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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You’ve Been Hacked

Fellow Bloggers . . . Has this happened to you?

My Yahoo email account was hacked last week. While that’s bad news, it wasn’t disastrous. This  email hasn’t used in a long time, but I neglected to delete and left were contacts emails in it, including myself, which is HOW I found out that the account had been compromised. Grenville also got a suspicious looking email.

It’s our standing practice NEVER to open links in emails and by now most folks know NOT to send me any forwarded emails. Maybe it’s because I’ve told them they would be immediately deleted on receipt?

What to do If your email gets hacked — According to Yahoo Support the first thing you should do is change the password — DONE. My next step was to delete all contacts, bypassing the caution that this action could not be reversed. My final step was to delete the account entirely. Of course, Yahoo wanted to make sure . . .

We are sorry to see you go!
Are you sure you want to terminate your Yahoo! Account?

Sure DO. In recent months some friends and family have had email accounts hacked. This was a first for me, and showed the need for greater vigilance in opting whether or not to list contacts online.

I learned that IF you poke around an email account you can find out lots of stuff, for example, in Yahoo you can view your most often visited locations under Location History:

Lancaster,Pennsylvania,United States
Virginia,United States,23418
Onley,Virginia,United States,23418
Plainfield,New Jersey,United States
New London,Connecticut,United States,06320
Nashua,New Hampshire,United States
Cranston,Rhode Island,United States

I also found out that the account was hacked twice from Iran:

 
4:09 AM
Browser
Mail Access
Iran2.178.155.146


4:09 AM
Yahoo! Mobile
Logged In
Iran2.178.155.146

NOW, you would think that some sort of red flags would have gone up in Yahoo because of those orange exclamation points, which displayed online. My previous locations were only U.S. east coast.

Do you see Iran on my location list? I didn’t.

So the question is WHY is Yahoo making it this easy for spammers to hijack accounts?

Yahoo should have noted this unusual location and used security questions to validate identity. But, apparently they do NOT.

A simple rule set night be that users would be asked to validate identity if the login (even a successful one) is outside a certain mile radius of any prior location.

This is NOT to say that hacking couldn’t occur with my Gmail or internet provider email account, BUT so far it has not and hopefully will remain that way. But, as a precaution I have started changing passwords.

WHEN when you terminate a Yahoo account, this messages displays:

Yahoo! Account Terminated
Your account has been deactivated and scheduled for deletion.

Along with this wording: You no longer have access to this account, which will be deleted from our user database in approximately 90 days. This delay is necessary to discourage users from engaging in fraudulent activity.

GEE, maybe Yahoo should  have thought of that sooner?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hiding in Plain Sight ?

That’s what the Frog & PenguINN backyard songbirds seem to be sharpshin hawk  facedoing, despite repeated sightings of a predator. Yesterday’s post showed images of the sharp-shinned hawk that’s taken up residence in this area. And, it’s NOT looking for a home, but is  looking for a meal.

That’s why our feeders were not filled today in hopes the songbirds would not come around. Also, rain was forecast so a refill would get rather soggy. Nonetheless, THIS was what I saw outside our kitchen window in the crepe myrtle  early this afternoon.

A treeful of female cardinals. None of these images have been altered, and the cardinals tend to blend in among the branches, but I counted at least 6 females . . .female cardinals in treeNot to be outdone, a treeful of male cardinals then appeared. Again, no alterations to these images; however, the male cardinals bright coloration makes them easier to spot . . .male cardinals in treeWhile I was shooting these images, I saw was a rush of feathers. You guessed it, the hawk made a fly-by. The birds quickly dispersed. but soon were back again . . .hiding at feederSeems that Grenville and I are more worried about their safety.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Keep a Sharp Lookout

That’s become our watch phrase every time the bird feeders IMG_8758become very inactive, especially after a refill.

Like today when this male cardinal perched on this branch for more than 10 minutes without moving or making any sound.

