Inheriting a Family Legacy


By Patricia Zick @PCZick

In the past few weeks, I’ve immersed myself in the writings of my great grandfather. The man, Harmon Camburn, died fifty-two years before my birth. I know he was the father of my paternal grandfather. That’s about the whole of it, except for the journal he wrote for his children chronicling his years as a Union soldier in the Civil War. He joined Michigan’s 2nd Regiment in 1861 in the early days of the war.

I’m putting the journal in electronic form so others can read about his experiences as a soldier and as a prisoner of war with the Confederates in the last year of the war. Besides that, it’s simply an interesting read. My great grandfather was a storyteller. Here’s a particularly descriptive passage:

June 7, 1863 – As the train sped southward, the descending sun gleamed across the broad expanse of gently undulating…

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Crabs and Writing

DSC02602 By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from writing regular blog posts. I suppose I could blame it on summer. Having more daylight hours means having more things to do, such as gardening, boating/kayaking, and golfing.

The garden isn’t doing much these days because the added rainfall has made things a bit too soggy for our tomatoes. I haven’t canned one single sauce yet this summer. But I have been out on the water relaxing and thinking up all sorts of topics for my blog. I have so many topics written down on a pad of paper that I don’t know where to begin.

So I’ll write about Maryland crabs. We recently went to the Maryland coast and visited the Red Roost restaurant near Assateague Island. The place is an old converted chicken farm, which lends itself well to the casual atmosphere inside.DSC02600

My husband and I had never experienced eating Maryland crabs, but our waitress was pleased to help us. It’s not unlike lobster, except it’s a lot more work.

We ordered the bucket which came with scallops, shrimp, clams, and corn. And six crabs, which we thought was plenty for us newbies.

Our bucket came with ten crabs instead. We set to work becoming experts after the first one. The meat is sweet, but in small bites. It might make for a good diet because you are forced to eat very slow.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely as we experienced something together for the first time. But we both agreed we’d had our fill of Maryland crabs for a very long time.

???????????????????????????????What have you been doing this summer? Anything exotic (I know it’s hard to beat eating crabs in an old chicken house, but I bet you can!)?

Florida Environmental Novels for Free

web tsWebMy two novels set in Florida, Tortoise Stew and Trails in the Sand, are both available for a free download to your Kindle on Wednesday, August 14 through Friday, August 16.


Here’s a short excerpt from both:

From Tortoise Stew:

tsWebCowan Garcia lived in one of the Victorian homes that graced the tree-lined Main Street of downtown Calloway. The morning after the meeting, he went out on his porch to retrieve The Tribune. He shook his head when he read the headline, and felt sympathy for Kelly Sands. Two weeks ago, his tires were slashed while he was inside city hall picking up a public records request.

He took a deep breath and glanced up and down the street. He wondered how such a beautiful area as Calloway could contain such greed and hostility. He found himself caught up in the negativity and sometimes he responded in worse ways than those with whom he had disagreements.

“Good morning,” yelled Chelsea Godfrey as she rode her bike into Cowan’s front yard. “Thanks for trying last night.”

“Lot of good it did with those scum-sucking morons up there. We’ve got to find the right person to run for the March election against Simmons.”

“Cowan, what is that?” Chelsea pointed to an object lying just a few feet from the front porch steps.

Cowan came down to the yard to inspect. “Damn it all!” He picked up a dead gopher tortoise from the ground and held it out for inspection.

“They were busy last night,” Chelsea said. She indicated the paper Cowan had tucked under his arm. “You saw the bomb story?”

“This is going too far.”

“What are you going to do with it?” Chelsea asked as Cowan headed into the house with his paper. He placed the carcass on the porch. Chelsea followed.

“I’m going to bury it in the front yard and put a tombstone up that reads ‘RIP Gopher Tortoise, Killed by Developers,’ and then I’ll call my favorite reporters and hold a memorial.”

From Trails in the Sand:

webOur paddles caressed the water without creating a ripple as we floated by turtles sunning on tree trunks fallen into the river. A great blue heron spread its wings on the banks and lifted its large body into the air, breaking the silence of a warm spring day in north Florida.

The heron led us down the river of our youth stopping to rest when we fell too far behind. The white spider lilies of spring covered the green banks of the Santa Fe River in north Florida.

“Do you remember the spot where we always swam?” my husband Simon asked. “Isn’t it around here?”

“I can’t remember back that far,” I said.

Simon pulled his kayak up alongside mine as a mullet jumped out of the water in front of us and slapped its body back into the water.

“Still the dumbest fish in the river,” I said.

The leaves on the trees were fully green and returned to glory after a tough winter of frosts and freezes. Wild low-growing azalea bushes were completing their blooming cycle, and the dogwoods dropped their white blossoms a month ago. The magnolia flower buds would burst into large white blossoms within a month.

Simon and I missed the peak of spring on the river. However, we finally escaped our work on a warm Tuesday morning in late April.

 “I hope things settle down. We should spend all summer on the river,” Simon said.

“Maybe we can get Jodi to come with us when she gets home from Auburn,” I said.

“Don’t count on it. Promise me you won’t be disappointed if she refuses.”

“I wish you wouldn’t be such a pessimist. That upsets me more than anything.”

Simon didn’t respond, which usually happened when I tried to talk about his daughter Jodi.

When we were kids, Simon and I spent many days in an old canoe on this river. Those idyllic days ended when he married my sister Amy. I never forgave Amy, even when she died two years ago. I eventually forgave Simon.

Even though I didn’t miss or mourn my sister, Jodi, my niece, did. She lost a mother she loved and believed Simon and I trampled her mother’s grave when we married nearly a year ago.

“At least winter is over,” Simon said. “Let’s hope for a quiet hurricane season.”


Oh Deer!

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

???????????????????????????????Three fawns appeared in our backyard recently. On the first morning, a doe led the fawns to the willow tree. They laid down, but the doe disappeared. For the next three mornings, when we woke up and looked out the kitchen window, the fawns were under the tree, but with no doe in sight.

On the third morning, I decided it was time to shoo them back to the woods where they belonged. When I walked toward them, they only looked curious and made no moves to stand. I wanted them to leave by my presence rather than by the loud noise of the tractor about to mow the backyard. Finally, they wandered off. We haven’t seen them since that day.

I read that does can have three in a litter, but twins are more common. Also, as fawns, they don’t understand they are deer, and we are humans. That was abundantly clear in their reaction to my approach.

I was torn. I wanted them to stay because of their adorableness. But as someone who has worked with wildlife biologists, I know these wild creatures needed to maintain a healthy fear of humans and their big machines. The woods and forests are the best places for them, not in my backyard to give me a thrill as I pour my morning coffee.

Safe passage, you dear (deer) fawns.