Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shrimp Boats and Shrimp Bisque

If you've spent any time on Hammock Tracks you know that I love to take pictures of feminine and pretty things.  My eyes also enjoy taking in the not so pretty but definitely attractive-in-their-own-way things, too.  I've discussed how I love barns and even mushrooms.  The kids know that the car will come to a screeching halt if I spy an old barn and more than one nature trail has been slowed while I snap photos of fungus.

Shrimp boats are another thing I find to be beautiful, in their own beat up, rusted and rustic way.  Today after church we passed two and Miss Emilee became the focus of my attention.  What I cannot fully describe is the fishy and musty odor that is a part of her wood frame.

Some of her wood may need paint, the door to the captains seat was hanging by one hinge and her anchor is quite rusted, but her bow proudly pointed out to where a blue sky and waterway met.  These colors seemed to mimic the ones that were painted on her side, in a handsome dual colored stripe.

I've never worked on one of these shrimp boats but Bloodhound has.  It is hard work and I am sure that the men who make a living brining shrimp up to the surface, and eventually our dinner table, with these nets would think that I was a delirious romantic, if they read this post.  

But I cannot help it...I love them...A/C in the window, and all.

I also love to eat shrimp.  My favorite way to enjoy them is in a low country boil.  Bloodhound is convinced that he could eat his weight in shrimp, and still want more.  I think he could be right.  During a period of time that we were living in New Orleans he got in the habit of ordering a 12" shrimp po-boy every day for lunch.  You don't have to be a dietician to know that this added up to a lot of calories.  Forty pounds and two pants sizes later, he decided he should go on a diet.  He had a protein shake for lunch and ate dinner at home.  After he had lost the weight he decided that he should treat himself and drove to his favorite place for lunch, in order to feast on a shrimp po-boy.  Much to his dismay they had gone out of business.  We still joke that his diet put them under.  

Here is another favorite shrimp recipe:

Shrimp Bisque
(printer friendly version)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 pound pre-cooked shrimp
1/2 cup white wine
In a large saucepan, melt butter over a low heat. Stir in flour, salt, white pepper, bouillon granules, and onion. Blend 3/4 cup half-and-half cream into the mixture. Mix in shrimp and crab meat. Turn the temperature to medium heat and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.
Blend the remaining half-and-half cream and wine into the mixture. Serve and enjoy!

You will win points with you family when you make this.  And if you want to add shrimp you can reduce the crab to 1/2 lb and use 1/2 lb of shrimp.

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Unknown Mami

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Hammock Tracks Weekend Edition" {Linky}

Starting this Saturday, April 28th, there will be a new feature on Hammock Tracks.  

Hammock Tracks Weekend Edition will grant viewers the opportunity to see what others are creating, around the web.

There will be five categories to explore.

- Recipes
- Crafts and DIY Projects
- Creative Writing and Photography
- Home Education Live 
- Giveaways

I hope you enjoy this new feature and in the process find a few new blogs to add to your Favorites list.

If you are a blogger, click here to learn how to link up.

Hammock Tracks Weekend Edition will replace all other blog hops previously offered on this site.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mama Kat Challenge - Top Ten Things I Miss About Being Alone

1.  Being able to spend $50 on groceries weekly and having food left over.  I now spend $150 and it is a balancing act.  My shopping trips are orchestrated with great calculations.

2.  Having both legs shaved at the same time.  I never have enough time to do that now...someone is always shouting, "Mom!" on the other side of the door.

3.  The ability to lie down in peace when I am suffering with a sinus infection or headache.  

4.  Being able to recognize the living room after spending said day in bed sick.  Or maybe I should say I miss being able to recognize the entire house after such.

5.  Using a small day planner that fit into my purse, to map my weekly appointments.  We currently track the family's commitments on a large calendar that is stuck to the front of the fridge.  It is covered with scratches, arrows, bright colors and extends into who will be driving what vehicle to make this week a success.

6.  Having laundry hills instead of mountains.  My four loads of laundry (and that included towels and sheets) has evolved into a dozen as the family has grown.

7.  Creating a salad with a bit of tuna and finding dinner to be quite satisfying.  To my family that is just the beginning of a great meal.

