Tuesday, June 29, 2021


Every day courage has few witnesses,

but yours is no less noble because

no drum beats for you and

no crowds shout your name.

~Robert Louis Stevenson~

(I beat my drum for you my friends.)

Monday, June 28, 2021


Today's recipe came from Baker by Nature, hosted by Ashley.  Thank you Ashley for this very yummy cookie.  I have just found that Ashley’s site is undergoing maintenance, according to what it says when I tried this link.  I will try again later to see if it is working.   
Butter Pecan Cookies - makes 16 

Preparation time:  20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Inactive time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Author: Ashley Manila


For the Buttered Pecans:

1 and 1/2 cups pecan halves, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Butter Pecan Cookies:

2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted until browned
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
16 pecan halves, for decoration, optional


For the Buttered Pecans:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in chopped pecans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside until needed.

For the Butter Pecan Cookies:

In a large bowl combine flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; whisk well to combine and set aside until needed.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. 

Remove pan from heat and pour butter into a large, heatproof mixing bowl. 

Add in both sugars and whisk well to combine. 

Add in vanilla. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating until eggs are just combined.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, stirring until just combined. 

Fold in the buttered pecans.

Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days. 

If you refrigerate for more than 4 hours, you'll need to let the dough sit at room temperature until it's scoopable.

To Bake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scoop 3 tablespoon sized rounds of dough onto the prepared sheet, leaving 2 inches in between each cookie for spreading. Firmly press a pecan half on top of each ball of cookie dough, if desired, then bake in preheated oven for 9 minutes, or until edges are set and the center is still a little jiggly. Sprinkle warm cookies with a little granulated sugar, if desired. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.


Cookies will stay "fresh" for 3 days when stored in an airtight container.

Cookie dough will keep in the fridge for 48 hours. 

You can make smaller sized cookies, but you'll need to decrease the bake time by a minute or two.

For decoration, you can sprinkle granulated sugar on the cookies right when they come out of the oven.
It is not too often that I make cookies, but it is very nice to enjoy a freshly baked one.  I like to have a cup of tea an hour or so after dinner, along with a cookie if we have any.  Hubby also enjoys a sweet treat every now and again.  He likes them fairly crispy so I keep them in the oven a minute or so longer than suggested.

They can be frozen before baking.  I use a large narrow cutting board covered with parchment paper, scoop the suggested amount and put them on the board, flatten slightly and put into the freezer on a flat surface area to flash freeze.  Once frozen I put the cookies into freezer bags in a single layer, with a piece of parchment paper between the layers which have been cut to almost the size of the freezer bag.  I keep layering until the bag is full.  The frozen cookie dough can be kept up to 2 months.  You just need to add a couple of minutes to the cooking time when cooking from frozen.

Friday, June 25, 2021


These photos come from my son and daughter-in-law.  This past weekend they were invited on a 17-mile hike by her brother, with overnight camping.  I thoroughly enjoyed their photos and they said I could share, with my heartfelt thanks.

Here you can see them looking at Seneca Rocks.  

There won't be a lot of narrative in my post today but I hope you will enjoy their photos as much as I did.

In the Seneca Creek Backcountry, there are nearly 60 miles of trails winding through stands of red spruce, open meadows and along fast-flowing mountain streams.

Great Guide here to hiking in this area.

One of those magical moments when a mother came to get her baby.  The little one jumped out of its hiding spot. 
Seneca Falls

From yesterday's post.
My daughter-in-law's brother is a seasoned hiker and camper, and was able to give a lot of great advice.
They set their tents up next to a stream.

Bunchberry dogwood.  It goes by several names.  Creeping dogwood, Pudding berry being a couple.

Mountain laurel, also known as Spoonwood, Calico bush, Ivy bush.

They had a wonderful time and will be doing this all over again in the not too distant future.  And I will be getting more great photos to share.

