Thursday, May 6, 2021


Which country produces the most coffee in the world?


Brazil is the largest coffee producer and produces around 25 percent of the world's supply of coffee.  Eighty percent of coffee from Brazil is Arabica.

Coffee was introduced in Brazil by Francisco de Mello Palheta in 1727 from Cayenne, French Guiana.  Today, Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer and is becoming a significant player in the specialty coffee industry.  Bourbon, Typica, Caturra and Mundo Nova coffee varietals are grown in the state of Paraná, Espirito Santos, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia.  More information can be read at this site.

What is the loudest animal on earth?

The Sperm Whale.

At pure decibels, the sperm whale is louder than even the blue whale because its clicks have been recorded at 230 decibels.  Sperm whales communicate at a lower frequency and a lower intensity than blue whales, and their clicks last for very short bursts.  They are often out of the human-hearing threshold.  Research has found that sperm whales seem to speak in distinct dialects.  

Not only is it the loudest but it is the whale with the biggest set of teeth.  Sperm whales have 40 to 52 cone-shaped teeth, up to 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) long in their narrow lower jaws only.  Each tooth is heavy and weighs as much as 2.20 pounds (one kilogramme).  More information can be found here

Which is the largest type of deer?

The Moose.

It is a member of the New World deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest extant species in the deer family.  Most adult male moose have distinctive broad, palmate (open-handed shape) antlers.  Most other members of the deer family have antlers with a dendritic (twig-like) configuration.  

They typically inhabit boreal forests and temperate broadleaf and mixed forest of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates.  

Its diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation.  

The most common predators of the moose are wolves, bears and humans.  Hunting and other human activities have caused a reduction in the size of the moose's range over time.  It has been reintroduced to some of its former habitats.  Currently most moose occur in Canada, Alaska, New England (with Main having the most of the lower 48 states), New York State, Fennoscandia, the Baltic states, Poland and Russia.  

Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move quickly if angered or startled, especially and obviously so when their young are nearby. 

There is more information if you would like to look at this link.

What is the softest mineral in the world?


First of all, the name talc is believed to be derived from the Arabic world talc or tolk meaning mica, since talc forms mica-like flames.  The present name was given by Georgius Agricola in 1564.  

This is what a block of talc looks like.

Talc is a silicate (like many of Earth's most common minerals).  Silicate is a salt in which the anion contains both silicon and oxygen.  In addition to silicon and oxygen, it contains magnesium and water arranged into sheets in its crystal structure.  For all these terms that may be unfamiliar to us, I have provided links on each word.  

The following is a standard scale I found here, to determine the hardness of solids, especially minerals. It is named after the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs. The scale reads as given below:

1. Talc: easily scratched by the fingernail

2. Gypsum: just scratched by the fingernail.

3. Calcite: scratches and is scratched by a copper coin.

4. Fluorite: not scratched by a copper coin and does not scratch glass

5. Apatite: just scratches glass and is easily scratched by a knife

6. Orthoclase: easily scratches glass and is just scratched by a file

7. Quartz: not scratched by a file

8. Topaz

9. Corundum

10. Diamond

Not sure why the last three weren't filled in.

Who invented the first robot?

Leonardo Da Vinci.

With his innovative, engineering mind, Leonardo had many ideas that employed the use of pulleys, weights and gears.  Certainly these three components were crucial to many of his automated inventions - including his versions of the clock, air conditioner and hydraulic power saw. He also invented a self-propelled cart invention, which many consider the very first robot. But da Vinci used the parts to create another robot, his Robotic Knight. Though a full drawing of his robotic knight has never been recovered, fragments detailing different parts of the knight have been found scattered throughout his notebooks. Designed for a pageant in Milan (which the Duke had put Leonardo in charge of overseeing), the Robotic Knight consisted of a knight suit filled with gears and wheels that were connected to an elaborate pulley and cable system. Through these mechanisms, da Vinci's robotic knight was capable of independent motion - sitting down, standing up, moving its head and lifting its visor. Using several different da Vinci drawings as blueprints, roboticist Mark Rosheim built a prototype of the robotic knight in 2002, which was able to walk and wave. Rosheim noted how da Vinci had designed the robotic knight to be easily constructed, without a single unnecessary part. Rosheim also used da Vinci's designs as inspiration for robots to be developed for NASA.

