Wednesday, August 31, 2022


These are old photos from a trip we took back to a place called Slapton Sands in the UK, an area I used to go with my family all the time.  We lived in the West Midlands (UK) and moved to South Devon when I was 15 years old.  It was always a planned destination on holidays spent in Devon each year, since I was 8 years old.  The stretch of water is called Slapton Ley, and you can click on the links provided if you would like to learn more.

I am posting water birds found on our vacation in Torcross, which is in South Devonshire. Torcross is indicated by the red button on the map of the UK. Slapton Sands is a long stretch of beach and Torcross is at one end.
I won't be identifying all the ducks as there are too many I don't know.  I do recognize a Coot with her chicks a few photos down.  On the other side of the road from where Slapton Ley is located, is the sea.  This is and has always been my favorite destination stop in the UK.  Many a time my family and I would visit a tea-room for scones, cream and jam, and a cup of tea.
And we always visited the birds.  I remember seeing the swans with cygnets as a child, but there were none this day.

The birds were very comfortable with us as they were obviously used to people. They didn't seem to mind me taking lots of photos.  We had been there a while and I was snapping away when a family with a dog arrived.  Dog was pulling hard on its leash and barking loudly. The birds went flying into the water at a high rate of speed.  The family was very apologetic as they realized that they had put an end to any more photo taking.  They kept their dog in check afterwards.  However, the barking had done its job.

I knew the birds wouldn't be back as long as the dog was in the area, but they had already given us a lot of pleasure, and we were thankful.

We stopped at a tearoom in Torcross for lunch and afterwards had a nice brisk walk on the beach.  Passing by the Ley on the way back to our car, we noticed the birds were back and were seemingly content, with no ruffled feathers.

At the time I originally made this post, I was asked how I made my mosaics. I use Paint Shop Pro (PSP) which has all kinds of programs that help you open several layers, and you put those layers (in this case my photos) on top of the larger photo of the map.  I add borders, decorative features and 'tubes', which can be of anything; people, animals, vegetables, flowers, frames, corner decorations.  I didn't use any for this mosaic.  Tubes don't have a surround to them and you can place them on any photo in layers, with the aid of this program.  You can also make your own.  

Once your knowledge of the program has clicked in your head, like everything else it's not very complicated at all.  Years ago I joined an online graphics group and I was taught how to use PSP.  I have had it for well over 20 years now.  I am comfortable with it and it fits me like an old shoe.  I also use it for resizing photos before I send them out to family and friends.   

I expect Photoshop has very similar programs, and more nowadays.  Probably less steps too.  I am just used to this one and have stuck with it.  Over the years I have updated and on the rare occasion I might go online and do one of the free tutorials just to keep my hand in. 

That's it for my post today.  Thanks for looking and enjoy the rest of the week.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


 This page appeared in my local neighborhood app today.  There are a lot of helpful people who will point us to a wildlife rehabilitator if we should need one.  I have not so far but keep a list on such things just in case, especially with all the squirrels that are around, and other wildlife.  

Monday, August 29, 2022


Oatmeal Banana Pancakes (Freezer Friendly)

This came from "Red & Honey", which is a recipe, home and lifestyle, health & wellness blog hosted by Beth Ricci.  You can see that recipe here.   

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

These freeze well.

Servings: 20 pancakes

Calories: 88kcal

1/4 cup butter melted

1 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons aluminium-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup rolled oats or quick oats

2 eggs

2 cups milk, any kind

2 bananas mashed

Melt butter and set aside to cool

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and oatmeal in a large mixing bowl and stir well

Combine cooled butter, milk, eggs and mashed banana in another bowl

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. There should be some lumps

Cook pancakes in a medium-high skillet until golden brown. Flip and cook until golden brown on other side.

If you plan to freeze leftovers, cool pancakes completely on a cooling rack and place layers of wax paper in between pancakes so they don’t stick together.

These were very good.  I added a tablespoon of vanilla and half a cup of chopped walnuts stirred into the batter.  One of the commenters suggested honey and apples also.

I used a tablespoon of maple syrup on top of mine, but was thinking, maybe next time I will use a little sugar and lemon juice sprinkled over.  I do that whenever I make crepes.  The way my dear mother used to make them, traditionally once a year on Shrove Tuesday, were only a little thicker than a crepe (always think of them as English pancakes), and again traditionally, always sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar.  They were divine.

A little powdered sugar might be nice, or a berry syrup? And of course, you can use your own favorite.

Served mine with strawberries and blueberries, they were delicious.

