When you're a 40 something single mother of a teen with lots of ambition, you find yourself in all kinds of interesting adventures and situations. Come back to laugh at us any time you feel the need, heaven knows where we'll be doing what next. Here you can expect a few words, a lot of images and hopefully ideas on what you can do for your next adventure.

If you're looking for something specific that we've done or a place that we've been, use the Search Box feature to search our blog.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mustard Vegetable Stew

Here you go Robin! :)

Mustard Vegetable Stew

2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced green onion
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets
2 Tbl butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or two cans)
3 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 tsp Thyme (or Dill!)
1/2 cup half & half
1 Tbl Cornstarch
1 Tbl cold water

In a large skillet, melt butter. Saute carrots until glazed and tender-crisp. Add onions and celery, stir for a few minutes  then add mushrooms. Add broccoli and broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for two minutes. Combine mustard, thyme (or dill) and half & half, add to vegetables. Boil and simmer 4-5 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water, add to stew stirring until thickened.

Ok - here's Renee's variations (cause I can). I don't always use Dijon mustard, yellow works fine. I haven't used Thyme in forever, I prefer dill. I also use Hannaford mixed frozen vegetables alot, and most of the time will just use broccoli and cauliflower mixes. I don't thicken it with cornstarch anymore either. :)

Try it and enjoy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Zippin' on the Z-Pack - Low tide jackpot

After two week of fevers, sore throats, coughing my fool head off and a malady of different ailments I was finally put on antibiotics. My sleep is deprived, I've taken a cocktail of medications and my body feels ransacked but I think I might just live after all.......now. Just in case, I've purchased an herbal supplement - a combination of Echinacea and Goldenseal - to see if the hype is for real. I'm not one for home remedies, however I get debilitatingly ill on a yearly winter basis and I'm pretty sick of it. I've tried everything imaginable and I'm willing to try more. Yes, I got both the seasonal and h1n1 vaccination and was told I had neither. **sigh** - well, it's my weekend to myself and I have some me time to relax. I'm making a mustard dill vegetable soup for supper and it smells fantastic. I'm also watching "the Tudors" from Netflix on my computer, Season one is done and I'm 1/2 way through Season two.

So this morning I put a leash on the dog and hopped in the car with my birding essentials. We started on the Eastern Trail where we were greeted by a pair of Crows at the parking area. Samantha had me in tow up the trail, spooking eight Common Goldeneyes (two males and two females) as she tried to snuff up all the other doggie odors along the way. Have you ever tried to take pictures with a 95 pound dog towing you around? It's not easy! Anyway, we got to see two Red-Breasted and one Common Merganser, around 20 Black Ducks, five Canandian Geese, a few gulls and then the highlight - two Bald Eagles! Of course the dog was being naughty (she hadn't been on the Eastern for some time) so I couldn't get a good shot of them! Grrrrrr! We got back to the car and headed to Pine Point.

Caw! Caw! The welcoming committee

Common Goldeneye

Samantha isn't much of a stalker

Common Merganser

Come'on mom! Hurry up and stop taking pictures!

That's it, I'm coming to get you.

See how well pictures come out with a dog tugging on the leash?
This is a Bald Eagle

So, then we hit Pine Point at the Co-Op. First I see men digging in the flats - not sure if for clams or worms (I believe the area is closed for clamming right now), then I realize that Mount Washington is shining clear as a bell past the river. The water was calm and beautiful on the marsh side but basically birdless, so I move on over to the area overlooking Ferry Beach. Now that was a whole different ball game! I was dead low tide and the birds were loving it! To name what I saw, there were Common Mergansers, Long Tailed ducks, Harlequins, Common Eiders, Common Loons, Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes then Crows, Herring Gulls, Balck-Backed Gulls and a couple of Glaucous Gulls. Jackpot! Sam didn't care, we didn't have to get out of the car here.

Pull up them pants!

Mount Washington - Click to enlarge

From there we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few supplies, then I swung into the hardware store. I found a Nyjer sock for my Goldfinches and grabbed a bag of Critter feed (peanuts, corn and sunflower seeds) for the deer (shh!) - they've been coming out the past few nights to dig at what's falling out of the feeders, and with all the snow I'm sure they'll appreciate a little help. Within an hour of putting up the Nyjer sock, I had a big, fat Goldfinch on it. :)

I'll let you know how the deer watch goes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chipping away at summer photos!

After all the snow we've had this week, it's time to see something summery. Therefore, please see some moldy-old pictures taken back in 2004 of a Chipping Sparrow in the apple tree of my previous residence. What I wouldn't give to have those trees in my new yard!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another day, another inch of snow

Another storm hit us yesterday and was supposed to stop around midnight last night. Well, it's still snowing off and on and hasn't really stopped all day. I would say my three day total is somewhere around 20". Methinks my next present to myself will be a rain/snow gauge, just for grins and chucks. Then I won't have to guess how much precipitation we've gotten. Maybe then I can be one of the backyard observers for the weather channel!

