-E.B. White

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!!!!

Love, Rick, Deb & Izzy

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Seasons Greetings

Once again, Merry Christmas from Smithville

We have been so busy, can't believe how time is flying.  We are enjoying Marco Island Marina - turned out to be a great place to spend some time.  Always a bit of a challenge learning a new area, but, thanks to todays technology and the dockmasters, we have quickly located - Lowes, Home Depot, Ace, Winn-Dixie, Publix and West Marine (the last two within walking distance).  We do not have bikes on board any more, but appears to be a biking friendly city.  Very islandy here - clean, friendly and lots of water everywhere. 

 The Judge SS Jollley bridge that connects us to the mainland.

Izzy is re-learning how to relax on the boat, as are we.

Upon arrival our hometown friend, Doug (winters in Naples) greeted us and whisked us away to The Isle of Capri Fish House for dinner.  We highly recommend - delish.  Doug is a longtime friend and has graciously offered his workshop for any projects Rick might have in mind for Broulee. A couple of reasons for  picking this location - friends like Doug and, of course, his workshop.  A couple more reasons for picking this destination is that it is a favorite family vacation spot and Brother-In-Law, Don Nice is a featured artist at the Harmon-Meeks Gallery in Naples and the family will be attending the showings.

Brother-In-Law Don and Rick as we enjoy dinner and drinks at The Dock in Naples. 

Holy Balls!  Took a day off from the fuel tank project (that project may need it's own blog - it grows larger by the day, but promise updates will follow).  Doug & Robbie have a membership at the Naples Botanical Garden, Rick and I love gardening - so this would be a great escape for us. Thanks Doug.  (Photo courtesy of Doug)

What a great idea for air ferns.  We are trying to figure out how to replicate this in Minnesota.

The problem is we would have to move into our greenhouse for the winter - not sure where we would put them, more figuring out.


They also have a beautiful butterfly garden - all native to Florida so if they happen to hitchhike out of the screened area - they will probably hitch a ride back in to feast on their favorite flowers.
Just a few of many pics taken.

We are decorated and ready for Christmas - the weather here is amazing - the rain seems to miss us and the temps have been perfect.  Took some time to run up to Indiantown to see Ron & Paula on Dovekie - they are in the middle of a tank replacement and wanted to see their progress and meet for lunch and exchange stories since last year.  Also did a run up to Ft. Myers to visit the gang at Legacy Harbour - most have left for Christmas back home, but managed to find Donny & Marilyn on Kaseys Choice and Rick On Tourist.  We will head back up after the Holidays to visit once more.  Izzy's favorite vet Dr. Lisa Newman at Bayshore Animal Hospital is another reason for heading back up.  Flea and tick is a different animal here.  Plus her special hugs and treats are another reason.

Christmas Boating - Island style.

Izzy can't believe it, but there is a beach here.  The beach is left when you leave marina, our daily walk is right.  On warmer days I cannot drag her right - she puts the brakes on.  One of us is going to get less exercise.

Looks like I will be walking on my own.  

No birds were harmed in this adventure


Izzy is so excited to go for a dinghy ride - hurry up Mom, lets go.

So on the Captains birthday, the two of us and friends on Bucket List (from Bemidji, MN) - took our dinghys over to Goodland for a grand celebration.  Stans was our destination - he died in 2012 at the age of  86, but the party continues.  That is Queen Mary in the red outfit near the stage - amazing.  We loved the whole experience.

Queen Mary shaking what her mother gave her.  Yes those are dollar bills - Merry Christmas!

By 4:00 it turns into a Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan Wedding dance. - Total girl dancing - hey there is a guy in the mix, good for you buddy, midwest girls will be all over you - to the left - to the left.  Lots of fun, we had a great time. 

OMG, on my morning walk - two Burrowing Owls - nice for me to see, but not so nice for the people trying to sell this lot - 

Anyway, life here has been amazing.  As always, we totally miss our family, we prefer to be home celebrating with them - but we have learned to make new family when we are not with them.  My two best Christmas experiences on Broulee  is our Christmas in Grenada with friends Wayne & Carol on Take Time and Christmas in Spanish Wells with friends Bob & Sharon on Big Run and  friends, Tom and Phyliss on Cocoon Too. Best Wishes to all of them.  Niece Leslie and family arrive on Saturday, so certainly more to follow.  Also my friend and roommate claims he will give you updates on the fuel tank project.  Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday!   

