Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice

Last night as the sun set, anticipation set in. After a full day of light snow (only 6 inches of the fluffy, white stuff this time), we settled in for the final evening of autumn.

Today at 7:04 a.m., we finally are making our way slowly back to spring and sunshine. Although the Winter Solstice designates the official beginning of winter, the knowledge that we are headed back to our gardening days warms our hearts.

Christmas is mere days away, all packages have been sent and we are settling down in front of the glowing wood stove to relax for the remainder of the holidays.

H, Spike, Sluggo and I wish all of you a wonderful Holiday Season! May the new year bring you all health and happiness.

Life is Good,

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's a Zen Day

The remnants of Hurricane Ida are passing through this morning and it's a perfect day to just sit and watch the rain and fog outside. It has been a while since I've had the leisure to contemplate a posting for the blog, but the many photos I've taken over the past few weeks have given rise to my Muse, who has obviously been in vacation mode for a while now.

We try to begin our days with a yoga session of 20 or so minutes, however, we seem to get interrupted quite frequently when Spike and Sluggo decide our attention needs to be focused on them instead! We haven't told Spike that his pose is called "Downward Facing Dog", not Cat.

On a late afternoon walk up the road the other day with my camera caught my shadow, foretelling the shortening days of autumn and that winter would be just around the corner. We are still having mild days and the forecast is for more of the same once Ida heads up to visit our friends in Canada.

The dried seed heads of the Karl Forster Grass, highlighted by the autumn sun and waving gently in the breeze cause me to pause for a few moments and capture its beauty. Long after being buried in the winter snow, I'll be reminded of how lovely it was.

The hips on the Rugosa roses are turning red against the golden leaves. I've often thought of making a batch of Rose Hip Jelly, but just have never gotten around to it. Oh, well, perhaps next year.

Another one of my favorite vistas is from a short bridge crossing a creek that empties into the ocean. Card's Crossing, as it is named, is beautiful any time of year, but the glorious colors of autumn bring out something special.

H and I are not much on traveling, having done so much of it in our lives, but duty calls and we once again headed west for our annual visit to H's Mother and Sister in Nevada.

Last year, Mom was waiting on her second hip replacement surgery and was in quite a bit of pain, but this year found her very happy and not limping quite so badly. As always, it was good to see her.

H's Sister is quite the crafty artisan and was busily getting ready for the fall craft shows she attends. Her craft room is very well organized, unlike my knitting stashes, which can be found all over the house!

Her resident pet, is a very cute Cockatiel named Poco. He,s quite vociferous and his screeches can be earpiercing, but his cute whistling of Jingle Bells all year long brings a smile.

Normally very shy among strangers, Poco took a shining to H, particularly his mustache and eyebrows. H looked a bit dubious, but took it all in good humor.

After getting back home, we were called to transport two dogs and a cat from our favorite animal shelter, The Ark, in Cherryfield to the local vet for spaying and shots. While we waited for them to be loaded into their travel crates, I visited with the cats in the cat room. These babies are all waiting to be adopted and every one of them is so sweet and gentle. I just wish I could take them all home with me.

Of course, no post to this blog is complete without me telling about my latest culinary adventure. A few weeks ago, H and I discovered we like sushi! So, after a lot of research on the web, yesterday, I made my first batch! Came out quite good, actually, but I doubt if I'd get a "A" in sushi class. "-)

They were very tasty and the little bit of wasabi paste I put on mine almost took the top of my head off. WOW!!! What a natural way to clear one's sinuses!

Halloween was fun for the grandkids and our son sent lots of pictures from his phone, however, this one of little Kaiya had us literally rolling on the floor! Seems her costume was a princess and Mom had given her a ring to wear and she just had to show Daddy her ring!

Speaking of silly pictures, this is one sent from a little gray haired knitting buddy of mine. And, if I don't get cracking, I'm not going to finish the sweater I'm knitting for someone for Christmas!!! And no, I don't expect to get "paid"!

And so ends yet another post. I think I've covered all the excitement.

Life is Good

Hugs, Giddy
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Mid October Musings

Sun rise shining on the maples

It's hard to believe that it's already mid October. Where did our summer go???

My garden this year was pretty much a bust with the cool wet spring and early summer we experienced. But, on the positive side (there's always a positive side), our autumn has been spectacular with some of the best leaf color we've had in years. We don't often see beautiful sunrises as we face southwest, but our winter sunsets can be breathtaking.

We've had a few cool, rainy days and guess what Giddy does to keep busy? Why cook and bake, of course! I was perusing some of my favorite blogs and came across this recipe for Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones on Dash of Sass's blog. She always has wonderful recipes that showcase good, healthful, and most importantly very tasty foods. You'll find the recipes, along with step by step photos on her blog.

And, of course, I can't have a baking day without baking something from the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" book (See my post of January 15, 2008 for basic bread recipe details and video). Yesterday's choice was Caraway Rye Bread. It went together easily and came out of the oven looking great. Needless to say, H and I did not wait long to cut in to it. It did not disappoint.
I also highly recommend the book author's blog, Zoe Bakes. She always has something interesting and tasty baking.

And finally, I made a batch of my Guilt Free Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. I developed this recipe with our own tastes in mind and we love them! They're full of whole wheat flour, old fashioned oats, craisins, grated fresh ginger, pecans, Ghiradelli cocoa and Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips.

H and I worked hard the other day getting the deck ready for winter. We drained the fountain and put it in the garage and put all the deck plants into the "winter garden" downstairs. The winter garden is simply a spot in our mechanical room. The heat from the water heater keeps the temperature from freezing and most of the plants do quite well over the long, cold winter. Come spring, I'll cut them all back and begin feeding with Miracle Grow. By the time summer comes along, everything will be looking fine and I will have saved a bundle of money. Giddy is quite the tightwad.

