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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lesson Learned — Don’t Tinker

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Sometimes the less known about something, the better and leaving well enough alone can be the best thing to do.

WHY? Fellow bloggers commenting on a recent Working in the Yard post said:
Montanagirl ...  Everything looks nice, but I see a lot of ovals with a white line through them....Exactly what are those? Maybe it's supposed to be a photo there or something.
Elaine ... I see the same thing as Mona, with only four photos coming through, and the last several posts have reverted to the same thing.
Anvilcloud ... I also saw that oval on one pic in Reader, but they're all here on your actual site. 
WHAT HAPPENED?
I tinkered in Picasa Web Albums last night, deleting photos as there were many duplicates — at the time didn’t know that doing so ALSO deletes the photo (in this case many photos) from any blog posts in which they have been used.
 
This online definition of tinker describes why this was NOT a good thing to do:
Verb - Attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.
v.intr. - To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repair; fiddle: tinkered with the engine, hoping to discover the trouble; to manipulate unskillfully or experimentally.
imageLuckily, I was able to locate images from this recent post and some older ones on my computer and was able to repost them.
Thanks to those fellow bloggers for letting me know about my goof.
UPDATE: An earlier post When Nothing is Said  discussed setting the choices for Comments — comments choices in Blogger are:
Who can comment?
  • Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
  • Registered User - includes OpenID
  • User with Google Accounts
  • Only members of this blog
Forgot to mention in that post that I reset to Anyone as the previous option of  User with Google Accounts excluded folks without a Gmail account. BUT, now we’re getting some of those VERY annoying Anonymous comments again, which is WHY the option was changed, so just wondering . . .

imageWould Registered User – includes OpenID be a better choice ?
Seeking others thoughts BEFORE tinkering (again).

Monday, April 29, 2013

Working in the Yard

front-sideCurb appeal is a BIG item for home sellers and that’s WHY we’ve been spending lots of outdoor time the past couple of weeks at The Frog & PenguINN.

Edging was done around all the front flower beds. Not many of the perennials are in bloom yet, but a few weeks there will be day lilies blooming in the front yard. Meanwhile, annuals were planted in several pots on the back patio and front porch and these are already in bloom.
flower bedspatio projectveg gardenmulch piles (2)

See the photo below — it shows weeding done around the back patio and wildflower gardens — did I mention there was a LOT of wedding to do? All 3 of the backyard mulch bins were in use.  The vegetable garden was also cleared and turned.Besides the yard work, Grenville re-stained the back deck and power washed and repainted the back patio enclosure.  We’re expecting pears, peaches and apples from the back orchard — the blooms have been plentiful and beautiful this year.
Orchard (4)Apples, peach and pear blossoms . . .
apple blossoms collagepeach blossoms collagepear blossoms collage
The 2 strawberry patches are also loaded with blossoms and Grenville and I are already planning on strawberry shortcake !
strawberry patch
backyard views0411 (3)The back patio and wildflower gardens are not yet blooming. Daytime temperatures have gone from mid-70s to 60s the past couple of weeks, so everything has slowed down a bit — except the weeds. 

Hope you are enjoying Spring IF it’s arrived yet — we’re hoping it returns before the Summer heat and humidity gets here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Funnies

Food for thought . . .

pink salmonDoes it come in other colors ?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

When Nothing is Said . . .

imageMost bloggers like receiving feedback in the form of comments — including Grenville and myself.
So, my apologies to bloggers who may have tried to comment on any of our blog posts. On Blogger, I made the BIG mistake recently of changing a setting in Comments under who can comment. And, I didn’t think HOW this would affect folks without a Gmail address.
Recently, I noticed that some blogger friends who previously had commented were no longer commenting. Curious as to why, I contacted one of them and learned that it was my setting change.
SO in case anyone else ever has this dilemma, you can find this in Design (it’s in the upper right corner after you sign onto your blog) then on the left side select Settings (there’s a small wrench icon next to it) and then click on Comments and posts and under the Comments section, you get these choices:
Who can comment?
  • Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
  • Registered User - includes OpenID
  • User with Google Accounts
  • Only members of this blog
My mistake was choosing the third option — User with Google Accounts — which excludes anyone who doesn’t have a Gmail account from posting a comment on any one of our  exciting (tongue in cheek) blog posts or at least Grenville’s often funny posts.
I choose the 1st option and in recent days we have started receiving spam, so this option may be changed later.
The selection was made in an attempt to limit any spam comments, but checking for any inappropriate or spam comments under the Comments and/or just deleting also works.image
THANKS to blogger friend, Christer of The Cottage by the Crane Lake Part Two for letting me know.
My OOPS has been corrected.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It IS Rocket Science

Those old jokes about something “not being rocket science” do not apply here on the VA eastern shore.

