Thursday, March 30, 2023


"Creativity is like a puzzle, and people contribute different pieces to create a bigger picture."

Kermit the Frog is a Muppet character created and originally performed by Jim Henson Introduced in 1955, Kermit serves as the everyman protagonist of numerous Muppet productions, most notably Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, as well as in other television series, feature films, specials and public service announcements through the years.  He served as a mascot of The Jim Henson Company and appeared in various Henson projects.  

Original photo was taken in the Fairy Garden at Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna, Virginia in April 2014.

(Comments are off this week.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2023


 “Right now people are ready to be offended, but I am ready to be delighted.”

~Billy Collins~

William James Collins (born March 22, 1941) is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003.  He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York (retired, 2016). Collins was recognized as a Literary Lion of theNew York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004 through 2006. In 2016, Collins was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  As of 2020, he is a teacher in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.  

(Comments are off this week.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


"Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together.  There it begins."

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies; March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was a German-American architect and furniture designer.  He was commonly referred to as Mies, his surname. Along with Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier,Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is regarded as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture.  

(Comments are off this week.)


Monday, March 27, 2023


Hello Everyone, I am still in the recovery mode after having had a nasty bug, so have turned my comments off until I can return your visits.  I will catch up with you as soon as I can, but it will probably be a few more days.  Fortunately I had more posts already set up like this one.

Today's recipe was found at Eating Well, and I would like to thank its author, Carolyn Casner, for a very appetizing and comforting soup.  You can see the original at this link, with all tips provided.  I made it two weeks ago.

Comforting Cabbage Soup with Ginger 

6 servings and 1-1/3 cup serving size contains 118 calories.

The author states, “Cabbage turns tender and flavorful in this comforting soup. The aromatic broth is full of spices, including ginger and turmeric, making it perfect for enjoying on a cold day or keeping you hydrated if you're sick.”

For those who are taking note of such things, Carolyn also included the following.

Nutrition Profile: Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Gluten-Free, Low Carbohydrate, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 medium carrots, halved and sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced.

1 cup chopped onion

2 medium carrots, halved and sliced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, or 2 cups chopped fresh

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

5 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage

1 medium zucchini, diced

Chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. 

Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. 

Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and crushed red pepper. 

Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add broth, tomatoes and their juices, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. 

Stir in cabbage and zucchini; return to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. 

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. 

(Optional): Serve sprinkled with parsley.

What did we think?  

On a cold, chilly night, it was perfect.  

A slice of crusty bread would be lovely to serve up with this soup, or a favorite roll.  

I would make the soup any time but it would be very wholesome, comforting and nourishing if you had anyone feeling under the weather.  It sounds like it has similar benefits as good old-fashioned chicken soup, but without the protein. (Added note 3/25/23: little did we know Gregg and I would welcome this so soon.)

Instead of zucchini, frozen peas would make a nice substitute.  You can swap with your favorite veggies.

I could have probably chopped the parsley up a little finer but I like the taste of it so no problem, just for aesthetics sake I suppose.

We wanted a meatless meal but adding chicken would make a nice addition.

There is a lot of prep work because I doubled everything up so that I could freeze a few meals for an easy cooking day.  I started early in the morning, sitting at the kitchen table with a cutting board and utensils needed, preparing all ingredients, putting certain ones in the same dish, if they were going to be cooked together.  Then I set them in order I was going to need them next to the stovetop for when I was ready to pop everything into the pot.  Makes the process a lot easier.  (I am adding this information for people who may be starting out.  It took me a while to learn this and be more organized.)

It was a little hot/spicy which we enjoy but for those who don’t, you could lessen the amount of crushed red pepper, or even leave out.  It would taste great either way just seasoned with salt and pepper.  You can also add a favorite herb.

I have only used turmeric in one other recipe, in a beverage which you can find here.  I remember it being very refreshing, but it's been a while and I am glad for this reminder.

Turmeric has many benefits and I will be finding more uses for it.  I have added a link here from John Hopkins that gives lots of info about this spice.

Ginger is very good for you also   There is an article at this link with great information.  I like it for the flavor and use ginger a lot in Asian cuisine.

At this link, also from John Hopkins, there is more great information, and I found a recipe for Ginger tea.  Among other maladies, it is ideal if you feel a bit nauseous, but is also a comfort on a chilly night. It says, “You can add a little lemon or lime, and a small amount of honey to make a great beverage.”

How to make Ginger Tea:

Buy a piece of fresh ginger.

Trim off the tough knots and dry ends.

Carefully peel it.

Cut it into thin, crosswise slices.

Put a few of the slices in a cup or mug.

Pour in boiling water and cover.  Let steep for at least 10 minutes.  As stated in their instructions, "the longer the better."

It is also noted that "ginger tea is a healthier alternative to ginger ale, ginger beer and other commercial canned or bottled ginger beverages.  The author also notes that these drinks provide benefits but many contain a lot of sugar, and recommends limiting these to occasional treats, or choose sugar-free options.

