Saturday, September 22, 2012


Morning came early as i got up to peel shrimp, make the shells into stock, and premake the roux.  Then we put cooking on hold for a swamp tour.

When i tell people we live in a swamp, i do mean it.  This area used to flood each year, for thousands of years, just like the Nile flooded Egypt.  The plants grew in this wet, boggy environment, and rain kept it all lush and prolific year round.

Then levees were built, and roads, and the swamp down the street from us was cut off from the flooding, but is now just a rain fed swamp that does drain into the bayous a bit, but is not fed by them.

We saw tons of native plants, lots of different spiders and birds, and way too many invasive species.  It's difficult to keep them out, but they do try.

Our tour guide pointed out the poison ivy early, so i think all of us were well warned to stay on the trails and behave, which we did.

After the walking tour, which was shorter than i remembered last time because parts of the trail are still impassible after the hurricane, we got to pet a snake and a baby alligator.  We also got to watch a couple of the snakes being fed.

Lunch was Thai, and the Doberge cakes were ready on cue, and DiDreaming, WSS and i went back to the house to get the gumbo really going.  The others went to their respective hotels to rest a bit.

It was while making the gumbo that we almost had a major snafu.  We were making vegan, chicken and sausage, and seafood.  We were partway through the seafood when Di happened to taste it and for some reason there was an undertone of plastic taste to it, it was awful!  We have no idea how it happened, but we  had to dump it out, run to the store for more ingredients, and make up for lost time.

Still, it got done.  Script came and both played her recorder for us (she is a very talented musician) and made her home made Caesar salad, from her Italian cousin's special recipe.  Ninja brought the party music for us.  Dayeanu arrived!  She was in plenty of time to enjoy the whole evening with us.

So the menu was the Caesar salad, gumbo, and Doberge cake.  Of course there are tons of leftovers, of course since i only drink water and my smoothies i had to make tea last minute because we just don't keep soda in the house, and of course it all ended way too early because Saturday is plantation day.

Today is:

Aizu Byakko Matsuri -- Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, Japan (ceremonial recreation of a march to war in 1868; through the 24th)

Aloha Festival Floral Parade -- Oahu, Hawai'i (part of the larger Aloha Festival celebrations this month and next on all the islands, celebrating native Hawai'ian culture)

American Business Women's Day -- US

Apple Saturday -- Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, New Gloucester, ME, US (tours of the Shaker orchard and exhibits, and bring your own apples to be pressed into cider with a hand press, or buy some grown there; also two Saturdays following)

Autumnal Equinox -- 10:49am EDT; related observances
     Mabon -- Wicca/Pagan Northern Hemisphere
     Ostara -- wicca/Pagan Southern Hemisphere
     Alban Elfed -- Celtic Winter Finding
     Chuseok -- Korean harvest festival
     Feast of Carpo -- Greek Horae, goddess of autumn
     Kukulcan Snake God Celebration -- Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico (the snake appears at the equinox, a time to honor this Mayan god)
     Festival of the Sea Goddess -- Eskimo
     Higan -- Japan
     Mabon/Fallfest -- Asatru/Norse Pagan (harvest festival, time to make wine and mead for the next winter)
     Oenach Carman -- Ancient Celtic Calendar
     Sendai Great Tug-of-War -- Sendai, Japan (festival on the equinox that dates back over 400 years)    
     Svarog's Holiday -- Slavic Pagan Calendar (day to drink mead in honor of Svarog, god of fire and the sky)

Boidromia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate; honor Apollon as god of rescue during war)

Breakfast, Snack, Elevenses, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Tea, Snack, Dinner, Snack, More Snacks, Supper, Snack, and Bilgewack Celebration Day -- Fairy Calendar (Borms; they are little known relatives of Goblins, given to being overweight and sedentary and lying around feeling ill; bilgewack is their term for having eaten too much and having to lie down.)

Buffalo Roudup and Arts Festival -- Custer, SD, US (buffalo round up, Western and Native American entertainment, arts and crafts; through tomorrow)

Car-Free Day -- this has spread to much of the world; try it for yourself!

