Friday, March 15, 2013

The Merry Month of March

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Ah, March. If there ever was a month that couldn't make up its mind, March is it. So far it's given us a few glorious spring-like days, but yesterday it gave us snow flurries and brutally cold cold wind. Downright nasty. Looking back on my blog in past years, entries show up with maple tree buds bursting and neighborly crocus blooming. I think I saw the neighbors' crocus up the other day as I drove past but they were closed up tight due to gray skies. My maple trees show no signs of wanting to bust out all over but I did see about ten robins the other day in my yard. One day they weren't there; the next they were!

March is capricious, that's for sure.

I was surprised and quite pleased by all the visitors brought to my blog by joining in the Rurality Blog Hop this week. My poor little blog hasn't seen that many comments in years. Maybe never! So if you are stopping by again on a return visit, thank you for your kind words the other day.

We are hosting a dinner party tomorrow night for six people plus us. We used to entertain quite a bit but don't so much anymore. Mostly because of the rowdy dogs but quite possibly they were just an excuse. We've done this particular dinner once before and it was a great hit with our guests. We are having cassoulet that we ordered in a "kit" from D'Artagnan in the Hudson Valley who are known for their French goods, most particularly duck products.

Our kit arrived on Wednesday with all the main ingredients that we need: haricot tarbais (large white beans), ventreche (a kind of pancetta), duck leg confit, duck and armagnac sausage, french garlic sausage, duck and veal demi-glace, and of course, duck fat.

Let's just hope that we don't have to change out dining tables like we did the last time. (Last time I was putting the extra leaf in our antique table when the table leg broke. We had to call on our neighbor, who was also coming to our dinner, to help us get our other table up from the basement. What a ta-do!)

Today will be spent grocery shopping and cleaning the house in preparation, so I best get on with it and stop blabbing!


(photo: Shadows at Long Pond when the sky was a strange color: blue!)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Springing Forward

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We are now officially on daylight savings time. The dogs seemed to know somehow because they were ready to get up at 6:00 a.m. That's 6:00 a.m. old time. Normally they would wake us up at 6:30. It was really 7:00 a.m. Still not sure how they knew.

Yesterday was a beautiful day! It was sunny and in the 50's although snow covered the ground. We had a bad case of Spring Fever. We bought things we can't use for at least a couple of months.

We knew when we took down the curtains from the pool cabana that they were on their last legs. We've had the cabana for five years and by taking the curtains down and packing them up each year we've managed to keep them in pretty good shape. But, their time was done. They were faded and we'd had to tape the screen once when Bella did not see it and stuck her head through. I had seen a cabana at BJ's where we had purchased the old one. So yesterday morning we headed down that way to take a closer look.

We didn't like the one at BJ's so we also stopped at Home Depot and Lowe's. Home Depot didn't have any, but Lowe's had the perfect one! It was love at first sight. Just wait until you see it! We also bought a mat to put down as a flooring. And a cabana chandelier. And some cushions for the outdoor chairs that are wrought iron. Now I am thinking I need a few potted palms to make our outdoor oasis complete. But not just yet. For now the cabana and its accouterments will have to stay in the garage.

We had the dogs with us so we had to take them home and come back and get the larger items. Sheesh. 

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Today we took Alex with us to the Warwick Valley Winery for a pizza and a bottle of wine. We were the only ones sitting out on the patio to eat although the place was pretty much packed with people inside. It wasn't quite warm enough--not really--but we sat in the sun by ourselves, ate our pizza, drank our wine, and tossed Alex the pizza "bones." 

Tonight we plan on grilling hamburgers outside and having oven fries. We might even put those new seat cushions on the chairs just for tonight and sit outside with a glass of wine while cooking our dinner. It's supposed to rain heavily on Tuesday so I will have to bring them back inside, but still, progress is being made towards Spring!

