Monday, October 31, 2011

Leonardo Da Vinci said....

Another wonderful quote.....and a mini ramble

"I believe in kindness.....

also in mishchief.....

also in singing.....

especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed."

~~~~~

I have recently discovered Mary Oliver and this is her quote, one of many that I will be using in my blog, along with her poems. You can read her biography here if you would like to learn more about her.

The photos were taken by Kevin, one of our Corry 'family'. They show Gregg, Rose and I enjoying young people on the floor dancing to Y-M-C-A and yes, Rose and I are singing right along, doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the dancers while they moved their arms in the shapes of the letters in the song. Later we actually got on the dance floor when the DJ played The Twist, and yes the next day I felt parts of my body whine a little at each move I made but it was worth it. We were on The Spirit of Norfolk's dinner-cruise a few weeks ago, which as you can see was a whole lot of fun. Sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy the moment. My advice is to let your inhibitions fly out the window every once in a while, it's good for the soul.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Taste Unlimited, Virginia Beach and a bit of a ramble

No flowers today because frankly I have not one flower photo to show you. Oh well, hopefully by next week I will. Instead....

continued progress in my Father-in-Law's health. Gregg did a solo trip this weekend and as we speak should be about two-thirds of the way home. Before he left he said that his Dad was able to get dressed and take a walk around the house for the first time. Great news! Thank you again for all your wonderful words of support and all the prayers for his recovery.

I thought I would tell you about another eatery we visited while in Virginia Beach, as on our errand runs down there we had the opportunity to go to Taste Unlimited. This is a great place for sandwiches, another shop we have been going to for years, You can check it out if you click here.

It's a pretty casual place and there is no seating inside. However, as it was a sunny day we were happy to munch on lunch at one of the many picnic tables located in front of the store. All the pumpkins were being sold which made it very festive.

The entrance was decorated for the season....

and I remember this wall mural on the outside near picnic tables under a covered area at the side of the building. If I remember correctly this area is also used in the summer months for produce grown by local farmers.

For lunch I had the Portabello Bistro which is.....

marinated Portabello mushrooms, Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and Caesar dressing on Italian Flatbread. It was scrumptious!

I can't remember what Gregg's sandwich was but he looks like he is enjoying it doesn't he?

We were surrounded by pumpkins for sale.

This little dog let me take his picture - notice he is showing his good side.

One of the ladies sitting nearby offered to take our photo, thank you nice lady.

We weren't in the market to buy any pumpkins but we saw a lot of families stop by who were....

and we enjoyed the nice displays....

of various kinds of pumpkins.


A quick lunch and then we were back to our errands.

Gregg took this photo of the biggest pine tree I have ever seen growing in this area.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A poem....

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
Love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
Are moving across the landscapes,
Over the prairies and the deep trees,
The mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
Are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
The world offers itself to your imagination,
Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
Over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.

~Mary Oliver~
From 'Dream Work'

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More visitors out back....feathered kind variety

Three of my visitors this week - that I took photos of anyhow - were the Blue Jay, the Downy Woodpecker and the Mockingbird.

The Downy was hopping on the deck among the fallen leaves and scattered birdseed.



The Mockingbird, along with the Blue Jay, chose to feed off the seed sprinkled on the deck rail.

I was happy to see all of them but especially the Mockingbird, as he hasn't graced our garden in some time.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chipmunk On Deck, again....

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
~Mary Oliver~

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lynnhaven Fish House Restaurant, Virginia Beach

We are very happy to report that Gregg's Dad continues to recover well from his recent heart surgery. and we returned home late on Sunday, but will going back and forth for a while.

While in Virginia Beach we were able to visit one of our favorite restaurants, The Lynnhaven Fish House, and brought home food for Celia and Gully. We have been going there for years, it has great ambiance and more often than not we sit at the window where we are treated to a wonderful view of the Chesapeake Bay. The staff are friendly, the service is fast and we have always enjoyed our meals. We've been going here for years and occasionally buy gift certificates for family birthdays.

