Sunday, March 30, 2014

Taking Flight

That's what we did recently, but not exactly in the air.

Instead, our flying was done at the Virginia Air and Space Museum in Hampton, VA. It's less than 2 hours from our The Frog & PenguINN home, but this was a first time visit.

The museum, which opened in 1962, is the visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base. It features interactive aviation exhibits covering 100 years of flying.

Its permanent collection is housed in a 110,000 square foot building that features a three-story glass atrium accessible from two exhibit floors. A catwalk level allows for viewing aircraft suspended from above. The museum houses over 30 historic aircraft that are displayed in several galleries or suspended from the ceiling.

The Adventures in Flight gallery features a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 passenger aircraft donated by AirTran Airways that dominates the gallery. Here, you can sit in the cockpit, first class and coach seats or try take off and landing using the on board flight simulator. Of course, we had to board this plane.

In the Space Gallery, we entered a room that simulated a manned launch to Mars. Narration and videos told the story of a rendezvous with a Mars Transit Vehicle. After the short flight, which compressed months into minutes, the narration concluded with arrival on a simulated planet Mars as doors opened into the gallery.

Once back to earth, we headed home after a fun and informative afternoon.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Funnies

It's interesting WHAT people share on their cars — number of children, pets, sports interests . . .

Yes, we also have decals on the backs or our cars. — as you see Grenville favors nature, moose and, of course, trains; Beatrice has the AAA . . .
 Do you have decals / stickers on the back of YOUR car — if so, WHAT ?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crocked Chicken Cacciatore

Cold weather and a crockpot dinner go together at The Frog & PenguINN especially with the snow this week. 

Yes, the VA eastern shore had snow for the 3X this month. It was quite a scenic winter wonderland for several hours.

Perfect timing for this comfort meal as all the ingredients were already in the fridge or pantry.  It's very easy to prep this meal. Once cooked, it's dinner twice.

Chicken Cacciatore in CrockPot
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2-3 chopped scallions (optional)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 can (15 oz.) whole (or diced) tomatoes, mashed
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried bail
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 C fresh mushrooms, chopped or 1 can (4 oz.) drained mushrooms
  1. Wash chicken pieces well and pat dry. Combine remaining ingredients in crockpot. I
  2. Add chicken pieces, pushing down into liquid to thoroughly coat. If using fresh mushrooms add on top; if canned, add during last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours or HIGH for half that time if you're in a hurry.

Serve over pasta or rice. We choose linguine with some of Grenville's fresh-baked rustic Italian bread. Dinner was delicious the first night; even better the second time.

Spring is a little late(r) this year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

sNOw Napping Today

This was the hammock scene earlier this afternoon . . .

This was Grenville last week. 

He does SO enjoy these afternoon hammock rides. While this looks like an earlier post, he changed direction and clothes here. The previous photo was taken in mid-March when temps were in the 70s. Today, there's a wet snowfall and temps in the 30s.

This is the third snowfall this month on the VA eastern shore. It may be gone by early tomorrow morning as rain and warmer temps are forecast overnight. 

March certainly is roaring out, but it presented a lovely scene out the front door today.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Friends Bearing Gifts

Blogger meet-ups are wonderful and we been fortunate to have met several online friends in the past few years and again this past weekend. We met Dianna (These Days of Mine) and Motorman (JR) during our weekend visit to Hampton, VA. They graciously made the 1/2 hour drive from their home to meet for dinner.
Dianna brought a gift (no, not a horse). As many blog readers may (or may not know) Grenville and I burn candles — morning with coffee, evenings with dinner, and often "just because." This thoughtful gift will be has already been put to good use in our home.
Our weekend trip included a short "flight" — more on that experience in a future post.

Thanks, Dianna and JR. It was great fun meeting you both. We hope you will let us know the next time you visit the VA eastern shore.
Just wondering, have you meet fellow bloggers too ?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

St Patrick's Celebration

We're keeping in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day this week by celebrating for more than a single day. These photos sent by their mom as they watched the St. Patrick's parade on Sunday. Can you tell it was cold out?

