1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Some Real Southern Comfort--Manatees, Mamas, Homemade Pies, and a Backyard Bouquet

I've been cooling my heels and soothing my spirit lately with some real Southern comfort. No, not that stuff in a bottle that some people think is whiskey. A few weeks ago, Son and his family visited us in Tallahassee, and we took them to Wakulla Springs. It was a hot day with intermittent rain showers, which is typical weather for Florida at this time of year. We wanted them to experience the boat tour we had taken this past winter, but the threat of thundershowers postponed the departure several times. When we finally got underway, we were treated to several manatee sightings, including this one of mama manatee with her youngster. As you can see, the water is much more clear at this time of year as compared to the last time we visited the park.

Micah didn't seem to mind the wait at all. He spent a lot of time building his own version of castles in the sand. At least on this little beach, the tide won't take them down. His mom and I kept an eye on him while Son and SAM tested the coolness of the water. According to our boat guide for the tour, it stays right around 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. 

...The life in us is like the water in the river. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it, and flood the parched uplands; even this may be the eventful year, which will drown out all our muskrats. It was not always dry land where we dwell. I see far inland the banks which the stream anciently washed, before science began to record its freshets... (from Walden, Chapter 18: Conclusion, by Henry David Thoreau)

...Everyone has heard the story which has gone the rounds of New England, of a strong and beautiful bug which came out of the dry leaf of an old table of apple-tree wood, which had stood in a farmer's kitchen for sixty years, first in Connecticut, and afterward in Massachusetts--from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still, as appeared by counting the annual layers beyond it; which was heard gnawing out for several weeks, hatched perchance by the heat of an urn. Who does not feel his faith in a resurrrection and immortality strengthened by hearing of this?...

It might not be as naturally refreshing as spring water, but the pool at home lets us enjoy the outdoors at a time of day when we would normally be found inside keeping cool in the air conditioning. Son doesn't often get to savor moments like this one. I hope I don't sound too corny here, but I'm going to say it anyway. Son is one of my heroes. He works harder than anyone I know, outside in Florida's summertime heat and humidity, lifting heavy drilling augers, and toting sacks of Portland cement and bentonite. He started this kind of work ten years ago when his dad and I started an environmental service company. Son didn't know what he wanted to do with his life at that time, tried college and quit, so we took the plunge and invested our savings and borrowed money to start a family business. We had just bought our first drilling rig and began to find work in West Kentucky when 9-11 came along and knocked the wind out of this country and most of our prospects for business. State money--much of it from gasoline taxes--for testing and cleanup of contaminated sites was diverted elsewhere as the nation's fast-flowing economy began its slow but steady decline to a trickle. Private work at factory sites dried up too as companies began tightening their belts. We moved south to Florida because SAM and Son were traveling so often to work there. The work that seemed so plentiful at first on the east coast disappeared within a few months, and we packed up again to move to our home near Pensacola. With the state funding squeezed so tightly that it was gasping for breath within a couple of years of moving there, SAM and I decided it was time to sell the company. We needed to get out while the gettin' was still good. But what would Son do now? He had met his true love, gotten married, and acquired a mortgage. SAM found him a decent paying job with a company that had bought some of our equipment. Son has been working there ever since, but the work is beginning to take its toll on his body. Somehow, he finds the strength and time to take college courses after working 50-60 hours a week. He has some goals in mind, and he's taking the necessary steps, painful though they may be, to achieve them. Now do you understand why I admire him so much? I wish that we had sold our home earlier this year so we could help him financially. Apartment life isn't so bad, and I'm getting used to the Tallahassee area--meeting new gardening friends, hiking (when it's cooler), and paddling the many spring-fed rivers in the area. 
 Some of Nature's handiwork can be seen along the Chipola River.

A couple of weekends ago, we found a great blue heron resting from its fishing work at Wacissa. Wouldn't you love to have that job?

This past weekend, after some wistful remarks by SAM that he had not tasted a lemon meringue pie in a very long time, I decided to bake some Southern comfort for Sunday dessert. Along with a cheesecake baked by daughter-in-law, the lemon pie and a blueberry cream pie rounded out a meal of barbequed ribs, homemade macaroni and cheese and tossed salad. If not for the heat outside and the calendar reminding us that it's still July, it could have been Thanksgiving Day.

Between rain showers and right before dinner on Sunday, I threw together some hastily gathered flowers and took a picture so I could participate in Noelle's (Arizona Plant Lady) Monthly Garden Bouquet meme. What's blooming and otherwise showing its color in my backyard and other garden areas at this hot time of year? Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic,' Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm,' Spanish lavender, hydrangea 'Endless Summer,' and some unknown hosta. I also added some fern leaves to the vase. I hope you enjoy my version of Southern comfort. 

...Who knows what beautiful and winged life, whose egg has been buried for ages under many concentric layers of woodenness in the dead dry life of society, deposited at first in the alburnum of the green and living tree, which has been gradually converted into the semblance of its well-seasoned tomb--heard perchance gnawing out now for years by the astonished family of man, as they sat round the festive board--may unexpectedly come forth from amidst society's most trivial and hand-selled furniture, to enjoy its perfect summer life at last!...