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Plan "B"

Plan "B" is pretty much the story of our life, so when I saw this sign at the Botanical Gardens in Naples today, it pretty much made me smile.

The story begins with the decision to help drive my parents to their winter home in Arizona.  Plan "A", of course, would be - dry roads and no winter storms.  Plan "B" would be confronting a winter snowstorm across the top of Texas (my Dad is an amazing driver so he handled this portion) only to to find out in Dalhart, TX that the road down to Tucumcari was closed due to a jackknifed semi on the bridge - closure expected to be 4 hours.  Reroute to highway 385 to Amarillo -white out conditions, but Dad handled like a true seasoned Minnesotan. - our estimated rerouting delay would be 1 1/2 hours - no problem.  Back on I-40 and seems like roads are improving, stopping for lunch in Tucumcari, bathroom breaks and fill with fuel, Deb now at the wheel.  Just past Santa Rosa we encountered vehicles at a standstill.  "Must be an accident?"  We sat for three more hours without moving, Mom in the backseat checking on her IPad with NMDot to see what was the problem.  Still claiming an accident - really, three hours to clear.  By this time, both West bound and East bound at a standstill.  Soon after we approached the four hour point - cell phones were overloaded and no one could get out.  I was finally able to get a text out to Rick to see if he could find out what was wrong.  Again, they were claiming a car accident was causing the problem - really four hours to clear?  Texted Rick to get us a room in Albuquerque - if we ever got out of there - we could maybe make that.  Long story short - seven hours stuck on I-40, arriving at Hotel at 10:30, wine and potatoe chips for dinner - that's how you deal with "Plan B".  Come to find out the next morning that accidents on I-40 had started at 5:30 in the morning and continued all day - there was at least a 25 mile back up of vehicles -  I have never seen so many semi's in one place in my life.

Leaving Liberal, KS - no idea that we would be part of the storm that rocked Buffalo, NY and a great bonding experience with my parents.

Fun to get to their winter home and hugs from all of our friends.  Good to be settled in and now time for Deb to fly back to Minnesota to prepare for trip back to Broulee.

Wrapping up wine production - finding a bottle of 180 proof distilled from plum wine - circa 1975 - product of the past generation - Dick Smith and Bunny Rautenberg (Rick & Bob's Dads) -(in Yugolslavia its called Slivovich, in this country we call it moonshine!) dare we try it - Damn straight!

Open water is freezing north of us - the white swans have landed on Bald Eagle - sign of the times - we are next -it is head south time.

We should just stay here, enjoying a fire in our fireplace  - but, bags are packed and will let the kids enjoy the house.  Thanks for taking care of our love.  Time to move to Broulee.

So Izzy's bag is packed - we are all bringing less - but we know we always return with more - looking forward to our new toys and things.

Again, Plan "A" would be to return to Broulee, splash and provision for our trip to our planned destination.  DETOUR!!!  Upon arrival - What?! Diesel fuel in the Bilge? OMG! Yup, that's a storage tank to offload the fuel from the port tank. Filling the tank before we hauled her sounded like a good idea, but apparently a small leak likely from the tank soured that action.  Store the port tank fuel and start on Plan "B"!

Ok, port tank empty, starboard tank nearly full with 300 gallons, not too hard to guess what was going to happen. Felt like sailing days on a hard tack! Plan of action: fill port water tank, move dock boxes, storage containers, tools, suitcases, wine and what ever we can to the port side.
Now 300 gallons of fuel at 7 pounds per gallon in the starboard tank and 150 gallons of water at 8.6 pound per gallon in the port, even with moving some "stuff", couldn't level Broulee. So, next day a trip to ACE Hardware returning with 5 bags of concrete mix, six bags of washed playbox sand (once again, Trawler Trash) and pumping another 150 gallons of port tank fuel into the "storage" tank, brought her level. Then a tall glass of wine and start thinking of Plan "B" actions. 

Despite all of this, Matt, Ben and John at River Forest were great in jumping to action and getting us launched on schedule. We were going in, damn it!

