Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Not Quite Ready . . .

That's the best way to describe the fruit growing in the F&P orchard, which includes peach, pear, and apple trees.

While this year's fruit output is uncertain because of lack of rain and extremely hot temps, we're hoping for enough fruit to make a cobbler or pie. The peach trees are overloaded now, but none are ready for picking and quiet a few have already fallen off. 

This week, we gathered up most of those and placed them in a paper bag, hopefully to promote ripening.

And, when (and if) we get enough for Grenville to bake one of his specialty peach pies, y'all are invited for dessert. (Just let Grenville know who's bringing the vanilla ice cream.)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ribs Rubbed Right

Crockpot cooking is easy, but ours has been on hiatus, since warm weather meals are often salads or grilled foods.

Until last week, when we bought a package of boneless country-stylecrockpot country ribs0726 (4) pork ribs. I had read that these were great cooked in a crockpot with a few added ingredients — barbecue sauce, sliced onions and rubbed with spices of your choice, which makes the ribs extra flavorful. While there are lots of choices on what rub to use, mine included brown sugar, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder.

Crock Pot Country Style Ribs

  • 4-6  lbs. country-style ribs  (ours were bone-in)
  • 8 oz. barbecue sauce
  • 1 onion, cut in slices
  • 3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

The Rub

  • 1/2 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1TBSP  ground kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1TBSP garlic powder

SAM_0453Put onions in bottom of crockpot, dry off ribs. Mix dry rub ingredient together. Rub the ribs with Worcestershire sauce, then with the rub. Criss-cross the ribs in layers in crockpot. Pour barbecue sauce in and cover. Set crockpot on LOW 6-8 hours; HIGH 3-4 hours if you’re in a hurry, but for this meal, low and slow is best.

The ribs were served with these easy side dishes (the recipes were posted before, but repeating means no links to another post.)

Classic Slaw

Buy a bag or prepared Cole Slaw mix which is SO much easier thencole slaw0726 (2) shredding everything by hand. Then, just make the dressing:

  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP milk 
  • 1 tsp ground celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt

Whisk ingredients in small bowl. Let sit 15-20 minutes so flavors blend. Stir just before adding to salad.

Asian Marinated Cucumber SaladSAM_0457

  • 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced (seedless if available)
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 C rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh dill or ½ tsp dried dill weed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Gently toss together ingredients until evenly coated. Place in a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Gently toss again before serving.

Dinner was great — leftovers were even better !

Monday, July 29, 2013

Backyard Beauties

All it takes to appreciate the colors and diversity in nature is for me to walk around the Frog & PenguINN backyard. That's what I've been doing recently while trying out a newly-purchased digital camera (more on that in a future post).

We have a several butterfly bushes in bloom and a large wildflower meadow which grows large unattended, much to the delight of bees and a lone ladybug.

And also butterflies.

Of many varieties and colors . . .
Flowers in bloom include day lilies, coreopsis, petunias and others . . .

Unlike many neighboring southern states, the VA eastern shore has not been inundated with rain the past few weeks. While, that's good news as far as lawn weeds dying off, the flowers are looking for some much-needed moisture.

How are things going in your part of the world?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Birthday Blast

Granddaughter celebrated birthday #2 last weekend which for us required a(nother) road trip. This trip we spent a beach day in CT with the grands and Patrick's aunt. beach day collageLater, Grandpa and Ellie shared a story together.Ellie-grandpa Birthday calls came for granddaughter.birthday calls

Then, it was time for cake.cake eating

And, of course, presents — for both as grandpa's birthday was several days openinggrenville gifts

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Funnies

Sometimes, even a rescue vehicle needs a rescue . . .


Veggie Leaf IDs

Thanks to all the great comments on Grenville's veggie garden in a recent post. Congratulations to blogger friend, Christer (The Cottage by the Crane Lake Part Two) for guessing the leaf IDs with with 3 out of 5 right. Here are the "answers" . . .

And, Grenville said that while he would gladly share a 'mater sandwich with you, he won't be delivering it to your cottage in Sweden. However, you're welcome to join us at The Frog & PenguINN anytime.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Keeping Kool

Granddaughter knows HOW to beat the heat . . .

Enjoy ice cream while standing IN the ocean as she did last week at a CT beach day. Later there was more ice cream.
It was enjoyed to the end. Can you tell ?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grenville's Garden Grows

This year's Frog & PenguINN vegetable garden is very small, yet it's just enough for us and sometimes even produces too much at one time.

