Sunday, August 30, 2015

Random Photo


I was going to post this tomorrow and it is going to replace my Monday Morning recipe post.  Gregg and I have been away helping with my father-in-law while he has been convalescing and I have not done any cooking as such.  A few dishes thrown together but nothing that interesting.  So, instead, I am filling in with a random photo.  

This elk mother and her youngster was a magical moment.  It was taken back in 2007 on our first visit to Yellowstone National Park.  I had never seen elk before, let along a baby elk.  During the course of our time in Yellowstone we saw whole herds, not only saw them but heard them too as it was rutting season, and those big old bull elks sure can make a powerful noise that can be heard from a great distance.  If I close my eyes it all comes back as though it were yesterday.  I was thrilled to see many of these beautiful animals.  I came across several photos from that trip recently, some I may have shared already.  However, as I didn't start my blog until 2008 hopefully it is new, and if it isn't, worthy of a repeat.

Added note: I have just found this photo along with several others, and if you click here you can see them.

We have the plumber coming on Tuesday as we have a lot of issues to take care of.  While we have been away our son has been taking care of things and also a very nice lady in our neighborhood has been looking out for us too.  Just before we were due to leave a leak appeared in one of the pipes in the basement so we turned off the water and kept our fingers crossed.  Our son assured us after popping in yesterday that all was well but I will be glad when the plumber comes by next week.  I daresay he will be at our home for a few days fixing things.

Hope you all are having a great day, and will continue to have a great week ahead.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

TODAY'S FLOWERS # 361

These were taken at Meadowlark Botanical Garden last week.  I am not sure the names of each flower.  I think the first is a butterfly bush.  The others were taken in the area where they grow only native plants of Virginia.














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



The new 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.  

I am also linking with Floral Friday below.  You can click on the button:

Flower Friday

Friday, August 28, 2015

GREAT BLUE HERON AT MEADOWLARK GARDENS


This is the first time we have seen a Great Blue Heron on the walk to what we call our secret garden.  I'm sure he has been there before but we felt we were very lucky to be there at the same time.  





So focused!






And I kept snapping away.









Eventually I think he got tired of me, even though I wasn't that close.....



as he took off....



and relocated....


to the other side of the pond.



It was time to leave him in peace.




I am sharing with the following memes, with my thanks to our hosts. 

You can see other participants by visiting their links.

Misty at Camera Critters 
Eileen at Saturday Critters
Anni at Bird D'Pot
Judith's Mosaic Monday
Michelle at Nature Notes

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GOOD FENCES AND SKYWATCH FRIDAY


Driving down the hill there is an incredible view.  We were heading to the village of Torcross located in South Devon in England last June.  I spotted this gate as we walked towards the beach.  It is the front gate....


and as we reached the ocean side we found the back gate.


We were very lucky with the weather and there were beautiful blue skies on many days that we were in England.






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 my side bar.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Random Photo and a quote....


This quote is for Gregg who is aiming to ride his bike, when he gets one, to our local library.

"My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles.  They both move people forward without wasting anything.  The perfect day, riding a bike to the library."
~Peter Golkin~

Red-spotted Admiral

The other day I was surprised to see this pretty butterfly land on our deck.  Normally I expect to see them more interested in flowers than dead leaves.  The tree overhanging our deck has been shedding them a lot this past week.


  I believe it is a Red-spotted Admiral.  You can look at the photos on this site to see if you agree.




Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Morning Food Post - Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Apricots and Avocado


I had dried cranberries left after making my other salad, and I had also wanted to make this salad for a while now. It is gluten-free and vegan friendly, can be served at special holiday meals or any time. You can find the original here at "Healthy Seasonal Recipes" and its host is Katie.  Thank you Katie for a delicious recipe.

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Apricots and Avocado

Makes: 10 cups
Serving Size: 1 cup

2 cups wild rice
3 tangerines, divided
1 avocado, cut in half and pit removed
1 small shallot, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons agave or honey
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Place rice in a large saucepan.  Cover generously with water.  Bring to a simmer over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer, and cook until the rice is just tender but not mushy, 45 to 50 minutes.

Zest and juice one tangerine.  Segment the remaining two tangerines and set aside.  Add the zest and juice to a blender.  Scoop 1/4 avocado into the blender.  Add shallot, oil, vinegar, mustard, agave or honey and salt.  Puree until smooth. Pour into a large bowl.

