Tuesday, April 30, 2024


B hopeful, B happy, B cheerful, B kind,

B busy of body, B modest of mind,

B earnest, B truthful, B firm and B fair…

B watchful, B ready, B open, B frank,

B manly to all men, whatever B their rank;

B just and B generous, B honest, B wise…

B temperate, B steadfast, to anger B slow.

B thoughtful, B thankful, whate’er may B tide…

B pleasant, B patient, B fervent to all,

B best if you can, but B humble withal.

B prompt and B dutiful, still B polite;

B reverent, B quiet, and B sure and B right…

B grateful, B cautious of those who B tray.

B tender, B loving, B good and B nign,

B loved thou shalt B, and all else B thine.

“A Swarm of Bees”

The British Bee Journal, and Bee Keeper’s Adviser, 

February 1st, 1882

Monday, April 29, 2024


I was very happy with these cookies, different to any cookie we have tried before.  Not too sweet and more like a miniature cake than a cookie. I found the recipe on a YouTuber’s video called Cooking Lyrics, and you can watch if you click here.

Soft Apple Cookies:

2 eggs at room temperature 

100g or 1/2 cup (or 3.5 ozs. sugar)

Pinch of salt

100g (or 3.5 ozs.) butter, softened 

320 to 340g plain flour (or 2-1/4 cup to 2-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, or 11 ozs.)

14g (or 3 teaspoons) baking powder

2 apples (I used Granny Smith)

Icing/confectioner sugar for dusting cookies after baking

Preheat oven to 180 deg C (Or 350 to 365 deg F (my oven is on the cool side so I used 365 deg F - I will leave it to you to be the judge on the heat you use - temperatures are a guide-line).

Add 2 eggs to a mixing bowl, also a pinch of salt and all the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat until sugar is dissolved and mixture looks light.

Add the softened butter until thoroughly mixed.

In a separate bowl thoroughly mix the baking powder into the flour.

Add half the flour mixture and mix into the eggs until combined. Add the remaining flour, this time folding in with a spatula until combined.

Peel and core the 2 apples. Cut into small dice and fold into the batter. 

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

Using a spoon, scoop up your apple mixture and put onto the baking tray in mounds, leaving a 2-inch space between them.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.  It’s always hit and miss for that first batch. They looked light on the top but were brown on the bottom. I took them out of the oven and they were done. The second batch I left them in a couple of extra minutes, and they browned more. Here again I will let you be the judge. The timing is only a guide.

Carefully transfer to a cooling rack until you can try one.

Using a small strainer, sprinkle icing sugar on top of all the cookies before serving. 

It goes great with a cup of coffee or tea.  

I recommend watching the video first, just to get a clearer idea of the steps in the recipe, or if I wasn’t clear enough when writing out these instructions.

Changes made: I didn’t have any plain/all-purpose flour. I used self-rising and left out the baking powder.

I also had no icing/confectioner’s sugar, so before baking I sprinkled on regular sugar and they were great. I made two batches. The second batch I left the sugar off and they still tasted very yummy. (Added note: see Donna’s comment about making confectioner’s sugar. Such a great idea, thank you Donna!)

The batter seemed a bit stiff so I used a few drops of milk until I got the consistency I wanted. 

A commenter at the video site said they used half regular sugar and half brown sugar, and that they tasted like a caramel apple. I might give it a try next time.

Everyone’s taste is different but we gave these cookies a 10 out of 10. Different to any cookie we have had before, and tasted like miniature cakes with delicious bits of cooked apple inside. As mentioned before, not too overly sweet so you can add a little more sugar for your own taste.

One of these makes a lovely snack. I also ate one for breakfast along with a container of lemon-flavored Greek Yogurt. It was a delicious combination.

It looks like this is good to freeze. I didn't want to leave a whole batch out. I froze them after baking the day before, took one out and microwaved it for 30 seconds. It was as delicious as if it were fresh out of the oven.  That’s when I had it for breakfast with the lemon yogurt. 

If you are not keen using the microwave, it thaws out pretty quickly, but you can always leave one to thaw the night before in the fridge and take it out to come to room temperature. Or pop it in a toaster oven to heat up a little.

This is the full address to the YouTube video.