WHY ?
0224 hawk (5)Because while we’re feeding our feathered friends, a VERY Unwelcome Visitor (UV) has been coming around hoping to feed too — on other birds.
YES, we’re talking about a hawk. The distinctive brown tail feathers are barely visible as I caught it perched in a neighbor’s tree early today.
This very UV has been hanging around here the past several weeks. It’s also been spotted in a fellow blogger and neighbor’s back yard. She has a lot of feeders that attract a variety of birds making attractive menu choices for this raptor.
Informally called “sharp-shins” or “sharpies” these are the smallest hawks residing in the US and Canada. Their full name is a Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus).hawk back-frontHardly tiny in comparison to his prey, “sharpie” is quite an acrobatic flier. It can appear in a blur of motion and disappear in a flurry of feathers as I saw it do today. Thankfully, its intended victim was able to escape. The feeders on the sides of the F&P are located beside a clump of hedges or several crepe myrtles. These make good escape places for smaller birds.
hawk targetsSharp-shinned hawks have distinctive proportions: long legs, short wings, small heads, and very long tails, which they use for navigating at top speed in pursuit of songbirds and mice. The tail tends to be square-tipped and may show a notch at the tip. Females are considerably larger than males.

sharpshin hawk (2)They’re easily spotted around winter feeders, as they are much larger than their intended victims and the feeders become noticeably void of activity.

This one has been spotted perching on the shepherd’s hook between 2 feeders several times in the past 2 weeks. It’s not easily deterred and either Grenville or myself need to go out and make a lot of noise to get him to leave.

Sharp-shinned Hawks are agile fliers and speed through dense woodssharpshin hawk (4) to surprise their prey, typically songbirds, causing a wave of high-pitched alarm calls among the gathered songbirds.. They do not stoop on prey from high overhead and can also pounce from low perches. When flying across open areas they have a distinctive flap-and-glide flight style.

Adults are slate blue-gray above, with narrow, horizontal red-orange bars on the breast. Adults and young have broad dark bands across their long tails. The female “sharpie” is usually larger than the male.hawk side-sideIF only this UV would help by ridding the feeders of these UVs . . .
unwelcome visitors (1)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Heritage Celebration 2013

Saturday was a rainy, overcast day here on the VA Eastern Shore — perfect weather for an indoor arts and crafts festival.

Following our custom of the past several years, we participated in the Heritage Celebration held at the local community college. This annual events features the talents of local artists, crafts people, and musicians. It also includes speakers and performances and exhibits from various community groups. It’s a “freebie” for participating artists and the attending public — except, of course, when they buy from the artists, which we all hope they will.

Luckily, we were set up side-by-side in the same room. Grenville’s talents (one of many and I speak unbiased, of course) is wood turning; his former business was Wood N Thingz. My passion is photography (no surprise); my former photo card business was  OnleyImages (pronounced “only”).

Since we are planning to relocate (once the Frog & PenguINN is sold) OUR goal was to slash costs on remaining inventory. We did NOT want to pack it. Making some sales would also be a very good thing.side by sideHappily, we accomplished BOTH goals! Grenville had a very successful day selling his wood turnings inventory. He really does beautiful work — another unbiased opinion.  But, lots of others who purchased his turnings agreed; here’s a few examples:

The two items on the right can be used to drill a planting hole;wood turnings1 the markings are in half-inch increments. The center photo are wine stoppers, if one doesn’t finish the entire bottle (do folks not do that?). The last item is a whimsical thingamajig, possibly a tree-topper for a (very) small treewood turnings2. Bowls from large to small, and candle holders were also popular items.

Grenville set a one-price, your choice policy and it worked great. These pieces sold quickly.

I reduced prices on my photo card inventory and nearly sold out. Our mutual decision to cut prices was the best way to sell more as everyone likes a bargain. When anyone told me that my prices were SO low, I offered to take more $,but never got more . . . go figure.

This event is always a good time to catch up with lots of other talented folks. Out artist friend, Marty and hubby Robert were in the same room. Here’s some of her work:

marty art Also sharing the rooms was a carver friend, Ed, whose colorful fish and beautiful swans are always popular.

fish artLast year, there was a display of circuit board art, and it was there again. The baby is still in uterus, but this year “mom” had a new pony tail hairdo.circuit artDespite the weather, this was a wonderful and well-attended local event and a good way to spend a rainy Saturday; today it’s sunny.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Funnies

How BIG a roasting pan is needed . . .

Big cluck 0113 (3)for this BIG bird?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Atomic Bread ?

Or as Grenville declared, it’s the bread that will make you run faster, jump high, and glow in the dark.