Stay tuned.

Nice quiet Thanksgiving in Izzy's big yard - not anybody here as usual, so time to re-provision and enjoy being back on Broulee despite our new revelations.  We are hardy people, we will survive, its all about "Plan B and how you handle it".

Motoring west on the ICW, truly difficult for Broulee and it's crew to not stop at Legacy Harbour  - this would be our comfort zone.  Our Plan "A" is outside the box.  Our new destination is Marco Island Marina.  Friends and family have lured us to this Island destination, will let you know how this works out.

 We anchored at Glover Bight before heading out to the gulf and the run down to Marco - some sights in the AM.

Izzy prefers, just wake me when we get there.  I will be right here in my kennel until engine is quiet.

Sorry for more dolphin pics, but still amazing!!   You just want to jump in and play.

Broulee tucked into her slip and happy to be here.

Izzy jumping for joy for her new play yard.

Deb jumping for joy over her new play yard!  I think we will all be ok.
More to follow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Calm before the storm.

Forgot to say how beautiful it was last weekend, will keep those thoughts in my memory bank until spring.


Monday, November 10, 2014


Fall is my favorite time of year, right behind spring and summer - it just doesn't get any better here.  Because we need to get things put to bed before the snow and temps begin to fall - it is also our busiest time of year. 
 When the crazy coots arrive on the lake - we know our days are numbered.  Time to haul out boats, docks and get our tropical plants in.

If we are lucky - we get that last 80 degree weekend as a teaser - for that one last pontoon ride.

The Smith's final ride for the season.

We had a great Casserly family reunion at Platte Lake cabin.  Our niece took some time from her busy job at the Pentagon for a much deserved R & R.  Izzy pleading for "just one more bed time story, pleeeze??"  Erin couldn't resist - she was missing her black lab mix - Edgar, so Izzy took advantage, of course.

It was a great weekend - nice sunsets and campfires.

So beautiful, sadly we know what comes next - RAKING!!!

Raspberry Wine - we had a bumper crop.  Unfortunately, due to our harsh winter and wet summer, there were no grapes this year - even the big vineyards struggled.  So our only choice was Raspberry in as many ways that we could think of - Chocolate Raspberry, sweet, semi-sweet, a Raspberry blended with Malbec, etc.  It's all good.

Went up to cabin to pull out docks and boats - before hauling out boat we decided to go hunting for floating cattail bogs.  The DNR told us if we find any floating we could drag them to our shoreline to help with our shoreline erosion.  More on the rebuilding and re-stabelizing with natural materials next spring.  Izzy and Rick lassoing a cattail, for our putt putt ride back to cabin.  Felt like we were on Broulee.

One of the projects that will continue next year is the restoration of  the 1970's vintage Kubota. It was part of the Vineyard attempt in Kansas - early 70's.  It was also part of our Builder/Land Development company in Minnesota.  It has been under a tarp for years, but amazingly it's small diesel engine fired up after some "gentle nudging".  Pictured here without its fenders and engine cowling - removed for painting.  Rick was busy this fall with some remodeling projects at our commercial office building - fun to see him with his tool belt on again.  

 Temps at night are starting to push the freezing point - time to move all of the tropicals into the greenhouse.   Docks are out, boats are out (pontoon in background) - I think we are on a roll.

One of my favorite Halloween costumes was niece Shana and husband Keith.  You might have to be from Minnesota to appreciate it - but dressed as Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  You are rocking it, Shana!  She claims that's a rubber axe - we have our eye on you Keith

 (-:   Kidding!

Cooper has started Ukulele lessons.  Izzy enjoys his practice sessions before we head out to the bus stop, she thinks he's brilliant.

Two things I have been excited about - gas prices dipping below $3.00 and the end of the election campaign commercials.  Can't believe I would be greatfull for the return of the Depends and Cialis commercials. 

This is what we awoke to this morning - now we know our days are numbered.  Deb is driving to AZ with her parents this Friday - Rick will wrap up any loose ends here and then we will start our trek south back to Broulee.  Next week the temps drop into the teens and trust me it's no longer fun for us to be here.  Although It looks like Izzy is not minding the snow and cold.