Water, water everywhere

November 1, 2015 -- The painters are here.  The house has been stripped of its pseudo shutters, plantings have been cut away from its walls, and it is about to washed with pressurized water.  The house is getting the attention it deserves.  Soon it will be light gray, with a little brown and black here and there.  Gray, with the red tile roof -- Buckeye colors!

Bill finished the travertine floor in the foyer during the week before my birthday.  His work is impeccable.  We look forward to his return!

Then last week I celebrated making it to 60 all week long.  Already we had three parties to attend that week, so I didn't feel the need to have a birthday bash.  Already I had purchased a new computer and a new phone, so I didn't want any more presents.

Besides, every day is a gift.  We love to wake up before sunrise so we can watch the bayou coming to life.  The water is loaded with fish, manatees, dolphins, and crabs.  Circular, triangular, and swirling ripples on the water's surface are evidence of their presence in abundance.

I think of the fertilizers and pesticides that the previous owner's "service people" put on the lawn right next to the mangroves at the water's edge and I become a little angry.  But those bad days are over; we shut off the irrigation system and killed the grass, and do not use those chemicals on this land anymore.  Why poison this gorgeous bayou!  What do people think?  Do they think their green grassy lawns are more important than the life of the bayou?

My plan is to plant native ground covers where the dead grass is now.  A ground cover called mimosa is high on my list, but I also want to see what starts to grow on its own.  So far, I have some sea purslane fingering its way out from the edge of the mangroves to the edge of the dead grass.  Not bad!

We don't have our kayaks yet, so the biggest users of our dock are the birds.  In particular, a night heron and a great blue heron are often posing on the dock's pilings at dawn.  Sometimes we see a kingfisher there, too.  Evidently, the birds think our dock is the ideal place for dining on crabs.

One morning in mid-October, many white birds flew in and rested on the mangroves directly across from our living room.  They look like dazzling ornaments.

The water we lived on in Gulf Pines was .different from the bayou; the bayou is tidal, and it is saltwater.   (The Gulf Pines lagoons are fresh/brackish, and not tidal.)  I can easily tell weather the tide is high or low here, simply by looking at the water level compared to the level of the lowest mangrove branches.  (The tide is high in the photo above.)  In our house in Gulf Pines, I had no clue whether the tide was low or high; I'd have to look it up, or walk to the beach to find out.

But here, on Dinkins Bayou, I feel more connected to the environment called our coastal waters.  I'd probably feel even closer if I fished, but I've never experienced that calling.

However, Tom and I do like to eat fish.  We were lucky last week, on my birthday, when we went to dine at Bleu Rendez Vous.  Chef Christian allowed us to order the red snapper en papillote as part of the twilight special.  That snapper was divine, especially because it was in a beurre blanc sauce.  The entire dinner was wonderful.  Christian Vivet is unusually talented at seasoning.  Most French chefs err on the bland side of seasoning.  But not Christian.  He knows how to bring out the best flavor with some zesty seasoning.  Bravo!

After that lovely birthday dinner, we went to a debate-watching party at the Schaeffer's home.  The party and conversation were delightful, but the debate was, alas, boring.  It is much more exciting to watch the fish jumping in the bayou than to watch Presidential candidates debate.

Last night's party (Halloween) was at the Poling's home in Gulf Pines.  We had the best time there; we've made so many good friends through the years in that neighborhood.  We are going to be sure to keep in touch with them all.

Now the week of parties is over, and it is time to be a little more serious.  But only a little.  Life at sixty is fun so far!


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