Summer Boat Ride … plus Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Recipe

~ Trenda

At the top of our list of “summer chores” is getting our pontoon boat “sea worthy” and all cleaned up for the boating season.  Richard got out the power washer and surprisingly, only found 1 duck egg laying, like a prize on top of our boat cover! (:  After the cushions were sparkling and everything was wiped down, we loaded up the boat and headed “over the bounding main.” Climb aboard, put on your sunglasses and come with us!  We’ve got our Captain, First Mate (our darling grand daughter!) and myself … and we’ve got room for plenty more!  I’ve even packed a summer-y snack!  Let the wind blow through your hair and sweep your worries away for a little while!

 

 First stop … a protected cove where we can enjoy our snacks while “bobbing” gently on the water.  The warmth of the sun and the rocking motion of the boat dissuades any thoughts of worry!

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Look at my “new” picnic hamper!  I love it and found at one of our favorite antique shops!  I was thrilled when I saw it just waiting on the shelf for me!  I don’t think it’s ever been used!  It’s loaded with picnic style plates, cutlery, and plastic stemware and the bottom of the picnic basket is an insulated, zippered ice chest!

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I just had time to grab some quick “fix-in’s” before heading out to the boat.  A little wicker boat holds seasoned crackers for dipping into a creamy pimiento cheese spread.

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 I always love using my favorite wooden “Lake” serving board and it looks perfect for our lakeside picnic with a little oar spreader!

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A miniature creel fishing basket is filled with a Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack that is easy to “throw” together and is a great energy snack!  I tucked a tartan colored napkin in our little creel, then filled it with trail mix and added a fun scoop!

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack:

  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup sunflower hearts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cheese flavored “Whale” or “Fish” crackers (always a cute addition for lakeside snacks!)
  • 1 cup M&M’s

This recipe makes a big batch so I mix all my ingredients together in a large, air-tight container, to help keep it fresh.

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Okay, brush the crumbs from your lap, pick the seat you want to “lounge in” and settle back.  We’re taking off for some sight seeing!

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We love the rock jetty in front of this house!  The stone wall creates a private swimming area and the sandy beach beyond is strewn with grass covered umbrellas!

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Look at this massive labyrinth; it’s a homeowner’s private boat dock and party area!  If you look to the left and up the slight incline, there is another similar structure that is a playground for some lucky kids! (: 

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White Adirondack chairs are set out in anticipation of viewing beautiful summer sunsets!

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Charming stone boat house and little log cabin!

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Aww … I love his sweet smile and this picture I snapped of our cute Captain! ❤

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And … the darling First Mate with her sunshine-y smile that melts Grandma’s heart!

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The twilight shadows are changing from pinks to deep blues and purple and our flag almost glows in the fading light, as we head home.

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Another beautiful sunset on the lake.

Back home, the boat is docked and with picnic hamper and wet towels in hand, we disembark … and watch the beautiful twilight curtain descend upon the lake.  Hope you enjoyed our cruise! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Hello June! … Delicious BBQ Beans & DIY Place Cards for Father’s Day

~ Trenda

Hello June!  We’ve been looking forward to seeing you! (:

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“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …” It’s time to slow down, kick back, and relax!

 WONDERFUL SUMMER!  ~ by Trenda

“It’s the beginning of another …

Snow-cone dripping,

bare foot skipping, 

iced tea sipping,

front porch sitting, 

flip flop plopping,

baseball watching,

mattress floating,

snorkel snorting,

pink nose glowing, 

green grass mowing,

warm breeze blowing,

hot dog munching,

cricket chirping,

sparkler waving,

firework gazing,

sunset blazing …

 wonderful summer!” 

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The days of June are marked off the calendar with the “procession” of different celebrations and “happenings.”  Flag Day – June 14th … Father’s Day – June 18th … and the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice – June 21st.  Keep the “red, white, and blue” decorations handy and get out those summer recipes and “Father’s Favorites!”  Two of our favorite’s here at Cottage Green are … my recipe for Delicious BBQ Beans and Sand Pail Ice Cream

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We love the smoky flavor of these “Delicious BBQ Beans” and the enhanced layer of flavor that the bell pepper adds!  I also love that the beans are cooking in the crock pot while I’m away or I’m busy preparing other dishes.

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Now, for some elegant DIY place cards that are easy to make that will add an “air” of sophistication to your “Father’s Day” table.  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love “dressing” the table!  One of the easiest ways to make your table festive and make every guest feel important is by adding place cards to your tablescape.  I made these simple, but elegant place cards for a graduation party and they are perfect and serving “double-duty” … for our Father’s Day celebration!

