Irma, my first & last…

It’s been a LONG Summer…. I was last here in the middle of monsoon season. So much water coming from the sky, the gardens didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, handle it. Growing season came to a screeching halt, even the flowers (except the zinnias, of course) had had enough by the middle of August. I tried transplanting to save a few. Almost all loved the new soil and location… or just being in the ground, instead of a pot, finally.

The yard was coming together, the wildlife even joyed their little spots of love where I planted their goodies, so they would stay out of mine. LOL

And then, … IRMA came to town. I don’t know if there are any real words to describe this. I AM a Floridian. In all my 50 plus years, I have never been through a hurricane like this. Yes, I’ve boarded up, been without electricity and had to live on canned foods for a week or so, but THIS… no way. No Thank You. I just want to go back home and clean my house.

Don’t get me wrong… I wasn’t catastrophically destroyed. But my neighbors were. And that’s worse. I can’t help them. There is nothing I can do but fight for them. To get what they need to survive. So this I shall do. Life has changed again. When things are put into perspective, you see the REALLY big picture…. there’s nothing you can do but morph into what Is.  None of this will happen again, if I have anything to say, and Do, about it.

On a good note, I didn’t get the chickens and bees for the garden. So there weren’t any misplaced, or worse. The garden didn’t get moved into its new place. The Garden Shed didn’t get finished on the inside. And the fence around the whole of it all… didn’t get finished.  However, I learned the new spot for the chickens is high and dry, the bees would have been homeless, the garden would have been half underwater, and the area to be fenced is not nearly big enough. The shed has to wait for other things like a well and electricity, so that’s ok too.  Moral of the story… more build up is needed, more Dirt. Building it all Up is first. Being ready for the next one, and just waiting for it to come, is last.

However… The bees are back! They aren’t my bees, but they are back enjoying what is left of the buckwheat I planted for them.  I wish you could hear how many are here….


Raised garden flooded by Irma 9/11/17


It’s National Ice Cream day! A day almost anyone can get behind.

Agreeing on a favorite flavor…well, that’s another story.

What’s surprising is that if you Google what people’s favorite flavor of ice cream is, you’ll find tons of results that claim Vanilla is the most popular.

Seems crazy to me. There’s so many other awesome flavors. I almost never see someone ordering Vanilla at an ice cream place.

And, I hear and see the same stuff in terms of real estate…

Everyone seems to think that “vanilla” homes are the most popular with buyers. You know, “neutral” decor, paint, and no personal touches. Bland. Boring. Lacking “flavor”.

Real estate agents even advise people to make their house “vanilla” before going on the market.

The truth is, there are buyers who love and buy homes with “flavor”.

Now don’t get me wrong, a “vanilla” home will appeal to more people. And that can be good.

But to advise everyone to make their homes vanilla is silly.

Unique, even a kind of crazy “flavored” home can really appeal a specific buyer or two. Maybe not every buyer. But to those it does appeal to, you have a captive audience who can’t get what you got to give anywhere else.

Debating whether you should make your house “vanilla” or not, for the sake of selling it, boils down to how quickly you want it to sell…

If your home is “vanilla”, it will probably appeal to more people, and will therefore probably sell more quickly or readily.

But, if you have a home with some “flavor”, it might not appeal to tons of buyers, but it could translate into being worth more… to the right buyers.

Cindi Benton, Realtor
NuView Realty, Inc.
4410 Southpoint Blvd.
Jacksonville, Fl


With a Little Help from Pinterest

STRAWBERRIES! This is today’s project. Tanya, with Lovely Greens, switched up the popular strawberry pallet to make the best thing I have seen yet for my strawberries. Their own container box that can be moved in times of need. And they just keep growing and growing. This keeps them out of the way in the raised beds where other veggie’s are grown.


Befuddled by the Beehive Bailiwick

Last month I bit the bullet and bought the FLOW Hive from The Honey Flow peeps, but to my amazement, showed up like this…


instead of something more like…. (without the honey, of course)


So now I have to put it together, and stain it – or not, and build a stand, and prep it… which is not at all THE problem.

I have No Idea where to put it in my yard. They say not to put it near the garden, not to put it in full sun (well, not Full FLORIDA Sun), not to put it in the shade. But, have you seen my yard? (See previous post) Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks is playing in my ears right now…  I’m so afraid I am going to fail before I even start, that I haven’t even put this hive together yet.

I did some driving around town yesterday while working and noticed there are a lot of bee hive boxes strategically placed in the oddest of places. My first thought is, the Florida Sun must not be too bad if all these hives are thriving. Then the second thought… how do I know they are thriving? The bees are NOT at my house, nor in my garden. Which is the reason for the beehive. The first of many was my hope.

Ever since the weekly visit of the noisy truck spraying for mosquitos a few weeks ago, I have not seen one single bumble bee, or any other kind of bee for that matter. I think the bats and bees would survive if that truck went away, ya know? Lord knows they aren’t decreasing the yellow fly population, so what can it hurt to turn them away?

The Mosquito Control Lady assured me I could be on a No Spray List, no matter where I lived. Just before I get the bees in the Spring, I’m suppose to call her to make sure the truck turns around before he gets here. If you have any advice whatsoever, you are a blessing.

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all 🙂

Cooking in the Kitchen with Ina

If Only. Wouldn’t that be the coolest of coolest things to happen. I just can’t get this tune out of my head that I switched up the words to Ina.  Sorry – not intended to be false advertising 😀 … What is the name of this silly song I can’t get out of my head?

It has taken me almost a year to figure out how to log back in to this wordpress blog. I purchase the website name dot com every year to make sure I don’t lose it. But it doesn’t work either. Even the wordpress people themselves are no help. Now that I am finally back in, maybe it will be easier to make to actually work. I have many recipes and photos to add but they are all in the past 18 months. Who wants to go backwards? Thankfully, that is one of the things I have come to understand in the last year… we can’t go back.  So with that…

Cindi's Playground
The Sky’s the Limit!

With July, 2017 coming up, I am taking Independence Day to a whole new level in my little life.  More Cooking for Others… More Growing for Others… More Joy for Others.  and for Me… Just More. Seems kinda strange making resolutions in the middle of the year LOL. but hey, I’m the only one reading my thoughts here, so its all good. HAHA



The new garden is the biggest event of the year ^^ … just need to move out the the toys and put up the fencing around the chicken coop, She Shed and the part that is now leveled.  I think the larger garden will definitely give me what I need in the feeding other’s plan.  I am very excited about the new endeavor!

til next time….


Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Casserole




1/3 c sliced morel (or portabella if you can’t find morel) mushrooms
1/3 c sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/3 c sliced porcini mushrooms
6 pieces chicken thighs
2 shallots, chopped
5 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
1 Tbl Capers
1 c Crème fraîche
2 c heavy cream
1 c Madeira Wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pecorino Romano Cheese


Preheat oven to 350º F.

Rinse mushrooms well, lightly pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
Season chicken legs with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Browned Chicken Thighs in butter and garlic
Browned Chicken Thighs in butter and garlic

In a large  pan, heat 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. In two batches, cook chicken & 2 garlic cloves, browning both sides, for a total of 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken to an over-proof casserole dish.

Add remaining butter and olive oil to saute pan and add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and capers. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously so they don’t burn.
Add wine to the vegetables and let mixture reduce by half, 3-4 minutes. Then add in heavy cream, sour cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper.Bring mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, 6-8 minutes.

Pour mushroom sauce over chicken, shave cheese over top, and bake for 15 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.
Add more cheese after if you wish.