Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Hauntings

It’s Halloween this weekend . . .
You never know WHO will be dropping in 
skeleton window (1)
Looking for a few laughs or quiet place
pumpkin face7 102404
Happy Halloween

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rosemary Chicken

Getting back to cooking was something Grenville and I were both looking forward to while on our road trip. We’ve been home 4 days and working to catch up on house and yard projects has left little time for culinary creativity. But we will get back into the kitchen as the cooler weather sets in and the yard work is ending.

Today, after defrosting a couple of chicken breasts, the challenge was then WHAT to do with them. We have a very prolific rosemary plant that’s endured despite Grenville’s relocating it several times. We were working outdoors most of the afternoon, so an easy recipe was the plan.rosemary chicken ingred (2)

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt (see below)
  • 3/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Place chicken breasts in a glass baking dish with a cover.
  3. Add oil, salt, and Cajun seasoning and mix until chicken pieces are evenly coated. If using fresh rosemary, chop and sprinkle over chicken. If using dried rosemary, crush with hands and sprinkle over chicken. Using your hands again, mix together coating chicken evenly. Lay diced onions on top of chicken. Cover dish and bake in the preheated oven until onions are caramelized and the chicken is brown and cooked through (juices run clear), about 25 to 35 minutes.

rosemary chicken (1)

F&P Note: The onions did not caramelize as the recipe indicated, so a higher cooking temperature could help next time. Cooking in a covered dish was a good thing as the chicken was flavorful and moist. It was served with sides of broccoli and stewed tomatoes.

Seasoned Salt

There was none in our spice rack, but make-your-own recipes were available online, including this one using salt, thyme, garlic salt, onion powder, and other herbs and seasonings. Increase the amounts to make your own supply, which is way less costly than buying the ready-made version.

  • 6 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt or garlic powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt

Put ingredients into a mini food processor or small blender container and blend on low until mixed.

Stewed Tomatoes

veggie end 1028 (1)YES, we have some tomatoes.

These were some that were in the F&P garden when we returned home – YEAH!

Yesterday, we picked and sorted tomatoes. A lot were overripe or rotten so were throwaways, some needed to ripen (green house for these) and others needed to be used ASAP. One use for tomatoes that need to be used quickly is stewed tomatoes – an easy side dish. 

Stewed tomatoes are tomatoes that have been skinned, seeded andcut tomatoes102910 cooked until softened. There are different options for cooking, such as adding a little water or broth; stew tomatoes in butter or olive oil or both.

The tomatoes took less than 10 minutes to cook. Seasonings are your choice – herbs (basil, oregano, marjoram), onions, garlic, salt and pepper.

stewed tomatoes102910 (2)Optional: Toss in some bread crumbs (seasoned or not) to thicken the tomatoes. The amount varies depending on your preference.

If you have a LOT of stewed tomatoes, you can make is a stewed tomato soup. Stew the tomatoes with onions and garlic that have been cooked in olive oil. Add beef or chicken broth plus Italian or French bread cubes to obtain a thick soup. Season with salt, pepper and, fresh basil, if available, (dried if not).

Better Late Than Never

The second wildflower garden we planted last spring was very slow in starting. So slow that we planted red begonias from our friend, Possum, in the middle and added a birdbath.By September, this was what the wildflower garden looked like – there’s a birdbath barely visible somewhere in the middle. The packets of seeds we mixed together and scattered REALLY took off.
2nd wildflower gdn0902 (1)Since we left the F&P for several weeks on our Maine road trip. Grenville figured the garden might be done blooming and could be cut back and mulched by the time we returned – was that ever WRONG!

It’s even MORE colorful NOW. This is how it looked today with pink and white coreopsis joining the yellows and oranges.
wildflowergarden2 1028 (3) Also, lots of visitors still enjoying the blooms from butterflies to bees to other insects, like the wheel bug below..
buckeye1028 (2)  wheel bug1028 (4) DSCF8894
DSCF8905 Flowers were competing for the most colorful - pinks
pink collageLots of dark orange and yellow colors . . .
orange collageAnd, plenty of white . . .
 Some blooms though done were still beautiful . . .dry flowers collageyard flowers collagewhite collage There were various other colors in the yard . . .
Bees were very busily attracted to orange colors . . .
bees-coreopsis collagebee with pollenThe weather is still warm so they will stay around It’s great to be back outdoors at the F&P gardens!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We’re Home and So is Libby

IK, you already know from previous posts that Grenville and I are back home at the Frog and PenguINN after our Maine road trip. Since we didn’t mention anyone with us, the question may be (or not) who is Libby?

Libby is a not a who – it’s my 2007 Jeep Liberty.  Back in mid-September, my Stuff Happens post described how a $20 oil change resulted in (what we thought would be) a $3,000 repair bill

A brief recap: we were headed for service when another driver didn’t see Grenville’s left turn signal and rammed into the left rear quarter panel. Thankfully, there were no human injuries. Libby was “hurt” and the tail lights were smashed, bumper cracked, rear quarter panel bashed, tail lift damaged, cut in rear tire –  but no glass was broken and no air bags deployed – maybe a few thousand dollars in damages?

NOT QUITE – make that a $6,235 repair bill.

