Archive for February, 2015

Beyond All Dreams….Book Review!

Beyond All Dreams.…Book Review!

As most of you know, the Captain and I recently went back to Kansas for the wedding of  our grandson!  

Click on the following link if you would like to see that post: Winter Weddings….And The Color Purple!

Flying to Kansas in February means lots of snow and certainly cold and blowing winds….and this trip was no exception.

Bad weather also means delayed flights or re-routed flights and flight cancellations…and the Captain and I experienced all of the above.

I only tell you that to say this…..I had plenty of time to catch up on my reading.

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This book is called “Beyond All Dreams” written by Elizabeth Camden and the below synopsis is from the publisher.

“Sweeping and Romantic Historical Drama from an Award-Winning Author
Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.
Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship.
Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress.
From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for themselves?”

I really liked this book.

The fact that Anna, the main character, works in the Library of Congress attending to maps and surrounded by all kinds of books and architecture fascinated me.  There was mystery and romance and the book kept me “reading just one more page”.  

I liked the historical references and the descriptions of fashion and culture of that time period, as well as the descriptions of the all female boarding house and the foods they prepared. (you knew I would have to talk about food didn’t you?) 

Elizabeth Camden has a way of showing the intricate and well structured cast of characters, making them personable, as well as showing their imperfections. Her characters are portrayed so well…that I could visualize them vividly. I also found it interesting to learn about the movers and shakers in Washington DC and the “inside work” used to extract votes for popular and unpopular causes.

Anna belongs to a group of only 6 women, who were on a trial basis to see if they would “work out” in the Library of Congress. Anna was determined to not allow anything to jeopardize the positions of these women.  She took her work seriously…and then along came Luke, a congressman from Maine… who not only challenges her but frightens her also. 

There are many political dynamics at play that stand in the way of Anna’s search for the truth about her Father and the mysterious disappearance of the lost ship. The story line grows more intense as loyalty and trust is threatened and priorities are tested in the face of the impending Spanish-American war.

Did I say I really enjoyed this read? 🙂

I certainly did!

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this book!

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce…..sooooo good.

Of course my grandmother and my mother used this recipe to use up left over bread that had started to go stale…but these days, I use fresh bread because I love this bread pudding with Vanilla sauce so much.

The smell coming out of the oven is to die for…and when you top the bread pudding with the warm vanilla sauce…well, that is just perfect.

This recipe does not call for a water bath in the oven….just sit the casserole dish right on the oven shelf. 

As most of you know, a water bath’s original term is Bain-Marie.

Perhaps you have wondered what a Bain-Marie is and the proper way to pronounce it and how this term came to be.

Well, perhaps you have never given it a thought….:(

But I will give you what most think the explanation is of this odd name for a water bath.

And believe it or not….it is thought to have Biblical references.

According to British Dictionary Definitions…it is pronounced ban-ma-ree, taken from the French.

When one hears an oral pronunciation….one rolls the tongue between “ma and ree” in kind of a nasal sound.

Bain-Marie:

n. a vessel for holding hot water, in which sauces and other dishes are gently cooked or kept warm

1. (in cooking) a receptacle containing hot or boiling water into which other containers are placed to warm or cook the food in them.

2. British. a double boiler.

Word Origin and History for Bain-Marie

1822, from French bain-marie, from Medieval Latin balneum Mariaeliterally “bath of Mary.”

According to French sources, perhaps so called for the gentleness of its heating.

Middle English had balne of mary (late 15c.).

I also found that if two “water baths” are being used….the “s” is added to the word Bain…so it would be bains-marie.

This would be found if you were melting chocolate over a double boiler and making Bread Pudding in the oven. You would have Bains-Marie OR you would have a water bath in the oven and a double boiler boiling on the stove.

There you have it! Your French/English cooking term explanation.

But, the most wonderful thing about this printable recipe below is this:

No Bain-Marie is needed.

No muss, no fuss.

Enjoy!