WHY ?

Because at the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore this past Sunday afternoon, Orbital Sciences Corporation, a VA-based U.S. commercial partner of NASA launched an Antares rocket into space carrying a “mass simulated payload.”

As we watched from our back patio around 5 pm,the rocket headed to orbit. Perfect weather conditions allowed viewing by spectators not only on the Eastern Shore, but other parts of the East Coast.

These photos were taken with a digital camera with a limited 12X digital zoom; Wallops Island is a 45-minute drive from our home.

IMG_9942IMG_9944

It was a perfect countdown and launch as the Antares rocket roared off the launch pad. Before the engines were throttled down in Stage 1, the vehicle was traveling at more than 7,000 mph. The engine rumble was clearly heard.

The successful launch followed 2 earlier postponements last week.  The original Wednesday launch date was scrubbed when a connecting cable came loose. The rescheduled Saturday launch was cancelled due to unfavorable wind conditions.IMG_9948The launch of the Antares rocket and payload from the Wallops flight facility is part of the effort to rely on U.S. companies for future launches of supplies and personnel to the International Space Station.

Orbital has a $1.9 billion with NASA to send eight resupply missions to the Space Station. The next Antares launch will be the first demo flight of the unmanned Cygnus spacecraft, set to bring a test payload to the ISS. That mission is set to take place in late June or early July.

YES, there is rocket science on the VA eastern shore.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Possum Patch Corner

Sort of sounds like a nice place to live. Unfortunately not for a mom possum here at the Frog & PenguINN. Last week while on the tractor mowing i kept noticing two Turkey Vultures circling. Now that is not such a strange site here. We are sort of rural and wild life here dies or is killed pretty regularly. After mowing to the end of our back field i was returning on the opposite side and noticed the vultures getting lower. As i made a turn to do the edge of our neighbors property i spotted a gray furry lump. AH HA!!!!! i had found the vultures intended lunch. Got off the tractor, went over, found a dead possum. Again, not an unusual site around here. As i went to pick it up by its tail (yes it was definitely dead) i noticed some movement. A closer look and i saw something moving in the pouch area. Babies!!!!!!
Now i'm not terribly fond of wildlife on our property since their natural instincts are to do stuff we see as destructive. My usual response is to relocate them so we don't tick each other off. BUT these were just babies.
After rehabbing some juvenile squirrels i knew how much work would be involved, and didn't want to do it. SOOOOOO i checked my contacts list for our local rehabber, Kathy. BUT i didn't have her info.
You've heard us mention our friend and fellow blogger Possum from Possum Lane. Hoping that she was home (she is a very busy person doing great things helping others) i called her with my "Possum Emergency". At the time i thought i only had 2 or three since i didn't take the time to really look. Sure enough Possum headed on over here.
Heading back out i grabbed some latex gloves, a towel, a small box. As i started pulling the kits out i realized that there were more than three. In fact there were 7. One by one they were disconnected from the dead mom and placed in the box and wrapped in the towel (not that they wanted to stay there). By this time Possum (the Rescuer) had arrived and off they went.
BUT i had completely forgotten to take any pictures (Beatrice was disappointed). Luckily Possum had remembered. And here they are>>>>>


A Pile of Possums

Zero

Have you ever wondered about Zero????? Where it came from????  What it's family was like??? A nice little short word. Use it in Scrabble and you can wrack up some big points. The letter Z alone is worth 10 points. Drop that little beauty on a double or triple word score and watch your opponents grimace.
During WWII they called the Japanese fighter planes "Zero's" because of the big red O on the tail.
AND Zero helped remedy a mathematician's nightmare. Wikipedia says:
0 (zero; BrE: /ˈzɪərəʊ/ or AmE: /ˈziːroʊ/) is both a number[1] and the numerical digit used to represent that number in numerals. It fulfils a central role in mathematics as the additive identity of the integers, real numbers, and many other algebraic structures. As a digit, 0 is used as a placeholder in place value systems. In the English language, 0 may be called zero, nought or (US) naught (pron.: /ˈnɔːt/), nil, or — in contexts where at least one adjacent digit distinguishes it from the letter "O" — oh or o (pron.: /ˈoʊ/). Informal or slang terms for zero include zilch and zip.[2] Ought or aught (pron.: /ˈɔːt/) has also been used historically.[3]
I personally like the slang usage. Zip, Zilch, Nada, Nutting, Nil, Nul, Ungotts!!!!!!


