Florida Wine Frenzy

When in Rome…….or Florida….do as the natives do! I love Florida’s unique take on wine. One of the cool things about the Sunshine State is their array of winemakers in the business of creating extra yummy and very unique fruit wines.  They seem to be the masters of “not grape” fruit wines. I’m saying literally, wines made without grapes; instead, using any other type of a fruit, like strawberry, or mango, or banana, and even dragon fruit!

I’m not talking about the age old “Boones Farm” tasting wine, either. No, Florida fruit wines are amazingly delicious, interesting blends FF Orange2and infusions that hook you at the first sip.  Some present a delicate touch to the pallet, others boast a bold flavor, and others sneak up on you with a burst of sweetness, even a chocolate-coffee tingle on the tongue, one of my personal favorites.

A few Florida wineries also delve into some not so typical wines, like carrot, lemon, and tomato wine. They are not bashful about experimenting with new fruits, and it’s a good thing! Of course, the staple grape down south is the muscadine, since other varieties are so impossible to grow in the tropical climate.

One great place to experience unusual, authentic fruit wines is Bunker Hills WineryBunkerIt’s a drive to what you may think is the “middle of nowhere” (Parrish FL) but I promise it’s worth the effort.  Bunker Hills is an ERW (Environmentally Responsible Winery), which means a very long list of commitments that you can learn about on their amazing tours.  Their winemaking process is completely green, organic, and “old fashioned” to the degree of making their own distilled water, and racking small batch glass carboy bottles for months in a temperature controlled environment, then bottling in recycle bottles.  Their wines are extremely seasonal and produced in small batches as the fruit becomes ready to work, and they sell out in a blink of the eye!  I have so many favorites.  Their Peach Sparkling wine is at the top of my list.

FF DakotahIf you want to go for a relaxing, scenic drive just outside of the Ocala area, Dakotah Winery in Chieftain is a great destination day trip to enjoy beautifully produced “traditional” wines that rely more on the muscadine grape.  Lush green pastures, soft rolling hills, this is horse country, and home to super friendly winemakers with great tasting wines!  A couple of my favorites are Dakotah’s  Port—a rich warm hug that makes you smile, perfect on a cool evening, and their Blackberry dessert wine—–oh so robust and delicious! After wine tasting you can shop their retail area, or take a peek at the wood ducks that hang out in their koi pond.

On the back roads skirting the edge of Bradenton, you’ll find the peaceful Rosa Fiorelli FF Rosa1Vineyards.  While this winemaker doesn’t delve into fruit wines, I have to say, she produces some truly spectacular muscadine wines.  I think her secret is using Old World Sicilian recipes from her homeland.  She can almost always be found behind the counter serving up wine tastings, with her gregarious friendliness and charm. Fiorelli’s offers Italian Buffet Dinner Tours and Wine and Dine evening  events throughout the year.  Her reds with lasagna?  Oh so yummy!  She has perfected an amazing muscadine dessert wine that feels warm yet crisp on the tongue with just the right amount of sweetness.  Perfect to share on special occasions, paired with something utterly chocolate.  Ah, decadence!

FF Orange1You are in for a real treat with Florida Orange Groves Winery in Pasadena.  This is home to the original fruit winery of Florida, and is the only winery allowed to use the official Florida Sunshine Tree symbol on their packaging. They have perfected the art of fruit wine production and offer over 40 different flavors of tropical fruit wines to choose from.  I have three absolute favorites:   Cocoa Beach (orange chocolate wine) Midnight Sun (orange coffee wine) and Banana wine.  In addition to presenting an FF Smoothieamazing selection of wines, they sell wine in a pouch, and wine smoothie mixes that take wine drinking to a whole new level.  On top of all that, they have a gift shop that can put a person into long term debt!  They offer so many cool, fun, wine accessories, glassware and other gifty items–it’s downright dangerous.

 

The Florida Winery is definitely where the action is.  Located in Madeira Beach, iFF MadBeach1n the heart of touristy John’s Pass.  This is a high energy, high traffic wine stop for anyone looking for VOLUME deals on wine.  They provide mix and match volume discounts that bring their tasty fruit wines to about $11 a bottle, and smoothie mixes, too.  They produce over a dozen flavors of wine including a marvelous Pirates Mead (orange honey wine).  I’m also particularly fond of their Razi (Raspberry) and Powi (Pomegranate) wines.  You’ll find plenty of gifts and souvenirs to choose from, too.   Besides the wine tasting experience, you can purchase a glass of wine or a wine slushy “to go” and stroll the 10 block strip of retail shops with it.  Hmmmm, another dangerous idea if you ask me….and oh did I mention that directly above them upstairs is where Mad Beach Craft Brewery is located?  Get a burger and get your craft beer taste buds going!

