Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Like a peal of a bugle

Upon the still night

So flames her deep scarlet

In dim forest light.

A heart-throb of color

Lit up the dim nook

A dash of deep scarlet

The dark shadows shook.

Thou darling of August

Thou flame of her flame,

'Tis only bold Autumn

Thy ardor can tame.

The Cardinal Flower by John Burroughs


Tuesday, September 29, 2020


 my niece and nephew across the Pond.  They recently took a vacation into Austria, and my niece was very sweet letting me share her photos.  They went on an 8-1/2 mile hike through very picturesque scenery, finding several mountain sheep along the way.

as well as young reindeer?

And not to forget the spectacular scenery.

and did I mention sheep?

and more beautiful scenery.

I found a few interesting facts about Austria.

The name "Austria" derives from a Germanic word "austro" which means "east".

The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world.

The sewing machine was invented by Austrian Josef Madersperger.

Approximately one quarter of the population of Austria lives in Vienna.

Vienna has the oldest zoo in the world which was founded in 1752.

Austria is known for its mountain railways and trains, such as the Giselabahn.

Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of the German sports car company "Porsche", was from Austria.

Former Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger grew up in Austria.

62 percent of Austria is covered by the Austrian Alps

and lastly, 

the first postcards used were in Austria.

Monday, September 28, 2020


This was delicious.  Unfortunately I can't remember where I got it from and can't offer a link today.  We made a few changes which I will share below the recipe.

Chicken Rice Soup - 6 servings

1 tablespoon oil

1 onion, minced

3 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon back pepper

5 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 chicken breasts

1 cup brown rice

1 cup evaporated milk



In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. 

Add onion, carrots and celery and cook and stir for 3-4 minutes, until onion begins to turn golden.

Add garlic, parsley and thyme and cook 1 minute.

Add salt and pepper, broth, chicken and rice. 

Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low (a simmer), cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables and rice are tender.

Remove chicken from pot and shred.

Add back to the pot and stir in evaporated milk.


A great Fall weather soup and we thought this was one of the best we have made.

But, when I first took the cover off the pot, my first reaction was to say, "Oh!"  There wasn't much broth left and it looked more like a risotto consistency than soup.  Next time I would have a little extra broth on hand to pour in if needed.  We had no more in the pantry.  This is entirely due to our own taste and you may think differently if you make it, as a soup, but we loved it.  

Also we might put in less rice as it obviously absorbed much of the broth.  I suppose we could have cooked the rice separately and added it at the end, but the whole point was for the rice to pick up the flavor of everything it was cooked with.

We used white rice instead of brown.

We doubled up on ingredients as it was our intention to eat this over a few days, and also put some in the freezer.  It freezes well but perhaps with a few changes - *see the paragraph on freezing below.

It would be easy to turn this into a vegetarian dish for those who don't want to use meat, and then of course you'd use the vegetable broth.

I wasn't sure about using evaporated milk but I needn't have worried.  It was great.

As we doubled up on our ingredients, we thought it might be a good idea to use 1 can of evaporated milk and using the same can filled with 2% milk (but see notes in the next paragraph).  We also said instead of the milk, thought we would try a can of coconut milk next time.

*If you are going to freeze this soup, I remember reading somewhere that using a higher fat milk is better rather than the low-fat that I normally use.  Low fat tends to separate during the freezing process, and when heating it up from a frozen or thawed state.  Better to use whole milk for instance, or even cream when you know you might be putting what's left in the freezer.

If you run out of broth you can use water and a bouillon cube, using the instructions on the packet or jar.  

Adding corn would be a nice addition to this soup.

There are approximately 332 calories per 1-1/2 cup of soup.  Not exact, just a guideline.

Even as a surprise 'risotto' we gave our meal a ten out of ten.  

We served it with a slice of Italian bread, and the next day I made Chile Cheddar Biscuits.  That recipe will be posted next Monday.

I also added a few leaves of cilantro for garnish.  Not just to pretty it up a bit but I like the taste.

Thanks for looking, have a great week and...

Friday, September 25, 2020


I hope you can get out and enjoy nature, 
for your own soul soothing.  

Thank you for visiting and have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2020


The Garden Year

Sara Coleridge

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.
Born on December 23rd, 1802, Sara Coleridge was an English author and translator.  She is the daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his wife, Sara Fricker.  If interested in learning more, you can read about her here.

The image above is a photo taken at Green Spring Gardens.  I turned it into art by using an app called ArtCard which I have installed on my iPad.

Thank you for visiting everyone, and I wish you all a Happy Thursday. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


 On Monday (21st) we went back to the garden as we woke up to sunshine and cooler temperatures.  It was 64 degrees when we left the house.  In today's post I am sharing Gregg's photos of the hummingbird we saw.

I don't know my hummingbirds very well, so perhaps someone who does can name this one.  It seems to have little white tips on the end of its tail feathers.

I have cropped each photo and put the cropped version below the original.

Not necessarily about this particular one, the red lettering will take you to an interesting field guide here.

Added note: thank you Eileen, Debbie and Martha for ID'ing this pretty bird as a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  You can read their comments below this post.

Below you can see the flowers this little hummer was so interested in.  I am pretty sure it is the Lobelia laxiflora var angustifolia, also Sierra Madre Lobelia.  A very hardy flower and easy to grow.

This flower was named after a French botanist and herbalist Matthias de l'Obel (1538-1616).  It is in the bellflower family, Campanulaceae.

Its several common names include Mexican lobelia, Sierra Madre lobelia, Mexican cardinal flower, loose flowers lobelia and drooping lobelia.  In Spanish and Nahuatl it is known as aretitos.  Very easy to grow and it attracts hummingbirds from June until Fall.  The plant can live up to 16 plus years, and still thrive.  