Later, they posed for photos without winter gear, but kept the festive eye wear. We're not sure about those false teeth, she might be adding Halloween.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Phriday Ponderings

As apposed to Beatrice's Friday Funnies i offer for your enjoyment and befuddlement Phriday Pondering's. Things which amaze and mystify me.

New Efficiency work station?
Note paper for the Very Important?
Toilet Connection?
Hands Free potty talk?
For the serious FaceBooker?
WHAT!!!! No smart phone holder?
Being ready when the S**t hits the fan?
Replacement for the little metal guy holding an ash tray?


It's Friday folks and the first full day of Spring. Officially Alban Eiler occurred yesterday at 11:57 AM here on the Eastern Shore. Today is predicted to be in the mid 60's. (Disregard those rumors of SNOW on Wednesday).
A Celtic Alban Eiler Blessing

In balance are the stars and sun
Rejoice! The Father Sun has won
We know the fertile Spring's begun
On this our Alban Eiler day

Have a great Weekend.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dreaming of Spring?

Grenville relaxing in the hammock a week ago when afternoon temps reached the 70s.

Here's the hammock (sans Grenville) this past Monday after a brief snowfall.

That coating of snow is all gone now which means he'll be back for his late afternoon siestas very soon.

Temps are supposed to reach the mid-60s in these parts by the weekend.

Happy 1st Day of Spring !

Is there a warming trend yet in your part of the country/world?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Will Be . . .

A wee bit late this year in many places including the VA eastern shore. 

The color for St. Patrick's Day is normally green. This year at The Frog & PenguINN and other places, it was white, except for the green garden hose.

It wasn't a big snow (as you can see) and was melted by early evening, but not before coating the daffodil buds and other plants in ice.

In early afternoon, it made for a pretty winter scene. 

As we enjoyed coffee and the last of the homemade soda bread. Grenville's recipe was delicious with no leftovers. Here's the baker at work on Sunday.

The snowfall brought lots of backyard visitors to the feeders . . . juncos, sparrows and a single female cardinal. 

Looks like the seasonal winter flags will stay out just a bit longer. Sure, the bird flag is Christmas-looking, but it fit the weather so far and has stayed out.
Hope your celebration was a good one — with or without snow. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Soda Bread, Not just for St. Patrick's Day

The origin for Soda Bread is a little fuzzy as shown in this excerpt from Wikipedia:
During the early years of European settlement of the Americas, settlers and some groups of Indigenous peoples of the Americas used soda or pearl ash, more commonly known as potash (pot ash) or potassium carbonate, as a leavening agent (the forerunner to baking soda) in quick breads. In the US, soda breads were first publicised by Amelia Simmons as a quick and cheap method of bread making in her book American Cookery, published in 1796. By 1824, The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph was published containing a recipe for Soda Cake.
In Europe, soda breads began to appear in the mid-19th century when bicarbonate of soda first became available for use as a raising agent. Breads, griddle cakes and scones with bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar or tartaric acid became popular in AustriaPolish cuisine and in the British Isles. Traditional soda bread, eaten in Serbian cuisine, also uses bicarbonate of soda, particularly the traditional česnica (Serbian Cyrillic: Чесница), a soda bread made at Christmas.
Never the less, most of us only think about Soda Bread at this time of the year. That said i made some yesterday for our St. Patrick's Day Dinner. My recipe is considered a standard, with a thousand variations..... well, maybe not that many.

The main ingredients are flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, baking (bicarbonate of) soda, sour milk, and a touch of salt.
WARNING!!!!! Go easy with the salt. From the Organic Chem. class you took so long ago, we know that salt crystals have sharp little edges. These little sharp edges are like knives and can slice up the fragile gluten strands formed from the flour. The gluten strands are the foundation of risen bread. Slice them and your bread falls flat.
OK OK OK, enough science for today. The rest of the ingredients are to your taste. I use some vanilla, caraway seeds, raisins (purple or golden), or currents. Cover it with powdered sugar if you like.
The basic mix is combine all the dry stuff together, then combine all the wet stuff together, then mix wet and dry together. form it into a ball, kneed it a little and your done. Simple... So here is the recipe:
4 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons white sugar 1 cup Raisons
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 Tbls Caraway Seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder 1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup undated butter, softened 1/4 cup buttermilk
        1 Tbls Vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet or a round cake pan. 
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter. 
3. Stir in raisons and caraway seeds. 
4. Mix together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Reserve a small portion of the mix, and stir in the rest of the mixture into the dry mix. Stir until moist. 
5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet or cake pan. 
6. With the reserved buttermilk and egg mixture, brush loaf. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf. 
7. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. You may continue to brush the loaf with the melted butter while it bakes.
8. Remove and cool on rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar is desired. 