Lake Placid is a great town to visit for several reasons, and if you decide to go, Hen Scratch Farms is a “must do” stop to include in your day.  Where else can you walk among a couple hundred free ranging chickens, pick your own strawberries, muscadines and scuppernogs, and sample amazing wines?  All this plus a country store that sells cute crafty stuff, jellies, jams and EGGS, and a treat stand that serves up amazing strawberry shortcake, and fresh picked chocolate covered….yup… STRAWBERRIES!  They offer an array of award winning grape based wines, indeed.   I sure gravitate to their Blueberry Port, but also delight in their Southern Magnolia and Red Rooster wines.

FF KeelGee, could it be more than a coincidence that Keel and Curley Winery regularly win awards for their Strawberry Fusion wine, and are located in Plant City—the strawberry capital of the world?  And how convenient that they are also home to Two Henry’s Brewery, the makers of “Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry Stout”?  Yes, friends, this destination is the best of both worlds, wine and beer.  I’m sold on these two divine liquids, as well as their Sangria.  But there are many, many other taste sensations to experience.  It doesn’t hurt that you can order yourself a glass or bottle of your fave, grab some great food from their restaurant; Railcar 91, and sit down to live music on the weekend.  Yup, this is great day trip any day of the week that could last into the evening.

I could go on and on about Florida vineyards, as I’ve just scratched the surface with these seven. Perhaps it’s time to look at a Glamping experience with PR Brady AdVentures –we’ll create your own custom Florida wine tasting tour?  Trust me, it’s easy to get caught up in the Florida Fruit Wine Frenzy and I’m dialed in to the best destinations!

 

Thank you for reading my post. Have you had a similar experience?  I’d love to hear about it!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  I share information about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas. If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

Cooped Up

It sure would be awesome to have unlimited disposable income! Sadly, I don’t fall into that category.  Lately I scrimp and scrounge to make ends meet.  Being the DIY freak that I am, I tend to save things for future possible re-use whenever I can, rather than go out and buy new. Coop2You never know when a piece of PVC, or 50 pieces of it, may come in handy.  I have bricks and sticks and lumber and glass and boxes and wire and steel and tape and…and… and….you get the picture.Coop1

It happens that I’ve had this giant chain link fence dog kennel for well over 15 years.  It was given to me by former neighbors; they salvaged 3 of 4 sides during a yard renovation, and handed it over.  I slid it butt up to my shed and secured it tight to the shed.  It has served me well for dog containment when I mow the back yard.

But now, we’re dialing things up a few notches!

Since acquiring Cleopatra and Aphrodite (my two beautiful hens) they’ve been living inside of my cheap little camping screen Coop0tent and roosting in Jacks dog crate at night. I carry that crate into the sunporch every night for the girls safety, and then back to the tent in the morning. Guaranteed to be quite tiring after 7 days of it.

OOOh I feel a DIY idea coming on…..

After about a minute of inspection, that chain link kennel appears to have a whole new and exciting purpose—to become the girls chicken coop. I could see it in my minds eye—and with the help of my tool-maker friend, we got to work building their new home.

What’s a girl to do with a pile of PVC pipe and fittings?

Well make a chicken coop roof of course!

Coop3

Step 1, cut fittings to clip onto the top of the fence frame.Coop4Coop5

Step 2, cut roof beams to size.

Step 3, assemble and clip onto fence.

 

Coop6

Coop7Coop8Step 4, wrap chicken wire around entire kennel and roof to prevent any potential predator threat.  I used clear tie-wraps and the wire that the chicken wire fence was bound with to tie everything down.

Step 5, raise their “temporary” nesting box off the ground until I can afford to build them a nice little house.

Step 6, position the crate so they have an indoor place to retreat to.Coop9

I just happened to have a big, heavy duty, high table that was starting to decompose a little after 20 years of use at the hot tub. It is well built out of pressure treated decking wood and still very useable.  It’s perfect for the crate to sit on top of, and the heavy duty shelf underneath is just the right size to hold 2 nesting boxes.

Step 7, create and install perches for their entertainment and enjoyment.

Step 8, lay a fine floor of hay.Coop10

Step 9, strategically position ample food and water sources.

Step 10, attach waterproof tarp over a portion of the roof and sides to create a buffer from wind and rain.

And wha-la!  Time to bring the girls in for the big reveal!

I hope they like their new home!

Because I already had most of the materials to complete the job –this entire project ended up costing only $40.00 for chicken wire.

Now for some egg action!

 

Thank you for reading my post. Have you had a similar experience?  I’d love to hear about it!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  I share information about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas like this one. If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

 

 

Monks Steamer Bar

Oh how I miss Monks Steamer Bar!