A few more interesting facts about Leonardo. He was purported to have an IQ of 200.

When writing notes about his work, Da Vinci wrote from right to left as in a mirror image.  However, when he wrote letters to acquaintances, he wrote in the normal fashion. 

He didn't have a formal education.

He started his apprenticeship at 15.

He was fascinated by the human body.

He was a man of great curiosity, a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer, sculptor and painter.  He is best known for his Mona Lisa.  

Mona Lisa, La Gioconda, was a real person, born and raised in Florence under the name of Lisa Gherardini.


How many missions have landed on the moon?


Luna 2 of the Soviet Union was the first spacecraft to reach its surface successfully, on September 13th, 1959.  In 1966 Luna 9 became the first spacecraft to achieve a controlled soft landing, while Luna 10 because the first mission to enter orbit.

Between 1968 and 1972, crewed missions to the Moon were conducted by the United States as part of the Apollo program.  Apollo 8 was the first  United States as part of the Apollo programApollo 8 was the first crewed mission to enter orbit in December 1968, and it was followed by Apollo 10 in May 1969. Six missions landed men on the Moon, beginning with Apollo 11 in July 1969, during which Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. Apollo 13 was intended to land; however, it was restricted to a flyby due to a malfunction aboard the spacecraft. All nine crewed missions returned safely to the Earth.

While the United States focused on the crewed Apollo program, the Soviet Union conducted uncrewed missions that deployed rovers and returned samples to the Earth. Three rover missions were launched, of which two were successful, and eleven sample return flights were attempted with three successes.

Missions to the Moon have been conducted by the following nations and entities (in chronological order): the Soviet Union, the United States, Japan, the European Space Agency, China, India, Luxembourg and IsraelThe Moon has also been visited by five spacecraft not dedicated to studying it; four spacecraft have flown past it to gain gravity assistance, and a radio telescope, Explorer 49, was placed into selenocentric orbit in order to use the Moon to block interference from terrestrial radio sources.  

In astronomy, lunar orbit (also known as a selenocentric orbit) is the orbit of an object around the Moon. As used in the space program, this refers not to the orbit of the Moon about the Earth, but to orbits by various manned or unmanned spacecraft around the Moon.

Thank you for looking at this month's quiz and I hope you have enjoyed it.  Have a great weekend.

(My horse picture today was taken in Williamsburg in 2015)

Wednesday, May 5, 2021


Which country produces the most coffee in the world?

What is the loudest animal on earth?

Which is the largest type of deer?

What is the softest mineral in the world?

Who invented the first robot?

How many missions have landed on the moon?

Thank you so much for joining in this month.  I enjoy trivia and as I have mentioned before, no pressure and all for the fun of learning, or refreshing our memory.  

(I took a photo of this pretty horse on Dartmoor National Park, Devon, England, in the Spring of 2015)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021



So small, so blue, in grassy places

My flowers raise

Their tiny faces.

By streams my bigger sisters grow

And smile in gardens

in a row.

I've never seen a garden plot;

But though I'm small

Forget me not!

~Author Unknown~

Monday, May 3, 2021


I couldn’t get my blackberry popsicle photo to look that pretty, but it was very tasty.  Truthfully I didn't spend much time trying as the creative side of my brain was a bit tired.  Next time I will at least fill the container to the top.  Maybe that will make it look better, but then maybe my OCD is showing!  

