Took a recent Saturday off and met with family down at Rocky Ford creek to look for crawdads and have a cook-out. The creek was cold and clear…perfect for a hot summer afternoon and looking for crawdads.

Crawdads can be a bit tricky to catch…just ask me and I’ll tell you…I’ll tell you that if I’m lucky, I’ll actually catch one about every 3 years. Fortunately, my kids and other relatives are pretty adept at catching them – I blame my lack of ability on my no-line bifocals (and the fact that I don’t particularly like being pinched.) Although there are a lot of ways to catch crawdads (traps with bacon, nets, etc.), the quickest way is to start looking under rocks……

And if you are lucky, you’ll get your hands on a pretty nice sized one…..

Depending on how many people that plan on eating these little critters determines how long and how far up/down the creek you hunt. Took us (or should I say “everyone else”) a couple of hours to get enough worth messing with. My aunt, who has been cleaning crawdads since she was a kid, has tried for the past 40 years to teach another generation how to “clean” them for cooking. We are hoping that perhaps the 2nd generation is catching on……..

Although I have watched her clean these things for many years, about all I can tell you is that you pull the middle thing on their tail which removes something and then you pinch off the head and legs. (Just writing that gives me the heebie jeebies, so you can understand what I do not partake in the “cleaning of the crawdads.”) After they have been cleaned, powder them with some cornmeal, salt and pepper.

Throw them in a pot of hot vegetable oil (or bacon grease, if you are true affectionado….)

It doesn’t take too long before they start turning that typical shellfish pink when they start cooking……

And while I have issues catching and cleaning crawdads, I have absolutely no problem eating them…..

Bon appetit!

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Goodbye Blackie…you served our family well for almost 10 years. You endured pee, puke and poop from the human and canine varieties. After over 238,000 miles, you just weren’t “cool” enough for us anymore. We traded you in last week for a newer model…and although you didn’t bring much in on the trade, we hope you find a good home somewhere north where your lack of a working air conditioner compressor won’t be a huge factor.

You took us to weddings and funerals. Family vacations to the coast – camping trips to the lake. You endured near misses and not so near misses (and it is interesting that the two minor wrecks you were involved in happened in your own driveway).

You were the dependable one in snow storms – often the only vehicle that could make it down (and more importantly, back up) the hill to the house.

You taught and suffered through 3 kids learning to drive.

And you literally hauled everything from A to Z…..

Antiques
Buyers
Chickens
Dining room table and 4 chairs
Easter bunny and euros
Fans of OU
Gassy children
Hamsters
Inattentive drivers
Junk (or see antiques above)
Kinfolk
Lawn furniture and lizards
Mirrors
Nauseous puppies
Oddities (see antiques and junk above ;-)
Parakeets and puppies and plants
Quarreling children
Real estate signs
Sports equipment (baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, track,
soccer, football)
Toilets (new, of course)
Umpteen groceries
Vacationers
Wheel barrow
Xylophone (really)
Yapping dogs
Zoo bound kids

You will be missed………

Stepped outside a bit ago to check on plant watering and heard a racket up around one of our electric poles…..



I started feeling a little sorry for the mockingbird as it dive-bombed the hawk. And seeing how the hawk apparently had no plans to move from its perch and certainly wasn’t scared of a bird about a tenth it’s size, I figured perhaps a little human intervention would do the trick…..

See ya Mr. Hawk…..
Yours truly,
Ms. Mockingbird

Browse any bookstore and you’ll see many books about English gardens and countrysides. I’m here to tell you that the photographs in those books are very real and not staged or photoshopped. Although the timing of our trip wasn’t the best for seeing the gardens at their finest, we were still able to see a glimpse of what was yet to come……..





For some reason, I’m having issues with WordPress tonight and getting captions to post under the pictures. Since it is now after midnight and this is the third time I’ve tried to caption the pictures, I’m just going to summarize them here: The first picture is a vine of some sort growing on the side of a building in Oxford (wish we could see this once it “greened” up). The second picture is a red bud type tree; the third picture is a window box in front of a dorm room window at Oxford (many of these around the university). The fourth photo is a flower from a garden at Shakespeare’s birthplace, and the fifth picture was taken in Bath, England, of a street vendor’s booth. You could smell the fragrance from these flowers from a block away – unbelievable!

In every town we toured in the UK there were awesome architectural elements and stone faces on many buildings…from over a thousand years ago to the 20th century. I could probably post a hundred pictures of all the neat gargoyles and grotesques we saw, but I’ll just upload a few of our favorites:









It seemed like every town we went through during our travels in England, there were street performers. Folk singers, guitar players, unicycle riders, opera singers, you name it. Foot traffic moved rather quickly so there wasn’t much time to just sit and listen, but there were really some talented people. One guy even had a sign that said something along the lines of “I don’t need money but if you like my music, feel free to donate.”

An opera singer at the Roman Baths


Juggling flamethrower unicyclist


A guitar player


Band of boys in the gazebo


Another guitar player



(I’m thinking I mighta had a new friend in this guy – I’m in the red coat ;-)

Our last night in London, some of the kids decided they wanted to take the tube over to the London Eye. The Eye was built in 1999 and for several years, was the tallest ferris wheel in the world. It sits on the bank of the River Thames and never stops rotating (it moves slow enough to allow people on and off the capsules). Due to the fact that it was once known as the tallest ferris wheel in the world was reason enough for me to by-pass this particular tourist attraction (read: fear of heights). Fortunately, my daughter has no fear and was able to document this part of our trip for me ;-)

This is the “Eye” from a distance (I took this picture from a good place – standing on the ground…..)

And here are the pictures Cait took…..check out the one that is looking down at the people on the ground (just looking at this picture makes me dizzy….)




(Thanks Cait for taking these great pictures and being so understanding when I begged off back to the hotel ;-)

Ok, back to trip postings……….

Due to flight delays and plane problems, we were able to spend only about a day and a half in Scotland but we got a lot of sightseeing crammed in our time there. One of the top attractions in Edinburgh is the Edinburgh Castle. It is quite a fortress and you can see it from miles away as it sits atop the volcanic Castle Rock. They say it has been a royal castle since the 12th century and continues to this day as a military base.


Again, if you left click on the individual pictures above, it brings up a larger picture with whatever description I’ve added…..I’ll get the hang of this sooner or later ;-)

Here is a way to test a friendship to determine whether it is really true….

First, ask a good friend over for dinner. For the purposes of this post, I am using the pronoun “she”.

Second, serve her a recipe that you’ve never tried before consisting of cube steak and flour. Said steak must be thick and tough.

Third, after she has managed to choke down dinner, see if she volunteers to do your dishes for you.

Fourth, while she is doing your dishes, pop in a frozen apple pie in the oven (after all, you need to be doing something too).

Fifth, after she has done your dishes and is resting on the sofa, have your puppy jump in her lap and give her kisses (after said puppy has had nose rubbed in an accident by another member of your household.)

Sixth, after she has unsuccessfully fought off the dog, have her sit through 2 hours of your vacation photos.

Seventh, after she nods off at about picture 862, wake her gently. At this point she’ll probably want to “head home” so be sure and send along a piece of your apple pie that you forgot to serve.

If this friend talks to you the next day, count her as one of your blessings ;-)

(Love ya K ;-)

In addition to taking a lot of pictures of bicycles while in the UK, my daughter also likes to take pictures of signs…..most of these were taken by her and most are self-explanatory……

I apologize for the small pictures but if you click on them, they’ll enlarge where you can halfway read them ;-)

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