Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Spooky Out There!

The sun has dipped below the horizon and the moon is not yet out. Here in rural Maine, that means it's pitch black out there right now - a perfect night for spooks and goblins to be out and about. Gratefully, we have a long, dark road to our house and it's been several years since we've had any Halloween visitors. Yesssss! The chocolate is mine, all mine!! Bwahahaha!

His Highness, Prince Sluggo is blissfully unaware that tonight is a cat's night to howl. He's much more interested in napping in the late afternoon sun in H's life sucking chair.

I've been experimenting with the various settings on my camera and came across a setting for photographing food. Well, isn't this right up my alley? Photography and food? The fun has just begun!

The fruit bowl.....

Today's baking efforts. H found a great recipe for Muffaletta so I baked these rolls for tomorrow's gustatorial delights.

One of the Veteran's Club members passed away last week and there will be a memorial service for him tomorrow, so I baked one of my Chocolate Squash Cakes for the service. The aroma throughout the house was indescribable this afternoon and it was all I could do not to cut in to Harry's Cake!

I've been fighting a sinus infection all week and unable to get outside to complete some of my photography class assignments, so looking around, I decided the shower curtain in the small bathroom afforded some interest.

Hey, if ya can't get to the beach, look in the bathroom!

Life is Great!

Happy Halloween!

Hugs, Giddy

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Tomorrow is Halloween, and as the sun sets in the west, and the heavens burn a fiery red, the goblins, witches, jack o'lanterns and black cats will be restless.

Little Sluggo is a bit put out because he's not all black like his big brother, Spike......

Realizing that he's the star of the day, Spike takes all this holiday attention in stride!

Photography class is progressing nicely. We are being challenged to see normal objects in a different light and to view them from other angles. In addition, we observe color, light and texture.

These are a couple of knitted hats I made recently....

The texture and pattern in this scarf intrigued me.

I call this shot "a yoga moment". I was down on the floor doing a yoga exercise when I looked up and saw the half moon shining through the half moon window above me. I had to stop what I was doing, run get the camera and get this shot before the moon drifted away.

Life looks pretty good through the lens!

Hugs, Giddy

Monday, October 27, 2008

I've been tagged!

Well, I learn something new about this blogging business every day. Seems that if you've been "tagged" by some other blogger, you need to respond in some way.

Wiseacre tagged me along with 6 other bloggers yesterday and since I owe him for allowing me to use his cute swinging gnome on my blog, I guess I'd better try to do this tagging thing.

First I’m supposed to post the rules:

1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Now, we'll see if I can think of six random things about myself:

1. I was born in Germany and can speak fairly good conversational German

2. I married my high school sweetheart 42 years ago and still consider him my best friend

3. I never thought I was a cat person til my smokey black cat, Spike wandered down my driveway. We have since adopted another cat, Sluggo

4. I'm a really stubborn, independent person

5. I don't like to travel

6. I wish I knew how to play an instrument (I never progressed past the triangle)

So, there are a few things about me that even my family may not know, or maybe they do and just don't tell me how stubborn I am!

Like Joy over at Gardenjoy4me, I'm not going to tag anyone else, but if you read this post, please feel free to join in and tag anyone you like!

So, on to the rest of this post and I warn you, it's all about one of my other loves - cooking! Now that summer is over and I can't spend much time in the garden, my interest turns to other things like knitting and YUM!, cooking.

I love to bake and particularly like to adapt recipes to include anything even remotely good for you and healthful. I do, on occasion, slip back in to my old ways, because some recipes have been handed down to me by my relatives and you just simply cannot improve on a good thing.

So, to begin, this week has been chilly and windy and just the right climate for a nice, warm, old fashioned homemade soup. In my last post, I mentioned the broccoli and potato soup and I will report that it was quite tasty and didn't last long around here. However, I neglected to take a photo of it, so instead, here is the Pea Soup, I made yesterday:

I started by sauteeing onions, celery, and carrots in a bit of olive oil. Then added a smoked pork chop which I had diced and sauteed to render out any fat......

