Sunday, February 03, 2013

Kingsley Plantation

Our friend, Charles was visiting us during the Christmas season and that gave me a good reason to suggest a trip to a place that has fascinated me as a piece of Florida history: Kingsley Plantation. The plantation was not terribly large as plantations go, but it first owners, Jedidiah Kingsley and his wife, a former slave, Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley, exemplified the complex and contradictory culture of Florida at the beginning of the 19th century. Anna's life (insofar as it can be pieced together) was documented in the book, Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Slaveowner.

You can read all about the park, including the buildings which are being restored: the main house, the madame's house, the barn, and many of the slave houses at the National Park's Kingsley Plantation website. The big house was closed for the day. We spent time seeing what we could. I was especially interested in seeing the slave quarters, since I'd never explored them before. Like the stonework in the madame's house, slave houses were built of tabby with a stucco overcoat. Tabby was created by mixing shells and sand; it was incredibly study as evidenced by the slave houses still standing after two hundred years. The houses themselves were arranged in a semi-circle, much like the circular pattern of Wolof village houses in Africa, where Anna supposedly was from. When Jedidiah was away, Anna was mistress of the entire plantation and oversaw the slaves' work. She even had her own special slaves. It was not uncommon to enslave captured people back in Africa, so slavery was something Anna would certainly have been accustomed to. Here are photos we took.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Like Datils for Chocolate, Birthday Observances, and a Phenomenon Called Sandy

Yesterday, October 27, my friend Sue and I set up a table at Westminster Woods' Fall Festival. It was my first time actually selling something at an open air market, but thanks to the St. Johns County Commissioners enacting a Cottage Food Industry law and to Sue for getting a table at the market, I was able to participate in the American economy as a small (not just in stature) business owner. Under the Cottage Food Industry law I was allowed to sell confections and baked goods like bread. So I did.

My offering consisted of two varieties of bread and chocolate. To my amazement, most festival attendees had never heard of such a thing. Despite their lack of culinary breadth, quite a few were induced to buy a mini loaf of either Maiden's Blush or Passion's Flush au Pan after a sample, and perhaps a quick read of my description: Like Datils for Chocolate. Not enough to break even but a positive experience on the whole. And it launched my new website a la Lisse

My husband was kind enough to help me with setup and take down and to finish off the Like Datils for Chocolate bread over the next few days. Really impressive considering October 27 was his birthday.

Well, I didn't ignore THAT fact entirely. I baked him a butter pecan cake with coconut pecan icing and homemade butter pecan ice cream. He didn't ignore THAT fact, despite his bread intake. I got one piece of cake and took a picture the day after.

But it was not all cake and ice cream. In the meantime, Hurricane Sandy was targeting the mid-Atlantic. Sandy passed through New Jersey, then New York, Connecticut, and Delaware. Sandy was big. Her immensity more than made up for her relatively weak wind speed, and those two facts conspired to increase the destruction from flooding. Over the next few days we watched as Sandy tore up Ocean City's boardwalk, site of my adolescent summer vacations, flooded Battery Park, Sheepshead Bay, the Rockaways, and Staten Island - Johns' youthful haunts. We tracked its path across Long Island where his sister and brother's families lived and into Connecticut over our cousin's vacation condo. We didn't hear from his sister for a week.

If I was more glib, I'd say that my kitchen after Like Datils for Chocolate au Pan looked like Sandy's devastation, minus the flooding. Well, my cleanup only took two days. Weeks later, some parts of New York and New Jersey were still without power and heat (we're talking about late November). I might forget Like Datils for Chocolate and Butter Pecan Ice Cream, but I'll never forget Sandy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music to My Mouth

After a matinee at Jax Symphony, we decided to drive through San Marco looking for a restaurant. We found a parking spot near Taverna (it was, after all 4:45 on a Sunday) and poked our heads in the door. Well, we were 15 minutes early so we had a cuppa at Starbucks next door. By 5:15 the Taverna already had several tables filled and a few at barside.

The waitress brought us to a table on the second tier and we settled in to study the menu. I ordered the citrus-glazed beets and my husband had artichokes in olive oil. Both dishes were fresh and had an interesting combination of ingredients, including shaved fresh fennel over the artichokes. The beets hinted delicately of orange. I found the chives over them a little overpowering, but when balanced with the goat cheese, they "worked".

I chose the pork osso bucco. I know osso bucco is traditionally made with veal but I do not eat veal or lamb and welcomed the opportunity to try a lovely comfort food on a January evening. They did not disappoint. The brown sauce was rich and the meat very tender and moist. Polenta and collards were an excellent alternative to mashed potatoes. It was a generous entry and I am looking forward to sharing it for dinner tomorrow night!

