Tuesday, June 30, 2020


This was taken on a visit to the Norfolk Zoo in Virginia, in September 2012.  Another favorite animal of mine, I was delighted with the life-size sculpture of the elephant at the entrance.  The person who created this masterpiece is Matthew Gray Palmer, who received its commission after competing with 70 other artists in 2008.  He called it "All Things Within All Things".
A butterfly on the end of the elephant's trunk can be made out quite clearly, and its wings are shaped like elephants.  If you look closely at the sculpture, there are 10,000 butterflies that make the shape of the elephant.  It stands 10 feet tall, 16 feet long and 7 feet wide and weighs 800 pounds, and took more than 2,000 hours and six months to complete.  It really is amazing to look at.

A fun website, Roadside America, can be found at this link where you will see another picture of the elephant.

I will leave you with two whimsical quotes.

"I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant's faithful one hundred percent."
~Dr. Seuss~

and my personal favorite

"I have a memory like an elephant, in fact elephants often consult me."
~Noel Coward~

Thanks for looking and enjoy your week.

Monday, June 29, 2020


On June 21st, Father's Day, our son and daughter-in-law came over to spend the afternoon with us.  We haven't been together much because of isolating, and this is only the second occasion we have seen them since this all began.  Very special for the four of us, still being sensible about being in our appropriate space, no hugs coming or going, but the time together was magic.  Knowing what others are going through we will never take our time together for granted.

In between our regular favorite dishes that are tried and true, we also enjoy making ethnically diverse dishes.  This week we settled on Mexican cuisine, and though we have been to several restaurants over the years, in all the places we have lived, we haven't cooked much at home.  With practice we are getting more confidence and felt it was time to rectify that situation, especially as our son and daughter-in-law enjoy it as much as we do.  With them in mind I chose this week's recipe from The Spruce Eats which you can find here.  

I always recommend checking out the original (you can get there by clicking on the red lettering above).  There are tips shared, fun professional photos, and it is always useful to watch the video if provided.  The prep time is longer than most of our meals, definitely worth the finished result though.

Classic Fresh Pico de Gallo

Yield: 2 cups (6 to 8 servings)

3 tablespoons onion (finely chopped)
2 small cloves garlic (minced)
3 large ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeds removed, and chopped)
2 chili peppers (jalapeño or serrano), chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the ingredients.

Put the chopped onion and minced garlic in a strainer/sieve.  Pour 2 cups boiling water over them and let drain thoroughly.  Discard the water. Allow the chopped onion and garlic to fully cool.

Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.

The website's notes are as follows:

Serve as a dip or a condiment with Mexican-style dishes, and enjoy enjoy.


Use hot or mild chile peppers in the salsa. Jalapeño peppers, serrano, New Mexican, and Anaheim are good choices.

Take caution when chopping the peppers and be sure to wash your hands immediately following the cutting.

If you want a spicier salsa, keep some of the pepper seeds in the mixture.

If you prefer milder salsa, make sure all the pepper seeds and ribs are removed.

Plum tomatoes are an excellent choice for salsa. They are firmer and have fewer seeds, and they're easier to dice.

If you store this salsa in the refrigerator for a few days, the tomatoes will continue to release their juices. Simply drain the salsa prior to serving to keep it from having too much liquid.

Recipe Variations

If you're not a fan of cilantro, omit it or add fresh parsley.

For extra texture and color, add about a few tablespoons of drained and rinsed black beans and a few tablespoons of cooked corn kernels.

Our shopping trips have been curtailed somewhat, and when I had difficulty getting just one jalapeno pepper, I put a small can of chopped jalapeno peppers on our grocery list.  It was a great substitute.  Below you can see the one we bought, but there are several other brands available at local grocery stores.
As mentioned, the prep takes longer than usual but with the two of us we cut that by half.  Once all items were prepared, it was a breeze to put everything together.

We made it the day before our family meal.  That night we ate a small sampling and it was excellent.  We served it with lime flavored tortilla chips.  
Not everyone likes Cilantro and I would say if you feel strongly against it, try chopped parsley, or as suggested in the original recipe, leave it out altogether.   

We added the Cilantro and lime juice a little at a time, and taste tested after each addition. We ended up using all the Cilantro I cut up, and the 3 tablespoons of lime juice.  Entirely up to your own taste.

This appetizer was a big hit with everyone.

I will have other meals we shared in future posts.

(Provecho – The Mexican “Bon Appétit”.   In Mexico it is customary to say “provecho” (proh-veh-choh) before starting a meal, or when you enter or leave the presence of someone who is eating.)
I never had the opportunity to try Mexican food before I came to the States almost 45 years ago.  The only restaurants in my town before leaving the UK, were either Indian or Chinese.  We enjoyed both but visits to them were rare, as it wasn't our way to eat out unless it was a special occasion, like a birthday.  

A memory from 40 years ago and one I may have shared before.  As new parents, hubs and I had not had much time or energy to enjoy a restaurant meal, and again didn't usually go out unless it was a special occasion.  However, one day we thought just once we would go out for no special reason, other than to get out of the house and enjoy a good meal.  As we were new in the area we didn't know anyone long enough to feel comfortable about leaving him.  So, we took our very young son with us.  It was the very first time we had attempted this.  If he got fussy we decided we would take turns to carry him outside, so as not to disturb any other patrons. 

