Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skinny Dip

Skinny Dip is a novel by Carl Hiaasen. I hope nobody thought I was going to show some rude pictures. Hiaasen's books usually start out with the crime being committed. You always know whodunit and the mystery is when he's going to get caught and how he's going to get his just desserts. The punishment, seldom doled out by the legal system, generally fits the crime. A good deal of the book is laugh-out-loud funny. Hiassen, a native of South Florida, often rants in his books about the rape of the environment in Florida, particularly of the Everglades. The rants are well integrated into the storytelling, so you're learning and being amused at the same time. Skinny Dip starts out with the bad guy shoving his wife off a cruise ship in the middle of the Gulf Stream. She survives this murder attempt and, with the help of a retired cop, spends the rest of the novel finding out why her husband tried to kill her. If you care about the environment, if you like to laugh, and if you like a good story, well told, then you might like Carl Hiaasen. I've always enjoyed his books.

When Richard and I got married, we asked a friend and coworker to cater our wedding. She was just starting her catering business so it was a good deal all the way around. One of the food items I requested was spanakopitas, those little phyllo triangles filled with spinach and feta. Dr. B, another friend and coworker, was a guest at the wedding. Dr. B is from South Alabama, a good old Southern boy with a PhD in entomology. At the reception, he was enjoying the spanakopitas, although he didn't know what they were called. At one point he announced that he was going to get a few more of those "collard tarts." Richard and I thought this was hilarious, as did the other people standing in our little chat group. (Trust me, Dr. B knew he was being funny.) Ever since the wedding, Richard and I have always called spanakopitas collard tarts. We told a Greek (by marriage) friend of ours and she thought it was funny as well. I love those moments when a witty friend says something that you will remember forever.

This may look like just a stack of logs to you, but it is really the future home of Richard's shiitake mushroom-growing attempt. The wood is pecan, and I thought he was going to make something in his woodworking shop with it, but he set me straight. So, at some point in the not-too-distant future, we will be enjoying shiitakes in our cooking.

I found out that our climbing roses are actually Cherokee roses.

"When the Trail of Tears started in 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mother’s spirits to give them strength. The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mother’s tears fell. The rose is white for their tears; a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem for the seven Cherokee clans. The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma today."

I copied this from the Internet. It's a sweet legend in addition to being sad.

OK, I can't stay away from the flowers in the yard. This is Weigela. If you do a Google Images search for it, you'll come up with a lot of pictures which look as if they are showing a lot of different flowers. There seems to be quite a variety of Weigela.

This is a Knockout rose. The center of it looks a lot like the Cherokee rose, but it grows on a small bush rather than a climbing vine. I heard recently that a yellow rose is a symbol of friendship. I like that. Yellow is my favorite color of rose.

Well, it's Thursday, children. The weekend is almost upon us. I'm hoping there will be a Braves game or two on the TV. They were playing the Nationals last night and the game was scoreless until the 9th inning when the Nationals' pitcher loaded the bases and then walked a guy. The Braves won (yay!) 1-0.

Bye now.


Theresa said...

I want some of that W stuff. Weigala, or whatever it's called. And some shitakes. And some collard tarts. Mmmmm.

Paige said...

Knock-out roses will flourish. We planted five on the curve between the parking pad and the house. They have spread out over twenty feet long, eight feet wide and up to six feet high. Covered almost year round with intense dark-pink to red blossoms. And very fragrant.

Did Richard order one of those mushroom started logs? I did that for Christmas one year, and my adult children had fresh mushrooms for about 16 weeks.

James said...

I was watching some cooking show, I don't remember the name but I'm pretty sure it was on PBS, and they were talking to a company who grows mushrooms. They were using "logs" made from sawdust. What an interesting, and green, idea I thought.


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