I’ve been having dreams. Cravings. Unstoppable thoughts about giant garlic buttered shrimp; big, firm crab legs; plates of glorious, well prepared seafood at prices I can actually afford…..

monk1It all started in March 2015 when I went out to Happy Hour with a friend and we ended up at this quiet, “working mans” bar in Gulf Gate Florida. Nothing fancy, just cheap drinks, attentive wait-staff, and their claim to fame—great steamed seafood.

The menu is up on chalkboard. We had to do a double take looking at the prices. I ordered their two pounds of luscious steamed mussels for $9. We watched as they were prepared right there behind the bar by a dedicated bartender/steamer. They were fresh, perfectly seasoned, and downright amazing.

That plate was so impressive, I had to go back and try their other items. Several times.Monk2

How about these beauties—one dozen amazing butter/garlic peel and eat shrimp only $6.95/dozen.

YUM!

YUM!

Look at these beautiful top shelf Raw Oysters—And Monks is famous for their Oyster Monkafellas—steamed with garlic butter and Parmesan cheese— oooh la la!

Monk3

 

Crawfish, Little Neck Clams, Snow Crab Legs and Smoked Sausage, it’s all fantastic! Of course their prices have to flex a little with the market, but there’s no doubt they strive to offer great food at a very reasonable price.

One of Gulf Gate Sarasota’s best kept secrets, Monks Steamer Bar boasts some of the yummiest fresh steamed seafood you’ll find on Florida’s west coast. They’re easy to get to, casual, friendly, and reasonably priced, with indoor and outdoor seating, live music on the weekends, and a great Happy Hour from 4 – 6 every single day!

Like fresh seafood?

—then Get Shuckin’ over to Monks Steamer Bar!

Worth a try for any seafood enthusiast. I love this place and you will too!

Thank you for reading my post. Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear about it! All comments are greatly appreciated. I share information about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “What’s New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas. If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’. As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures! Thanks again!

Let’s Hit The Beach!

Truth number 1:

If you don’t get there by 9:30 a.m., you may not get a parking spot for hours

Truth number 2:

Count on Truth number 1 ‘times 10’ during spring break

Truth number 3:

Getting to the actual beach can upwards of a ¼ mile hike

Truth number 4:

Count on Truth number 3 ‘times 10’ during spring break

The simple plain truth is, it can be a heck of a challenge to hit the Florida beaches on a sunny day.  And isn’t every day pretty much a sunny day in the official “Sunshine State”?

But goodness knows, nothing will stop me from getting to and claiming my little piece of sand with a beach towel and some sunscreen.  And umbrella.  And Chair.  And music.  And a good book.  And extra towels.  And fins.  And snorkel.  And bucket for shells.  And some games.  And a cooler full of food and drinks for the day.  And other munchies….and…..and…..

Well it sure can be hard to haul all of that gear out to the beach when you’re facing the “Truth” of it all. That is, unless you’ve got one of these glorious carts!

This last year, while belaboring the ‘over the shoulder toting’ of gear for a day at St. Pete Beach, I couldn’t help but notice a few beach carts being navigated across the sand.  I watched with envy as sun worshippers rolled their belongings along the grainy ground with ease, and knew I had to have one.  I started my search, checking into the marts and the wholesale clubs.  Wow, there were quite a few styles to choose from.  I quickly discovered something huge.  The key is to find a cart with big wheels—wheels large enough to easily run through all sorts of sand, even the amazing “sugar sand” of the #1 beach in the country, Siesta Key Beach.

And this one is that, and more.BeachCart1

Introducing the Member’s Mark Multi-Purpose Utility Cart from Sams Club.

Amazing features of my beach cart include:

  • 4- super huge all-terrain wheels
  • A built in, removable insulated cooler with a cushioned shoulder strap
  • A place to hold 2 water (or whatever) bottles
  • Easy transport rail for up to 4 chairs
  • A built in umbrella or fishing rod holder
  • Heavy duty netting to throw wet, sandy gear in—by the time you reach your vehicle the sand has pretty much shaken off of everything which helps keep the mess to a minimumBeachCart2
  • Sturdy powder coated steel construction and super durable fabric bottom able to hold another cooler, fishing tackle, minnow bucket, or anything else you’ve just got to have with you —up to 125 pounds of carrying capacity!
  • Ability to close the cart flat with one touch of the EZ-Fold foot bar for convenient storage

 

The big test came when a friend and I headed to Honeymoon Island Beach with the dogs. Now THAT was a day requiring lots of gear. Just getting to the dog friendly beach area was about a half mile walk on a deep sand trail. We’d have spent half the morning dragging our stuff out there if not for my handy dandy cart. It powered through that sand like a dune buggy.

A well spent 50 some bucks, indeedBeachCart_nI can’t imagine life without my awesome beach cart! Just pop it open, load everything up, get rolling, and let’s hit the beach!  

