Monday, September 25, 2017

COROLLA, NORTH CAROLINA TRIP - EIGHTH DAY - 9-8-17 - ELIZABETHAN GARDENS


Corolla, North Carolina Trip 
Eighth Day
Friday, September 8th, 2017
Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo



Gregg and I left the house at 10:15 a.m. This is our last day as we are leaving tomorrow.  It has certainly been a wonderful holiday, in large part due to the generous spirit of Gregg's sister and her husband, who invited us to spend the week with them.  We had also been invited to the engagement party of our mutual friend's daughter.  It was a wonderful week being with the family and seeing our dear friend.




12:23 p.m. and we are sitting at one of the picnic tables in the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo.



It is a lovely place.  You enter the garden through their gift shop and pay an admission fee of $9.00 per person.  



There are pathways leading to lots of wonderful areas, with one taking you down to the water's edge.  



I was pleased to see many pretty flowers still blooming.  I can only imagine what this place looks like in the height of growing season.  



There are Argiope spiders making their decorative webs.  


There are lots of butterflies.  



I see only three types today, Swallowtails, 



 Clouded Sulphur Butterflies 
(with my grateful thanks to David of Travels with Birds for the correct spelling of the spider and the above).



and Skippers, but there are many of them.



And the bees were very busy today, and way too fast for me but I managed to get one as it flew in front of me.  It was a complete surprise, taken with my cell phone and only found when I cropped the photo and saw it on my laptop.



There is a magnificent statue of Queen Elizabeth I.  It is beautiful!  I intend to do a stand-alone post for her later, but here are a couple to be going on with.



There are many more photos to share from the garden, too many for one post.  More to follow.



Walking by the window I noticed it would make a great reflection shot of the two of us.  



We couldn't leave without a look at all the lovely items inside the gift shop.  I guess that would be me and the mouse in my pocket, but Gregg is always a good sport about it.



Pretty angels,



pretty ceramics



and beautiful glassware in all kinds of shapes.



A delightful gift shop, with my thanks to the lady behind the counter who gave me permission to take these photos.



We took our stickers off and knew this wouldn't be our last trip to the garden.  One day we will be back.



Next stop was a walk along the waterfront, still in Manteo.  It was lunch time and we saw Poor Richard's Sandwich Shop.    



Their sandwiches were very good and I enjoyed the artwork on the walls, including a mural,



 a crab



and this handsome old truck.



On our way back to the car we walked along all the boats.



We weren't the only ones. This sweet family sure made a pretty picture.



When we reached the bridge we walked up the steps, across the road and back to our car.



6.45 p.m. We are at the house and have enjoyed eating leftovers, using what is left in the fridge before our departure tomorrow.



We enjoyed one last game of Trivial Pursuit but we were all very tired and beds were calling.  Everything is packed in the car, except for our clothes for tomorrow.  We will be on the road between 8.00 and 8.30 a.m.  Our vacation in Corolla is almost over.



MONDAY RECIPE POST - CHICKEN AND BROWN BUTTER RICE WITH CORN AND TOMATOES


We fixed this for the first time today (9-22-17) and both gave it a ten out of ten.  Why am I sharing so many Blue Apron recipes?  We have three main course meals delivered in the box and lately, on the days left, we don't seem to be putting together anything as interesting.  Blue Apron is introducing us to a lot of interesting menus, also herbs and spices we have never tried before, as well as the occasional produce we wouldn't have thought of trying, and loved for the most part, and I haven't been looking at any other recipes.  We are eating a lot of throw-together salads, sometimes eating out when we are running errands or like the other day, visiting Mount Vernon...


to shop in their store, and to visit the restaurant at lunchtime for our  favorite-of-the-moment peanut soup.  I also may fix my personal favorite fix-at-home meal (at this point in time anyhow), 2 hard-boiled eggs and whatever veggie is in the fridge.  Enjoyable to me but nothing exciting there to write down. Original recipe for this one is shown here.  


Chicken and Brown Butter Rice
with Corn and Tomatoes
  
Time: 40 to 50 minutes
Serving: 2

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 ozs. Cherry Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic
2 ears of Corn
2 tablespoons of butter
1 Shallot
1 tablespoon of Sherry Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Basil Seeds
1-1/2 tablespoons of Chicken Spice Blend (a mixture of all-purpose flour, garlic powder and onion powder)
1 bunch Parsley
½ cup Brown Rice
Olive oil - this is never added in the BA Box.  Not sure why but I always have plenty on hand

Cook the rice:

In a small pot, combine the ricea big pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat. Drizzle with olive oil and fluff with a fork. Cover and set aside in a warm place.

Prepare the ingredients and marinate the tomatoes:

While the rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce.

Peel and medium dice the shallot.

Peel and roughly chop the garlic.

Remove and discard the corn husks and silks. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs.  Discard the cobs.

Roughly chop the parsley leaves and stems

Halve the tomatoes.  Place in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the basil seedshalf the parsley¼ of the vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir to combine. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the corn:

While the tomatoes marinate, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the shallot,  garlic, and corn; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the chicken:

While the tomatoes continue to marinate, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt, pepper, and the spice blend on both sides. In the same pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a cutting board.

Brown the butter:

Add the butter to the pan of reserved fond; heat on medium-high until melted. Cook, stirring frequently and swirling the pan, 1 to 3 minutes, or until the butter is deep golden brown and nuttily fragrant. (Be careful not to overcook, as the butter can burn easily.) Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining vinegar.