I didn't throw the bone out, because it would add lots of flavor to the soup.

After adding the rinsed and sorted peas and added three cans of chicken broth, I let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

I wish had remembered to take a picture of the finished soup in a nice bowl, but we were too eager to eat! It was really good, though!

Tiring of the same old ho hum steamed mixed vegetables, one day I decided to do something different. Now, mind you, H does not like change so I didn't tell him that I was going to mix all his favorite veggies, sautee them and then add curry powder to them. Good thing I didn't because he probably would have complained. As it turned out, he, at first, looked a bit dubious, but after his first taste, declared it delicious and asked when we could have it again!

So, to a hot, cast iron skillet, the ingredients are as follows:

1/3 C Olive Oil
1/2 Yukon Gold potato, cut into small dice
1/2 Sweet Potato, cut into small dice

Sautee the above until soft, then add the following all at once:

1 C broccoli, cut into small branches
1 C Cauliflower, cut into small branches
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 small diced zucchini
any other veggies you like, diced!

Add a bit more olive oil and sautee till all the veggies are al dente (crunchy, but not mushy)

Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and enough curry powder to taste. I like to add a bit more turmeric, but be aware that it will turn all your utensils bright yellow!

Man, this is the best veggie dish we have ever eaten!

Add a couple of grilled chicken tenders and you've got yourself a real meal!!!

Life is good AND YUMMY!

Hugs, Giddy

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Late October Musings

Today begins cool and gray with rain in the forecast for later today and in to tomorrow.

And since H is nursing a nasty cold, it's a perfect day to stoke the wood stove and hunker down.

I just put on a pot of broccoli and potato soup and while we wait for it to simmer for our lunch, it's a great time to blog about what's left of the garden as we sadly move toward the end of my favorite month - October.

Before the hard freeze last week, I took the opportunity to wander about the garden with my trusty Olympus and shoot a few frames so I can remind myself in the dead of winter that the garden will bloom forth again next year.

The dahlias and zinnias were still performing beautifully.......

With the exception of the occasional maple, the only trees still showing any color are the birches and some of the poplars. Their golden beauty glows in the forest when the sun hits them in the early morning and early evening. Wild raisin shrubs still sport a few deep red leaves and the spruces, firs and pines are anticipating their days of glory when their branches will glisten with the new fallen snow. Although, not too soon, we hope!

The Karl Forster feather reed grass is at its best this time of year, but the migratory birds have flown the coop! Looks like they left me with a bit of maintenance on the front of the house. Sheesh! I hope the next occupants will be a bit easier on the property.

And the squirrels are raiding the bird feeder again! Between them and the two blue jays, they pretty much clean the feeder out on a daily basis. It's a good thing I bring it in every night, or the racoon would finish the job.

Our favorite sitting spot in the garden is finding more shade these days, and the Joy Pye Weed has taken on a golden glow in the late afternoon sunshine.

Our neighbor's beautiful glass gazing ball reflects the sun in all it's swirling colors.

Spike likes sitting in the warm afternoon sun while I post to the blog. He occasionally jumps up on the desk for his required "noogies". He especially likes his back and neck scratched.

Little Sluggo keeps busy from morning til night chasing the Asian Beetles which invade the house this time of year looking for a warm place to hibernate over the winter. They like to buzz around the lamplight in the evenings.

To all things, there is a season, and in this season of harvest, bringing in the plants, putting the garden to bed and making sure the woodpiles are covered, we are quite busy. I'm sure I'll be most content to sit in front of the fire, my recently finished shawl across my shoulders and knit the long winter away.

Life is Good

Hugs, Giddy

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Road Trip to Bucksport

H and I have had plans to take a trip to Bucksport to go up into the observation tower of the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge which connects Verona Island and the mainland on the other side heading on to Belfast. We waited for the perfect day - a clear blue sky a day after a frontal passage. Yesterday was that perfect day.