 

 

 

 

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas. I look forward to your comments! And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.

Shower Me

I’m not gonna lie.  I’m the girl that can go well over a week without a real, modern, fully functioning bathroom.  Yep.  I can go without a shower.  I can go without a toilet.  I can do what I have to do when I’m in remote areas, “ruffin’ it”.  When it’s just me and the great outdoors?  No problem.

But I am also the girl that absolutely needs to have access to a shower when I’m not in the backwoods.  If I am going to be mingling with my fellow humans, I don’t want to stink.

Shower0When I arrived to Florida December 1st, I’d been on the road for 5 days without a shower.  And then it was another 2 weeks before I finally broke down and took a shower.  Yes, two weeks.  In this beautiful paradise farmstead, there is only one rustic option for a bath—an outdoor, cold water out of the well, shower.  Yup.  Cold water piped right out of the ground through some PVC, and out a shower head.  Turn the sprocket and there ya go.  So I bit the bullet and got in there when I finally couldn’t stand my own self any more.

OHHHHHH baby, that was one helluva refreshing experience!

Once.

Then, I tried combining a “Sun Shower” full of hot water with my cold-out-of-the-well water-shower.  What a pain THAT was.  Shower2Scalding hot and freezing cold water sources that just plain refuse to work together.  The idea that this would be an ongoing situation broke my heart.

I wanted so badly to have a real shower.  There had to be a way to get a hot shower here on the farm.

Well, I came to learn about a way to have a hot shower without using electricity.  Without trying to hoist a huge bag of hot water over your head and then have to hold a dinky little nozzle of super-hot water into the blast of cold water while trying to suds up and rinse off.   I found out about propane driven hot water heaters.

The water heater itself runs about $100.  Then you need a 20 gallon propane tank, some miscellaneous PVC for in and outbound water flow out of the water source, a couple shut off valves, and a pressure gauge and hose to control the propane entering the heater.

A very astute and kind man who shall remain nameless actually had a brand new hot water heater (still in the box) that he wasn’t currently using, and he let us have it.  We were able to gather up all the additional parts over the course of a few weeks.  Then the amazing Jeff came and installed everything.

Lo and behold, we now have the ability to have a hot shower at the farm.  I am not exaggerating in the least, how cherished an experience it is to be able to have a nice hot shower after 70 degree days on a working farm.  Truly priceless!  And I’m sure the public we deal with, and other people I meet with all appreciate it just as much!

Shower4So here is how it works:

Step one–open the shut off valve to allow the water to run.  It will be cold water.

Step two–turn on the propane.

Step three–this step basically takes care of itself.  The igniter switch operates on two AA batteries, and doesn’t even have to be flipped each time you use it; turning on the propane ignites it automatically. Within just a minute or so, the water begins to heat up to the perfect temperature.

Shower3There is also a temperature gauge in place to control how hot you want the water.  One 20# propane tank will provide many showers for us.

But wait, there’s more!  After several months of enjoying hot showers, we have tweaked the “system” to be more accommodating.  Jeff made improvements to allow us to simply turn on one shut off valve located IN the shower to start the hot water, without having to go back and forth through those steps.  What more could a girl ask for?

My favorite time to shower has become late night.  Taking into consideration the open air design, mosquitos are gone by 9ish, and the stars are totally out and shining bright.  When there is a big moon, it’s simply an enchanting experience to suds up to the call of the owls.Shower5 Nothing compares.  What a grand treat!

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to have a hot shower but there is no electricity, you may want to check out the idea of a propane powered hot water heater!

 

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas. I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.

 

NO TIME FOR THIS! Home Cold Remedy

What’s a good time to be down for the count sick with a horrible influenza, respiratory or big bad common cold?  When can you blow off 3 weeks?

NEVER, right?

At least that’s how I see it.  I’m never sick.  Well, hardly ever.  I just don’t participate in those wimpy, irritating little nuisance colds that everybody passes back and forth, the ones that just kind of hang on for what seems like an eternity.   And I certainly want no part of those mega viral infections that last a good 3 weeks with lingering bronchitis crap for another month.  When I do feel something coming on, my initial plan of attack is “positivity combined with denial and lots of water”.  I tell myself over and over that everything is peachy and I am not sick, then “act as if” I’m fine all day and push through it like normal (and that means healthy lifestyle, food and exercise).  That, and I drink a bunch more water to flush the system.  After all, I just don’t have time to be sick.  Who does?

But once in a great while, some mutant, alien mega-germ will find its way to me.  The kind that you don’t get back up from for weeks.   It hasn’t happened in years.  But one just tried to rear its ugly head at me Last Thursday.