8.  Being able to get lost in a book.  Need I say more?

9.  Not having to choose between having quiet time to myself or sleep.

10.  And last but not least...being able to watch a chick flick without complaints from Bloodhound or our oldest male offspring.

By the way, MSN lists this as the top ten Chick Flicks.  Would you agree to these?  Add any of your own?

1.  Pretty Women
2.  The Women
3.  When Harry Met Sally
4.  Grey Gardens
5.  Sabrina
6.  The Valley of the Dolls
7.  Thelma and Louise
8.  Steel Magnolia
9.  The Beaches
10.  Gone With the Wind

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Mama’s Losin’ It

Strawberries Fields

This past weekend we took the younger kids to a small strawberry patch and picked our first berries of the year.

As always it was fun watching the kids find the perfect berry to add to their stash, and eat a few in the process.  Each year when I pick a berry out of the field that is warmed and ripened in the sun, I am reminded of what a delicious treat it is.

The owner of the field offered each child a small to-go container that they could fill for themselves.  They really enjoyed knowing that every berry they picked would ride home in their lap, and they took great care in choosing the perfect strawberries.

I was pleased to find that many of the berries were smaller and more similar in size to what I remember eating, as a child.

This little berry patch had been carved out of the woods and the farmer knew that the animals would enjoy this strawberry drive-thru field. Although, there was evidence that small creatures had gotten around his fence barrier, I am sure that he cut his losses from deer, and maybe even non paying humans.

As we left to drive home I was reminded of a similar trip we took sixteen years ago when we were living in Louisiana.  After picking berries with our older two kids we realized that the trunk of our car was full, and that the berries would need to rest on the seat between our daughter, who was two years old, and our son.  We were aware that she loved to eat strawberries and her lips were already ringed with red juice when we loaded her in the car.  About thirty minutes into the ride our son said, "Mom, she is eating everything she can reach."  I tried in vain to stop her, but it was fairly useless.  When we pulled into the driveway she had quit eating and actually fallen asleep.  The hand that could reach the box of strawberries was pink, as was her chin, chest and face.  I am convinced that she only quit indulging because she had eaten all that was within her grasp.  As I pulled her limp body from the car seat I realized that there were no green tops littering the car.  When I asked where she put them my son replied, "I told you!  She was eating all that she could reach."  

As we drove home this past Saturday I was not only thankful for tall fences and warm fresh strawberries, but also memories we share as a family.  To this day we all know that you had better hide any strawberries you don't want to share, from our oldest daughter.

Friday, April 20, 2012

5 Minute Friday - Together

Together they make a large impact that can be seen from a distance, and the pink contrasts beautifully against the dark green.  

If this were a lone bloom one would feel compelled to come in and examine it up close.  As such, you would be allowed to see the delicateness of the pollen and the bees that swarm continually.

If this were a lone bloom it would be nearly impossible to smell it from the front yard, but since there are many it can be enjoyed from inside the house, if the window is open.

Together they are just more powerful.

This is true of foods, too.  A well baked chicken tastes wonderful, but when combined with a nicely seasoned gravy the flavors come together and take the chicken to a new level.

Together they are just more powerful.

This is also true of a boy and his faithful companion.  If he were to roam the riverbank without his dog, he would miss much as his nose is not strong enough to find many of the small creatures, bones and bottles that he is searching for.  And without him she cannot lift a tree trunk to get to a raccoon.

There is a lot to be said for standing alone. 

And then, but it is also impossible to deny the power of togetherness.  

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Labor Laws, Oreos and Lifesavers

Recently when I told my son that the dog needed to be walked he looked a bit unhappy about being disturbed from watching the television, but because he really doesn't seem to care what people think of him he didn't bother to add any clothing to the pajama bottoms and the hat that he had slapped on his head when he woke, and he took the dog out.

This lack of modesty and the unusual get-up mandated a photo be taken.  Can you believe this?

And then when I explained that we had yard work to do on another day, the wee girl put clogs and a skort on to complete her job.

Now, on neither of these occasions were they happy to be doing this work.  They did the jobs with very little complaints but they made it obvious that they thought it was child abuse and that in other homes children didn't work like this.

