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Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Funnies

As seen at Walmart  AND around town . . .

seen at walmart collageOur small area has a Walmart and you NEVER know what you’ll see in the parking lot — hay trucks, boats, motor homes (and more).horseless wagon0614 (2)This rig was  parked recently in front of a home on Main St — minus the horse; but it looks like something Santa could use.

(Late today due to a couple of PC issues.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grand Thanksgiving

We hope that everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful time, no matter where or how it was celebrated. We are thankful for many blessings such as grandchildren — Bobby and Elizabeth (“Ellie”).
1112 Grand collage
Grandson Bobby has two big celebrations in December — his 6th birthday followed soon after by Christmas. He told us that he’s been on the mostly “nice” list this year.
1112 Bobby collage
Granddaughter Ellie, nearly 17 months old, is quite a little charmer. This child is ALWAYS smiling and laughing and has a similar effect on others, especially Grenville and I. 1112 Ellie Collage1
Bobby is at the age where it’s fun doing things with Grandpa. Ellie just has fun doing anything — especially following her big brother. And, we always have fun spending the day with both of them (and we also learned how exhausting that can be). Bobby-Grandpa collage1112 Dorothy-grandkids collage
We steered clear of any malls or shopping sales on the traditional U.S. Black Friday sales, many of which are now (sadly) starting on Thanksgiving Day itself. Our Christmas wish list doesn’t involve lots of gift buying; Christmas is NOT about “things” (just ask Cindy Lou Who). This year we’re seeking charitable alternatives in addition to some favored ones.

How about you? Please share YOUR thoughts . . .

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Funnies

Beam me up (Scotty) ?

What beam

Yes, folks we wondered about this one too.

And, hope that your holiday traffic was better than this . . .

pre holiday rush

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quechee Gorge

Did you know that New England has its own (little) Grand Canyon and that it's in Vermont?

Quechee Gorge collage

The 1.4 mile long Quechee Gorge (say KweeChee) on the Ottauquechee River has been called Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon. It's one of New England’s most popular natural wonders — best of all, you can see it FREE. (Just avoid the touristy souvenir shops in the nearby Quechee Village.)  

quechee gorge1

Quechee Gorge can be seen from the Quechee Gorge Bridge on Vermont Route 4A in the Town of Hartford. The drop from the Quechee Gorge Bridge to the bottom of the gorge is roughly 165 feet.

How did it happen?
It was formed by glacial activity when the climate cooled (about 100,000 years ago) the Laurentide Ice Sheet formed in northern Canada, flowed south over New England, burying the Ottauquechee River underneath ice and snow. The ice sheet has been estimated to have been at least 1 mile thick.
 
quechee gorge2As it started to warm up, some 13,000 years ago, the ice sheet started melting, but instead of flowing straight into the Connecticut River like before, it flowed into the arm of a huge lake, Glacial Lake Hitchcock and backed up behind a dam of gravel left by the ice melt.  When the dam broke, the Ottauquechee River turned south wearing away the bedrock until it cut all the way through creating a huge waterfall and the gorge. 

Quechee Gorge is now part of the 612-acre Quechee Gorge State Park. The land was originally owned by the A. G. Dewey Company, a major wool processor in the 19th century. Dewey established a mill about 1869 and  became a successful wool processor, employing as many as 500 people, who lived in the mill village. Water from the falls and the mill pond just above the gorge powered the facility. In 1841, Dewey began making reworked used wool called shoddy. By 1936, the mill was the oldest one in the country making shoddy wool; it was used to make Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees baseball uniforms, and U.S. Army and Navy blankets. The mill closed in 1952 and relocated to Enfield, New Hampshire. Over the next several years, nearly all of the mill houses and buildings were demolished. Remains of mill and dam can still be seen at the head of the gorge.

Quechee was known for a picturesque covered bridge at the site of the old Quechee mill. In 2011, the bridge was severely damaged by flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Irene. Irene did more damage in one day to the state's old bridges than is typically done in a decade. Many of them had stood for more than 100 years. The bridge is under repair (image from Burlington (VT) Free Press pre-Irene).

Quechee bridge

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for All

At this special time of year, Grenville and I are thankful for so manyThanksgiving 1JP things — family and friends, health, home and each other.

And, Friends  include all of you, the wonderful folks we have to come to “know” through reading your blog posts and by comments on The Frog & PenguINN  blog.
(We especially appreciated the comments and concerns in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.)

Thank You

We wish all those who celebrate this holiday a very . . .