Thursday, June 24, 2021



“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”  

~Henry David Thoreau~

(I am thankful for my Daughter-in-Law who took this photo and let me share it here.  More photos soon from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, with thanks to my Son and Daughter-in-Law who went on a camping trip recently.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021


“We are each gifted in a unique and important way.  It is our privilege to discover our own special light.”

~Mary Dunbar~

Evelyn Mary Dunbar (18th December, 1906 - 12th May, 1960) was a British artist, illustrator and teacher.

Monday, June 21, 2021


My recipe today came from Butter Your Biscuits hosted by Wendie.  You can see her original recipe here.  I would like to thank Wendie for this delicious recipe.   There are a lot of great recipes on her blog.

Spicy Shrimp Ramen Bowls

Servings: 4 

Calories per serving: approximately 555 

3 packages ramen noodles (throw out the seasoning packet)

1-1/2 pounds medium-large shrimp peeled and deveined

6 cups chicken, vegetable or seafood stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 tablespoons Sriracha, depending on your heat level

3 tablespoons soy sauce, or tamari if gluten sensitive

3 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 cups shredded green cabbage

3/4 cup carrots thinly sliced

3/4 cup sweet peppers thinly sliced

1/2 cup onion thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime


In a skillet on medium heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil. 

Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until firm and pink. 

Set aside

In a large pot on medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil. 

Add carrots, onions, cabbage and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes add garlic and ginger cook another minute.

Add stock, soy sauce (or tamari if using), brown sugar, lime juice, and sriracha mix until combined. 

Bring to a rapid boil then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 8 minutes.

Add the dry ramen noodles to the broth and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from heat and serve into bowls, add in shrimp and garnish with cilantro.

Wendie's notes: 

She says if you don't plan on eating this right away, make the ramen noodles separately, then add them to the pot before serving. The noodles soak up the broth and become more soggy if they sit for a long time.

The one change I made was using beef and vegetable broth, because I didn't have enough of each when I checked in the pantry.  The broth was very tasty.

This would be easy to make into a vegan meal by leaving out the shrimp and the beef broth, and using the vegetable.  I would like to do this and add tofu next time.

I added several dashes of Sriracha  to my bowl at the table.  

Also we thought sliced green onions would be nice.

We will look forward to making this again.

Thanks for looking and have a great week.

Thursday, June 17, 2021


A sign greeted us along our walk.  I included this as I think it will be of interest in the years ahead.  Fortunately at the time of putting this post together, we are seeing signs of a return to normal life, and the mask mandate was cancelled the day we went to the park.  I hope the world is seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, though I know we still have a very long road.  It will be interesting to see what the history books make of all of this.