Right now we have 3 freshly picked eggplant that will be enjoyed later this week. We cooked one last week when Grenville made a wonderful eggplant parmesan. We've had a few cukes and peppers, but are still waiting on the first ripe 'mater of the season. Grenville has been walking around with a salt shaker in his pocket, so it should be very soon.

Can you tell what plants go with each of these leaves?

There's no prize, just the satisfaction of knowing you were right. Isn't that enough ?

(OK, if you really need a prize, we'll share a 'mater, but first you have to get it away from Grenville.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oh No — FOMO !

imageDo you suffer from FOMO ?
No, it’s not a medical problem or computer virus. But it IS a major issue for many folks.

If you don’t know what FOMO is, don’t worry. You’re NOT alone.
FOMO = Fear of Missing Out
It was the word of the day on April 14, 2011, in the online Urban Dictionary, where new words are daily added by internet users. It’s defined as “the fear that if you miss an event, you will miss out onimage something great.”

FOMO applies to the worry someone can have that he/she will miss out on something great or the anxiety felt when trying to choose between more than one event.

Its creation is credited to Kelley J. Watson and Diane E. Meyer. The two women were inseparable as children. Later, as they established separate social lives, then came anxiety associated with missing something one or the other was doing. Kelley reportedly told Diane, “I have this fear of missing out on fun stuff!” to which Diane replied  “You have FOMO!” The term caught on with family members, who when missing events, declared they too had FOMO. Friends of both families started using the term and its use spread.

imageInternet addictions can also cause FOMO. The American Psychological Association hasn’t (yet) defined FOMO as a social disorder. But with the increasing use and popularity of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, FOMO has intensified. 
Yet, the fear of missing out isn’t new. It’s been promoted in newspaper society pages, party pictures, holiday letters even emails. The difference is that now instead of receiving occasional updates, we’re reminded 24x7 what we’re missing out on via the method of our choosing.

FOMO is a phobia. When you get it, there's no going back. You’ll be texting it, tweeting it, even status-updating it — it can become overwhelming.

What’s the Cure ?
It’s simple, just be in on —  well, everything.
BTW (yikes —another acronym)Grenville and I are social “misfits” by current standards it seems. Our online contact is blogging, posting here and reading other blogs. Nope, we are not “reachable” via  Facebook, Tweeting, Google+ and we’re OK with that.

How about YOU ?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Yikes, Up 17 Cents

Thanks to all fellow bloggers who posted a comment on yesterday's previous post about rising gas prices.Here is what the cost was on the NJ Turnpike on Wed, July 17.

And, here's what is was when we stopped this afternoon, a 17 cent hike in 3 days (gas prices change weekly on the Turnpike on Fridays).

As we got closer to home, prices were hovering between $3.63 to $3.69/gallon. Hopefully they won't increase overnight as we need a fill-up.

Thanks, Anvilcloud for the heads-up on what to expect when we travel to parts of Canada in late fall. We will be sure to rent a compact car. And, Triumph we may stay away from Oregon travel for awhile, and NJ is the other lone U.S. state without self-service stations. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What Goes Up in Summer?

Temperatures as most of us know by the recent heat wave hitting large parts of the U.S. And gas prices as seen on this recent road trip to RI for Ellie's birthday.

We travelled through 5 east coast states from our VA home (MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT). Lowest cost (then) was on the NJ Turnpike at $3.38/gal and highest (as always) was in CT at $4.15/gal. All other gas costs were in between those ranges.

Of course, these rates could all be different by the time we reach home Sat night. While we don't expect they will go lower, temperatures are expected to drop by the weekend.

1 out of 2 isn't bad, but we would rather the gas costs dropped.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Look Who's 2

A very special child in our lives is celebrating TODAY — Granddaughter is 2 years old !

It seems like only yesterday that she entered our lives and we first saw her as a tiny 2-week old infant whose favorite activity at that age was napping.

In the months that followed, it became clear that this little girl most definitely would be a very vocal and expressive child. Her favorite activities included "hamming" it up whenever the camera was aimed in her direction.

Through family road trip visits we watched her grow. Last July we were there as she marked a milestone — birthday #1.

We're on the road to celebrate this next in a long line of birthdays to come.
Can you tell we remain smitten with this child?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Berry Berry Good (Again)

We SURE do enjoy strawberries at The Frog & PenguINN. Nope these are NOT store-bought or even from a local produce market. These are freshly picked from our own small strawberry patch.

Earlier this season, we enjoyed a LOT of fresh strawberries with breakfast every morning. Then, there were none. It looked like  the patch was done for the season. But, in the past couple of weeks new flowers appeared, then green fruit, and now ripe strawberries have started once again.

