Tuesday, August 15

Garden Pic Wednesday: Glories of Late Summer!

Each season brings it's own interesting sights to the garden!
Highlights of my late summer garden include:

A flock of brand new Silver Pampas Grass plumes!
This beauty is in a border bed in the front yard and those tallest spires are at least 12 feet tall!



Huge Shamrock leaves poking up between hen and chicks!
Shamrocks (Oxalis) puts up fresh growth around now, then stays green all winter. 



Zinnias!
I got these planted late, so they're just now really getting going. I can see this particular bunch from my back door. I love the fullness of the yellow & pink heads! Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love them!



Leaving you with pretty garden pictures while I'm on blogging-break for a couple weeks!
My n
ext post will be around 1 September!

Friday, August 11

Friday Finds: Grayton Beach State Park!

Today's featured Florida State Park is one rather close here on the Florida Panhandle: Grayton Beach State Park!
If you want to camp or cabin along the beautiful white sandsNorthwest Florida---Grayton Beach is the
 place  to go!
It's in Santa Rosa County along Santa Rosa Beach, off of Highway 98.  It opened in 1968.

Grayton borders on the Gulf, so you can swim surf, but at your own risk---there's no life guards.
Be sure you understand Florida's flag warning system for Gulf swimming:

Double Red or single Red flags: NO swimming. Too dangerous!
Yellow flag: Risky swimming; under-tow is high!

 Green flag: swim all you like. Water's great! 
Purple flag: hazardous sea life around, like jelly fish; be alert!
(Yup, the Gulf has sharks, barracudas, rays, lion fish and assorted jelly fish seasonally, including Man of War.)

Swim!


The park website lists Grayton as "one of the nicest camping areas along the Gulf coast."
It has 59 camping sites for tents & RV's with water & electricity hook-ups. They do have a max size limit on RV's of 40 feet.
Pets are welcome in the campground on a leash.


Campsite


Cabins:
Grayton has 30 two-bedroom/one bath Duplex cabins! They're equipped with A/C & heat, basic cooking & dining utensils, screened porch, outdoor grill.
A gas fireplace is available during winter months. (Nov-Mar)

Linens, pillows, blankets and towels are provided--but not refreshed daily.
Pets are NOT allowed inside cabins.


Cabins

Activities:
Swimming
Hiking
Bicycling 
Picnicking

Birding:
 Grayton Park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Lots of shore birds, Osprey, even Eagles. 

Grayon has it's own lake also & available on that lake is:
Canoeing/Kayaking/Paddle Boarding
Fishing
Boat ramp for motorized craft.
(Jet propelled watercraft are prohibited)





For more information about Grayton Beach State Park and specifics on park amenities, fees or rules, be sure and visit their website!

Thursday, August 10

Mama Kat Thursday: A New Skill


The prompt I chose today is to share, "something new I learned in July."
Well, I taught myself how to make a gaming music tribute video for You Tube!

Hubby and I play the online game: Star Wars: The Old Republic  together and on You Tube I've admired several well-done game music tribute videos. I decided I wanted to try my hand at making my own.
I thought it would be hard. Turns out it's fairly easy, though there is a bit of a learning curve involved in learning to use a video gaming recorder and the in's and out's of using Windows Live Movie Maker.
Since I only wanted to do it for fun, I set a particular goal:
I could only use absolutely free resources for my video-making!

Turns out there's plenty of free resources out there!
*  Numerous video game recording software options are available for free down-load. 
* To crop and edit my film sequences, I found a free browser-based editor called online-video-cutter.com. Super easy to use and, best of all, nothing to down-load. 
*  For music, I was pleased to discover You Tube provides a whole library of excellent copy-right free music specifically for use in video making! 
* And I had Windows Live Movie Maker already available  on my computer. 

Believe it or not, the hard part isn't the mechanics; the hardest part is envisioning what sort of story to tell. 
I decided I wanted my videos to be fun, action-filled and have a sense of adventure. I like a smooth movie, so I edit out all the extraneous game screen widgets, dialogue boxes and so on.

So far, I've made two videos.
Here's my most recent one:
It features a non-player character, named Thana Vesh, who's just part of one planet's mission story-line for Empire aligned players. She's a mean Sith apprentice who's particularly interesting and luckily has such a large part in the  mission story, I got enough clips to make her a brief tribute.
(You'd be surprised how many clips it takes to fill a couple minutes of music!)
The video includes shots of Hubby and my characters interacting with Thana: he's the green Sith girl and I'm the blue Bounty Hunter girl.




While I could only post one of the videos here, you can see the other on  my Pinterest "Fav You Tube Videos" board!
The other video features my Jedi Knight character. Currently, I'm filming the adventures of my Bounty Hunter the next!



Thanks for Visiting!

Wednesday, August 9

Garden Pic Wednesday: Flowers!

Two Great Garden Pics today!

Native Lily in the Basil!
Not long ago I caught on camera this lovely orange native Day Lily bloom among the Basil leaves & blooms under the bird feeder! 
My native day lilies bloom in a profusion in the spring and then bloom sporadically the rest of the season. This was one of those sporadic blooms.
This Basil is a volunteer, a Thai type, and is a 30-inch tall clump under the feeder now. So pretty. 




Rain Lilies!
Turns out all that rain is good for something--it made some of my Rain Lilies bloom! Two this week!
There must be around 20 planted in that rain garden; multiple colors: pink, yellow & white. I keep hoping they'll bloom in profusion, but they keep their own schedule. The pink have the largest flowers.



Monday, August 7

Good Eating Monday: Brownies with Coconut Oil!

Recently, I've been making box mix brownies for Hubby to take up to the Army post for the Single Soldiers Bible Study he helps facilitate.
In the past I've used replaced the oil called for on box with Unsweetened Applesauce--and that works well, but it does give  more of a cakey quality to the Brownies rather then fudgy-chewy.
I have a big jar of Coconut Oil for it's multiple uses and it's health benefits in cooking and decided to try that---and it made the most delicious fudgy Brownies I've ever made!
So, if you're making box mix Brownies and have Coconut Oil on hand, I highly recommend it!

The Dark Chocolate for a 10 x 13 pan is my favorite! I also use Special Dark Chocolate Chips.


Brownies
1 box brownie mix for 10 x 13 pan
1/2 cup Coconut Oil  (if it's solid, microwave a few seconds to melt back to liquid)
2 eggs
1/4 cup water

Make according to directions. Optional: sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips over top, then and bake. (That way they don't stick to bottom of pan like they do if you mix them into batter!)
Cool and cut.
Yum!