Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Keys John Pennekamp Carol Reef

This is the evening after our Miami adventure.  With all that driving all I wanted to do was chill out.  This is in the John Pennekamp Park, in the first of the Keys. As it was early evening most people had left the little beach area and we were able to park side ways to the beach, which is even better as you can sit in the camper and look out the open side door, so nice.

People kept stopping by, chatted and wanted to have a look, so we had fun talking to different folk.  Some even brought their children up and said my parents used to have a camper like this when I was a child and they wanted their children to see it. There is a big US Base on the mainland and I think a lot of folk from there come to this park either for the day or for the weekend.  We were there Sunday night so I think a lot were packing up and leaving, just having a last walk by the beach.

Cooked up a little dinner, had a cup of tea and read my book.  The campsites are a little close together in this park but by the time we got back to our spot it was almost dark in anycase and we had enjoyed our time here.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

High Line New York City and Old US City Rail Lines, Changing Space, Changes Lives

Philadelphia and other US cities are revamping their old derelict city rail systems.

See here for Philadelphia's Reading Viaduct.

The High Line in New York City has been so popular bringing communities together and quite a focal point that this idea of using old city rail lines is being planned and implemented in numerous cities throughout the USA.

I don't have a photo but plan a trip up there this weekend so hope to walk the line.


Monday, September 23, 2013

My Armchair By The Window A Busy WeeK

This week will be busy.  Tomorrow the Pair of Jeans arrive from England.  My friend Graham is picking them up from the airport in Philly and then on Wednesday they will be coming over to stay with me until the following Monday, then back to Graham's.

Have some things planned, to visit the Amish County, New York City, possibly the shore Cape May, and local things in between.

So I have been busy doing all those things you like to get done before guests come.  Cleaning up the garden and getting some of my raised vegetable beds made, although maybe that is not included in the usual things you get done before guests come, but I was eager to get going on them.  I have three made and four to go.  I bought some mums which are so colourful this time of year.  Most things are dying off in the garden now, but the Japanese Maples always turn a beautiful colour, they are no there yet.

Cleaning of the Boys bedroom while he was away,  sorry dear cleaning does involve moving things, such as stacks of paperwork, CDs and wires.

Routing around in the linen cupboard and finding all sorts of things which were neatly jammed in the back, if I only had more room, but 1920s houses were not built with big cupboards or closets.

On a worrying note Tinkerbell I think has Vestibular disease.  Her head is cocked to one side all the time and she keeps falling that way and staggering.  There is not much you can do for it, so hopefully she will recover from it, or recover some what, we wait and see.  But she is still her loving self, purring and wanting to be with you, eating and drinking which is good.

We first noticed it last night when Rob came home, she jumped down off the sofa behind my head and went over to the other sofa to greet and sit with Rob, then we both noticed that her head was to one side.  She was fine earlier in the evening, it's something that can come on very suddenly and I read online, predominantly more in the NE USA in autumn, but no explanation as to why more prevalent then, just thrown out there.  She is getting older and is a dear little being.

I moved my passion flower plant.  It was producing lots of greenery, but no flowers, then it came to me that it was probably not getting enough sun and sure enough after I moved it to near the back door, it has not stopped flowering since.  So now I can pop my head out and see it and it's a happy passionate little plant.

Just wanted to catch the view from my new seating area by the window.  Here are my asters, not quite as nice now as I took this photo well over a week ago.  At least I caught them before their end.


P.S.  I'm drinking at work, India black tea with berry and rose, organic, I can smell the rose umh!

Thank you Candyce.

Cheese And Chutney

In a previous post I gave the recipe for this Zucchini and Onion Chutney,  Above you can see the hot wax that I use to seal the tops.

Above are a salt and pepper set.  I always come back from a vacation having passed by all the expensive touristy things, only to find them in the thrift shop at a fraction of the price.  I think these are older in anycase and you probably would not even find them now.  I like the pearly finish.

Remember I won a drawing at work for a delivery of cheese every two months.  This is my first shipment.  Caerphilly, Grafton and Westminster Cheese.  I love cheese so this has been really fun and will continue to be so.

The Grafton cheese is from Vermont, from the Grafton Village Cheese Company.  Vermont cheddars are some of my favourite cheese over here in the USA.

The English Cheddar is from Barbar's West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and they have been making cheese for six generations starting in 1833.  This cheese won a Gold Meal in the 2011 World Cheese Awards for Best Mature Cheddar, the only entry from the UK to make it to the finals.

