Wednesday, November 30, 2022


 I haven't begun my Christmas decorating yet, but thanks to three things that arrived today, they gave me a little push…starting with a Christmas Angel that I have temporarily put on the mantle with my other collection of dogs.  The dogs were a gift from son many years ago (you may remember this story as I have mentioned it before).  He bought them while away on school trips (two different ones) to England when in high school.  We both love dogs and these are dressed in costume.  I added the King Arthur dog on the right, and the Guardsman on the left, and that was the end of my collection, unless I see something that really jumps out at me when I am looking around.  Angel is in good company at the moment.  

She is holding a sign that says, "Peace on Earth", which is why I wanted to have her on the top of our tree.  I forgot to mention she is a tree topper.   We need her message for everyone's sake, and for our children and for our children's children.  Time to sow some love into the air and spread it wide.

Of course, I had a little playtime.  The country scene background is actually the village I lived in when I met Gregg (also mentioned before).  The church you see is the one where we were married.  I found a lady online who lived in that village.  She painted the most wonderful scenes from my area, and I contacted her and bought a print.  She sent it to me in one of those heavy-duty packaging rolls, I had it framed and it has been over our mantle ever since.
I used my ArtCard app next but not too much of a change.
I have a painting in another room, also showing the English countryside, and a small village, but have no idea where this particular one is located.  I also bought it many years ago, from a shop that sold British items in a nearby town, long since closed.  There's a bit of a story to it.  A couple of years after I had bought it, I was offered a job in a small British tearoom in yet another town several miles away, and a wonderful lady we all thought the world of, was the owner.  
One day she and I were talking art and I told her about the painting I had bought a couple of years previously.  She laughed when I described where the shop was located, as she and her brother were co-owners.  It was miles away from this place.  She also remembered my painting.  Talk about a small world story.  She passed on a few years ago but I remember her fondly and I think of her when I look at the painting in the front room.  My little Angel shows some of that particular painting in the photo below.
The next photos show two new Christmas Tree ornaments.  The first one portrays Clara holding the toy Nutcracker that comes to life in her dream.  I would dearly love to see that ballet live, but content myself with watching it online these days.
Next is a ballerina from The Nutcracker's Walz of the Flowers.
I haven't started a new collection in a long time, but I will be buying another couple of Nutcracker ornaments next year.   

I will be sure to take photos of these when the tree gets decorated properly.  Gregg will be bringing it up from the basement tomorrow.

Monday, November 28, 2022


I decided to make this dish after browsing through "Damn Delicious" which is hosted by Chungah.  You can see her actual recipe here.  She has other delicious recipes to share, and I thank her very much for this one.  

Honey Glazed Salmon - serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

For the salmon:

4 salmon filets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lime

For the Browned Butter-Lime Sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the browned butter lime sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, whisking constantly, until the foam subsides and the butter begins to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, honey and lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Season salmon with salt and pepper to taste.

Dredge each salmon filet with 1 tablespoon of flour and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey.

Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.

Working in batches, add salmon to the skillet and sear both sides until golden.

Place into oven and bake until completely cooked through, about 8-
10 minutes.  

Serve immediately with the browned butter-lime sauce and lime zest.

What did I think of this dish?  It was delicious and I look forward to making it again.

After searing I cooked mine in the oven for 15 minutes.  My fish may have been a little thicker and you have to adjust cooking time. Otherwise, I followed the recipe.

A simple salad of spring greens with grape tomatoes, small pieces of cauliflower, cucumbers and green onion went very well with this.  You can use your favorite dressing and your favorite vegetables. I grew up without dressings on my salads so prefer going without most of the time.

Thanks for looking, enjoy your day and

Saturday, November 26, 2022


I won't bother repeating it, the joke was not very funny.  However, I gave him an A+ for trying to make me laugh.  After he finished, his expression was one of hope, as he waited for my reaction.  I laughed anyway because he was so cute acting out the joke (those feathers were flying every which way).  Facial expressions were great too.  He was right about his friends, I liked them, and I love my backyard birds.  They are all different, all adorable and they all get along.

