September 29, 2014

Spiced Tea / Goodbye Lie Diaries-Miss Ella

spiced tea warming in slow cooker
I hadn't made Spiced Tea in a decade.  With fall in the north Florida air, the thought of it made me wonder if the eleven other girls at my bunko party would like it.  Boy howdy, did they ever!  Half of them asked for the recipe!  The scent filled the house, making it all the cozier.  Hot or cooled, it is simply lovely and easy to make.  There is sugar in it, so keep that in mind, and make it a treat for the whole family on those rainy or snowy days. 

September 23, 2014

Angels on Duty

I had a good scare recently.  Happily, the angels were on guard and alert because I’m here to tell about it.  I was strolling down the sidewalk one morning, appreciating the clear blue of the cloudless sky and thinking I just might take a picture of it for this blog.  I also thought how a photo of a solid blue rectangle in a posting might seem a little whacked, unless you are familiar with my quest to see and show things in a positive, pretty and often peculiar way, whenever I can.

September 19, 2014

Peeper's Pickles- Goodbye Lie Diaries

from Miss Ella's
 Fernandina Flavors Cooking Collection
Matriarch Ella Dunnigan concocts, creates, gathers and is responsible for foods served on the fictional Dunnigan family Aqua Verdi Passenger Line ships in the 1880s.  A little bit of make believe  plus a whole lot of real good taste result in these delightful dishes still served in modern times.  (For your convenience, recipes are generally written in today's amounts and measurements.)


Fernandina on Amelia Island

Peeper writes:

Howdy. I'm Grandmother Peeper, star of Jane Marie Malcolm's storybooks called The Goodbye Lie. My fave-rite friends call me Peeper. I do most a the cookin' round Dunnigan Manor.  I have ta make extree bee-cause old Aunt Noreen comes awalkin' cross the field ta eat my food since she can't stand swallowin' her own. 

I like ta eat from my garden and make these here pickles.  I'm glad ta be asharin' them through Jane Marie's magic e-lectronics.  I don't know how 'zactly it works, but I don't need ta know everythin'.

 Peeper's Zucchini Pickles
1 pound zucchini, washed with the ends cut off.  Slice 'em pretty thick, about 1/4 inch
3 cups a vinegar, white or cider
1 cup white sugar
lemon - squeeze out a tablespoonful
salt ta taste
Cook in a pan on the stove, givin' it a stir so it don't burn none.  It's done when the sugar is all dissolved.  Put the zucchini slices in a clean jars and pour the sugar juice overtop.
 Keep on ice fer 'bout a month.
You can likewise use yellow squash or cucumber slices, if you're awantin' ta

September 15, 2014

Doggie Workout Video

Amelia Island's Abby, our talking, singing, joke-telling Chihuahua, is at it again.  Now she has her own exercise video.  You see, it all began when she put on the workout suit I made her from an old sweat sock.  Yes folks, with a no sewing and a few snips of the scissors, you can create a new outfit for your small doggie, too. 

Abby in her sweatband made from the sock cuff

Abby speed digging beneath her dog towel while wearing her sweat sock exercise togs

May we suggest that you and your dog take a look-see and a listen to Abby's workout video  below with the hope it will inspire your lumpy, porky puppy AND you to get up and MOVE. Even if it is  just one extra wag of your tails, to Abby's way of thinking, that qualifies as exercise. 

In case you don't speak Chihuahua, here are the lyrics to her workout ditty:
Hello everybody!  It's time to exercise!
And a one and a bark and a sniff and poop.
And a two and a bark and eat and poop.
And  three and a bark and run and poop.
One and two and poop, poop, poop!
Now, don't you feel better?

Use these instruction to make your dog a sock sweater: 
Thank you, Phillip.
(Abby I is our current Abby's ancestor. Given as a birthday gift in the 1880s to Aunt Noreen, a major player in my Goodbye Lie series of novels, Abby I lives out back of Duffy Place with Justice, Noreen's hired hand.  Since Aunt Noreen dislikes everything about dogs, from their fur to their smell, Abby I is fat and happy with Justice.  Abby I makes a cameo appearance in Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, the third novel in my trilogy. -jmm)

September 10, 2014

Mark of a Man Excerpt + Aunt Noreen's Potpourri Recipe

Amelia Island's Mark of a Man is the upcoming novel in my historical suspense/romance Goodbye Lie series.  Set in 1898 on Amelia Island, Florida, Aunt Noreen and her daughter, Nora, are having a lovely time at the John Philip Sousa concert, which unexpectedly is presented in Fernandina, the small town on the island. Yes, a lovely time, that is,  until Aunt Noreen starts her stuff. 


