Monday, September 29, 2008

NOAA National Weather Station - Melbourne
by Robin

For my son's First Lego League mission, they are studying Florida Climatology. Our club coaches set up this spectacular field trip to the NOAA weather station. Both Jack and I are big fans of the NOAA website, as it is instrumental in helping us make our fishing decisions. He was able to be off work at attend the field trip with us. Yeah!

Here are the five boys at the front door. These are the same five boys that have been meeting twice a week for a month now and will go to compete in November and January. Two of them are previous FLL members.

Here we are waiting in the conference room for the lecture to begin. Dennis Decker did a spectacular job of relaying his knowledge to the kids. He is a very patient man. He took probably 45 minutes worth of questions on all sorts of weather situations.

This is the intial view looking into the main work room. Mr. Decker is in the green shirt, Jack in blue. Mr. Decker said something about having been on the Weather Channel and maybe some special on the Discovery channel. I felt extemely priviledged to be learning right from him and be looking at the equipment they use to forecast weather for our region.

Not only do they predict weather temps & rain, but they determine wind & wave forecasts too. In another side of the room, they still have a ham radio for emergencies. Another computer sends our info on those Emergency Weather Radios.

Here is one of the work stations. Some of the screens repeat themselves but overall, each can show different types of methods of reading the atmosphere. This one to the right is looking at the clouds that were forming off the Georgia coast. This system eventually became Tropical Storm Kyle. The computer models can easily formulate a guesstimate about 10-14 days out but they safely predict the next 7 days with accuracy.

Here is the same big screen in the above picture but it is now set on looking at the moisture in the air. The red shows dry air and then there is a variation of color for moisture.

It's been 5 days since we've been to the weather station and so far, Mr. Decker's computer models have been dead-on for our weather. We're expecting another cool front come through this weekend. I can't wait.

Did you know that they still send those weather balloons up in the sky around the world? They cost approximately $100 each and can be refurbished but they are rarely returned. Weathermen around the world share their date with each other and this helps the computer models to do their work.

This machine to the right picks up readings on the wind. Those meters on the top determine consistent winds (left) and gusts (on right) and then, of course, there is a paper reading.

Now, we're outside the facilities. On top of the building are the "things" that pick up the wind speed & direction, etc.

Below that, in the door to the right, that is the battery which keeps the continuous power going to the equipment inside if anything should threaten that. Should power stay off for any length of time, they have another "house" with a couple generators in it. In the foreground of this pic, is the fuel that will run the generators. I believe Mr. Decker said they could run on generators for 3 weeks. He also had various stories about how the weather station went down in New Orleans during Katrina. The meterologists were able to survive in a specially built safe room and then somehow communicate that they were still alive but power was out.

Here are the boys with Mr. Decker. That building to the left is the generator house.

The sun was bright and it was hard to smile, but believe me, they were smiling on the inside. We all had a great time. I think my next career could be as a meterologist. Wow, they get to do some cool stuff. They're the brains behind those weathermen you see on the evening news. They are real-life heroes who save lives because they can send out those warnings.

C'mon everybody and sing with me, "We've got the whole world, in our hands." Ok, so it isn't the whole world, but the Doppler Radar ball.

Did you know that the doppler ball, if it were naked, would look like a rotating satellite dish with some fine tuned instruments alongside it. The foam & plastic covering protects the equipment from 125 mph winds. (Max protection) Doppler sends out radar that bounces off of moisture droplets.

Ok, now we're just having fun. Great balls of fire!!! Looks like Hercules holding Doppler on fire. Something of Biblical proportions......

Anyhow, I digress........ we had a wonderful time and THANK YOU to Mr. Decker.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

500 MILES!!!
by Robin

We made it!! The engine is broke in and we can start towing the boat as soon as this weather clears.

I've got to get out and see some blue water!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

by Robin

Last night, I was making The Pioneer Woman's Pasta Carbonara recipe. I only taste-tested a couple things since it has many bad things in it for my vegan diet, but I hear it was pretty good. The kids didn't like fresh parsley. (Sigh)

Anyhow, Jack comes into the kitchen saying that PW's base would be great if you added shrimp to it instead of the bacon. Hmmm......I like that idea. Skip the bacon in the beginning but add shrimp at the end of the meal, since it cooks very quickly.

