Tuesday, March 31, 2020


(Pictures are from pixabay.com)

Hello Everyone, 

These are fun videos to watch for animal lovers.  They are about one elephant herd in Zambia at the Mfuwe Lodge.  
All I'm saying is the mango orchard was there before the lodge!  
You may need to skip out of the adverts at the front of the video.  They change every time I look, and if there are any pop-ups just 'x' out.
The first video not shows other wildlife in that area.

Next, at one point the baby elephant decides to take a nap in the foyer and the whole herd stops in its tracks and waits for the baby to wake up.

I have several videos of this amazing spectacle.  I loved every one but picked these to share today.  If you want to see the others you can just do a search for 'the elephants at Mfuwe Lodge' at YouTube.com 

The last one is one taken by a tourist.  Guess who came to breakfast?  They - the tourists - looked a little worried.  
Not only elephants roam through Mfuwe Lodge.  A pride of lions have been known to be uninvited guests also.   
For wildlife lovers everywhere!

Enjoy and I hope your days are good ones.

Monday, March 30, 2020


I went back to the basics for this one and needed a refresher course of sorts.  I wanted a simple recipe for a piece of salmon I bought for dinner.  Some days you just don't feel like fussing.  This came from Gimme Some Oven hosted by Ali.  Thank you for this simple recipe Ali.  If you want to see more tips you can go to the link above in red.

Baked Salmon

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Bring your piece of salmon to room temperature.  Let your salmon rest on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes, until it has come mostly to room temperature.  This apparently helps with even cooking.  Blot the salmon on all sides with paper towels.  

Next, place the salmon skin-side down on a foil-covered baking sheet (or in an oven-proof non-stick skillet, such as a cast iron pan).  If the ends of the salmon filets are really thin, just fold them under a bit for even cooking.  

Brush on all sides (except the bottom) with oil.  Sprinkle with favorite seasonings.  Ali suggests a mixture of garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper.

Bake in the oven (at 450 degrees Fahrenheit) until the internal temperature is 140 degrees, 4 to 6 minutes for every half inch of thickness.  The instructions say you can test for doneness by inserting a fork or knife and twisting it a bit.  The fish should be opaque and flake easily.

Remove salmon from the oven and put on a clean serving plate.  Sprinkle each filet with a good squeeze of lemon juice (or in my case lime juice as I didn't have any lemons and wanted to use up the limes).  If you have any fresh herbs you can scatter those on the top also.

Serve and enjoy!

Once the salmon is cooked it can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

You can also freeze it up to three months.

Salmon is my favorite go-to fish lately.  This was an easy, fast and simple way to get a meal on the table.

My side dish took longer than the fish to cook, but I timed the veggies to finish with the salmon.  I roasted a selection of vegetables after placing on a foiled-lined baking sheet, lightly oiled and sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste.  These were put in a 450 degree pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes, turned over half way during the cooking process.  I have a double oven and used it, but you can cook them both either on different racks in the one oven, or on a sheet pan.  The roasted vegetables would need to be put in first and the salmon at the side of them for the remaining cooking time.

I placed the salmon on top of a bed of leftover kale that I had not used in the other recipe, along with a few leftover roasted chickpeas (I made this recipe the day after).  

Saturday, March 28, 2020

I DON'T...

usually post this kind of thing, but I do enjoy the talent of this cartoonist, especially when the cartoon is about what is going on in the world, and visually makes you curious to find out more.  This one speaks volumes. 

I would like to add my heartfelt thanks to all those who are out front looking after everyone.  We owe them our never ending gratitude.

Please continue to take good care of yourselves out there, and wishing you all good health and happiness.

Friday, March 27, 2020


(An old fence on the left of the barn which has also seen better day.  Still beautiful though.)

Last weekend, feeling a bit of cabin fever, we thought it would be safe to take a ride in the countryside. We wanted to find a nice, quiet area for a walk and so, with a full tank of gas, we set out. 
(An old farm with fences out front again.  Hard to see those fences as they seem camouflaged against the grass.)