Mixed and formed in pan

In oven ready for baking

Cooling and almost ready for sampling.
Hint #1::::: When you take the bread out of the oven, take some butter out of the fridge also so it is nice and soft and spreadable.
Hint number 2::::: When you put the bread in the oven, you might want to start mixing a second bread so the company will get some. The first one always seems to disappear before it is completely cooled :-))))))

And to close, a wee Irish Blessing:

May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;

May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Grenville (in Green)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Crocked Corned Beef

Are you planning a corned beef dinner for St. Patrick's Day?

Ours is cooking away in the crock pot now and will be brought to friends, Marty & Bob, for dinner later today. 

Grenville made Irish soda bread and will share that recipe later.

Crock Pot Corned Beef
(ingredients for 4-6 servings)

  • 3-4 lbs. corned beef brisket
  • 2 stalks celery, cut up
  • 3-4 carrots cut into 3-inch pieces OR small bag of peeled carrots
  • 4-5 small potatoes, quartered (we use red)
  • 1 can Guinness (Grenville's choice)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 small cabbage, cut in wedges
How to prepare in 15 minutes:
  1. Place vegetables in bottom of crock pot.
  2. Trim some excess fat from corned beef, if desired, then place (fat side up) on top of vegetables.
  3. Pour beer on top.
  4. Ass pickling spices from corned beef package.
  5. Add water to cover all.
  6. Cover and cook on LOW 8-1/2-10 hours or HIGH 5-6 until corned beef is tender.

We cooked the cabbage separately (there was not enough room in the crock pot) then added to the other ingredients. Serve with vegetables, grainy or horseradish mustard, and some of cooking juices.

Bíodh am iontach agat.
(Have a great time . . . Happy St. Patrick's Day to All)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

How was your Thursday??????

WELLLLL!!!! Mine started with one of those emails that catch ya by the short hairs, open your eyes super wide,  give ya a good shaking, and all before the first sip of coffee. Now for me that is a really bad thing to start the day with. Worse than forgetting to turn the coffee maker on to automatically start brewing at 5:45Am. Even worse than stepping out of bed and forgetting that the rugs are out for cleaning  right after you feet hit the ice cold floor. The email started:

Action required: Please confirm activity.

No this was not a scam. This was an alert that someone had tried to buy some tickets online using my credit card. Tickets that went for $1100.00 plus. And in all places, CVILLE, where ever the heck that is. Well, since this card is only used for internet purchases, i have a low limit on it. If i intend to buy something expensive, i call the card company and get a one time limit raise. They like when you do that.

ANYHOW, without coffee i went to the phone and called the number for the fraud department. While i was waiting on the phone, i went on line to the credit card site and pulled up the recent activity. There i found that just before the attempted ticket purchase someone in a Marriott Courtyard had charged $8.25 to my account,  and then credited it back to my account.
After clearing up the bogus ticket purchase with the fraud person i mentioned the other charge. AH HA!!!! we both agreed that all the charges came from the same Marriott. They probably had tried out  random numbers until they found one that worked, then went for the big one. Knowing the location and time seemed to make her happy. I think i made her day. I hope i've ruined theirs. End of this story is my card was canceled and a new one was issued. Now i have to change the card number on certain accounts.

BUT WAIT FOLKS,,,,,,, THAT'S NOT ALL!!!!!!!!!!
Just before we turned out the lights Thursday we got the following email 
 My name is  Elizabeth Henderson, i am interested on your property, if still available for sale. 
1)Please are you the real owner of the property? 

2) The sale of the property does it require i come for a viewing first before we conclude?  Because i am in UK at the moment. 

3) Do you have the documents(Legally and up to date)?

 Any equity on the property? Please for a better understanding i need this answers.


