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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Walk on Main Street

time-temp collage0318Recent temps have struggled to get out of the 50s during the daytime, yet just a couple of weeks ago it was a different story. For a brief time, temps soared to nearly 80 degrees on the VA eastern shore. As this bank time/temp sign shows, it was a warm evening  when Grenville and I took a walk along Main Street.

Here’s a photo tour of some houses and buildings seen on our route.

The collage below shows some Main Street buildings. The brick one in the middle of the first row was the old Farmers and Merchants Bank and now serves as a church. In the 1900s, the row of stores on the bottom left housed several businesses, including a pharmacy, post office, Western Union, and movie theatre. The white building (second one down on the right) is a RR freight station, the only remaining one on the Eastern Shore that’s still in its original location. There was also a passenger station as well, but it was relocated years ago and is now a private residence. The bottom right photo shows a portion of Main Street – fairly quiet.

main st collage0318There are many diverse architectural styles in this small town (pop. just over 500) from four-squares to cottages. Most of these older homes are nicely maintained in comparison to a previous post that featured some abandoned homesteads.

onley houses collage1It’s not uncommon to see many of the large older homes with turrets. This was a popular Victorian style and these homes are very striking.

Onley turrets collage031811Since the VA eastern shore is “the south,” there are many homes with front porches – open air or enclosed. Back “in the day” folks would “porch it” and spend warm evenings outdoors, more than is done today. Of course, TV was not as prominent, then.

houe porches collage0318A series of houses with red, including a barn that’s located just down the street. These homes differ from the “standard” house colors of white with black shutters that are all too common in these parts.

red houses collage0318Our home, The Frog & PenguINN, once had a black and white color scheme and is now ivory and blue with a front porch and rockers too.

2004 house frontsmrhouse front

Let us know, anytime you want to come and “porch it” cause we do that often in warm weather.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Well Done “Bird”

roast chicken032011Roasting a chicken is NOT something new; many of us have probably roasted one at some time for dinner.

But here’s a couple of new ways to prepare the chicken – brining in salt water first and then jacking the heat up high for the last part of roasting.

Brining in salt water is supposed to make the cooked bird more tender and is best done about an hour before roasting.Per an article in Cook’s Illustrated, kosher salt is preferable  as the large airy crystals dissolve more readily.

Raising the cooking temperature at the end of cooking came from an article in Cooking Light magazine which recommended cooking at the usual temp, then raising it 100 degrees for the last  15 minutes. The result was a very browned chicken; the high temp finished the cooking nicely.

F&P Note: The magazine recipe used a 4 lb. chicken; ours weighed in at 6 lbs. I adjusted the time and used a cooking thermometer to check the done temp.

Roast Chicken

This spice mixture was a new one to try after previously using bottled poultry seasoning, placing cut up citrus fruit in the cavity, or seasoning with salt & pepper and putting cut up onion in the cavity.

  • 1 (4 lb.) whole roasting chicken
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic gloves minced

Optional: These next items were in the recipe, but there was none on hand; the chicken was still delicious. You can either add them or not.

  • 3 shallots peeled and halved
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 lemon quartered

Preheat oven to 350°

  1. Starting at neck cavity, use your fingers to push between skin and meat and loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks. 
  2. Combine butter and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) into a small bowl. Rub mixture under loosened skin, over flesh and rub over top of skin. F&P Note: this is a messy procedure.
    If using, put shallots, thyme and lemon in cavity of chicken.
  3. Tie ends of legs together with twine; lift wing tips up and over back and tuck under chicken.
  4. Place breast side up on a rack in roasting pan. Bake at 350° chicken prep0320for 45 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450° and bake an added 15 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in meaty part of leg registers 180°.
  5. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
  6. Carve chicken and discard skin, but be sure to sample first.

Our was served with sides of sautéed green beans and butternut squash – veggies from Grenville’s produce output last season.

green beans0320butternut squash0320

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3 Whoopee Day!

whoopie cakeWHOOPPEE !

1st WHOOPPEE – snow is gone and what started out as a wintery morning, ended up being a sunny, but chilly Sunday afternoon.