THE SYMPTOMS:

Thursday late afternoon, November 6th I noticed something was off.  I felt tired.  More tired than I should.  I shook it off, figuring I’m running like crazy to catch up from being gone hunting, getting ready to leave town, all the home maintenance chores and throw a bonfire party in between, and well……of course I’m tired!  I pressed on.  I’m not sick.

Friday morning when I woke up my back hurt.  My legs hurt.  My arms hurt.  Pretty much every joint in my body hurt.  Dang.  Must be from all the walking, tree climbing, and equipment carrying I did up north.  It’s all catching up with me.  I need to get moving, get circulating, get going; I’ve got a party to plan for!  So I did.  I can’t allow my “to do” list not get done!  On top of the rest of my food and beverages, I slammed 5-16oz bottles of water like nothing, wanting more.  But heck, at least I’m not sick.

Saturday morning, the same thing.  Woke up with whole body pain, and very tired.  So tired, that I actually napped for 20 minutes to recharge.  Still, I went to the store for final groceries, cooked, did last minute cleaning and organizing in the yard.  The neighbor came over to help chainsaw down some wood.  If only I could squeak in another nap. But by 5:00, wooo hooo it was party time!  The yard was hopping with friends and fun that went on until about 10:30 Saturday night.  Although I wasn’t quite myself, I kind of forgot how crappy I felt.

Sunday morning —SPLAT!—death warmed over!  My eyes opened but I could not move.  Could not.  My body hurt so bad it was scary.  My chest felt like an elephant was on it.  I couldn’t breathe through my nose.  I couldn’t take a breath through my mouth without going into a raspy chest cough.  “I am not sick.  I am not sick, I have things to do to prepare for the coming snow, I have people to call, arrangements to make, I am not sick.” I crawled to the kitchen, made breakfast and coffee, and blew my nose for 15 minutes.  I tried to tackle my list.  Nope.  I was dizzy. I was coughing.  I was blowing my nose.  I hurt everywhere.  My chest! OH!  I lay down.  I was miserable.

Am I having a heart attack?  What if I die?  How long before someone notices?   I’ll just lie down for a few minutes…..

I wake up from having slept pretty much all day.  My “positivity combined with denial” tries to kick in.  Oh, this is silly, I’m not sick! I was just tired from partying and the smoke from the fire didn’t help.  I force myself up and call a friend to chat.  Our conversation perked me up enough to try to get things done before the days over.  I head outside at 4:30, determined to finish yard work before the big snow storm hits.  Bending over scooping up leaves into the bag made me dizzy. I was dreadfully out of breath, wheezing, coughing, with numbing pain throughout my body.  I barely got it all done. Once again I got help from the neighbor; this time to securely cover my fish house and snowmobile for the winter.  I staggered back into the house at 6:30 Sunday night.

Okay, I might be getting sick.

I crashed on the couch until almost 10pm.  When I woke up it was safe to say I was totally sick. Yes, despite my denial and positivity and determination, I seem to have been slapped with some mutant alien virus that is trying to keep me down for the count.

And I don’t have time for that.

THE SOLUTION:

Sunday night 10:30pm, my temperature a whopping 102.5.  I drank 3-16oz bottles of water instantly, ate a mound of steamed broccoli, took triple doses of every vitamin I had in the house, which was Flaxseed, Fish Oil, Vitamins E, A, D, and Centrum,  500 milligrams IBProphen, followed by 2 shots of Jameson, and went back to bed.  The next 3 days were sort of a blur.

From Monday through yesterday (Wednesday) I have been awake for approximately 4 hours out of each 24 hour day.  During that awake time I have consumed:

2 – 1½ cup servings of hot water with 1t of Cayenne Pepper and a shot of lemon juice each day  ( first thinHomeColdRemedyk in the morning and again at about 8 pm)
10 – 16 oz. bottles of water a day
1 pound of steamed broccoli each day
1/2 gallon cranberry juice each day
1 quart of my home made tomato basil soup (a couple servings)
About 16 oz.  grilled salmon (2 meals)
About 16 oz. grilled chicken (2 meals)
Half a pot of coffee each day with a Tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper mixed in the grounds
A shot of Jameson or Makers Mark before bed

Most of my awake time was spent eating or preparing food and drinks, taking care of dogs, and checking email twice a day.  I barely got out to shovel off the front and back doorway and clear a runway for the girls (they won’t put their prissy little feet in the snow to go pee) from the snow storm.  And boy did we get a snow storm.  Each 15 minute shoveling spree I attempted caused me to sleep for 2 hours after.  Thank god my neighbor came over with his snow blower!  I managed to do yoga for 1 hour on Tuesday, and Wednesday.  The rest of the time I slept.

