Friday, February 24, 2017

Last Saturday we drove to Madisonville to attend their Mardi Gras Parade.
Not knowing quite what to expect and how many people would show up we arrived early enough to walk around a little bit, find out the best viewing spots, claim ours and do some people watching while eating our  picnic lunch.

As I mentioned before, this was not your 'run of the mill' kind-a parade. The 'floats' in this parade are the real McCoy, as in .. they're boats!
That's why people line up alongside the river and harbor on both sides of the bridge.

There's a nice little park on the river's edge with big live oaks for shade. 
Which was very nice since it was a gorgeous day, and it got quite hot by the time the parade started around 1 pm!

First boat to arrive was the one with the 'Court' of the Krew of Tchefuncte, the King and Queen ...


Followed by a colorful line up of about 10 decorated 'float-boats' ... 

The theme this year was 'Bringing Broadway to Madisonville' which had inspired boats to be decorated like Cats, Aladdin (was that a musical?), Chicago, Grease, and Sunset .. , to name a few.

Up close I'd say these cats look more like cougars ...

They had fun with this mobster Chicago 'jail' decoration ...

Aladdin was the largest boat and truly spectacular ...

After parading by, they all turned around and docked alongside the boulevard ...

The boat that docked right in front of us was the Sunset ...

And than it was time for the much anticipated 'throwing of the beads' to begin:

Throw me something Mister!

Of course, besides the traditional beads, a lot of other trinkets were thrown ...

These kids had the best seats in the house! They're safe above the crowds and tall enough to catch the throws ...

Here's for some fun characters:

And how about this group of old-timers? Still 'in the spirit' and going all out! Only in Louisiana ...

Although I wasn't really trying, it was hard NOT to end up with any beads ... I gave most away to a few kids on our way back to the truck, but kept a few of the more 'special' ones ...

And, like last year, I used them to decorate our 'float'!

Happy Mardi Gras y'all!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Blackberry blossoms 

Apparently spring is about 20 days earlier this year than 'normal' here in the south.
"Normal' being already a month earlier (around the 21st of February) than anywhere else.
If I look really careful on my walks in the morning, I'm starting to see some tiny flowers and buds ... 



I also noticed these flowering Red Maples ...


I never knew they had such pretty little and decorative flowers ...

Yes, spring is coming and although I'm not looking forward to the inevitable higher temperatures and, much worse, the high humidity, I like to see mother nature coming alive again!

There's not a whole lot to talk about, everything is pretty quiet around here, although, Mardi Gras is not that far off off course, and there are parades and balls happening every weekend.
We went to a couple of the big parades last year and the local smaller one here in Hammond, and have pretty much 'been there, seen that', but we've decided to perhaps do a few 'special' ones.
Special as in 'different than the rest'.
One is a boat-parade in Mandeville and another is a dog-parade, in the same town. We'll see ...

Off course the traditional King Cakes are popping up in every store and bakery again but I decide to try and bake one myself. 

We weren't too charmed last year by the overly sweetness of most of the store-bought ones, due to way to much icing, gooey pie filling and the use of too much cream cheese.

After searching the Internet for the best recipe, I used one with a simple brown sugar and pecan filling and some cinnamon-roll icing, and it came out so much better! Very easy to make too!

Talking about food (again), I got me a sort of belated Christmas present and bought an Instant pot on E-bay.

It's a modern, electrical (and digital), pressure cooker. Definitely not your mother's old and scary steam-cooker!
Wow, this thing is awesome!
You just throw everything in, turn the knob to 'sealing', press some buttons and walk away ... !


So far I've made Corned Beef, Pea-soup, steel cut Oats, hard boiled Eggs, and Boef-Bourguignon and it was all very fast, very easy and absolutely delicious!

Pea-soup in 30 minutes, fall apart corned beef in 20!
It's also super easy to clean.
Next I'm going to try to make yogurt! Apparently it's easy to do, and they say that once you've made it, you don't want to get back to store-bought, so we will see!

Now the weather is warming up we ran out of excuses to tackle washing and treating the (rubber) roof of the RV and while we were at it, we also washed the rest.

We should do this twice a year and usually do it in the spring and fall, but since we've been in Louisiana we had not done it once. Shame on us. And not very smart as it turned out, since the humid climate here is the perfect breeding ground for mold. 
Which was exactly what we found when we climbed up there!

It took us a couple of hours of  hosing down and lots of scrubbing and rinsing off, but in the end we got it pretty clean, although the mold spots have left permanent stains. Oh well, it's better than it was at least.
Afterward we re-treated the roof with a protective spray, so it should be good until next fall. 
Note to self: "We really should not skip this again!"

I think that was all for this time. I found a few pictures in my files that I forgot to include in a previous post, although I did post it on Facebook, so I'll put them up here.
(It's hard to remember sometimes where I posted what ...)

After I took down the Christmas decorations the rig looked so barren that I created some 'winter' decorations with lichen-covered branches, pine cones and some Spanish moss:

I also hung a few branches next to the front door. I thought it looked pretty cool!