These scarecrows were part of the outside decorations and you will recognize the view from my present header. If you would like to take a look at the restaurant's home page, you can find it here.

This is Gregg's meal, fried flounder with a baked potato. We had already eaten a cup of She-Crab Soup. It comes with a small container of sherry and you add as much as you like to the soup. I would never have thought of adding sherry but take my word for it, it is a delicious addition and I always look forward to it, along with the oyster crackers. A complimentary basket of hushpuppies are placed on the table when first seated and they never last long, they are the best I have ever tasted. We also had a lovely fresh green salad.

I almost forgot to take a picture of mine and I apologize for showing something that I have already dived into. I ordered the flounder too but prefer it broiled.

The photo below was taken from a visit on another weekend. Again, flounder, but this time for a side I ordered the sweet potato which was covered with toasted mini-marshmallows.

Looking at their menu I would love to try some of their other dishes but I have always been hooked into getting the same thing and as we don't live that close, I find myself always ordering these dishes. I ordered the broiled Rainbow Trout many times before I discovered how much I enjoyed the flounder. The trout is also delicious and I hear the Crab Cakes are some of the best ever.

If those of you who don't live in the States are wondering what hushpuppies are, here is a recipe I found online.

Lynnhaven Fish House Hushpuppies

2 cups corn meal (white, medium)
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons water (optional)
4 whole eggs
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 dash oregano
oil to deep fry

Heat oil in a large skillet or deep fryer (350 degrees)

Mix all ingredients (except water) in a large mixing bowl until mixture is thick. If needed, add water to make a looser texture.

Let mixture sit for 5 minutes.

Drop carefully into hot oil by rounded spoon/scoopful. Deep fry until golden brown.

The recipe makes approximately twenty five 1-1/2 inch hushpuppies.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A sitting cat......

This is Tom, a stray cat my in-law's take care of. I wrote about him in my post here. I will be sharing more photos of Tom sometime. This day the sun was getting low in the sky and the shadows were long.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today's Flowers #166

Celia's Flowers
I was wondering what I was going to show for this week's Today's Flowers, and then I remembered last weekend that I was admiring Celia's flowers and I took some photos of her pretty Dahlias and Mums. Thank you Celia for letting me share these today. They are beautiful!





TODAY’S FLOWER’S was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli Jr.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Tom comes to dinner

We're still in Virginia Beach and happy to say that Gully is doing well considering he has had such a major operation. It will be a long time before he feels like dancing but his spirits are good and he is getting lots of tender loving care from Celia and from us all. He has had visits from close family which includes his great-granddaughter who is such a little treasure. He has also had lots of phone calls from people all around the United States, and though he hasn't been able to answer all of them he knows that he is loved and that people are thinking of him. I would also like to thank you all for your very caring comments here, which I have read out loud, and all those good wishes and prayers have also brought a big smile to him and to all of us.
Even Tom has been bringing his good wishes. Tom is a stray Celia feeds every morning and every night, is a little skittish and won't come close until we shut the door and leave him to his meals. Tom is a handsome cat and I have enjoyed meeting him.

The other night when he came late, he had company. A big old raccoon sidled over to the plate after he had been eating for a while. We saw Tom look over and he took the prudent action, leaving Mr. Raccoon to eat his meal in peace. It was too dark for me to take pictures of him but he was a big one.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Family Update

My Father-in-Law Gully is home from the hospital and though it is going to take time for him to feel 100 percent, is doing great having had open heart surgery only a week ago, on top of a pacemaker which was fitted yesterday. We are all so happy sitting together this evening, Gully, Celia, Gregg and myself, and a little amazed that he is home already. Everyone at the hospital - from the nurses to the doctors, and all the other people involved in the smooth running of the ICU and the recovery room - were absolutely fantastic, especially the nurses who were warm and friendly, and yes even loving towards their patients. They were brilliant. We also met many extremely nice people in the waiting room whose loved ones were also recovering from major surgeries, one special gentleman - Earle - who out of a small world story recognized my father-in-law's picture from his time as a firefighter in Norfolk and afterwards visited him in recovery. Those dear people all pulled together and offered strangers a kind word and much support. It was very touching to see. We would like to offer our grateful thanks to all at the Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, one of the top hospitals in the country and in our minds the absolute best.