Now here we on Thursday, the sun is going down, and I feel like a million bucks!  All symptoms are gone.  The fever is gone.  The congestion is gone.  The pain is gone. The coughing is almost gone.  My skin looks great!  I’m HUNGRY for something other than broccoli for sure, but ladies and gentlemen, I believe I kicked what could have been a seriously nasty virus in the ass, in a matter of a few days.   Am I dreadfully behind with those lists? Hell yeah, but I feel better than I have in a long time–I’ll get caught up in a snap.

Important take-aways:

  • It’s true that taking a bunch of daily supplements minimizes in impact over time.  You are far better off eating your vitamins through healthy foods.  But a super-dose of vitamins when the immune system is compromised will shock the system and produce great short term results, especially when done in conjunction with other healthful steps.
  • Broccoli is the UBER vitamin C source—far more beneficial than drinking orange juice. Did you know that a 100 gram serving of steamed broccoli will give you 150% of the recommended amount of Vitamin C?
  • Cranberry Juice is loaded with important antioxidants.  It fights infections and cures sore throats.  Did you know that one cup of cranberries provides over 8000 antioxidant capacity?
  • Cayenne Pepper is such a miracle spice!  It is a super-detoxifier, epic pain reliever, and natural flu fighter.
  • Fish and Chicken—so important to consume protein!  Especially when the body is under attack whether it’s from illness, exercise or over use, lean proteins go right to the muscle to nourish the body in pain.
  • It goes without saying how important it is to drink enough water every day.   When the body is being attacked with infection, the need for water can more than double!
  • My tomato basil soup is bound to make anyone feel a little better.  There’s no place like home!  Here’s the recipe:
  • As for the shot of booze, well, it gets the Cayenne taste out of the mouth and helps to settle in for the night without going into a coughing fit.  Okay, sure, I’m rationalizing…..I just like a little nightcap…..

What is your sure fire instant remedy to thwart a vicious viral infection?  I’d love to hear.  Don’t have one?  Seriously, try my regime the next time you’re immune system is compromised.  It may work for you too!

Take Care and Be well!

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “What’s New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas. I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.

 

 

Windows To The World

The basic purpose of a Toy Hauler is to be able to carry transportation with you-the back door drops open into a ramp that allows you to drive an ATV, Golf Cart, motorcycle, or even a very small car up into the trailer.

I don’t have transportation to haul, yet. So, one of the coolest things I do with my Toy Hauler is drop the back door down part way, and prop it up with “legs”, creating a walk out deck that can also become an enclosed porch.  A heavy white vinyl panel wall with screen on the top half that zippers open and closed in the center, closes off the back of the Toy Hauler from the outside, and a tent is attached that stretches out across the “door” that has opened down.   On the inside are two white vinyl flaps that can close across the screens.

The good news is, the tent provides a whole extra “room”, and the big screen window of the tent provides an amazing view (if you’ve got an amazing view at your disposal, that is). Being able to have that extra space makes a huge difference in long term stays.  The bad news is, the tent is thin, not very sturdy, and if it’s chilly out, the cold comes straight in through the vinyl and screen wall that close off the toy hauler from the porch–unless you drop the heavy white vinyl panels down to cover the screens, thereby, closing off all the light from the porch, and giving the inside of the Toy Hauler a feeling of small space again.  Well, the other day I decided to do something about it.

My latest DIY improvement to the Toy Hauler—crafting seasonal windows! Tools for the job?

One roll of 8mm clear vinyl (48” wide by 25 feet long)
One 15 foot roll of white industrial Velcro
One roll of white Duct tape
Scissors
Tape Measure
Pen

First I measured the screen window part of the heavy white vinyl panels at 4 foot wide, and about 5 foot long, and cut 2 slightly oversized clear vinyl covers for them. I attached them by securing industrial Velcro to the tops of the clear vinyl, and then placing them about 4 inches above the screen area on outside side of the white vinyl panel wall.  Then I covered that attachment with two rows of white duct tape, both for cosmetic reasons, and to add strength to the Velcro bond.

The clear vinyl covers several inches below the screen, to ensure blocking of any air movement, and reaches beyond the outside edges and slightly over the zipper sides of each of the two sides. I selected several places along the outside edges of the clear windows to secure to the wall using Velcro, so there is no chance of the clear panels flopping open in wind. WindowWallAs for the center where the windows meet – they overlap just enough in the center to hold them together, but I still reinforced them with several 1” spots of Velcro attachment along the zipper and one side of the very bottom of one panel. They completely block all air flow!

If I don’t want to close off the screen with the clear vinyl windows, I can easily roll one or both of the clear panels up and secure them at the top of the white vinyl panels with a ribbon. When total privacy is required, I can just drop the inside short white panels down, covering the screen area from the inside, with or without the clear vinyl windows on the outside.

But when those clear panels are down and the wall is zipped up, I must say, the wind and cold stays out, and the design is sturdy enough to hold in the heat even at 34 degrees! (so far, that is…still unknown how cold we can go….)