Stir the hot rice into the dressing and let cool to room temperature, 35 to 42 minutes.

Stir in parsley, pecans, cranberries, apricots and the reserved tangerine segments.  Dice the remaining avocado and gently stir into the salad.



What did I think of this recipe?  It's a winner!  So many wonderful flavors to enjoy.  I did make a few changes.  My local supermarket didn't have any tangerines so I used small regular oranges.

They also did not have wild rice and instead I bought two boxes of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Mix but didn't use their seasoning packets. I know a place I should have gone to get just the wild rice, but I was running short on time that day. However, this version was very good.  

I misread the ingredient section and didn't chop the apricots and pecans but that didn't detract from the salad, though I will chop next time.

Toasting the pecans made them have a smoky roasted flavor which was yummy.  My other salad recipe didn't call for this step but I loved doing it this way.  

I think that was about it as far as the changes I had made.  I am looking forward to trying it again but with only wild rice next time.

No nutritional values were given but this seems like a very healthy salad.  I have enough left for more meals.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

EURASIAN COOT PARENTS AND CHICKS



The Eurasian Coot's scientific name is "Fulica atra" and it is recognized by its snowy white bill and forehead shield.  The rest of its coloring is a dark sooty grey, but it does have bright red eyes.  



Immature birds are generally paler than adults, with a white wash on the throat.  Nestlings are downy black with fine yellow tips. The head is orange-red and the bill is red with a creamy white tip.


The Eurasian Coot ranges from Eurasia to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia.  Birds have also recently transported themselves to New Zealand, and the species is quickly becoming established.



Food is mainly obtained during underwater dives which can last up to 15 seconds and range down to about 21 to 22 feet in depth.  Birds also graze on the land and on the surface of the water.  In Australia, Eurasian Coots feed almost entirely on vegetable matter, supplementing their diet with a few insects, worms and fish.  Birds of the northern hemisphere tend to be much more carnivorous.  


They breed any time conditions are favorable, and may produce successive broods.  During the breeding season pairs establish and maintain territories with vigor.  Their aggression is also extended towards other species.  Nests of ducks are often seized and used as roosting sites, the unfortunate owner's eggs being pushed off into the water.  Young ducks and grebes are sometimes killed.  The nest is often a floating raft of vegetation or is built on logs or tree stumps that are surrounded by water.  Both male and female coots share incubation and care of the young.  If food becomes scarce the young birds may be killed by the parents.


I spotted these coots at Torcross in Devonshire a couple of months back.  Across the road from the sea is a fresh water lake.  This area is called Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, which you can take a look at here.  There were dozens of water birds which were a whole lot of fun to observe.  They are quite used to humans.  We sat on the bench for a long time, but got up and left when a family arrived with their small dog. The ducks, of course, all headed for the water and were gone.  After walking around Torcross Village and on our way back to the car, they had returned and another family had appeared to enjoy the bench we had been sitting on.

I was fascinated by the coots and their very territorial behavior but did not realize they were as aggressive as what I read online. Still, they are a fascinating bird, especially when you look at those enormous, strange looking feet.  There is overwhelming evidence that birds are the descendants of a maniraptoran dinosaur, probably something similar - not identical - to a small Dromaeosaur.  You can take a look here.

~~~~~~~

Today I am linking with the following meme's, with many thanks to our hosts for allowing us to see many wonderful nature photos from around the world.

Anni at Bird D'Pot

Judith at Mosaic Monday
Michelle at Nature Notes

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Three weddings.....


Today we decided to go for a walk around one of our favorite parks.  We usually avoid weekends because of it being crowded, but I was so glad we didn't because we got to see three very happy couples having their after-wedding photographs taken.  







TODAY'S FLOWERS #360 - August 22nd, 2015


These were taken at the Norfolk Botanical Garden a while back.  I was in the Japanese Garden admiring the lotus blossoms.














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


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

Friday, August 21, 2015

SATURDAY'S CRITTERS AND CAMERA CRITTERS


I took these photos on Dartmoor during our trip to Devonshire last June.  It is beginning to feel a long time ago now, even though it has only been a little over a couple of months.  I enjoyed the sheep  roaming on the Moors. 






I am sharing with the following and I would like to thank Eileen and Misty for two very enjoyable memes.  

You can see other participants by visiting their links.

Eileen at Saturday Critters
Misty at Camera Critters