We enjoy the occasional dessert, and always looking for something that will satisfy the sweet tooth and also be healthier.  With organic fresh blackberries and yogurt ice-cream, and only 2 tablespoons sugar divided 6 ways, it seemed that it fit with what we were looking for.  It is 126 calories for each popsicle.  

With the warmer days I thought it would be nice to make this recipe found at All Recipes.  

From prep time to finish it took about 3 hours and 30 minutes.  The 3 hours is required for freezing, the rest is preparation time.  It makes 6 ice pops. 

Fresh Blackberries and Cream Ice Pops

8 ounces fresh blackberries

2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt, softened

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 6-piece ice pop molds


Place the blackberries into a blender or food processor. Cover and puree until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the blackberry puree through a fine sieve placed over a large bowl to strain out the seeds.  

Add the softened frozen yogurt and sugar to the strained blackberry puree and mix well.

Pour into ice pop molds, and freeze for at least 3 hours.

What did we think?  Gregg liked them so much he put another container of blackberries on the shopping list.  

I will try strawberries or another fruit some time.  Peaches may be good also.  Not sure if you would have to strain strawberries or raspberries, maybe. 

I was amazed at how many seeds there were in 8-ounces of blackberries, but I believe it was a necessary part of the process to make them so smooth.  I had to press the seeds through the sieve with a wooden spoon, but next time to speed up this part of the process I will use the bottom of a cup or small bowl, at least something with a larger surface.  For me it was a bit time consuming as I didn't do them that far in advance to drain them slowly.  If you have better ideas let me know.  

When filling the molds a small funnel might come in handy.  I managed with one of my measuring cups but it was a bit tricky and I had a damp towel handy.

Once frozen and to remove the popsicle from the container more easily, I ran it under warm/hot water for a few seconds.  Try to remove gently and if they don't budge easily, repeat.

If you click here the link will take you to similar molds I used.  I bought mine at a local store a few years ago.

If you have any additional thoughts, please feel free to let me know in the comment section.  I always enjoy new ideas.

I might leave the sugar out next time to see if it makes a difference.  

I found another version of the popsicle here that uses Greek yogurt and milk, and would like to give their recipe a try too.

Thanks for checking out this week's recipe, bon appétit and enjoy your day!

Friday, April 30, 2021



"She doesn't burn bridges, she covers them in gypsy flowers and feather kisses, then strolls along her merry way.  Too heavy to carry grudges, she leaves love and hope droplets wherever she goes."

~Melody Lee, Moon Gypsy~

Thursday, April 29, 2021


Yesterday I shared my Niece's photos of her pet sheep.  I will have more of them soon but today I wanted to show you a few she took on a trail near their home.

This pretty wildflower looks like Mountain wood-sorrel.  It is a shade-loving species that thrives best at higher elevations.  Other names for it include wood shamrock and white wood sorrel.  I am not 100 percent certain as I am not sure about German wildflowers.  If anyone who lives there knows its ID, I would be grateful for help.  I will also ask my Niece next time we chat.

This is wild garlic. She said they took some home and had it in a dip for dinner.  She is an excellent cook, and no doubt in my mind it was delicious.

It looks like a lovely trail and the felled tree makes for an interesting shot.

This looks like Grape hyacinth, scientific name Muscari neglectum.
The bee seems to love it!

Always interesting sights to take photos of on a walk.  With thanks again to my lovely Niece for letting me share these photos.

Thanks for looking and enjoy your day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


 Today's collection of photos come from my dear niece in Germany.  She has a small flock of pet sheep, and two newborn lambs were added to their number today. Thank you My Sweet for letting me share these.  I will have a few more tomorrow, of those she and her husband took on one of their local trails.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


 We are getting ready to plant a few new flowers.  With this in mind we visited one of our local garden centers, our first of the year.  

Bear greeted us inside with a request for all customers to wear their masks.  It's a different world but everyone seems to be very good about it, happy to say.

I checked out all the knickknacks first.  

