Tag Archives: Tybee Island

What would you do with a kumquat? Top a goat chop!

While on a recent vacation to Tybee Island, GA., we trekked up the outside stairs to our landlord’s deck at the top of the house. From there, you can see all over the island and out to various points in the Atlantic. While I was busy looking at my favorite beach spot, my husband was excitedly motioning at what he thought was a kumquat tree in the side yard. It was.

Their first response was a very eager, “Would you like some?” Apparently, the tree bears year round and after awhile they grow tired of them. She made kumquat wine once but the labor intensive project convinced her not to try again.

I knew someone who would come up with a use for them and happily picked a bag of them. This solved my quandary about what to take to my brother and sister-in-law when we stopped at their farm on the way home.

On the way to Virginia, the hubs ate a few, proclaimed them delicious and then admitted he could only eat a few at a time.IMG_0088[1]

Kumquats are often eaten whole — the rind is sweet and the center is sour. Culinary uses include candying and kumquat preserves, marmalade, and jelly. They can also be sliced and added to salads.

When we got to Va., I handed them off to my sis-in-law, Karen, knowing that she would come up with a creative use for them. Which she did. Several nights later, we had goat chops (they raise goats) with a kumquat-pineapple salsa. Of course, there is no recipe. She remembers throwing kumquats, pineapple and “some other stuff” into the blender. We then topped our goat chops with it.

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What DNA might have to do with a love for the sea…

The same visual comes to mind every time I find myself sitting on a beach in the southeastern United States. It’s spring of 1972, and my parents have sprung me from school to spend two weeks in the Florida Keys. Dad, a biologist, is spending a one- year sabbatical studying marine biology at Florida Presbyterian (now Eckerd College). We’re camping at John Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo. I see my dad sitting perfectly still on an aluminum and web chair on the beach. As I approach, he whispers to walk carefully. That’s when I see the blue crabs skittering in circles around his chair. He grins at me. I join him.

The memory ends there. I don’t think we caught any crabs — just sat and observed them.

Genetics were my dad’s thing and if he was around, I’d ask him a few questions.¬† Sadly, he died after a two-year bout with cancer 16 years ago. For example, do genetics play any part in the fact that the minute I begin to smell the ocean, my heart slows and I feel instant relaxation? Is there something in my Pannabecker DNA that propels me to the beach at 5:30 a.m., where I will walk literally for hours at low tide?

During a recent vacation on Tybee Island, Georgia, I was walking along the beach early in the morning when I heard a dad talking with his young children about the blue crabs in their bucket. He saw me watching, grinned and beckoned me over to look. Suddenly, I was transported back to 1972 and there was Dad grinning at the blue crabs, his toes curling in excited anticipation.

Unfortunately, I had no camera with me on my walk on Tybee, so the blue crabs are just stored in my memory. But that same morning, I discovered my “find of the week” — a huge horseshoe crab, its insides having been devoured by some other ocean creature. IMG_0514[1]IMG_0515[1]

IMG_0534[1]IMG_0529[1]None of my other finds during the week quite measured up to the crab, and I’m wise enough not to pick up a jellyfish. And what’s a trip to the beach without a search for the perfect pretty shell?

Genetics? Maybe. A simple case of inherited love for the sea? Probably. Whatever.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Summer vacation…part two…observations from the road

Our 30th anniversary celebration trip to Tybee Island, GA, didn’t take place as planned during the summer of 2010. Instead, we spent that week gearing up for a two-week stay in OSU Medical Center.

So…this summer’s vacation on Tybee was more that just an anniversary trip — it was a celebration of life. Last summer, when our Tybee landlords — Malinda and Fred Uruvant¬† — learned why we were unable to meet our reservation, they graciously offered to hold our deposit until we were able to travel. The Heron’s Nest would be available when we were ready. By late 2010, we’d reserved our dates.

Having had enough with air travel — too much arriving early and waiting for delayed flights– we decided it was time to test the road in the new Prius. We loaded up with clothing, snacks, and lots of maps. Nothing else — in addition to a comfy interior complete with bedroom, living area, bath, kitchen, laundry facilities, hot tub, screened-in porch and fenced-in patio, the Heron’s Nest offers everything we need — beach towels, mats, umbrellas, coaster bikes.

Entrance to Heron's Nest patio

We left Bluffton with one aging and loaded Dodge Caravan, one four-month-old Prius, and one dog. We ditched the van and the dog at Daughter No. 2’s place in Cincinnati. Leaving Ike was hard — kind of like leaving your young children with a relative even though you know they’ll have oodles of fun. Which he did. Ike had play dates almost every day with Mogli, the pug that belongs to Anne’s landlord.

From Cincy, we hit southbound I-75 and hightailed it for Georgia.