Much to our surprise there was a lot of traffic on the roads, and when we drove to all our usual places, the parking lots were packed and people were heading for the trails.  We didn't feel comfortable being around all those people.  There wasn't 6 feet between them to spare, so we drove by and went on our way.  
(Another farm with a silo painted like an ear of corn.  And there are the fences again.)

Not once did we get out of the car, and the only time I opened a window was to take these photos. Our speed was generally between 40 to 55 miles per hour on open roads, much less of course going through towns, and along narrower roads.
(Other rural scenes as we drove by.)

It was good to get out but I don't think we will be doing that any more.  
(Another fence in front of the cemetery.  We were in Manassas by this time.)

(The rest of the photos were also taken as we were driving through Manassas.)

(Approaching the traffic light I noticed the mural on the left.)

(Here's a closer look.)

 (The historical old town area is very nice.)

(You can read about Manassas at this link.)

(I have often thought I would like to look around Iron Horse Antiques.  One of the comments I read from a happy customer, was that it is the best furniture store in the Northern Virginia area and it is one of the top 10. Their furniture is made out of quality solid wood at a great price with professional customer service.  Now that is quite a glowing recommendation.  
Apparently they have obtained solid oak European furniture from military people who have purchased overseas, and there is also Amish furniture of the same excellent quality.  The salespeople appear very knowledgeable, knowing all about the fabrics used, whether they were treated, what was in the cushions and much more.  If ever any of our furniture finally falls apart, I think I will look here first.  Unfortunately I couldn't find a website but it has plenty of good reviews on Yelp.)

These photos I am sharing today for Gosia's Fences Around the World, were taken on our Sunday drive, and I was happy to see several fences, so win-win!

Thank you for hosting Gosia.  
If you would like to see other fences, or join in with your own, you will find the link here.  

Thanks for stopping by.  
Enjoy your day and stay safe and happy.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


two days ago.  Gregg check outside and there it was, and from someone who left no name.  We were very touched by such a kind gift.  Who would have thought that only a couple of weeks ago, we would have been so heart-warmed by being given two rolls of toilet paper and that sweet note.

"Happy Social Distance!  
Here are some supplies to brighten your day. 
Sharing Neighborly Goodwill." 

Such a sweet gesture!  Frankly, it made our day.

I hope you have plenty of supplies in your house.
Thanks for looking and whatever you are doing, I hope it is keeping you safe.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


History will remember when the world stopped
And the flights stayed on the ground
And the cars parked in the street 
And the trains didn't run.

History will remember when the schools closed
And the children stayed indoors
And the medical staff walked towards the fire
And they didn't run.  

History will remember when the people sang 
On their balconies, in isolation 
But so much together 
In courage and song. 

 History will remember when the people fought
 For their old and their weak 
Protected the vulnerable 
By doing nothing at all.  

History will remember when the virus left
And the houses opened
And the people came out
And hugged and kissed
And started again.

Kinder than before.

~Donna Ashworth~

A marvelous poem!  I found the words inspirational for the world's current situation.  I have never come across Donna's poems before, but she certainly has a way of speaking to us all.  

Thank you Donna!

To all my Blogging Friends, thank you for looking 
and I wish you happiness and good health.  

Monday, March 23, 2020


An old favorite that I have been making every winter for several years, and I wanted it for easy access on this blog.  I don't have an exact link to the recipe, but remember getting it from a Southern Living annual recipe book.  It is very yummy and one of our favorites.

Cheesy Vegetable and Corn Chowder
Yields: 10 cups
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Preparation time: 15 minutes

3-1/2 cups chicken broth 
8 celery ribs, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn (I always use 2 cans creamed style)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 or 2 tablespoons French's mustard
Season to taste
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley  

Bring first 6 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in corn.  

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  Add flour, whisking until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Add cheese, stirring until blended.  Add the mustard and stir until blended.  

Stir cheese mixture gradually into vegetable mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thoroughly heated.  

Garnish with a sprig of parsley if you have any fresh.  We have also used sprigs of fresh Cilantro and fresh Italian Basil at other times. Serve immediately.