Finish the rice and plate your dish:

Slice the cooked chicken crosswise. Add the browned butter and cooked corn to the pot of cooked rice. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the sliced chicken and finished rice between two dishes. Top the rice with the marinated tomatoes.

Garnish with the remaining parsley.

Enjoy!



Definitely a keeper and one we will be making again.  I added more cherry tomatoes as we had some left in the fridge.  They were multi-colored and added to the prettiness of this dish.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

COROLLA NORTH CAROLINA TRIP - 7TH DAY - 9-7-17 - PINE ISLAND AUDUBON NATURE TRAIL



Corolla, North Carolina Trip 
Seventh Day
Wednesday, September 7th, 2017
Pine Island Audubon Nature Trail



It is 12.14 p.m. and Gregg and I are walking along the Pine Island Audubon Nature Trail.  We come to a gate but it is closed.  We go down the road that is open to the left of the gate, and we come to a large building, which is the Pine Island Raquet Club and Fitness Center.  A little further on we find the trail.  It is lovely and quiet (I am recording today's journal to my note app on my phone while walking along.  It is easier remembering a few basics rather than wait until the end of the day, and then the photos jog my memory for the rest).



We encountered only one jogger as we began our walk, and he was heading  towards the gate we just came through. There was no one else, just us and the trail of butterflies.  I have never seen so many along the path.  There are a few wildflowers but I would not have thought there were enough for the many I see.  It is a butterfly rush-hour.   Very hard to get a decent photo because they are always on the move, fluttering over our heads, past our faces.  



But one or two settled for a while, not for long but it was enough to get a memory.



One perched on my hat and stayed long enough for Gregg to take a photo.  It only moved when I continued walking.  



All different types and maybe some might actually be moths. I didn't recognize them.  



The trail is a little muddy in parts, it rained the night before.  I shouldn't have worn sandals.  My walking shoes are in the boot of the car.



Must remember to wear my walking shoes next time. Sandals are not good for this. I keep collecting tiny pebbles and my toes have been jabbed with small branches. I stopped a few times to jiggle my shoes free of these annoyances. Gregg was much more sensible with his footwear.



I have lost Gregg around the bend.  We go at our own pace and I have been fascinated by what I see and stop to take photos.  He is taking his own.  



We eventually catch up with each other.  At the end of the trail was a platform overlooking the Sound.



Gregg arrived first and he saw a Great Blue Heron, but on his approach it flew away.  He came back and yelled down to tell me he had found the water, and where he would be.  I was still taking photos of those wildflowers.



As far as I can tell from looking online, these are Leafy Elephants Foot Carolina Tobaccoweed, also called Devil's Grandmother!  Where do these names come from?  It belongs to the Aster family.  You can look here to see if you agree with me.  I would love to get a correct ID.



Below is Meadow Beauty.  On my online search I found this page.



We stayed for almost an hour on the platform.  It was very pleasant and peaceful.  There weren't any birds to see but I think the more experienced might know the best time of the year to view migrating birds.  It didn't detract from our enjoyment.  



There were two levels to the platform.  We were sitting at the top where there was seating.  One level down it was for the birder to stand behind cover, an open 'blind'.  There were slats on hinges which could be lifted for binoculars or camera lenses.



And the views were outstanding.




I could have stayed there for another hour but it was time to get moving.  This was the sign on the platform and I am adding it for the birders out there.



On our way back, not more than a hop, skip and a jump from the platform, pardon the pun, Gregg spotted a rabbit, bigger than the small cottontails I normally see.  On looking at its photo on my laptop later, I was surprised to see he had very small ears compared to other rabbits.  



He was a cute one!



Gregg took several photos before he scampered away.  



I took one of his footprint in the mud with my cell phone.  



(Those short ears intrigued me so I did a google search and found this.  Our little friend was a Short-eared Marsh Rabbit.  As you read down the page at the link, you will see that when alarmed, these marsh rabbits leap into the water.  It is said they can outswim a large dog.  They have been seen to swim strongly 700 yards from shore.  



They can also elude predators by floating motionless among water plants, ears tucked down, with only noses and faces above the water.  They will stay like that until the threat has gone away.  Or if they are seen they will swim away as fast as they can which, if they can outswim a dog, must be pretty fast.  Such a neat little guy, one we were both happy to come across.



We are making our way back to the car now and still walking the trail.  Gregg spotted something on the ground.  When I looked closely, it was a tiny turtle and it looked like a newborn, a hatchling.  It had a fine coating of sand all over it, so I don't think it had been out of the nest for very long.



It is a baby snapping turtle.  







Took our photos and left it in peace, to continue its journey to wherever.  A couple of paces along there was another tiny turtle. Took photos of that little darling and also left it in peace.  



We didn't see any more but now I am walking along looking at the ground, wondering if any more will be on the trail, but this was the only spot we found them.  



If you want to take a look at what they are like fully grown, you can go here.  If you ever decide to help one out, say if you saw one crossing a road, it is important to know how to pick them up, as mishandling can cause irreparable harm.  You might not want them to harm you either as they have a powerful bite. The following YouTube video will show you how. 


If the video doesn't open up for you, you can watch it here.  One last look at our turtle who has a very important message.


unless you are trying to outrun a predator that is!


The only other thing we found on the ground was this, and I gave him a wide berth.  He is a Bald-faced hornet.



One last look at the trail and we head to our car.



5.40 p.m. We have been home for a little while.  Our son and daughter-in-law called, and so did my niece in Germany.  Lovely catching up with them, as always.

6.10 p.m. Gregg and my brother-in-law left to pick up pizzas and a salad for dinner tonight.  We spent another pleasant evening with the family.