I Became That Person

I became that person, you know the one, every neighborhood has them. The one whose dog is not on a leash and dashes out to meet whatever furry creature may be walking down the road.

I've been on the receiving end of this scenario, walking down the road with Bailey on a leash and out of no where a dog comes running at us. Bailey and I had this experience while living in Apex, NC in a cookie-cutter, newer neighborhood full of little dogs. One lady didn't like putting a leash on her little dog and without fail if we walked anywhere near that corner of the park, little Chico would come at us full speed, teeth showing between ferocious barks. It was a whirlwind of excitement as Chico tried to take Bailey down and I tried to keep Bailey from the attacks.

I recently moved back to St. Pete, I live in a nice dog friendly neighborhood and I have a porch that spans the whole front of the house. I love my porch, so does Bailey. 

I became that person the day I was sitting on the porch with Bailey enjoying a cup of coffee and reading the paper. Bailey was laying near my feet, head up, her nose working the air. Little did I know that she was sniffing and plotting, she knew that dog and unsuspecting walker were coming while they were still three houses down. She stands and takes off down the road to find out what was at the end of that fragrant stream that filled her nose, I dart out after, there was no stopping her from attempting to make new friends. 

Now, this scenario could have ended bloody and messy if the dog on the leash was mean and aggressive, but the only emotions came from the startled walker. After what seemed like eons and a handful of expletives, some I deserved, Bailey was in the house and the street returned to quiet.

That very day I ordered a gate for the porch, it arrived at my doorstep two days later. I am no longer that person and I am happy that my reign was short lived. 

Bailey is a nine year old Black Lab (aka Black Spot) who is Dog-in-Chief at Labrador Security.


The Deck Garden

Photo of an earthbox with cucumbers and tomato plants

I had a desire to grow more than herbs this summer. Last summer, living in St. Pete, I grew cherry tomatoes and managed to get some pineapple heads into the ground. Moving to Apex, NC opened up a few more opportunities for summer growing, so began my research. First order of business was finding heirloom seeds, which I found at Botanical Interest, a seed company based in Colorado. I ordered a variety of seeds, the tomatoes and cucumbers marked in the beginning to be center of attention. I also found plenty of DIY projects for self-watering planters but the lack of space to build the planters lead me to the local garden center. After wandering around all of the gorgeous herb and vegetable arrangements, it became clear that the Earthbox was going home with me.

The Earthbox comes with everything you need except good dirt and plants. I had started tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and green peppers indoors weeks ago, so I was eager to get them into roomier accommodations. Needless to say, they loved the move and began growing like crazy once they hit the box. The photo above was taken many weeks into the adventure in growing, the plants are doing well. I also planted some vegetables in regular pots, they never took off in the same way as the Earthbox, I was a little surprised.

What I learned this go around—
  • tomatoes love the sun, but not the heat (high heat)
  • bumble bees love cucumber flowers
  • cucumbers love bumble bees, especially heirloom cukes—the pollination thing
  • carrots probably need their own pot
  • growing my own food makes me happy



Lil' T assumes her post, as she does most mornings, on my chest, purring loudly in hopes that I will wake-up and deliver to her bowl fishy smelling deliciousness. And I do.

Sunny and seventy something degrees, I needed no prodding to gather my things together and head to the beach. There is a little café along the way that I visit about once a month, I stopped and took a seat at the counter. I'm still feeling the place out, trying to decide if I like it or not. The service is just okay, the pancakes and the potatoes are good, but one of the owners/waiter has no idea that being nice to people is a prerequisite for a service job that involves tips.

Today I wore a t-shirt that I picked up over the holidays while visiting Zanzibar, a beautiful island off the east coast of Africa known for it's many spices. So, I'm sitting at the counter reading the paper and eating breakfast when the other owner, the nice one, tells me she likes my shirt. She smiles, laughs a little and then says out loud, "stonetown". She says it again with the emphasis on stone, followed by a little laugh much like the laugh that is so stereotypical of a teenaged stoner.

Still smiling and elbowing her co-worker to look at the shirt she asks where she can get one.


Wake Up

This photo is oddly one of my favorites from my visit to Kenya. I took it from the back seat of the car heading back to Nairobi after three nights at Carnelly's on Lake Naivasha. The imagery along the road was stimulating, beautiful, colorful and at times over run with garbage and make shift structures. Kenya is a country of contrasts—clean and orderly, yet laden with trash; colorfully painted buildings next to darkened shacks; white kenyan economy vs. the native kenyan economy. I am still absorbing the sights, sounds, smells and interactions of my three weeks in Kenya, more photos over time.



Last week a friend and I made mozzarella cheese, it was really simple. It involved heating milk to a specific degree, adding the proper ingredients (citric acid and rennet), letting it sit, straining off the whey, then heating and kneading it until it was like taffy. That night we made pizza. Last week ricotta was the cheese of choice and we made cannoli. Lasagna was the first thought, but it never quite happened. Next up is yogurt.