that bookstore. When Forest is ready for Judy Blume’s Fudge books, she’ll sign his copies. 🙂

  7. Nicole April 15, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Lovely post. Glad to hear you’re getting through this by continuing to focus on beauty and gratitude. P.S. those orchids are stunning. The one you gave me is doing well, but so far, just one bloom (which we’re enjoying immensely)!

    1. suwanneerose April 15, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      So glad to hear the orchid is blooming! Yay! I hope you’re hanging in there, Nicole. I have no doubt you’re cooking up some great food. 🙂

  8. Julie April 18, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Nice post! Those Oncidiums! Wow! I have one that was half dead when I got it a few years ago that is just starting to do well, but it only has four spikes. Can’t wait for ours to look like yours someday!

    1. suwanneerose April 24, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      I thought I spotted the same orchid in one of your Instagram photos! I’m not surprised it made a comeback at your house.

  9. Pat Deas April 19, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Enjoy your post so very much, you are a fantastic photographer. The yellow orchid is absolutely beautiful,how long will it stay in flower? The shot of you in the boat galley some how looks as if it could have been taken years and years ago, oh so cozy. Love the recipes you include and the stories behind them are a treat! We are hunkered down up here in Cedar Key and its very quiet on the island. Hope you and yours stay well and healthy!

    1. suwanneerose April 24, 2020 at 4:22 pm

      Thank you, Pat! The orchids are in bloom for a few weeks each year. The boat galley photo was taken about 10 years ago. Thanks for the update from Cedar Key!

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