Wednesday, April 29, 2015

GOOD FENCES AND SKYWATCH FRIDAY

We were at the State Arboretum of Virginia a little while ago.  You can read about it here.   Our photos were taken by both Gregg and myself.


This is a real neat wall/fence/seating area in one.












This building is an historic landmark.  It is where I visited the gift shop which I posted about here and here.  It also houses the administrative offices, and other facilities are used by the staff, students and researchers who are in residence at Blandy Experimental Farm, mentioned on their website.














I am linking with Good Fences and SkyWatch Friday with my thanks to our hosts for these fun memes.  

Please visit other participants by clicking on their names below.  You can see their logos if you scroll down on my side bar.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Random Photo and Quote



"You can say any foolish thing to a dog and the dog will give you a look that says, "Wow, you're right!  I never would've thought of that."
~Dave Barry~

~~~~

We met this handsome dog on our trip to photograph the bluebells along Bull Run.  What a sweet natured dog he was, a Long-haired German Shepherd.  His owner told us his name but I've forgotten.  He sat patiently, looking thirsty.  It was a hot day.   I have other photos of Sweet Dog, to be shared some other time.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Food Post - Honey-Glazed Salmon


I decided to make this dish after browsing through "Damn Delicious" which is hosted by Chungah.  You can see her actual recipe here.  

Honey Glazed Salmon - serves 4
(I made this recipe for the first time on April 21st, 2015)

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

For the salmon:

4 salmon filets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lime

For the Browned Butter-Lime Sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the browned butter lime sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, whisking constantly, until the foam subsides and the butter begins to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, honey and lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Season salmon with salt and pepper to taste.

Dredge each salmon filet with 1 tablespoon of flour and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey.

Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.

Working in batches, add salmon to the skillet and sear both sides until golden.

Place into oven and bake until completely cooked through, about 8-
10 minutes.  

Serve immediately with the browned butter-lime sauce and lime zest.



What did I think of this dish?  It was delicious and is now my favorite way to cook salmon.

After searing I cooked mine in the oven for 15 minutes.  My fish may have been a little thicker and you have to adjust cooking time. Otherwise I followed the recipe to the letter.

A simple salad of spring greens with grape tomatoes, small pieces of cauliflower, cucumbers and green onion went very well with this.  You can use your favorite dressing. I grew up without dressings on my salads so prefer going without most of the time.

Thank you Chungah for another winning recipe for my collection.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

IHEARTMACRO



I am linking with Laura's iHeartMacro here.  
Thank you for hosting Laura.  











I am linking with iHeartMacro here.  Thanks for hosting such a lovely meme Laura.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

TODAY'S FLOWERS # 343


I have enjoyed all the spring flowers especially this year.















Luiz Santilli Jnr created Today's Flowers and asked me a few years ago to take over his role as host.  I was very happy to do so.  He occasionally pops in to say hello, so "Hello Luiz and thank you!"


Today's Flowers' home page can be found here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

CAMERA CRITTERS AND SATURDAY'S CRITTERS

Part of a good walk around our favorite garden is seeing what kind of critter activity there is.  Here are a few that we came across.

A turtle sunning itself on a rock next to the lake.


A goose sitting on her nest.


A Grackle I think???



Many trees were starting to lose their blossoms, but look a little closer at those fallen petals and you find.....



smaller critters going about their daily routine.



I am linking with Camera Critters and Saturday Critters.  Their logos are on my side-bar.  Thank you Misty and Eileen for hosting two very enjoyable memes. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

SKYWATCH FRIDAY AND WILLY-NILLY FRIDAY FIVE







I am linking with the Skywatch Team at SkyWatch Friday, and Tanya's Willy-Nilly Friday Five.

With thanks to our hosts for all their hard work.



Five  quotes for Willy-Nilly Friday Five.


1) In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on - Robert Frost


2)  Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid - Albert Einstein


3) And in the end it's not the years in your life that counts.  It's the life in your years - Abraham Lincoln


4) And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom - Anais Nin


5) Spring won't let me stay in this house any longer!  I must get out and breathe the air deeply again - Gustav Mahler

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

GOOD FENCES

One of the fences found at Meadowlark Gardens


and this not too far away.




You can click on the name, The Run*A*Round Ranch Report, to see other Good Fences participants.  

Thank you Theresa for hosting this fun meme.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rusty Frog



"A huge frog and I,
Staring at each other,
Neither of us moves."

~Kobayashi Issa~


Whenever I visit my favorite walkabout place, I invariably find myself in the children's garden.  You might remember him from other posts. There he sits, high up on a wooden frame, making sure all children are safe under his watchful gaze.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

