Monthly Archives: May 2009

Hawaiian Shave Ice near Siesta Key

There’s a little Hukilau Truck parked on Osprey Rd between Siesta Drive and the Publix grocery store.  You’ve got to stop for an Hawaiian Shave Ice. 101_3082

The business is run by Luis and his father-in-law, Juan.  They had gone to Hawaii with the family and fell in love with the shave ice stand business.  The bought an ice shaver, decorated two trucks, bought the other goodies to make the business work, including all of the permits for a road-side stand and are now in business.101_3085

Here’s the story I told my husband, who owns and will post the info on his blog/website soon:

Luis (who is from Venezuela) and his father in law, Juan (from Columbia) own the busines.  I met Luis’ wife (she’s due to have a baby any day now; they have 2 cute children).  They have 2 trucks (a van-sized thing and the “truckster” that they pull on a trailer).  
We bought some to try: Travis had blueberry, Austin had lime and I had the “Carribean Tour”: Coconut, Lulo, Parchita, and Tamarindo with a sweet cream on top (kind of like you’d put that marshmallow stuff on it up north).  He said they went to Hawaii and fell in love with the shave ice.  The machine came from Hawaii and the flavors come from the internet (at least that’s what I thought he said). They sell on Osprey Rd and at private parties, events that welcome vendors and in Key West.  The bigger truck is in Key West this Memorial Day weekend.  The little Hukilau Hut is a little vehicle decorated using PVC pipes (to look like bamboo) and carved styrofoam, painted and decorated with a bag or two of lizard toys, plastic pineapples etc.  Luis is a graphic artist and hand painted and decorated the thing.  Juan carved a tiki head of a palm tree trunk and it sits near the truck.  He should make make more and sell them, too.
The flavors are:lime, cherry, hawaiian, pineapple (two separate flavors NOT hawaiian pineapple), orange, grape, blueberry, bubblegum, strawberry, mora, coconut, guava, lulo, tamarindo, rarchita, mango and guanabana.   Luis and his wife told me that in Hawaii the real Hawaiian shave ice is layered with: beans (like a red bean or black bean that’s been sweetened and chilled) topped by vanilla ice cream, then shaved ice and flavoring.  You can have up to 4 different flavors.
Luis is cool to talk to.  Travis and he talked about cooking.  Juan was a chef and came up with the flavors on the list starting with Mora.
For more information about Juan and his shave ice business, check out this story which ran in the Herald Tribune (Sarasota) on August 30, 2010:

Rain Rain Everywhere

It’ summer in FL and it’s raining on Siesta Key.  What a mess but it is so needed.  So, thank you God for sending the rain.  We ran some errands yesterday and took note of all the ponds that finally had water in them again.  Oh the ducks, the birds, the fish eggs and the mosquitos will be happy now.

I wrote a year ago about what to do on Siesta Key when it rains.  Check it out if you’re in town and bored.…-on-siesta-key/ Of course there is always the movies, the mall (we have 2 plus the outlets somewhere north of here).  Go jump in a puddle, hunt for beached sea critters on the surf line.  In the past I’ve found egg cases (especially this time of year), anemones, clams, horseshoe crabs and after bigger storms baby octopus.  Go have breakfast at the Broken Egg or Village Cafe.  Have fun.

I’ve been on vacation for a year and a half

Ah, Siesta Key. 

What a great place for a vacation.  It’s Paradise!

But I live here (and others do, too).  But, so many people don’t and they spend their year working hard in some nice or just-ok part of the country (or world) and save their money to come here for a week, sometimes longer. They spend all day on the sand, eat at restaurants, walk around the shops and buy stuff, schedule their evening to see the sun set, send postcards home and end up with pictures of memories and a t-shirt or ball cap to remind them of where they’ve been.

But I live here.  It has been a blessing.  And I’ll be taking off soon to live somewhere else for a little while, doing some travelling, etc.

I’ll miss the Key and Sarasota and all the nature.  But I’m heading out an another adventure; another vacation.  Our next stop will be Fairhope, Alabama. 

