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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

BigBruno

If you are weary of hearing about my bear visitors here in rural Virginia, I do understand.  I hope you are able to “grin and bear it.”

But I must recount the latest episode.  This time I was away from home with a friend.

We were out for lunch at a general store (and diner) in Natural Bridge Station, Virginia.  That is only a few miles from the actual Natural Bridge (an awesome sight indeed).

The Natural Bridge  is also now a Virginia State Park.

Anyway, we pulled into the driveway of the little general store and there he was – Bruno’s father! BIGBruno!

He was crossing the parking lot right in front of us.  And he went loping down an embankment to a little stream, and up the other side to cross the road into the woods.

Could I get out of othe car without fear of bodily harm?  No.

I was on the bear’s side!

Could I outrun the bear?  No.

Still having trouble hobbling around on a bad foot, but even if it was normal……. well, you get the picture.

Was I stupid enough to get out of the car (on BigBruno’s side) and slowly make my way to the diner entrance?

Yes.

And so it was.  Lunch was a breathless affair recounting the story to the hostess.  She said they had been frying bacon all morning.  Well, no wonder BigBruno was enamoured of the place!

And on the wall was this frightening image!

It looked just like him.

I still don’t know if it was a photograph or a painting, but BigBruno loomed out of the canvas as big and wild and beautiful as I could ever conjure up in a dream/nightmare.

Lunch was delicious by the way.  A very informal setting with all natural all fresh salads and sans – everything to a bear’s liking!

Another adventure in Virginia country living.

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Friend Lunch

Dining in a Virginia Orchard

The bear came back today.  I was preparing lunch when there was Bruno having his own lunch in the “orchard.”  The orchard consists of two fruit trees that didn’t make it and one pear tree that may still be offering something edible.

Bruno is a teenager or young fella who is out on his own I think because we never see the Mama Bear.  Anyway, as I sat down for lunch I was imagining joining the kid and sharing a pear or two.

Fortunately, reason and abject fear stopped me from being mauled to death.

Shopping Delusions

I thought I finally purchased the perfect pair of jeans yesterday!

Some stores have mirrors that make things look great.  The illusion is usually fleeting. This store was like that.  Wow! I looked young and glamorous in that mirror.

And the jeans even felt good – the stretchy kind you know and high wasted like in the old days so they wouldn’t slip down below my belly button.  A bit long but I began hemming them as soon as I got home.

Well yes, they are comfy all right and I wore them all day today.  But some people (like me) don’t have the right body image for jeans.  Mine always seem rumpled and a bit too baggy (my body as well as the jeans).  Obviously, jeans should emphasize curves shouldn’t they?

Having a flat butt doesn’t help I guess.  I mean you have to have curves to emphasize them.

Yesterday’s Outing

Yesterday was a big shopping day and lunch out with my friend, Norma.  We do something exciting like that once a month.   A lot of talking goes on (stored up for four weeks).

As for shopping, I am almost overwhelmed in those big malls with so many choices. Living in small town rural Virginia you get used to limited buying opportunities.  This time my friend and I added “The Cheese Shop” in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia, for spices and nuts, dried fruits and homemade jams and jellies, and cheese of course.

We had lunch at a Thai restaurant but I missed Bruno. 

And on the way home we stopped for a frozen yogurt dessert.  It was a cool ending to a lovely day.

 

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Maxine attitude

My “to-do” lists are created in all seriousness, with all-serious intentions.

But creating a list is not always the same as fulfilling it.

This was yesterday’s list:

  • Get gas in the car. O.K., so I forgot.  Will get it tomorrow.
  • Mail that bill.  Forgot.
  • Remember to take a cooler bag with ice packs for perishable purchases. Forgot the cooler.
  • Stop at the drugstore for allergy meds and eyedrops. Sent Bill (short for “William.”)
  • Shoe store for comfort sandals. No time.
  • Haircut. Managed that.
  • Gym for a mild workout. Too tired.
  • Stop at the real grocery store for real food.  Sent Bill.
  • Stop at the produce market for fun things that taste good like local peaches and tomatoes. Managed that.
  • Don’t forget to put all that in the cooler bag. No cooler bag.  Drove home fast.
  • Take pictures along the way.  Nope.  Taking time would make the peaches go bad.
  • Visit with people you meet.  Of course.