Coya Raymi -- Inca Native Americans (festival to honor Moon Goddess Quilla, with a focus on purging sickness and evil; through tomorrow, dates approximate)

Dear Diary Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays; get it down on paper!

Elephant Appreciation Day -- sponsored by "Elefunteria" and WildHeart Productions

Feast of Mikeli -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (harvest celebration; through the 24th)

Feast of the Ingathering -- UK traditional (also called Harvest Home; in Scotland, Kirn; in northern England, Mell-Supper.  Celebrations will be held in rural areas for the next few weekends, celebrating the end of the harvest.)

Fish Amnesty Day

Gettysburg Fall Antique Show -- Gettysburg, PA, US

Hobbit Day

Ice Cream Cone Day -- Italo Marchiony patented an ice cream cone mold on this day in 1903

Independence Day -- Bulgaria; Mali

International Day of Radiant Peace --

International Rabbit Day -- to promote responsible rabbit ownership

National Book Festival -- National Mall, Washington, D.C., US (the Library of Congress celebrates "Books that Shaped America"; through Sunday)

National Centenarians Day -- US

National Hunting and Fishing Day -- US

National Seat Check Saturday -- US (check it for what, sagging? i'm old, of course it is! Oh, make sure car seats are secured -- my kids finally outgrew those, phew)

Oktoberfest -- Germany (through Oct. 7)


Princess Martha Louise's Birthday -- Norway (an official flag day)

R.E.A.D. in America Day -- sponsored by CheeREADing

Responsible Dog Ownership Day -- sponsored by the AKC

Rettir -- Iceland (around this time of year; a traditional sheep round up celebrated in Iceland during September, actual round up dates may vary from region to region)

Ritual of the Netjers of the Two Lands (Upper and Lower Egypt) -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

St. Maurice's Day (Patron of armies, cloth dyers, cloth makers, infantrymen, soldiers, swordsmiths, weavers; Austria; Manresa, Spain; Pianello Val Tidone, Italy; Piedmont, Italy; Sardinia; Stadtsulza, Germany; Pontifical Swiss Guards; against cramps and gout)

Thrue Bab/Blessed Rainy Day -- Bhutan

Xterra Wheeler Canyon Xduro -- Ogden, UT, US (nationals of the extreme, off-road half marathon; through tomorrow)

Birthdays Today:

Bonnie Hunt, 1964
Scott Baio, 1961
Joan Jett, 1960
Andrea Bocelli, 1958
Debby Boone, 1956
Shari Belafonte, 1954
Tommy Lasorda, 1927
Michael Farriday, 1791
Lord Chesterfield, 1694

Today in History:

Legion I Italica is created by Emperor Nero, 66
Switzerland becomes an independent state, 1499
The General Provincial Court at Patuxent, MD, US, empanels the first all female jury in the colonies to try the case of a woman accused of murdering her child, 1656
A final 8 people are hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Mass., 1692
Nathan Hale is hanged for spying during American Revolution, 1776
Russia establishes a colony at Kodiak, Alaska, 1784
City of Des Moines, Iowa, is incorporated as Fort Des Moines, 1851
Abraham Lincoln, by executive proclamation, declares that the slaves in the rebelling states shall become free on Jan. 1 of the upcoming year, 1862
Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold premieres in Munich, 1869
The first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published, 1888
Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather, King George III, as the longest reigning monarch in British history, 1895
Italo Marchiony granted a patent for an ice cream cone, 1903
The Duke of York's Picture House opens in Brighton, now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain, 1910
Ralph J. Bunche becomes the first black winner of the Nobel Peace Price, 1950
The Dead Sea Scrolls are made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library, 1991
David Hempleman-Adams becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon, 2003


  1. I wonder why your gumbo tasted like plastic.

  2. The taste of plastic (burnt plastic, at that) was how I describe what cilantro tastes like to me. It puts me in mind of the smell you get when the handle of a pot or pan sits over the element too closely and begins to melt. I despise the stuff that so many others think tastes fresh and herb-ish.

  3. Stephen, we have no idea, but the finished product was good, we threw that out and started over.

    Hilary, i don't like it much, either.