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Here are supplies needed to make these place cards:

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I bought my miniature decorative tassels in the “Notions” section at Hobby Lobby (where the fabrics/buttons/ribbons are located).  I also bought my place cards and my clear stamp pads at Hobby Lobby, in the stationery section.

place cards.png Instructions:

  1. Punch a hole in upper left-hand corner of each place card, making sure you punch the hole through the front and back of the place card.
  2. Insert the opposite end of the tassel through the punched hole in the front of the card (insert, front to back) so that the tassel is in the front of the place card.
  3. Bring the looped end of cord over the top of the place card and insert (thread) the tassel through the corded opening and pull gently to secure the “tassel in place.  Make sure the knot is not taut, so the tassel drapes loosely down the front of the place card. * (see photo below)
  4. Stamp the front of each place card with a filigree frame of your choice from your selection of clear stamp pads.  Make sure you allow enough time for the ink to dry before handling.
  5. After ink has thoroughly dried, write each person’s name centered in the stamped frame.

*Close-up photo of #3 instructions:closeup tying

I love the elegant and “man-ly” look of these place cards and can’t wait to show you how they look “gracing” our Father’s Day tablescape!

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Now hang up your hammock, get out the ice cream maker, and drape your patio in party lights and “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer … you’ll wish that summer could always be here.” ~ Nat King Cole

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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St. Patrick’s Day … “Wearing of the Green” Lakeside Lunch

written by Trenda

 

Today was a delightful spring day with the sun intermittently shining and sparkling off the lake or hiding behind dark clouds.  The warm breeze pleaded with us to come outside and tempted us with bird song, gentle peals from our wind chimes, and distant rumbles of thunder.  We happily acquiesced and I made lunch for us to enjoy out on the deck.

PicCollage[3561]Luncheon Menu … Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites, Crisp Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Chicken Salad, Spiced Iced Tea, and Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting  … Yum! (:


To make my Tomato & Cucumber Salad I used a seedless English cucumber.  English cucumbers are also known as “seedless” cucumbers and they are longer than the regular garden variety cucumber.  Their flavor is milder, the peel is thinner, and they have smaller, less noticeable seeds than their American cousin (;  After  peeling my English cucumber,  I used my favorite kitchen tool from The Pampered Chef which slices cucumber effortlessly into rounds with decorative ridges.  I then de-seeded and chopped up a tomato, added sliced red onion, salt and pepper to taste, and Marzetti Classsic Ranch Dressing.  I didn’t measure any of the ingredients; I just adjusted the amounts of each ingredient to “our liking” or as a dear uncle would say … “By guess and by golly.” (;

One item I always keep on hand is Italian whole wheat bread loaves.  I buy a package of 12 inch loaves in the Bakery Department and then re-wrap each loaf individually in foil and place them in our freezer.  I love having these available to pop in the oven to “dress up” a simple meal and they are delicious with soups or to munch on with any salad. To make my recipe for Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, I take a loaf from the freezer, unwrap it, place it on a chopping board and immediately begin slicing it with a serrated bread knife, “on the diagonal” into thin slices, while it is still frozen.  TIP:  Slicing bread while it is still frozen makes it easy to slice into precise, even pieces that are not misshapen, which happens when slicing “soft” bread.  I only cut as many slices as I think we’ll want from the loaf, then I re-wrap it and place it back in freezer.

  1. Slice bread and place on a baking sheet lined with foil
  2. Brush each piece lightly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, being careful to cover entire surface.
  3. Sprinkle each slice evenly and lightly with garlic salt and pepper
  4. Add grated Parmesan cheese (enough to cover entire surface and “flavor” bread, but not so much that it “oozes” over the bread, when melted)
  5. Then, add a smaller amount of Cheddar cheese on top for additional flavor “depth” and color.
  6. Sprinkle each slice with a dusting of paprika
  7. Cook in a pre-heated, 325 degree oven until cheese has melted and edges of bread are a deep golden brown.

Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini with Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites

Now, for my delicious and super easy dessert … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting!  Make a batch of your favorite brownie recipe from scratch or use a boxed mix, if you prefer.  Tip:  You will probably have to double your homemade brownie recipe – or use 2 boxes of brownie mix – to fill a 13″x 9″ baking dish.  Make brownies according to directions.  Place in oven.  When brownies are done, take them out of the oven and immediately pour a 12 oz. bag of Nestle’s morsels – or other candy morsels – over the brownies.  (I used chocolate chip and mint morsels)  After candy has “rested”and softened on warm brownies, use an off-set spatula to spread candy smoothly over the brownies.  Let cool completely and slice with a sharp knife.

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The candy hardens into a smooth, perfect glaze with no mixing or additional recipe required for frosting! (:

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Fitz and Floyd Autumn Harvest Grapes & Leaves Pitcher with matching creamer and sugar bowl …

ffpitcher.png “Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Coincidence?  I think not!” (:  Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting look especially festive when presented in shamrock cupcake liners and under a domed spring green pedestal plate.

