Monday, December 16, 2013

Oil Down

Our Grenadian family invited us to an oil down on the beach yesterday. Oil down is the national dish of Grenada. It's a hearty, one-pot meal, cooked over an open fire on the beach. The ingredients vary, depending on who the cook is and what is available, but some of the staples remain the same, such as breadfruit and callaloo. The ingredients are layered in the pot, starting with a layer of breadfruit, green bananas and meat. Some seasoning is added, then another layer on top of that. The dumpling are next, followed by a layer of okra and callaloo.

The whole family was involved, some with getting the fire going, some with prepping the meat, some with peeling and chopping the veggies. Dog the Bounty Hunter was in charge and he let Stacy and I help as much as we wanted. A few of the things I helped with were staining the coconut water (by hand), making the dumplings and chopping the callaloo. What a very fun day we had, just hanging out on the beach and helping with the cooking and playing with the kids. I hope we get to do it all again one day soon.

We are very blessed to have this wonderful family here in Grenada that took us under their wing. Thanks to Rene and Stacy and Lisa and Sea Dog for meeting them and letting us join in the family.  They include us in their family gatherings where we love to sing (at the top of our lungs)..... "We are famileeeeee, we are one famileeeeee". They are such fantastic people and they truly do make us feel right at home on their lovely island.

Here is the story in pictures:

It all starts out innocently enough, a couple of limes, some
seasoning peppers and onions.
Some breadfruit and green bananas.
Everyone got in on helping peel and cut up the breadfruit.
Some chicken wings and turkey wings were added to the pot.
Time for the onions and seasoning peppers. Interestingly, other
herbs were added when someone picked them and brought them over.
I think it was lemongrass and maybe some kind of wild basil and
possible shadow benny (a wild herb that tastes like cilantro).
Time for the seasoning - lots of turmeric!
The callaloo (or dasheen) was chopped, to be
added on the last layer, along with some okra.
Stacy and I (with supervision from Dog) strained the coconut
milk by hand.
Then we made the dumpling by hand - also closely supervised
by Dog.
Coconut milk, herbs, meat, green bananas, dumplings, breadfruit.
This looks ready for the fire.
Then we added the chopped callaloo to the top.
Put a lid on and let it boil!
This is the finished product. Looks yummy, can't wait to
give it a taste!
Move the pot off the fire.....
Remove the cooked okra and callaloo from the top and stir
it together in a bowl, forming a kind of sauce.
I was too busy eating to take any more pictures. This stuff is fantastic. I ate until I couldn't eat another bite. Thanks again to our family for another great day!

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. ~Voltaire

Hash No. 807

Luna and I did another hash last Saturday and I just had to post a few pictures of what we saw along the way:

The paper says it all....
This was my view for most of the hash.
The backs of Rene and Sea Dog
The sun on a cute little house nestled in a valley
These guys were amused as Luna and I struggled up a giant hill
That's the hill. Doesn't look too bad in the picture
but I tell you, it was straight up!
I don't know what kind of palm this is, but I love the way they
grown like a fan.
One tired puppy.
You need special shoes for hiking - and a bit of a special soul as well. ~Terri Guillemets

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dinghy Concert

Last weekend we had an awesome time at a dinghy concert sponsored by Le Phare Bleu Marina  here in Grenada. It was a blast! The marina tied a couple of barges together with a boat in the middle to create the stage and music was provided by Madison Violet  a band from Nova Scotia. Cruisers from surrounding bays dinghied over and rafted up for an afternoon of music and fun.

Thanks to Paul of Sheryl Shard of the TV Show (and boat) Distant Shores, for the great You Tube video! Click the link to check it out.

 I think the pictures will tell the story better than I can:

Silvio, Vee and Sadie s/v Blues Breaker
Cynthia and Mike s/v Minx
Hurri Cane Lisa and Sea Dog Dave s/v Ke' Ola Kai
Rene and Stacy s/v Pipe Muh Bligh
Luna and Troy s/v Storyville
Madison Violet
We even had a rainbow!
Keeping Luna cool!
I made it to the barge!
After Party! How many can we fit on Storyville?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On On

Since the day we decided to sail to Grenada and started doing some research about the island I put a hash run on my bucket list. Well, last Saturday I got to put a great big check mark beside that one!

What is a hash? Well, I'm glad you asked. A hash is basically a hike on a trail that has been preset by a hare (the person who sets the trail) marking the trail with paper scraps, to be followed by the hashers (the runners and/or walkers). The terrain can vary from mountain trails, crossing streams, mud, dirt, paved roads and even through neighborhoods. Thank goodness it is non-competitive. In fact, hashers are often referred to as drinkers with a running problem, as there is always a party with beer and food at the end of the hash. If you hear other hashers around you yelling "on on" then you know that you are on the right trail.

I was a little worried about my first hash. How would it be? Could I do it? After all, since I had never hashed before, I was known as a virgin (and even made to sign up as a virgin before the hash). Thankfully, Rene, Stacy, Lisa and Sea Dog Dave, all no longer virgins, agreed to go with me. When we got to the gathering point, we all slathered on sunscreen and then bug spray over that. Next came the sweat and some mud as we hiked uphill on a very narrow and slippery trail. Stacy, Lisa and I, along with our new friend Sheryl Shard, brought up the rear and we got so busy talking that we got lost. For a minute there I was worried that we would never find our way back! The views were breathtaking and it felt absolutely wonderful to be enjoying the island from a point of view that other visitors may never get to appreciate.

Once we got back to the gathering point everyone enjoyed a cold beer and an oil down (In case you are wondering what an oil down is, that topic will be a future blog post all of it's own - a hint though - it's food). So we were enjoying our refreshments when the hash master called all the virgins up. There were 6 or 7 of us and we were presented with our certificates of loss of virginity, then they had us put our sunscreened, bug sprayed, sweaty, muddy arms around each other and they SPRAYED US WITH BEER!

What a day! Luna and I enjoyed every minute of it and we can't wait to go back and do it again.

Hashing has been around since 1938 when it originated in Malaysia. According to the World Hash House Harriers home page, there are currently 2028 hash groups in 1330 cities in 185 countries, so check them out and find a hash group near you.

 Here are a couple of great resources if you are interested in learning more about hashing:

Grenada Hash House Harriers

World Hash House Harriers

Wikipedia - Hash House Harriers

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

On on! Beginning of the hash!
The trail is marked with shredded paper piles
The views are incredible!
See what I mean?
Luna, making friends with a goat.
Rene and Sea Dog have a rest after the hash.
Here's a fun hash tradition for you - If you wear new shoes
to the hash, they make you drink beer from them!
We did it! Sheryl, Deana, Lisa and Stacy
And now - the reward!

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir

Monday, December 9, 2013

Concordia Falls

Another stop on the island tour was the beautiful Concordia Falls. The waterfalls and grounds were so beautiful that I just couldn't stop snapping pictures in every direction!

Rene and Stacy
Lisa and Kari

Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a Divine mystery, or a waterfall. ~Fulton J. Sheen