It’s a quaint town on the eastern side of Mobile Bay.  Southern Living magazine has done stories on it in the past and gave incredible recommendations.  We lived in Mobile for a year, 14 years ago and have visited several times since.  It should be a great place to stop for a while.

The great thing about our life is that we travel a lot, move a lot, meet a lot of great people we keep in touch with and have great experiences.    I’ll keep my blog up, but I’ll probably call it something different; maybe My Life on the Gulf Coast or Gulf Coast Gypsy or Goin’ Coastal.  I’ll have to get my husband’s thoughts on this.  I like hearing his opinion especially since he’ll probably come up with something else, totally wacky but great.  So stay tuned.

What will I miss?  My friends; the homeschool group; the kid’s 4H club, the members and all the activities; the nature; helping with the snowy plovers on Siesta Key; shark tooth hunting; manatees; marine critter hunting on S. Lido Beach; shore bird watching; my neighbors; walking my dog with all the other dog owners in the area; biking to the beach for a quick dip and returning in time to fix dinner; walking to the Village for festivals, shopping or the Christmas Tree lighting; Rebecca at Davidson Drugs in the Village; Joe at the grocery store in the Village; Siesta Key Chapel; the great music my neighbors Tad and Tracey play out their back yard which is next to my front yard; our Hokie friends, Catherine and Bob, and their dog Luke, and sitting around their new pool just chatting; $30 electric bills (it’s not much higher in the summer–the house is small); the cool little beach house we’re renting; beachcombing; palm trees; our lanai; talking politics with Joe Volpe; Christmas parties at Michelle and John’s; Evelyn; the Chaffee family on Lido Beach that travels around the country and also lives somewhere else when they’re not here (which means they’ll be easy to track down and hang out with); identifying tropical critters by sound at night;  sitting at a drawbridge and admiring the beauty that I miss when the bridge is down and I just drive on to my destination.  Well, that’s the starter list.  I can’t name all of my friends that I’ll miss; the list is too long and I’ll start crying but I’ll miss everyone of them, until I see them again.  We plan on coming back…

Apple Murex Eggs

101_3070We had some friends over the other day and my boys were showing them the fish tank.  We’ve kept the whelk egg case between two cockle shells for protection from the urchins.  Turns out they’ve all hatched so we can move the top cockle shell away. 

Earlier in the day a murex snail was sitting at the opening of the cockles just hanging out.  When we picked up the top shell we discovered the murex had laid eggs underneath (thankfully not on the whelks lying inside the bottom shell).  It looks like a bunch of chopped pasta stuck together.   So cool.  It should take about 3 weeks for them to hatch.  I recently found our 5 gallon tank in the storage unit and I will set up a “birthing” tank for all of these critters, just so the eggs will hatch instead of being eaten.

Kayaking on Grand Canal

It was so fun.  My neighbor had asked us once before if we wanted to go with her through the canal (she lives on it).  We never took the opportunity and then she took off north for several months.  Now she’s back and we went; my two boys, me and my neighbor.  The boys had never been kayaking before.  Travis and I sat in the two seater; me in the back.  Austin and Suzanne each got their own kayak.  Austin figured out quickly how to paddle, steer and rescue himself from pilings, piers and parked boats.  The wind was stiff at a few spots so it was easy to drift into something.  But he did great.

The cool thing was we got to see the back yards of some of our neighbors.  We saw where the with the house with the statues is; there are statues in the back yard as well.  We saw a house built right up to the seawall; gives little room for heavy surf and hurricanes.  The other homes were up higher on a slope…this was right at the water.  The wildlife was fun to watch.  We spotted a bunch of crabs under the Higle Road tunnel; a little blue heron eating water bugs from the sea wall; we saw the nest holes of the black-capped parakeets that I have always seen flying around the Higle Rd tunnel area.  One tree leaning over the water was filled with woodpecker holes.  There were parakeets and red bellied woodpeckers filling each hole.  There were lots of fish jumping; large and small. 

The boys really enjoyed their first kayaking adventure.  Too bad we hadn’t done this sooner.  There will be plenty of other opportunities for us to kayak in the near future.  I hope Gary can join us on the next trip.