These were picked today — delicious sprinkled with some sugar and whipped cream for dessert.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Flurry of Fluff and Flutter

Now that the unwelcome visitors (starlings and grackles) to the Frog & PenguINN feeders have found enough to glean from local fields, it was time to start refilling the feeders on a regular basis.

They were relocated to the side of the house which lets us watch the activity from the dining room window. There's been a host of sparrows and chickadees and many young ones being taught how to feed themselves.

Most of these young ones are fully fledged and can fly well on their own, but like many bird young-uns they prefer to have mom gather food and feed them.

It's quite entertaining to watch the process. The young ones gather around the feeder, fluttering their wings excitedly until given food. At times, they seem to be more patient, sitting stop the feeder.

Then after being lunch, it's naptime and any nearby branch will do.

Our fluffy feathered friends have provided so much entertainment this week, that sometimes we need to walk away to get other things done.

But wait, we're both retired so there's always time to sit and watch the world birds go by.

Like tongue twisters? 

Try repeating this post title 10X fast.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quick Weather Note for those tracking the heat

Our high heat index today occurred  at 12:45 PM
93.6 F/ 66% humidity= 114.5 HI
BUT not a record. Last year we went over 120 deg a few times
Thank goodness for Air Conditioning

Decision Time

Or should i call this "Decision 13"????? Naw!!! that sounds to political...
But i have come to a serious decision. AND not by mere whim or fancy. Nosirreebob!!!! This decision has been well thought out. Some purposeful ponderment went into it.

Next year i'm going to be 64 again!!!!!!! Why you ask???? Well, 'cause this has been such a fun birthday... Nothing fancy or expensive or outlandish. Well, maybe going out for sushi for lunch, but we do it occasionally.

It all began with a huge onslaught of cards from the "Card Fairies". You remember them don't ya????? AND they were a day early too.... so many cards appeared the 14th. Now not being French, we don't celebrate Bastille Day, so cards showing up on the 14th was highly suspicious.

Seriously though, it was a really nice Birthday. Lots of cards in the mail, and from the Card Fairies. Lots of well wishes from friends in Blogerville. And some great gifts spread throughout the day that I didn't expect.
The silver thing in the middle is a bell for my bike. You remember our bikes don't ya?? How we replaced all the dry rotted tires (a little lack of use there) and i cleaned them up really really nice. AND we went out and bought helmets and got tools and pumps and gloves and stuff. One of the things i didn't get back then was a bell. You know one of those traditional ringy dingy's..... Well the Princess remembered and now i have one. I'm starting to run out of reasons not to go riding.....

You might not remember, and i don't know how that could be, but I like trains. Real trains. Big trains. AND i especially like watching them go by. Almost as much as i like riding them. Well the next bestest thing is watching them on TV. The Princess got me 6 new DVD's to watch, and all of them are of Steam trains. One of them is of my favorite Railroad, the Lackawanna. Maybe this is a good reason to get that 60 inch LCD TV i've been looking at...... Don't mention this to Beatrice though.... Mum's the word!!!!!!!

When we were out in Roanoke at the Transportation Museum we also went to the O. Winston Link Museum. He was an advertising photographer who got really into photographing trains as a hobby. Many were done at night with many synchronized flash bulbs going off at the same time. His work fascinated me and i am planning on going back again (and of course visiting all of our Blue Ridge Friends). Till then i was going to treat myself to his book, but never seemed to get around to ordering it. WELL.... the Princess rarely forgets an off hand comment like that. My last gift of the day was this
Last night i sat and went through it page by page, still mesmerized by his work. Not that i will ever be in the same league with Link, i'll now have a goal to reach for.

SO what's the Bobby Darien CD about?????? Since just about everyone reading this blog is in the same general age group you know who he is and have most likely heard him sing.

BUT did you know that he put out a CD of classic swing and big band era songs and he does them great. Again this was something i kept thinking (sometimes out loud) about ordering but not quite getting around to it. It will be getting added to our iTunes library tonight.

Yessireebob!!!!!! that's why i think 64 is a good birthday to redo for a few years.
BUT WAIT!!!!! THERE'S MORE!!!!!!! We will soon be heading to Rhode Island where Grand Daughter Elizabeth will be turning 2, and still doesn't understand the fine intricacies of how to uncurl a cinnamon bun and eat it properly. SOOOO Grand Son Bobby and i will attempt again to teach her how.... Any excuse for a cinnamon bun.

Time to make some Eggplant Parm. of the two eggplants i just picked. Good thing Beatrice made some sauce this morning...:-))))