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A Visit with the Whiteds

One of the kindest friends I have is Mary Whited, mother of four daughters, wife of Sam, and a cook extraordinaire. That's all well and good, but what Mary is known for equally is her giving nature--always thinking of others. Mary is also a garage sale guru. Seriously, the things she finds are remarkable; it doesn't hurt that they live in a ritzy part of town!

I had every intention of visiting my competition at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, but that just didn't happen because once I arrived at the Whiteds, I had trouble leaving. Mary sent me a message saying she'd found something she was sure I'd like and indeed she did. Arriving there in the midst of her own garage sale, she went inside to fetch the gift. I don't know how I'd never heard of this store before, but I hadn't.
How cool is this?? This hatbox is in perfect shape with that authentic old time smell. While Mary tended to customers, I chatted with the recently retired Sam, and their lone daughter still living at home, Rachel. Well, she's sort of living at home--at least on the property anyway. Rachel is the youngest and possibly the most eclectic of all the Whited girls. Her dad built a shop in their backyard years ago with an attached unfinished room. Miss, newly engaged, Rachel turned it into the cutest space for her living quarters. Did I mention she has chickens?
They even eat out of her hand. Continuing the Peck theme, Sam explained to me that after having the chickens for a while he more fully understands how the term "pecking order" came into use. Apparently, the above pictured chicken thinks she's much better than this one pictured below.
I mentioned earlier that they live on the swanky side of town, however, their neighbors have been understanding to date. The chickens even follow Rachel and Sam around the back yard like a dog might--especially when feed is involved.
The large live oak trees make growing grass nearly impossible so the whole yard that isn't filled with vegetable gardening is covered in oak leaves which the chickens seem to like just fine. I asked where they laid their eggs and Sam pointed to a large metal tub with one of the chickens poised to lay as I asked. The chicken on the pot lays the most beautiful shade of egg; before I left they sent me home with some.My first free range eggs! They've warned me that the yolks in the blue green egg are seriously orange.
Finally, after my back yard tour, I was ready to leave. Except I couldn't at first because my car wouldn't start. Well now. Sam and Rachel pushed my car forward while I steered it into place--pretty much a first for me. You would think that "pack rats" such as Sam and Mary would have a hard time finding something in the midst of their collections, however, Sam got the charger and extension cords out in a jiffy, and before I knew it the car was once again functional. At least if I didn't turn it off...

The art show was a no-go. Auto parts store with free battery replacement took precedence....Now I just have to figure out how to re-program the radio!

I didn't really want to see what I was missing anyway....

Later on, after watching FSU play and win (by a thread) in the NCAA tournament, Jeff called and asked about meeting up downtown. Why not? Well, I'll tell you why not. Bruce came home with some computer problems related to the installation of a new "air" card and he could think of nothing else until it was fixed. While he was messing with his computer a friend called, actually the second in as many days, wondering if I'd photographed the gorgeous yellow tabebuia tree on Lake Gem Mary. Not yet I haven't. Well now I have and it's probably a good thing because it won't be too many days before all the blooms have fallen, joining the already huge mass below the tree.
There is just something about the shocking yellow that mesmerizes--from a distance it looks like this:
Not just a yellow carpet of blooms, but their reflection and floaters in the lake to boot! We live just around the corner from here. Returning home after taking these shots, I found Bruce talking to Jeff about how he was so frustrated we would have to cancel. No problem. Except there was. Tech support called back and he and Bruce spent, not one, not two, but three full hours on the phone trying to sort it out. He can use everything but the internet at this point. In fact, I went to bed while he was still on the phone because of today's market which was pretty good if you're wondering.

You know that pecking order business from above? It turns out that red-winged blackbirds get to eat their full before Mama Cardinal--the nerve of him.
After waiting her turn in line, she jumped down to the ground eating all the droppings. For the most part she's sitting on those eggs which I'm thinking will hatch in about a week or so.

The Etsy shop has been re-named, OutandAboutwithGail, with the help of Bruce and Matt. Every image I upload has so many steps that I've spent more time than I could have imagined setting it up. If you are curious it cost .20 for each listing and 3.5% of sale. The listings expire after four months and I'm afraid that will be the case with mine, but if I've learned anything about this business over the last five years it is this: YOU NEVER KNOW!
With over 300,000 photos listed for sale it's highly unlikely any of mine will catch on, but again....repeat with me....YOU NEVER KNOW!

A little stem of parsley leftover from when I cut some from my patch. We are meeting Jane and Michael within the hour for dinner and I suspect the chef will use a little of this on whatever we have to eat. Green for St. Patrick's Day you know.

happy weekend dear readers,
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