My husband had the scallops and risotto. He is not a big risotto fan but he raved over this dish. The scallops were done perfectly too. No need for a doggy bag here!

The only minus was the wait for the entries. They were well worth it. The waitress did apologize, but since we had no schedule to stick to, it was no problem.

San Marco is just a few minutes from the Times Union Performing Arts Center on Water Street. I can't promise you that you'll be as lucky finding a parking spot as we were, but if you avoid Saturday nights, who knows? And if you have not been to the Jax Symphony for recently you will be pleasantly surprised. Fabio Mechette and his talented musicians have the right combination of artistry and showmanship to entertain and inspire you. Jax Symphony and Taverna were music to my mouth!

Taverna on Urbanspoon

Battle's Blog Jacksonville restaurants

Friday, October 21, 2011

Garage Sale Items for Sale

Here's a list:

ADCO Travel Trailer Cover - never used. Fits up to 20-feet travel trailers. Tyvek Top bright white. Breathable Polypropylene sides with zzippers to accommodate side door entryway.

Paid $274.39 in 2010
Asking $150.00

Also, used stationary bike trainer. Just put your road bike on it and keep yourself in shape for the winter. $25 or best offer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm Mobile

Keep me moving
Over 50
Keep me grooving
I'm just a hippie gypsy

We did it. Joined the over-50-RV set. Even joined an RV club. We'll see how THAT works out... If it does, I might write something here. Don't hold your breath though. The last time I made a blog entry was, well you can do the math.

Here's the new baby and Cap'n John.

I'm calling her "Ladybug II" after the original Ladybug, which deserved the name because of her diminutive size (less than 20 feet).

Ladybug II or Ladybug Breeze is 32.5 feet. A BIG step up but no point in pansying around if you are committed. Took me 13 years to convince John to get a tent and go camping with me. Took him a little over a year and a half to convince me that our tent should really be a Tiffin Allegro Breeze

You can take the tour at

Lyrics to Goin' Mobile :
I'm going home and when I wanna go home
I'm going mobile
Well, I'm gonna find a home and we'll see how it feels
Going mobile
Keep me moving

I can pull up by the curb
I can make it on the road
Going mobile

I can stop in any street
And talk with people that we meet
Going mobile
Keep me moving

Out in the woods or in the city
It's all the same to me when I'm driving free
The world's my home
When I'm mobile
Beep beep

Play the tape machine make the toast and tea
When I'm mobile
Well I can lay in bed with only highway ahead
When your mobile
Keep me moving

Keep me moving
Over 50
Keep me grooving
Hippie gypsy
Keep moving
Keep moving

Every place is the same to me
Any time of the night or day
You're welcome to pass me by
Or drop in sometime
If you catch me up, I'm mobile

I'm going home and when I wanna go home
I'm going mobile
I'm gonna find a home and we'll see how it feels
Going mobile
Keep me moving
Keep moving
Keep moving

I don't care about pollution
I'm an air-conditioned gypsy
That's my solution
Watch the police and the tax man miss me
I'm mobile
I'm mobile

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Mighty Mighty Wildcats

In our high school English classes we were given several good rules for creating a “well-constructed” composition. Rule 1: “Define a theme for your writing”.

Wonderful day for passing my way.
Knock and my door and even the score
With your eyes.

Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.

By John Lodge

“Lovely to See You Again,” was track 1 on the Moody Blues 1969 album, “On the Threshold of a Dream.” And in 1969 the Arundel High School classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 certainly were on the threshold of their dreams, about to enter that scary, wonderful, awesome, terrible age called adulthood. Thirty-seven years later a cadre of those changelings returned to Landon House showing the smiles and scars of more than 3,000 collective years as “grown-ups”.

OMG, you didn’t come here to read that shit did you??? Soooory!!! But Ms. What’s-Her-Name might be proud of my efforts to produce a work of literary worthiness – or maybe not.

What AM I writing about??? Exactly! Rule 2 of composition: “State your main point early in the work.” OK-OK, so what if I have 2 main points? Does this mean my composition is not a good composition?

Teacher: Yes, my little groundhog, you get a D for composition. In fact it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

Student: But it’s not written on paper.

Teacher: Maybe it should stay that way. What would someone think if it actually got read?

Student: But, I posted it on my blog on the Internet.

Teacher: And, what, if I might ask, is your “block” on the “interneck”?

Oh, sorry reader, my head must have accidentally fallen on the keyboard. LOL. I have two points to make here in this great upchuck of a work, and here they are.

