Thursday, May 31, 2012

Strawberry-Lemon Basil Dressing

As we’ve been telling y’all for the past few weeks, this year’s F&P strawberry crop has been outstanding, abundant, and SO VERY delicious. We’ve been enjoying strawberries in morning smoothies, fruit salads and in Grenville’s first strawberry pie.

Before leaving for our PA road trip last week, we picked and ate as many berries as possibleIMG_4938. Checking the patch this week there were still some usable ones, but only a scant cupful. Still, there’s lots of flowers, so more fruit soon – we hope! That said and using the most recent pickings, here’s a new way to enjoy strawberries – on salad. The photo shows the ingredients.

Note: there was no “pure maple syrup”  or fresh lemons in the F&P. Instead, bottled syrup and bottled fresh lemon juice were substitutes and worked well.

Strawberry-Lemon Basil Dressing

  • 1 C fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 C packed fresh basil
  • 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Put strawberries, basil, lemon juice, oil in a food processor OR (my choice) use an immersion blender. Process until smooth.
  2. Add salt, pepper, syrup to taste.
  3. Assemble a salad and pour dressing on top.

Leftover dressing will keep a few days refrigerated in a sealed container. Tonight’s salad included chicken strips, Chinese noodles, and water chestnuts.


This recipe is adapted from a vegan recipe blog, Oh She Glows. Check out this site for lots of great recipes from Angela Liddon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 Preview

In a mid-month post, I wrote about a worldwide initiative that invited people to take and submit photos to document a single day – May 15 – around the globe and to submit them online to the aday project by May 22. This deadline was later extended because so many people had participated and were trying to upload their images.

On this one single day the aday organizers asked photographers to use whatever means (digital camera, cell phone, etc.) to photograph their world. All the submitted images would be posted online (and later in book form)  to create a unique online experience where photographs will be shared, compared and explored. The photographer would retain full copyright(s). The project was initiated by the Swedish non-profit foundation Expressions of Humankind and supported by a global advisory council and a special scientific council.

It was fun participating in this project and uploading the day’s photos before we left for our PA road trip. An email today gave notice that the site is preparing for a site re-launch to display all images taken and submitted on May 15.

In the meantime, you can SEE a PREVIEW of 100 single images and 100 profiles by some of the participants on The full site goes line sometime in June. Until then, this is a fascinating look into everyday and quite extraordinary lives as viewed through the photographer’s eyes and lens.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Choo…. Choo!!!!!!

Friday was train day for us. First stop was the Choo Choo Barn in Strassburg. A quick bit of history:

Since 1961, people across the country and around the world have come to visit a truly unique attraction...the Choo Choo Barn -- Traintown U.S.A.®! Our 1,700 square foot train layout features over 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles and 22 operating trains…we guarantee the Choo Choo Barn is like nothing you've ever seen!
This is an "O" Gauge layout. The creators very first train set is on display also. Every winter he adds or improves more parts of the layout so return visits are a must. This past winter he added headlights to many of the vehicles for the night portion of the show.
For a whole lot more go to here are some highlights from our visit.
IMG 1478   IMG 1483 IMG 1491
This layout also has a night portion  IMG 1493  IMG 1492

And there is a train store here so you can buy everything you need for your layout. Even some special trains for the girls (just for you Possum)  
IMG 1476
Next stop was the Strassburg Railroad. More on that next.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Good Times

This has been a fun few pre-wedding days spent with family. We've had more time with the grandkids.

Grandson had a train day with grandpa Grenville as they visited the Choo Choo Barn train displays and rode the Strasburg Rail Road. While touring the displays, grandson met a new friend and they met again when we all went for a train ride. 

Choo Choo BarnRR 052512

Afterwards, grandson played in a small playground.

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Granddaughter is a young shopper as she checked out some headwear with mom.

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Does this one look better?

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Later today is the family event — wedding day for the grandkids aunt and her fiancĂ©.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

White and Red Farms

This week as we've travelled through the Lancaster, PA countryside, my pocket-size digital camera has always been along too. Like fellow blogger Sandra, MadSnapper, I've been shooting lots of photos, just because . . . 

This area is surrounded by numerous working farms, and I tried to capture as many as possible while Grenville drove.
Farms Strassburg 052512
Nearly every farm had a herd of dairy cows and other livestock.
Farms Strassburg 0525121
Most of the farm buildings were white, so a challenge was to look for another color, like red.
Family 0524124

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Than Just Ice Cream

It's an Experience -- The Turkey Hill Experience features 26,000 square feet of exhibits and includes nine interactive exhibits all about Turkey Hill Dairy and its ice cream products. Instead of opting for new construction,Turkey Hill Dairy, renovated the remains of the former Ashley & Bailey silk mill, turning it NOT into an actual creamery, but an interactive museum geared to kids, and  enjoyed by parents and grandparents, like Grenville and myself. 