My little DIY project works slick!

And more good news—now that I have the clear windows attached to the white vinyl wall, I will be able to bring light into the back of the Toy Hauler even without a tent extending out across the dropped door. The vinyl windows will work just fine being exposed directly to the outside (although I hesitate to test them in a torrential rain storm). If the tent falls apart, I can still enjoy an open “deck” as well.

The same situation exists with the door into my Toy Hauler. The main door has just a small, heavily frosted glass window, so when it’s closed there is very little light that can get in.  When the door is secured open, what’s left is a screen door, which is just that…screen….so again, it gets pretty darn cold if you try to secure the main door open and just use the screen door.

And Leech Lake in October? Well, it can get chilly, indeed!  The fix for this situation? Craft another seasonal window, of course!

For this project, no duct tape was needed, just white Velcro and clear vinyl. DoorI was able to cut the 28 ½” wide by 35” long top screen and 28 ½  wide by 24 long bottom screen panel needed in about 10 minutes, and have them attached to the screen door on the top and sides in less than 30 minutes.  I cut the Velcro to half its width along all 3 sides of the door and made sure to attach the soft side of the Velcro ON the screen door so stuff doesn’t stick to it.  The clear vinyl windows completely block all wind, but give me loads of additional light.  Another added benefit is that the clear vinyl will prevent the no-see-ums from getting inside (yes, those pesky biters can squeeze through normal window screens!)  My intention is to leave the clear vinyl on my screen door “most” of the time unless I’m camped somewhere where it is warm enough to not worry about it.

And there you have it. Another simple DIY solution is achieved!

Here’s to lighting things up with my windows to the world!

 

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category–I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.

Erecting a Screen Porch – Improvising

Welcome to a short bit on my ongoing trailer follies, and DIY skills….

Despite everything I’ve gone through with it, I do love my Toy Hauler. One thing that would make it better would be to be able to finally drop the back down and pop out the screen tent for added space.  In the whole time I’ve owned this Toy Hauler, the screen tent expansion has been up about 6 days total. That’s because the screen tent is so cheaply made that it cannot endure any weather whatsoever.  Nothing.  Yes it’s still brand new, barely used.

The conditions are perfect here on the lake in North Western Minnesota, to set it up this visit. No rain in the forecast, and sheltered from any potential wind, it’s time to open up the back and set it up.

Or so I thought.

A big challenge parking my rig on this lake property (see Angles Curves and Mounds Part 1) was getting it level. Not only was there a severe slant left to right, but also, a serious downhill pitch front to back.  When I dropped the back of the trailer down, even fully extended, the “legs” were about 16” or more too short!

How do you close over a foot and a half of distance and maintain sturdy stable support?Improvising1

Step 1, find a good, tall “green” stump (or two). As luck would have it, there was a stock pile of oak stumps on the property (yeah, I had a close encounter with one of them on my first visit (see Angles Curves and Mounds Part 2).  I already had to enlist a stump under the back right leveler leg, which has been working out just fine.

An important consideration for leveling is to use objects that will hold and distribute the weight being placed on them safely. After close scrutiny of my choices, I rolled an enormous, solid oak stump across the property over to the left side of the trailer, and stood it upright under the corner. The height was perfect to work with the adjustable deck leg.  I found another stump, even bigger and taller, to roll over to the right corner, where there was even more of a pitch.  Perfect!  But in trying to place the pedestal legs on top of the stumps, there was a serious problem.  The stumps were so big around, they sat at an angle on the ground, forcing the adjustable legs to sit crooked, making them far from sturdy.

Step 2, find an object (or two) to level the downhill side of the stumps, to make them solid and sturdy. Yes, I searched the property high and low, trying to find something just the right size to slide under the downhill side of the stumps to level them out against the hill.  All I could come up with were two, very long, 2 x 4’s.  I slid them under the stumps, checked the level, and presto, my “deck” is now a sturdy, high rise balcony.  Added bonus is that fewer wild critters can reach that high to crawl up there!

Improvising2

 

Within minutes I had the screen porch set up and secured as tightly as possible to keep out creatures (and keep mine in). To my dismay, the thin cheap tent fabric was riddled with holes across the top, although I do not understand how that could happen so soon.  But, a little strapping tape patched the holes quickly—we’ll see how well it holds up.

 

 

Improvising3It could be said that my project looks somewhat “amateurish”, but hey, if it gets the job done, who cares? My improvisions cost me nothing but time and a little manual labor, and now, I have a spectacular view from my high rise screen porch!

 

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category–I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.

 

Stewart’s Automotive

What do you do when your vehicle breaks down in the middle of no-where, in the north woods of Minnesota? Well if you are anywhere near Walker, you’d best be calling Stewart’s!