It is native to the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico, and as such is highly adaptable to changeable circumstances.  Producing many flowers it is able to completely spread in a garden with a profusion of willowy leaves and flowers.  They grow 3 feet tall x 4 feet wide.

Thanks for looking and I wish you all a great day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


 Our son sent these when he was walking the other day.  He knows we enjoy photos says I with a smile.  One or the other of us will say, "Oh, you're going walking?  Don't forget to take photos!"  

But, he enjoys taking photos of the sights he sees as much as we do ours.  We are very grateful and I asked if I could share these on the blog today.
This flower is a Plumed Cockscomb like the one I shared from the garden, only his is a bright red.
Loved them, thank you son!

Thanks for stopping by and have a very enjoyable day.

Monday, September 21, 2020


It was a chilly day when we made this soup.  I felt cold in the house and grabbed a cardigan.  The day called out for a nice hot soup, and I have had this one on my list for quite a while.  It came from a food blog called Cooking Classy hosted by Jaclyn, and her original recipe can be found here.  Thank you Jaclyn for a delicious soup.  We gave it a ten out of ten.

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Servings: 4

Calories: approximately 497 per serving

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes


2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced carrots (about 2 large)
6 green onions, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
4 garlic cloves , minced
2 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper
6 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce , or more to taste
2 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha 
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 cups slightly packed chopped Napa cabbage
6 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 (4.3 oz) package dry ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
1/2 cup chopped cilantro


Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add carrots and sauté 3 minutes, then add green onions, garlic and ginger and sauté 2 minutes longer, set aside.

Cover chicken with plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness, using the flat side of a meat mallet. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Season both sides of chicken lightly with salt and pepper, then add to pot and cook until browned on both sides, about 2-1/2 minutes per side.

Pour in chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sriracha and sesame oil, then pour carrot mixture into soup mixture.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until chicken has cooked through (center should register 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer), about 5 - 7 minutes.

Remove chicken breasts from soup and transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes then cut into strips.

Meanwhile, stir in sugar, cabbage and mushrooms and return soup to a boil.

Add noodles and cook 3 - 5 minutes longer until noodles are tender. Stir in chicken.

Serve warm sprinkled with cilantro.

Nutrition Facts
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 493

If you enjoy Asian dishes with a little bit of heat (you can add as much or as little sriracha as you want) I can recommend this one highly.  It was delicious!   

An egg roll on the side would be a nice addition next time.

We made a few changes using what we had on hand, a regular green cabbage for the Napa.

White button mushrooms instead of the crimini.

It calls for 6-1/2 cups of chicken broth but we added two large cartons which worked out to 8 cups.  We both like extra broth.

We had a different brand of Ramen Noodles in the pantry, which worked out well.   

The chopped cilantro added to the soup at the table was nice.  I mixed it right into the soup before eating.  Next time we would like to use Thai basil, as we like it even more than cilantro.  I read once that if you can’t get Thai basil, mint is often substituted. 

That's about it.  Another very enjoyable soup that has gone into our make-again folder.

Friday, September 18, 2020


Continuing from my previous post of our walk - you can find Part 1 here - in the photo below we are looking back at the front of the house.  There is a gift shop and tea room inside.  We haven't had a meal there yet, but it is on our list when things start getting back to normal.

This is the same house that we had walked behind.  The people who owned this home must have enjoyed their large garden at the back.  It is a very large grassy area and is edged with beds of pretty plants and flowers.

I didn't know whether the fruits were edible or ornamental from the Red Date tree, but from what I read they are edible.  However, there is no way I would eat one without the advice of an expert.  It is the first time we have been here where the fruit has been visible.
I have enjoyed finding out their names, always looking for a marker first and then using my plant app.  If I am not convinced of an ID I will research them on line.  A fun activity when I get home as I go through the photos.
In one of my previous posts there were hundreds of these pods that had dried up and dropped onto the ground.  I am sharing that photo again below.  I checked on line and there is a site that sells 800 of them for $55 dollars.  People use them for crafts, ornament making, wreathes and more practically as a mulch.
The dried pod photo was taken when we were here in February of this year.  Here's what they looked like when we were at the garden the other day.
I am very happy to be able to see the butterflies before the colder months.  There were also a lot of bees around.  I feel the same about them.  Two of the many things in nature that I enjoy.
The first time I saw a Peruvian Lily was in a birthday bouquet Gregg gave me the first year we were married.  I am drawn to them every time now and am very sentimental about this pretty flower.
What an interesting name for a plant.  Its other names are Button Eryngo, Button Snakeroot, Beargrass or Bear's Grass.  Its scientific name is Eryngium yuccifolium.
The bushes were overflowing with these bright red berries.  They attract songbirds, cedar waxwings, cardinals, blue jays and many other back yard birds, and they feast on the berries in late autumn.  They are poisonous for humans and can be mildly hallucinogenic for the birds.
These Rice-paper leaves are very large and can grow up to 20 inches.  It produces white flowers which the birds are very attracted to.  It is a shrub or small tree of the ginseng family, and is native to southern China and Taiwan.  It is the source of rice paper.  The central tissues of the stem are split and pressed into thin sheets used for surgical dressings and as watercolor paper.  Fascinating what you find out isn't it?
I still have a few more flowers but I am winding down this post now, with a promise that I will share others as time goes on.  
A lovely path behind a vegetable garden.  I like to take it every time I come here.
Here's my doggy fix!  Such a cute four legged friend having a walk with his family.
This little chap was making his way along the fence near the children's garden.
And we were very happy to find a Goldfinch before we left the garden.  
Gregg and I both enjoy taking photos when we are at Green Spring.  I have identified his by providing a watermark at the bottom.

I hope you have enjoyed Part 2 of our walk.  

Take good care of yourselves out there and I wish you all a very happy weekend.