The renovations included savaging an old a mill water tower to use as billboard advertising for the new museum which opened in June 2011. It's a show and tell of what happens in a creamery as it follows the production of ice cream with interactive exhibits that explain or simulate a process.
Family 0524121
But, it's really an interactive children's museum.  

Instead of opting for new construction,Turkey Hill Dairy, renovated the remains of an aging former Ashley & Bailey silk mill, turning it NOT into an actual creamery, but an interactive museum geared to kids, and  enjoyed by parents and grandparents, like Grenville and myself. The renovations included savaging a former mill water tower to use as billboard advertising for the new museum. THE opened less than a year ago in June 2011. It's a show and tell of what happens in a creamery and follows the production of ice cream with interactive exhibits that explain or simulate a process. 

First stop is a cow milking area where a large mechanical cow is ready for milking, complete with udders and a milking stool. It's not milk, but water, but kids and adults didn't seem to mind.  Many stations have hands-on activities. The Clean Up shows how milk is pasteurized by letting kids blast away unwanted ingredients with an air gun. The Mix & Match station has stampers that imprint flavor scents on a The Flavor Frenzy kept the kids busy for awhile.  It included empty containers of flavoring that they pretended to pour into mixers to create ice cream blends. Blending describes how all the ingredients come together to make ice cream. There's also an actual Turkey Hills Dairy truck to climb aboard. There was a packaging area where, with adult help, they could create a design and name for an ice cream blend.  A small room with fans blowing cold air demonstrated the freezing process. The most stop was an on-air area where kids (and adults) could make their own commercial.

Grandson tried nearly all the exhibit stops.
Family 0524122
Granddaughter at 10 months was too young for the exhibits, so she napped instead.
Family 0524123
BEST part of this Experience  - at least for the adults present - was the unlimited sampling. The selections were not unlimited, and confined to about 15 Turkey Hill flavors, we found a couple to sample at least twice.

Turkey Hill Dairy began in 1931, when farmer Armor Frey sold bottled milk to neighbors from his sedan during the Great Depression years. Frey's family obtained the farm directly from Thomas and Richard Penn, sons of William Pan and the sheepskin deed to the farm refers to "turkeyhill". Turkey Hill Ridge was named by the Conestoga Indians for the wild turkeys found there, so the family decided to name their dairy after the name on the deed and the nearby geographical feature. Frey sold the daily to his three sons (Glen, Emerson and Charles) in 1947. Milking their cows and delivering milk to customers within a few miles provided these three families with a steady income. 

In 1980, the dairy began making ice cream, which sold well in Lancaster County. In 1981, they started selling it through a few independent stores in Pennsylvania before expanding into New Jersey and up the East Coast. In the early 2000s, Turkey Hill's products were sold further west as Turkey Hill rapidly expanded its distribution area. The ice cream is now sold in over 25 states. In 1985, the dairy and the stores were sold to a subsidiary of Kroger, a US supermarket chain. The Frey family remains active in the business and Quintin Frey, Armor Frey's grandson, is president of the dairy.

Friday Funnies

Are you feeling lucky today?

Said Henrietta to the family cat.

Lucky today

. . .with apologies to Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry.

Thanks to fellow blogger, Elaine (Arctic View) for letting me know that clicking on the photos does not enlarge them. Our traveling PC is a new MacBook Air and, as noted earlier, we're using a new blog editor (MarsEdit) because sadly, our favorite blogging software, Microsoft LiveWriter, isn't available on a Mac (DRAT). Even with its limitation, this program is better than the limited choices available for off-line blogging on a Mac. Using the Blogger interface is an alternative, but it's only available when there's a wi-fi connection and often there's none available, so I create draft posts off-line which is where a blogging editor comes in very handy for posts to be uploaded later when wi-fi is available.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Twisting and Turning

That was what our Jeep was doing as we took backroads after getting off the major highways in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. This was the first road use of our new GPS and it displayed a scenic route that would be the shortest one that avoided major highways. 
Family 0523124
And, it did leading us on a roller coaster ride of roadways that just don't exist on the VA eastern shore.
Family 0523125
Another plus of backroads is seeing the numerous farms and Amish tending their fields.
Family 0523123
Family 0523122

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Road Trip Again

We're on a road trip in PA for the next few days spending lots of time with family to celebrate a major event. And that includes time with the grandkids. These shots were taken as we all met up in the motel lobby during a torrential downpour. The quality is blurry, but the cuteness factor is there.

Family 0523121

This will be the longest stretch of time with the grandkids since last summer, so of course we can't resist sharing them. 