2nd WHOOPPEE - enjoying homemade whoopie pies given to us by a neighbor yesterday (thanks, Martha). whoopie cake0327 (1)

The whoopie pie (also called a gob, black-and-white, bob, or “BFO” for Big Fat Oreo) is an American baked good that may be considered either a cookie, pie or cake. It is made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, or sometimes pumpkin cake, with a sweet, creamy filling or frosting sandwiched between them. Strasburg, PA holds an annual Whoopie Festival featuring a whoopie pie eating contest and the coronation of the Whoopie Pie Queen. Here’s a whooppie pie recipe.

SAM_1526Grenville restrained himself from eating one right away since we were going out to attend a friend’s wedding yesterday afternoon. While the wedding cake wasn’t chocolate covered in fudge sauce, it was delicious – and homemade too! (Congrats Teresa & Jerry)

3rd WHOOPPEE - in between watching the morning snowfall and enjoying afternoon dessert, we took a  walk around the neighborhood. The daffodils had shaken off their frosty covering; the snow was gone from the grassy areas and the garden. And, there are blossoms everywhere – SPRING was just slightly deterred today.

cherry blossom time0327 (1)The blossoms on these two trees contrasted beautifully with blue sky.

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cherry blossom time0327 (18)cherry blossom time0327 (6)

cherry blossom collageWe hope that you had a whoopee-full weekend too !

Spring’s a Coming?

barn-greenhouseYes, it was just another spring winter day here on the VA eastern shore. WAIT, I checked the calendar and it’s March 27 can this be right?

Just 2 days ago, Grenville was out spreading the sh**  manure. Maybe he spread a little too much?

We enjoyed dinner on the front porch a week or so ago and were looking forward to some porch rocking this week.

DSCF1216

And, we even posted about spring having arrived. What a surprise to see the the daffodils were still in bloom – but frozen this morning.

daffodil snow collage0327

Luckily, these were picked on Saturday and we are enjoying them indoors, where it’s warm.

DSCF1321

Lots of other plants were surprised this morning, including these. The pine trees were the only ones that didn’t seem to mind.

snow plants collage0327

DSCF1317DSCF1318

The birds seemed confused and chilly at the snowfall and 30-degree morning temps.The feeders were kept busy after a quick refill.

DSCF1372

DSCF1365There were also those who preferred to dine alone.

feeder collage0327This robin seemed confused by the covering of white.

DSCF1252This finch couple stayed together.finch collage0327They were not alone.

snow birds collage0327The porch frogs are hanging around for the hopefully soon return to spring weather.spring soon0327

The snow is already melted and the sun is out. It’s like that here on the eastern shore – if you don’t like the current weather, wait a little while and it will change.

monarch1028 (3)

Indian Winter???????

Now everyone has heard of Indian Summer. That wonderful return of summer no matter how brief. But Indian Winter?????? We checked the official records at the Onley National Weather Bureau for March 1 2011 at 12:01AM and March officially came in at 49.8F. So maybe it didn’t come in like a Lion but it was no Lamb. Possibly a Jackalope at best. By the end of the day though it was 27.8F and that is how our March has been. Up to 78 and down to 25. BUT we are ending our ficklest month in a Winter Wonderland.flamingo

We awoke this morning to SNOW. AND after checking our pluses and taking our blood pressures having coffee, we looked out again and it was still SNOWING!!

We’re worried that if “March comes in and out like a Jackalope” what this will do to the long held  theory that April Showers bring May Flowers…. While Beatrice was out documenting this outrageous occurrence i started checking some of these giant snow flakes closely. Amazingly one said “Made in Lisbon Me.” We were astonished…. We are not sure of this BUT we think someone may have put the “Grammie Whammy” on us. Another said  “Fabricated in Fairbanks”hammock snow (2). Many were shaped like a Maple Leaves. And we are not sure but one said “Produkt i Sverige”. And then there is the ”Sacrilege of the Hammock”.

patio tree garden snow (1) My big worry is those beautiful Peach Blossoms. Will they hang in there for a day or so.