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Desserts under a dome … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Hope your day is colored “in green” and has moments tinged with “shenanigan’s and malarkey!” (;

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 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  Psalms 34:8

Taste and see ...

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Lakeside Picnic and Recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup …

by Trenda  

I already have “spring fever!”  I “caught it” from the birds who have been “twittering and flitting about” hunting for the perfect place to raise their little families! (:  Friday and Saturday were “zip-a-dee-do-dah” days with spring-like temperature’s … “My oh, my, what a wonderful day” … and  taking our cue from the birds, we took advantage of our warm day with …”Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way” and worked outside and enjoyed a picnic by the lake.

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Welcome to our lakeside picnic!  Everything always tastes better when dining al fresco (: and our lunch of Turkey & Swiss Wraps with roasted red peppers, Red Delicious Apples and spiced tea, was no exception!


After our picnic we were “energized” … we sat a little while longer, enjoying the sunshine and the day then we were ready to get back to work.  By late afternoon the wind started picking up and the water started getting choppy.

Dark blue-gray clouds began rolling in … 


And we began to hear rumbles of thunder, as we hurried to finish our work …

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We finished … just in time with thunder distinctively warning us to get inside, as the first raindrops began to fall!

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Later … feeling cozy and clean and hearing the gusty wind and the sound of the waves crashing against our retaining wall, our “gift” of a spring day in January was over and our stormy night seemed the perfect time for some homemade soup … Stuffed Pepper Soup.

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 Stuffed Pepper Soup Recipe …

recipe final.pngLater, as I drifted off to sleep, the last lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Under A Spreading Chestnut Tree” came to mind.

“… Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night’s repose.”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Scarecrow Themed Tablescape – perfect for autumn get-together’s … plus DIY paper favor cones

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by Trenda

This fun scarecrow-themed table sets the playful mood for any of your autumn get-together’s, wiener roasts, or autumn evenings spent around the bonfire, toasting s’mores!  While I set my “scarecrow table” the scarecrow’s song from “The Wizard of Oz” kept going through my mind!  The scarecrow’s lament (sigh!) was that his head was stuffed with straw.   If  he only had a brain, he stated  “Oh, I — could tell you why –the ocean meets the shore.  I could tell you things I’d never thought before — and then I’d sit — and think some more!” (: 

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Keeping with the theme of the scarecrow and his “patched” clothes, I covered my table with a “patchwork” quilt that a dear neighbor made and gave to me, set the table with cheerful Fiestaware, and tucked cutlery into a bright basket make of straw (:    Look at these cute paper favor cones!  They are so easy to make and … simply using different paper and trimmings, can be used for so many different occasions!

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To  make these favor cones, I chose stock paper in bright harvest colors (I bought mine in a packet at Hobby Lobby) Roll the colored sheet of paper to form a cone and glue the edge down with white craft glue. I used a hole puncher to punch 1 hole on either side of the glued edge and knotted different colors of raffia to trim my colorful paper cones (line favor cones with parchment paper and fill with candied popcorn or pumpkin flavored Chex mix! (click here for pumpkin-spice Chex mix recipe)   The raffia replicates the look of the straw stuffing of the scarecrows, but it is actually a product of the native Raffia Palm Trees, from the tropical areas of Africa!

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Generous sized napkins with frayed edges (like the tattered clothes of the scarecrow!) are slipped into my DIY mini-grapevine napkin rings (click here for DIY autumn napkin rings) and have a charming little scarecrow adornment, tucked among the layers of napkin.  Remember the cute DIY autumn drink markers we learned how to make?  See where I have clipped them around the base of each stemmed glass to add some seasonal flair to my autumn setting.  (Click here for DIY Autumn Leaf Drink Markers)

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The centerpiece is just a collection of different sized scarecrows gathered together to  ward off any unwanted “critters” that might want to attend the party! (;

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If the weather cooperates, our tabletop of scarecrows will be presiding over a wiener roast and a tray full of these individualized s’more packets!  (Click here for printable S’more labels)

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As I finish this post, I’m still humming the scarecrow’s song from “The Wizard of Oz” and I have to smile as I remember his last words … “with the thoughts I’d be thinkin’ I’d become another Lincoln, if I only had a brain …” (:

Hope You Have A … ”  by Trenda

 wonderful weekend!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.   Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.

A “Welcome Home” … for Thanksgiving

by Trenda at Cottage Green on the Lake

The slow progression of autumn here in East Texas has suddenly quickened and the sights and sounds of  the season have become tangible.  The crickets are softly droning (a decrescendo to their summer song!) as they sing their final chorus … there is a hush in the air that is marked by a distant caw of a crow or the occasional rustle of leaves as an acorn descends through the branches … a muffled “plop” heard, when it hits the ground … and the leaves of our Ash tree, that drape over the lake, are transforming into a beautiful shade of yellow.