FYI - As Grenville noted in an earlier post, we're both trying out a new (to us) off-line desktop blog editor, MarsEdit, designed for Macs. While it's not as good as Microsoft's LiveWriter blogging software for PCs, there's a shortage of blogging platforms for Macs. Grenville spent several days earlier this week trying out the handful that are available and this SW worked the best of the bunch. Unlike LiveWriter, it's not free program, but has a 30-day trial which we're using to blog with on this road trip.

Life Goes On . . . or NOT

In an earlier post this month, we welcomed new neighbors – a robin couple that had moved into the Crepe Myrtle neighborhood alongside our back patio. At the time, it seemed an unlikely location because of all activity in this area, both human and otherwise.

Abandonment is what we found last week – the nest and the 4 blue eggs were still there – the nest0512 (1)same as a couple of weeks ago. There hadn’t been any robin activity on the back patio in over a week before we checked the nest. Before then,  adult robins were chirping on the patio daily as we watched  from the kitchen window.

Curious to find out WHY birds would abandon a nest after eggs have been laid, I did some online research. Birds can abandon a nest that’s been discovered by a predator or simply because of too much activity in the area. Robins only abandon their eggs when something happens that tells them that they will have a poor chance of success. If it feels threatened by other animas or humans it will leave, even if eggs have been laid. In most cases, the eggs will not have been fertilized and would not contain any baby birds.

IMG_0692Shortly after we found this abandoned next, Grenville found another one in this cedar tree on back patio. The nest held 3 newly-hatched baby robins. Since the mother robin was very vocally active about our finding the nest, we decided to check on them in a week or robins0512 (2)Unfortunately, this one was in the lower branches of the tree and easy prey for predators and it was was discovered. When we empty nest517checked it a week later, it was empty as shown here.

In such a short time, the young robins could not have developed enough to leave on their own. The predators might have been other birds or feral cats in the area.

This week we spotted several robin couples active in the back yard; hopefully there is more nesting activity. And, we would be glad NOT to find the location of any nest(s).



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Casserole

Why this recipe is called so named is unknown as it was done in theChipotle Chicken (2) crockpot and didn't look like a casserole. It did have a lot of excess liquid and was “soupier” than expected. The ingredients were exactly as the recipe directed; next time I’ll use less liquid.
Grenville declared that it tasted good (and he should know). We served this over Spanish rice to help absorb some of the liquid.
IMG_2436Here’s the recipe source. As you’ve seen from previous posts, this is one of several crock pot recipe book in my collection. They come in handy when I I have some ingredients, but can’t find a suitable recipe to use them. That’s when I go and check another book. The internet is another great source too.
FYI this recipe called for navy beans, but we had none on hand as we’re trying to use up surplus canned goods. I substituted red kidney beans; luckily, we had a can of black beans (last one). Here’s the recipe straight from the source . . .
IMG_2430This was a colorful mix – before and after cooking.
Chipotle Chicken (5)Chipotle Chicken (7)

Monday, May 21, 2012

What is This Answer

It’s hard to stump folks – so many got this one – it IS a fishing net !

Bragging rights for being the FIRST correct guess go to . . . Daisy of Dancing with Daisy who wasn’t sure if her first hunch was right. Always go with your first hunch, cause it’s usually the right one.

Country Girl Elaine from Our Country Cove Life was also right as was Sherry of Sherry’s Place, and Elaine of Artic View who also provided an interesting “recipe.”

Stumped were Mona of Montanagirl, Sandra the Mad Snapper and Larry from Larry’s Creative Zone.

IMG_2332This net was found on this fishing boat which was docked in Chincoteague, VA when we visited for the Mother Earth Day event. It was the same day we saw the painted carousel boat collageTHANKS, Everyone for playing along – you are a hard group to stump. Maybe I’ll post a harder What is This? next time (if I can find one).

Where did the real food go???????

We were in Food Loin yesterday and in the produce section (the one that is in shrink mode) this sign was promenently displayed:


FL sign

They're shellacking my veggies????? I thought shellac was for wood….. To maintain freshness???? For how long????I mean this is crazy. Who wants a tomato that is 10 years old???? Now a turnip i can see but an Avocado with a beard is not appealing to most folks. Although i'm not sure about California!!!!

I'm starting to have flashbacks to the movie "Soylent Green"….. remember there is NO BLUE FOOD…..

BUT on the other hand this could be part of some big Eco Stimuless program. Could create a whole layer of employment from tomato polishers to apple buffers. Of course you would have to create an educational facility to teach fruit polishing. And there would have to be some sort of lower, middle, and upper management structure to over see the polishing. AND lets not forget the Quality Control section (hey buddy, you missed a spot). Now we all know that an organization that big will definitely need Government Overseeing. Possibly an arm of the Ag Dept. to make sure that the veggies are genetically manipulated correctly, and someone in Minerals to insure the quality of the oil that is used (don't want any Iranian stuff), and a division in Fish & Wildlife to insure that the beeswax comes from American bees (none of them Chineeze ones) that were properly genetically modified. Of course this whole conglomerate will have to be scrutinized by the SEC for insider trading and anti monopolization. 