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Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
Do you remember that wonderful bread pudding that your mother used to make? Mother used to put raisins and pecans with stale bread...added a bit of sugar, milk and butter and popped the mixture in the oven for about 1 hour. Then the Vanilla Sauce served warm was the best.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups (about 8 slices) cubed white bread
  2. 1/2 cup raisins (golden raisins work great too)
  3. 2 cups milk
  4. 1/4 cup butter
  5. 1/2 cup sugar
  6. 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  7. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Vanilla Sauce
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  4. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  5. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Bread Pudding
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine bread and raisins in large bowl.
  2. Combine milk and 1/4 cup butter in 1-quart saucepan.
  3. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted (4 to 7 minutes).
  4. Pour milk mixture over bread; let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in all remaining pudding ingredients.
  6. Pour into greased 1 1/2-quart casserole and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until set in center.
Vanilla Sauce
  1. Combine all sauce ingredients except vanilla in 1-quart saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (5 to 8 minutes). Add in the vanilla.
Notes
  1. Bread Pudding may be stored in the fridge and reheated in the microwave.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Santa Fe Depot Diner…Restaurant Review

Santa Fe Depot Diner…Restaurant Review!

This review most likely will not benefit anyone living here in Florida…but who knows?  Perhaps you might travel to Leavenworth, Kansas someday.

Let us hope that if and when you do travel there…you are wearing normal clothing and not prison orange! 🙂

Yes, there are quite a few prisons in Leavenworth…most notably Leavenworth Federal Prison.

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But we are not going to talk about prisons….we are going to talk about an old Train station that has been turned into a diner.

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 Sorry the pics are kind of dark….it was a cold, dreary day in Leavenworth with temps in the 16-18 degree range.  Br-r-r-r-r-r!….and yes, once in a while the sun would peek out.762

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Delicious breakfast started with numerous stripes of crisp bacon and two over-medium eggs and two pancakes.  This meal is called the Casey Jones at $7.95

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Yummy pancakes….so light and so tasty….they were not thin as a pancake….pun intended. 🙂

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This was the Train Wreck with Chorizo, ham, 2 eggs, green peppers, potatoes, onions and toast $8.50.

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And a Midwest Favorite…Biscuits and Gravy! There is 1/4 of an order at $2:50, 1/2 order at $3.50 and a full order at $4.50!

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And the fact that the diner was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 makes it more interesting.

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I liked the old wood and original benches.  I thought it was amusing that the waiting rooms were for Men Only or Women Only.

I have to assume that the children were “waiting” with the Women. 😉

Note the transom windows above the door….so nostalgic.

Our elementary school had transom windows that the teacher opened with a long pole…she was pretty good at “snagging” the loop with that long pole…even though she was a bit up in years. 🙂 I’m not so sure I am steady enough at my age to unlock and open a transom.

If you are ever in the area, I suggest you try this Diner for breakfast.  

We have eaten there numerous times and have always found it to have good service and food. 

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* Our meal was independently paid for by the Captain and Me!

Do you my dear readers….enjoy visiting historic places that have been made into something new and different?  Or do you prefer them to remain in their original state?

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Flipping Fun…

Flipping Fun…

This past couple of months have been really busy…..weddings, birthdays, engagements, and of course flipping houses.

A few of our friends have been asking for pictures of this “Flip”, and the easiest way to get pics to them is to post about it.

Perhaps my out-of-state readers are thinking of moving to Florida…. or perhaps having a “home” away from home.

In that case…we welcome you. 🙂

There are 2 full baths…3 bedrooms, a family room off the kitchen and a living room as you enter the double front doors.

Below are a few pics of the latest flip, starting with the pool, which seems to be the first concern of home buyers in Florida. 

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Removable black screen for children and pet protection

Removable black screen for children and pet protection

Large Lanai with access from Master Bedroom, Dining Room and Family Room

Large Lanai with access from Master Bedroom, Dining Room and Family Room

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The lanai area is conducive to outdoor living…and includes a spa. 

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Master bedroom looks out on the pool 

I am not a fan of carpeted bedrooms…though we do have 40 degree temps from time to time in Florida… and a few people have voiced a preference for carpet in the bedrooms.  

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Master Bath has exceptionally large counter-top and lots of storage with a walk in closet and shower.