Here she is in all her glory. The observation tower is on the left and is 42 stories above the river. It is the only bridge with an observatory on the American continent.

The 360 degree view from the top is spectacular, and what a better season to enjoy it than autumn. The colors were glorious.

This is Rt 1, on the way to Belfast......

This is looking west toward Bucksport. The tide was coming in and it was interesting to watch how the outgoing river and the incoming tide collided with one another.

Looking east toward Penobscot Bay as the river emptied into the bay......

Another view of Bucksport. A colorful, autumn New England scene.

Before leaving Bucksport on our way to Belfast, we stopped by historic Fort Knox on the Penobscot River, a veritable mountain of hand hewn granite sitting high on a bluff overlooking the river, it served to keep enemy ships from sailing upriver during the war of 1812 and the Spanish American War.

The cannon openings offered a great view of the river......

The temptation was great, but I didn't dare try to pick one of these cannonballs up!

They look amazingly like bowling balls with those holes in them!

I made a brief stop in the bathroom before we left and learned that one should never leave one's camera in the hands of an amateur! H couldn't resist taking a quick picture of himself. Foolish man, the sun was not at the right angle for this self portrait.

Then, it was onward toward Belfast. We headed over the bridge to the mainland to do a bit of shopping.

While in Belfast, we took a nice walk along the Memorial Bridge. It was a bit windy and cool, so we didn't dally long, but I did get some nice shadow shots for my next photography class. This bridge crosses the Passagassawaukeag River. Try saying that quickly three times! "-)

A dilapidated boat house with an apple tree casting it's shadow caught my eye at the other end of the bridge.

As did this historic house in Searsport.

Back in Bucksport, we had to stop by to visit Captain Buck's gravesite. He was the founder of Bucksport and the tale is that the Captain accused a young lady of being a witch and had her executed, however, before she died, she cursed him and said her foot would be on his head for all eternity. His headstone has the eerie impression of a boot on it. Relatives tried several times without success to remove the impression, thinking it was a flaw in the stone, but soon after each attempt, it reappeared.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and a thoroughly enjoyable road trip. And, we found gas for only $2.80 a gallon!

Life is good!

Hugs, Giddy

Friday, October 10, 2008

Road Trip to Moosehead Lake

We knew the weather was going to be perfect last Friday, so we packed our old kit bag with munchies and water and headed out to Greenville on Moosehead Lake.

Oh, and what a wonderful trip we had! As we progressed farther west inland, Mother Nature's palette began to deepen with colors so intense we oohed and aahed over every tree, one more brilliant than the next.

This stop at Guilford is one of our favorites and I had to take a picture of the covered bridge!

This shot is taken from the bridge, looking north at the colorful trees and their reflection in the water.

Looking out the other side of the bridge gives a perspective of the rocks and the water streaming past under the bridge.

Not neglecting my class assignment to look for light and shadow, this shot of the far end of the bridge caught my eye.

On to Moosehead lake and Greenville, we stopped at Lily Bay State Park. The peace and quite of the park was so serene. If only we had spotted a moose, our day would have been complete.

Unfortunately, the only excitement of the day was being "mooned" by a stately pine tree!

We had lunch at the infamous Black Frog restaurant, where if you order the Skinny Dip beef sandwich, it's free of charge if you jump into the lake from their dock "au naturel". Needless to say, I paid for my lunch! We did, however, spy the tour boat "Katahdin" leaving her berth for a three hour tour. Unlike Gilligan's tour, I'm sure she returned just fine.

Outside, I spied a photo op in the bay. Leaves floating in the water.

A road trip in New England in the autumn would not be complete without a photograph of a picturesque white church nestled among the golden maple leaves.....

.... and, of course, my blog would not be complete without a few pics of the kitties!

His majesty, the Spikester sat still for one moment and allowed me to take a quick pic. Oh, those mesmerizing eyes!

Sluggo, of course, is always up for a glamour shot!

Yes, Life is Very, Very, Good!

Hugs, Giddy