Happy Thanksgivingpumpkins-corn1

Monday, November 19, 2012

New England Rock Solid

Granite is considered a "rock of ages" because not only is it among the oldest rocks in existence, but it's said to last forever — as cemetery memorials show.
ROA facility
A visit to the aptly named Rock of Ages Company in Graniteville, south of Barre, Vermont, bears this out. This granite quarrying and finishing
company was founded in 1885; granite had been quarried in the area since the 1820s. The arrival of the railway later in the century provided a way for this stone to get to markets elsewhere in any quantity. Granite is not only hard and durable, but very heavy — a one-foot cube weighs over 170 pounds.
The company was originally named BM&V after its founders, George B. Milne, James Boutwell, and Harvey Varnum. In 1914, BM&V hired an advertising company to rename the company and increase its visibility. The name "Rock of Ages" was chosen after the religious hymn of the same name. From then on, all Barre granite from the BM&V quarries was marketed as "Rock of Ages," gaining name-brand recognition for the granite. The name proved so successful that it was adopted by the company when it incorporated later that year.
Rock of Ages soon became a combination of several companies that continued to expand, acquiring local companies and quarries in New Hampshire, Georgia and Quebec, Canada. Its quarries produce the highest combined volume of dimensional granite in North America. Rock of Ages now owns and operates over 40 quarries and is the largest supplier of granite memorials (tombstones) in the country. It also supplies cut stone to building construction projects all over the World. Since 1984, it has been owned by Swenson Granite, a family-run company that has run quarries in New Hampshire for over 100 years.
Rock of Ages1
Granite was originally quarried using primitive techniques which implemented hand saws and explosive charges to blast away the "benches" of the quarry. Modern techniques have evolved to include diamond-tipped wire saws and water jets.
The Rock of Ages Company employs about 230 people at its Graniteville location where it maintains the "E. L. Smith Quarry" considered the world's largest "deep hole" granite quarry, which mines Devonian Barre Granite. We were not able to see the actual quarry, site of a location shot in the 2009 Star Trek film. However, we were able to see the VERY large manufacturing facility to watch granite products being produced, nearly all of which were memorial headstones.
Rock of Ages2
At nearby Hope Cemetery in Barre, VT, the memorials stand as a tribute to the many stone cutters and artisans interred there. The cemetery is referred to as a "museum of granite sculpture." The front entrance of the unlocked cemetery is manned by two unnamed granite sentries.
Hope sentries
Hope Cemetery was established in 1895. Originally, it contained 53 acres. Since then, it has expanded to a total of 65 acres. Edward P. Adams, a nationally known landscape architect, created the original plan for the cemetery. There are over 10,000 monuments made of Barre Gray granite. The master artisans of Barre, many Italians who immigrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, worked the Barre Gray granite blocks into memorial designs.
Silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by granite dust, was common among these artisans and sculptors who were breathing it in every day, which led to an abnormally high death rate.  Many sculptors designed their own tombstones to showcase their skill. It is estimated that 75% of the tombstones in Hope Cemetery were designed by those interred there. Ornate stone carvings include a soccer ball, bi-plane, and a half-size replica of a race car (#61) in memory of local driver Joey Laquerre, Jr, who died in a 1991 snowmobile mishap.
Hope memorials
The monument of Elia Corti was hand carved from a single piece of granite by his brother. The seated life size figure appears to be contemplating for an eternity; the detail work in the clothing are quite amazing.The tomb of William and Gwendolyn Halvosa is shaped like a bed with the couple shown in pajamas and holding hands, their tombs stretched out before them. Carver Louis Brusa's grave features a sculpture called "The Dying Man" that shows Brusa being held by his wife as he succumbed to silicosis in 1937. Ventilation equipment added to stone carving buildings in the mid-1930s eliminated the hazard.
Hope memorials3
Other memorials are in geometric shapes and forms of nature, while others are more 'traditional.'
Hope memorials4
Hope memorials5
Hope Cemetery is a popular roadside destination that can be toured free of charge at your own pace with many more interesting, unusual and VERY unique memorials.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Onley Autumn is Still Here

As many readers of this blog may know, we live on the eastern shore of Virginia (called “the other Virginia”) in the small town of Onley (pop. 516 as of 2010 per city-data.com). The town’s name is pronounced “Only” although most  who don’t know that, including us when we first moved here nearly 8 years ago, say “On-ley.”leaf collageThe eastern shore is a coastal area with very warm hot (and humid) summer temps. Fall colors are slower to arrive in these parts, and temps stay warm well into fall. While it’s nearing the holiday season  and many other parts of the U.S. and abroad have leafless trees, cold weather (and even snow) — NOT here. We still have a lot of autumn reds, yellow, golden browns. The photos above and below were taken on a walk around our neighborhood earlier this week. onley fall collage1It’s not only trees that are still colorful, as many Frog & PenguINN yard flowers are still blooming, despite some recent chilly evenings of 40 degree temps. Daytime temps were in the 60s recently.fall flowersThe trio of Frog & PenguINN gardeners have been busy at fall chores too. Just frogs as penguins don’t like garden work, but prefer playing in the snow (usually in short supply around here).frog gardenersGrenville’s crop of tomatoes and peppers are done for the growing season and the plants were pulled up this week. While the veggies shown here were not salvageable, we did get some good eating ones this summer and some of the peppers were frozen.tomatoes-peppersHe planted some fall lettuce that we enjoyed in salads this week. And the broccoli (see the tiny heads in the middle photo) is doing well, but NOT so for the cauliflower, its leaves are being eaten by unknown predators, which apparently are NOT broccoli fans.broccoli-cauliflowerThe wildflower meadow is done blooming and ready for mulching this weekend as are the yard leaves; are now home to some new critters.meadows end collageHow are things going in your part of the world ?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Roast Pork, Onions and Apples

