He-Men Movers YMCA

My local YMCA is bringing in all new resistance equipment!  They took the old stuff out yesterday and the new gear arrived today.  We old-time members will even have to be retrained on how to re-sculpt our bodies.

Bill and I were so excited we made a special trip to town today (on a non-workout day!) just to see all the new machines.  We had lunch at KindRoots Café, a charming little diner on the YMCA premises.  They have yummy local, fresh, good-for-you foods.

And as we enjoyed a no-guilt healthy lunch we watched the Y’s transformation.

Staff Trying Torture Chamber

Staff Trying Torture Chamber

A fleet of grimacing strong-men were maneuvering   the heavy, enormous looking equipment, trying to get it through the front doors.

“Be still my heart!” I warned.

But, my heart was not beating for the he-man brigade.  (Ha!  Gotcha  there!)  It was beating for the imagined image of the new body I will be sculpting once I learn the intricacies of these state of the art machines!

Bill Waiting for Me to Take Pictures

Bill Waiting for Me to Take Pictures

It does not take much to impress us here in rural areas of the Commonwealth of Virginia you know.

We live in the country or “out in the county” as the locals call it.  So the comings and goings of the seasons are usually enough excitement.  And as you may know, I tend to blog about the seasons ad nauseam.

But when it comes to fancy new gym equipment to replace the oft repaired machines we have been using for years and years, well now,  that’s the equivalent of  taking a first roller coaster ride on the biggest, wildest one ever.

This “Y” purchase is top o’ the line equipment minus nicks, dents, scratches, groans or squeaks.  It is already making us feel richly rewarded for sticking with the antique resistance gadgets of the past.

Yep – out with my old body and in with the new!  I wonder if I can even get up on that torture chamber thing.

If you come for a visit, I will be sure to take you to my YMCA for a tour.

Isn’t that something to look forward to?

Try to contain your excitement!




Awesome Nature Photo

“I have received many remarkable nature photographs over the years,

but this photo of a nesting Falcon is perhaps the most remarkable nature

shot that I have ever seen.

 I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  

Nature is truly breathtaking!

 I’ve sent this to most of my older friends.

The younger ones probably have never seen a Falcon and wouldn’t recognize one.”


Actually, this photograph and note came to me in an email.

The original source is  unknown but thank you Steve for passing it on.

And you’re right, I didn’t recognize the falcon.

Does that mean I’m in the “younger” category?  Ha!




Falcon in a Tree

Photographer: Unknown


TJefferson Cook BookI have a new cook book!

Actually, it is an old cook book revived.

I just received it as a gift for no real reason from Steve and Viv (my terrific brother and sister-in-law).

Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book was written over 200 years ago and is a collection of his “historic recipes discovered.”

A Virginian accustomed to  traditional ham, fried chicken, Brunswick stew, greens and batter bread, Jefferson acquired a taste for more exotic fare in France.  He was sent to Paris in 1785 as Minister Plenipotentiary to the court of Louis XVI.

Plenipotentiary?  Huh?  I had to look that one up.

The definition is:

A diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary).

Anyway, while TJ was in Paris, he spent a great deal of time studying the culinary arts and writing down recipes.  And he brought his notes back home.  His little granddaughter, Virginia Randoph, carefully copied the recipes as well as his favorites from Monticello and the White House and the collection became a family treasure-book to be handed down through the generations.

Isn’t it amazing that the first American recipe for ice cream is in the writing of a president of the Unites States?

Well, here that treaasure-book  is again in my eager hands.  They say the dishes are as good today as yesterday and adapted with permission of the family to modern use.  Yes! I can just imagine inviting guests to a dinner party “via Thomas Jefferson.”  The problem is, I hate to cook.

“But if it’s simple I can make it.” That  has always been my brave mantra when it comes to cooking.  How complicated could a 200 year old recipe be anyway?

So I flipped the pages and stopped at any random spot, kind of like throwing darts.    The first hit was was “Potatoes” under his notes for handling vegetables.

O.K., I’m not that great with potatoes.  In fact, even though Bill raves about my mashed potatoes, he has forgotten they are of the microwave variety.  So I can use all the help out there for cooking potatoes – even if it’s from as far back as the 1800’s!

Here’s what Thomas Jefferson said:

“Potatoes may be wrung in a cloth after they are boiled.”   Huh?

“This is good when they are small or indifferent.”  Indifferent potatoes?  Does this mean they just don’t care?

“When” they are small, several can be wrung together.  They may be mashed, with milk and butter added after they are boiled.  Serve them thus, or form into cakes, and fried like salsify.”  Now I know some of my erudite blogger pals will know what salsify is but I am turning the page to a more understandable recipe!