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The view beyond our windows reminds us that the “season” of Thanksgiving is upon us, though, like Thoreau … “I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

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 As I “dress” our home and get it ready for the holidays, I am going to start with our front door … it is the first thing that welcomes and greets our family and friends when they visit.  The front door sets the stage of what people can “expect” to find inside your home and should be a reflection of the warmth and welcome you want to portray within your home.

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I began decorating our door by hanging this beautiful wreath that a dear friend of mine made.  Then I took a bundle of wrapped grapevine (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby in the section where grapevine wreaths are hanging) and cut the coil of grapevine in half with wire cutters – this gave me 2 sections of grapevine for each side of the door.  After cutting the 2 sections, I pulled the grapevine to loosen the taut coils.  My husband hammered nails into our door frame for me to impale the grapevine on.  At the base of the door, where the tension was greatest, I added a pipe cleaner and wrapped the grapevine around the nail, using the pipe cleaner to firmly hold the grapevine to the door frame.

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Then I began inserting leaves that I cut from an autumn swag into the twigs of the grapevine.  I also wired some pumpkins, squash, and chrysanthemums to the grapevine to add interest and fullness  … but left enough of the grapevine bare, so it wouldn’t become too “visually heavy” or overbearing.

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I placed a pumpkin (leftover from Halloween!) next to this quaint basket that I found years ago.  I’ve always thought the wooden duck looked
“right at home” here at the lake and it is always handy, near our front door and holds walking sticks, any dripping umbrellas, and a fragrant “bouquet” of eucalyptus.  Tip: Eucalyptus makes the entry to your home smell wonderful, and it is also a natural deterrent for spiders!

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Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim greet all Thanksgiving visitors. (:  We ARE … grateful, thankful, blessed!

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Our deck has several built into benches and on this one, next to the front door, I’ve “tipped my hat” to the season and added a little whimsy with these 2 Pilgrim door greeters!  I love this chalkboard a friend made for me, with it’s rustic look and cedar framework; I use it all the time … “4theseasons” to write holiday messages on, or for keeping track of horseshoe scores! (:

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I hope these ideas will help you and that you’ll have fun creating and making your entryway and door a “welcome home” for Thanksgiving!

“I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

In everything give thanks.”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the lake shores on an autumn afternoon by Trenda

It was a glorious afternoon for cruising around the lake in our pontoon boat.  The water had just the slightest ripple from the autumn winds that would randomly “sigh” … just to playfully stir and rustle the leaves and the water. <!–more –>

Before we “set sail” we carried a picnic down to the dock and couldn’t help but marvel, once again, at God’s artistry as we gazed at the panoramic view of the beautiful, blue lake in front of us.

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Our lunch (always delicious when served … “a la dock!”) was Ham & Swiss cheese/spinach/& roasted red pepper wraps … homemade chicken soup … and crisp apples with a creamy dip of peanut butter and honey.

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Look at this spectacular show we were thrilled to have front seats for … dinner and a show!  These black, point-y beak “diving waterfowl” are Double-crested Cormorants and though some reside here permanently (choosing our lake to be their “forever home”) … most migrate here and arrive in large numbers in autumn to enjoy our delightfully mild winter’s!   Their departure in late spring always makes me a little despondent, so their arrival is always a welcome sight and another reminder of autumn’s return!  Yesterday, they swooped in unexpectedly, right in front of our dock, chasing a school of minnows and enjoying an “all you can eat” buffet!

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After we finished, we threw some saved tortilla pieces and brushed the crumbs from our laps into the water (to the delight of some waiting ducks!) and climbed aboard “Bentley”[yes, we name all our transportation conveyances! (; ] … adjusted our American flag, and backed up into the waiting blue.

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Our first stop was to visit our goose friends who immediately recognized our boat and eagerly came to greet us with friendly honks and flapping’s!

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As we threw each tidbit from our bread supply (a collection of heels, stale croissants, and an occasional half-eaten sweet roll we keep frozen for just this purpose!) our feathered friends rushed and fought to nab each morsel. They often over-stepped their neighbor’s personal zone and weren’t bothered a bit when they batted “their brother” in the face with their wings or greedily grabbed their portion. (:

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Shaking the last of our bread offerings into the lake, the geese honked their disproval … or was it their thanks? (: … when we headed out and away from their cove.

Sights along the shoreline…

The Loch Ness monster of Cedar Creek Lake …

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Towering Oaks and majestic Bald Cypress’ along the water’s edge …

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A gorgeous setting  for this white heron posing in front of burnished Bald Cypress Trees that are just beginning to show their tinges of autumn splendor.

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A mermaid, ready to dive into the waters below, appears mystical and believable in the magic twilight hour.

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 Heading back home in the pink and golden glow of an autumn sunset.

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“Then sings my soul …”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda