Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Water Reflects

Looking down can be as interesting as looking up – maybe more so. These reflections were seen at docks on the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, VA recently.

“X” marks the spot
0817 reflects (1)
0817 reflects (3)
Squiggly Christmas tree?

0817 reflects (6)0817 reflects (7)
Mast reflects
0817 reflects (5)
This one was on a building near the water.
0817 reflects (4)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What is This #13 Answer

It’s a tunnel !

Several folks correctly  guessed this one with Lois being the 1st correct reply, followed by several others who remembered our recent road trip.

answer#13 (2)

This view is inside one of the 2 tunnels of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT). answer#13 (1)

We went through the CBBT on our recent road trip to Portsmouth, VA to see the summer love tour of A Prairie Home Companion.

0811 Chesapeake BBT (11)The CBBT measures 17.6 miles (28.4 km) and is considered the world's largest bridge-tunnel complex. The span includes over 12 miles of low-level trestle, 2 mile-long tunnels, 2 bridges, almost 2 miles of causeway, 4 manmade islands and 5-1/2 miles of approach roads, totaling just over 23 miles.0811 Chesapeake BBT (12)

The official name of this span is the Lucius J. Kellam, Jr. Bridge-Tunnel as of August 1987, but we’ve never heard refer to it that way. lucius kellam

Kellam spearheaded the project and served as a member of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District and Commission for over 40 years.

0811 Chesapeake BBT (1)

Monday, August 29, 2011

What is This? #13

Time has gone by so fast with outdoor projects and other things going on here. – it was mid July for the last What is This?.

Way Too Long

Of course, we’ve had a lots of stuff going on – Grenville’s birthday, arrival of 1st granddaughter, Our wedding anniversary, and last (but not least) a visit from a most unwelcome visitor, Irene.  (Thanks for all your well wishes and concern; they were much appreciated by Grenville and myself.)IMG_1397

So, here it is – a new one – finally.
Haven’t you been waiting all this time ? If not, just pretend you have been waiting and humor me (like Grenville often does).

This was taken – ready or not – underwater, and we were not scuba diving!

Hint: this place was mentioned on our recent road trip.

0817 reflects (10)As always, NO prizes, just braggin’ rights cause it’s just for fun!

The answer in tomorrow's post.  C’mon and try – you may be RIGHT !

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finally, “Goodnight Irene”

Irene seems to be off to the Canadian Maritimes which is a nice place for a tropical storm. Hopefully she doesn’t hold together and visit our friend Christer in Sweden. Thanks to everyone for all of the good wishes, and sharing the reports of storm calamities of you or your loved ones. As for the coffee trauma i suffered this morning, i may be scarred for life,,,, if i remember what happened.

Beatrice and i have come to consider you folks as sort of an extended family and it showed these last days that folks that, for the most part, have never met, can become a close knit group. We thank you. Enough of the mushy sticky stuff….

From our family, Daughter 1 in Rhode Island: lots of rain and wind. No damage. No power out. Grandson suffering major cabin fever. Granddaughter sleeping through it. Daughter 2 in Lancaster: Rain, Wind, no power for coffee maker. Future son-in-law was a hero and went out and bought a camp stove.

Aunt & Uncle in New London Ct. had the worst damage with a large branch from an Elm tree crashing onto their house. They had to evacuate and are staying with neighbors. We don’t know much wildflower gdns collagemore than that. If you have any spare prayers, please send tF&P pecan tree collagehem that way.




Our damage amounted to a cracked branch on the pecan tree in the front yard (now fire wood and limbs at the road for pickup). An apple tree with a serious bend anhurricane harvestd all of the Granny Smith’s ‘Hurricane Harvested’   (blown to the ground.) Sounds like Apple Pie time to me.

The wild flowers, butterfly bushes, and tomatoes took a beating but they will make a comeback.butterfly bush collage

tomato garden collage 



wildflower gdns collage


Some other shots from today, Breakfast at Sage with lots of breakfast collagefolks from


around the county, most without power.   Some other pic’s of interest.

P.O. collage

Notices on the Post Office door. Some of you may not know, but we don’t have home delivery here. Story is the horse the delivery person rode came up lame during the depression. He was the main course at the Fourth of July BBQ that year.tower&steeple  Now we have to go pick up our mail and get the daily gossip.

Our neighbors left there radio tower out, but we wonder if the Baptist church took their steeple in for the safe keeping???

windows collage

And lastly, some local window decorations. Not many folks took precautions this far other than the ‘big store’ here.

