Monday, July 31, 2023


 Just out of the oven.

A delicious breakfast recipe that will be very welcome the next time we have company.  It was scrumptious!  I found the recipe at The Cozy Apron hosted by Ingrid.  The original recipe can be found at this link.  There are lots of great looking recipes to try.  Ingrid offers suggestions I don't always add to my recipe.

Oatmeal Bake with Mixed Berries - serves 8

Carlories per serving: 333

½ cup sliced or slivered almonds

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries

1 cup chopped strawberries

½ cup raspberries

2 eggs

1 ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice)

½ cup organic, dark maple syrup

2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup ghee or butter, melted

1 tablespoon raw turbinado sugar, for sprinkling over as topping (optional)

Greek yogurt or whipped cream, optional topping

First of all, prepare and measure all ingredients by going down each item on the list.  Makes things a lot easier.  I add this for those who are just starting out and for me also, to remind me that putting it together like that makes the process a breeze.

Preheat the oven to 350°, and lightly spray a 9 by 9 inch ceramic or aluminum baking pan, or 2 ½ quart baking dish, with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the sliced or slivered almonds with the chopped walnuts, and reserve ¼ cup to sprinkle over top of the oatmeal bake before baking.

Add the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and the ¾ cup of remaining nuts into a large bowl, and toss to coat and combine.

Next, place all the berries into a bowl and toss to combine.  Reserve a scant ½ cup to sprinkle over top of the oatmeal dish before baking. Fold the remaining berries into the dry oat mixture.

Prepare the wet ingredients by whisking together eggs, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour this over the oat mixture, and then pour in the melted ghee or butter. Using a spatula, gently fold the ingredients together until well combined.

Pour the oatmeal mixture into your prepared baking dish, gently smoothing out the top a bit. Sprinkle the reserved berries and nuts evenly on top.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes (mine was perfect at 45 minutes), then remove from oven and sprinkle with the raw turbinado sugar, if using. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve the oatmeal bake warm, just as it is, or topped with Greek yogurt or whipped cream.

I sprayed the baking dish with Avocado oil, but use your favorite cooking spray or whatever you use to grease before you add all the mixture.

I like to add fresh mixed berries but frozen ones can also be used.  I will no doubt be doing this when I am out of fresh berries. 

I had no blackberries.  They would have made a lovely addition.

The nuts I used were walnuts and pecans.  I ran out of almonds and didn't want to make a special trip to the store just for those.  I substitute a lot of items lately as I would rather use what is already in the pantry, or fridge.  

Ingrid advised using old-fashioned, rolled oats, not quick cooking, for texture purposes. Instant oats will make the consistency way too mushy.

I used almond milk but any favorite one could be used here.  

I stuck with the butter I had on hand, rather than ghee.  Ingrid's recipe said coconut oil could be used.

I didn’t have turbinado sugar and would have substituted brown sugar, light or dark.  I thought this was fine without.  (Click here to read all about turbinado sugar.)  

From the original recipe: "Pure maple syrup for sweetness, or other options: Maple syrup is a lower glycemic index option, which is why we love it so much in our household. But feel free to use brown or regular sugar, apple sauce or mashed bananas, honey, or your preferred type of sweetener."

Gregg was out of the house for the day so I made this just for me, with substantial leftovers that were frozen for days.  I thought it was excellent!

Thanks for looking, 
have a great day and 
Bon Appetit!


Saturday, July 29, 2023


We had stopped at a traffic light and I looked over at the passenger in the car next to us.  It was a long light.

By the expression on his face, he seemed a bit tired, and a little bit grumpy.  I understood!  It was very hot with the sun beating down, even with the air on.
He asked his companion why the woman in the next car was taking a photo. "She doesn't want me to smile does she?  I don't smile when I am hot and grumpy."
"She's so boring, I wish she would leave me alone.  She keeps smiling at me" but he gave me his good side, and posed as if he was on a model's runway.  "Give her a smile, you'll feel better for it" his companion said.
"I wish she would leave me alone." but he gave me his good side anyway.
And then, of all things, he gave me a wink....and a smile....sort of....and his day and my day brightened.  
"Now go away woman with black box in front of face.  The light has changed and it is time for me to help my human navigate.  He would no doubt get lost without me."
This was all done telepathically and I speak dog you know.  I wish!  But the way technology and science is going, it won't be long before we can speak to all the animals.  We will all be Dr. Doolittle.  Everything will come to pass and that will be a happy day.  And don't forget that smile!  A smile goes a long way even if you don't understand each other’s language. With a smile we can all speak telepathically, and all will be understood.

