Wednesday, September 30, 2015


This old school house, built in 1887, was found in Marshall, Virginia.  I found the bird house in the gardens next to it.  You can see the fence in the background.

Click on Good Fences to look at other blogging friends' photos around the world.  Thank you for hosting such a fun meme Theresa.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Random Photo - Ribbit!

I found this handsome fellow and his many relatives at Huntley Meadows the other day.  They were all enjoying a great mud bath.

Over the following week and into the next, I am going to be having a busier spell than normal.  As I monitor all comments it may take me a while to get to yours to publish them, so please don't think they have gotten lost in cyber space.  It is just me taking longer than usual getting to them. 

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank you all for visiting and for leaving all those comments from day to day.  I enjoy reading them so very much.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Food Post - Soup's on - Booyah!

Yes, that is the name of this soup.  I had never heard of Booyah before but when I came across it the other day, all the ingredients sounded delicious. There is an interesting tradition too and if you want to find out what this is, you can click here which is where I found this recipe.  It is like a beef stew with the addition of chicken.

Last Monday was the first day of Fall, and just like someone had flipped a switch the weather turned downright cool.  Time for a good, hardy soup.   

Booyah - 8 to 10 servings

2-1/2 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs, already separated and ready to go

2-1/2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
2 yellow onions, chopped fine
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
8 ozs. rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pat beef and chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and black pepper.  Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown beef on all sides, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate.  Cook the chicken until browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin.

Pour off all but 1-1/2 teaspoons fat from pot.  Add onions and celery and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits.  Add beef, beef bones and chicken and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a bowl.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces, discarding bones.  Cover chicken and refrigerate.  Continue to simmer stew until beef is tender, about 1-1/4 hours longer.  Transfer beef to plate.  When cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces, discarding fat.  Remove the beef bones and bay leaves.  Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids.  Allow liquid to settle, about 5 minutes, then skim off fat and return liquid to the pot.

Add the shredded beef, cabbage, tomatoes, rutabaga, 1-1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper to the liquid and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until rutabaga is translucent around edges, about 15 minutes.

Stir in potatoes and carrots and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the chicken and peas and simmer until heated through, two to three minutes.

When heat is off stir in the lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

What did we think of this soup?  Delicious!  It went really great topped with some freshly grated Parmesan and with a slice of sour dough bread.

It does take a lot of time in preparation, but the end result is worth it as we gave it a ten out of ten.  The broth alone was one of the best we have ever had. The host at A Farm Girl Dabbles cooks the meat the day before and I'm sure you could prepare some of the vegetables too. 

This is what I would probably do the next time. I would cook the meal and stop up to the point of adding the beef and vegetables and put the pot in the fridge overnight, (the beef and chicken are already in the fridge on separate plates).  I always think it is a good idea to double up a tea-towel and lay that down so I don't put the hot pot directly onto the shelf.  I normally cool the soup down for 15 to 20 minutes having taken it off the heat.  Be careful and use your oven gloves as it is still going to be very hot, same for transferring it to the fridge. The fat layer on the top of the broth becomes solid and very easy to remove the next day, and you can pop it back on the stove and proceed with the recipe - please see added note below.

I had a pre-cut package of cabbage in the fridge which we usually used for coleslaw or a stir-fry, and I bought already peeled carrots.

I didn't have vegetable oil and didn't want to buy any just for this recipe, so I used olive oil instead.  

We had leftovers and were able to have several meals, and it just got better and better.  This soup recipe has definitely been added to our favorites folder.

Added note: Gigi of Gigi Hawaii, made a good point about putting hot soup in the fridge, saying that she had read it could cause food poisoning.  I did an online search and found safety tips here at the Washington State Department of Health on their Food Safety and Myths page.  It says: 

"Myth: You shouldn't put hot foods in the refrigerator.

Fact: Hot food can be placed in the refrigerator.  Large amounts of food should be divided into small portions and put in shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.  Perishable foods should be put in a refrigerator that is 40 degrees or below within 2 hours of preparation.  If you leave food out to cool and forget about it after 2 hours, throw it away.  Bacteria can grow rapidly on food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.  If food is left out in a room or  outdoors where the temperature is 90 degrees F. or hotter, food should be refrigerated or discarded within just 1 hour."