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Amaryllis  & Ming Aralia Shadow

Too beautiful to resist

A photo just so you can see how truly HUGE this amaryllis is.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Eats and Other Assorted Things

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It seems like that's about all we did this weekend: eat! The weather on Saturday was sleety/rainy/windy/not nice. I am ready for spring! The snow we have left on the ground is now the consistency of snowcones and very slippery. Ugh. We kept a fire going in the wood stove all day to take the damp chill off. It's hard to imagine that last year we had crocus coming up two weeks from now and we were driving around in Mia with the top down. I don't think that's going to happen this year. Even harder to imagine is swimming in the pool. Right now it's covered with a layer of slushy ice. 

While we were housebound on Saturday, Rick baked bread (above) and we made Coq au Vin. Well, it was really Poulet au Vin if you want to get technically correct. Good food for a still-winter day. Here is the chicken as it came out of its marinade of red wine before cooking, making it look like it has freckles.


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We caught up on our TiVo'd shows and went through our closets. We now have bags and bags of clothes going to Goodwill. I went through my bookcase by the computer and took out all the manuals on outdated computer programs--they are scheduled for the recycle bin on Wednesday. It feels good to get rid of things that are just useless clutter. 

Sunday was a nicer day temperature-wise and we even managed a walk down the road with the dogs. Lunch was one of my all-time favorites: Salad Lyonnaise. We used to eat these all the time when we lived in France. The Lyonnaise part of its name comes from the city of Lyon which was close to where we lived. Rick has mastered the perfect poaching of the eggs. Delicious. (We used the homemade bread for the croutons.)

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My first amaryllis to bloom is now on its second stalk of blooms. This one only has two huge flowers just like the last one. I am pleased to report that the second amaryllis, which is only two years old, has a hefty flower stalk and is also about to bloom as well (I suspect more than two flowers inside), and even more surprising, the oldest one has a bud poking up from the bulb. This will mark its sixth consecutive year of blooming. Wow, I am thrilled!

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Alex, our oldest dog had minor surgery today to remove a nasty little tumor on his butt that looked like a hemorrhoid which was causing problems. According to the vet, this kind of tumor is widespread in older intact male dogs and most of them are benign. We decided to do a biopsy just for peace of mind but we are not expecting it to be anything other than what it appears to be. Poor dog is going to have a little trouble with sitting for a while. But we are glad to have it off since it was smelly and trying to keep him clean back there would cause the darned thing to bleed. I'm sure he's glad to be rid of it too. Be gone you nasty thing! He's resting comfortably at the vet's right now and I can pick him up just before dinner. Rick recently did a blog post with a video of Alex being silly and playing with his toys. You can check it out here. He's pretty cute if I must say so myself.

Well, that's all I have for you today. I hope your weekend was a good one!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Gobbling Up

Over the weekend we "gobbled" up the rest of the first season of Downton Abbey and took a small bite out of the second season. We are loving this series! The costumes, the acting--everything makes it a top-notch production.

We have also been gobbling up the food from this cookbook:

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This is the cookbook I've talked about in another post that is British, but with American measurements and vocabulary as well as the British. (Remember: take one Swede …?) Not only is it a beautiful book to just browse through, but everything we've made so far has been a big hit: Chicken Pot Pie with Tarragon and Leeks (simple and delicious); Tamale Pie, that you top with a cornbread mixture that has green chiles mixed in; and this delicious lunch yesterday, Creamy Pancetta and Onion Tart. Yum!

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Rick has declared the Chicken Pot Pie to be the best he's ever tasted! Unfortunately I don't have these recipes entered in to our recipe book just yet. But soon!

We didn't do much else over the weekend, it was too cold for most outdoor activities since we are below freezing again. We had a little skiff of snow, maybe an inch, on Saturday night. Just enough that Rick felt he had to clear the driveway. Nuisance snow. And we're supposed to get more of those in the coming week.

We managed to take the dogs for a walk and split some more wood for the wood stove and fireplace.

Other than that, Rick worked on our web sites--getting us running under new software and fine tuning things. Some of you may have experienced difficulty leaving a comment, or possibly searching the archives. We think it's working properly now, but please let us know if you encounter anything odd or can't leave a comment. (Use the Contact Me button at the top.)

P.S. The cookbook is available on

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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