IMG_1988

After my less-than-successful first attempt at making homemade wheat bread earlier this week, this second time was MUCH better. It looks a bit unusual since it rose higher than the bread machine basket — It tasted better than it looks, so unlike the earlier “brick bread” which the birds enjoyed today.
What happened?
wheat bread0218 (4)On my disastrous first try shown here, I let the bread machine knead the dough, then, removed it to finish its rise, and baked it in a loaf pan. It never doubled as expected.
This time, the process was completed IN the bread machine from kneading to baking, AND using IMG_1990a different recipe, which most likely also helped (a LOT) and there was that difference in looks, texture AND taste.

There were recipe changes too:  I did NOT use all whole wheat flour (as the previous recipe called for). This time, I cut the King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour with King Arthur All Purpose White Flour, which claims to have a higher gluten content then other all-purpose flours. And, instead of just water, combined an equal amount of orange juice. Less salt was used as well and unsalted butter instead of cooking oil.

THANKS to fellow bloggers who offered encouragement, especially veteran bread bakers, Lois (From Lois’ Hands) Christer (The Cottage by the Crane Lake Part Two)  and Steve (Out on the Prairie). Several folks commented that they had never tried bread making, like myself, until now. But, the bread machine certainly makes this an easier process — especially when everything works right. But, as it’s not the same as a fresh oven-baked loaf of bread, I’ll give that another try soon.

bread machine (1)This Welbilt bread machine was a thrift store find 2 years ago. While many need a good cleaning, this one was very clean as in hardly (if ever) used. It sold for the bargain price of $5 and included the original user manual (another rarity). At that time, other bread machines were being sold in local thrift stores. Lately I haven’t seen any, including at the thrift bread bookstore where I volunteer. Maybe the economy and the rising cost of basics, like bread, has more folks baking at home?

IF you're interested in finding more about bread machine baking tips, this book is a great resource (another thrift store find). Also check out The King Arthur Flour website where there’s a wealth of bread making information and recipes. Here’s a few from Baking Tips and Ingredients for Bread Machines:
  • Yeast likes to eat sugar, but doesn’t like salt. But, TOO much sugar in a recipe will slow down the yeast.
  • Yeast likes an acidic environment; increase the dough’s acidity by  replacing some of the liquid with an acidic liquid: orange juice, lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Use a good quality active dry or instant yeast.
  • Don’t use artificial sugar substitutes; they don’t help the yeast.
  • To make “successful” whole-grain breads in a bread machine “cut” grain flours with high-protein all-purpose or bread flour, to provide the gluten necessary for rising.
  • Salt is a yeast inhibitor. Salt-free bread will rise quicker than bread with salt. Don’t use salt substitutes in the bread machine, they don’t work.
  • Liquids activate the yeast and combine with gluten to form the elastic strands that help bread to rise. Too little liquid, results in a hard, dense, poorly risen loaf; the gluten is tough and unable to expand. Too much liquid, the loaf rises, then collapses; the gluten has expanded and thinned too much.
  • Bread machine liquids include water, milk, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, soft fruits, liquid sweeteners, eggs, butter and vegetable oils, in either liquid or solid forms.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Bread Never Rises

At least it didn’t today, despite following instructions, exact measuring, and timing. While not my first attempt at homemade bread making, this was my first try at making whole wheat bread. This recipe definitely did not turn out as expected hoped. bread bakingWe’re trying to avoid the color white as much as possible —  that includes clothing but especially food. That means no white potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, etc. But, exceptions are sometimes made as at the F&P nothing goes better with a comfort dinner of homemade meat loaf than mashed rosemary red potatoes.

Avoiding white bread isn’t hard, and we shop for varieties that include whole grains or wheat. But, the prices on some loafs at nearly $4 can sure dent a food budget. And it’s WHY I decided to try making a whole wheat bread. King Arthur Flour is the only flour brand that we buy. It’s pricier than other brands, but we feel the the quality is better.
Everything looked like it was going OK, until the dough didn’t seem to have risen as well as it should have. And after baking, the bread was way too dense and not light and moist as it was supposed to be. bread baking2But, even though this attempt was (far) less than perfect, the recipeIMG_8630 is posted below. Many folks commented on the King Arthur website that this recipe was “one of the best they had tried".”
I’m going to try again and maybe the second time will be better. The dough was kneaded in the bread machine set on manual; the bread was oven-baked. I used honey, adding chopped pecans toward the end of the machine’s dough kneading process.