Sunday, April 28, 2024


I am sharing the Mexican pottery. It was our second trip to the center early on Friday afternoon. These bright and cheery selections caught my eye. A lovely young man came up to me and saw me looking at them. He was very softly spoken and I didn't catch all he was saying, but we thought he said his girlfriend painted very similar designs but on wood. The moment passed and he and his friends walked over to their car and were gone. Another one of those nice conversational interludes that I enjoy when we are out and about.

I found this website where they sell similar items, and the story behind this type of Mexican art. It reads:

"Gaze at a Talavera pottery urn, vase or platter, the finest ceramics of Mexico, and behold the art of a Spanish colonial period rich with old world design and a colorful heritage. The rich Talavera pottery heritage was introduced to Mexico by Spanish guild artisans of the Colonial period. Commonly called "majolica" in Spain, Mexican Talavera draws its name from the 16th century Spanish pottery center, Talavera de la Reina. While the intricate polychrome and more typical blue and white designs show their Old World legacy, native floral and animal motifs claim these colorful ceramics as classically Mexican.
The pottery design above is a Talavera Burro Pot.
I don't know enough about them to know if all these pieces are Talavera, the tortoise for instance. All of them were fun to look at. These were set up before we got to where the flowers were sold. 

I have more to share from our trip to the garden center, from two trips a week apart. More flowers than anything. I hope to get another post done soon.

Thanks for looking and I hope your weekend is going great.

Saturday, April 27, 2024


Good luck with that Mr. Cardinal, I think this behavior is set in stone, at least in bronze! Welcome bunnies! 

The Now Outside Bunny continued: It's what Mrs. Camera Lady would like for the deck. It's giving her ideas. Lots of potted plants. Mr. Camera Man is smiling and looking at her sideways, but he's a good egg. He carried quite a few home today. They went to the flower nursery again. He is a patient man! You can tell Camera Lady I said so!

And so it goes on a Saturday Morning at the Birdfeeder.

Friday, April 26, 2024


 It is always a delightful happening when I pick up one of Ann's cards from the mailbox. I love the 3-D effect you've used.

Part of the enjoyment is opening up the card and reading these sweet sentiments.

We were talking the other day, saying that rabbits don't have to be put away for next Easter. I am going to keep my felt bunnies out for a while longer. I put them next to Ann's card in the spot right above where I do my blogging. Makes me smile every time I look up. Thanks again Ann! You spread so many smiles and happy thoughts around.

You can pop on over and say hi to Ann at Ann's Snap Edit Scrap here.

Thanks for looking everyone. Have a great day!

Thursday, April 25, 2024


When we see the sign in the above photo, we always know we are getting close to the Thornton Gap entrance. There are several entrances, but this is the one we usually take getting there. Our route took us through Sperryville

We followed the mail truck for a while. 
You can read about the history of Skyline Drive at this link. It also has a map showing its length, which is 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. We drive to Big Meadows and then carry on to the next exit at Swift Run Gap near Elkton, heading towards Stanardsville.

The road going through the mountain is called Mary's Rock.  No one knows with any certainty how it got its name, who was Mary? The story that seems to be more popular than most is that of a young girl by that name, who was lost in the mountains, and was later discovered walking down from this peak with two bear cubs. Whether or not as to its truth, the 360 degree view from the top is one of the most spectacular in the park. The first overlook as you get out of the tunnel is the one we stopped at.
The tunnel is 670 feet long and was bored through solid granite in 1932. Below is an information board with a few details.
I cropped my photo above for an easier read. If you enlarge the photos it will be even easier.
Unfortunately. the character's shovel is right in the middle of the photo below.
The tunnel was partially lined with concrete in 1958, to alleviate the formation of icicles in winter and water seepage in summer - a partially successful effort.
The building of the road was put into motion by President Herbert Hoover (31st US President from 1929 to 1933). He had a fishing camp that is still in the park apparently. President Hoover was already very familiar with the area, and it was he who proposed the building of the road. There were national parks out in the western part of the United States at that time, but none here. The Government was looking to build a park somewhere in the East and Virginia advocated very strongly for it to be built in this State.
3,000,000 young men were hired by the The Civilian Conservation Corps during The Great Depression. They did jobs like plant trees, maintain trails, control mosquitos and infrastructural projects like building Skyline Drive. 
All had to be in their early 20s and unmarried, so that part of the money that they earned would also help support their families back home. They lived in the park and were paid $30 a month, $5 of which they were allowed to keep, and $25 dollars was sent home to their families.  
There is an interesting YouTube here, telling in brief about the people who were displaced. They had lived their whole lives before it was made a National Park, and subsequently removed from their land without a choice. (I did read somewhere that elderly people were allowed to stay.)
Some were happy to go but others were not.
More history of the park can be read at this link.
Here are 15 of the best things you can do in the park.

