Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thankful Sunday--September 21, 2014

I am thankful for pen and paper.

Out of all of the ways we have to record things today, for me nothing beats a good, old fashioned pen and paper.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Food Waste Friday and True Food Confessions-Sept. 19, 2014

It's time for Food Waste Friday, when the Frugalgirl encourages us to post pictures from the previous week of wasted food from our household. This accountability hopefully will help us to be more careful with our food and maybe save some money. Also, I am using this public forum to encourage us to eat out less which includes better meal planning. You can follow how we are doing in this endeavor by reading True Food Confessions. Occasionally, if our eating is going okay, I'll talk about some other food topic.

This Week's Month's Food Waste 
and True Food Confessions

I've gotten out of the habit of reporting on these endeavors and it's time to get back on track after being absent for a month.

Overall the food waste hasn't been too bad but we certainly have had some. With an abundance of  garden produce this summer has also come a few tomatoes and a cucumber that have gone bad before we used them. Also down-the-drain went a jar of mayo and a jar of BBQ sauce. The mayo got left out on the counter overnight after using it for a tomato sandwich. Also I decided it was time for some BBQ sauce to go. It's been in the fridge for over seven years. (Yes, I said seven years.) I didn't like the taste of it and apparently neither did anyone else. 

Some of the things we've enjoyed eating recently.

As far as our eating, it hasn't been too bad either.  Our eating-out has been an occasional Chinese takeout or Subway sandwich except for the week we were on vacation. There we ate out every night after having breakfast at the hotel and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. As I mentioned above, we have been enjoying fresh things from the garden. Many of our meals have centered around watermelon, cucumbers, squash, beets, brussel sprouts, beans,  zucchini, and tomatoes. Also, Ward tried out his new smoker with a chicken and some ribs. And I'm happy to report that it worked well. Also, we recently tried a recipe for crock pot lasagna. That was also a hit. 

As much of the garden produce is done for the year, I'm going to have to start planning more. This summer's meals have mostly been guided with what fresh vegetables we had to work with. Wish me luck with the planning as this has never been my strong suit.

Until next time...(which will hopefully be next week.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Second Look--September 17, 2014

What can I say? The weather has been wonderful with cool mornings and warm days. The kind of days where you wear a sweater to work, but forget to bring it home because it's warm when you leave. (Don't ask me how many sweaters I have at work right now.) While I am still seeing plenty of critters, I am seeing fewer of them. I don't know if they've gone south, or they're off preparing for the impending winter.
But I did notice something that totally fascinated me this week. I saw a skipper butterfly roll up its proboscis. One minute it had it extended and collecting pollen and the next minute, it was rolling it up and hiding it. It was just like one of those party noise makers that unrolls when you blow into it and then rolls back up when you stop. Now if I were like millions of others out there, I would have had my smart phone ready and have a good video to show you. However, I don't have a smart phone and the video on my camera doesn't work right. So you'll just have to take my word for it when you see the pictures below. It was really neat. :)

Here are a few things I saw this week during a Second Look.

Dogwood tree. Notice the buds for next spring's blooms next to the berries from this year's blooms.

Sternbergia lutea

A few of the Lily of the Valley berries have been snatched.

Skipper butterfly on sedum. If you look closely, you can see it had its proboscis out in the first picture. In the second picture, you can't see it.

Faithful flowers that have been blooming all summer and are still hanging on.

Saddleback Caterpillar. It turns out that this colorful caterpillar has venomous barbs. Not only will they sting you skin, they can also make you sick. I'm glad I was wearing gloves when I found him.

Female hummingbird.  Male hummingbirds leave a few weeks before the females. I don't know if all of the males are gone, but I've only seen females at the feeder.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Star Spangled Banner, 200th Anniversary

Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of the writing of our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Here is a post I wrote a couple of years ago after visiting Fort McHenry where the event took place.

A History Lesson

My history education hasn't been very good—both from my schooling and my own initiation. So, I have vague ideas about a lot of things but don't understand much completely. This was evident during my recent visit with Ward to Fort McHenry in Baltimore. I knew that Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner there while he was watching bombs bursting in air, supposedly to the tune of an old English drinking song. But I never knew the rest of the story.

A replica of Key's Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry
Picture it. September 1814 during the War of 1812. The British have just burned the Nation's Capital and the people of Baltimore are frightened. The British Navy is amassing in the Chesapeake Bay and they are coming for Baltimore next if they can get by Fort McHenry. Meanwhile, Francis Scott Key, a young Georgetown lawyer, has taken a ship out among the British to negotiate for the release of Dr. William Beanes, who is a prisoner of war. 

The British start bombing the fort and the Americans return their fire. Francis is forced to stay among the British ships and can do nothing but watch the massive battle. For twenty five hours the exchange goes on. The firing finally stops and the battle has been won. But by whom? He anxiously awaits to see which flag will be flying over the fort: the Union Jack or the Stars and Stripes. When dawn brakes, it is a tremendous relief for him to see the Star Spangled Banner still flying. Francis Scott Key, overcome with emotion, is inspired to capture the feelings of the experience by penning the Star Spangled Banner.

There are many more details, that I can't quite remember, but the words of our National Anthem now have more meaning for me.

"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thankful Sunday--September 13, 2014

I am thankful for rain.

I thought we were going to have sunshine. Instead we had a gentle, cool rain all day long. Because of that, I slowed down and enjoyed the day. No rushing outside to mow the grass and weed the beds. Instead a day inside of reading and watching the birds through the window. For that I am thankful.