  1. Anyone who does hard physical labor outside has my admiration. In the summer it's awful and in the winter here it's awful. Either extreme can be fatal.

    Loved seeing the manatees and the lovely coastal scenery.

  2. What a fine post today. I enjoyed the photos of your son and his family. Isn't Micah a doll? I'm sure they enjoyed the manatees. One cold February, a friend and I drove all the way from Mass. to Fla. to dive with the manatees. Who knew Fla. was going to have a heat wave and the manatees were going to go out to the cooler water that week? We still had fun diving, but didn't see any manatees! I admire your son, too! I encounter so many young persons that don't have that same sense of responsibility or self respect. Bravo! ~karen

  3. Your son...well God bless him! He is a hard worker, adn he will be rewarded for his efforts, I'm sure! Hopefully this economy will turn around and all will be wonderful, sooon!!!!! I pray!

    You guys have really had some adventures! WoW!

    I love Wakulla!!! One of my fav places to go, for sure! Am thinking of a trip to meet our other kids and grandkids maybe in December!

  4. For some strange reason, I had a vision of Florida being all concrete, orange people and neon fast food joints. It just goes to show how wrong you can be. It looks glorious!

  5. Guess your son truly deserved the break. Lovely pictures.

    And it is so nice to see how you've been trying to help your son plant his feet firmly on the ground and how hard he's working to achieve his goals. Wishing him the very best!

  6. It is so hard for us mothers to see our kids toil so hard and for so long. Your son sounds like quite a guy and I know you are proud. Those pies look yummy!!!

  7. What a beautiful, many-faceted post!
    Physical work is hard on a body not quite as young and strong as it once was. Our son-in-law needs to do less 'grunt' now so I understand your feelings for your son. I hope his objectives are realised - he deserves them.

  8. Loved your arrangement...good color combo.

    Your writing is always a pleasure to read. I can tell you put so much thought into your posts.
    Always a fan,

  9. Hello,

    I enjoyed your beautiful photos of manatees and learning more about Tallahassee. I can see why you are proud of your son....working hard to achieve his goals.

    Your bouquet is just lovely. I especially love the of my favorite flowers :-)

    Thank you so much for participating in this month's MGB.

  10. I can understand why you are so proud of your son, W2W. I often wish that I could win the lottery so that I could help my kids out financially, but I don't think that's going to happen. I certainly admire anyone who works outside all day in this heat--my husband does, and when he comes home in the afternoon, he's wiped out.

    Lemon meringue pie--one of my favorites; looks delicious!

    Love the quote by Thoreau--maybe there is a little egg of hope that will hatch one of these days and bring better times for all.

  11. Nature’s water, giggling swimmers, children’s trails and tribulations, flowers and home cooked pies. Southern Comfort at its best!

  12. Thanks, Marnie. You know you could eliminate one of those extremes by moving south again:) The scenery, btw, is from the inland part of Florida. I don't get to see much of the coast these days. The manatees, we've been told, have come up the river from the Gulf and don't often leave. I guess the wildlife people keep a close eye on their numbers.

    Karen, what a shame you missed the manatees! If you ever get a chance to come to this part of Florida, you're almost guaranteed a chance of seeing them. They love it at Wakulla. Thanks for visiting and for the encouragement.

    Julie, thank you. I am blessed to have such a wonderful family. If you do get to visit this year, let me know so we can meet up somewhere. I would love to see one of my favorite bloggers in person.

    TIG, you need to visit the state in person but stay away from those touristy places like Disney World. Orange people? Do you mean fruit shaped or the color orange? Thanks for commenting!

    RGB, seeing your children working to achieve their goals and finding the time to enjoy playing with their own kids is the best reward a parent can have. I see so many young people these days who think they need to put off having children until they're able to afford them. Priorities are mixed up, I think, because their best years are being squandered on gathering material possessions. Thanks for the good wishes.

    Tina, you're right. A mother never stops worrying about her kids, no matter how old they are. My mom still does it!

    Thank you, Jabblog, for visiting and encouraging. I hope your son-in-law gets some rest too.

    Why, thanks, Rosey! I'm not much of a floral designer, but it's fun to try. I tend to get carried away with lots of things, especially writing:)

    Noelle, it was a pleasure to participate. I enjoyed myself and I'll try again next month.

    Rose, if you get to visit down here sometime, I'll know what kind of pie to bake. I bet your husband is looking forward to retiring soon! If you ever run across that egg, hang onto it for dear life and let me know.

    Well, hi, Skeeter. I don't need to remind you what's great about the South. I hope it cools off for you up there in Georgia. Thanks for visiting!

  13. Wow do those pies look tasty! Finally back from Belgium to home sweet home Florida.

  14. will keep your son's need for stamina in my thoughts today. My job is far less rigorous and I often wonder when the day will come that I will have had enough.

    pies and heron look wonderful