As I was considering their views of child labor I stumbled across two articles in Time Magazine the detailed the 100th anniversaries of the Oreo Cookie and the Lifesaver Candy.

And this got me to thinking of my childhood and these treats.

And that lead me to wondering about the children of 1912.

Which resulted in me searching for images of children working a century ago...

These children were definitely over worked but I cannot help but believe that our kids could use a bit of perspective.  I can see where a box of Oreo Cookies would have made these children as happy as a trip to Disney World, for our kids a century later.

What about you?  When you think Oreo or Lifesaver what childhood memories pop to mind?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Wonderful Gifts

Some would see this as a toy to be used while pretending you were a Star Wars or like minded character.

And although, the makers of the Dremmel offer many uses for their small drill tool, I am not sure that they ever considered how useful it would be in cutting down a toy gun.

My youngest son decided that his gun needed some adjustment.

So he got out his helmet.

Plugged in his Dremmel.

And got busy sawing it down.

Often times we buy gifts for our kids and they don't live up to their expectations, and then are ignored until I give them away.

This helmet and Dremmel have been worth every penny spent on them.

What gifts have been hits with your kids?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baby Bunnies

Since we raise rabbits, I thought it might be fun if I shared a series of pictures showing how the babies develop.  Rabbits grow incredibly fast and I am constantly amazed when I check on a new kit, as to how much they have developed in just a few short days.  

Recently a few of our does (female rabbits) had been over fed by my helpful hands, also known as my children.  This can be a problem as the females will not get pregnant when they have extra weight, and if they do they usually have smaller kits.  Ulysses is a female mutt bunny that is my oldest daughter's pet and usually she has about a dozen babies in one kit.  This time around, due to her weight, she only had two.  Something you may not know about rabbits is that they have very rich milk.  Some say that there is not a richer milk provided by any other mammal.  They only feed their young for about five minutes each day.  Well let me just say, that these two rabbits are loving this free flow of milk, without any competition from a large set of siblings.

You can practically hear these two getting wider.  Here they are at one week.

They are born with teeth...very tiny cute little teeth "chips."

His name is marbles.

This is what my youngest son had to say when he saw this picture.

"I throw my hands in the air sometimes singin' Aiohh Just got a let go."

They aren't singing just yet...maybe next week.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Where Will You Go From Here" by Valorie Burton - Review and Giveaway

"Where will You Go From Here?" by Valorie Burton offers hope and guidance to recover from life's setbacks.

Valorie offers insight into how many times our lives ends up in the ditch, where we had no intention of being.  She also suggests that even if we didn't mean it to be this way God has a plan and he can walk us through a sickness, death in the family, job loss or much more.  Sometimes we end up in these places because of our own choices, and we can learn to avoid these situations by becoming better decision makers.  She outlines the attitudes and characteristics of the kind of person who manages to make a come back from the worst places.  

Through a variety of steps Valorie helps you to determine the exact damage of your situation, how you ended up there, and what to do next.  She helps you to determine your fears and continues the process by detailing how you can conquer them.  This is followed up by steps to regain your confidence, stability and strength so that you are able to make a come back and feel joy about your decisions even before you are successful with your return.

I liked how this book was practical and clear.  Of course none of us can get ourselves out of a ditch unless we are willing to work, but if you are this is an excellent resource.  Valorie's Christian faith shines through as she relates her own story, and I like that it is offered with such an innocent and confident  manner.  This is one of those books that everyone should have on their shelf.  Then when we get knocked down by life we can pull it out and refocus with new direction.  In the final pages of "Where Will You Go From Here?" there are discussion questions for each chapter that can be used in a group setting, or to guide you as you coach another through a difficult point in their life.

"Where Will You Go From Here?" is a practical and clear guide to recovering from the hard places that we sometimes find, our lives have taken root.

More information about this book:

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good-Bye - Five Minute Friday

It starts with the quiet percolating of coffee and the distant spray of a shower.  It winds up slowly and before long feet are pounding the floor and drawers are opening and shutting.  Sometimes a few pieces of clothing are thrown into the dryer near my kennel, to be de-wrinkled.