You can lighten this recipe up by using lower fat ingredients. I more often than not make it with 2% low-fat milk and it tastes rich and creamy, though I do opt for regular cheddar cheese.  

I usually make a double batch so that we can enjoy it for a few days (it only gets better), adding more potatoes, carrots, celery and onions.  I top it with a good dash of black ground pepper, but also use the fresh herbs mentioned above.  

Enjoy it with a nice crusty bread, a green salad.  You can also eat it on its own.  It is a very hardy soup and a meal in one.  

Friday, March 20, 2020


 I am late with my fences this week.  I found this lovely old barn with the signs on the side, and the fences, during a ride in the Virginia Countryside.  They are old photos from my archives.

If you would like to see other Fences Around the World, or join in with your own, you will find the link here.  Thank you for hosting Gosia.

Thanks for stopping by and take good care of yourselves out there.


I was able to go to Meadowlark Gardens on my own a few weeks ago, before learning of this awful health scare that we are all going through.  It is closed now and may not open again for a very long time. We had no idea what was coming.

  Gregg was out of town for the week and I thought it might be a good opportunity to do a bit of birding.  I went in the middle of the week, and early in the day.  There weren't too many people around and I was hopeful.
The tiny homes were still under glass in the Fairy Garden. 

As it turned out, I wasn't too successful with my birding expedition, but I enjoyed all the crocus and the pansies, plus the pretty surroundings.  

I made my way along the path that goes by the children's garden. 

The frog was patiently waiting for birdlife as he looked through his binoculars staring up at the sky.    You can just make him out as he sits atop the framework, just off center near the top right of the above photo.  The unstuffed lady rabbit topiary was patiently waiting to be stuffed again so that she could get her girlish figure back. I found another frog not in its usual spot, but lying down between two seats, reading its book looking slightly uncomfortable.  It normally sits near the lake.

As for me I found a quiet, out-of-the-way spot on one of the benches. Behind me I saw a few birds in the meadow which had been planted and left to go wild. Anticipating success I prepared my camera, patiently settling down to wait. 

I was looking for birdlife when I heard a lady's voice. I had noticed her walking at a fast pace earlier in another area, and when she saw me she started a conversation.
She was a very nice lady, very pleasant and I didn't want to be churlish as I enjoy a conversation as much as anyone else.  She started telling me about the garden, that she lived nearby and had visited often.  It was obvious she knew a lot about the birds and flowers, and also mentioned that she belonged to a garden club.  
She asked me if I had seen any of the Bluebirds in the area.  I replied I had not but was told to look out for them as they were still around.  She sat down and showed me photos on her cell phone of the flowers she had taken.  Also she told me about another wonderful garden I had never heard of.  It was somewhere in the Luray area.  I'm glad I wrote it down as I certainly can't remember it now.  It's somewhere and I will have to go on a search!  
As she told me how much she enjoyed visiting various places, I asked if she had been to Huntley Meadows.  She had not and after I described it to her she seemed very interested in my description of the park and said she would go. Another half an hour went by with her telling me all about the area, before she said she had better head for home.  She said goodbye and how much she had enjoyed our chat.  

I found this lovely American Robin not long afterwards, which you may remember if you saw it in a post I shared in early March. 

There was also a goose and mallard pair swimming in the lake...

I never tire of seeing them.
So, not too many birds but I now know of a new place to explore thanks to the unexpected conversation.  We are looking forward to going there one day, whenever that may be now.   But it will be something to look forward to.  

I strolled around the lake, past the gazebo and found another bench to wait patiently for the birds.  However, two other ladies walked by and started chatting, so I silently said to myself that today won't be my birding day, put my camera down, turned towards them and smiled.  

It was a day for conversations not birding, and this time I decided to call it a day as it was time to go home.  I admired many plants, one of which was the Witch Hazel. 
At the visitor center, I said goodbye to Sunshine...

 and walked back to the car.  Another lovely trip to the garden, not exactly the one I intended but one I enjoyed all the same.  When I left I had no idea that it would probably be a long time before I visited again. 

I hope you're all doing okay out there.