And so we bid a fond farewell, adieu, bon voyage, good riddance to Irene.


Irene,,, the morning after

Good Morning Folks

Some of you are just beginning to experience what we had yesterday. Amazingly Irene was not as bad as they had predicted, BUT we were glad to have taken the precautions we did and hope you have taken precautions also. As the day went on we had power flickers, but never lost it or the internet.

Apparently we lost power briefly over night because the most serious condition this morning was that our coffee was not ready when I got up. I had to actually go down and turn the coffee on MANUALLY.

We have some branches down but no trees and no flooding that we can see since we haven’t gone out yet and will wait for the rain to stop. At last look we had 6 inches of rain and it was still coming down. Pictures will follow this afternoon when the sun comes out.

We did hear that Irene made land fall in Atlantic City and found all of the casinos closed.Then she started inland, BUT was mugged 16 times before she got more that 5 blocks from the boardwalk.   (Jersey Joke)

Our best suggestion is for everyone in Irene’s path to just hunker down in a safe place and ride Irene out…

We will let you know more from Onley later today.

Grenville (going for another cup of manually made coffee)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene @ (yawn) 9PM

Ho-Hum,,, Irene’s center is about 50 miles south of us and 10 miles off shore. Yep, its still raining, and a little windy, and the bar is still dropping (29.75).

County emerg. radio is quiet, power is on, internet is up. Too full to attempt any more food rescues. Falling asleep reading.

Grace: your soup is safe.

Ron: i love solidarity. We’ve been doing it for too many years now to stop.

Diana: WOW… hummers on your porch!!!! We only had sparrows on some window ledges.

Pat: Too bad Jerry doesn’t eat the good stuff… but that leaves more for you :-).

AC Thanks for all the support today. BUT we don’t say the ‘T’ word around here.

Well kids, unless something BIG happens I’m going to get some sleep. See Ya’ll in the morning.


Irene @ 7PM

Well, we’re still waiting for the worst of Irene to reach us. Should be about 9PM. Latest from Nat Hurricane Center is 80 mph sustained winds with higher gusts. Heavy rain. She should be past us by 2AM moving at 16MPH.

For Lois, DC area will probably get worse around 11PM. Richmond Va. has gotten pounded all afternoon with major power outages.

I am amazed that we still have power and internet. I wish i had more pictures but there has been little or no change here all afternoon. We got tired of the local radio and have switched to our favorite Saturday evening show Prairie Home Companion.

Latest rescue operations: we have successfully saved two bags of tortilla chips, one sweet potato and one olive, from that terrible fate of going stale.

For GBS: we too are nervous. our neighbors 100 year old pecan tree hangs dangerously close to our barn.

Happier than a pig…. Welcome to the F&P, where butter is a food group.

Grace; we will save a bowl of soup for you . May even deliver some in October!!!!!

To everyone else, thanks for the good thoughts, they could be increasing our good karma which has been known to turn tropical storms, sometimes!!!!


Irene Supplemental warning

This just in from a friend in Florida. Such a gem of modern technological wisdom really needs to be shared:

WARNING for those on the East Coast:

As Hurricane Irene prepares to batter the East Coast, federal disaster officials warn that Internet, cell, and smart phone outages may force people to interact with other people for the first time in years. East coast residents must brace themselves for the horror of awkward silences and unwanted eye contact.

FEMA advises: “Be prepared. Write down possible topics to talk about in advance. Sports, the weather, where your home used to be....

Remember, a conversation is basically a series of Facebook updates strung together”

Thank you Gus.

Grenville ,,,,on his way to save some melting ice cream!!!

Irene @3PM

Well it’s looking like coffee time here. The Hurricane Butternut Soup was delicious, had a nice nap… Life is just OK here on the loverly Eastern Shore…

Storm stuff>>> Getting more intense. Gusts up to 35mph from the North. 3” of rain so far and at points the rain is coming at IMG_05393” per hour. That is a lot of water.Most folks here (with sense) are hunkered down waiting out tomorrow morning. Its a little hard to see but a few of our feathered friends are hanging out with us on the lee side of the house. Lots of power outages around us. Amazingly we are still up and running. County emergency radio is pretty quiet considering the storm. Hopefully this shows that folks heeded the warnings and took the needed precautions. Even though we live in IMG_0538 the ‘Highlands’, the storm water has to go somewhere. The choice is either the seaside or the bayside. With tides running 4-5 ft above normal that leaves NO WHERE for the water to go. A little hard to see but that is standing water at the far end of the street.