Space Shuttle to fix Hubble…we saw it!

A few months ago I learned that you can see the shuttle take of from Sarasota.  We missed the dusk launch, though, because we just didn’t know.  Heard it was awesome.  I’ve been determined to see since.

The shuttle was to launch at 2:01 pm today.

I took the kids and some friends to the bridge parking lot on the Key.  We walked under the bridge and found a great spot to watch from.  Moments after 2pm we saw over the trees the shuttle take off, the rocket boosters separate and then lost it from sight as there were some low-lying clouds in the way.  We never saw the rest of it above the clouds but it was so exciting to see.  I would highly recommend this spot to anyone wanting to see future launches.  A gentleman near us with a camera said he watches from that spot all of the time. 

One day we’ll make it to the Space Coast to see the launch up close.

Siesta Fiesta

I wrote this April 26 but had problems with the computer so it was never published.  Better late than never, right?  Enjoy reading:

What an awesome day on Siesta Key!  After church we walked to the fiesta in the Village and then to the beach.  Along the way we encountered the folks from Ships of Glass, Inc. out of Tampa.  This guy takes glass bottles, cuts off the top and bottom and then used the rest of the bottle cutting out curved sections to make the sails of his sailboats.  I bought a replica of the Bugeye “Edna E Lockwood”; a 9-log sailing bugeye, 53′ long, built in 1889 that was designated a national historic landmark.  It is now ported in St. Michaels, MD.  Its a beautiful piece of art so I bought it.  Although I’m currently “ported” in Florida, I, too, am from Maryland.   Check out their website:

Further down the Village, we met up with photographer Lou DiVata who keeps is home here on Siesta Key.  According to his business card, he is a fine art nature photographer using natural light and patience.  His work is incredible.  I’ve met him at another art festival around Sarasota (either in Sarasota or Lido Key).  Anyway, my Travis, who loves owls, found a photograph of a horned owl that he couldn’t live without.  It will grace the walls of his bedroom.  You know I’m proud of him at age 12 making purchases like this.  Usually he’ll spend his money on trading cards or gum.  My little guy is growing up, sigh!  You can find Lou’s art on his website:

Then we had to hit the beach, which was a total blast, as usual.  Gary swam, the boys dug holes in the sand, and I collected shells.  Siesta Key beach is my favorite.

Inventions of Da Vinci at GWIZ

The Inventions of Da Vinci exhibit runs from April 13- September 7, 2009.

What it’s about: “Leonardo’s scientific and technical drawings have captured the imagination for centuries. This exhibition focuses on 16 drawings, through reproducing Leonardo’s drawings on graphic panels and also realizing the idea in model form. Originally developed by the IBM Corporation, this interpretive exhibition encourages visitors to explore these concepts, in many cases through hands-on experiences with working models.”

I took the boys to see this exhibit with another homeschool family.  It was well recieved by all 4 middle-schoolers.  Most of the exhibit is hands-on; you can touch the inventions and make them move.  Some, though, are not because they are more intricate and thus fragile.  Some were hanging. 

Each part of the exhibit there was a written explanation.  The boys took turns reading descriptions of the drawings before touching and moving the models of each invention.  There were flying machines, water pump machines, wheeled inventions, a printing press, a military tank.

There were two conclusions we all agreed on, other than it was a great exhibit.  The first was that  Leonardo was not just an inventor but an improver of things in his world, as well.  Some things may have already existed.  He was the one to put these inventions on paper for us all to see.   Secondly, as Ben Franklin was a great inventor of his time, Leonardo DaVinci was a great inventor of his.  You could pick out different periods of history where one great person did a lot to improve their world but we chose to compare DaVinci to Franklin.   As a result, the boys will be doing a side-by-side comparison/listing of each man’s great accomplishments; what they invented and what they improved on.  Half the job is done for my boys because one had used Leonardo for his Science and History Fair project this year.

Please support GWIZ and this terrific exhibit.  Be sure to pick up the Gallery Guide.