As most of you know, yesterday was our big OPEN HOUSE. For the past 2 weeks we have been going around the house tweaking this and fussing over that. Repaint the dining room, touching up window trim, cleaning patio, treating the deck, weeding and mowing the yard. Poor Beatrice is still trying to get the grass stains off her knees and the weed straw out of her hair. I've decided to just enjoy the speckles of pale yellow paint (cool candle and lemon white) over my exposed body parts. Anyhow it will all come off as soon as the sunburn (from mowing) starts to peel.
BUT on the bright side, we accomplished a lot of spring chores that might have languished into the summer as we dawdled along. And really, the house is looking great. With luck we will soon be seeing a wonderful sight like this>>>>>>>>>>


BUT NOT FROM THIS OPEN HOUSE!!!!!

Zero,,,, yes zero. That was the grand total of folks that came to our Open House... 
           No triple word score here!!!!!! Zilch, Zip, Zorch, Nada, Nil, None, Nul & Void!!!!!!
On the plus side (ah yes, always the Pollyanna) no one tracked dirt into the house, our agent got to catch up on overdue correspondence, and chat with other agents that also had no visitors. YES thats right, most of the open houses had NO VISITORS!!!!!

Beatrice was going to do this post, but all the tears have shorted out her wireless keyboard and i'm afraid to let her use a plug in one. 
"Shore folks frown on accidental mass power outages due to come here's usin' dem dang 'putter things. 'Putters should be kept on the golf course like the Good Lord intended......"
SOOOOO, our House Sale adventure continues. I like to keep the thought in mind that  
"It only takes one person, the right person, to like the house and buy it".
Grenville

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Roast Chicken

Easy meals have been on the dinner menu at The Frog & PenguINN the past couple of weeks. Grenville and I have been spending lots of time outdoors (and indoors) working on yard sprucing and minor repairs. That’s WHY easy was our favorite word for mean planning.

Since we eat a lot of chicken and fish, new recipes are always welcome, especially ones that call for ingredients on hand. This one used everything I already had available: lemons, rosemary, garlic cloves and chicken breasts — and it was very easy too.

IMG_5284

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Roast Chicken

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 TBSP fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from stems
  • 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 TBSP grill seasoning blend (Montreal Seasoning) OR coarse ground salt and black pepper  (my choice)
  • 1/2 C dry white wine OR chicken broth

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  1. Arrange chicken in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. garlic lemon chicken (2)
  2. Add garlic, rosemary, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and grill seasoning or salt and pepper to the dish.
  3. Toss and coat chicken with all ingredients, then place in oven; roast 20 minutes.
  4. Add wine and lemon juice to dish and combine with pan juices. Return to oven and turn oven off. Let stand 5 minutes longer then remove chicken from the oven.
  5. Place baking dish on trivet and serve, spoon pan juices over chicken pieces.

garlic lemon chicken (4)

Rather than side dishes of rice and veggies, we enjoyed the chicken over a bed of spinach and greens.

Easy cooking (my favorite kind) — delicious and healthy too.

Friday Funnies

It’s in the bag — truckloads of . . .bagged1

bagged2bagged3

Trees

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coming Soon — Open House

Thanks to all fellow bloggers for the well wishes on our upcoming Open House this weekend. We’re hoping that some nice wonderful folks will see our 100+ years old Victorian home and fall in love with it — just like we did.

The Frog & PenguINN has come a very long way in the 10 years since we bought it as these before and current photos show. We’ve enjoyed working on the house — for the most part. As anyone who has ever renovated an older home knows, it can be (quite) challenging at times.
scan0002streeet views (2)
Since returning from our Easter family visits road trip, we’ve been spending lots of hours working indoors and outdoors. Yes, the paint dried and Grenville did a wonderful job.
Once warm weather hits, as it did here last week, there’s plenty of yard work with no excuses of “too cold to be outside.”  The back lawn was mowed (yes, it IS a big yard) .
Flower beds also were cleaned up and pots that were bare in winter, now have new plantings. Grenville power washed the back patio; also repainted and stained.
back deck stained (1)

Curb appeal is another thing that realtors advise can help to sell a home (along with de-cluttering and removing personal items).

AND asked St. Joseph to help too.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Taxing Time

It’s a spring ritual, nearly every American despises.image

Early in February it was birthday time for the 16th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Know what that one does ?

