Monday, April 08, 2013

Peepers and (Wood)Peckers

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Last night as I opened the door to let the dogs outside for a final visit to yard, I heard them. Finally, our spring peepers singing in their froggy chorus!  What a  welcome and lovely sound that was. I did hear peepers at Duck Pond while on my walk at Skylands the other day but only for a minute as I first walked up to the pond and then they became silent. I opened the window when I went to bed so I could hear them and be "peeped" to sleep.

Through my open window this morning I was awakened by the repetitive robin and numerous woodpeckers drilling away on the trees. There was so much drilling going on that it sounded like a construction site! My goodness, I think Spring might just be around the corner! The warm temperatures that we are expecting over the next few days might just encourage the trees to pop.


(Photo: Cardinal at Skylands that was singing such a pretty song for me.)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Turtles and Ducks

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The other day I took a walk in Skylands (where else?) to see how far along everything might be from blooming there. Not much was happening in that direction unfortunately, but I did find some other things of interest. Such as this turtle family enjoying a sunny rock in the middle of Duck Pond. 

It must have been just that kind of day because in another part of the pond I saw this:

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They were all lined up facing in the direction of the sun for maximum baking exposure like a group of devout worshipers.

And what else could you expect to find on Duck Pond? Well … ducks of course!

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I'm not really sure why one male's head was green and the other was more blue. Younger perhaps?

Our weekend ahead is varied. Today is supposed to be very nice weather-wise and I'm not sure just yet how we'll spend it. On Sunday Rick heads out early in the morning to catch his flight to Las Vegas for the big trade show and I'll be on my own until Friday. I am hoping to get in a few good walks while he's gone if the weather lets me! I am patiently waiting for the cherry blossoms to pop and my new lens to come in, neither of which is cooperating.



Monday, April 01, 2013

The Weekend that Was

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I think Spring is finally on the way. As I type the little Carolina wren is singing away outside my window. I just adore those little birds and their sweet varied songs. I can see buds about to pop on the maple trees and the day lilies have broken ground. The daffodils have lots of flower buds coming. Soon it will all burst wide open and I'll be glad for that.

Our three-day weekend went pretty well. On Friday we did some errand running around. Some errands were successful (like our trip to DSW for new shoes) and others weren't as successful as I had hoped (Unique Photo for this new lens which was out of stock). As soon as I made the final decision to actually buy it and spend my reserved "Mom" money they run out due to a super new sale price. Next week!

We took the dogs for a walk, Rick took down the old cabana canopy frame in preparation for the new one and gave Mia a much needed bath.

We branched out for dinner and tried cooking skate for the first time and it was amazingly good. 

On Saturday we took Mia out for a spin. It was nice enough to have the top down once the day warmed up. We drove down to Branch Book Park in Bloomfield (a suburb of Newark) to check on the progress of the cherry trees, and also because I wanted to know the route so I could drive myself when the time comes. Last year this time the cherries were just about done, but this year they haven't even started yet. We saw a couple of trees that had popped, but most had not. I plan to spend a lot of time wandering around the park with my camera (and my new lens!) just taking in all the blossoms and getting some much needed cherry therapy or "cherrapy". Here's what they looked like last year.

When we got home Rick experimented with the new cook book I got him the other day. America's Test Kitchen's D.I.Y. cookbook: Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It: 100+ Foolproof kitchen projects for the adventurous home cook. He made ketchup! It was very tasty and much better than the prepared stuff. Healthier too! It made the house smell so good.


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We used it on our homemade onion rings that accompanied our grilled steaks. Here are the rings before frying. Yum!

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Easter was spent doing much not of anything. The weather was cloudy and windy and by afternoon the rain had started in. We bathed Alex, who was sorely in need of a bath, and blew him dry dog-show style in the morning. We just stayed around the house and watched TV, read and I knit some (still working on Rick's slippers, almost done) and cooked our free Easter ham. We also had gratin dauphinois and roasted carrots, parsnips and onions as sides. Delicious! Now we'll be eating on ham for the rest of the week: in quiche, split pea soup and so on. We'll also be having Sloppy Joes this week and using Rick's ketchup in them to see how it works when used in a recipe. 

So that's it folks, the weekend that was. I think I covered most of the highlights. I hope however you spent your holiday weekend was equally as enjoyable as ours.

(Top Photo explanation: I was intrigued by capturing the play of light on the fencing around the pool late in the afternoon as we grilled our steaks. The wrought iron chair on the opposite side of the fence was casting a shadow.)



Wednesday, February 20, 2013


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You may have noticed that I haven't had much to say in the past week. I've been struggling with writing blog posts for whatever reason. I've started three different post and just abandoned them.