Friday, July 28, 2023


 A change of pace, which I like to do sometimes.  This quote jumped out at me this morning. What applied in 1971 applies even more urgently today.   I try very hard to do my part.  Even a small snowball rolling downhill turns into a giant one as it gathers momentum.  

This wise little character is Pogo the Possum.  A memory: my father-in-law used to read newspaper cartoons every day, and my dear other half said he remembers his father reading this one.  I have happy memories of Sunday mornings spent with my in-laws on our visits; mother-in-law doing her New York Times crossword puzzles, occasionally looking up to see what birds had landed at the feeders, father-in-law reading the Funnies.  I also watched the Saturday morning Westerns with her while father and son spent time in the garage chatting as father-in-law worked on his old cars.  Good memories for both of us.  

If you have a particular memory of spending time with your in-laws, or any special person, feel free to share, or not.  I
Real life stories are far more interesting to me, and I suppose that comes from all the relatives and friends who visited us from as far back as I can remember.  

Many didn't get a TV until later in life in those days.  There were Saturday morning matinees at our local cinema and Hopalong Cassidy rode across the screen.  My sister and I always looked forward to Hopalong Cassidy.  Our TV arrived when I was not quite 13 years' old, but the stories people shared were our entertainment and I loved them.  We also had sing-songs with Dad at the piano.  More memories that come to mind are those told by a sweet lady who had just come back from visiting her brother.  He had moved to Australia years before and lived in the Outback she said. Her stories about the kangaroos, koalas and colorful birds were mesmerizing.  I must have been seven or eight years’ old, sitting on the floor with my legs crossed, totally enthralled.  Her name was Mrs. Bissell.  She and Mr. Bissell were older friends of my parents.  They were regular visitors, kindly souls with ready smiles for everyone.  Mum and Dad were very fond of them, as were we.  They were like our surrogate grandparents.  One time Mr. Bissell played Father Christmas at the yearly party at the town hall.  Waiting patiently in line with all the other children, I finally sat in his lap.  He asked me what did I want for Christmas, had I been a good girl?  I took one look at him and said quietly and in amazement, “You’re not Father Christmas, you’re Mr. Bissell.”  “Shhhh” he replied just as quietly, and put me down with a twinkle in his eye, finger pressed up to his lips, and a very grandfatherly Ho, Ho, Ho.  I was flummoxed!  I found that very strange and I think that is when I started asking Mum about who was Father Christmas and did he really live at the North Pole?  And as for Mr. Bissell, I was more used to seeing him drinking a cup of tea at home. But it was our little secret, I never asked him about it and he never told.  My Mum knew.  She and Mrs. Bissell had a good laugh about it later, as I found out when I brought the subject up years later.  Funny what pops into your head.  I had no idea I was going to include any of this when I started my post.  

So, what do you think about Pogo?  Did you ever read his cartoon?  It seems he had a lot of important messages to pass on.

This particular comic strip was drawn in 1971.

Pogo the Possum
created by
(August 25, 1913 – October 18, 1973)

Added note 2:45 p.m., 7-28-23

The quote above is from an actual famous quote by U.S. Navy Master Commandant Oliver Perry during the War of 1812, written in a letter to Major General William Henry Harrison: “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

Thanks for looking and have a great weekend. 

From Wikipedia:

"Walter Crawford Kelly Jr. was born of Irish-American heritage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Walter Crawford Kelly Sr. and Genevieve Kelly (née MacAnnula). When he was two years old, the family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut.  After graduating from Warren Harding High School in 1930, Kelly worked at odd jobs until he was hired as a crime reporter on the Bridgeport Post. He also took up cartooning and illustrated a biography of another well-known figure from Bridgeport, P. T. Barnum. Kelly was extremely proud of his journalism pedigree and considered himself a newspaper man as well as a cartoonist.  

He began his animation career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios, contributing to PinocchioFantasia, and Dumbo. In 1941, at the age of 28, Kelly transferred to work at Dell Comics, where he created Pogo, which eventually became his platform for political and philosophical commentary."

and from 

The New Georgia Encyclopedia

"The comic strip Pogo, created by Walt Kelly, ran in daily newspapers from 1948 to 1973. The strip was set in Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp and was populated by animals talking in a southern dialect."

Thursday, July 27, 2023


Last of the photos from Green Spring Gardens for this trip at least.  My previous two posts from this particular visit can be found herehere and here.  We go a lot during the summer months.  It is one of our favorite walking places.

I have shared these grasses before as my dear other half noticed them also, and unbeknown to each other, we had taken more or less the same photo.  It is called Eastern bottle-brush grass, botanical name Elymus hystrix.   Native to eastern North America.  Mice eat the seeds readily.  Studies are underway to examine whether bottle-brush grass can be domesticated as a food crop for livestock or potentially even for humans in the future.