At the time of this post, there is a $30 entrance fee per vehicle, and you can read other information at this website.  We bought a lifetime pass several years ago. Wherever we go in the United States, we can use it to get into every National Park. You can read about them here. Inpart it reads:

“The National Park System encompasses 429 national park sites in the United States. They span across 84 million acres, with parks in each state and extending into the territories, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.”

There is free entry on special days of the year.

Monday, January 16th - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Saturday, April 22nd - First Day of National Park Week
Friday, August 4th - Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
Saturday, September 23rd - National Public Lands Day
Saturday, November 11th - Veteran's Day

This post is only a very tiny view into how beautiful this area is. We have been coming here off and on, depending on where we have lived at the time, for well over 40 years.
I'm afraid these were the only deer we saw that day, two plastic ones on someone's front yard on the way home. They fooled me for a few seconds, but doggy here saved the day.
A clearer picture of doggy fix, and the telephone lines didn't bother me a bit.

Thanks for visiting everyone, and I wish you all a very happy Thursday.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


A chuckle found online recently.

Thanks for dropping by and don’t forget to tell your human to behave the next time a hotel is in your future. We will try to do the same 😎.  Have a very enjoyable day!  

Tuesday, April 23, 2024



A restaurant I wouldn't mind trying next time we are in town.
Buddha and the Soldier/Warrior/Guard were near the entrance, a very nice welcome for customers. 
As it grew dark we came across the statue of Marilyn Monroe. In my previous post I mentioned all the heights of the statues that we saw, as they were kept true to life. She was 5 ft. 5 in. in height. This scene is from a very famous photo taken by photographer Sam Shaw. I read that it made him better known to a larger audience and plaid a roll in making Marilyn even more famous. It has been reprinted millions of times, making it one of the best known in the world. Shaw had been friends with Marilyn for quite a while before this picture was taken. Before she had her own breakthrough as an actress, she was actually Shaw's driver, since he did not have a driver's license. You can read the whole story at this website. Her sculpture is called Forever Marilyn.
After we crossed the street on our way back to our car before driving home, I looked back and saw this scene. Marilyn's real name was Norma Jean Baker and she was born in Los Angeles on June 1st, 1926. We all probably know that rather sad ending to her life and I won't go into it.  However, if you're curious you can read her biography telling about the rest of her story here. There were other much larger replicas of this statue that stood 26 feet high, and as reported, they were in Chicago-Illinois, Hamilton Township-New Jersey, Stamford-Connecticut, Palm Springs-California and Bendigo, Australia.  I am not sure whether they are still there.  The dates seemed to be long ago. Placement in Palm Springs apparently caused quite an uproar. If it is a permanent placement or a temporary one at National Harbor, I don't know.
The lady across the street certainly didn't seem to approve. You can barely see her underneath the shop light towards the right. She is to the left of the red traffic light, a few feet down on the sidewalk, standing next to the building. 
I certainly didn't notice her and she was so life-like, until you got up really close.
I remember seeing exhibits of sculptures on a trip to Florida several years ago. I'll have to share the posts as they were fantastic, life-like statues by the same man, J. Seward Johnson Jr. This lady with the groceries is called Holding Out. And of course I had a nosy inside her shopping bag.
The Capital Ferris Wheel can be seen in this photo.
More window shopping. 
We are almost back at the car having had a wonderful time walking around.

Last one driving across the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge as we cross back into Virginia from Maryland. A bit blurry but it's the first half-way decent shot I have managed to get in years. 
This is the second and last part of our trip to National Harbor. We will be back again in a few months.

Thanks for looking and I hope the beginning of your week is going great.