Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Tomato Tragedy


It must be the blight.


Tomato plants look terrible.


I know I should just cut them down but I want some tomatoes!


Butternut squash is fine.


Peppers too.


The weight of the fruit is bending the stems.



And it's such nice sized too,


Here's my basket full for today.  I pick some of the tomatoes if they are just showing color because I don't know what will happen to them if I don't.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Yikes!!

 I said that this morning when I spotted the mousetrap.  We have traps in the garage but mostly catch mice with the season changes.  Never expected to catch this snake.  



Don't know what it was.  Thankfully it was good and dead.  Dan checked with a broom handle first.



I'm the one to empty the mousetraps but couldn't do it when it was a snake trap.  Dan did the tossing. Carcass will likely be gone by tomorrow with the scavengers we have around here.

Anyone recognize this one?

I know it was not a Ribbon Snake seen here.

Here's a link to Maryland snakes.  Maybe its Mole Kingsnake?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bunny & Blooms

There's nothing to give you the size of this bunny rabbit, but it is tiny.  So small it fits through the wire fencing around the vegetable garden.  I've scared it out of there and seen evidence its nibbled on ripening green beans.

It is a cute one and I enjoy seeing it in the backyard eating the crabgrass.  Dan noticed it last night up on the deck (one step off the ground so no great distance for it).

In the Perennial Garden the predominate color is now yellow with the black eyed susans blooming.  The moon flower on the trellis gate has grown big but though there have been buds I've missed seeing the blooms.  I believe its an evening bloomer.




The white butterfly bush in its first year has put out the blooms and the butterflies have found it. The fishing line (deer deterrent) is visible there.


Speaking of deer deterrent - I still have hosta.  Love the green of this large one.  


I did have one flaw in my fishing line system that left an opening between my brush fencing and the fishing line.  At least on one occasion a deer got in.  I saw its tracks and with some sleuthing discovered the entry point.  More fishing line went up and that seems to have worked for now.  The final test will be when we are away for a week later this summer.  Deer always seem to know when the coast is clear.

Monday, July 27, 2015

What Is This?


Spotted along the roadside as we toured British Columbia in 2012.
Anyone ever seen it before and know what it's supposed to be?
It was huge.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Spires of Cumberland



Church spires in Cumberland, MD
Photo taken as we headed west to St. Louis, MO.

Linked to Inspired Sunday

Friday, July 24, 2015

Blueberry Cobbler

This is my go to recipe for an easy blueberry cobbler.  I can't take credit for it because I came upon it in Southern Living in 1983.  I have several of the Southern Living Annual Recipes Cookbooks but in this age of the internet, when it's easier to just do a search for a recipe, I use the cookbooks for the old favorites.  In fact I've written on the spine of the 1983 book to go to page 183 for blueberry cobbler.

3 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine) melted

Place blueberries in 10 x 6 x 2 inch baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice.
Combine flour, sugar, egg, stir until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Spread over blueberries.
Drizzle melted butter on top.
Bake at 375ยบ for 30 minutes.
Serve warm.
Yield: 6 servings.

(The recipe is attributed to Dottie Dear of Bronson, Florida.)

My variations:
Sprinkle on cinnamon on top of melted butter.
Mix blueberries with peaches.
Use another type of berry like blackberries.


I don't always use a rectangular baking dish.


Here's the flour, sugar and egg.  I use a fork to mix it.


The last time I made it I had ripe white peaches so I laid them on top.


Ready for the oven.  Nope sprinkle on some cinnamon first.


Three of us finished half of it for dessert.  My son-in-law William was visiting while Sarah was traveling to China.  We had it with ice cream on top.


Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Visit to the Human Origins Exhibit

I recently read "The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack" by Ian Tattersall a wonderful description of how the study of our origins as human beings developed as discoveries of ancient remains were made.  With the scientific advances of carbon dating and DNA testing we know so much more about how we evolved.
A visit to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the Human Origins exhibit was necessary for me to see for myself what Tattersall was describing.

As you walk into the exhibit through a tunnel you are met with these depictions of our ancestor species and a timeline of when they lived and what skills they developed: walking upright, tool making, social groups, use of fire, etc.


There are displays like this one that allow you to compare your footprints to earliest known footprints.


 There are skeletons.





There are sculptures.


There's a booth that takes your photo and transforms it to your choice of an early human.


Then there are the heads in glass cases at the height they would be.  You can face them one by one and wonder what life was like for them.












No need to have our species represented as a head because we are all around at this exhibit.


We lived on Earth initially with three other species: Erectus, Neanderthal, and Flora all of which are now extinct.











I've only shared a bit of the exhibit.  It's worth the trip if you are visiting Washington, DC.
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