Monday, April 1, 2013

Dunnellon and Gainesville

It's been a busy week for work - I have about half of my client's work in and turning it around pretty quickly. I hope I can get the rest in next week but I know that is highly unlikely! I was a bit worried about this tax season, with Bill not working and all, wondering if it would be difficult for me to find time to work without feeling like I was missing out on some fun, but it's all worked out quite nicely. He keeps himself quite busy with chores around the rig and his ever growing garden. That man has the greenest thumb, ever! He is bringing some peppers in that he grew from seeds and just moved them outside. He will be replanting them just about the time we leave here, I think. He is also taking a very active part in cooking our meals, which can be pretty labor intensive. Yesterday our newest toy arrived - the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. We had been needing a larger rice cooker and when I started to do some research I knew this was the way to go. It is a pressure cooker, slow cooker and rice cooker. It can also do oatmeal and even has a timer on it so you can set it all up the night before and have oatmeal ready in the morning, but the best feature of all, for our lifestyle, is that you can cook dry beans without soaking them the night before and have them done in less than an hour! I have been a bit hesitant to use dry beans - remembering to soak them the night before just wasn't happening, even though we know that it is a much better way to go than using canned beans.  Now it's a no-brainer! Bill spent the day today getting  to know this piece of machinery - it will definitely be a "work-in-progress" to get down the correct timing and amounts of water. One of our favorite things to eat here in Cedar Key is the black beans and yellow rice down at "Eat at Pat's," so after some digging around the internet I found some recipes for Bill to try. WOW, is all I can say! Along with our favorite chili recipe from the "Crazy, Sexy, Kitchen" cookbook, this will be a regular item on our menu. Stay tuned for more on our progress.

When I came home from yoga, Friday morning, Bill told me about a kayak trip down the Rainbow River, in Dunnellon, that a couple staying at the campground told him about while he was out visiting. They raved about the experience and liked it so much they were going to go again that day. It sounded great and I said, without hesitation, let's go! The weather was predicted to be in the high 70's there and I had been working all week and could use a break. Plus, with all of the bad weather we have been having, we hadn't been out on the water in months. There was some discussion as to if we should pack up the canoe and take it down there but Bill didn't feel that the $30 we would be saving was worth the hassle, so we packed up some drinks and snacks and headed out to Dunnellon. Some time ago, when we first arrived in Cedar Key, someone told me about Dunnellon - I can't remember who it was but I do remember that they told me good things about it. And they were right! It is a cute little town about an hour south of here and as we drove into town the first thing I noticed was this great statue.
How can you not love this place?!
We found the Aquatic Wilderness Adventures quickly enough and were able to jump on the shuttle that was just about to leave. Bill and I haven't kayaked since last winter when we were here but we have been canoeing. We both had forgotten how fast a kayak moves and we really had a great time on the water. The weather was absolutely perfect with the sun shining and a slight breeze, it was more than comfortable out. We had hoped that we would see the folks that had recommended this place to us as we paddled down the river but that didn't work out. We took our time and spent about 4+ hours on the water. Afterwards we went to Swampy's Bar & Grille, right there on the river, for refreshments and some rice and beans. As we were getting ready to leave we heard Bill's name being called and low and behold who was sitting at the bar, but Bill's friends! They were just about 20 minutes behind us on the river and had been sitting at the bar while we were looking for them from our seats overlooking the river. We went over and chatted it up and thanked them for the tip - we had a great time.

Saturday the Gainesville hash was setting an Easter trail and we had such a good time at the last hash we decided to drive in and go to it. First stop was at one of our favorite restaurants, Tempo Bistro To Go. This is a fabulous little place that has a few tables to sit at but is mostly take-out. They use the freshest ingredients and base their menu on what is available at the farmer's market. Most everything they have can be veganized and the food is phenomenal. We each had the special pressed sandwich that wasn't on the regular menu - I had it a few weeks ago and knew how good it was. Afterwards we had just enough time to do some grocery shopping at one of the natural food stores and then we met up with the hash at Hogan's Great Sandwiches, where they were starting.

It was a small crowd for this hash - I don't think that Gainesville ever has a big turn-out for their hashes, but that never bothers us. The people are great and we had a blast. The hare set the trail up like a giant Easter egg hunt, but with trinkets and items that hashers would especially like, such as small bottles of liquor in giant Easter eggs, melted messy jello shots in Easter eggs, some martini spears, and other goodies. It was a short trail but still took a couple of hours because of all of the hunting and false trails. There were only 5 of us on trail including one virgin, and the other two had only hashed once before. We ended at a bar and the RA (Religious Advisor who leads the circle at the end) who hadn't run the trail showed up to lead circle, Bill was thrilled that he didn't have to do it. Oh, and Bill wants me to mention that they had really hot bartenders!

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