1. Thanks to Lou Ann and Karen (and any and all helpers) who made the 1970, 1971, and 1973 Classes of Arundel Senior High Reunion possible. The ghost tour (we coulda skipped the basement), carriage rides, trivia reminiscences, food and music, and especially the people made it a night to remember.

2. Thanks to all the Arundelites who contributed $155 to Herbie Wheatley’s recovery from a house/garage fire in which he lost everything, including his car repair business, but did not lose the most important thing – his loved ones. See Herbie rock with D’Vibe and Conga sometime. Check out their website, on the Internet (or, interneck).

OK, the suspense is over. I’ve said what I wanted to say. You can stop reading now. Almost… A little more. I’ve got pictures (and more text) below.

It was fabulous to see the turnout at the beautiful Landon House in Frederick, MD on May 19, 2007. The party theme was the Sabers and Roses Ball held at the house just before the Civil War battle of Antietam, but our class reunion was a commemoration of happier times.

The next day the D’Vibe and Conga benefit concert to help Herbie Wheatley was just as terrific. Many friends showed up at Annie’s Paramount Steak House, paying the $10 cover charge (well worth it to hear some top-notch music) that would go to Herbie to help rebuilt his life after a devastating fire that consumed his house and his auto repair business. The rock and roll was non-stop from 2 until 9, with a new band every hour – each musician and all the supporting personnel donating their time and talent to make the benefit possible. At 8 Herbie’s band, D’Vibe and Conga, stormed the stage, and with the help of a cadre of musical friends, stole the show. The event raised over $2000. Herbie said he felt, “Very loved” that day. And he was totally blown away by the generosity of the Arundel High School classes’ donation on his behalf. Herbie didn’t attend Arundel, but his bass guitarist, Keith “Mac” McNamee did. Many contributors, including his Mac’s next-door-neighbor Gary Fritz, mentioned Mac when they gave me contributions to help Herbie. Others had never heard of either Mac or Herbie but sympathized with Herbie’s plight. Herbie was very grateful – that was Wildcat spirit at its best. Below is a photo of me presenting the Arundel High School contribution to Herbie. You can’t see it in the picture but I pinned Gary Fritz’s nametag on Keith’s shirt.

The second photo is of my husband, John enjoying a cold one at the reunion.

Thanks in particular to that sweet guy from the class of 1972 who encouraged me to collect the funds when I was feeling a little shy about approaching people. I’m not so good with names, but I never forget a person with a caring spirit. Bless you.

If you’re still with me, then allow me a paragraph or two (and a few photos) to celebrate the reunion.

As I said, it was a great day and a great evening for catching up with old friends and making new ones – and being reminded of our school daze. Thanks, Mr. Sharkey, for taking the time to come to the reunion and for bringing photos of the high school band. It was a mixed blessing that I wasn’t in them. Who wants to see a 5’ tall sixteen-year-old in a size 40 pseudo military marching band uniform with her teeth chattering against her clarinet reed? At least the pants were long enough to keep me from frostbite. Every time I hear a Sousa march, I still get goose bumps remembering how cold I was. And if I wasn’t in any of the photos at least I could point out where I would have been visible had the picture been taken from a completely different angle. Seriously, as much as I disliked the marching band routines, I did enjoy the concerts. It was great to hear your experiences, Mr. Sharkey, as a new music teacher, sharing an apartment with other new teachers. It’s easy to for us students to forget that you had your own ups and downs as a young man learning his new profession.

Thanks to all the Arundelites for coming out to share the memories, wistful, funny, sad and happy as they were.

Sing it out clear and strong,

We are the Wildcats, the mighty, mighty Wildcats.
Everywhere we go, people want to know, so we tell them who we are.

The mighty mighty Wildcats of Arundel Senior High School. Best wishes to all those Wildcats who did and did not make the reunion, and love and prayers to those who could not because they are no longer with us. D’Vibe and Conga, stay strong. You are indeed very much loved, Herbie.

Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Selling Our Home

If you are interested in an inside-the-beltway home in Northern Virginia that feels more like a woodland haven, in a community that has just been listed in the National Registry of Historic Neighborhoods you might like to read about our home. As of this posting it is not listed in the MLS or on Craigslist, but we hope to be offering it soon. Email us or call to be the first to know when it's officially for sale.

John & Dianne Battle
3408 Hartwell Ct.
Falls Church
VA. 22042
Home Phone:
Cell Phone:

Gorgeous sun-filled contemporary home in serene Holmes Run Acres (HRA) Community playground and pool (see Walk to county park, streams, tennis courts and hiking paths surrounding the neighborhood. Holmes Run Acres has National Historical status (see ) - no restrictions on home renovations, but up to 20% tax break on qualifying home upgrades/changes. Nice neighbors , in a quiet community that is convenient to shopping, public transportation, recreation, education, and health facilities.