Friday, November 25, 2022



My bed is like a little boat; 

Nurse helps me in when I embark; 

She girds me in my sailor's coat 

And starts me in the dark. 

At night I go on board and say 

Good night to all my friends on shore; 

I shut my eyes and sail away 

And see and hear no more. 

And sometimes things to bed I take, 

As prudent sailors have to do; 

Perhaps a slice of wedding cake, 

Perhaps a toy or two. 

All night across the dark we steer; 

But when the day returns at last, 

Safe in my room, beside the pier, 

I find my vessel fast. 

~Robert Louis Stevenson~

Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer. He is best known for works such as Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped and A Child's Garden of Verses.

Thursday, November 24, 2022


The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway
Thanksgiving comes again!

~Author Unknown~

To you and yours, 
A Very Happy Thanksgiving!

To my blogging friends in other parts of the world, have a very happy day!  

Part of what I am thankful for is meeting you and getting to know you all in blogland.

(Photo is one of the jigsaw puzzles I put together on my iPad)

Wednesday, November 23, 2022



This is a young Red-wing blackbird photographed several years ago at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria.  We are way overdue to revisit but I think it will be next spring before we get there again.  

Their bird song is one of the first I learned to recognize.  There is a video here if you would like to listen to its song, and here for more information about them.  When it's bright red and yellow shoulder patch is at its most beautiful, if you catch one of these birds in the sunlight, it is absolutely stunning.

For those of us celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I hope you have a wonderful day with your families and friends.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Here is the little dog I shared in last week's post with its human friend.

You can rent kayaks and small flat boats here.  The only time I have ever been in a kayak was with my sister when I visited my family in Germany years ago.  They used to go out in them all the time having their own kayaks.  I had fun but I haven't been in one since, and don't intend to.  I am not too fond of being so close to the water as I am not the strongest swimmer, and that is with a life vest.  That's not to say I don't love looking at all that beautiful scenery and the lake.  And when I get to the beach my favorite time is when it's quiet, usually in the winter,  and I can look out at the ocean with hardly a soul around.  But I'm rambling...probably the reason why I named this blog with the word 'ramble' in it!

More geese photos because...

I always love taking photos of them...

probably because they are always around, and they don't swim away.  Hoping for someone to feed them no doubt, and there were plenty of someone's that day.  I am mentioning again my last post where I give the reason why we should not, but this will be the last time, at least for a while.

I particularly enjoyed taking photos of the reflections of the clouds in the water, and the patterns their wakes left.  

One small feather resting on top of all the fallen leaves at the water's edge.  I wondered if it was a downy feather from a goose, or perhaps another water bird.

We walked on the pier and there were a lot of people fishing.  
On our way back we passed another cute dog with two couples our age, sitting in a line looking out at the lake.  They had brought along fold up camping chairs.  We are not too far from one of the parking lots and it crossed my mind to bring our own camping chairs next time, and maybe a picnic.  
No explanation for this one needed except to say, "She likes to take photos of Fall leaves."

While sitting on one of the benches a lady asked if she could join us.  She was enjoying her new phone, telling us about it, and showed us how to use the pano.  Below is my practice shot.  A lovely lady and our conversation lasted about 15-20 minutes.  She was with her husband and grandson.  Grandson was letting off steam, with grandpa watching, and enjoying his space.  She joined them soon after when they were ready to go.  This is a great place for kids and there were many.
We should probably have hung around to take sunset shots at the lake, but driving home we thought the sky was incredible.  
I didn't really mind our street-view-sunset and took these (from the passenger side).
I didn't mind all the lines from the traffic lights either, or the utility poles and their electric lines.   Usually I try to avoid such things but today was not that day...
and the sky was just too good to miss.

This is the end of our trip to the park.  I hope you have enjoyed.  