   Casually standing and stifling a yawn, Noreen added, "By the way, daughter, I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but did you speak to Austin about his pigs and their smell?"
   Nora sprang to her feet.
   "I am aware your father gave him permission to corral his animals out back of your house, but the odor …  You know how I hate to complain …"
   Nora was proud of herself for not choking since her mother was the queen of queens when it came to belly aching.
   "And I've been so patient in not saying much about it, yet I must alert you to the disagreeable situation. Since Clabe brought Abby home, I can't seem to catch my breath in my own house. Why else would I relegate that dog to live with Justice in his cabin most of the time?  I admit, she has made me smile once or twice when she's not tearing up the newspaper or tracking sand inside or leaving her fur on my rugs, but she smells like the animal she is. My tender constitution requires open windows as weather permits to keep the house fresh. When the wind blows, it blows Abby's odor out and then it is quickly replaced by all that pig stink. There are times Duffy Place smells as bad inside as it does out! Oh, how I dread rainy days like today or cold days when we have to button up everything and that nasty odor gets trapped indoors.  Should Mr. Sousa smell it, I would die of embarrassment on the spot! On the spot! By way of a natural perfume, I have instructed Winnie that she is to steam apples, cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peels at the first sign of a cloud."
   Unable to keep her patience, Nora sniped back at her mother, ever the hypochondriac. "Tender constitution?" 
   Remembering her daughter was still young and had yet to appreciate the depth of her physical and mental suffering over the years, Noreen said, "We will save the discussion about me for later. Now we are talking about your husband's offensive pig farming occupation.  How you can stand to be touched by a man in such a line of work?"
   "How dare you. How dare you!" Nora spit in anger and none-too softly. "Austin is a fine, honest, loving husband to me. You knew when we married he was a pig farmer and a volunteer fireman. I don't ever hear you saying a prayer for his safety when it comes to risking his life to save others or their homes. All you do is carry on and find the negative in everything. When you and father suggested we build our house behind Duffy Place like Breelan and Carolena did behind Dunnigan Manor when they wed, it was explained how Austin's animals needed to be close by for him to care for them. We built on the back of your property, as far from your house as possible with the pigpens behind that. We could have just as easily gotten a piece of land somewhere else, but you insisted we stay near to you.  You assured us you'd have no problem with this. Besides, Austin keeps the pens in pristine condition. Like most of your problems, this one is all in your head. The only foul smell in your house is when you burn the beans! And my husband bathes twice a day, if you must know!"
   Noreen crossed her arms over her ample bosom, tightened her lips and tried to close off her hearing, as was her usual when she was admonished.
   "You pretend that if you preface your comments with an 'I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but--,'  it takes away the sting in what you say.  You know it doesn't! Who made you Lord High Executioner anyhow, dear mother?"

Aunt Noreen's Potpourri Recipe
quarter  2 apples
3 to 6 cinnamon sticks broken in half 
small handful of cloves
peel of 2 to 3 oranges- chopped into 1 inch pieces
water to cover
Simmer above ingredients, uncovered, to refresh and deodorize your home.

September 6, 2014


An Almost True Story
Hubby Bruce and I went to a local restaurant and stayed for the weekly trivia game.  We’d heard about it and, heck, you can win free food.  Since we like their pizza, why not have an extra large, thin crust, double cheese with mushrooms on half and pepperoni and green pepper on the other half, on them?  Oh, may I mention we are pretty good at trivia?  It’s been a while since we’ve played Trivial Pursuit, a game from the 1980s, but when we did, we beat the socks off our kids. 
Once the rules were explained, mainly no cell phones allowed with which to google the answers and no shouting them out, we chose a name for our two-person team.  Being the well educated sophisticates that we are, we cleverly decided upon Team Malcolm.  (In case you don’t know, Malcolm is our last name.)
We began.  The first question: How many days are in a fortnight?  I jumped on that one, writing down the number 14.  Correct, of course.  Then I got Joint Chiefs of Staff right and Bruce got Pulp Fiction. It went downhill at lightning speed from there. 
After ten minutes, we were doing so poorly that when they asked five questions about television theme songs from the '90s, I hollered, “We didn’t even own a TV back then!”  Not true, but I was hoping for a little sympathy at our wretched showing.  When none was forthcoming, we left at half-time having learned a couple of lessons.  #1.  Just because I beat a radio DJ out of a pizza twenty-one years ago by stumping him with Bruce’s question:  What was Li’l Abner’s legitimate day job?  Answer:  He was a mattress tester for the Stunned Ox Mattress Factory.  Yes, just because I won that one, doesn’t mean we know quite everything.  #2.  Never assign your real last name to your team because Amelia Island, where we live, is a small place and word spreads quickly of any humiliation.  Examples of such: So far this morning, the mailman asked me if I know what color the sky is and a store clerk asked me how many toes are on a human being’s left foot.  While I’m pretty sure the sky is blue, I’m thinking the toe thing might be a trick question.  Is that with our without webs?  Do webbed toes count as one or two toes?  Hmm.  I’m still thinking about this one over …

September 1, 2014

Beach Warning

When you are at the beach, it is always a good idea to know what the different color warning flags mean. The International Lifesaving Federation has determined these colors define the surf conditions and hazards in the water.
a weekend at Main Beach in Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida
- note yellow flag on lifeguard chair
 sign posted on lifeguard chair explains the meaning of each of the different colored flags
 Rip currents are a serious danger to swimmers but can be survived by swimming parallel to shore. Read the sign above for details.
Lightning Alert
When there is lightning within two miles of our Main Beach area, a fifteen second alarm sounds and a strobe flashes, warning that a storm is headed our way and will arrive anytime from eight to sixteen minutes. Everyone is to clear the ocean and the beach.  After the bad weather passes through, you will hear three five-second  blasts of the horn indicating it is safe to return to the beach.
Remember it's safety first when it comes to the all-powerful
Mr. Ocean, as we like to call the great Atlantic.