Thursday, July 29, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
It was the most darling, comical sight as we watched this family of ducks heading our way. There were six juveniles with no parent in sight. I don't know enough about them to know at what age they are left on their own.
Behold the duck,
It does not cluck,
A cluck it lacks.
It is especially fond
Of a puddle or pond.
When it dines or sups,
It bottoms ups.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
We arrived just after 9.00 a.m. and walked through the wood that takes us to the boardwalk. The boardwalk crosses the marsh area. All we had to do was follow the photographers. There were those heading out of the park, and I asked one lady if she had seen the Spoonbills. She had and told me to look for the other photographers.
The birds were not close but Gregg got great photos and we were very happy with them. We saw several photographers with longer lenses than we had, and their photos are probably the ones we have been seeing on Instagram. There was another line of long lenses behind me as I took this photo.
Thanks for looking and I hope the rest of your week is a great one.
Monday, July 26, 2021
I subscribe to Yeung Man Cooking on YouTube, and enjoy his easy and pleasant cooking style. Tonight (7-25-21) we put together one of his meals adding a few changes to suit pantry supply and also cooking tastes. You can see his delicious version at this link.
Angel Hair Pasta (we used 1/2 of a 16 ozs. box)
1 14 oz. container of extra firm Tofu
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 to 2 inch piece of ginger, chopped fine
1 head of broccoli cut into small florets
14 ozs. container of extra firm tofu
1 teaspoon potato starch (you can substitute cornstarch)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (can be plant based)
1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Drizzle of olive oil
We added the following:
1 whole onion, sliced
1 whole zucchini, sliced
1 tablespoon of Chili Crisp
After draining the tofu when you remove it from its container, wrap a clean kitchen towel around it (or paper towels). Add a heavy-ish pan on the top so that it safely rests without falling off. Leave for half an hour, replacing the wet towel with dry ones if necessary. The more water you can squeeze out, the crispier it will be when you fry the tofu.
When it is dry slice into bite-size cubes.
Put the cornstarch in a bowl and add the tofu, stirring until it is thoroughly coated. Set aside for a few minutes.
Somewhere in all this, heat your water to boiling for the angel hair pasta.
Finely chop the garlic and ginger.
Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces, and prepare the other vegetables also.
To make the sauce add to a bowl the potato starch and 1/4 cup water. Mix together. Next add the oyster sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, maple syrup and 1 heaping tablespoon of Chili Crisp, depending on how much heat you like. We didn't find it all that hot after adding it. If you don't have the Chili Crisp you can add chili flakes from out of your spice cabinet, or not if you don’t want hot and spicy. Stir the sauce to mix thoroughly.
Heat up a nonstick pan to medium heat. Drizzle in the olive oil. If you have another oil you prefer you can use that as long as it has a relatively high smoking point (you can read here for advice on that).
Shake excess cornstarch off the tofu and add it to the pan. Depending on how brown and crispy you like your tofu, you can cook it anywhere from a few minutes up to 12 minutes, depending how hot your element gets and how crispy you like your tofu. We are into extra crispy so it was around twelve minutes, but we turned the pieces over after each side became brown.
When done to your liking carefully take the tofu out, put it in a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan add a little oil if needed, and cook the broccoli, onions, zucchini, garlic and ginger, stirring the veggies to combine. Cook on medium heat about 4 minutes.
Start cooking your pasta according to the directions on the box. Our angel hair pasta only takes 4-1/2 minutes before it becomes al dente.
Add the tofu back into the veggies, along with the sauce. After stirring for about 10 seconds add 1/4 cup of water and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Carefully drain your pasta when it is cooked. Use a plate or a bowl and arrange your pasta and tofu mixture to whatever pleases your eye.
Sliced green onions would have been nice but I didn't have any. I did put a good dash of Furikaki on the top, which is my popular go-to at the moment.
We have leftovers so no cooking tomorrow, and I know it is going to taste even better.
Friday, July 23, 2021
I have shared this before but I think it is worth repeating, especially now. Just in case you didn't see it last time, here is a favorite of mine by Wendell Berry. I thank Mr. Berry for his beautiful poem.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
We have learned that there are Roseate Spoonbills visiting Huntley Meadows, one of our favorite places we visit during the year. There have been several photos local photographers have taken of them and shared on our local website. I am not sure whether we will be able to get out there before they move on, and keeping fingers crossed! In all the years we have been going to Huntley Meadows, this is the only time we have heard of them visiting.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
At the end of June before it go too hot, we were eager for a trip to Skyline Drive because, like so many places we have put on hold, it had been well over a year since our last visit. For a while we followed and admired the Rolls Royce with its convertible top. Its driver had probably been waiting for a day like this too.
we reached the foothills in a little less than an hour.
Today was a day for driving but we did stop at a few overlooks and took in all those incredible views.
I could not pass up the opportunity to take a few photos of wildflowers. This is one I had never noticed before and is a species of Catchflies (Silene). It goes by many names: Bird’s eggs, bladder campion, blue root, bubble-poppy, cobwell, devil’s rattlebox, maiden’s tears, rattlebox, rattleweed, sea pink, snappery, white bottle, white hen, bladder silene and cowbell to name a few.
Its botanical name is Silene vulgaris and is native to Europe and western Asia but naturalized throughout southern Australia and in New Zealand. Nowadays it has been introduced in many other regions of the world, including ours. It is very popular with pollinators, a perennial that grows in Spring, Summer and Fall. Quite hardy too and it can survive in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. You can see more photos here.
Next we have Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis). It goes by many names also: Sweetclover, Yellow sweet-clover, Common melilot, Ribbed melilot, Cornilla real, Yellow melilot and Field melilot. A member of the legume family, sweet clovers are native to Europe but were brought to the United States as early as 1600 for forage and the production of honey. The above and a lot more information was found here.
Next is a Common Milkweed which I found in the middle of tall grasses. Its other names are Silkweed, Butterfly flower and Silky swallow-wort. Its botanical name is Asclepias syriaca and it is native to North America. The genus was formally described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, who named it after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. Butterflies, especially Monarchs, use milkweed to lay their eggs, and it is the only plant that the developing larvae will feed on. Monarch populations are declining, and I am hearing of more and more people planting Milkweed in their gardens to help with the Monarch's migration and ultimate survival. You can read more information about Milkweed here, and there is a very interesting YouTube on Monarchs and Milkweeds here, where you will learn how important Milkweed is to this butterfly.
One of our shorter rides up here but very enjoyable nonetheless.
Thanks for looking and enjoy your day.