Before we left, an insurance adjustor appraised the damage at $3,544. A week later, the repair facility told us it would be closer to $4,500 – apparently both were a bit off – it  seems there’s no clear cut way of estimating damages until repairs are actually underway. The 4-page auto appraisal report listed all sorts of repairs from the left rear axle to the rear tail lamp and tire. Biggest costs were labor and sheet metal, followed by parts. No surprises there.

Here’s a few shots of the “after” repairs. Alas, no camera with me the day of the crash, so no “before” photos.

libby collageIt’s good to be home !  liberty fix1010 (1) Our thoughts too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mainely Lighthouses

Ram Isld Ledge Light (4)
There are over 60 lighthouses in and along the coast of Maine. We managed to see or visit 1/10th of these  – listed below – on our road trip. All of these lighthouses have interesting and varied histories which can be accessed by the links.

One is for sale. Can you guess which one? (answer below)
Spring Point Ledge Light and Owls Head Light
owls head lighthousespring point ledge 
Portland Breakwater Light (the Bug) and  Portland Head Light
portland breakwater lighthouse portland head light 
Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
ram isld ledge light rockland breakwater light
For sale: a hard-to-access, 105-year-old, wave-swept lighthouse on treacherous rock outcroppings at the entrance of Portland Harbor. No utilities and no functioning pier. Opening bid is at  east $10,000.

Ram Island Ledge protrudes 1,300 feet from Ram Island and is only exposed at low tide. The granite tower was built in 1905 on a granite block foundation with an attached skeletal pier. It is 77 feet tall from its base to the middle of the round lantern. 
The Coast Guard conveyed the lighthouse to the General Services Administration (GSA), which is handling the auction sale. Here’s a plus – the Coast Guard will continue to maintain the navigational aids, the light and the foghorn. 

Wondering if there were any takers? 
As of mid-September, there were 47 bidders and a high bid of $190,000. Registered bidders were allowed to inspect the lighthouse in late August – weather and seas permitting. Very calm water is needed to touch a boat's bow to the surrounding rocks. Once docked, bidders would climb a 30-foot exterior ladder to get inside the lighthouse. (Did I mention there were no utilities?)

So you weren’t looking to buy a lighthouse. How about a customs house or federal building? There’s some interesting real estate being  auctioned by the U.S. Federal Government. Check out the listings on the GSA Property Utilization and Disposal site.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coney Island of Maine

George M. Cohan tried out productions out at the island theaters before taking them to Broadway. Jean Stapleton's first professional appearance in the summer of 1941 was in a production at Greenwood Garden. Martin Landau made his professional stage debut in a 1951 production of “Detective Story” at Greenwood Garden and was a resident cast member for several seasons.DSCN8281

bent tree hydrant shoes 
Many island residents have small electric cars which are only for island use. Here are some that Grenville and I saw on the island – we  really liked the CA plates!cars collage

ferry dock Peaks Island is located in Casco Bay and is part of the city of Portland, Maine. It is roughly 2 miles long and 1 mile wide (at its widest) and about 3 miles from downtown Portland. Peaks is the most populous island in Casco Bay. In the late 19th century, the island was a popular summer tourist destination, known as the Coney Island of Maine and was home to hotels, cottages, theaters, and amusement parks. The island was later an important WW II outpost.
DSCN8240rocks-water (5) Hollywood film director John Ford, born in Portland as John Martin Feeney, was called “The Mayor of Peaks Island” because of his great fondness for the island. He vacationed there from boyhood through the early 1960s, worked as a deckhand on the Casco Bay Lines ferries and as an usher at the Gem Theater.
peaks collage2Besides the Gem, which featured famous performers including the Barrymore family, the island had two other summer theaters, The Pavilion, which opened in 1887 was said to be the first summer theater in the country. The Greenwood Garden Amusement Park sported the Greenwood Garden Playhouse.geese (1)
Over the years, most of the island’s hotels were lost to fires. The Gem Theater burned in 1934; 17 buildings burned to the ground in June 1936, including the new Union House Hotel.
peaks collage3During World War II, the island was home to a large military defense installation. The largest structure, Battery Steele housed two 16 inch guns and when first tested, shattered windows on the opposite side of the island.
old fort1022 (1) old fort1022 Peaks Island is the most populated island in Casco Bay, with a winter population of approximately 850. During summer months, the population peaks to almost 5,000. Most residents commute daily to jobs in Portland as do middle and senior high school students.
We took the Casco Bay ferry from Portland for our day trip to Peaks.
ferry collage Norwegian Spirit, a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship had just arrived travelling from Boston. (Lois these photos are for you.)
cruise ship collage And, Possum this post was for you too.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kennebunk: Long Cut Log

A quick trip through Kennebunk on a beautiful autumn afternoon.

trees kennebunk

kennebunk cloud collage

Kennebunk was settled in 1621 and developed as a trading and shipping center with light manufacturing. It was part of the town of Wells until 1820, when it incorporated as a separate town. To the Abenaki Indians, Kennebunk meant the long cut bank.

kennebunk collageLocal economy is tourism based. We watched a carriage ride driver maneuver through the weekday traffic.

carriage ride collagehorse carriage (3)

On a fall afternoon; a steeple peaked through leaves.

kennebunk color collageDSCN7737 kennebunk color collage2

DSCN7738For over a century, the town was a shipbuilding and fishing village. Now it’s a popular seaside tourist stop with a small district of souvenir shops, galleries, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts. kennebunk collage