1112 roast pork-apples (1)Cooler fall weather means that we cook more meals in the oven with the side benefits of warming the house on a chilly day and some wonderful aromas.

Along with chicken and fish, boneless pork loin is one of our favorites for meal planning. It can be cooked in so many ways — in a crock pot, smoker or oven. 

If you also enjoy pork (the “other” white meat) here’s an easy and VERY tasty cool weather Taste of Home recipe. This is a first-time dinner that will be repeated at The Frog & PenguINN, just ask Grenville.

Roast Pork with Onions and Apples

The sweetness of the apples and onions complement the roast pork, and the garlic is not overpowering when roasted.

  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (2 pounds)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil (for browning)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 3 large Golden Delicious apples, cut into wedges *
  • 2 large onions, cut into wedges *
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled *
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh rosemary  OR 1 tsp dried & crushed

* Instead of golden delicious apples, I substituted gala apples, which we had in the fridge; also used slightly less garlic and onion.

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Place roast in a large nonstick skillet and brown roast in olive oil on all sides.
  2. After browning, put roast in a shallow roasting pan coated1112 roast pork-apples (3) with cooking spray OR olive oil (my preference). Arrange the apples, onions and garlic around roast; sprinkle all with rosemary.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 350° F for 45-60 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145 degrees; turn the apples, onions and garlic once.
  4. Let meat stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Discard garlic cloves, unless you enjoy eating them.

1112 roast pork-apples (4)We served with roasted asparagus, seasoned with olive oil, garlic power, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary then cooked in a separate baking dish.

Wild rice also goes well with this meal.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

old glory effectsVeterans Day is an official U.S. holiday that honors armed service veterans. It is traditionally celebrated on November 11, but in 1971, in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, the observance of Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, it was returned to its original Nov 11 celebration.

It coincides with  holidays like Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of WW I were formally ended in 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month with the German signing of the Armistice.

Sometimes, Veterans Day is confused with Memorial Day — here’s the difference: Veterans Day celebrates the service of ALL U.S. military veterans; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving

The legal holiday is still Nov 11, but if that date is a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday which is banks, post offices, and county and town offices close in this area and other parts as well.IMG_6355

Thanks to all veterans for their service including Grenville, a U.S. Navy veteran.

Remember to thank a veteran — or hug if a relative, spouse or good friend. THEY deserve it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Funnies

So is this WHEN loitering stops OR are these normal working hours . . .

No Loitering

Just wondering

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Back Soon

Break sign
We're taking a short break in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy that continues to affect family and friends in New Jersey with power and phone outages. And, if that situation wasn't already difficult enough, there's the threat of yet another storm possibly affecting that area by mid-week.

Thanks for all your well wishes, thoughts and prayers. It was heartening to read that blogging friends and their families were largely unscathed. 

 Grenville & Beatrice

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's THAT Bad

In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, family and friends in our home state of New Jersey are safe. But like so many other NJ residents they remain without electrical power. Thankfully, a wood burning fireplace and generator are helping ease their discomfort. We are keeping in contact by cell phone.

Roadways leading to NJ have pickup trucks carrying generators and gas cans in the back.

generators

Over  2.5 million customers lost power statewide at the height of the storm; currently over 1.5 million homes remain without power. Utility workers from states around the country are traveling to NJ to help repair downed power lines. We saw this support firsthand yesterday. We are on a road trip that took us on the NJ Turnpike, where we spotted utility trucks with Indiana, Maine and Mississippi license plates.There were also numerous tree-clearing companies on the way to helping out.

utility companiestree clearing

We also saw long gas lines at turnpike service areas.Then, experienced the situation ourselves in Parsippany, NJ, at the only station with gas available within a 10-mile radius. Along with other motorists, we waited over 3 hours and were thankful to get a $50 fill-up. Most stations are closed since the pumps will not work without electrical power.

turnpike linesgas station line

Joining these motorists, were lines of homeowners waiting to fill-up containers to fuel their home generators. My brother told me earlier today that he has waited in similar lines for the past couple of days.

gas can fillups

These scenes will be repeated for days; New Jersey's main power companies are estimating that some customers may be without power from 10 days to 2 weeks.

We continue to keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers.

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