I had lots of leftovers and put batter in 1-cup freezer-proof containers.  The rest I cooked and sealed in freezer bags, with a piece of parchment paper between them.  It will be very nice to take them out and pop one in the microwave for a no-fuss breakfast.

A few days later in the evening I felt like a snack and got one pancake out of the freezer.  My pancakes, as I mentioned earlier, had walnuts added.  I put it in the microwave until it was heated through, rolled it up and ate it with a napkin wrapped around one end. With none of the usual additions like syrup or extra fruit, it tasted more savory and was very yummy.  I will definitely eat it that way again.  I didn't need supper after eating it.  It carried me through until the next morning.

One note about the ingredient Aluminum-free baking powder.  I checked mine and it didn't say aluminum-free.  I have never even noticed the type before.  I found a website at this link that says in part:

"What's the difference between aluminum-free baking powder and regular baking powder?

The main difference between aluminum-free baking powder and regular baking powder is that aluminum-free baking powder contains no aluminum and reacts with liquid instead of heat.  

The reality is that regular baking powder (with aluminum) leaves a bitter, metallic taste.  (A taste that is obviously off-putting.)"

I can't say I have ever noticed a metallic taste in any of the baking powders I have ever used.  The article continues giving more information if you would like to check the link out above.  (There are lots of advertisements on this page.)

Thanks for visiting and I hope your week is a great one.

Friday, August 26, 2022


I am sharing a few photos that I have had in my folder and hopefully there are no repeats.  I haven't been to any gardens lately, so I am glad I can share these.  Hopefully there are no repeats.The bridge, the Canada Goose and the reflection of people, was taken at Meadowlark Gardens on our last trip.  I love watching the few geese that take up residence.  I don't think too many are encouraged but it's very nice to see the few.The Golden Ragwort is always very pretty.  I am not sure what the white blooms in the middle are.

I am thankful that we still have a few trees at home.  We hope to replace the ones we had to take down last year.  I saw a hawk sitting on a branch a couple of weeks ago in our neighbor's yard, but nothing since.  I always keep my camera with the zoom lens on the table next to where I am sitting, just in case.  This was the only photo I could get before it flew away seconds later. Unfortunately, its face was obscured. You may remember I stopped filling the bird feeders and the smaller birds have been scarce.  The photos of our feathered friends are before I stopped feeding them during the summer months.  I find myself eager for the autumn as I miss them. 

 The Catbird is always a welcome visitor.  I cropped the one above and here is a closer look.The Mourning Doves were enjoying the rain.  At least I think they were, they didn't seem to want to seek shelter.Enjoying a good preening session too, still raining.This is a female Rose-breasted Grossbeak.  I never did see her mate.  The first time I have ever seen one in our garden was this year. 

Family stayed overnight recently. We enjoyed catching up as it had been a while and it was a fun visit.

I got these last two from Pinterest.

That's about it. Thank you for your visit.  I hope you are staying happy, healthy and I wish you all a great weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2022



I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

"I worried."

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


 These were taken quite a while ago, at Meadowlark Gardens.  I was captivated by this gorgeous flower.  It is the Blackerry Lily (also called the Leopard Lily) - Belamcanda chinensis - and derives its name from the shiny black seeds that you can see when the seed pod is split open. Even though it is called a lily it is actually in the Iris family.Blackberry Lilies are native to China and Japan, and fan-shaped leaves will grow two to three feet.When the flowers dry, they twist into corkscrew like spirals that fall as the seed pod develops.

They need a soil mixture consisting of two parts peat moss to two parts loam to one part sand or perlite.

Let the soil dry out between waterings and fertilize monthly during the growing season. In the winter water sparingly.
If grown outside plant rhizomes or seeds one inch deep in a well-drained soil. (Rhizomes are a continuously growing underground stem that puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals).

Thanks for visiting and hope your day is a great one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


This is an African Spur Thigh Desert Tortoise.  Its scientific name is Geochelone sulcata.  It’s relatives are the Galapagos tortoise and Aldabra Giant Tortoise.  Their origin is Africa and they like to live in desert and bushland.  Their life-span can be up to 80 years and their size ranges from 130 to 220 lbs.  
We were at the Honolulu Zoo at Christmas 2008. The zoo had been home to Spur-thighed tortoises since 1990. In the following four years almost 200 babies hatched here.
African spur-thigh desert tortoises are known by many names.   They are commonly called the African spurred tortoise, grooved tortoise, sulcata, or simply the spur tortoise.  Their names refers to the large overlapping scales on their front legs.   More information can be found at this link.

Thanks for looking and enjoy your day.