Somehow I did not feel particularly productive on this day.

But after all the groceries (peaches and tomatoes) were put away, I took a little walk.

No list.

Just a walk.

And  how about this all-in-one list of fulfilled to-do’s?

  • A 30 minute walk added EXERCISE.
  • Thirty minutes in sunshine for VITAMIN D3.
  • Thirty minutes of fresh air in beautiful rural Virginia!
  • STOP-AND-GO PHOTO OPS for next blog post.
  • And, I pulled at least 5 weeds and thinned one zinnia bed in the front garden.

 

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platter of sandwiches

I used to make up 12 or more sandwiches for when “the kids” (our grandgirls) came for a visit.

Ham and cheese, Ham and no cheese, roast beef with mustard or without, turkey plain, turkey with mayo and mustard, turkey with lettuce, or without….. ad infinitum.

And those sans would somehow evaporate in one afternoon!

Lately our grandgirls are beginning to evaporate too.

Two are out of college and beginning adult lives in different states.  One remains in a college close by.  We just attended the middle girl’s graduation and celebrated her degree in Business/Marketing, but couldn’t make the older girl’s because it was the same day, only in Michigan.

Us n Kendall

Wonder who the graduate is?  Both Kendall and Grammy are wearing school colors May 5, 2017.

We had a surprise visit this week from Jessica and what a joy she is!  And how happy we were to see her since she will not only be embarking on a career in Human Resource Management and a new life in another state, but first she going on a trip to Tibet!

Jess Graduates Grad Schl

The big smile in front is Jess.

These days, it is folly to make up huge platters of sandwiches for the onslaught of “the kids” who used to all descend at once.  What fun we all had making memories with trips to Safari Park, the Dollar Store, the lake and the pool, games of jacks and scrabble, and just all “vegging out” watching SpongeBob Square Pants on television.

SpongeBob_SquarePants_characters_cast

It is a little sad, but I no longer ask the question, “Mustard or Mayo?”

One of the last times they were all three here together, they made a stir fry dinner and wouldn’t even let me in the kitchen!

Perhaps soon it will be the reverse and when I come to visit them they will ask ME –

“Mustard or Mayonaise?”

 

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I thought it was all over –

the growing season for herbs I mean,

because my sweet Basil plant was beginning to flower.

“This is the end – the last harvest,” I thought, and sadly pinched off every leaf for drying.

“Thank you. You did a great job,” I said, feeling guilty about taking its life.

And in the end it really was the end.  There were two skinny sticks left with no foliage.

I tried pulling the naked sticks out of the pot to discard them roots and all, but they fiercely resisted.

“Oh well, I will put off the final dumping of dirt and stems for later.”

A week later it was later.

And look what I found!

My Basil's Second Life

My Basil’s Second Life

“I’m not finished yet!” said my tough little Basil plant.    “Just look what I can do with no attention, no water, and a mistress ready to chuck me over the rails!”

 

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kenmore freezerI know it is a bit unorthodox to lean into a deep freeze when the temps hover around 100 degrees outside, but yes, I confess, “I did it.”

Truth is our cavernous HUGE deep freezer suddenly began spewing water over everything in it.  I haven’t defrosted it in a month or two, 3 or 4 months, maybe a year, so I blamed myself.

Well, I know I defrosted it since 1990.

We bought the freezer in 1990!

Imagine?

And it has been going non-stop ever since.  No repairs, rare defrostings, overloading, underloading, whatever.

Anyway, I was overheated due to rising temps in this part of Virginia, so decided to hang over the edge of the old girl, chipping away at mountains of accumulated ice and picking at giant slabs with gloved hands and long prongs.

Cool!

And to add to the joy of being slightly chilled in a heat wave I had memories of balancing on the monkey bars when I was a kid.  Leaning leaning leaning over the edge of our freezer was  a similar feeling.