I had the great misfortune of having my truck act up when I was at my friends Cabin on Leech Lake. I had arrived on Thursday evening.  Friday mid-morning I was planning to drive into town with Buddy to see the vet, but as I approached my truck, I was met with a sound as though the truck was already running.  I looked around the truck, jumped in to verify the keys were not in the ignition and sat dumbfounded for a second until realizing that, the truck itself wasn’t running, but the heater fan was running full blast in my truck.  Even though the dial was turned to “off”.  And I couldn’t turn it off.  There was no way to stop the fan from running.  In fact, it didn’t matter what switch or lever I moved, nothing changed.  And the air was not hot, or cold, just air. Oh my, it was probably on ever since I parked on Thursday—and running all night!  I tried to start the truck, but it wouldn’t turn over.  I tried several times, to no avail.

Well I had no internet reception. Phone was marginal at best.  I tried to call friends back home for advice, but got voicemail.  For now, I was stuck at the lake.

When Cindy and Clark arrived Saturday the sound was down to a clicking noise. Clark tried pulling fuses one by one to see which one would stop the fan.  None of them did.  Eventually the noise stopped–the truck died completely.  Battery was drained.

Cindy and I drove their fancy red truck to town to run errands on Tuesday and were referred to Stewart’s Automotive.   We stopped in just to give the place a look-see.

Now, they could have given us women a whole string of B. S. about what may or may not be the issue when we explained what was going on, but instead they gave us some sound advice of how to troubleshoot the situation, and assurance that they could come and get the truck if we can’t get it to them. What a rare treat to not feel taken advantage of right out of the gate!

Since Clark had already done the exact troubleshooting they suggested, it was a simple matter of getting cables on the battery, giving it a good jump and driving to their shop for service, which we did several days later. Turns out I needed a new Blower Motor Resistor and 7 pin Pigtail Connector, my unit was shot.  They were able to call in for parts to be delivered same day while we shopped in Walker, and had repairs done in a few hours for only $200.  And there was no “scary laundry list” of additional stuff for hundreds of dollars that I also have to have done.  Wow.

Stewart’s simply fixed the problem, and now my fan system for the heat and air seems to be working better than ever! I am grateful for the fast, superior no nonsense service I received at Stewart’s Automotive in Walker.  In addition to being all that, they were kind enough to let me sit in their waiting lounge and do some computer work using their WIFI.  That’s when I had the opportunity to talk with Troy, the owner, and discover our hunting backgrounds and “people circles” indeed crossed.   I highly recommend Stewart’s Automotive if you find yourself in need of a mechanic up north!

Talk to Troy and tell him PR the bowhunter from Minneapolis sent you.

 

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category–I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information.

 

 

The Village Square

Village 1Scores of people clad in shorts, flip flops and “UP North” tee-shirt swarm the little café, hoping for a reprieve from the sweltering heat and burning sun. They’ve come from all over—from coast to coast, from other countries, and from just a few hours south, in Minnesota.  The primary attraction is Leech Lake.  Next, seems to be The Village Square.  Owned and operated by generations of a local Walker family, this hot spot has been in business since 1979.

Yes, this little coffee shop and bistro is hopping with hungry, thirsty, vacationing customers. After my long bike ride into Walker, the idea of air conditioned cold seems a bit extreme, so I remain outside.  I am fortunate enough to have secured a table with an umbrella before the overflow of indoor crowds burst out.  Service is fast and friendly.  My waitress brings me a pitcher of ice water, and gives me all sorts of ideas of where else to ride while I am in the area.

What an impressive menu! From pizza to pasta, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and an array of apps, plus a full service bar, full service coffee shop, AND an amazing ice cream counter!   On top of all that, they host live music, cater events and offer carry out.  As I pour over the many food choices, I am thinking, “yes, I will be frequenting this place”.   My waitress returns to take my order, and I anxiously await delivery of my much anticipated meal. GreekChickenWrap

The Greek Chicken Wrap is simply delicious. A huge tortilla, filled with fresh cooked and seasoned chicken, lettuce, tomato, olives, feta cheese, cucumbers, pepperoncini, and a light vinaigrette to keep things moist.  Along with a side of fries–wow, what a grand mid-day meal for under $10.00!

As tempting as it was to ‘wrap up my wrap meal’ with one of their home made parlor milk shakes, I resisted the urge, and instead carried out a menu to ponder over for future visits. And there will be many more visits.  They brew fabulous coffee, offer free WiFi, make a mean Bloody Mary from what I could see, and are open 7 days a week, from at least 8 am until 9 pm.  Not bad for a small town.   Yes, I don’t just give this place a thumbs up…..I give it two thumbs and 8 fingers up! High TEN!Next time you find yourself driving through Walker MN, be sure to stop at The Village Square!

 

You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under the “Whats New” blog category–I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning more.