The bears didn't go home with me but one of these plant pots did, the one in the middle.  I needed a new one and I liked the design.

This prettily painted slate had the garden's name on it, but I decided to replace it with a positive quote.

Thought these were cute little guys.  They said they were all hanging in there.

Liked the wind chimes and the basket.

The cat was looking up at the birds?

There are fairy gardens everywhere, my favorite being the one at Meadowlark Gardens.  I look forward to going there again, hopefully soon.

I get in touch with my inner child around Fairy Gardens.

They appeal to my whimsical side.

These are Foam Flowers.  I saw them as I was leaving the garden center.

Forgot to take note where I read this, but it said: "Foam flowers form clumps  with its lobed, evergreen foliage; it spreads by underground stems or rhizomes, although the eastern American species, T. cordifolia, commonly called the heartleaf foam flower, also expands via above-ground runners (otherwise known as stolons).  The leaves come in an array of colors and patterns thanks to the diverse varietals and hybrids on the market, and in some of these they change color in fall or winter.  In spring Toiarella raises lovely blooming stalks of little white or pinkish flowers.  When in bloom, this otherwise ground-hugging plant commonly stands between one and two feet tall.  It makes a very attractive ground cover."

The next photo shows the Cherry Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus: Common Laurel.  It was growing in front of the building.  It is an evergreen shrub that will tolerate shade and produces dainty white sweet-smelling flowers in the spring.  
It is fast growing and also lures birds with its cherry-like red fruits, which turn black in maturity.  But, one thing to know about it is that though it emits a pleasing fragrance of almonds when its leaves are crushed, it contains hydrogen cyanide, a poison if ingested in large quantities.  I found my information and much more at this website.

Next to the Cherry Laurel was the Japanese Maple.  It still had quite a display of daffodils in front.

How sweet the daffodil, its sunlight hew calls out,
"Notice me, I am joy!"
~Author Unknown~

We came home with the plant pot, two Hellebore plants and a Coneflower.  I am trying to decide where to put them in our garden.  We have a lot of shade for the Hellebores.  Has anyone ever had them in their garden?  Any tips?  I would be very appreciative for any help!  

I also saw a shelf of honey from a local apiary.  I can now scratch that off my shopping list.  

That's all from our trip to the Garden Center.

Monday, April 26, 2021


My Dear Other Half was out of the house for an hour the other day, and I decided to surprise him with a new recipe for supper on his return. The recipe came from Damn Delicious hosted by Chungah. I have used her recipes before and they have always turned out great.  You can view the original here.  There are many great recipes on her food blog, and her photos always draw me in.  

I am starting off with one of my notes at the beginning of the post instead of leaving it until the end. I wanted to mention the cooking time in case you made it before reading my 'what did we think of this recipe' section below.  I also read many comments under the original recipe and several people had the same issue.  I found that 20-25 minutes wasn't long enough to cook the dough in the center of the dish.  The top got beautifully browned though.  I put it in for an extra 15 minutes and it turned out great.  Next time I will cover the top with aluminum foil the last 10 to 15 minutes cooking time (to stop that nice, golden crust from getting burned).  I am always aware that individual oven temperatures vary quite a lot, so I would advise you keep an eye on it towards the end and be your own judge.  This is only a guideline.

All that being said I was very happy with the way it turned out and we both enjoyed it a whole lot.  Yes, we will be making it again.  It was very yummy!

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Pinwheels

Serves: 8

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

2 (8-ounce) tubes crescent rolls

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Lightly oil a pie plate or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl combine artichoke hearts, spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder and onion powder; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in mozzarella and Parmesan.

Unroll crescent rolls, pressing perforations to seal into approximately a 13×18-inch rectangle. (Denise's note: I actually kept the two pieces separate as they seemed easier to work with.  I could probably do with more practice in this technique.)

Top with artichoke mixture and spread out evenly to the edges.