At the time we were living in Long Beach, and we picked a restaurant at random.  I wish I could remember its name, but it might not even be there now.  The staff couldn't have been nicer.  We timed our visit and missed the busy lunch hour, but in a bit of a hurry we sat down and ordered, thinking we had better try and get in and out as fast as we could.  Just as our meal arrived our son woke up and started crying. Hubs got up to take him out but our waiter saw what was going on, walked over and asked permission to hold our son for a while, so that we could enjoy our meal.  Hubs placed our precious child in his arms.

He cradled him and started rocking him gently, and quietly sang him a Mexican lullaby while walking around the restaurant near us.  The warmth on his face as he looked down at our son was magical and I can still see him.  He had children of his own he assured us, his youngest not much older than our little guy who had already fallen asleep.  But this kind man still held him and rocked him as we talked with him, and we were able to finish the rest of our meal with ease.  I have never forgotten his kindness and never will. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020


These photos were taken somewhere along the coastal road as we were making our way through Oregon back in the early part of 2009. 
We came across this very cute scene of a young girl feeding a gaggle of geese, in a neighborhood near the beach.  Her mother was taking photos also.  The geese looked like they were taking turns waiting for their morsel of food, which she was tossing to them equally.  They all got their fair share.  It presented a great photo opportunity for anyone passing by.
                                      I just love geese!

Thursday, June 25, 2020


I am cheating a little for this week's fence post.  As I haven't been out to take any photos lately, I found one in an old painting with fences in the foreground.  Thank you for hosting Gosia.

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


I have been having fun with tea while I sip my own.  The picture below is from Pinterest, and the rest I found on Pixabay.  The poems and quotes I have had in my collection for a long time, as I enjoy reading them.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” 
~C.S. Lewis~
“Wouldn’t it be dreadful to live in a country where they didn’t have tea?” 
~Noel Coward~
“What better way to suggest friendliness and to create it than with a cup of tea?” 
~J. Grayson Luttrell~
“My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs.” 
~Charles Dickens~
“I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea.” 
~Lu Tong~
“Ecstasy is a glass of tea and a piece of sugar in the mouth.” 
~Alexander Pushkin~
"It seems in some cases kind nature hath planned that names with their callings agree, for Twining the tea-man that lives in the Strand, would be “wining” deprived of his T." 
 ~Theodore Hook~
"We had a kettle, we let it leak:
Our repairing made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week....
The bottom is out of our universe."
~Rudyard Kipling~
"When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea,
Then cease the useless tedium  
And brew up a cup of tea.
There is magic in its fragrance,
There is solace in its taste,
And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.
The world becomes a lovely thing,
There's beauty as you'll see,
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea."
~Author Unknown~

"Remember the tea kettle, it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!"
~Author Unknown~
"Willing friends who love to sit and share
Grateful hearts in each friend who cares
A beautiful garden to sit in and enjoy
Memories of times shared throughout the years
Lots of smiles and laughter to brighten up a day
While passing on a kindness along life’s highway.
And a few friends to share a special cup of tea
Truly makes this a perfect recipe."    
"Teatime is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings."
~Leticia Baldridge~

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as Afternoon Tea."
~Henry James~
The Portrait of a Lady

I hope you have enjoyed our cup of tea together.  Mine is calling and I must go. 

Enjoy your day my friends, and thanks 
for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


I am sharing another visitor to our garden.  We have chipmunks in the area and I often see them running around.  I took this little one on the front steps of our home.  These are not new photos.  I hope you don't mind me sharing again if you remember them from before. 
Chipmunks are the smallest member of the squirrel family, and they are fast!  If they realize you are around, they can disappear in seconds.  Their average size is between 2 and 6 inches long, and they have a life span between 2 to 3 years.

Monday, June 22, 2020


These were delicious cookies from Bonjour Cuisine here.  Their photo of the cookies look prettier than the ones in my photos and more delicate.  It certainly didn't detract from the taste though.  We enjoyed them and will be making them again.

Butter Pecan Cookies for Tea Time  
Makes 12 cookies  


3/4 cup pecans  
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature 
1/3 cup sugar (plus more for coating) 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1 cup all purpose flour  


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

On a baking sheet, toast pecans about 6 minutes, or until fragrant.  Let cool and finely chop.  

With an electric mixer cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until light, about 1 minute.  

Beat in salt, vanilla and flour, scraping down sides of the bowl, just until dough comes together.  

Fold in pecans.  

Separate dough into 12 pieces.  Lightly shape into balls with your hands.  

Roll in sugar.  

Place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet topped with parchment paper.  

Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass (reshape sides if necessary).  

Sprinkle with more sugar.  

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the baking sheet about half way through.  

Cool cookies on a wire rack.

It has been a while since we made cookies, and these turned out very nicely.  We ended up with 8 instead of 12 as co-Chef wanted a larger cookie.  We adjusted the cooking time and added a couple of minutes to the original time of 15 minutes.

Thanks for looking and enjoy your day.