Next is Blue plantain lily, also known as Hosta.  Its botanical name is Hosta ventricosa.  It is an herbaceous perennial native to China, and attracts hummingbirds.  However, snails and slugs enjoy them too.  Something I am interested in as we get a lot of shade in our garden, it prefers partial to full shade.

Blue plantain lily is low maintenance and shade-tolerant and will attract hummingbirds, as mentioned.  In summer they produce lavender-colored plumes that host sweet nectar at their center.  The colors are attractive to hummingbirds as they can see purple at a distance.  The shape of the petals creates an enclosure at the flower's head.  The hummingbird's long beak must dig through the tunnel to reach the sweet nectar.  As this happens, the hummingbird gets covered with pollen which it will then spread when it leaves.   Not only hummingbirds like this plant, butterflies do too.  Shades of purple are easiest for butterflies to see, while hummingbirds are more attracted to red hues.

I always enjoy seeing the turtles and there were several out today.  Some just skimming under the water, others on rocks like this one.  

No expert here but from what I have seen online, these appear to be Painted Turtles.  There is a fun page at this link that has interesting facts and also for those of you who like crafts, it shares a fun parent/child/teacher/student project, on how to paint a turtle using five rocks.

Facts I found at the website: a turtle's shell is made up of 13 plates called scutes. As the turtle grows it sheds its outer layer.  This means you can count the scutes rings in the same way that you can count tree rings, to find the turtle's age.  Painted turtles can live up to 61 years.

They don't have teeth but do have horny plates that grind their food.   Turtles hibernate under water the whole winter and hold their breath the entire time.  The Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) gets its name from its appearance.  Its skin color looks as though an artist painted it on.  It is part of the American pond turtle family, Emydidae.

It is the most common turtle in North America, found in many ponds, marshes and water's edges.  Like other American pond turtles, the Painted turtle loves swimming in the water and basking in the sun.  The female can lay 6 to 20 eggs at a time, and those groups of eggs are called clutches. This website will tell you about the different kinds of turtles you can find in the States.

Now back to the plants I saw.  I have seen this one several times over the years, and have probably mentioned it many times (other plants and flowers too no doubt).   It is the Common buttonbush, also known by a lot of other names.  Case in point, Button-ball, Button-willow, Button bush, Globe-flowered bush, Honey balls, Little snowballs, Swamp globeflower, White pond dogwood, Honey-bells, Riverbush and Buckbrush.  Its botanical name is Cephalanthus occidentalis.

It is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that grows 6 to 12 feet tall and 4 feet to 7 feet wide.   Grown as an ornamental for its unusual flowers, the common buttonbush can attract more than two dozen species of wild birds, including water and shore birds.  Some of the birds it draws are robins, kingbirds and towhees.  In the summer its spherical flowers are frequently visited by hummingbirds, as well as polinating insects, like the one below.  

In the Fall the shrub produces round nutlets which are particularly enjoyed by wild ducks.  Because they stay around well into winter, they are an important food source for other birds as well.  The Common buttonbush is used for shelter and nesting by wood ducks and other waterfowl. Buttonbush plants are named for their fragrant white spherical flowers.  Since it is one of the most common plants in the genus, it is called the common buttonbush.

Another white bloom is from the Bottlebrush buckeye, also known as Dwarf horse chestnut or Dwarf buckeye.  Its botanical name is Aesculus parviflora. It grows deep red, tubular flowers that hummingbirds love to feed upon for their nectar.  The seed pods also produce protein-rich seed that several types of birds consume for food.  

Quite a hardy plant and my brown thumbs would do very well with this one.  It grows in shade to part shade and does very well in shady spots. 

I enjoy everything I see at the garden, but I was particularly interested in the lotus.  It is an Indian Lotus and other names are Bean of India, Sacred Lotus and Red Lily.  Its botanical name is Nelumbo nucifera.  

Each blossom consists of approximately 15 petals. I more often than not rely on my plant app, Picture This.  An interesting fact I read was that the Indian Lotus can live as long as one thousand years.  These plants can go into stasis and then revive.  Seeds from the Indian Lotus can remain viable for over a thousand years as well.  

This plant is important for religious ceremonies, water treatment, crop rotation and historically, human consumption.  

It is super easy to take care of, with resistance to almost all pests and diseases. 

A poem that I would not have associated with its poet, but am happy to do so, was written by Edgar Allan Poe.

“And the Nelumbo bud that floats for ever
With Indian Cupid down the holy river.
Fair flowers, and fairy, to whose care is given
To bear the Goddess' song, in odors, up to Heaven.”

I am always on the look-out for birds.  The smaller ones are elusive.  I have seen a Great Blue Heron here, though not for a very long time.  There have been ducks. 