Latest prediction is that the worst of the storm will be here between 7-8 PM and be past us around 4 AM. Gonna be a long sleepless night. More later,,, time for coffee.

YES Lois and Mona, good food no mater what. “Damn the storms, lets eat dinner”.


Hurricane Butternut Squash Soup

OK so there’s a hurricane a-coming SOON so the forecasters keep warning. But, we have lots of freshly-picked butternut squash that Grenville harvested from the Frog & PenguINN garden this week, so what’s there to do while waiting for Irene's  unwelcome visit ?

Make Soup !

And, the current (Sept-Oct 2011) issue of Cook’s Illustrated contained a very timely recipe, Great Butternut Squash.

So, of course, this one had to be tried today. Unlike other butternut squash recipes I’ve tried, this one did not call for steaming, boiling or roasting the butternut. Already, I was liking this recipe. PLUS, it did not call for using any cream, yogurt, or other dairy products, other than topping with sour cream (if you prefer).

The title did NOT include Hurricane, but if the shoe fits . . .

Do not use pre-peeled or frozen butternut squash for this recipe. Use Swanson’s® Vegetable broth or a similar brand, chicken broth works OK too (we were out of vegetable broth).

And, if using a blender to puree the soup, fill the jar two-thirds fill – no more – or you will have a BIG mess. Best bet is to use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Not only is this way SO much easier – there’s no blender to clean up.

NOTE: Soup can be served with Fried Leeks (recipe follows).0827 butternut squash soup (3)

Great (Hurricane) Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2-1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks (about 7 cups)
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white and green parts only, quartered lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 4 C vegetable broth OR low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 springs fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Sour cream (for topping)
  1. Place squash in bowl, cover, and microwave until paring knife easily cuts through, 14-18 minutes, stir halfway through cooking.
  2. Carefully transfer squash to colander set in bowl (squash will be very hot) and drain for 5 minutes reserving liquid.
  3. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 0827 butternut squash soup (4)squash, leek, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash pieces begin to break down and brown fond forms in bottom of pot, 10-13 minutes.
  4. Add 2 cups of broth and scrape bottom of pot to loosen and dissolve fond. Add remaining 2 cups of broth, reserved squash liquid, bay leaf (if using) and cayenne. Increase heat to high and simmer until leeks are fully tended, 6-7 minutes.0827 butternut squash soup (9)
  5. Remove and discard bay leaf (if using) and thyme springs (if using fresh sprigs).
  6. Insert immersion blender in pot  (highly recommended) and puree. If using a blender, work in batches and process until smooth. Return soup to a clean pot and bring to simmer, thinning with 1 cup of water to preferred consistency (we like ours thick).0827 butternut squash soup (10)

Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve with dollop of sour cream (if you prefer). Soup can be made up to 2 days in advance of serving. Serves 6-8.

So, if you’re in the neighborhood later today, stop in we have plenty of soup, bread, and fresh tomato salad to share.

Fried Leeks

This side dish was featured in the same issue of Cook’s Illustrated, but I did not try it. The leeks came in a 3-pack so there’s still time, or the remaining ones might be used for another batch of soup.

  • 1 leek, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced into very thin 2-inch long strips, washed thoroughly and dried.
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Toss leaks, flour, and pinch each of salt and pepper in bowl.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet until shimmering.
  3. Add half of leeks and fry, stirring often, until golden grown, about 6 minutes.
  4. Use slotted spoon to transfer leeks to paper towel lined plate; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Repeat with remaining leaks.

Irene @ 11AM

Hi Folks,

Irene is approaching us. Satellite pic shows she made landfall around 8am on the Outer Banks, NC. Gusts there are up to 76 mph there, which is lower than predicted. We are having bands of wind and heavy rain but intermittently. High gust is 26 mph and still from the NE, with just over an inch of rain.

clip_image002If the Sat image is right it looks like it is turning inland which would degrade the storm considerable. There is still a front just to the west of Irene which is moving slowly east. Not sure what that may do other than do some shearing of Irene.

On the up side we are really really ready. Beatice just finished making a big pot of Hurricane Butternut Soup, we have Italian bread and tomato salad. All the ingredients to ride out a storm.

More later is we still have internet and power. To get conditions in our yard go to .

11AM discussion from the National Hurricane Center:



Irene at 7AM

Morning Folks…. Well Irene has made landfall on the Outer Banks, and should get to us late this afternoon. We may disappear for a while since our internet conn is usually the first to go.