House description: All rooms have wood beamed cathedral-type ceilings. Front rooms have skylights. Hardwood and tiled floors throughout. Master Bedroom suite and 2nd Bedroom are carpeted. Master bathroom has walk-in shower and whirlpool tub. Spacious living room (can accommodate formal dining area) features a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling southern exposure windows facing the deck and large landscaped lawn. Oversized kitchen with plenty of cabinet and counter space, and recently replaced appliances. Large thermal/double-pane E-glass windows in every room. Wooded backyard overlooks grove of rhododendrons.


Pergola covered deck added in 2005, 426 sq. ft. with raised garden. Professionally landscaped property with over 100 shrubs, trees and flowering plants added within the last 5 years. New stone walkway and patio added 2005. Quarter acre lawn roto tilled and newly seeded in fall 2006. Mature oak, maple and dogwood trees on lot give shade in summer. Shed, vinyl covered steel, 8 ft. by 10 ft. To meet outdoor storage needs (purchased in 1998).

Lot Size .2758 acres Lot Size (sq feet) 12,012.


Cathedral wood ceilings throughout house, wood floors, tiling and wall-to-wall carpet. Large, designer windows and skylights. Big hearth and fireplace. Custom oversized front door. House updated and remodeled in keeping with the historical character of the original design.

Bedrooms: 3 Full baths: 2

1500 sq ft. living space.

Living Room: 22 ft. by 16 ft. Spacious enough for formal dining area. Wood burning fireplace. Hardwood floors. Floor to ceiling windows. Ceiling fan. Custom made wood shades.

Master Bedroom Suite: 21.6 ft. by 11 ft. wall-to-wall carpet, designer windows. Master Bath: 7.75 ft. by 9.6 ft. whirlpool tub, walk-in shower, tiled floors, decorator windows

Second Bedroom: 11.4 ft. by 11.25 ft. large windows Second Bath: 4.9 ft. by 9.3 ft. tiled floors, skylight, and linen closet

Third Bedroom: 12.8 ft by 11.3 ft. Wood flooring, skylight, bay window, separate entrance, large closet 11.4 ft. by 4.2 ft.

Eat –in - Kitchen: 18 ft. by 10 ft. with space for informal eating area. Oversized windows, skylight and tiled flooring. Appliances: dishwasher, disposal, stove with exhaust fan, and refrigerator. All Major appliances replaced within the last 5 years.

Utility Room with Front-Loading Washer and Dryer: 7.9 ft by 9.8 ft. Tiled flooring, skylight walk-in closet and pantry storage.

Home upgrades:

Remodeled 1987: New kitchen, laundry room, Hall bathroom renovated, with skylight; Master Bedroom Suite added including: standalone shower and Kohler whirlpool tub.

Double Pane, E glass windows added to ’87 addition.

Remodeled 1990: Double Pane, E glass with Argon gas added to all remaining windows.

Remodeled 1993: wood floors throughout living room and hallway to bedrooms. Tiling in kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room.

Remodeled 1998: closed in carport to create new bedroom with own entrance into house, 9000 BTU furnace and 5000 BTU air conditioning unit. Floor covered in Pergola. Skylight, double pane with E glass added to room along with double pane with E glass bay window. Large closet added to room.


Heat: Forced air Natural Gas (furnace installed 2005) and Natural Gas wall unit (1998) in third bedroom.

Air Conditioning: Central air (unit installed 2005) and wall unit (1998) in third bedroom.

Hot Water: Natural Gas.

Radon Removal System 2004.

County road, water and sewer.


House on cul-de-sac ending in county park area.

Model Name: Luria;

Exterior Wood Siding – painted in 2006

Year built 1954

Real Estate Taxes 2006: $4,402.60 Parcel ID: 059-2-/08/09/0014-1

Legal Description: Holmes Run Acres, Lot 14, Block 9, Section 9.

Community Link and Discussion Group: Holmes Run Acres:

Other Links:

US Department of the Interior, National Park Service National Register of Historic Places, at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources website: see page 30 for a description on 3408 Hartwell Court

Modern Capital Blogsite, 12/31/06

Washington Post Article: The Ranch, an Architectural Archetype Forged on the Frontier, By Katherine Salant, Saturday, December 30, 2006


We have been landscaping for the past 2 years, so the photos are of the outside. The latest upgrade was seeded grass, done in the fall of 2006, so the lawn is in better shape than some of the pictures show.