DUTCHMAN'S BREECHES, PLUS....

These are a couple of macros I took of a flower I have only heard of and seen photos of, but came across them on our walk near Bull Run.  They are called Dutchman's Breeches.








You can read all about them here.



And these are what I saw on my walk that day, some of which I have already shared in other posts.



Top row, left to right: Purple Violet, Spring Beauty, Redbuds 
Middle row, left to right: Trout Lilly, Dutchman's Breeches, Yellow Violet
Bottom row, left to right: Redbuds, Virginia Bluebells, Purple Violet



I am linking with Laura's iHeartMacro here.  
I am also linking with Judith's Mosaic Monday here.
Thank you for hosting Ladies.




Sunday, April 19, 2015

GONE FISHING

A bird I have shared before, the Green Heron.



This is a repeat but it goes with the one above.



I am linking with Anni's Bird D'Pot, Michelle's Nature Notes and Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.

Thank you Anni, Michelle and Stewart for these very enjoyable memes.

Monday Food Post - Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

A quick note: I had set this up to appear on Monday.  Not really sure why it is showing now!!!!  But will leave it now as I see quite a few of you dear people have already commented and don't want to leave anyone confused if I keep it until tomorrow.


It is very rare that I get a craving these days but today was the day.  I felt like something chocolat-y, but frankly didn't want to go overboard with the calories and make a big dessert, so I thought Mug Cake.  I have made a few since I discovered them a few years back and not been really impressed, but have put the ones I have enjoyed on here. Today when I did a search with chocolate and peanut butter (a winning combination in my eyes - the craving also included peanut butter), I came up with this one at The Novice Chef.  Please read Jessica's recipe to get extra ideas.  


Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake by Jessica
Makes 1 mug cake

3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon peanut butter



Directions:

In a large mug whisk together (with a small whisk or large fork) the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Add the milk, vegetable oil and peanut butter.  Whisk until smooth.

Cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds.  This recipe will rise a lot and then deflate.  

Serve immediately.

What did I think of this recipe?  Excellent, it satisfied that craving I had.  Mixing it directly in the mug saves on washing up but leaves a bit of a mess above the ingredient line (I am a messy mixer).  If I wanted a prettier presentation and was making it for someone else, I might mix in a small bowl and then scrape it into the coffee mug. 

A sliced strawberry on the top would look nice too, or another colorful fruit (raspberries for instance), and if I really wanted to go all out I think this would go great with a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

I made another but this time I used a small bowl to mix.  I added everything except the peanut butter, plus a tablespoon of chopped walnuts. After mixing in the bowl I poured half the mixture into the mug, added very thinly sliced bananas, three or four should be enough, put the rest of the mixture on top and cooked as mentioned in the recipe. For garnish I put on the top three thin slices of banana and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.  

There is more than enough for two servings here.  I put the other half in the fridge and ate it the next day.

Added note: you can also leave the peanut butter out if you don't like peanut butter.

Thank you Jessica for satisfying this sweet tooth moment.  You can check out Jessica's blog here.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

TODAY'S FLOWERS # 342

You can visit other participants at the Today's Flowers home page here


I took these photos from the last couple of walks along Bull Run.  I wish I could do justice to the actual sight of our Virginia Bluebells.  

The Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) also goes by the names of Virginia cowslip, lungwort, oysterleaf and Roanoke bells.  It is native to the moist woodlands in eastern North America.  


It is a spring ephemeral plant with bell-shaped, sky-blue flowers opening from pink buds.  The leaves are rounded and gray-green, with stems that grow to 24 inches tall ("Ephemeral" means lasting a very short time).


They belong to the family Boraginaceae, which makes them relatives of other familiar species such as the Forget-me-not, Lungwort and Comfrey. 


 They grow in rich, well-drained soil where they can form large colonies over time.  The flowers start off pink and gradually turn to the most beautiful light blue as they mature.  


Bees, especially female Bumblebees that fly in early spring, will often be seen visiting the flowers.  On our walk we spotted several of them.  However, I read that the real champions of bluebell pollination are butterflies and moths.  



The Virginia Bluebells prefer soils typical of a woodland, and a little on the wet side.  It also likes sun or light shade.


"I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.  I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees.  I am going to close my eyes and listen."

~Anne Lamott~


"Flowers are happy things."
~P. G. Wodehouse~


"I'm an introvert...I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky."
~Audrey Hepburn~


When I was was looking for  information on these extraordinarily beautiful flowers, I came across this song by Miranda Lambert. 

The lyrics you see on my photo are from Miranda's song, and hold good advice to young and old alike.



If you are unable to access the video below, you can see it here.