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Archive for the Category "Life in the Keys"

Big Changes for JenEric! Nov 09

Dear Friends and Family,

After years of dreaming and planning, we are finally doing it: Eric & Jeanette are moving into their RV and are going to travel full-time! We will be hitting the road to adventure in mid-December.

As we enter this final month of preparation, our emotions are all over the place. We’re both very excited about our new lifestyle and are happily completing some renovations to the RV that will make it a better full-time living space, but we’re also sad to be saying goodbye to our home and friends here in the Keys. We have each been living in the Keys longer than any other place in our lives. Our roots here go deep [well, as deep as they can in a caprock yard (inside Keys joke)] and there are people and places that we will miss terribly, but all of North America awaits us and there will be new places to explore and people to meet. We will still be just a phone call or e-mail away, and will be making regular updates to our blog ( as well as posting shorter notifications on Facebook and Google+ (both “JenEricRamblings”) so that you know what we’re up to.

Speaking of staying in touch, our cell phone numbers won’t change but we may not be reachable by cell 24/7 as coverage out west and further north is not 100%. To maximize the likelihood of some kind of coverage, we will have phones that will work on all 3 major networks, as well as WiFi hotspots on different networks for internet access. Physical or snail-mail will be a bit different. We will be shifting our Florida residency to a county in north Florida for easier long-term access, and will have a mail-forwarding service to send us our physical mail; however, we will only ask them to send our mail every few weeks so there will be a delay in getting it. [We’ll be sending out this physical mailing address a little later.] If you have anything larger than a card or letter to send us, let us know ahead of time and we’ll give you an address where we intend to be camping for several days. This might be a campground address or a post office General Delivery address. It will involve a little more effort to get to us, but not much! Just remember as you’re sending us things that our “house” is now quite a bit smaller, with everything we own contained in a space about the size of the average living room. We only have space for items that are absolutely necessary.

The first question that nearly everyone has asked is, “where are you headed first?” We’ll be heading to Virginia initially to visit with Jeanette’s family and take care of a few things there. We’ll spend Christmas there and then will be doing some driveway surfing with family members. Around the middle of January we’ll be heading back south before Karma freezes (yes, the cats are most definitely coming with us)! We’ll be making a few stops to visit friends in North Carolina and the Florida panhandle, before heading to Louisiana and then generally west. We won’t have a fixed itinerary or timetable: we’ll just be exploring as the mood strikes us.

Many people have assumed that we’re retiring, but we definitely are not. We’re just changing how much of our lives will be dedicated to running on that hamster wheel! Downsizing our “stuff” and simplifying our living will allow us to downsize our work time accordingly. Eric will continue to work part-time for Monroe County, and I hope to do the same for my current position with some freelance computer work too. We’ll still have desks, but the view from the windows will be awesome!

As we travel the country, we hope to be able to visit more with all of you. If your driveway is big enough, we can just park our house there for a couple of days. You won’t have to clean the spare bedroom or wash all those towels when we leave! We would also like to extend an invitation for you to come and camp with us. While the RV doesn’t have a “spare room”, we have a large screen room/tent that we can make available. For those seeking a bit more comfort, our Jeep will be coming along with us, so if you’d like to rent a travel trailer and camp alongside us we can tow it with the Jeep! So if there’s someplace you’ve always wanted to visit, get in touch and we’ll try to coordinate some vacation time! We would love to share a bit of our new lifestyle with you.

So big changes are afoot, but it’s all going to be great! We hope to see you soon (either your driveway or ours), and we won’t be leaving the Keys forever – we plan to be annoying snowbirds and will definitely be back to visit.

See you around!
Jeanette & Eric

What’s up with that duck??? Aug 22

We are often asked, “So what’s the deal with that duck??”  That duck hails from Britain and is a seasoned world traveler who has become such a part of our family that the bar in our house has been christened The Rubber Duck Pub.  So grab a pint or fill your glass and settle in for the story of Eddy Beer, the Danger Duck!