Usually at this point, they remember that I should go out and after a few belly rubs they let me out in the yard.  I return in a few minutes and rush from room to room as they find clothes, and cook breakfast.  My favorite place to sit is near the stove as I can smell the bacon and eggs and there is a slight chance that some might fall onto the floor, for me to suck up.

As the moments tick on the scurry intensifies.  

Hair dryers hum.

The search for the missing belts and shoes begins.  It starts off as a surface search and then escalates into the deeper layers, as the belt must be located.

Eventually everyone is dressed and they quickly throw dishes into the dishwasher and Mom drops the crockpot in place.  They do not say good bye.

They say, "kennel-up" and I watch them file out the door, as the last minute shoe hunt is concluded.

"Kennel-up," they say.

And then I spend a few hours, while they are at church, lounging in the my kennel smelling dinner simmer in the kitchen.

This post was inspired by Gypsy Mama where she challenges writers to compose an essay on one word, each week.  There is a five minute time limit and the word yesterday was, good-bye.  Check out Gypsy Mama here:

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Something You May Not Know About Savannah - Part 3

In case you are new to this series, here is some background:

As many of you know I often use the blog writing prompts offered by Mama Kat's Losin It, and this week one of her challenges was to allow a family member or close friend to write something about you that your readers do not know, and post it.  I was afraid of what my family might write and I was also concerned that they would be too busy to find time to make a contribution.  Since I figured that whatever they wrote it would probably be humorous, I decided to use the spray approach and ask everyone to write something, in honor of my birthday this week.  I was amazed at the response I got and decided that I was way to embarrassed to post everything that was contributed.  I am impressed with how much my family loves me and I am very thankful.

Here is the story my older sister tells about me.  

My Sister Savannah McQueen:

When Miss Savannah came into the world I do not think there could be two more excited older Sisters.  We had waited 14 years for another sibling so when the moment arrived we were elated.  We were pros, we were the oldest Grandchildren on both sides of the family and had loads of experience babysitting and caring for a wee one, but nothing could have prepared us for HER.  We knew something was not right when we had her named for months prior to her arrival only to discover at the hospital that her name was changed to match our MOTHER.  That should have been the big clue.  See if you know our Mother you would understand, this is going to be a strong willed, take control at any cost person.  So she did not disappoint, she lived up to her name at birth.  In short order she assumed the role of the oldest child and I remained the youngest. She had no interest in sleeping; only sucking the life out of anyone and everyone around her. At this point I realized that my Mother’s genes were very strong and decided very quickly that I had no interest in any children of my own.

As she grew up she continued to amaze those around her, she never required much sleep and could pack more in one day than most of us could do in a week. It is no surprise she is the active Parent, Wife, Sister, and friend that she is today, all those early years of practice allows her to continue the crazy pace she keeps today.

All kidding aside, Miss Savannah is a dedicated and caring person, and although she does keep an active life she never judges or requires the same of anyone, she knows it is her life and if you would like jump on board it is going to be a wild ride, but never ever think about taking the wheel.

Something You May Not Know About Savannah:
Part 1
Part 2

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Something You My Not Know About Savannah - Part 2

As many of you know I often use the blog writing prompts offered by Mama Kat's Losin It, and this week one of her challenges was to allow a family member or close friend to write something about you that your readers do not know, and post it.  I was afraid of what my family might right and I was also concerned that they would be too busy to find time to make a contribution.  Since I figured that whatever they wrote it would probably be humorous, I decided to use the spray approach and ask everyone to write something, in honor of my birthday this week.  I was amazed at the response I got and decided that I was way to0 embarrassed to post everything that was contributed.  The following is from my oldest son.

Hello. I am Bloodhound Jr., often times I am known also as simply as the caveman posing with the dead animals in many of my mothers posts.  I, like my sister, was asked to write about some of the aspects about my mother you may not see from her site.  I have thought very hard and come up with a few key characteristics and tendencies my mother has that I think you should know about. Below is this list, enjoy. 

