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Rub My Belly! Carp Nest; Hibiscus; Mower; Snow? Commuting in The Villages; Our Summer Tour Schedule

Suzanne is training Rudy and Gretchen to respond to the command “Give Me a Belly” to get them to lie down and roll on their backs. Looks like Gretchen is a fast learner… she loves having her belly rubbed any time of day; Rudy prefers early morning belly rubs, before he gets out of bed. 

While we were walking the puppies in town we saw these carp… not exactly the most glamorous fish. Carp are popular food fish in China, but are generally looked down upon here in the US. That’s because (1) carp are “bottom feeders” (2) most carp in the US were introduced for weed control in lakes and ponds, and (3) carp aren’t particularly tasty. On a recent stroll on the Lake Sumter boardwalk, we observed what I think are grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) building breeding nests in the shallows. Each nest looks to be about 4 feet in diameter, with only one fish per nest. Often males build the nests, then the female comes to the nest to lay her eggs, the male fertilizes them, and then the female goes off to party while the male guards the nest until the eggs hatch. Sort of the reverse of what humans do…  

On the floral front, I featured roses yesterday.  Today’s flower is the hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis). These were spotted in a garden area near Panera, our favorite coffee and breakfast shop. Did you know that you can make tea from the hibiscus, and if you’re not near a 7-11 for a fast food fix, you can dry and eat them. I’m not sure which parts are edible, or the process involved, so Your Faithful Correspondent bears no responsibility for any unfavorable outcomes (gee, that could have multiple meanings and some potentially unpleasant images) should you consume these flowers without the advice of a very experienced horticulturalist. 

While on a bike ride on Friday, I saw an anachronism. This one was neither aggressive nor loud, so I felt pretty safe taking a photo at close range. Actually, it was a pretty benign experience. One of our Villages homeowners was using a push mower to cut his lawn. Not a gas or electric-powered push mower, but the kind I used as a kid on weekends to earn money to supplement the paltry pay I got on my paper route. (Does any other guy or gal out there remember what real neighborhood paper routes were? Okay, I digress…) 

Anyway, Greg Bartin was pushing happily away at high speed (actually, almost at a gallop) across his yard, and as I pulled up, a golf cart with an equally-amazed couple also pulled up and we chatted. Greg uses his completely human-powered push mower for exercise, not because he’s a skinflint or a Luddite. It’s obviously good exercise, because Greg was trim and quite sweaty. (He admits to using a gas powered lawn mower during high heat and humidity days in mid-summer… “Wuss.”)  

Our Minnesnowtan Contributor, Terri of the Frozen North, has sent us the following two images… the first shows her two hour commute YESTERDAY (!!!!), resulting from a “late season” blizzard. (I thought “late season” in your lovely state was between July 29 and August 3…) 

The second photo shows Terri standing on her deck admiring the blossoms on the trees… oh, sorry, those aren’t blossoms… 

Terri, you should consider moving somewhere warm, like The Villages. Here is a shot of two local commuters I took about the same time as your blizzard photo… (Suzanne just told me I am cruel.  Sheesh!)

We have been asked about our upcoming summer tour schedule. You may not have heard that we decided not to go to Alaska because of My Lovely Bride’s trip to Crete.  It still looks to be an exciting, fun-filled adventure.  As of today, here are the highlights:
May 1                          Depart The Villages
May 3-5                      Marietta/Atlanta, GA
May 6-7                      Nashville, TN
May 15-22                  Boulder/Denver, CO
May 23-26                  Ft Collins, CO
May 29-June 3            Moab, UT
June 6-10                    Page/North Rim Grand Canyon, AZ
June 12-13                  Provo, UT
June 14-15                  Ogden, UT
June 16-19                  Boise/McCall, ID
June 22-23                  Portland, OR
June 25-29                  Tacoma/Forks, WA/Olympic Natl. Park
June 30-July 5             Vancouver Is., BC (Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay)
July 6-9                       Vancouver, BC
July 10-11                   Everett, WA/Cascades
July 12-15                   Seattle, WA
July 16-17                   Mt Rainier Natl. Park, WA
July 21-27                   Glacier Natl. Park, MT
July 31-Aug 7              Banff/Jasper Natl. Parks, Alberta
Aug 8-10                     Calgary, Alberta
Aug 17-24                   Cody, WY/Tetons and Yellowstone Natl. Parks
Aug 25-26                   Billings, MT
Aug 28-29                   Teddy Roosevelt Natl. Park, ND
Sep 1-2                        Devil’s Lake, ND
Sep 6-8                        Minneapolis, MN
Sep 10-12                    Ely, MN/Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness
Sep 14-15                    Minneapolis, MN
Sep 17                         Cedar Rapids, IA
Sep 19                         St Louis, MO
Sep 21                         Memphis, TN
Sep 23                         Jackson, MS
Sep 25-27                    New Orleans, LA
Oct 1                           Return to The Villages
If we are coming to your town/city/national park, please let us know so we can get together. Because our actual event schedule is still fluid, I will post Suzanne’s speaking engagements two weeks before each event. Alternatively, they will also be on her web site,


  • Jennifer
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Beautiful photo of Gretchen against your carpet..

    I love Hibiscus. Such a pretty pink color!

    I see you are going to Nashville. Have you ever been to Asheville, NC? This is where I live? It's a beautiful place surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains..People move here from all over and especially Florida!

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Jen, This summer's trip will be out west, but we are looking forward to an East Coast tour next summer, and we hope to visit Asheville then. I spent some time there hiking and kayaking years ago, and I love your beautiful city and the mountains around it. Ty

  • Jennifer
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Oh, I'm so glad to know that you may stop here next summer!. I also want to make it to one of Suzanne's events sometime…Is there a nice resort or place to stay in the Villages that you might recommend??


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