I am trying to remember to add the original website address in full, in case you would rather copy and paste than go to the link I provided.

Friday, March 24, 2023


the reason I am late posting this. I had everything done for the other days but for today.  Gregg has not been well either but we are both through the worst of it.  We figured we caught a bug as it has literally been years since we were both ill. Ah well, par for the course! 

While I think about it, has anyone been getting an astronomical amount of mail in their spam?  These are old comments from blogging friends, and me. They are as far back as 2017 to 2022.  The last count was 305!  It’s only been a few days since I checked.  I try to answer everyone so was a bit miffed to say the least. I have noticed 1 or 2 every day from friends for several months but this is totally out of control.  Very wacky!  

I have the next two posts for Saturday and Monday, Tuesday too but I will have to check on that one.  I am sleeping a lot more than usual!  Hopefully by next week I will be back to normal as I saw Gregg’s process first and thankfully he is fine now, and I have the same symptoms.  So, I may be late returning visits for the next few days.  

Photo was taken at the National Arches in 2013, during the same trip as Bryce Canyon.  The view is named Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers. 

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by.  

Denise xox

Thursday, March 23, 2023



"We think too much and feel too little.  More than machinery, we need humanity.  More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness."

~Charlie Chaplin~

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, KBE(16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, the Tramp, and is considered one of the film industry's most important figures. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


 It wasn't so long ago that we rarely got to see an Eastern Bluebird.  There were rare glimpses in other places but not in our garden.  I was delighted the first time my trail cam (or as I prefer to call it now, my bird cam) started taking photos of what I thought couldn't be.  But yes, they started being regular visitors about a year-and-a-half year ago.  I haven't gotten over this yet, it is still a novelty and I suspect always will be.  My photos were taken with our regular camera on a bit of a dull day and weren't as sharp as I would like.  They were high in the tree and even my zoom lens was struggling, but it's a good photo memory.

Here are a few facts about them.  Eastern Bluebirds live in most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and in parts of Southern Canada. There are also native populations of Eastern Bluebirds living in Mexico and Central America. Those that survive to adulthood can live for 6-10 years. That’s unusually long for a wild bird to live, but sadly most bluebirds do not survive their first year of life.  Once they have mated and built their nest, a female bluebird will lay between three to five eggs.  The female incubates them while the male brings her food.  It takes about two months for Eastern Bluebirds to become fully independent.  After about 22 days the chicks will be fledged, meaning they will have lost their downy feathers.  That's when they begin to learn how to fly, but it takes a while longer for them to learn all the skills they need to survive on their own. 

Females will never turn bright blue, instead staying a dull blue-gray their whole lives. Males will begin to develop bright blue feathers when they are around 13-14 days old, but it may be several days after that before they begin to show adult coloration over their whole body.  Eastern Bluebirds are small and have trouble creating their own nests. They prefer to find old nests made by other species and reuse them, rather than building one. Old woodpecker holes are favorite nesting sites, and they prefer their nests to be near open fields and meadows, and often like to nest high off the ground.  Because their preference is to find nesting sites made by other birds, they will readily take to birdhouses. They like to nest in tight, snug spaces, so smaller birdhouses are more likely to attract them. In some places people have built “bluebird trails”, areas with large numbers of nesting boxes for bluebirds to create ideal bird watching conditions.

Do Eastern Bluebirds migrate?  Yes and no!  In most of their range, Eastern Bluebirds don't migrate.  However, there are large areas where they do.  In the northernmost areas of their range in the United States, Eastern Bluebirds are present during the breeding season only, and in large portions of Texas, New Mexico and Northern Mexico are wintering grounds for these migrating bluebirds.  In the southeastern US, Central Mexico and Central America they do not migrate.

I hope you have enjoyed these facts about one of my favorite birds.  I had an enjoyable time finding out about them and am always up for a refresher course as I do forget certain things after a while.

Happy Wednesday everyone and thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Good Morning my friends
I just wanted to say
I hope you all have 
A beautiful day

And as the sun
Rises in the sky
The clouds I see 
Are passing by

And on each cloud
A wish for you
That you’ll enjoy
All that you do

And know you are loved
In every way
I hope you all have 
A Beautiful Day.

(Author unknown)

Monday, March 20, 2023


March 1st (2023) was when we had this meal. We would have been very happy with just salt and pepper for seasoning, but the Ranch Style Dressing added a nice flavor.  It was given a thumbs up and pronounced another yummy meal.  You can see the original recipe at Sweet C's (click on this link) and my thanks to its host Courtenay. Also. she has great tips, lovely photos to look at, and of course other delicious recipes to try.

Courteney advised not to overcook. "Chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees."

She also said that "depending on your ranch dressing packet, it can sometimes be thick when mixing, and/or clump up. If too thick simply add a teaspoon of water at a time to loosen mixture, until it is easy enough to spread over chicken."

