Friday, January 29, 2021


I have been busy going through our ornaments and have packed them away for next year.  There was one of the United States Capitol.   I bought it several years ago when we took a relative who was visiting at the time.  

I felt the need to share it today.  This isn’t meant to be anything political.  Like many of us, no matter which camp we pitch our tent in, what happened there a few weeks ago saddened me greatly. 

I hold it sacred having been there many times during my married life, and each time learning more of its history.  

I thought I would share some of that history of how the Dome came to be.  The following is printed on the back of the box.  

“The United States Capitol Dome may be the most famous building in the nation. It is a fitting adornment for the building it crowns, so familiar and dignified, that it seems surprising that its design and construction came late in the Capitol’s architectural evolution. On December 16th, 1854, Architect of the Capitol Extension, Thomas U. Walter, hung in his office a drawing of the Capitol as it would appear once the extensions were finished, but without the existing wooden copper-covered Bulfinch dome.  Instead the drawing showed a new much larger cast-iron dome with columns, pilasters, brackets, scores of windows and a crowning statue. While it was only a suggestion of what a new dome might look like, the drawing caused an immediate sensation among congressmen and senators who visited office.  Within 10 weeks, without committee hearings and after little debate, the House of Representatives appropriated $100,000 to begin construction of a new Capitol Dome.  The Senate agreed a few days later, and President Franklin Pierce signed the legislation on March 3rd, 1855.

The marble used for this ornament was taken from the steps to the wing occupied by the House of Representatives.  From 1865, when they were installed, until 1995, more than 9,000 members of Congress trod these east front steps, leaving footprints of history. Having become dangerously worn and uneven, the steps were removed in 1995, and the U.S. Capitol Historical Society has been permitted to use a portion of the removed marble, which is crushed to a fine powder and combined with resin, to create this memento. 

Congress chartered The United States Capitol Society to educate the public about the nation’s history of the Capitol and Congress.  The funds from this purchase support educational programs as scholarly seminars and publications.  Your purchase also allows the Society to acquire and donate items to the collection of Capitol art, artifacts and historical documents.  Your membership in and patronage of the Society is appreciated.”

I had forgotten about the little piece of the Capitol hanging on our tree, and I feel blessed to have it there.  

Thank you for stopping by.  I wish you all peace and a very happy and healthy weekend and week ahead. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


 when I saw Goldfinches back at our feeders.  It had been a long time since I had seen them, several years in fact.  I would see them at other places in the area but not in the garden.  

This sock is full of thistle seed and even though I have used them before, this one has been the most popular one ever.   So here you go, all the goings on in our back garden.

Way too fuzzy but I cropped the photo from above.  I cropped quite a few of these shots.

It seemed to be that there was a lot of territorial claiming at first.  Now I only see a single pair at the feeder.

This male house finch came one time, I haven't seen him back.
I enjoyed sharing these again and if you remember them I hope you will feel the same way.
I will have more of my sister-in-law's birds to share soon, but I have used my computer sparingly these last few days, and have not had the time to do a decent post.  

Thank you for stopping by 
and enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, January 25, 2021


                                   (photo from

I forgot to take a photo of the meal I made with this sauce, so borrowed the photo from Pixababy.  It is very close.  

I was looking for an Asian stir-fry sauce for a vegetable dish we were putting together.  I found this recipe on The Spruce Eats.  It was written by Liv Wan.  This is a very fast recipe and can be ready to use in 15 minutes.  I always recommend you taking a look at the original recipe for the great tips given, and for the photos, plus other delicious recipes to try.  

We mixed our sauce into a simple pork, green onion and bok-choy stir-fry.

Chinese Brown Sauce - serves 2 

3/4 cup beef broth

1 1/4 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (look for the dark as it adds a rich flavor)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour, or potato starch)


Add the broth, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch to a saucepan.

Mix evenly and make sure there are no lumps of cornstarch.

Bring it to a boil while stirring and simmer until the sauce reaches the desired thickness. 

Use immediately in your favorite stir-fry or other dish.


Recipe Variations

Chicken broth version: Combine 1 cup chicken broth (or chicken stock), 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or potato starch) in a saucepan.

Mix evenly and make sure there are no lumps. Bring to a boil and keep stirring during cooking. Simmer until the sauce reaches the thickness you like.

Add 1 finely chopped garlic clove

Add 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Add chili sauce or chili oil if you'd like your brown sauce spicy

Liv Wan's comments:

"Is Chinese Brown Sauce Healthy?

Chinese brown sauce is low calorie, making it a decently healthy choice when saucing your stir-fries. 

It does not contain much in the ways of vitamins or nutrients. 

To reduce the sodium, use low-sodium beef broth and soy sauce.

Because brown sauce contains cornstarch it is not appropriate for a keto diet.

Is Hoisin Sauce the Same as Brown Sauce?

Hoisin sauce is a flavorful condiment made of a variety of ingredients depending on the maker. Hoisin is often made with soybeans, garlic, chili, sugar, and spices. Brown sauce is a slightly thinner, simpler sauce that is broth-based. It has a less complex flavor than hoisin sauce."