Most of you know we have been trying to sell our house for a while. AND we did list it on old Sooooooo we got a little excited. Of course excited with a healthy dose of suspicion.

The first thing that set off red flags was the grammar. BUT she might have been using a cell phone and didn't want to waste keystrokes on commas and such. Next was the sentence structure. A little odd but she sounded like she was English and we know American is almost a foreign language over there;-]]]. Lastly, who buys a house in a foreign country sight unseen????? SOOOO we decided to answer her questions, but give only information that was on our blog site and nothing specific.
Dear Ms Henderson,
Yes, we are the real owners of this property. There are no mortgages or liens on the property. All taxes are current. There is no need for you to come to the property if you do not wish to. Our attorney can handle the paperwork for the sale via the mails.
The deed and title insurance are clear and up to date.
If you are still interested please send your full legal name, mailing address, and contact phone number so our attorney can draw up a contract of sale agreement.
Since you are out of the US, we would also consider selling most of the furnishings as a separate sale. If you are interested we will furnish you with a full list of available furnishings.
Thank you for your interest in our home.
 This morning we got this answer:
Thanks  for your mail Patrick, Here is my contact number call me so that we can talk ok and agree on the price.
 By now we had some serious doubts about this and they grew during the day. By afternoon coffee we had decided ( after much scam research and attempting to trace her email address and phone, which is a mobile in the UK) that we would definitely not be calling and get a huge phone charge, and that we would not answer this email.  Our friend Thomas, in Oregon, has sent us a wonderful response to this scam if she continues, and we may use it. BUT i will add that we require a 10% good faith down payment in the form of a certified bank check to continue the negotiations. I expect that to end everything. Something about scamming the scammers.

Your suggestions for responses are welcome....;-))))))

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Funnies

Beach Patrol ?

They were joined by beach guards on "foot" patrol . . .

And, the water guards as well, enjoying the surf . . .

These photos are for our blogger friend, Denise (An English Girl Rambles), who is especially fond of seagulls.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shovelers Not for Snow

These shovelers are ducks, more correctly called northern shovelers.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited nearby Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. This pair was feeding (nearly) non-stop during the 20 minutes we watched them. 

Northern shovelers feed by dabbling and sifting in shallow water and prefer freshwater lakes, marshes and wetlands with muddy edges.  

The northern shoveler is sometimes called the spoonbill. It has the largest bill of any duck in North America. This bill is the most prominent feature; it is also longer than its head.

As in most species, the male is the more colorful with a black head that shows iridescent green in bright light. The male has a black bill, white breast, and its abdomen and flanks are chestnut. The black rump may also show iridescent green. 

Females are mottled brown with darker upper parts and a grayish-orange bill. Both genders have yellow eyes, orange legs and feet, and a powder blue wing patch visible when flying. This pair was more interested in foraging than flying.

Northern shovelers are monogamous, mating after a courtship display that includes various calls, wing flapping and head dipping. 

This duck's summer range extends from Alaska through western and central Canada south to the mountain regions of Colorado and northern New Mexico, and as far east as the St. Lawrence River and Massachusetts Bay. Like some humans, they escape winter temps and migrate to the Pacific coast, southern U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Coffee to Bank On

That's because this local coffee house is housed in a former bank.

Renamed as The Bank Coffee House is housed in the former First National Bank which was granted a charter (no. 4940) in 1894.

It's not the first re-use of this depository. For several years, it was the site of a local pharmacy.

This stately brick and marble building has been in operation for 107 years. It still retains the original woodwork and vaults, one of which is used as an art gallery.

The Bank Coffee House is located is a designated historical district. This district includes dwellings, commercial buildings, churches and schools that are part of Onancock's 300-year history.

Onancock was an important port for the Virginia Eastern Shore and served as the commercial center for Accomack County throughout much of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The town's buildings represent various styles such as Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Victorian Gothic, Craftsman/Bungalow and Colonial Revival.

Onancock, a short drive from our home in Onley, is a popular tourist destination during summer months because of its picturesque small-town charm.

Grenville enjoyed a favorite brunch item — everything bagel with cream cheese and lox.

Do you have a local eatery that once had a totally different usage?