Monday, May 31, 2021


I made this recipe - found here at - for the first time on Saturday, September 8th, 2014.  We were heading out to the Shenandoah Mountains for a Sunday road trip along Skyline Drive. I thought it would be nice to take along a simple picnic, and made the chicken the night before. We found an overlook and a nice stone wall that served as seats and table, with an overlook of the Shenandoah Valley.  There was no one else the whole time we had our picnic.  The ice-chest between us, a more perfect setting we couldn't have found that day, and the chicken tasted great along with a glass of ice-cold, bubbly water.  A simple but very tasty recipe.

Baked Chicken Thighs - serves 4

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a skillet, remove from heat and mix in the mustard.

On a plate combine the fresh breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Dip chicken into the butter/mustard mixture and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure chicken is well coated.

Place the chicken in a 9 inch by 13 inch baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.  (Note: if you use the legs with the thigh connected, use more time to cook.)

What did we think of this recipe?  Very yummy and it was good hot or cold.  

We took half in the ice-chest for our picnic and had the other half for dinner later that evening.  I added a grilled tomato and egg noodles. Fast, easy and very tasty.

No changes this time and stuck to the recipe.

Sunday, May 30, 2021


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

From Laurence Binyon's poem 
written in September 1914.

Thursday, May 27, 2021


As I have mentioned before, my niece has a small flock of pet sheep.  She has been very sweet letting me share her photos on my blog.  I am always very thankful to her.  Here are a few she sent me.  There will be more.

I have seen children with expressions such as these.  We are all connected.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021



"I'm very happy being me, although sometimes I'd love to be a bird so that I could fly.

Joy Fielding was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on March 18th, 1945.  She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


I am sharing our Son's cicadas.  It has been determined by his parents (us of course), that he and our Daughter-in-law definitely have more in their area than we do around our home.  

(These are ones where all you see are their molted outer shell.)

We have a few in comparison but I suppose it's early days yet.  If I sound disappointed I am not.  We have trees in our yard but their home backs onto a wood.  We exchange photos via text from our trips out, even around our garden if something of interest comes up.  They enjoy walking each day and have their own interest with things in nature.  I am very happy about that.

Interesting facts about Cicadas according to this website, is that "periodical cicadas - the ones with 13 or 17 year cycles, first made an appearance in scientific literature about 300 years ago.  These cicadas are distinct from the ones that make an appearance every summer.  The periodical cicadas remain juveniles for more than a decade, until hormones kick in and turn them into adults." 

They continue to say that "there are several 'broods' or groups of these cicadas across the eastern United States.  Each brood emerges in the same year and in approximately the same geographical area - sometimes a small area, and sometimes a larger one.

Biologists have been closely following the cicadas  for centuries, and in that time have uncovered some interesting things about these insects.

Periodical cicadas only live in one area worldwide: in the United States, in areas east of the Great Plains.  These species moved there after the last glaciers began leaving the area some 18,000 years ago.  The ice would have been inhospitable to the cicadas beforehand.  You can read much more about them here.

According to the link here, cicadas live on all continents except Antarctica, and they thrive in warm environments - especially the tropics.  Therefore you will find them in Latin America, Australia, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, and South Africa hot spots.  There are more than 170 described species throughout the U.S. and Canada, and the U.S. alone is home to 15 groups (broods) of cicadas with varying life cycles.

An annual cicadas can live between two and fives years, and a periodical cicadas can live for up to 17 years in the larva stage.  That's not quite as long as queen termites which are thought to live 50 to 100 years, but it's far more impressive than the average life span of a housefly which is 15 to 30 days.  Cicadas, like most insects, live the majority of their lives in the immature stages of development.  While some can remain underground for more than a decade, they typically die only a few weeks into adulthood.

(In the above collage you will see they are in various stages of molting.  The ones on the bottom 2nd from left and first on the right, have shed.  Once their skins harden their colors change like you see in the other photos.)

Another website of interesting facts can be found here, and another here.