If and when I make that, I'll have some photos up for you. If somebody ends up trying to recreate the first, I'd love to know what you think of it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

by Robin & Jack

Boil Water & get the Pasta cooking.

Also get your steamer going. We love to use this big pot my Mom gave Jack for his birthday. In the steamer is water, garlic salt and Old Bay.

Put your clams into the steamer. All these guys were alive going into the steamer. Sorry for the haze but the camera hates the steam.

Several minutes later, you can look in the steamer and see that they will be opened up. If any are unopened, throw the out. That means they were dead and THAT will ruin your meal and your night. Maybe your next morning.

Soon, you'll be putting them on a plate to add to the sauce. Make sure you don't let them sit too long. They will cool off quickly and won't taste as delicious.

While the clams are steaming & pasta is cooking, put together your sauce. Jack doesn't cook in exact amounts. He cooks with love & taste buds constantly adjusting his meals, but these are the ingredients he threw together. Lots of Smart Balance butter (vegan), EVOO (healthy amt), White cooking wine, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, bay leaf and little to no salt. Don't forget, you'll get plenty of salt from the other ingredients. There really isn't too much sauce in that pan since Jack was making this meal just for his sweetie. Thank you Honey!! I just love when he cooks for me on the weekend.

So, are you ready to grab these?

Here Jack is putting them into the drained pasta.

Good, that is done now.

Add the buttery sauce to the clams & pasta.

Mix it all nicely. You'll have to really roll that sauce around the pasta with a good size pair of tongs.

And here is seafood heaven on a plate. Can you just see the sauce caught up in each little clam? No? Hang on....

There! Can you see it now? Oh, it is just delicious. I ate an entire dozen clams and 2 platefuls of pasta. And I wonder why I gained back those 2 pounds. Ugh! It was worth it. For added spice, put some Crystal's hot sauce around the clams. Yum. Or as Emeril would say - BAM!

Oh and you're probably wondering what the guys got to eat for dinner. LOL. Jack did not let that steam go to waste at all. He and our eldest always pick up a few pounds of snow crab legs for themselves. Little man is eating a frozen pizza. I don't know who's child he is. LOL

Happy Fishing Y'all. We'll be back on the water soon. Jack took the new suburban to work twice this week to put some big miles on it. I think we still have another couple hundred to go. (We're breaking in the new engine in case you're new here.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

by Robin

My friend Stephanie asked for details. Ok, it's a 2008 Chevy Suburban 1500 w/ FlexFuel. It has so many cool feature - too many to name really. I don't even understand them all because I haven't graduated from rocket science school yet. One thing is that it changes from v8 to v4 when you're coasting and that allows you to get up to 24 mpg & save gas. It's such a smooth transition, you'll never notice a thing. I do know that it is SAFE. Like 5-star safe with all those airbags in it. The insurance companies love it. It even comes with a year's subscription to OnStar services which I love. Trust me, I'm going to need it much like this little lady. This very-well could have been me driving it up to church & back.

Anyhow, we love it and it has the heavy-duty towing pkg which is why we even bought such a big ol' beast. If you have to tow, we love the suburban which combines duty with luxury.

We did not expect for life to change so quickly this weekend but it did. I'm ever so thankful that God's timing is perfect with GM having their employee pricing deals plus the big rebate that comes with all new cars. (Angela, are you listening? Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?) If you're shopping, you may want to look at GM products. Last time they had this deal was in 2005. They have some nice hybrid Tahoes too if you want to do big & green together.

Happy Fishing!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

by Robin

Yeah, I'm double-posting today.

On Thursday, we thawed out some grouper fillets that were frozen back early August. Remember that sailfish & 25 lb Warsaw grouper, plus some pretty mahi? Well, we fired up the grill and Jack worked the seasonings to perfection while I got to work on the stove.

I have a butter bean soup that I just love. It's on the back of the Bush's butter bean can. In short, finely chop celery, carrots, onion, 3Tbl EVOO - cook 'til soft. Add 4 c water, 2 cans beans (I did not drain because I love those flavors), 1 can diced tomatoes, fresh basil (from garden) and warm. Then I slowly added 3 Tb all-purpose flour in to thicken the soup. Yum! Oh and I think I added lots of salt & pepper to taste. Do not skip the tomatoes. That adds so much flavor too.