OK OK OK , now let me count up all those jobs…… looks like about 125,239 to me. WOW!!!!! Now i really feel bad about complaining. All those folks would be out of work just because i want a fresh veggie. Down Right un-American to me….Sorry i brought it up.

Grenville (heading out to his secret fresh veggie garden and orchard)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

WHAT is This?

WOW, it’s been a really long time, since one of these posts. Sooooo, so here’s a NEW one.

Any guesses as to what this is ?

IMG_2334Here’s another view . . .IMG_2341The surprising answer (I hope) will be posted tomorrow.

As always, NO prizes, just bragging rights – and your name/blog mentioned here – isn’t that prize enough?

New editor

This is going to be a test of a new editor, BlogPress ($4.99), for the iPad. Using the free editor from BlogSpot was just not cutting it. All of the photos ended up at the bottom of the page which is not what I like.
This image is supposed to be on the left side with word wrapping on. In edit mode it is still in the middle and no wrap (ain't she cute!!!!!)

This text was under the photo in edit but now is to the right where it should be.

And this one (our BayCoast road engine #400) should be to the right side. But it ended up at the bottom in edit. With a few returns and deletes it finally got to this position.

I can see this is going to be a challenge for the next road trip since I will be attempting to blog just from my iPad. BUT if all else fails Beatrice will have her new Mac Book Air with her and if I beg her really nice she may let me use it.

What, you didn't know about this road trip????? Well it really isn't just a road trip. There will be a wedding, train rides, amusement parks, seeing some great model train layouts, and a big double family get together.

For now that's all the details I'm going to give, so you'll just have to stop back to learn more. I will give one hint, this event will take place in Lancaster Pa. So if you are in that area starting this Wednesday till next Monday let us know. We know a nice Panera Bread for coffee (just ask Doris who we met there).

OK OK OK ..... All looks good in the preview mode, next is to publish.
Grenville (being a lazy geek still sitting in bed)

- Posted from Grenville's iPad
Note after publishing: all seems to have transfered nicely. I may be happy with this. G

Saturday, May 19, 2012

All the Pretty Horses

Were not on a carousel last weekend – but in a park.

carousel ponies2These colorful steeds were galloping at Robert Reed Park in Chincoteague, VA last Saturday for the Mother Earth Day Festival. They were salvaged from a dismantled ride that had been used at the Chincoteague Island Fire Company’s annual carnival. Prominent local artists were invited to paint the horses which were on display before being auctioned to raise monies for the fire company’s building fund.

carousel poniesThe festival is an eco-friendly spring event held annually on Mother’s Day weekend. It featured tips for “green” living, displays of recycled art, nature and environmental exhibits, music and food. New to this year’s event was a recycling enter where  electronics and computers could be taken for safe disposal.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Funnies

Bad hair day OR just a very colorful one . . .

bad hair dayThis fellow was strutting his stuff on our friend, Matt’s farm when we visited the greenhouse relocation.

bad hair day2(Used the Vivid color setting on the Canon PowerShot; no other changes done for his coloration.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You’re a Winner – NO Purchase Necessary !

sweeptakes (6)Well, almost, nearly, possibly, maybe, some day . . .  AS shown on TV  in the Publishers Clearing House ads with BIG winners,
JUST complete the entry forms and return by the indicated date. Also,if after reading the enclosed junk advertisements, please help buy something support them and order . . . but there’s “No Purchase Necessary to WIN.”

prize upgrade

Of course, it’s also to read the silliness instructions and put labels in certain areas before sending in the not a chance if you don’t order anything  possible winning entry.

Ordering lots of junk items from the advertising inserts would be  nice, BUT it’s NOT absolutely necessary to WIN . . .
WOW, must be getting closer to winning cause this was the 3rd third junk mailing eligibility notification received in 3 weeks. (Grenville was already checking the front door for the prize patrol to ring the doorbell.)

YES, I confess to sending back the 2 earlier notifications cause I’m a sucker? you never know IF any prize money would come without buying anything!. So, I checked the NO THANKS space on the entry/order form and returned my “winning” entry.

THIS week, I knew these “winning” junk mail eligibility notices would continue with all those money-saving/free offers as long as I was sending back my eligibility notice.  Publishers Clearing hasn’t heard that we’re downsizing “stuff” and NOT adding “stuff.”
THIS time, I filed my special “winning” offer – it’s where any future ones are going too.
sweeptakes (14)
Grenville told me that I was “always a winner” with him . . . wonder what he meant by that?