What we did think?  This is a good brown sauce and was just what we needed for our stir-fry.  We found it a bit bland to our food tastes.  If you like it relatively bland then it would be perfect.  We thought we would add the garlic and ginger next time, also some hot Chile paste to give it a bit of a kick.

The address below will take you straight to the recipe.  

Here is the link in case the one above doesn't work.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week.

Friday, January 22, 2021



(photo from Pixabay)

A quote I learned recently when looking and reading how the design came together for our new First Lady's Inaugural gown.  I look forward to seeing it at the Smithsonian National History Museum in Washington DC one day, where it will be on display with all the other First Ladies Gowns.  (The post I shared about our last visit to that exhibit can be seen here if you missed it.)

This wonderful quote is hand-embroidered in the gown's lining.  Mrs. Biden is a teacher and still intends to teach even now. The quote struck me as very profound and reads as follows:

"Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn."

From Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin.

Thursday, January 21, 2021


 A study in Brown Pelicans for you today.  I love watching them skim along the shore, and I thought Gregg's sister's photographs were fabulous.

Here are some facts about them.

Brown pelicans are the only species to dive into the water from 9 m (30 ft) above to capture prey. After catching the prey and a lot of water, they tip their bill downward to drain the water before swallowing the fish.

While brown pelicans are known for diving, they will never be deep divers due to the extensive system of subcutaneous air-sacs that give them their buoyancy in the water.

The pelican's pouch (gular pouch) is used as a dip net to catch fish, which are soon swallowed into the stomach (the center of gravity) so that they can maintain their balance while flying.

They have an extendable sac of skin at the base of their throat, which is capable of holding up to 11 liters (3 gallons) of water, several times more than their belly.

Most fossil species of pelican are placed in the same genus as the modern pelican due to extreme anatomical similarities. This suggests that the present form of pelican has changed very little over the past 30 to 40 million years.

The brown pelican, the smallest of the Pelecanidae family, can fly up to 48 kph (30 mph).

Its gular pouch may be used to disperse heat as well as to collect fish and rainwater.

Brown pelicans are best adapted to living alongside humans. They are frequently seen at fishing ports up and down the coast, opportunistically feeding on fish scraps discarded by fisherman.

I bring you these photos with thanks again to my sister-in-law.  Thanks for looking and enjoy the rest of your week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


I am very grateful to Gregg's sister for letting me share these.

~American Coot~

In the long grasses a White Ibis and a Tricolored Heron, and let's not forget the ducky bums.  

Another Snowy Egret with Tundra Swans in the background, and an unidentified duck.

~Northern Shoveler~

I have no idea what this delightful little duck is called.  It is on the tip of my tongue but an extensive search of dozens of photos online has not revealed what it is. You've been so generous letting me know the ID's of these birds, so I am hoping you will be able to let me know.  Thanks so much!
Additional note: with thanks to Eileen and Ginny, I have an ID for our bird.  It is a Pied-billed Grebe.  Thank you so much Ladies, I appreciate your help very much.

Every post for the rest of this week I will be sharing more photos taken by my sister-in-law, and I would like to thank her again for letting me do that.  It has been a great pleasure to look at the birds she has been sharing.  You can click on the names to take you to more information.

Monday, January 18, 2021


Another soup recipe for you.  It comes from Lauren at Taste of Home, and you can find the link here.

Easy Minestrone Soup

Makes 11 servings at 180 calories per cup 
Total preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

2 large carrots, diced

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cans (8 ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage

1 tablespoon dried basil

1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni

11 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté the carrots, celery and onion in oil and butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, cabbage, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper. 

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Add macaroni; cook, uncovered, 6-8 minutes or until macaroni and vegetables are tender (look at directions on the packet for time).

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.

Freeze option: Before adding cheese, freeze cooled soup in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary.  (Since making this soup we have already eaten a portion that I had put in the freezer and after thawing it overnight and adding more broth, it heated up very nicely in a pan on the stovetop.  I served it that time with the biscuits from this recipe, changing the chopped chilies to thinly sliced green onions.)  

At the website underneath the recipe, several suggestions and recipes are given to go with this soup, such as Basil-tomato grilled cheese sandwiches.  Plain old grilled cheese would be nice too.  I haven't checked out the others listed but will before I make this next time.  A green salad would be good.  It is such a hardy soup we ate it on its own that first time.  

You can look at all the tips for this recipe if you visit their site at the link above.

We used two large cartons (4 cup size each) of reduced sodium broth.  You can use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian.

We grated Parmesan cheese over the soup.

I made sure to double up on this recipe as we froze half of it.  It is nice to have those days when we don't want to fuss much in the kitchen, and feel like a nice hot soup. 

Here is the address if you can't get the link to work.

All in all, another great soup for our make again folder.

Thanks for looking and Bon Appetit!

Thursday, January 14, 2021


"When you're sad my Little Star, go out of doors.  It's always better underneath the open sky."

~Eva Ibbotson~
A Countess Below Stairs.

I hope you find an open sky that gives you peace and joy.
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


All my photos are from my 2016.  With everything going on in our world, I hope these bring a smile to you today.  

There are all kinds of names for purple Asters.  I couldn't fit these with one particular name.  Therefore I am naming them 'Purple Asters'.

Licoris radiata 'Fire Engine'

Chelone lyonii 'Turtlehead'

Helianthus Sunflower