Then, for my drink, I have a favorite concoction. 50-50 cola & cran-apple juice. Then spritzer lime on top. It's sweet & full of flavor.

Then, the steaks were grilled to perfection and we had a beautiful lunch. So beautiful, I could cry. LOL Maybe that was a bit dramatic.

After lunch, Jack and I went outside to run the boat engine just to keep her in top shape. You know, I haven't fished for probably 5 weeks. I'm busy. Running kids places, teaching kids, memorizing sign language for songs, taking care of puppies and kittens. So busy, I forget about fishing. Stopping routine is hard for me because being a mommy is very cyclic. We thrive on routine to keep sanity.
BUT....... I stepped into that boat with my bare feet. I could feel the heat on my soles. I could feel the non-skid grains under each toe. I felt the engine purr and eventually, it vibrates my heartstrings to the point where I got homesick for the sea. I couldn't absorb enough sunlight on my arms. I imagined I could smell salty air running through my lungs and plenty of wind blowing my pony-tail. I was back on the water, passing the jetty rocks, waiving to the pier fishermen, heading thirty miles out, looking for breaks upon the water surface, squinting through glare only produced by the tropical sun & clear blue water. My heart pounded a little faster and adrenalin ran through my veins. I closed my eyes and I could feel the anticipation of a new morning and the hope of new stories. Who would get the first fish? What would it be? Would it look like a Chinese fire-drill on deck? Would the fish spit the hook out at boatside? I could feel and see every memory of good-fishing days flash before my eyes. I was there. No. Stop. Listen to my words. I. WAS. THERE.
I opened my eyes feeling a bit self-concious that Jack was looking at me. Had he noticed? Did I have a glow on my face?
It was a bit disappointing to look over the side of our sea-worthy vessel to see pavement and grass. There were no bait pods breaking the water's surface, just houses & parked cars. Barracuda shadows were replaced by cats hiding in the shade of car silhouettes. Oh how I longed for the ocean. I shared that with Jack and he got a big smile over his face. I knew he would understand me. We are kindred spirits that way.
I knew that as soon as this new engine is broke in on the SUV, we'll be taking our Mako to the inlet so that we may hunt tripletails off the beach. Possible wet a hook for something on the bottom. Maybe beat the heat by trolling some colorful lures off the back while staring into the foamy waves. Anything will be find with me.
Happy Fishing!!
450 Miles!!!
by Robin

.........left to go before we can haul our boat anywhere.

We've got to break in a new engine! Thank you God for such a beautiful blessing. AND it comes with the heavy-duty tow package. (Just what we needed.)

Our ol' reliable suburban is going to be rehomed. We sure will miss it even though we only had it for 3 years.

Monday, September 08, 2008

by Robin

Thanks to all my wonderful Robin's Reports viewers (mostly Jack) who helped me reach this goal.

Much love & fishies!!
The Robin's Reports Management Team

(LOL....... Ok, it's just me but it sounds more official that way)
by Robin

I guess no news is good news in this case. Hanna barely gave us a half inch of rain and a slight cooling off. Ike looks to be passing Cuba & the Keys now and shouldn't be an issue to our region. Josephine is....... gone, I think. I dunno. I finally was able to walk away from the Weather channel sometime over the weekend.

I'm sure the Atlantic ocean is very dirty and we're getting a bit of Ike wind today. I don't think fishing is an option this weekend unless we just do a near-shore trip.

Oh, did I mention that I think I killed the fish finder machine by leaving the batteries on last month? I flushed the engine and forgot to turn off the battery. D'oh. Between Hanna rain & the fish finder somehow turning on, it's fried. Jack will have to take a closer look at it to see if there is anything that can be done or if buying a new one is our only option.

Happy Fishing to anybody else who can get out in this crazy weather.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hurricane IKE - Category 4
by Robin

Time to dig out the generator, fire it up, find all the cords and fill it up with gas. I'm thinking we're going to have a wet & wild weekend. We already have the candles ready, matches, propane tank, & radio. Need to get the groceries, maybe a blue tarp, extra batteries tomorrow. I'm sure we'll be w/o power.

Please pray that it loses strength and that it turns northward and out to open sea before it hits the states. If it doesn't, we'll need protection from God to help those of us in the path.

TS Hannah has brought us clouds today and we should be getting rain sometime late tonight.