2nd Bath commonly referred to as Pool Bath

2nd full Bath commonly referred to as Pool Bath

Family room

Family room

Living Room

Living Room

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I make a point to put cabinets in every laundry room….:)

How do you, my dear readers…. feel about carpet in a tropical setting? 

Up north, carpet is almost a necessity….down here, not so much.

I am finding as we flip homes that there are things I favor in each and I especially like the paver driveway of this home.

I hope you enjoyed the “tour” of this home…..

Have a great day….and enjoy the rest of this week!

I will still be “flipping”…..so to speak. 🙂

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Winter Weddings….And The Color Purple!

Winter Weddings….And The Color Purple!

Recently the Captain and I attended the wedding of our First Grandson.…yes, we are that old! ;(

The wedding was held in Kansas and this time of year in Kansas, it is C-O-L-D….I mean really cold.

The bitter wind made the cold even colder.

Most days the wind chill was below zero!

Only Daughter had cautioned me on leaving the flip-flops, Hawaiian shirts, sleeveless blouses and capri pants in Florida and bringing heavy socks, boots, gloves, coats and ski caps.

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Each time I went from car to hotel room or restaurant or family home….I looked like the Michelin Man…. AND I was still cold!

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I was so happy to attend the wedding of First Grandson…..I was willing to sacrifice the warm Florida weather for the frozen tundra of Kansas in the middle of Winter.

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Not that I would be an “I told you so” kind of person….or a person who constantly reminds one of the sacrifices made to attend said wedding…but I also proved my love for First Grandson by actually missing two Jayhawk Basketball games….One on Saturday, (we won)…and another game on Monday….which we lost.

Most likely we lost because I never miss a game…and I missed two in a row….Saturday, the day of the wedding and Monday, the day the Captain and I flew back to Florida 🙁

But I would never say anything…or would I? 🙂

I think I only mentioned it once or twice….or perhaps a couple more times. 

My excuse for  mentioning basketball was that the groom and the bride went to Kansas State …..supporting the arch rival of my team, which my followers know is Kansas University!

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Yep, they went to K-State and the color purple was everywhere!  

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AND to show you what a great sense of humor First Grandson has….he sent me the following text, knowing we would be on a plane while KU and K-State played basketball….and sadly, that was the game we lost.

And I quote: “Now, if you did miss the game last night, aren’t you glad?”

See?  He wanted to spare me the embarrassment of watching the loss….

Isn’t he the greatest grandson?

Seriously, It was a beautiful wedding. 

The Bride was beautiful and the Groom was handsome….and I was dressed warmly! 🙂

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However, I am picturing future wedding anniversaries, trudging through snow drifts with Rudolph red noses, for that special movie and dinner out!!  

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Well, they say True love is blind and apparently very warm blooded.

Do you remember the song…”I’ve got My Love To Keep You Warm”….below are a few of the lyrics.

The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing
But I can weather the storm
What do I care how much it may storm
I’ve got my love to keep me warm
I can’t remember a worse December
Just watch those icicles form
What do I care if icicles form
I’ve got my love to keep me warm
Off with my overcoat, off with my glove
I need no overcoat, I’m burning with love
My heart’s on fire, the flame grows higher
What do I care how much it may storm
I’ve got my love to keep me warm

So the happy couple are definitely warm as they enter this new journey together.

And they have the blessing of the Captain and Me. 🙂

Did any of you my dear readers, have a Winter Wedding?

The Captain and I were married in June and we only had rain to contend with!!!!!  🙂

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Mayo Dinner Rolls

Mayo Dinner Rolls…..

Are you in a hurry and want a sweet tasting dinner roll straight from your oven?

Try out this recipe…you can double the recipe ….or triple…or whatever you want to do but if you once try these dinner rolls….you will love them.

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Mayo Dinner Rolls
Quick and easy...no yeast and using mayo...and if you try it...you will be whipping these up at least once a week.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon of salt
  4. 1/2 Cup of milk
  5. 2 tablespoons of mayo
Instructions
  1. Gently combine flour, baking powder, salt, milk and mayo until well combined
  2. Spoon into a greased muffin pan, makes about 5 rolls., depending on the size of each.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or till done and golden brown.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Two Days Late…Twice As Good

Two Days Late…Twice As Good!