So there you go, if you have any more doubts there is lots of online information for you to read through.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Today will be my last share of this pretty Devon village, until the next time I go, whenever that may be.

Thank you for your lovely meme Judith.  You can visit other participants in Mosaic Monday here.

Or you can click on the button below.

Mosaic Monday

Saturday, September 26, 2015


My photos are when I visited Meadowlark Gardens, of flowers with their little visitors. 

This is a message I will be repeating until October 3rd, 2015.  On that date I will be transferring Today's Flowers permanently to this blog.  The new link will open each Friday at 12.00 a.m.  

In the meantime the present link for Today's Flowers opens each Saturday morning at midnight US east coast time.  If you would like to join in, or just enjoy other flowers from around the world, you can go to the Today's Flowers' home page here

Luiz Santilli Jnr originally created Today's Flowers and I am now its host.  Thank you Luiz!

Friday, September 25, 2015


This cute little thing was as curious about us as we were about him.  We met while taking a ride in the countryside.


I am sharing with the following memes, with my thanks to Eileen and Misty for the fun I have participating.

You can see other participants by visiting the links below.

Eileen at Saturday Critters
Misty at Camera Critters 

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I am very happy to share a few photos sent by Gregg's sister today.  Both taken on the beach, one on the East Coast and the others taken on the West Coast.  They are beautiful beach photos.  They make me want to jump into each one.  Thanks Gigi!

East Coast

West Coast

In the above photo is a restaurant and just for fun I thought I would share the desserts they had while there.

My thanks to the SkyWatch Team for hosting this wonderful meme.

Please click here to visit other sky watchers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


We were on our way home after a mini road trip last Sunday.  I took the top photo through the front passenger side window as we were driving along, and only had a few moments to get the shot. Fortunately I had the camera on my lap.  At this point several cars were behind us and we couldn't stop.  

In the photo above we had the road to ourselves so pulled over and parked in a cut off where there was one of those historical markers.  If we can stop safely we always try to read them. I noticed the fence and then saw how pretty the thistles were nearby.  (Added note: thanks to blogging friends Margaret and Valerie, I now know my thistle is actually a teasel.  Thank you Ladies!)

Quiet country roads with no traffic..... 

make for a pleasant photo opportunity and a chance to enjoy the surrounding scenery.

Click on Good Fences to look at other blogging friends' photos around the world.  Thank you for hosting such a fun meme Theresa.  

Random Photo

There is a story to go with this statue taken in London last June.  When we were taking a ride from the airport to our hotel, it was one that our taxi cab driver pointed out.  He said, "Do you see how clean that statue is?"  We dutifully said, "Yes, it's rather nice, very clean."  "Well" he said, "This is Winston Churchill and the sculptor put an electric currant running through it, so that every time a bird tries to land on him, it gets a bit of an electric shock which stops the bird from landing."  Did my mouth drop open?  He assured us that it was ever so light, not strong enough to kill any bird.  There were no birds lying legs up on the ground at its base, nor might I add any birds on the statue!  I'm still not sure whether he was pulling the leg of the tourists who were listening to him, but he seemed sincere.  What do you think?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Murals in Montross, VA

About a week ago we took a road trip to Montross, Virginia.  I found these wonderful murals.  

At this website you can read all about them.

This is the coca-cola bottling plant.  I'm not sure if it's still in use as I came across this website where the building is for sale.

A Car and a Quote

 We were driving through one of the small towns around here and spotted this car several times.  Finally we came up behind it at a traffic light.  I know nothing of its make but I thought it was a very cool car.  Like us they were in no hurry to get out of this pretty little town before exploring all the side roads.

"Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears."

~Barbara Johnson~

Monday, September 21, 2015

Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, South Devon, England - Part 1

The history of Exeter Cathedral can be read here.
Also here.

The Cathedral has been around for over 900 years and is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere.  Its full name is The Cathedral of St. Peter and is located on the site of a Roman army camp.   The foundation dates from 1050.  

There are a lot more photos but I will save them for another post.