Here’s a BIG hint — these are due today for most American citizens. Here it is for a clue:

Amendment XVI — The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

That’s right, this amendment permitted U.S. federal income taxes. It was ratified on February 3, 1913 by the requisite 36 states.

  • Delaware was the last state to complete the requisite number.
  • Massachusetts and New Hampshire legislatures did not ratify until March; NH rejected it on March 2,1911 and later ratified on March 7, 1913.
  • Connecticut, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia legislatures rejected the amendment without subsequently ratifying it.
  • Florida and Pennsylvania legislatures never considered the proposed amendment.

imageYET, the date passed without any mention from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on its website. Most likely, because this is NOT the sort of celebration most any American would want to celebrate.

The April 14, 2013 online edition of USA TODAY has an interesting and detailed history about this anniversary complete with a video.

Our were done recently — and Yippee we got $$ back this year.

How about You — do you WAIT until the April 15 midnight deadline to get your returns in the mail OR are you an early bird

Friday, April 12, 2013

Watching Paint Dry

Definitions of watching paint dry run the gamut, and most usuallyIMG_5087 refer to an extremely boring activity, defined by personal preference, such as watching golf, listening to opera, waiting in line . . .

BUT, here at The Frog & PenguINN, it wasn’t boring  because Grenville was really waiting for the paint to dry to see places he missed, whoops meant to say those needing touch-up.

As regular readers of this blog know, we are selling trying to sell our eastern shore VA home which we dubbed The Frog & PenguINN. We bought this classic 100+ year old Victorian in streeet views (3)2003 and spent the first couple of years travelling from NJ to VA on holidays and summers while we renovated and modernized. The house was not this color scheme, but  very typical eastern shore colors - white house, black shutters.

Now that was b-o-r-i-n-g.

We also repainted much of the interior, choosing pastel colors over the dark colors and/or wallpaper that was in it. Lighter colors, except for the yellow morning sun paint in the kitchen (my choice); a fitting color as that room DOES get the a.m. sunlight.

But, I digress, so back to painting. The dining room was a pale yellow and we had a display of family photos on one wall — nothing obsessive like the ENTIRE wall, but a portion. However, as many sellers know, one of the first things a realtor says, besides de-clutter, is REMOVE personal items, like family photos. The theory being that prospective buyers “can’t see themselves” living in your home IF your family is there — in spirit?

BUT, when the photos came down, frame outlines remained. Up until now we were going to leave it “as is” since folks say “new owners will want to choose their own colors.” But, those outlines along with some nail, and a couple of nail pops were annoying us and since we are still living here, Grenville was painting today. AND, as there’s an open house set for next Saturday — repainting couldn’t hurt.

IMG_5081IMG_5084

We’ve been clearing items from the room, placing some in storageIMG_5079 and listing some for sale. Everything that was in the dining room earlier today was moved to the living room. That disassembled and wrapped piece is going to storage this weekend, my job today.

But, we won’t be watching paint dry since we’re going out to eat — no place to sit in the dining or living rooms.

And, that’s SO not boring at all !

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Sightings

Late in its arrival this year, Spring has finally arrived on the VA eastern shore as in many other places.

Some things that have also come with warmer temps have been  unwelcome, especially the invasive wildflowers weeds (henbit, chickweed, birds eye speedwell, cornflower) that now cover the yard.

Other sights are very welcome – ROBINS. We see them everywhere, backyard patio, lawn, rooftop and trees. robins everywhereHope you’re seeing some pleasant signs of spring too.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

End of Day

Often, the most striking photos happen quite unexpectedly as in the case of this late day series of photos taken today. Another great reason to always have a camera handy, even if considered a "point and shoot" type. These shots were taken with a Canon Powershot S130 with a built-in 12X zoom capability.
Hole in the clouds
Fish eye sunset
Special effects such as fish eye, black and white, and vivid color were applied "in camera" with no post-processing applied — are these considered as straight out of the camera (SOOC)?
Monochrome sunset
Trees and sky
Which photo did you find most effective in conveying the mood?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tech Savy Ellie

We know that children today learn about electronic gadgets at such young ages. This trend is so apparent when we visit our grandchildren, Bobby (6-1/2) and Ellie (20 months). Ellie has "inherited" big brother Bobby's Leap Pad tablet and knows how to get sounds and music, even if she doesn't understand everything.

Ellie tech savy 2

And, this young lady is equally comfortable finding things on mom's iPad.

Purple pondering

Ellie with ipad

Ellie is good with smart phones too.

Ellie and phone

SO, the next time we have a question about how to do something "techy," we're asking these kids — Grenville has already started.

Grenville and grands

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