One thing about living in a house with an actual yard that we both miss is gardening. Barry is a long-time vegetable gardener, and for many years, I always enjoyed planning landscaping beds and planting and tending flowers, shrubs, and herbs. It always made me happy to see flowers blooming around our home.
Since becoming full-time travelers, we haven't been able to do any gardening. Until now, that is!
Because we're in one spot in this central Florida RV park for a longer time than usual due to my orthodontia, Barry got the idea to dress up our site with some flowers and plants; it would be his Christmas present to me. We also wanted to add a couple of decorative garden flags. And we thought a couple of solar lights would mark where our plants were at night so no one would get too close to them after dark.
I ordered new garden flags online and a pair of solar torch lights from Amazon. They are super cool at night as they have moving LEDs in a warm orange-yellow that actually looks like real flames. They recharge in the Florida sunshine every day and come on automatically at dark. So easy! Our RV park neighbors admire them, and so do we. We purchased the plants and pots at Home Depot after my last orthodontist appointment, as it is right across the road.
Although bright and sunny, it was a cool day in central Florida while I was potting up the Impatiens (a sun-loving variety) in a sweater. I'd been admiring the foliage plant with hot pink leaves on top that is ubiquitous in landscape plantings in this part of Florida, so we bought two and re-potted them as well. I learned that they are Hawaiian Ti plants (Cordyline terminalis ). They are also known as "good luck plant", and we could certainly use some of that after this year! Finally, we placed a few Poinsettias around for the holiday season.
We created two symmetrical arrangements on either side of Pearl's front end, each with its own garden flag and solar torch light. I love this Boston Terrier holiday flag I found on Etsy. The palm tree is fitting for a Florida Christmas!
Here's the complete spread.
We added some LED holiday lights around Pearl's front end to complete the festive evening look.
We will have to leave the plants behind when I get my braces off and we finally leave this park, but we've made some friends who live here permanently, so we expect we'll have no trouble finding good homes for our "babies" when we move on.
Hope everyone out there had a very Happy Thanksgiving! We were a bit lonely down in Florida by ourselves and would have much rather been with family, but we made do and managed to put together a delicious, traditional meal.
Between the two of us, Barry enjoys baking more than I, so he started getting us into the Thanksgiving spirit ahead of time by baking a "test" pumpkin pie to try out a new crust recipe about a week before the holiday. We gobble, gobbled that up in just a few days. We decided the crust would be better with a bit less oil, but it was still plenty tasty.
He also baked a wonderful pumpkin-chocolate chip bread that was decadently delicious. (Yes, I am a lucky woman!) We were getting into the Thanksgiving spirit and loosening our belts already!
Who says you need a fancy gourmet kitchen with a huge granite-topped island to turn out a respectable Thanksgiving Day feast? We managed pretty well in Pearl's teeny-tiny RV kitchen, though we did have to plan pretty carefully and stretch the tasks out over a couple of days. We also bought a few things that we might have made from scratch, given a better kitchen, but that was okay too; Martha Stewart brand perfection is not required in an RV (or anywhere, really!)
We don't have a full-size oven, and only one burner of our induction cooktop works properly, but we managed to cook our entire meal in our large convection/toaster oven, one burner on the cooktop, and the microwave. Here's how we did it.
On Wednesday, aka Thanksgiving Eve, Barry baked the pumpkin pie. He always uses his mother's recipe for the filling, which he loves because it uses molasses along with brown sugar and makes the filling nice and dark. My contribution was homemade cranberry sauce with fresh tangerine juice and maple syrup, a new recipe I found online and wanted to try. It turned out so very good.
On Thanksgiving Day, Barry made his mother's sweet potato casserole recipe (with crushed pineapple, yum!) before roasting the boneless turkey breast we'd purchased at Aldi. The three-pound breast was the perfect size for two of us for several meals and for our oven and came out super moist and perfectly done.
After he took the turkey out to rest, I made stuffing on the stovetop, adding chopped onion, pecans, and apple to the packaged seasoned dried cornbread I'd bought. The spinach and gravy were both simple microwaved store-bought "cheats", but they tasted fine and kept things simple. The potato rolls from Publix' bakery were soft and melted in our mouths.
All in all, a fine no-panic feast!
The crust was perfect this time, and the pumpkin pie just as good as ever, especially with a little whipped cream on top!
Paisley enjoyed a couple of turkey scribblin's and some gravy on top of her food. She'll be bugging us for leftovers for the next few days. But who can argue with this little angel?
I'm pretty proud that my cycle computer rolled over to 3000 miles for 2017 during yesterday's ride. My original goal for the year had been 4000, but after my accident in April, I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to ride going forward.
I ended up taking close to four months off the bike; riding outside, that is. We ended up buying an indoor trainer, and starting in June, I was able to put in a few miles during rehab of my fractured jaw and thumb. If you look closely you can see the leftover bruising on my face and neck here.
Once my oral surgeon released me from care at the end of July, I was able to start riding on the road and bike trails again in August. My thumb was a bit sore at first if I hit any bumpy spots on the pavement, but I don't even notice it now. I'm just so pleased to be back out there doing what I love.
And being at an RV park here in Florida, there is often this reward after getting heated up on the bike....
Since I've been back to riding outside, I've logged over 1300 miles. And the year isn't over yet!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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