Realist- My mother is very down to earth. She believes in making the wisest choice in every aspect of her life. This trait would make her the best of business women simply because she would be able to cut through all the insignificant problems to find the head of the snake and make that her project for that moment. Unfortunately that also means that most jokes are not appreciated by her. Let me explain. If you were take the most common joke of all “why did the chicken cross the road” you wouldn’t get past that line right there before you would hear “ Well that’s ridiculous. Chickens are smart animals and would never cross a busy road. Wait, my real question is who let the chicken out? I mean eggs are expensive and that chicken is too valuable. If that was my kid I would punish him if he let something like the chicken out.” At this point you would abandon the joke, walk down the hall and begin to ponder the mysteries of the universe, all the while you listen to your mother talk and mumble to herself about how stupid it was to let the chicken out. 

Brain Ninja- Yes this sounds rather silly and harmless but bear with me please. Lets a simple scenario that can be adapted to fit most any situation. First we will take a sunny blue bird sky Saturday morning after a long week. You are sitting in your pajamas eating cereal around the time of 1045 because, after all, it is Saturday and it’s a day to let it all hang out and enjoy it right? Shortly after you are just wrapping up the best of the Saturday morning cartoons mother approaches you about going outside to play since its such a beautiful day. You then express your desire not to go outside and she in a chipper tone says something of the effect of “ Great, I was so hoping you wouldn’t want to do that. Lets go clean out the garage, wash the dogs, detail the cars, put up a new fence, and recreate the statue of liberty for that flower bed by the back patio!” At this point she has officially ninja chopped your primary motor cortex and you find yourself running down the hall, rapidly changing clothes and diving out your bedroom window. 

Green thumb- This is the one that I am most proud about my mother and it’s a trait she passed down to me although I don’t as often times use it. To help you grasp this example you must first go out and find the most dead, and driest twig you can find. Now go buy a bag of multi purpose sand, the kid you use for sandboxes for kids. Now put this is a pot and place it in the desert with no water. Come back a week later and tell me how many leaves have sprouted. Chances are it will be standing there just as you placed it. Now I am willing to bet a years salary that if you tell my mother where that twig is and let her go place her hands on it and a week later that twig will have grown nine feet, be full of leaves, and bear 17 different kinds of fruit all perfectly ripe and ready for the picking. Now if your mom you then take a before and after picture of the twig, make some sort of baked dish, and post on Hammock Tracks your success. 

Happy Birthday Mom. Y’all have a good night. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter 2012 - With the Cousins {Wordless Wednesday}

They are only a year apart...but their imaginations are universes apart.

The boys...

The oldest and youngest grandchildren.

Life is good...princess crown, soft green Florida grass, cool breeze and eggs to hunt.  What more could a girl want?

My oldest his Easter duds.

Another Easter has come and gone...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Garden - Early April

I have something that is not organic that is growing and taking over large sections of my yard, thanks to my youngest son.  When he cannot find anything better to he grabs my garden wagon and heads over the riverbank to hunt bottles that have floated up in the marsh.  When my oldest boy was this age he had the same hobby and I was grateful when it passed.  Any ideas for mud covered bottles?  It isn't often that you find art projects that call for such!

If bottle growth is my least favorite yard development, my favorite is by far Confederate Jasmine.  I am known for my love of this vine and I have watched those which I planted ten years ago develop into marvelous specimens.  Life is good when you can sleep with the windows open and smell the jasmine blooming.

The watermelon that the kids planted a few weeks ago is growing and we owe it to all of the rabbit straw that we planted them in.

Our squash developed their first blooms this week.  I will be posting a marvelous squash recipe in a few days.

Last week I mentioned that I was building pallet planters.  I have three sides of the first planter complete and I hope to finish it soon.  I'll post a brief description of the process in a few weeks.

Last but not least...

The rabbits are growing and we currently have four mother's with kits.  

Look at this porker...

To do this week in the garden/yard:

1.  Continue spraying to kill the dollar weed in the lawn.
2.  Complete first planter and plant tomatoes in it.
3.  Spray Satsumas for fungus.
4.  Plant sunflowers
5.  Pick up a truck load of sweet gum balls.
6.  Purchase and plant eggplants.
7.  Seed herbs.
8.  Mow...always mow....mow until next September.
9.  Cook out and relax in the hammock.

What's on your gardening to-do list?

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