Starting at the shortest side, roll up, pressing the edges to seal.

Cut in eighths. Place cut side down onto the prepared pie plate. Brush with egg.

Place into oven and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes (or longer if needed).

Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

What did we think of this recipe?  Very yummy!  It was hard not to eat the whole plate!  

I can't say I followed the number of pieces cut from each rolled crescent dough.  Mine were about an inch wide.  Also my pie plate is on the larger side and I managed to squeeze in all the 'rounds'.  

When I read the comments at the end of the original recipe, a couple of people suggested cooking them in individual muffin tins.  Seemed a good idea as I believe this is supposed to be an appetizer and they would go further.  (We cut pie shaped wedges as we had it for our main course). 

A commenter at the site also said this was like a spinach and artichoke dip in pastry.

Commenters also served theirs with tomato soup, which I thought would be a nice pairing.  I would love to hear any suggestions you might choose for yourself.

This is a vegetarian meal but someone who also lives under this roof suggested it would go very nicely with chicken added, cooked then shredded or diced.  

There are leftovers for for the next couple of days.  

This would be good served up for brunch.

Also if you prefer to make your own crescent rolls, there is a copycat recipe here.

Thank you for looking and enjoy your week.

Friday, April 23, 2021


Continuing our walk, I met this young lady and as she could see that I was so taken with her 'back-to-front backpack' that she stopped to have a chat.  There was a compartment - air holes - and inside was her cat lying down very comfortably.  I had never seen one of these before but perhaps if you have a furry-family member, maybe you have.  I found a similar one here on Amazon.  

A great way of taking her cat along and not have to worry about her while she was away.  Not sure it would be a good idea when the weather got hot and humid, but she had so much love for her cat that I doubt she would do that.  Such a nice young lady and one of those pleasant interludes you get on walks occasionally.

We return to our walk by Bull Run, and found the Spring Beauty and Wild Violets, which I mentioned more descriptively here in my post from a previous visit to Green Spring Gardens.  These violets are a darker purple.

Spring Beauty

The following is a Trout Lily.  The name comes from the plant's mottled leaves, which look like the markings on a brook trout.  It is also known as the Dogtooth violet or Adder's tongue.

Some Trout Lily colonies are 200 to 300 years old.

I had such a surprise when I looked at the next picture on my laptop.  I found more Dutchmen's Breeches.  I apparently was so focused on the Bluebells and the Trout Lilies and the Spring Beauty, that I didn't notice those little white flowers in front and on the right hand side of the tree trunk. Rolling eyes to the skies here.

In the next photo you can see hubs pointing across Bull Run, telling me that there are a whole lot more Bluebells on the other side.  Hard to get to though, we don't know a way to get across.  I asked how deep it was and was met with raised eyebrows, oh no, nope, nope, nope!  I was joking, sort of but the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill, or in this case Bull Run.  I was hoping for some stepping stones but had to admit to myself that my hopping-across-the-river-on-the-ever-so-slick-stepping-stone days are done, at least until my next life time.  

And there were plenty of Bluebells on this side of the river.

In the photo below I was staring at what I recently discovered was a Bagworm cocoon.  You can just make it out hanging from a branch at the bottom and between the two tree trunks on the left.

Here's a closer view.  I am used to seeing tent moths in the area, but these are relative new to me and I have only ever noticed them once before on a walk at Chinn Ridge in Manassas.  You can read all about them at this website if interested in such things.  A very destructive little critter!

And talking about critters, I am not sure what this type of ant is.  He was scurrying along near my feet and I didn't see any companions.  I would say he was about half an inch long.  My cell phone impressed me that I could take this photo of the ant.  He was moving fast!

At last we are at the end of our walk.  Hubs had taken a seat on the bridge, grinning and patiently waiting for me as I focused on everything around me.

It is good to be getting out and about again.

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by. I will be back on Monday.

Stay safe, stay happy and stay healthy.