I can always count on the Canada Goose.

This one was on its own and, as you can see, was next to the lotus.  Canada Geese are the largest type of goose.  Females lay between 2 to 9 eggs and both parents are involved with hatching the eggs.  However, the female invests more time in the incubation process.   At this link you can read lots more information about them.  

They are very cooperative when taking photos, and hang around long enough for me to take several.  Such a good goose!  I didn't see a mate today.  

Most every time, my photos are shared in order they were taken, so I am back to plants and trees.  This tree is called River Birch. I love its bark! 
Fortunately there was an ID marker at its base. It read, "Betula nigra Heritage ('Cully').  (Species native to Virginia).  Heritage River Birch." Later  I read that it is also known as Water Birch, Black birch and Swamp birch. 

It grows between 40 to 70 feet high.  It is usually planted in threes to make a stronger visual impact, to restrict their growing space and keep them at a manageable size.  Also, to give them natural protection.  

The black streaks on its trunk are called lenticels, and their function is to enable the exchange of gases between the tree and the air.  River birch is a strong but knotty wood.  It is sometimes used to make woodenware and furniture, but it is not usually used for commercial lumber. Native Americans would boil the sap to make a sweetener and would even eat the inner bark when food was scarce.  River birch is also a food source for many wild birds and even deer.    

It makes a lovely shade tree, and its leaves turn yellow in the Fall.  Shade-loving plants like ferns are a great choice for underplanting this birch. Underplanting as used here means to plant or cultivate the ground around a tall plant/tree with smaller plants. This info is for those who don't do a lot of gardening, and even at my age I am still learning. More information can be found at this website. I would love to plant one in the spot where we had to have a tree taken down, but it would grow far too big for the little patch we need to put it in, even with pruning. We would need a much larger garden. We are still searching for the perfect tree. As it will be a mid-planting between our home and our neighbors, even though it would be on our side of the property line, we have to consider them too.

We have finished our walk around the two ponds and made our way to the top where our car is parked.   It has been another wonderful walk.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2023


We arrived earlier in the day on this visit and the weather was perfect for a walk.  Instead of going to the flat area of the garden, we turned left and down the hill to the ponds, as we sometimes do.  

But before that I always check to see what is blooming in the flower bed that lines the parking lot. The first one I noticed was this pretty plant called Lily of the nile. A flower that is native to Africa, its other names are Blue lily and Common agapanthus. In European and American countries, it is called the African lily, and its botanical name is Agapanthus praecox.  
I am not sure about my ID on this red plant.  My app said it was a Firecracker hummingbird bush, It may be a kind of broad leaf Firecracker bush.  This being the case I am not going to give a lot of information, other than it looks like it would be great attracting hummingbirds.  I have something very similar called a Honeysuckle Fushia in my planter, so who knows.  If you can positively identify it as either, I would love to know for sure.  In the meantime, I will continue looking around.    
Next is a display of Purple coneflowers, also known as Eastern purple coneflower and Hedgehog coneflower.   I have these in our garden as many of you do.  Its botanical name is Echinacea purpurea.  It is an herb native to North America and flourishes in prairie environments or open wooded areas.  It makes a great addition to a flower bed or garden because it blooms the whole summer.  It also attracts a lot of pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.  Its genus name, Echinacea means "spiny", because its flowers are especially like a prickly sea urchin, which also has the same genus name.  Some people think its flowers resemble petals around the pinecones, and so this genus is called the coneflower.  Since this species has purple petals around the cones, it is called the purple coneflower.  Echinacea, which is also known as the purple coneflower, is an herbal medicine that has been used for centuries, customarily as a treatment for the common cold, coughs, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, and some inflammatory conditions. Research on echinacea is still going on, including clinical trials which are limited and largely in Germany, according to this website.
Ditch Lily is the name of these beautiful perennial flowers, also called Orange daylily, Common daylily, Tawny daylily, Tiger daylily and Fulvous daylily.  Its botanical name is Hemerocallis fulvia.  They are considered to be a weed largely due to how invasive they are, and people have difficulty getting rid of them once established. The reason is the tuberous roots bury deep into the soil making the ditch lily difficult to remove.  But, it is a hardy and versatile plant, so I suppose it's how you feel about them on the whole.  I would love them but then again I've never had any in our garden before.  Each individual flower lasts only a day, but the plant blooms new ones for weeks.  It can be toxic to animals (like many plants no doubt), so I would do some research if I were you.  This website gives you information if you have pets.

I still have photos to share from the pond area but as I want to set this up so that you can see it tomorrow (the 26th), and it is getting late, I am going to stop here and leave the pond photos for another day.