That's all from my Son's cicadas photos.  But I'll end up with one more photo and a video of his.  The first are wildflowers, Philadelphia fleabane.  I will share it again sometime and add more information...

and this video.  He was walking along the path and came across a deer.

You can click on the link below to take you to more fascinating photos.  It really is a fascinating phenomenon.

All for now!  Hope you have enjoyed.  I know they are not everyone's cup of tea, but this has been quite an experience for us and as I always do, I enjoyed learning about them. 

Monday, May 24, 2021


A different kind of salad for us, and there were none of the mixed greens that we normally eat.  Quinoa is not something we have had a lot of but we enjoyed it very much in today's salad.  If you go here you will be able to see the original recipe.  

Quick and Easy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Servings: 6-8


1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

½ teaspoons each salt and pepper

4 to 5 cups cooked chilled quinoa

1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled


If you have an empty jar with a lid (I keep an old pickle jar in the cupboard for this purpose), add olive oil, vinegars, lemon juice, oregano, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper to a jar or container. Put the lid on the jar and shake thoroughly to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix gently.

Just before serving, give the dressing another quick shake and pour over the salad. Mix gently to coat all ingredients. Serve immediately.


When preparing quinoa, 2 cups uncooked quinoa equates to about 4 to 5 cups cooked.

To make this a full meal, add grilled chicken or salmon and serve on top of the salad. Alternatively (if you don’t eat meat), add one can of rinsed chickpeas directly into the salad and mix together.

This makes a very nice side salad, and I also enjoyed it for lunch on its own the day after.  I would definitely make it again and perhaps add the chickpeas suggested next time.  If you take a look at the website here, you will be able to see the original recipe.  Always interesting to look at the photos and read the author's process.  Fun to look at all the other recipes she has to offer.

I thought I would add this interesting information about quinoa. You can read this and much more at the following link:

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant.

Botanically speaking, it’s not a grain. However, it’s often called a “pseudograin” because it’s similar in nutrients and eaten the same way as cereal grains.Source

Quinoa was first grown for food 7,000 years ago in the Andes. The Incas called it “the mother grain” and believed it was sacred.Trusted Source

Although it’s now grown around the world, the majority is still produced in Bolivia and Peru. It was largely unknown to the rest of the world until very recently.Source 

Since then, it has experienced a huge surge in popularity because of its high nutrient content and health benefits. It is also easy to grow in a range of conditions. 

In fact, the year 2013 was named “The International Year of Quinoa” by the UN because of its valuable qualities and potential to fight world hunger.

Quinoa is also popular because it’s a gluten-free grain. This means people with celiac disease, wheat allergies or those who avoid gluten can consume it.”

Saturday, May 22, 2021


 our son and a bit of a hodge-podge from our week.  Son came over a couple of days ago for a few hours.  I was sitting at the other side of the kitchen table while we were talking and I was drinking out of my half-pint mug.  When I got to the bottom of my glass of water I said to myself, that would make a neat photo and so here he is, an artsy one of son as taken through the bottom of the glass with my cell phone.  No I can't stop myself and my two fave guys are always so patient with my desire to record everything in our lives, even in artsy ways.  I can almost see my Dad smiling, he was the same way.

Next is a photo of my Mother's Day flowers.  They have lasted longer than I expected.  A few of the flowers are gone but most are still viable.  There were three wood lilies, and one took longer than the others to open up.  When I came downstairs a week later, this pretty bloom greeted me.

These were looking good also.  The flowers have lasted longer than usual.  I added plant food when I first got them, and fresh water every day, which is what I do with any flowers I get.  Always happy when they last this long.  They do brighten the place up.

We made a start to our planting before the heat gets too high.  Hellebores o. 'Pine Knot Select', hoping for a deep pink but I will be happy with what comes.  We also planted a couple of Pica Bella Coneflowers.

This week we will be buying more as we are trying to fill in a shady part of our garden and those frosty nights should be over by now.  The coneflowers will get more sun.  I want lots of butterflies and bees!