What I mean to say is …this was a belated Valentine Get Together by the nicest friends in Cape Coral …and the potluck always produces great food and great fellowship!

Hence, Two Days Late…Twice As Good!

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Wingnuts….

Wingnuts….such a name for a place that specializes in Hot Wings! 🙂

But Wingnuts it is….

2015-02-16_9-14-53The Captain and I visited this establishment a while back and found hot wings that were definitely hot, which is why I like to make my own at home. 

I can control the heat…not that the server didn’t warn us about the sauces, but when they offer so many sauces, it makes it difficult to choose.

At least for me.

390One of the first things one sees upon entering Wingnuts is the internet jukebox….unlimited songs to choose…at a small fee of course. 🙂

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The lighting makes the large fish in the upper 1/3rd of the tank look dark…he is actually a light grey with bright yellow fins.

And there is the fish tank full of nothing but yellow fish! Very pretty!

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394Back to the sauces….the Captain chose Hit & Run Sauce and I chose Sweet Bangin Sauce.

Once I have the very hot taste on my tongue….everything else tastes the same.

Weird, I know.

2015-02-16_9-12-49The wings were not over-cooked and the chicken tenders were…well, tender.

386Again the sauce was supposed to be hotter, but to my palette, both sauces tasted the same.

405Actually, my Sweet Bangin sauce seemed a bit hotter than the Captain’s Hit & Run sauce and as you can see from the Mild/Hot chart…his sauce should have been hotter….but the wings tasted good either way.

2015-02-16_9-09-32There are salads, burgers and onion rings on the menu…so there are other choices besides hot wings.

407And what restaurant doesn’t have the famous leg lamp from the movie….”The Christmas Story” ?

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The Christmas bow has yet to be taken down….:)

Oh, Ralphie….I felt the same way you did (and probably had the same expression) when your dad opened the box containing the leg lamp in that movie!

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Wingnuts was awarded the Award of Excellence….

 My dear readers, do you have a favorite hot wings restaurant or do you prefer to make your own?

Below is a printable Sassy Hot Wings recipe….if you would prefer to make your own….which I usually do. 🙂

If you are local and want to visit Wingnuts…see the following information.

*This meal was independently paid for!

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Wingnuts

Address: 231 Del Prado Blvd, Cape Coral, FL 33990
Hours: Open today · 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Happy Eating…whether you make your own or you go to your favorite Hot Wings Restaurant!

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Sassy Hot Wings
Serves 4
These hot wings are not deep fried but are grilled...a healthier? hot wing...well, it certainly is a bit tastier. 🙂
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Total Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds chicken wings (Cut off the wing tips)
  2. 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (I use Kosher)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Sauce
  1. 6 tablespoons butter
  2. 1 clove minced garlic
  3. 1/3 cup hot sauce (I use Frank's Red Hot Original)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  6. 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  7. Celery sticks
  8. Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing for additional dipping.
Instructions
  1. Heat your grill to medium-high (lightly grease with oil by using tongs and a rag dabbed with vegetable oil)
  2. Season the wings with salt and pepper and set aside.
To Make the Sauce
  1. Saute the garlic in the butter using a small saucepan (or you can use the microwave.
  2. Stir the garlic (do not let it burn) for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  3. Stir in the hot sauce, onion powder, chili powder and sugar and set aside.
Preparing the wings
  1. Grill the wings, turning frequently with tongs until they are brown. Wings should be crispy and completely cooked through which should take about 15- 20 minutes.
  2. Sometimes wings can cause your grill to have a flare-up, I keep a spray bottle of water by the grill for these flare-ups...and I move the wings around to cooler areas of the grill and then back again. This allows for a consistent golden brown on your wings.
Choices
  1. Dip the cooked wings in the sauce and serve immediately.
  2. OR serve the wings on a platter with the hot sauce in a small bowl.
  3. Serve with celery sticks and your choice of dressings...or both combined...it sorta takes away the "sting" of the hot sauce. 🙂
Notes
  1. I use Frank's Red Hot Original hot sauce, but there are other great sauces at your supermarket.
  2. I prefer my wings "naked" as they say in some hot wing restaurants....as I like to have a choice as to how much hot sauce to use.
  3. The discarded wing tips go in my freezer for the next time I want to make chicken stock. Nothing is wasted. 🙂
  4. You can "grill" on top of the stove...using a cast iron skillet or indoor grill. Plenty of options.!
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Kingsman: The Secret Service… Movie Review

Kingsman: The Secret Service Movie Review!