Here are some observations from a road trip:

  • Most states have welcome centers where you can pick up maps and other travel information (i.e., hotels, etc. for overnight stops unless you enjoy sleeping in your car). By the way, most of those centers allow you to park only two hours at a time. We wondered if you could park, sleep for two hours, and then move to the next parking spot and sleep for two more hours. We didn’t test that.
  • Books on CD make long drives go much faster IF you can agree on what to listen to. Fortunately, we both love mysteries. In our car, if the passenger falls asleep mid-book, the rule is that the driver has to brief the passenger on what he/she has missed.
  • States need to standardize their rest area parking rules. Usually, a sign directs trucks and cars with trailers to one area, and cars to another area. But they’re NEVER consistent and I can’t read the small print fast enough so inevitably I end up with the trucks.
  • My husband cannot ever find the entrance to any off-highway stop, nor can he see the signs. Here’s how the conversation goes: Me: I want to stop at that Dairy Queen. Fred: What Dairy Queen? Where is it? Me: Right here in front of us….see the big DQ sign…here…turn here…FRED! TURN RIGHT NOW!
  • Sigh. I’m not making this up. Ask him.
  • Driving through Savannah is mesmerizing. All that spanish moss hanging from those huge trees that line I-81/26 is beautiful. Just don’t touch it — chiggers live in it.
  • If you’re craving a Market Fresh turkey sandwich from Arby’s, it is guaranteed there will not be an Arby’s ANYWHERE in the vicinity. McDonald’s, Subway, Chicken and Biscuits, Chicken and Waffles, Wendy’s and every other fast food joint. No Arby’s. I know this to be true because we drove clear through North Carolina and saw nary an Arby’s. I finally gave in on Subway. Two miles later, we crossed into Virginia and there it is…natch….Arby’s.
  • Driving a hybrid is dangerous. You become so accustomed to getting 50 mpg that you forget about filling the gas tank. It’s a good thing that we were going downhill into Arnold’s Valley, VA, when it suddenly occurred to us that the tank was ominously low….well beyond the signal that it’s time for a refill. We coasted into the gas station with 1/4 gallon. Literally.
  • Driving the back roads of Virginia in the broad daylight is one thing. In the dark, it’s a completely different story. Nothing looks the same. Actually, you can’t see anything so forget trying to watch for the general store or the vet clinic that signal the next turn. Lucky for us, two guys in a pickup pulled up and asked if we were lost. Amazingly, they were headed toward Arnold’s Valley Road, led us in the right direction and voila…there was the Pannabecker farm…

 

 

 

What I did on my summer vacation

On my summer vacation, I…

….learned that not all jellyfish are created equal….only after having avoided them for about two hours. A young woman taking care of four very active 8- to 10-year-olds who were carelessly picking up the jellyfish and flinging them onto the beach, informed us that they were not the stinging kind. And how did she know this, we asked? “Oh, I grew up here and you just get to know the difference.” The next morning the beach was strewn with dead jellyfish.

Beached jellyfish

….discovered that sea turtles are NOT slow. It’s nesting season on Tybee Island, so it’s lights out after dark since artificial lights draw the turtles toward land and predators. Anyway, a smallish sea turtle kept coming up out of the water onto the beach one afternoon and the young woman (see above) was concerned that the turtle wasn’t old enough to nest. We helped her capture the turtle until the experts arrived, then learned that it was in fact, an adult terrapin who had nested in previous years. She was actually trying to nest, so we freed her to go about her business.

….ate LOTS of fresh mahi and crab. And hush puppies…real, southern hush puppies.

….remembered why it is crucial to run early in the day on Tybee. The Georgia sun can be brutal.

….relearned how to ride an upright coaster bike. After two years of riding only a recumbent tricycle, this was a challenge and there were a few unbalanced moments. Once we got the brakes adjusted, travel by bike was the ONLY way to get around.

…. found that sleeping on the beach is best done under an umbrella.

Beach dude

….watched dolphins playing about 100 yards offshore. First, you see a fin moving slowly across the water. Suddenly the dolphins are playfully diving — showing off for their audience.

…. watched some gorgeous sunsets — best from the Back River Beach.

Sunset on Tybee

…. took a long, early morning walk on the beach during low tide, and stared, fascinated, at the pelicans standing at the far end of the sand bar. Later in the afternoon, five pelicans flew overhead in formation. Only by watching them in flight, can one appreciate their amazing wingspan.

…spent an afternoon in Savannah — a beautiful, old city — but breathed a sigh of relief as we left the city behind and felt myself relax again as Tybee came back into view.

…. remembered how nearly impossible it is to get the sand out of one’s bathing suit.

…. remembered that if one takes a water bottle to the beach, one will inevitably take a slug of water only to realize that sand had somehow infiltrated the bottle….thus resulting in a mouthful of gritty sand. Yum.

…. had to ask — at least once a day — what day of the week it was (the true sign of a relaxing vacation).

…. found not one, but five cottages that most certainly meet my requirements for a retirement home.

…. documented a whole slew of ideas for continuing to make our house seem more of a “beach house”…including a shell-embedded toilet seat.

Lucite toilet seat with embedded shells

*To be continued…