let it snow greenhouse Beatrice seems to think it may be that we left the ‘Let it Snow” banner up a little too long. No matter though, by this evening it will be mostly melted and help increase the amount of MUD we have. Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday, snow or not.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Apple Blossom Time

That’s what we have here at the F&P. Even though it didn’t get over 50F today and was breezy and raw.100_0435 What a perfect day for manure spreading. I know, some of you will be really disappointed that you have missed the big Annual Manure Toss but never fear there will be another next year. The two mainmanure spread0325 (5) plots we are using this year got 680 lbs of wonderful Bovine Gold. Then came the hard  part, turning it all under. Well maybe not so hard since JD did most of the work, i just steered.
BUT WAIT!!!!!! Didn’t i mention Apple Blossoms?????? Why yes i did. AND we have blossoms starting on all three apple trees and all three peach trees. apple collage0325Yes even the new ones. From the look of the older peach as long as we don’t have a hard rain that knocks the blossoms off we will have a great harvest. I can smell the fresh Peach Pie now. Wonder if there are any left in the freezer??????
peach collage0325All the photo kudos go to Beatrice. By the time i realized that i had forgotten my camera (Again, as always) the Bovine Gold had been spread, both plots had been turned twice and i was heading back to the barn. With all of the rain we have had over the last few weeks the soil was just barely workable. I had about a 2 inch thick coating of mud on the bottom of my boots, so there was no way i was going in to get my camera.

Just to make things interesting, they are predicting possible SNOW for Sunday. Don’t they know this is the “Sunny South”?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What is This? #8 Answer

It’s Grenville’s favorite place to relax on a warm afternoon – the hammock on the back patio.

Congrats to several folks who got this one and thanks to everyone for playing along.

0324 patio hammock

Elaine, you are really getting to know Grenville’s habits too well and you were the first of several correct answers. Also getting this one were Steve, Sandra and Rusty.

Marty and Possum thanks for being good sports and not giving this away as you both knew the answer from being at the F& P.

Good guesses – Mona, Lois, and Christer but we don’t have a basketball net anywhere near our home. Heavens, AC, bite your tongue as there are NO chain link fences here.

No chickens, Abe, although the eggs would be nice to enjoy. You got chickens?.

Better luck next time, Mona (Wspersweetly of Cottages) and Grammie G.

IF any winners really want to spread the sh*t  or manure, contact Grenville – he has plenty to go around.

Rainy Days & Sweatpants

Yup, that’s what we’ve been having a lot of lately; NO we’re not whining. We know that some fellow bloggers have had snow. YES, we like snow, but don’t want any now. Thanks anyway in case you wanted to offer some – Grammie G, Elaine, Mona, or others.
These were the puddles at the end of our street this morning. Those are raindrops splattering in the puddles on the right.
rainy day032311 (5)rainy day032311 (8)
The back patio was looking very soggy too. Just a couple of days ago we sat outside enjoying afternoon coffee, but not today.
rainy day032311 (10)We got spoiled by a few really warm days in recent weeks. Today, it struggled to get to 50 degrees. It’s chilly and wet again. Grenville has started seeds in the greenhouse, and is waiting praying for dry weather to start spreading the manure.

Yes, I turned on the car wipers on after taking this photo, it just made for a better weather photo with rain on the windshield.P1050050For me, this was the a good day to visit the YMCA which we rejoined in mid-January. Well, perfect for me as Grenville stayed home to “do some paperwork.” Funny, that the paperwork was all over the bed when I left . . . hmmm. Do you think he was fibbing?

The “Y” was looking soggy from across the highway, but better close up because of flowers in bloom by the front entrance. The daffodils, while hard to see, are in full bloom.
P1050052P1050054
It’s the flowering dogwood in full bloom right outside the front door that really makes a statement of spring. The small Panasonic digital camera that’s usually in the car helped capture its beauty to share.
dogwood0324 (1)
dogwood collage0324Seeing this beauty made going to the “Y” a good thing (well almost). But, the best part about a rainy day, like today, was wearing sweat clothes the ENTIRE day – because of the weather and the trip to the “Y”.

What do you enjoy doing when it rains?
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