Just to warn you, several photos down there is a close up of a snake.  I say this just in case you have an aversion to them.
This is the Multiflora rose, an ornamental climbing shrub that grows wild here.  
Next is the Arrowwood viburnum, a plant native to regions from New Brunswick to Minnesota, and south to Georgia.  The name arrowwood is inspired by the Native Americans for using the strong shoots which developed from the roots for the shafts of their arrows. 
One of my favorites below, the Honeysuckle.  When we first moved into our home 30 years ago it grew wild in the back garden.
Its scent was intoxicating.  It needs full sun.  Over the years after the trees grew tall and created more shade, it slowly died out.
This is the second part of our walk and is an area often covered with a larger area of water.  I wouldn't be surprised if the North American Beavers have worked their magic.  I once asked someone in the visitor center and they told me this was the case.  For the most part they leave them alone to build their dams and let the natural order run its course.
I finally found out what this is.  I thought it was something to do with nesting and I found information at this website.  It has very interesting videos with information on what they are and another on how to build them.  Ostensibly a site for hunters.  However, there is no hunting allowed here so the ducks can nest in safety.  
The Snapping Turtle stayed under the water and though I saw its head pop up before I turned to take its photo, it submerged again.  I stayed there for a while but eventually the boardwalk called to me and I was on my way.  You can click on its name above which will take you to great information on these prehistoric-looking amphibians.
This is Floating pennywort, also known as Floating marshpennywort or Water pennywort.   It is a perennial and native to North and South America and parts of Africa.  
I have never been here at the right time to see it blooming, but apparently they do have small flowers.  In some parts of North and South America, this aquatic plant is listed as a threatened species.  However, "in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands it is considered an invasive species.  It was brought into the UK in the aquatic nursery trade and was first found in the wild in Britain in 1990 at a site in Essex.  Since then it has spread rapidly and is proving to be particularly invasive in Norfolk.  Since 2014 it has been banned from sale and it is illegal to plant or cause this species to grow in the wild."  If you click on this link it will take you to where I found this information and more. 
So, what did we see next while looking at this very interesting plant?  If you don't like snakes fast forward! Gregg is a good spotter.  We saw several that day.  I am not sure of its ID but I looked at those found at this website - Virginia Herpetological Society From looking at the differences, I thought perhaps it wasn't venomous.  We were were making our way along the board walk that takes us over the marshy area, high up enough and safely away from contact.  
I have never had an aversion to reptiles but like all wild things I keep a respectful distance, for their benefit as well as my own.  Gregg was using our larger camera with the zoom lens.  
Perhaps one of you dear blogging friends will be able to ID this beauty for sure.
These two photos were taken with my cell phone.  At least it will give you more of an idea of how far up we were. The snake can be seen just coming out of the reflection of the sun.
We took the short route today and didn't go any further than this large open area, leaving the smaller ponds for another day.  This is the only Egret we saw.
The following photos show some of the frogs we came across.  Gregg took close-ups of them also and I used my cell phone.
This is an American Bullfrog.

Here are Gregg's photos.

A Damsel Fly, what kind I'm not sure.  There seem to be very similar ones at this website.  Another photo taken by Gregg.
There are several of these information stands, which I never get tired of reading.  Always a good refresher during our visit.
This is a mother duck.  We watched her with several ducklings behind her, and she saw to it that they all huddled in the bush on the left.  I wish I had time to take a photo of them waddling into the undergrowth.  They were so cute!  But it became apparent that they were going to stay longer than I was prepared to wait.  And I did wait but decided no photo op of her little darlings were forthcoming.  You can see my shadow on the right.
The ducklings were well and truly hidden.
Mum was doing a good job at keeping them safe.

A photo showing the boardwalk we used.
We were now walking through the wood, but made use of one of several benches available.  We tend to sit down and take everything in at different spots in the park.  This little dog stopped to say hello.  Her name is Kiko.  She is an Ikita Inu and is considered a national treasure in Japan where these dogs originated. While sitting on one of those benches, she and her owners walked by and started chatting. Kiko came over for a fuss and that was enough to start a conversation.  The lady told me she was a rescue dog from a puppy mill.  Thankfully she is leading the best kind of life now, and is receiving a lot of love from her humans.  I'm glad she found a happy, loving home. In Japan the Akita Inu symbolizes good health, happiness and longevity.  Often the Japanese people will gift a small Akita-shaped statue to friends and family as a "Get Well Soon" token, or if someone has just had a baby.  The statue is considered a way to tell loved ones that you wish them good health in the future.  What a wonderful tradition!  You can learn more about these dogs here.
The bird watchers were out and about...
but I was also looking down at my feet and found a Sweetgum pod on the ground.  
One last photo of an interesting bug.  It landed on Gregg's hat and he automatically brushed it off and landed at my feet.  It is called an Eastern-eyed Click Beetle. It gets its name from the sound they make when they flip themselves upright. The loud noise is made when it snaps a 'spine' under its thorax.  This propels the beetle into the air and helps turn it right-side up if it is on its back.  And now we know.  I don't remember ever seeing one before so I was very interested in finding out what it was.

And that's all now from our trip to Huntley Meadows.  Thank you so much for coming along with us and enjoy your day.