50th reunion

Had a very nice weekend. It was my 50th High School reunion and the festivities started Thursday with a visit by an old buddy now living in San Diego and his wife. Ed was my college room mate as well for 3 of the 4 years I spent in Gainesville. They had arrived in the area on Wednesday night and were staying with another of his room mates who now lives in Ormond Beach. I had never met Bill Robeson and his wife but invited them all over for lunch and adult beverages. As the afternoon wore on I asked Ed how he had hooked up with Bill and he said that he was the cousin of one of our high school classmates who I knew very well. And it turns out that the cousin, lives in the Condo’s behind Joey’s dock and is a steady customer of IndianRiver Cruises. So that was a nice hook.

Friday we drove to Cocoa to attend the annual Mosquito Beaters gathering. The Mosquito Beaters is a loosely formed group of people who have a long history of either high school in Cocoa or having worked at the Space Center in the old days. That would be days when the Mosquitos were at the top of the food chain. There are several thousand members who attend a Friday evening gathering at the Civic Center in a giant pot luck, open bar kind of affair. The low point of that was when one of my old high school flames stepped into a group I was mixing with and seemed not to remember who I was. What was that all about – that was my senior prom date. Later she strolled by our table and sat down next to me but still no outward sign of recognition. I couldn’t stand that so I said, “Sue Ann, do you know who I am?”. She replied, “sure, Joe you and I went to the prom”. I was being nice called her Sue Ann since I used to call her catfish because her mouth was kind of shaped like a catfish. In retrospect, maybe that was a tactical error. The next day they reconvene at a local picnic area for a barbecue. I think you have to be 50 to get in and I’m guessing the average age is maybe 25 years beyond that. We missed the Saturday event to celebrate Tina’s birthday onboard Double Shaafted. Joey had paying customers for dinner so we were scooted off the boat promptly and headed back to my sister’s house to get dressed for the big reunion dinner.

I enjoyed the reunion and didn’t know I knew so many old people. There were several far west kind of people that I hadn’t seen in 15-20 years and probably won’t see for another 15-20 years. But it does seem like more and more of them are moving back into the area and the group of locals remain active so it all seems to keep fresh. And having Joey so active in Cocoa Village keeps them all closer too. The MC of the event gave his boat a promotion and several people seconded the promo so I know he gets some business and references that way.


I was past the $$ break even point on the garden based on the amount of food we are now getting – and the incredibly high prices on fresh produce – but blew that out of the water with my most recent purchase – an electric tiller. I moved the break even point out at least a year but probably saved my back. This little beauty weighs 20 lbs but does an incredible job churning through the soil. I was skeptical as to whether it could really cut it but they offered a no questions asked return policy and have been around for years so I decided to give it a try. George and I completed the first of two planned expansions using his monster tiller and it about killed both of us. And the serious garden is happening. Serious means tomatoes, beans, corn, cucumbers, squash and peppers in place of the poofier winter stuff. You eat winter stuff because you know it’s healthy but you really wished it tasted better; summer stuff is just more fun to eat. You know, carry the salt shaker to the garden kind of eatin.

garden transition

It’s transition time in the garden – transitioning from cool weather to warm weather crops. I’ve got starts going for several kinds of peppers and tomatoes, some cucumbers, along with crooked neck and zucchini squash. If the weather holds thru the 20th of this month, I’ll plant those along with a couple rows of green beans. The issue now is finishing up on the winter stuff to give me the space for the replacements. Picked the last of the snow peas today, a big section of broccoli, and loads of lettuce which we are now giving away is ever increasing bundles. I’d say there’s only about 10% of the area now available for planting but anticipate that will be more like 50% by the end of March and 100% by mid April. If all the plans work, we’ll be picking the first of the summer crop and the last of the winter crop at the same time. All in all, I’d give the winter crop a solid C+. I learned quite a bit and am confident that next cool season will be primo.

When the space opens, I’ll pop in watermelons, cantaloupes, and the hard shell squashes. I’m going to try summer greens this year including swiss chard and a climbing variety of spinach called Malabar. Both of these are supposed to handle heat and humidity. We’ll see. Just to show you how over the top I’ve become, I built a spread sheet program that projects exactly when to plant seeds to meet a specific harvest date. Even I have to admit that’s on the fringe of weird or a sign of having too much time on my hands.

In fact we’ll see about the whole thing. Last year’s start had problems because the soil was so bad and I was totally unprepared for the voraciousness of the critters. Certainly we got plenty to eat but had some wholesale failures which I don’t intend to repeat. Grade D+. Aside from the quality of the soil at this point, my seed buying strategy this year was heavily focused on seeds that were extra disease resistant. I’ve also vastly increased my arsenal of chemical weapons and have mapped out a cradle to grave attack plan on critter control. The other tactical change is to plant in smaller batches, scattered around rather than all of one type in one spot. Hell, I may even get a camo suit so that I blend in when launching raids.

The plan now is to expand the size of the garden by maybe 300 SF and to plant that in corn. That’s more work than I care to take on myself so we’ll tackle that when George finishes up his hyperbaric treatments and before he has some old, dead chest bone removed. I could probably do it myself if I could get the rickety old tiller he has running – which I can’t. George is the only one who can get it started and keep it running so he gets that job by default. Corn takes up lots of space for the yield but it tastes so good and maybe we’ll have the only corn around that’s not being converted to ethanol!!!

Can’t resist a political comment. Way to go Billary! I was losing faith in backroom politicking and getting nervous that the big machine was losing steam. I couldn’t believe my man Carville was holding back so long. There’s still this delegate math to overcome but I’m sure the powers that be have much more control over that than they do plain folk voting. I knew they’d have to eventually break out dirt on Barry and couldn’t understand why they were waiting so long to bang the National Security Drum. That is the big trump card in the sky and she finally played the queen. Too bad the Ace is on the other side. Squirm, Teddy, squirm – sheeee’s coming!