Hangin’ with the boys

Back in May, Tom had planned a camping trip to the Smokey Mountains with Simon and his best friend Eric. I was invited to join. Tom ran into a medical issue that changed the plans so Simon and Eric are going to spend most of this week with me at the lake. When we planned the camping trip, Nancy and a friend planned a quilt tour in Georgia, so it will be just the boys and I for a few days. How great is that!!! The game plan is not to head off any distance but rather to use this place as a home base and do day trips – a day crabbing, a day surf fishing, a couple of days kayaking jungle rivers, a day at Ponce DeLeon springs and fun things like that. Both boys are 17 so it’s not like watching little kids and I’m really looking forward to having them all by myself – no adult supervision, so to speak.

The adventure for the first day with the boys was a crabbing trip. Simon and Nancy love crabs so we figured on the one day overlap while they were both here, we’d go crabbing. That way she was here to cook them too. A few years back we had found Bulow Plantation State Park to be a great place to crab so that’s where we headed. It was closed. Big sign said closed Tuesday and Wednesday and to make certain, they had a giant gate across the road. I knew of several other spots but so did lots of other folks. We did find a spot with a small path down to the creek that turned into a nice little beach area so we set up for business. The crabbing was nominally hot at first then dried up as the tide dropped. We tried several other spots but the best we could muster was half a dozen keepers. Lots of tiny ones that kept us hopping but sparse pickings for the big ones. Still, it was a fun day and we drove by the ocean to check out the prospects for surf fishing later in the week. The ocean is nice and clean, not rough, and the couple of fisherman we talked to said it was pretty good fishing earlier in the day. I spotted plenty of sand fleas in the surf so no doubt we’ll be back in a couple of days. Within an hour of our return home, Nancy, Simon and Eric were having crab appetizers before dinner. I watched over them with a nice red cab.

Day 2 the boys headed off for Deleon Springs, about 5 miles from the house. The Springs are a great place to cool off with a year round water temp of 72. That’s a little chilly for me so I gave them the day to themselves. Turns out the Springs were loaded with bus loads of kids from Flagler County so they were home in a couple of hours. We just moved the center of op’s to the dock and concentrated on teaching Eric to dive.

I think everyone’s familiar with the concept behind Hamburger Helper. I’ve taken it to a new level. Awhile back I mentioned that I had a leaf mulcher attachment for the Shop Vac and that it did a really great job of finely shredding oak leaves. I think I also mentioned that we had a world record crop of dead oak leaves that eventually were converted into a dozen or so 50 gallon garbage bags of mulch. I’m still using that mulch, months later and it played a prominent role in landscaping the new dock entryways. A product that I go through in larger quantities that you might guess is Miracle Gro potting soil. I usually pick up a 55 qt bag or two at Costco where it’s way cheaper than other retailers but with Costco, you’re never sure it will be in stock so I needed a way to stretch it. Enter Miracle Gro Helper which had heretofore been known only as oak leaf mulch. I do a 50/50 mix and it actually seems to enhance the performance over the straight, undiluted product. For sure it doesn’t seem to hurt it. I’m not going to patent it so feel free to jump all over this idea.

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