In the fall of 2009, Eric & I spent 3 weeks in Britain, most of it with his brother and sister-in-law, Sterling and Teresa.  A good bit of the time we were on a car trip with them which took us through southwest England.  To say that we are all fans of beer in its many forms is a bit of an understatement, and so we spent many happy hours sampling local brews (often with colorful names like Old Hooky, Pigswill, The Dogs Bollocks, and Betty Stoggs) and staying in pubs rather than in boring hotels or bed & breakfasts.


2011 Pre-Season Hurricane Party Announcement May 26




Let’s recap:

2005 (no party): 31 (Yes, 31!!) named storms, several keys strikes, and a little extra something called “storm surge”.

2006, the 1st ever Hoodoo Hurricane Voodoo party: 9 named storms, but only one lame tropical storm strike here.

2007, the 2nd annual Hoodoo Voodoo: 15 named storms, but nothing crossed the Keys…

And so it continued – GET THE PICTURE????? ( well if you really want to get the picture, click here for the entry for last year’s party)

Experts are predicting a busier than average 2011 season –

Can you afford to miss the 2011 party???  We think not!

So come and stick a pin in the hurricane voodoo “doll”:

Saturday, June 11 from 6pm until….

The altar has been preserved, so come & offer a shot of rum to Hurakan, Mayan god of the whirlwind and thunderstorm.

Please, no live chicken sacrifices.  (Rubber, wings, nuggets or by the bucket okay).

Feel free to bring all your friends, beverages, or a dish to pass.

Directions: We’re at 263 Ship’s Way, at MM29.5 on Big Pine.  Ship’s Way is bayside, just across US1 from the Sea Center.  We are on the right, just past Ranger Avenue.  Or, if you prefer, N24°40.444’   W81°22.099’.  Lost?  Call 305-396-1109 .

2011 pre season invite in .pdf form

Redecorating with Ashton and Lolita Oct 12

The following story and photographs were sent to Jeanette in an email from a friend who is a volunteer with the Audubon Center for birds of Prey . Posted with permission, text and photos copyright Kathy Finnerty (more of her work can be found here and here), with the exception of the first paragraph, which is from the forwarded email from Lynda White.

This is a perfect example of what EagleWatch volunteers have observed over the years when it comes to nest building-“if Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy”. For those of you who haven’t met this pair, they hooked up as subadults last year-hence the names.Kathy is the wonderful photographer who documented the events at the foster nest where the female eaglet from the Lake Okeechobee dike nest was placed. Thanks, Kathy. You made our day.

On my way to Ft. DeSoto before dawn this morning, I spotted Lolita in the nest tree.  Sooo, just as the sun was rising, I tried to get some images with my short, slow lens.  As I watched her sitting there, Ashton flew in with a branch.

A rather crooked branch – head’s up Lolita – you’re gonna get hooked!

Ashton’s on a mission – new material for the nest!!

Of course, Lolita MUST be right in the middle of things (that’s her on the left with her beak up Ashton’s butt).

Ashton is NOT happy with the back seat driver – he can handle a branch placement just fine by himself!

Hmmmm, let’s see maybe if it’s bent this way…    hmmm – who’s yanking on the other end?

Ashton lets Lolita know he’s in charge of the branch!

Maybe if it’s pushed down at this end…

… or it would work better on this side…

Lolita tells him it looks stupid over there and just won’t work…

She’s still yammering at him – and it’s drawing a crowd (see upper left of photo)  Lolita has her own idea of
what to do with the damnable branch!

Just relocate it OUT of the nest!  Ashton can’t believe his eyes!

Heads up hubby – this branch is outta here!

Lolita proceeds to circle around the duck pond with the branch in her talons – just circling and circling…

… til she’s left with about 10 percent of it, as the major portion drops into the duck pond…

… and flies back to the nest with the twig.  Get a gander at Ashton’s posture –  hmmm, NOT a happy eagle…

Well, at least he let her sit next to him – but the ‘discussion’ didn’t stop for a while.