The next hit was a recipe for Gumbo:

“Put 2 tablespoons of fat in a skillet and stir in gradually 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley and 1/2 an onion minced fine.”  So far, so good.

“When the flour is brown, add 1 fowl which has been disjointed, and let it brown.   Wait a minute!  Disjointing a fowl sounds like cruel and barbaric punishment!

Then he goes on to say, “add sassafras leaves, dried and pounded according to the amount of liquid in the pot.”  Sassafras leaves?  Where will I find them? And if I do find them will they already be dried and pounded?


I will get back to you on this.

Meanwhile,  here is an invitation to dinner as Thomas Jefferson would have penned it:

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to Dor and her favorite blogger friends,

and requests the favour of his company to dinner

on Saturday next at half after three o’clock  The favour of an answer is requested.

The menu?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Note:  I’m sure there are other fabulous recipes in this little gem of a book – like many for custards!  The darts just didn’t land there.

Autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Autumn in the Shenandoah Valley

I have been away.  No, not really travelling but far away and seemingly for a very long time.

Noche ThinkingMy friend Noche, the German Shepherd, was here for over a week and then she traded us for her own loving family.  The day after she went home, our son arrived and we spent days talking – and talking – and talking.  There was so much to catch up on that missing a minute was out of the question.

And then our oldest grandgirl arrived and guess what?  More talking!

The blog got put on a back burner.

And while we talked, the leaves flew and covered the deck.   The weather came and went and changed from very cool to  cold. And finally, surprisingly today was almost balmy.

The deer have returned now that Noche is no longer barking.

And the house is oddly quiet minus the sounds of all those human voices

talking and talking and talking.

The Week that Was

Random Five Friday

Autumn and Noche 011

This week we had Noche, the German Shepherd.  Bill and I have been dog sitting.

Noche loves it here because she is never on leash and has wide open spaces to run.  Nevertheless, I wanted to add some excitement to her visit.

A Grassy BackrubLittle herds of deer arrive every afternoon and one day I opened the deck door verrrry quietly so Noche would remain undetected.   Unaware of the big wild world of creatures, the pup’s ears suddenly went straight up on high alert and her whole body poised for action!  It only took one loud bark and six deer took off in a flurry.  I thought Noche was going to leap over the deck railing!

Do you think dogs keep their memories of vacation thrills?  Maybe she will have great running-dog dreams.

Let's Party!I did get to the gym one day and left feeling delightfully noble.   I like to rest there too (watching the hampster-humans pedaling nowhere).  I sit across from the exercise balls which create a celebratory mood.  They look like party balloons don’t they?  The colors are brilliant – perhaps not quite brilliant enough to encourage sit ups or other balancing acts though.

I decided some time ago to strive/stride for 10,000 steps a day – usually accomplished at the gym. This week has been slow but the pedometer keeps recording anyway and I managed to average 6,000 steps!  Accolades please!  I now call the pedometer Big Brother because it’s always watching.

Time got away mid week with two days devoted to gathering a packet of information for our community.  As Secretary, there is usually nothing much for me to do as we only meet once a year.  But sometimes issues arise that require research and attention.  Ours is a horsey community where there is a Hunt – like the old English hunts where people dress up in “pinques,” ride to the hounds, and have “dinners” that are really breakfasts.  Or are they breakfasts that are really dinners?  But  sometimes there are questions about who can ride where.



Then my friend, Pam, called for a shopping trip to Roanoke.  Occasional escapes from Paradise are just the ticket for raising spirits so Pam and I went to a real big-city shopping mall.  That was a 7,000-step-day!  Lunch out and “catching up” made for a perfect outing.  Even the sunshine cooperated as if to apologize for a long stretch of overcast skies, rain and drizzle.

The colors of autumn continue to dazzle.  Just look at our Pyracantha!

Pyracantha Glowing

The berries are brighter than a pumpkin.  And have you ever heard of an annual Dahlia?  This is what Bill planted in the spring and it is still budding!

Annual Dahlia 2


I am cooking today.  Our son will be coming from California for a four day visit next week.  He loves Mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce (simmering now).  I will freeze it for when he arrives and must also make Hungarian Paprikash (a favorite family dish handed down through the generations).  Ahhh, it’s so nice to be appreciated even though I truly hate to cook.

Hope your week was equally pleasant and your weekend is even more fabulous!



Misty Morning Mountain View

If you are tired of looking at my mountains, I understand.  But I am addicted to gazing.

Let there be Light 1Then I race for the camera, addicted to sharing magnificent views.

And since my wide eyed vistas of the same mountain range change and change again, you blogger friends are force fed  eternal photographs.

Ah Well.

The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia as I see them through my kitchen window or deck, are eternally addictive.  Mountains Clearing Best

Perhaps I need an “intervention.”

Show Off!

Show Off!


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