For those of you who may be Meterology geeks (like me) you can check the conditions here at the Frog & PenguINN. Our weather station is at and will be on line as long as the net conn and power is on. Then we go to battery backup but no net conn.

Yes we actually have our own weather station. The only changes we made for this storm was to lower the height of our anemometer (wind gauge) from 20 feet to 8 ft so we can record the wind at near ground level since that is what a person would feel.


So where are we???? Look at the top red blob and we are just at the top on that little spit of land just below Maryland.

Top winds so far have been 22 mph from the NE. We’ve had .6” of rain, and the barometer is falling fast (751.6mm).

Next blog @ 1100 hrs (if we are still on line).


Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Party Prep

What????? You landlubbers, hill folks, and Highlanders don’t know about Hurricane Parties????? Well get ready for some Coastal, sea level thoughts.

First thing you must remember is that most Hurricanes are short lived, but really intense events. Soooo you need to get ready days ahead. First you go to the food store and stock up on milk, bread, and Twinkies. This has to be done early so you don’t get beaten out by the old folks. When you leave you should have at least a two week supply with you.

Next you have to consider the decorations. Minimal is the watchword here. Unlike your typical BBQ you don’t need chairs, tables, tikki torches, smudge pots, marshmalpatio cleared (1)low sticks, smoker grills, or strings of festive left over Christmas lights you forgot to put away. Put is all away. Strip that patio or porch nekid!!!! If you can’t store them than a good round up and lassoing will do.


rockers tied (1)                  benches tied (2)

          Next find some really light blow away sort of building and strap it down. (Attention guys,,, this is a great excuse to head out to Tractor Supply). You’ll need some BIG cork screws, some webbed ratchet straps, a new flashlight, and a John Deere hat.

greenhouse tied dpwn (1) In our neighborhood blue straps are in style this season. The 8 pack is the best deal. If they still have generators you might as well grab one of those too. Can never have too many….           

Your almost ready now!!!! the next step can be relegated to the kids. Go around and pick up all the little chachkies the girls have stuck around the yard. You know, the ones you drove over while cutting the grass. The ones that bent the blade and ended up in a million pieces that you are still hitting while mowing.               

chimes to go patio lanterns to go flamingo guard (1)

By this time your barn should be full and looking like this

barn packed And don’t forget that most sacred item of all outdoor furniture. The one and only piece you were allowed (after some major whining) to pick out. The Honorable Hammock.

hammock to go

So now you are ready to sit back and wait for those wonderful 11 and 5 o’clock National Hurricane bulletins.

We added a few extra steps this time, like gassing up the chain saw, fueling the tractor, taking the mowing deck off to help drive over debris piles. You can also bring some tarps and rope in the house, fill the bathtub if you are on a well (no flushing without electric).

So you may be wondering what the Princess was doing all this time????? I have to admit, she refuses to miss out on fun stuff like this. She took the ride to Tractor Supply with me. Helped clear, took all the pictures, made some great tomato sauce from the last of the tomatoes, and best of all invented “Fried Eggplant Poppers” (don’t worry AC, the recipe will follow).

Well as of 5PM Irene was approaching the Outer Banks and getting ready to turn Northeast and hug the coast. The intensity seems to be lessening and she should be just a Cat 2 storm as she passes us tomorrow evening. Hopefully she will be in a hurry to get to the ‘Big Apple’.

[Image of 3-day forecast of predicted track, and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]

That is us just below the third H on the chart. I’ll have more on this in the morning. Now I think i have to go save some ice cream from a possible ‘melt down’.


Friday Funnies

Drafty . . .half-barn0610 (7)A new barn is right behind . . .half-barn0610 (6)Both are standing in a field we’ve passed many times on Rte 13 the past few months – most recently yesterday.half-barn0610 (6)We hope that impending Hurricane Irene doesn’t finish off the old barn.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flutterbies & More

Despite having several wildflower gardens with a variety of blooms, there hasn’t been much butterfly activity in the Frog & PenguINN gardens. Today, there were a couple of monarch butterflies and some black swallowtails fluttering around on a windy afternoon.

monarch collage0825 Black swallowtails were trying to grasp onto blowing flowers.

swallowtail collageA skipper and white cabbage butterfly . . .

skipper collageThe wildflowers are VERY tall now.tall wildflowers0825 (3)Grenville thinks that he sprinkled a bit more seeds than needed.

tall wildflowers0825 (4)This house sparrow kept a watch on the feeders . . .

swallow collage0825This cardinal wouldn’t share with others – maybe he was having a bad feather day?.

cardinal collage0825