I will not complain about one thing, it's 5:50 and still light enough out to see around outside. Now THAT makes me a happy person. Every minute we gain brings us closer to spring!

All that snow made it an interesting day at the feeders, that's for sure. I had some oldies-but-goodies emerge from the woodwork to join in with the regulars and they ate heartily and happily, all 17 species. Some photographs are below, following by my E-Bird listing:

 I love it when the Goldfinches come to visit!

 So many Mourning Doves today!

 Someone's nest must have been cold last night!

 Blue Jay

 There were two Brown Creepers all over the big pines today

 One of the Tufted Titmouse

 My neighbors apple tree, which is apparently attracting the Robins and Waxwings

 Can I please come play in your feeder?

 The Mourning Doves are getting fat!

Mourning Dove 20
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 30
Common Raven 2
Black-capped Chickadee 12
Tufted Titmouse 6
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
Brown Creeper 2
American Robin 8
Cedar Waxwing 5
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 12
Common Redpoll 3
Pine Siskin 6
American Goldfinch 10

Monday, January 18, 2010

So much for 3-5" - we've got us a January blowout!

Now, don't get me wrong - I love my weather people. Our local forecasters are only providing the information available to them at the time the forecast is made and can't predict the future. Last night they were talking 3 - 5" for our area. This morning I woke up with 9", and we're up to 14" at last check. Thank goodness the neighbors across the street plowed us out, I was hurting after shoveling a 10'x10' area! It's still snowing and doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon.

It's keeping the Bluejays and Chickadees hopping on the feeder front and the Mourning Doves and Juncos are vaccuuming those seeds that fall to the ground.  We've been visited by the Red and White Breasted Nuthatches as well as the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. A few American Tree Sparrows were here earlier but have disappeared, and I heard the Common Redpolls in the woods while we were out earlier. Yesterday I had two female White-Winged Crossbills hanging with the Goldfinches - an odd pairing but I wonder where they are today? I'll keep an eye out this afternoon, I'm sure they'll be back (the Goldfinches always are!).

The Buxton version of 3 - 5"

The Juncos were here before daylight this morning

Holy cow Martha, don't be such a pig!

Snowshoes, just waiting to be used

Sammie ♥ the snow

Sandpit sliding

You can tell I live in a Redneck-ie type of neighborhood.

Between my place and the powerlines is access to a gravel pit. They built a berm all the way around the pit to keep unauthorized vehicles from entering the area, and it's perfect for sliding. The berm is just high enough to give a good ride, but not too high to keep little boys from getting tired and grumpy from climbing the hill. It also keeps mom happy because she can sit and watch close to the car and let them get worn out without fear of having to carry the sleds - and the kids - back to the car. I know I'm talking boy-z in plural, because often on weekends my neighbors son inherently becomes mine. This trip to the pit, he wanted to try to slide down the gravel piles. Me - still not in my right mind due to illness - agreed that we could 'walk the pit'. What was I thinking?

Again, it's easier to pictorial the events rather than explain. Enjoy the ride! Oh yeah - 13 Crows - that was my quarry.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Walkin' the line. The power lines, that is.....

It hit around 45 degrees here today, absolutely gorgeous. The snow is melting into mud puddles and making sliding difficult for the monkey and his buddies who come to ransack my yard and scare the birds away. Just before noontime we bundled up, although not needed at all, and headed to the powerlines.

If you leave my drive, take a left, cross over Rt 112 onto Webster there is a major powerline less than a mile away. In the spring it is typically muddy and swampy, in the summer hot and soupy, in the fall peppered with winterberries and hunters and in the winter part of the ITS 89. For any non-Mainers, ITS is the Interconnected Trail System used by snowmobilers who travel across the state. 89 will take you north to Eustis and south to Lebanon and beyond on both ends. There is the groomed trail that most snowmobilers stick to, then there are spurs created by those who can't follow the rules. When we walk the 'lines, we stick to the spurs because most people won't follow the abstract trails that look like they're headed for the willy-wags. We also keep a ear out for the high-pitched whine of the machines tearing up the trails. No sense getting run over foon such a beautiful !

I was hoping to find some birds but only saw 6 Chickadees. I heard odd noises here and there, but it could have been my son's stomach (it was close to lunchtime). The berries have been stripped from the trees with only a few fermented left behind for February feathered friend parties. The deer have been criss-crossing the trails like crazy and I didn't see one coyote track. Since there aren't any other real tall tales to tell, I'll do a pictorial of our trip instead. To be honest, I think the photographs tell more than I could anway.

What was left of the winterberries

Taking a break

Swamp deer tracks

A slideshow of the rest of the pictures, trying to save blog space!  Click the arrow to start.
If you want to see a larger version of a picture, click on it to enter my Picasa site.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Swallow tales

To me, summer isn't summer unless you get to watch birds courting and building their future together. Trying to keep up with bringing summer to winter, here are some photos of Tree Swallows nesting in my mother's back yard a few years back. Can't you just smell the warm air?


Oh honey, I LOVE the view from up here!

Did Ethel and Ira just take that box next to us? Oh good Lord.


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