My Muse has left me and Sluggo is bugging me for his lunch, so I'll have to sign off now.

Life is Good,

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Road Trips

Well, folks, life has been a wee bit busy around here. Autumn brings so many wonderful opportunities and it's difficult to pick which ones we will avail ourselves of before the season ends. Soooo, we begin this post with a continuation of the apple picking fun.

As you recall, in our last post, we had such fun at the orchard and before we knew it, we had picked 38 pounds of crisp, juicy apples. Of course, the first order of business was baking a Dutch Apple Pie. Oh, yeah. It was delish! Since it was too much for H and I to finish all by ourselves, we shared it with some friends.

The next order of business was the annual batch of Apple Butter! I think this was the first time H had really tried it and decided it was yummy. He's not big on sweets, but I don't put a lot of sugar in my apple butter. He spread it on a piece of my homemade toasted rye bread and was hooked!

My Mom made that Owl cookie jar in the background and it still holds doggie treats for any visiting canines.

We then made our annual road trip to Eastport, Maine which sits right next to the Canadian border. We stopped by Raye's Mustard Mill for a visit and picked up a jar of Hot and Spicy mustard. They are the last mustard mill in the US and their mustards have a wonderful flavor, tasting nothing like the mass produced mustards found on the grocery shelf.

After our visit to the Mustard Mill, we headed on in to Eastport for lunch and a quick walk around the downtown area. Since it was a bit chilly and windy, we didn't stay long, but a nice couple from Nashville was kind enough to take our picture in front of the giant fisherman.

The trees from the deck are showing color changing every day now.....

and across the bay, Bar Harbor is seeing daily visits from the big cruise ships for leaf peeping.

In between road trips, I still have my volunteer duties at the clinic. In addition to helping out in the office, I also plant and maintain the landscaping. This autumn it is looking particularly nice since I also planted mums which were used for a fund raiser.

Our next road trip was to Greenville, Jackman and back home via the Old Canada Road. This bit of historic roadway was exceptionally beautiful.

These bold fishermen were sitting in the middle of the river in their anchored kayaks.

We stopped by an historic marker and marveled that revolutionary troops could actually maneuver this far north!

The vistas were incomparable!

and the colors, all too fleeting.

On those days where road trips are not possible, we begin our days with yoga and exercise on the treadmill and stationary bike.

Sluggo, loves to participate......

and Spike just looks on in lazy disbelief that anyone would exert that much energy on purpose.

So, Dear Ones, such ends another post.

Oh, and if you've not read enough here, and want to see what my alter ego, The Downeast Knitiot is up to, check out my knitting blog.

Life is Busy and Oh So Good!

Hugs, Giddy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Apple a Day

Every autumn, H and I head out to the local orchard to pick our favorite varieties of apples. Today was a beautiful, sunny, crisp autumn day - just the right combination to pick apples. We got a bit carried away this year and before we knew it, had picked 38 pounds! I guess I'll be making my usual apple butter, but I've also researched a few recipes for Apple Chutney. It sounds like it would be wonderful with pork, chicken or turkey. My son, the Chef gave me the idea so I'll have to send him some for his approval!

H picked all the ones high up in the trees......

..... while I get all the low hanging fruit! (no short jokes, please)

Two bags worth ended up being 38 pounds; one bag of Empires and another of Macouns which are a nice, crisp cross of Cortlands and Macintoshes.

Just being in the orchard surrounded by all those apple trees was a treat

Kind of makes you want to take a bite, doesn't it?

Somebody found the bags of apples fascinating......

... and promptly fished one out for his entertainment!

Sure wish we could have taken these two munchkins with us. I know they would have enjoyed it.

Life is Good!

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I caught a whiff of autumn.......

... in the air while walking up the road to fetch the newspaper the other day. I also spotted several maples beginning to turn red. I don't know whether to be sad that summer is coming to an end or rejoice in my favorite time of year!

We didn't have much summer this year and the garden had difficulty getting established, but we did eventually get some nice color in the perennial garden. On the other hand, the veggie garden was a bust this year, however, I did manage to get several meals of green beans and lots of peas.

I planted another batch of peas and am hoping to get some before any hard frost comes along.

The deck plantings did well, although it took lots of TLC to keep them looking good.

I managed to overwinter most of my geraniums, thereby saving lots of money!

The dahlias are looking pretty good!

My favorite pot was planted with burgundy leaved cannas, lime green Marguerite and a Sedona coleus.

The fountain corner was planted with lots of impatiens. I didn't think they would do well with the sun in that corner, but I was pleasantly surprised!

The Rudbeckia have reseeded all over the garden, but their sunny faces are always a welcome late summer sight.

That Joe Pye weed in the middle of the garden was not as tall as in previous years, so I think it may be time to divide it next spring. There's an awful lot of it - anyone want some?

We were busy last week with the annual Veteran's Club Lobster Feed. H and I are always on hand to help cook huge amounts of lobster, clams and mussels.

The "before" shot......

... and one of the after

Ah, but the final product is always the tastiest!

The lobster dinner was delicious, as always, but the really fun part was that I won the raffle for four more lobsters! I took them home, picked the meat off and froze it for another tasty dish. Hmmmm, Paella?, Lobster Rolls?, Cioppino? Boulliabase? Oh, stop me please!!!

Yesterday, H and I headed out to our friend's house and his firing range for a bit of target practice. I finally got to fire the 9mm we had acquired a bit back and to reacquaint myself with the Taurus .38. The guys were quite impressed with my marksmanship. Needless to say, none of the paper targets survived!

H is taking aim

Giddy and Clyde!

And so ends another exciting day in the life of a small, aging but fiercely protective gnome.

Life is Good

Hugs, Giddy