Baked Ranch Chicken Thighs 

Servings: 6

Calories per serving (1 chicken thigh): 340

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Baked Ranch Chicken Thighs are a super simple one pot baked chicken thigh recipe everyone loves - bursting with ranch flavor in only five ingredients! Low carb, mess free, a deliciously crunchy crust, is a huge family favorite that is sure to make anyone a fan of chicken thighs in under 40 minutes!

6 chicken thighs, bone-in, with skin on

black pepper, to taste

1 1 oz. packet dry ranch salad dressing mix

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice, to thin mixture if needed

1 clove garlic, pressed

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cover a baking sheet in foil, nonstick side up.

Place the chicken thighs on the baking sheet, fattest side up.

Generously season with salt and pepper.

Bake chicken for 25 minutes ( skin will have started to crisp).

In a small bowl, combine the dressing mix with the olive oil and minced garlic and blend. If needed, add lemon juice to thin mixture.

Brush the ranch and oil mixture over the chicken thighs.

Continue to cook chicken in oven until crispy and golden brown, and internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

To check the temperature, use an instant-read food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a few of the largest chicken thighs, not touching bone.

To get a tiny bit more crunch, broil for 5 minutes - watching chicken closely so it doesn't burn.

What did we change?    

Our ranch dressing mix seemed extra thick, so we added a couple of tablespoons of water and all of the lemon juice until we got the right consistency.

There is a video where Courteney goes through all the steps on her website.

Also, we had bought skinless, boneless chicken thighs, so it didn't crisp up as much as in Courteney's photos.

Our side dishes were brown rice, baby steamed Brussel sprouts, and grape tomatoes.  We sautéed the tomatoes in a pan for a few minutes, later drizzling with Balsamic vinegar.

The following is for the original recipe address written in full, in case you would rather copy and paste.  I don’t always remember to do this, but when I do I will add.

Friday, March 17, 2023


As someone told me when I experienced my first in America and a work colleague asked me where was my green, I replied with surprise, “But I’m not Irish.”  Their reply was,  "You don't have to be Irish to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day here.  Today everyone is Irish", and as I looked around, sure enough, everyone was dressed in green.  This was my introduction to Saint Patrick’s Day in the USA.  I have tried to remember to wear the green ever since.  

"For each petal on the shamrock, this brings a wish your way: Good health, good luck and happiness for today and every day."

~An Irish Blessing~

Thanks for stopping by and may the Luck of the Irish kiss you on the forehead, and remember, a good laugh and a long sleep are two best cures for anything.  And I will leave with that Irish Proverb. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023


 On our walk along Limberlost Trail (milepost 43 on Skyline Drive) in June 2014, there were Azure Bluets everywhere, a beautiful sight.  Another name for this pretty little flower is Quaker Ladies and its botanical name is Houstonia caerulea.  They are native to eastern Canada and the eastern United States, about half an inch across and very small compared to other flowers we saw.  Spread like a continuous carpet of tiny blooms, they were a delight for the eyes.  They attract butterflies and bees and are commonly found growing wild in forests but can be found in almost all grassy biomes.  Look out for it in spring, summer and the fall.

 Next we have the European columbine, also known as Granny's Nightcap, Granny's bonnet and Common columbine. Its botanical name is Aquilegia vulgaris. It attracts butterflies, bumblebees and hummingbirds and blooms for an extended time beginning in early spring.  

It thrives in sun or shade and will self-seed.  Buntings and finches apparently love the seed.  An interesting bit of trivia is that Ancient Romans considered the European columbine to be sacred for the goddess Venus.  It is toxic however, and can cause adverse health effects on animals, if they ingest the plant material.  The name Columbine evolved from the Latin name, columbina, meaning a dove-like plant.  

Next we have a White Trillium and the only one found that day.  Trillium are members of the lily family.  It is known by several other names, Great white-trillium, Snow trillium, White wake-robin, Large-flowered trillium, American Wake Robin, Large white wood lily and American Wood Lily.  Its botanical name is Trillium grandiflorum. 

The colors of the flowers vary and there are white, yellow, pink, red and purple.  The leaves can also be variegated and patterned.  It blooms in spring and summer and grows in the shaded areas of a garden and needs daily care.  It originated from North America and East Asia, and likes cool, moist habitats.  The leaves of this plant are cooked and eaten by Native Americans, but the root stalks are utilized as herbal medicine.  

The flower in the above photo is White Baneberry, also known as Doll's-Eyes, White cohosh, Baneberry, Necklace weed, Toadroot and White beads.  Its botanical name is Actaea pachypoda.  An herbaceous perennial that can grow from 1 to 2 feet tall, it blooms from spring to summer.  It is a mildly toxic for humans, but can cause serious health problems for cats, dogs and horses.  However, it is harmless to birds. 

This yellow flower is called Golden Ragwort, also 
known as Golden groundsel and its botanical name is Packera aurea.  It is a member of the Aster family and its nectar and pollen attract small bees and flies.  A perennial, Golden Ragwort is a native to eastern North America, and you will find it blooming in the spring and summer.

I tried my best to ID each flower correctly, but if you think I am incorrect on any of them, please let me know.  I still enjoy learning about these things.