Here’s where to read about King Arthur Flour’s Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread — this one is similar to the one that didn’t work for me, but there were most likely other causes. As stated, this was my first attempt at whole wheat bread making and there’s still LOTS to learn.
TIPS from King Arthur Flour:
  • If whole wheat taste somewhat bitter try substituting 1/4 cup of orange juice for 1/4 cup of water. The orange juice tones down the tannic taste of whole wheat.
  • Why the range of water in the dough? A lot depends on the weather, season, and how you measure flour. Use the lesser amount of water in summer; or when it's humid/stormy; if you measure flour by weight; or sprinkle flour into the measuring cup, then level it. You need a greater amount of water in winter; when it's dry out, and humidity is low; or if you measure flour by dipping a cup into a canister and leveling it.
  • The liquid sweetener used makes a difference. Molasses produces the darkest loaf, one with old-fashioned flavor. Honey yields a lighter, milder loaf. Maple syrup makes a less-sweet loaf — unless using real maple syrup, which is similar to a loaf made with honey, but with a faint hint of maple.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A (Little) SNOW Day

IMG_8426YES, that’s what we had yesterday afternoon and overnight, amounting to — ready or not — less than an inch accumulation. Yet enough for Grenville to go around humming Jingle Bells, even if he is feeling the lingering effects of a sinus infection the past few days.

He’s been getting lots of rest and homemade chicken soup and napping on his favorite futon. Doesn’t he look cozy?

ChickenSoup0216 (5)Grenville on couch0216 (3)

Of course, this snowfall  was nothing compared to record snowfall amounts dumped on family, friends and fellow bloggers in the northeast US and Canada by snowstorm Nemo recently.

Still, it was a beautiful sight to see the snow in all its (short-lived) beauty early today. There wasn’t even enough for a snowman or snowball fight. Temps were still below freezing when I walked around the yard before breakfast. snow shovel1Snow, rain and then freezing temps caught the plants by surprise; some had been looking ready to bloom soon.

backyard snow2backyard snowPine trees looked especially beautiful “dressed” in snow.

snow on pinesThis cardinal couple and some juncos were waiting for the feeders to be filled.snow cardinals Gardener frogs were ready for spring chores, despite the weather.snow garden frogsNot all the F&P frogs shared their enthusiasm, but most DID.

snow frogsIsn’t there supposed to be snow on pumpkins — not broccoli ?snow broccoliViews, front and back of our home, The Frog & PenguINN with the Let It Snow penguin flags (which sometimes work).snow FandP

snow flags

Once the backyard feeders were refilled, these colorful visitors came for breakfast and even shared.snow cardinal-bluejay

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Seems Like Yesterday

It was yesterday when these photos were taken, Feb 15, at the local CVS — less than 24 hours after candy hearts and cards were being sold for Valentine’s Day, Feb 14.

IMG_4631IMG_4632IMG_4634
What took their place? EASTER “stuff” because it’s coming up (too) soon.
The St. Patrick’s Day cards had a very small section here.Eastercollage

NO chocolate Easter bunnies were out YET. A fellow shopper told me that the local Walmart had already replaced Valentine displays with Easter cards and candy — overnight.

Holidays are VERY short-lived in retailing. But, that’s not so at The Frog & PenguINN where birthday and celebration/holiday cards remain on display for several weeks, sometimes until the next event. We enjoy looking at them and, better yet, remembering the folks who cared enough to send them.

Does it seem to anyone else that holidays end too soon?

Friday, February 15, 2013

THANKS it was GRAND !

We really enjoyed doing those posts on Valentine’s Day. Even more we appreciated ALL your comments, including those from first-time and occasional visitors to The Frog & PenguINN blog. We’re glad you dropped in on Hearts Day and hope yours was wonderful as well.  cards-kisses0214

Grenville’s fudge brownies were delicious as was Beatrice’s Chicken Parmesan dinner enjoyed at The F&P by candlelight (of course). We avoid dining out on V-Day. Love is celebrated every day here. Our V-Day included lots of cards left by the card fairies and kisses — chocolate ones too!

The shadow photo used on the Happy Hearts Day post was taken last fall during our road trip through VA Blue Ridge country. It was a wonderful day to marvel at the mountain vistas and have some fun.

IMG_3608Our Hearts Day was even more special with this emailed photo from the grandkids, Bobby and Ellie, courtesy of their mom, Shannon.

Grandkids 0214Ain’t it GRAND — technology is a wonderful connection for families.

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