I was there to help out and act as gopher (go for this, go for that, you know how it is), but when Gregg asked me to get one of the tools he needed, on my way past another tree I saw a Catbird.  Yes, hubs got what he needed first as I gave him the box cutter, but I had grabbed my camera in the house and started taking photos of the bird.  I have to download them still and will post them next week sometime.  I was on call for the rest of the planting session, but I also wanted to take photos of our 17-year brood of Cicadas, which were/are everywhere.  Son took great shots near their place and has a lot more than we have.  They back onto woods.  I will share those in a few days also.  This is one I took.  Not everyone's cup of tea, but like all things in nature I find them fascinating.

I saw my first Cicada yesterday and I was wondering when we would be getting ours.  Last night we heard them singing, they were really loud!  As I walked around the garden I saw all these small holes in the dirt, and looking up there were dozens of their shed shells on the trellis.  Then I looked over at one of the hostas, one that needs to be trimmed as half of it seems to have died.  On the bare branches that needs to be removed, there were about a dozen or so shed skins.  Then I looked over at our Willow Oak and there were more on its trunk, one I saw in the process of shedding, and more like the one above climbing up the tree, there were several like that actually.  One stopped when I got close to it with my cell phone.  I hope this short video comes out as I think it is the first time I have tried loading one since blogger changed things around.  If it doesn't work I will get back to it later and see what I can do.  Gregg had just found thick tarp that had been laid about a foot down, maybe the last time we had extensive work done on that area, and he was having a really hard time cutting through it with the tools he had, even with the box cutter he had asked for.  He had to cut through it for each plant and it was hard going.  There was no way I could help and I felt exasperated for him.  The tarp was so embedded into the earth that it was impossible to pull up any large pieces.  A future project for removal!

There were lots of maple seeds lying around so had to take a photo of those.  

Next is a photo of a moth that was on the door screen when I went to let some fresh air in.  Pretty little thing but do not know what kind of moth it is.  This was also when I came downstairs first thing.  Such a pretty day today.

Someone posted the following on my neighborhood app, the same place I got my possum graphic that I posted yesterday (it is actually called an Opossum but I can't hear the 'O' sound very often).  There are a lot of animal lovers on my neighborhood app.  With the days getting hotter, it is a good reminder for the safety of our furry family members.  Even though we ourselves no longer have any pets, I still like to share these safety measures for others who do, just in case.

One of our neighbors across the street shouted hello when we were outside planting. He was walking up the hill with his dog.  I chatted to him for a while.  We both said how wonderful the weather was and I said something like it's nice to be getting back to normal, at which  he said with emphasis, oh yes it certainly is.  I asked him how his family was.  They had a baby girl not too long after they moved here and she was almost a year old already.  I was shocked.  It is hard to believe but with everything going on, not too many people have been out and about, and time has certainly marched on.  Yes, things are slowly getting back to normal.  No photos of our neighbor and his dog, but a nice memory of pleasant conversation.  
A very nice young man, and his wife and other little girl are the same way, and their dog usually comes over and says hello.

One last photo of a weekend treat.  Gregg makes the most delicious coffee milk shakes.  It is his memory from childhood.  He spent a lot of time in New England while visiting with his Mother's family.  He remembers New England milkshakes being thinner, which he prefers to this day and he makes them the New England way, at least from his memory of 60  plus years ago.  We lived in New England for about a year-and-a-half in Newport, Rhode Island.  We hadn't been married long but I don't remember what their milkshakes were like.  Have to say his are the best I have ever had.  I don't say it just because I know Gregg enjoys reading my posts, it's the truth.

A bit of a hodgepodge today and I realize I am all over the place.  This day has gone by so quickly and it's time to publish this before I put the computer away.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.  I will be back on Monday.

Thursday, May 20, 2021


It was such a beautiful day to take a walk, made even better by these picturesque surroundings.

Not far from the bridge there was another bench and we sat for a while taking it all in.  On each bench is a small plaque engraved with the name or names of persons who want to be remembered.  This was behind us.

There were also occasional reminders to slow down and enjoy nature.

I would love one of these trees in our garden.  Do you have one?  When the sunlight shone on its leaves it was gorgeous, hard to capture in a photograph.