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 21, 2022


Not so long ago I was at a farmer's market and I picked up a 13-bean soup mix.  We wanted a vegetarian meal, and I found this one at Herbivore's Kitchen hosted by Kate.  Her recipe is actually vegan and can be found at this link. I always recommend looking at the original.  All Kate's recipes look delicious, as was this one.  Kate's instructions are for what she used, a Kitchen Aid Multi Cooker, which you can see here at Amazon. I don’t have one of these, but do have a slow-cooker.  However, I used my old tried and true Dutch Oven instead, cooking the recipe the old-fashioned way, on the stovetop.  I brought things to a boil and simmered until everything was cooked through.

Vegan Thirteen Bean Soup - Serves 4

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 yellow onion diced

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp fresh garlic minced

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 stalk celery washed and sliced into 1/4" pieces

2 carrots washed and sliced into 1/4" pieces

1 sweet potato or garnet yam washed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup dried bean soup mix (our host used Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix)

1 14 oz can unsalted diced tomatoes

1 14 oz can full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk

3 cups water + additional water as necessary

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the extra virgin olive oil on low-medium heat until shimmering. 

Add the onions and salt and sauté, covered, for about 10 minutes, until the onions become translucent.  

Continue to cook the onions uncovered on low heat for another 10-15 minutes until they are nicely browned, caramelized.  Stir occasionally.

Add the minced garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes more.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the rosemary, thyme and oregano. 

Sauté until herbs are fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste. Sauté, stirring frequently, until paste turns a dark red. About 2-3 minutes.

Add the celery, carrots, diced sweet potato and the 13 bean soup mix. Stir to coat. 

Add diced tomatoes, water and coconut milk.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer by setting the multi-cooker on slow-cook low for 4-5 hours. The soup is done when the beans and potatoes are soft.  

This is where I brought the soup to a boil after preparing everything as directed in a Dutch Oven, and then put on simmer for two to three hours.  I checked at two hours and wasn’t sure if the beans were cooked enough, so I tried it for an extra hour.  You can be the judge on how tender you want both veggies and beans but check every now and again.  I ended up using regular potatoes, the red ones. They were perfectly cooked and not at all mushy.

Check periodically as you may need to add water to the broth. 

Use an immersion blender if you would like a more blended, thicker consistency.  

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The changes I made:

I used a large Dutch Oven instead of the multi-cooker.

I thought I had coconut milk in the pantry but did not.  Instead, I used the same amount of 2% milk.  If you want to keep this recipe vegan, make sure you have the coconut milk in stock.

I substituted white potatoes instead of the sweet potato, and added extra.  Gregg isn’t a sweet potato fan as he finds them too sweet and prefers a more savory taste.  I only mention this just in case you feel the same way.  This soup still came out a 10 out of  10.

I also added extra carrots and celery, plus more broth. It gave us extra servings and we have been enjoying it for a couple of days now.  We will eat the last of it tomorrow.  The flavor of the soup gets better and better.

I will also add another can of diced tomatoes as we both enjoy them.

I was going to emulsify the soup before serving, but it looked so good without, and decided not to.  If there is any one in the family not too keen on beans or certain veggies, emulsifying makes good sense.

Next time I will soak the beans overnight to reduce the cooking time.  I usually do but often recipes are decided on impulse and I use what I have.

The next day I made cornbread.  Crusty rolls would also be great  

For a bit of fun, below you can see the biggest potato my dear other half brought home as a joke.  I gave the right reaction. I think a “Good grief!” was in there somewhere.   He also said the cashier showed surprise. My mother used to buy these huge potatoes from our local greengrocer.  It’s been years since I saw their like.  This one was as big as my foot and I turned it into a still life of sorts, along with my grumpy bear mug and the unopened packet of 13-bean soup mix. Grumpy Bear was not amused as I did not put this potato into our bean soup.  It will be used shortly in another meal.  Anyone have any favorite recipes using potatoes?