I felt young again!  Carefree.  And yes – Cool!

It took about four hours to defrost, de-ice, and displace all the foods that needed to be discarded or moved to our smaller refrigerator freezer.

And at the end of four hours I could barely move!

No longer cool.

In need of Ibuprofen.

Exhausted.

I turned the X&6%#@&* thing back on again, but Bill came along and turned it off.  “The freezer’s shot,” said he.  And this morning he went to Lowe’s and ordered a new one.

Me, I’m still wondering why I defrosted and cleaned a 26 year old faltering freezer.

It must have been to keep cool.

The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland offers a variety of accommodations, including snow igloos. Guests who book a snow igloo during their stay get to sleep inside a shelter of ice. The temperature is kept at a consistent level regardless of the temperature outside and the guests are provided with down sleeping bags to keep them warm when they turn in for the night. If you’re noticing a trend, it is one of many ice hotels based in the Nordic countries, a sign of ingenuity from countries that celebrate the cold.

 

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horse-head-49642_640This morning featured a unique Neighborhood Breakfast.

I am not a morning person. Maybe closer to a bear.

I used to get up early to fix bacon and eggs  for Bill, but he was always too sick to eat!  Then he found out  it was me who made him sick and he has made his own breakfast ever since.

Nevertheless, at 8:30 this morning I managed to stagger into the Hunt Lodge where our neighbors were meeting other neighbors, and all with widely divergent interests.  The breakfast was to spread good will and I guess they had no idea about grouchy morning people.

But this is the story of a Buffet Breakfast designed to bring even me around to discovering the joy of connecting in an equestrian community.

Bill and I live in  the middle of a 700 acre tract designed for traditional fox hunting.  The scenery is spectacular and we have always loved  seeing the riders in their pinques (scarlet jackets) and the thrill of seeing them “ride to the hounds.”

They say they never actually catch a fox and I fervently hope that is true, but I diverse.

One of our fellow property owners is a Fox Hunting Club.

As you might expect, the Club’s main interest  is “horsey” and although many of the Hunt people once owned parcels and lived on the land, the Club Members  no longer do live here but now come to ride from far and wide.

The “other Land Owners”  are like Bill and me.  We own a parcel of land we live on and that is partially accessible to the Fox Hunting Club.  

We, the “other” Land Owners, are the people who love horses but  don’t ride in the Hunt.

We oftentimes feel vulnerable to the Club’s hounds, horses and riders who traverse our land.

And we tend to worry about liability.

Over the decades since our equestrian haven was conceived, the Hunt Club and  the other Hunt Landowners  have drifted apart and do not always agree on the use and care of the land or even the roles of each entity.

Enter two dedicated fellows with peace and harmony in mind. One is from the Fox Hunting Club and one from The “Other” Landowners, and these two peacemakers decided to host a Neighborhood Breakfast!

Cook & Dishwasher

They planned the event right down to name tags and provided all the food and drink.  There were home baked scones and biscuits, West Virginia sausage, ham and eggs, beautiful fruits, mimosas and all the coffee we could drink.

Maybe  people were motivated by the yearning for good will, and  maybe they were mellow from all the goodies, but soon there were folks chatting  away and getting to know each other better.

We talked about horses of course.  We used to have two of our own.  

We talked about the way things used to be,

the people we knew who were such assets to the Club and to all who live here,

the beauty of the grounds, the fun and camaraderie.

We talked about “the way we were.”

And the Neighborhood Breakfast Buffet was a big success!

Kudos to Pete and Hugh who hatched this ice-breaking outreach event, and to those of us who participated in spite of morning stupors.

I hope next time we will talk about ways to work together going forward and I hope next time the party will be in the late afternoon.

But, in spite of my bear-like morning persona, I must admit there is something to be said about sharing a lovely breakfast with good people.

Communication must surely be the way to overcome divergent interests so we can all live and let live and enjoy a beautiful world.

Amazing Egg Maker

Amazing Egg Maker

06TailRideJulyBrownJarvis2

Please Come Near (626x460)

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