Many of you will recognize the Japanese maple, also known as Red emperor maple, Palmate maple and Smooth japanese maple.  It's botanical name is Acer palmatum.

This kind of maple tree originated from northeast Asia.  The Japanese horticultural communities have selectively bred it for centuries and cultivated more than 1000 gardening species.  Therefore, they are often called Japanese maple, although it is also native to Korea, China, and even regions of Russia and Mongolia.  

The following photo shows a Carolina allspice, a species of Sweetshrub.  It is also known as the Bubby bush, Eastern sweetshrub, Sweet Betsy, Sweet bubby bush, Sweet shrub, Common sweetshrub and Carolina sweetshrub.  

It's botanical name is Calycanthus floridus.  It has reddish brown flowers that interestingly have a banana-strawberry fragrance. The leaves when crushed also have a very pleasant aroma.  Both these parts of the plant, the leaves and the flower, can be put into potpourris.  Even the bark exudes a pleasant smell.  

The Carolina allspice gets its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, especially cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.  I borrowed the following photo online.

It is a perennial and blooms in late spring and summer.

The blooms shown above are from the Red buckeye, also known as Scarlet buckeye, Firecracker plant, Buckeye tree and Woolly buckeye.  Its botanical name is Aesculus pavia.  This is widely planted for its beautiful flowers and these flowers are very attractive to birds and bees.
The plant is named Red buckeye for the color of the flowers, and the similarity of the seed to a deer or buck's eye.  You can see how the tree looks in my post from yesterday, the trees with the pink blooms in the fifth photo, and part of one in the foreground on the 7th of that post.

Here you can see leaves from the Ginkgo tree, also known as Maidenhair tree and Kew tree.  Its botanical name is Ginkgo biloba.

Ginkgo is a living fossil - a tree with such a long history that there are recognizable fossils dating to as much as 170 million years ago, to the Middle Jurassic period.  Ginkgo is considered one of the earliest plant species, the only living plant species in the order of Ginkgoales, which first appeared over 290 million years ago, and cultivated by humans throughout history.  It is the oldest tree species in the world.  

Referring to its other name Maidenhair tree, it was given the name maidenhair tree, in England, because the leaves look similar to the native maidenhair fern.  The word Ginkgo comes from the Chinese yinxing meaning 'silver apricot'.  The last time I remember seeing a Ginkgo tree was in Williamsburg, Virginia  There is one in the historical part of the town, on the main street.  It turns a glorious gold in the Fall.

According to my plant app “Picture This”, which is where I get most my information, this is a Norway Maple.  Also known as Great maple, Plane maple and Harlequin maple.  Its Botanical name is Acer platanoides.  It can grow to a height of 40 to 50 feet, occasionally exceeding 90 feet.  The Norway maples originate from Europe, populating from Norway towards southern Europe.  It symbolizes perseverance.  

I was very taken with the sphere sculpture below, and was happy to find the person's website who created it.  If you click here you can read how it was built.  

It is very rare that I can find info on a sculpture I like in such detail.  The person who created it is Devin Devine based in Pennsylvania.  He used Pennsylvania bluestone.  (Devin is a stone sculpture and hardscaping contractor.)

One of the things I enjoyed reading at his site was the following:

"Pennsylvania Bluestone was formed at the bottom of subterranean lakes around 360 million years ago during what is called the Devonian Period, quarried mostly in North Eastern Pennsylvania along the Pennsylvania and New York border.  It is sandstone containing feldspar and small amounts of mica.  It is called bluestone but comes in a variety of colors, depending on the mineral content."

More information on bluestone can be found at this link also.  Just scroll down a bit until you come to photo of the bluestone wall.  There is also a great diagram of how these layers formed millions of years ago.  (Information online is like a ripple in a pond.)  Interestingly so, this site also mentions information on bluestone at Stonehenge in the UK.  Some of the rocks there contain Bluestone.  The site goes on to mention other parts of the world where this stone has been found.  

This is the end of Part 2.  There will be a Part 3 of these gardens, but I have a couple of posts to share before those.