As Gully is from North Dakota I thought it appropriate to share this photo from Fayette, a scene near her home in that state showing the new and the old; an oil rig and an old barn with a beautiful sunset. Fayette is one of Gregg's cousins who very kindly said I could share this on my blog. She is a wonderful photographer and I love to receive her photos. Thanks Fayette.

Dance, Love, Sing, Live.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sanderlings

Pre-dated post.

Sanderlings are one of my favorite little birds. I have noticed them every time we have gone to Virginia Beach when walking along the edge of the surf. You can see them in flocks running at full tilt, chasing the receding waves and scurrying away from them as they return. It is a glorious synchronization of movement and is always a comical sight as you see their little legs scurrying along in a blur of motion. In fact, it seemed to me that they had the speed of Olympic sprinters and then some.

Before the waves return, their little beaks continuously disappear into the sand. They always seem to be in a feeding frenzy, eager for a tasty morsel before the water once again overtakes them. Sanderlings feed on mollusks and crustaceans, like the mole crab (Emerita analoga). I remember my Mother-in-law showing me a mole crab on one of my first visits down to the beach. They burrow deep into the sand and their tiny legs tickled the palm of my hand. In one way I was revolted because back then I was a bit wary of such things, okay a little scaredy-cat, but in another way those little creatures helped to started my fascination with his kind. Years later I was able to dig them up myself and introduce young visitors to them and watch their delight, and yes sometimes their revulsion if it was a little girl while hopefully still planting a seed. My Dad would have said I had come a long way since the days I would scream blue-bloody-murder if I ever saw a big old garden spider on the wall. My Dad did not believe in killing spiders by the way, always saying they were more scared of me than I was of them. Out came the spider box and the seagull's feather, which he would use to gently brush the spider into the box, and whereupon said Mr. Spider would be set free in the garden. But I digress, if you want to see what a Mole Crab looks like you can click here.

Sanderlings breed in the high Arctic and winters along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts from Canada to Argentina. They are described as a starling-sized shorebird - 8" (20 cm) - with a conspicuous white wing stripe. Some adults have a rufous head and breast with a white belly. In winter the rufous areas are replaced by pale gray and the birds look almost white. Their bill and legs are black.
Nesting: 4 olive eggs, spotted with brown, placed in a hollow on the ground lined with grasses and lichens. Some female Sanderlings will lay a clutch of eggs but instead of sitting on them, she will give this job to her mate. She will then go off and lay a second batch of eggs that she incubates herself. And if nesting conditions are just right, she may even hook up with another neighboring male and lay a third clutch of eggs, which the new male will take care of.

Their voice sounds like a sharp kip and they have a conversational chatter while feeding. If you would like to hear what one sounds like, you can visit this page here and scroll down to below the black outline of the bird on the left.

One of the most widespread of all shorebirds, the Sanderling turns up on almost every beach in the world. As a wave comes roaring in, the birds run up on the beach just ahead of the breaker, then spring after retreating water to feed on the tiny crustaceans and mollusks left exposed.

The babies can feed themselves from the first day, but the parents - or parent - still needs to remain with them to keep them warm. During the day the young ones feed on the north country's abundant supply of insects, while at night they snuggle up to the adult.

Around three weeks of nonstop baby-sitting, the adult birds leave. The young ones are now on their own. After several days of milling around with the other juveniles, their instinct to migrate takes over. They leave their nesting grounds and head off to a place they have never been before, which in many cases is Cape Cod.

Out of the breeding season Sanderlings are gregarious birds. They feed together in small flocks and roost together in larger ones. Most Sanderlings get along quite well but there are a few birds that can become quite testy with each other. Both males and females will defend their food and are constantly chasing others away from their feeding areas, even when the food supply is enough for everyone.

I have read that the Sanderling population is in trouble and as our beaches become more and more popular with people, off-road-vehicles, dogs and birders, the birds are finding fewer places where they can eat and rest.

I hope these little birds are with us for a very long time and I might add that I was very respectful in the distance I kept and all these photos were taken with a zoom lens. I'll also add that often they came towards me and didn't seem to mind the other humans around either. At this time of the year there aren't that many of us at the beach anyhow.

I wish I had gotten this little one entirely in frame but as we all know when taking photographs, you take what you can get.