The weather has not been very conducive to getting out of the house. Over the weekend we had a nasty, cold, biting wind and being outside for any time past five minutes was no fun. It's hard to walk the dogs right now since there is so much salt on our street that the crystals act like little ball bearings and I'm afraid I will fall if the dogs pull hard on their leashes. We've had a couple of tiny "snows" again that just coat everything. Yesterday we had a mix of snow and rain which turned in to a gentle rain for most of the day. Even the rain could not wash away what we still have left on the ground from our snowfall of twelve inches.

Winter starts to look downright ugly about this time. The snow that is left is dirty and hard. Days without grayness are hard to come by. I'm ready for spring!

With Rick in Florida on a business trip until Thursday I am left to my own devices. I do things like watch movies I've been wanting to see again. Like Out of Africa …  I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. That opening line alone can start me to sniffling. There are so many wonderful lines in this movie that I was almost tempted to sit with a pad of paper and write them down. The soundtrack by John Barry is so suited to the sweeping vistas of the African veldt. Just beautiful. It makes me cry too. So why do I watch? Because it's worth it.

Yesterday the wind was not blowing and the temperature was decent (high 30's) and knowing that rain was moving in later that afternoon I decided to go to Skylands for a walk. I don't know why but I decided to walk the two loops that are about 3 miles versus the one lower loop that I usually take, which is only a little over a mile. Silly me.

The sky was gray and stippled when I started out.


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But look! These bushes think spring is on the way! Maybe they know something we don't. I don't know what they are, do you? 

Added Later: I found out they are witch hazel bushes and always bloom in February amid the snow!

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About halfway through my walk I started to see little tiny snow pellets drifting down. Hmm, I thought myself, what's that all about? It was only noon and we weren't supposed to get any precipitation until later. 

As I walked along I heard the unmistakeable thunk, thunk, thunk of a large woodpecker working away. Pileated! Sure enough, there he was high in a tree. He had a huge hole!

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He didn't care that I was right underneath him at all. He could not decide whether to work on his really big hole or the two other ones on the other side of the tree that he had started. By this time the tiny little snow pellets had turned to big, fat, wet flakes. I hurriedly took a few photos of him before walking on.

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Soon the flakes were coming down in sideways sheets and I was not close to the car. I walked as fast as I could with my hood up and my camera zipped into my jacket, making it look like I had a big tummy. Why oh why did I choose to walk both loops? Thank goodness I had worn a jacket with a hood!

With  no harm done I was back at the car and on my way home from my wet walk. It was good to get out but I should have gone on a different day!


(top photo: Through the Window of the Gatehouse)

Note: After I got home and got a look at this pileated woodpecker he looks odd to me. His markings are off I think. His face is very white! Too white. Strange …

Monday, January 21, 2013


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I feel like I should be blogging about something. Anything. But I can’t come up with anything anyone (including myself) would care to read. My mind is pretty much blank.

I could tell you I saw a huge hawk in the tree this morning, just waiting to make a snack out of the birds feeding below him. At first I thought it was an owl because it was so big, so white, and so round. But it was just a cold hawk with his feathers all fluffed out. He spooked when I saw him and flew to another tree. I got the camera out but for whatever reason the photos were all out of focus. You’ll just have to envision him for yourself, or you can look at the out-of-focus shot. (It’s a Broad-Winged. They nest in our woods.) He’s beautiful even if he does like to eat little birds.

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I could tell you it’s below freezing out there today and spitting fitful little snowflakes. Pfffftttt.

I could tell you that the dogs have had their second treatment for their scabies and are greatly improved. Good news for sure. The itching and scratching had pretty much come to a halt until we treated them on Friday whereupon they immediately started scratching again. The vet told us that as the little mites were dying off they would cause bouts of scratching, and so they do. No more ugly hot spots though.

Did I tell you that my neighbor Kim and I got to talking and I found out that she’s been treating her dog for the same condition? Yup, Finn has scabies too and she went through the same round of vet appointments and treatments (on non-treatments) that I did. No coincidence there since she has had to chase the fox away from their back deck too.

Hmmm … let’s see what else …

I could tell you we made a great Beef and Guinness Pie last night for dinner. Yummy.

I could tell you the lakes are finally freezing over. The ice fishermen will be happy about that.

I could tell you that over the weekend most of our last snow melted away. The snow squirrel has been reduced to a blob of white. Alex will have to resort to bushes and trees again.

I could tell you that it’s 2:30 in the afternoon and I’ve already started a fire in the wood stove because it’s cold in the house.

That being said, what the heck am I doing sitting here telling you uninteresting things that you could care less about when I could be sitting by the warm fire reading?

I’m off …

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(photos: top & bottom: Blank Windows @ Long Pond : Mr. Not-In-Focus Broad-Winged)


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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