The Captain and I managed to grab a movie over the week-end and we chose “Kingsmen: The Secret Service Movie”.

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We liked the fast pace of this movie and yes, some of the widgets, gadgets and weapons were straight out of James Bond, but that is ok. 🙂

(I particularly liked the umbrella….let’s just say it not only protects you from rain, but it has a jillion other uses to protect from just about anything!)

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Let me quote from the movie’s premise:

Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. 

The movie stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and a relative newcomer that I am not familiar with…Taron Egerton, … who plays the street kid.

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I love puzzles and “who dunnit” games. …and I think one of the greatest parts of this movie was in showing the training of the new recruit.

They started out with about 12 candidates and could only end with one “winner”. 

These candidates were placed in almost impossible situations in which they had to use their wit and cunning to “escape”.

I like challenging the mind… although I would not have liked to actually be in all the testing situations myself. 🙂

But it was fun to watch the strategies of each candidate.

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I have to say that later in the tongue-in-cheek storyline…there was almost a bit too much destruction…but it went along with the plot of saving the world.  

And we know how stressful saving the world can be for our hero. 

My dear readers, have you seen Kingsmen: The Secret Service or are you planning to see it?

Alas, my life is exciting…but not quite as exciting as this movie. 

Right now the potatoes that have been boiling on the stove are ready to be mashed for dinner…and I must get the potato masher and pulverize them into submission. :)….(I don’t think the umbrella has that capability).

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Yeah!  That’s it! It may not be the work of a secret agent…but I can hold my own with a potato masher…!!!!!

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The Little Grass Shack…

The Little Grass Shack…or in this case…the Grass hut!

Speaking of the little grass shack…if you would like to hear that song and learn how to hula…check out the featured video on the upper right side of my home page….just sayin’ 😉

Here in Florida one sees quite a few Tiki Huts…some cover outdoor eating restaurants and some cover boat docks on the canals.

There are many of these thatched roofs which use palm fronds and I have to admit, I really like them.

“So you can imagine my curiosity when the Captain and I went for a late afternoon ice cream cone and saw one of our favorite outdoor eating places “refreshing” their Tiki roof.

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First they tore off all the old palm fronds….as they were not only replacing fronds…they were adding to their outdoor eating area which called for more thatched roofing.

They had an assembly line going on….

355There was one guy trimming the palm fronds, one guy pre-starting a nail or fastener of some kind in the stem end and one guy carrying the fronds over to the “roofer’s helper” …who handed the fronds one at a time up to the roofer …and then the actual roofer was perched on the top of the round poles that formed a framework for the palm fronds.  

348In New Mexico, we called these poles “Vigas”….I am not sure what they call them in the Tropical World.

344The roofer had a two sided hatchet-like hammer and as soon as his helper handed him up a palm frond, the roofer would make one swift hit of the palm frond connecting it to the round poles, using the pre-started nail or fastener.

346Then in the same swing, the roofer flipped his hatchet- tool, and cut off the extra “stem” of the frond.  He did this all in one motion.

You can see in the above picture how the palm fronds are in layers much like regular roof shingles.

No wasted energy here…:)

364A thatched Tiki roof can last a very long time, …however in this case, the restaurant added onto the original structure.

Perhaps they felt it was easier to just replace the whole roof, rather than piece in the sides of the existing Tiki roof.

363As you can see, it doesn’t take much to entertain the Captain and me…..we sat in our car, slowly eating our ice cream and watching with fascination.

369Do you my dear readers like to take the time to be entertained by watching someone perform their specialty duties?

Or is it just me?

Have a great Day…and keep your eyes opened, you never know what you might see! 🙂

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