Lolita then left the nest (I thought to bring back a ‘make-up’ branch for the nest).  Ashton, much to my surprise flew across the duck pond straight for my car!  He swerved and flew up and down the waterway scaring the bird poop outta all the waterfowl swimming below…

Full frame as he flew by my car window – maybe he was looking for the rest of that branch…  I can only guess…

Key West BrewFest! Sep 05

Yesterday we attended the inaugural Key West BrewFest, hosted by the Southernmost Hotel complex.  We had a blast and hope there’ll be a 2nd Annual next year.  There were 23 booths, offering everything from the lightest white to the darkest stout.  We found several brands that will end up in the cooler eventually.  In no particular order: Magic Hat’s #9,  Brooklyn Local 2, Ephemere ApplePalm Belgin Amber Ale, & Moretti La Rossa.  And the winners in the “most fun with names” category: Mama’s Yella Pils, Dead Guy Ale, Monk in the Trunk, Holy Mackerel, and Panic Attack.  Kudos also to Magic Hat for handing out condoms with the brewery name on the package.  Magic Hat – get it?

Representing the home brewers, the Key West B.U.B.B.A.’s were there.  Wish I could remember what the acronym stands for, but all the samples have clouded my brain.  Jim Brady, head of the club, has converted an enclosed fiberglass trailer into a portable brewery and dispensing unit, complete with refrigeration and taps drilled through the side.  Guess what Eric wants now?

This post would be a lot longer if I hadn’t had such a good time.  Anybody find my sunglasses????  I really liked those sunglasses…

Category: Beer, Life in the Keys  | Tags:  | Leave a Comment
5th Annual 2010 Hoodoo Hurricane Voodoo! Jun 19

The predictions for the 2010 hurricane season must have made people nervous, because we had a great turn-out for the party!   A great time was had by all (except the sacrificial chickens and chicken fingers) and lots of pins got stuck into both the hurricane and tarball voodoo dolls.  Thanks to all who showed up and made it such a fun time (especially those of you who had to travel during the pseudo-hurricane thunderstorm)!  If the Keys do get a named storm, they won’t be able to blame any of us!

(Thanks to Kim-O and Hank for pictures)

2010 party – Brewmaster’s Perspective Jun 19

As the Brewmaster/Bartender for the 2010 Hoodoo Hurricane Voodoo Party, I have to say it was a success. We had a LOT of takers on both beers – Downpour Porter and Stormy Stout.

With two weeks to go before the party, Jeanette and I brewed our special batches of beer. That’s the Porter in the foreground and the Stout in the back.

Beer Brewing before the Party

With about a week to go, we transferred the to the kegs and got them started chilling and carbonating in the beer cooler. It’s set a little cooler than we’d prefer for drinking, but the cooler temperature helps the beer absorb CO2 a little faster. It worked out great, both beers were well carbonated for the party. The stout even had that Guiness-y downpour effect as the beer settles through the head.

Kegs in the Fridge

Not that homebrewed kegged beer were the only items available…


Since the party has a Hurricane theme ( and this year, an oil spill theme as well ) we decided we had to have a drinks menu with Hurricane and Oil spill themed drinks. Here it is – 2010 Party Drinks Menu .

The Bar - ready for the party

Kim with the menu and the "Junk Shot"

I had a fun time serving everyone ( well, almost everyone ) and can’t wait for our post-season Party.

Category: Beer, Parties, Pubs  | Leave a Comment
Welcome to JenEric Ramblings! Jun 19

Yes, we’ve given in and have started a blog page.  Our aim is to have a place to post photos so that you may view them at your leisure and updates on our “ramblings” (be they literal or figurative).  We promise not to write posts about the minutia of our daily lives.

Thanks to Mo for sending us a Christmas card addressed to “JenAir” which provided the inspiration for the whole JenEric (pronounced generic) “product” line.  Mo-ists of the world unite!

Category: Life in the Keys  | 2 Comments