Friday, July 29, 2011

Asparagus hunting

My favorite time of year is hands down fall! No question! But spring is right behind.  The first bud of leaves and green grass is so exciting and much needed after a long Iowa winter.  One of my favorite things about spring is the asparagus. My parents live on a gravel road and their section is filled with wild asparagus.  We get as much as we can in April and May.  This year Kaydin, Dad, and I set out on the four wheelers and went down the road!
My sweet ride!

Setting out!

Stopping to pick

found some!

This one grew too fast and seeded out. Oh well, more for next year!

Windy out there, huh Kaydin?  :)

Another look at my ride (well technically Kaydin's. Dad bought this 4 wheeler for
her even though I protested.)

Oh Geez! into the ditch they go!

Papa! Yikes! Kaydin was screaming the whole time!

Our harvest!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vacation Journal, part 9- St. Maarten

I was really excited to go to St. Maarten! There were so many things I wanted to see on this island.  Orient Beach, Maho Beach, the market in Marigot, the Butterfly Farm, Grand Case, the shopping area in Phillipsburg….Soo much to do and only 9 hours to do it! We got off the ship fairly early and planned to pick up a Jeep Wrangler.  Tim wasn’t too excited about the idea of driving a vehicle on a foreign island.  He thought the risk would be too big.  He did think it would be fun to rent a scooter or ATV, though.  What?? You would rather drive one of those things on the streets with all the other cars than a full-size vehicle??!?!  I thought that was the unsafe option.  Not my choice for mode of transportation! So our new plan was to walk to Phillipsburg across the boardwalk and just go from there.  We thought we would do some shopping and take a taxi to Maho Beach.  Maho is the famous beach at the end of the St. Maarten airport.  I watched some videos and first thought those people were crazy for wanting to go there! As I did more research though and the vacation got closer, I thought it would be fun to experience it.  So..we set out down the boardwalk.  Right at the beginning, we see a man offering scooter and ATV rentals.  Tim listens to his schpeel and we debate for a few minutes but keep going on our way.  Tim is pretty interested so we turn around to see what kind of deal we can get.  The man said we will have to negotiate with the boss/owner and gives a short ride to the business.  We plan on getting a scooter but when we get there the tells us his license plates need updating and he cannot rent those out for the time being so he gives us a deal on the ATV. We got it for $60 for the whole day.  And now we thought we would be able to see most of the places we wanted to!  We signed all the papers and he showed us all the buttons and levers we needed to know about. 

And we were on the way!

We set out to do some quick shopping and get it out of the way.  We went to a HUGE shop called Rima’s where I picked up a couple dresses for Kaydin and a hand painted wrap for me.  We looked a little more and drove through the shopping area and then finally got on the way to Maho Beach.  We didn’t want to get there too early in the day because we knew that the big planes came in between 1-3pm.  Riding the ATV was fun and I wasn’t scared at all for the most part. Plus, I trust Tim, obviously.  He is a good driver and wouldn’t let anything happen to me ;)

Maho Beach was AWESOME!! Really cool!  When we first got there we laid our towels just as a big plane was coming in.  Very cool! They get really low and fly RIGHT OVER your head.  Sometimes it seemed like you could reach up and you could almost touch it.  Once the plane landed we looked down and our towles were gone!! The plane had blown them down the beach almost into the water.  Tim had fun taking video behind the planes at they took off.  The first time one went I told him to move of the way and sand was gonna fly.  He said, “oh it won’t be that bad.”  I told him he was wrong! It was gonna be bad! And it was!! That first one that took off was the worst, actually. The hottest and the one that blew the most sand.  The heat is unbelievable!  I laid down and took cover making sure our stuff didn’t blow away.  In the process I was COVERED with sand that stayed on me the entire day! It wouldn’t brush off.  We had lots of fun taking video and pictures as the planes landed and took off. 
The plane getting ready to take off

Me holding all of our stuff down as the plane takes off!

We didn't lose anything!

We didn’t plan on staying quite so long but waited a little while to see the big Air France plane that was scheduled to be in that afternoon. It was the biggest of the day with four separate engines! 
After that one landed we decided to keep moving around the island.  I wanted to go to the French town of Marigot because I had read about the Saturday market they had and you could get fresh spices for cheap.  We started driving that way but turned around because I just didn’t want to cut our time too close.  We headed back to Phillipsburg to look around a little more.  A man Tim and I talked to on the beach told us of a camera shop that they got really good deals at.  His wife that was with him was a professional photographer and they recommended this store.  As we were driving down Front Street. The main street in the shopping area, I just happened to notice the store! We parked and went inside.  I have been wanting to get a DSLR camera and Tim is always researching different electronics so knew enough about them in what to choose and to know if it was a good deal.  We had NO intention of getting a new camera while on vacation, but the salesman offered a great deal so we didn’t turn it down!  I’m so happy I now have a good camera and have had lots of fun learning to use it!

We returned out ATV and got a quick ride back to the pier.  While walking back I tried a coconut slush sample that a woman was handing out.  They were AWESOME!!! Had to have one! We got a large to split on our short walk back to the ship.  I don’t have any idea what all was in them but they were sooo good!! Anyone that has a chance to try them if on the island, needs to!

Here is some video of the planes landingand taking off: