Friday, June 23

Friday Finds: Myakka River State Park!

Today's state park "find" is the Myakka River State Park, which is near Sarasota, Florida.
"Myakka" is what the Seminole called the river, which means "unknown."  The region around the river is what is called "a dry prairie," which is flat, open expanses of low shrubs and grasses as well as wet-lands.  Perfect for cattle, so it was used for grazing from the 1850's into the 1930's. (Florida was and is still a beef state, if you didn't know with 15,000 beef producers today.)
The land was purchased in 1910 by a business woman named Bertha Palmer, who died in 1918.
 In the 1930's, during the Great Depression, over 17,000 acres was of the Palmer estate was purchased by the government to develop the Myakka River State Park as part of the Civilian Conversaton Corps program, instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt, that provided gainful employment for millions of young men.  
Myakka is one of 8 Florida State Parks developed by the CCC.
The Park was formally dedicated in 1941 and opened to the public.
The visitor center, two picnic pavilions, various roads and 5 rental log cabins built by the CCC are still in use today.
It's among Florida's oldest state parks!

A view of Myakka River

Park Features:
Camping
90 camp sites available with electrical service, a fire ring & picnic tables. Camps sites on Palmetto ridge have sewer hook-ups.

Cabins:
Log cabins have modern facilities including bath with a shower, a fully equipped kitchen, a large common room that sleeps six, a porch & a fireplace. Linens, coffer maker & microwave are provided!
A two-day rental is required over weekends and NO PETS are allowed inside the cabins.

Boat Tours:
Take a scenic cruise of upper Myakka Lake on one of two air boats!
The "Gator Gal" Air Boat

The Pink Cafe:
Enjoy a view of Upper Myakka Lake over lunch or dessert at this park concession cafe famous for it's Alligator Stew!

Hiking:
Myaaka has 39 miles of looped nature trails for your walking pleasure!

Interpretive Exhibit:
The Myaaka Canopy Walkway. It was designed as a laboratory for outdoor research and allows observation of life in the tree tops.
It's 25 feet high and 100 free long. There's also a 74 foot tower that will let you have a wide view of the park lands & bird life!
Bring a camera!

Myaaka Canopy Walkway

View of Park from the Tower.

Visitor Center
Originally built by the CCC during the Depression, make it your first stop for facts & information about the Park!

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If you want to know more, be sure to check this park link for more information on cabin rentals, park fees or rules at
  Myakka River State Park!

(all photos from park site)

Thursday, June 22

Mama Kat Thursday: Throwback Thursday:

The Mama Kat blog prompt this week was to revisit something I was writing about in June last year:
I was participating as a guest blogger for a series called, "Between the Lines: Women Bloggers Over the Age of 50."
An blogger acquaintance on Google+ invited me and many other women to be guest bloggers the series.
I was initially told it would just be about how I got into blogging and would involve answering a few questions. I imagined I'd just be answering a survey, then she's put my answers together and post it on her blog with a back-link to mine.
It wasn't like that at all.
It involved me posting on my blog all her weekly lists of hyper-links of everyone else's guest posts she was hosting on her blog.

 It felt it incredibly complicated to manage every week, though I stuck it out most of the way through.


I did enjoy writing my guest post about how I got into blogging, which you can visit here, if you missed it the first time:
Between the Lines Choice Morsels: Blogging After 50

Good news since then: I was promoted to Pro Bronze Designer level in my Zazzle store just last week! It's just a label on my storefront, but it means things are going well.
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What was going on for you last June?


Thanks for Visiting!

Wednesday, June 21

Garden Pic Wednesday: Happy Day Lily!

After 3 days of rain from a tropical storm, the sun is finally out!The rain garden has been full of water---maybe some of the Rain Lilies will be prompted to bloom this week!
So much water, though---I don't know if all the veggies will survive.
My Curly Parsley has become a nursery for Black Swallowtail caterpillars. There were quite a few, but caterpillars have a high mortality rate because they're a food source many insect predators: wasps, spiders, various bugs. 
Originally there were nine. This morning there were three; now there is only one who is nearly full size. The good news is that leaves plenty of Parsley is still available for another round!

Today's Garden Pic is one of my cheerful yellow & burgundy Day Lilies from my front bed.


Monday, June 19

Good Eating Monday: Steak & Potato Nachos

This recipe is a Pinterest recipe from my "Food Ideas" board that I tried out: 
Steak & Potato Nachos!
It was good tasting. We liked it and since Hubby is a steak & potatoes guy, it was a great way to give him something he liked as well as give myself something new to try.
However---Nachos are normally something arranged either over chips or eaten with chips. This recipe has replaced chips with real potatoes and didn't say in the directions how to serve it. It's kind of heavy, too and not very "scoop-able."
So, I just winged it by plopping servings onto a plate. We ate it with a fork along with some whole-grain taco shells I had on hand.
It's pretty much a meal and not really a crowd appetizer. The recipe only makes about 4 servings, but it is a great leftover that's better the next day.

I did diverge from the recipe, which calls for baking & boiling, to have Hubby cook the steak and potatoes on the grill, then I arranged them in the skillet per recipe, topped them with cheese, put a lid on the pan and just turned the flame to melt the cheese.
(Photo is my own. I just had cheddar on hand and I think I seasoned my potatoes with Cumin.)
Here's the recipe as it was originally posted on Buzzfeed, which  includes a video for making it with oven & broiler.

Steak & Potato Nachos
Ingredients:
2 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 lb. skirt steak 
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack
Salt & Pepper
Sour Cream, Green Onions & Salsa, if desired

Directions:
1)  Place thinly sliced potatoes in a bowl and toss with Olive Oil, Paprika, Salt & pepper. Lay potatoes on a baking sheet and bake at 475 F. degrees for 20 minutes.

2)  Season steak with Salt & Pepper and cook on high heat to the level of doneness you prefer. Let steak rest 10 minutes, then slice  into small chunks or cubes.

3)  In a oil sprayed cast iron skillet, arrange potatoes in bottom to form a nice layer. Then top with steak chunks, then Cheddar, then Jack.
Turn over to broil and put skillet under broiler for 5 minutes to melt cheese.

4)  Top with sour cream, sliced green onions, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, salsa or any other topping of choice. 

5) Figure out how you want to serve & eat it! 

Wednesday, June 14

Garden Pic Wednesday: Around the Garden

Today's Garden Pics are shots from around my Garden:

From the Front Yard:
This corner garden in front is looking just about perfect this year! 
My plan when I planted it was for it to form natural screenbetween us and the neighbor's house, so it's a collection of tall and short plantings:
Pampas grass, a skypencil shrub and an 8 foot Hardy Hibiscus form the back row and, in front, a bunch of 4 O'Clocks, a pot with Red Saliva and a dwarf Nadine shrub.
This shot was about 6 p.m. on a cloudy day, so all the 4 O'clocks are open!  That one light pink one is about 40 inches tall! Unusual.



The Back Yard Veggie Garden:
You can see a summer bush squash, Bell Peppers and one of the tomatoes. That front squash is called  a bush squash"Enterprise," and makes a straight-neck yellow squash. Directly behind it is a bush Zucchini called "Spineless Beauty."  
Not in view is a second tomato and Amy Melon vines in the corner beyond the bush squash.
(It was raining today when I took this photo.)


I don't find growing veggies in Florida as easy as in the mid-west and the things I do grow are things I've found perform reasonably well here during summer in my small space.

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Next post will be June 19 for Good Eating Monday!