The Caerphilly originally a cheese made in Wales, dates back to the 1830 was made on small farms. Welsh miners would wrap the cheese in cabbage leaves to take as a handy self-contained lunch "down the pit" Today it is mainly produced in Somerset and this Caerphilly is from Abbey Farm.

From top to bottom.  Grafton Cheddar Vermont, center is the Westminster, West Country Cheddar, Somerset and at the bottom is the distinctive Caerphilly also from Somerset.

And as my grandfather would say, "where the cider apples grow"  he was from Somerset.

I have two homemade chutneys here the dark is an Apple and Raisin chutney made last year, the lighter chutney is the Zucchini chutney made this year, the red is a pepper kind of tapas from Trader Joe's,along with tomatoes from my garden.  Assorted crackers from Aldi's.

Just love this kind of a lunch.

With a nice glass of vino.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Zucchini Chutney and Zucchini, Apple and Ginger Jam AKA Marrow

Zucchini and Apple Chutney

4 lbs zucchini, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 lbs cooking apples peeled and chopped
3 onions finely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon chopped chilies ( I used fresh hot red peppers that I had, plus more to ones personal taste)
1 tablespoon chopped ginger root
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice, bruised ( I used powder)
1 1/2 quarts vinegar

Place zucchini in a bowl, sprinkling salt as you layer it.  Leave for 24 hours, drain and wash well
Put zucchini in a saucepan along with the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer until chutney thickens.
Spoon in into jars, seal, and store for at least 4 weeks before opening.

Marrow and Ginger Jam

3 lbs sugar
3 lbs marrow
1 lb cooking apples
2 oz root ginger
juice of 2 lemons keep pips tie in muslin bag (or 4 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice)

Peel the marrow, discard the seeds and cut into cubes
Peel and core the apples and cut the flesh into cubes
Place in a pan and steam until tender and then mash
Add the lemon juice
Bruise the ginger, wrap in a piece of muslin and place in the pan
add the sugar, simmer and stir until dissolved
Bring to boil and boil for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally as the pulp thickens and setting point is reached
Put into hot sterilized jars, immediately cover
Makes about 4 lbs

  • I used the bottled lemon juice that worked well would have used lemons if they had of been handy
  • Peeled and chopped the ginger and just added in with the fruit.  Next time I would use more ginger as I like it and I like tiny pieces in my jam
  • I mashed it with a potato masher but not completely, I like a few bits in my jam.
  • Boiled for an extra 10 minutes as the marrow has a lot of water and it seemed to need it
  • Set beautifully
  • A great Jam

The above photo is the Marrow/Zucchini, Apple and Ginger Jam, just could not get my camera to focus on this correctly for some reason.

I always wash my jars then put them in the oven at 250 F for ten minutes to sterilize.

Take them out hot and fill.  After filling them I pour over hot melted wax and this makes a nice seal for any jams or chutneys, then just cover with the matching lids.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Delicious Scones Bran and Chocolate Chip

2 Cups all purpose flour ( I used 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of bran cereal)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled (I always use what ever I have)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teasponn vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips ( I used regular size)
1 egg white mixed with 1/2 teaspoon water for glaze (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F Butter a 9 inch diamter circle in the center of a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture.  With a pastry blender or two knives used scissors fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, orange juice, vanilla and orange peel.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  the dough will be sticky.  with lightly floured hands, knead in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.

With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into an 8 inch diamter circle in the center of the prepared baking sheet.  If desired, brush the egg mixture over the top and sides of the dough.  With a serrated knife, cut into 8 wedges.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or tooghpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.  Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  With a spatula, transfer the scones to the wire rack to cool.  Recut into wedges, if necessary.  Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.  These scones freeze well.
Makes 8 scones.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Dreaming

My weekend was busy, shared with friends and productive.

Saturday morning service, then home for one of my tomato sandwiches, still enjoying those until the season ends.  Out again to the Library where they were having a presentation on Raised Vegetable Gardening.  It was given by a Montgomery County Master Gardener and I gleaned some points of interest.

I have long had in mind to make raised beds, for my vegetable growing and this seemed as good a time as any as the vegetable garden is coming to and end, and I can now make the containers.  I'm going to go the simple route, breeze blocks, I think two high and maybe put a dowels down to hold them.  In all those holes they have I may plant Marigolds, she mentioned one especially nice blooming one Neema-Gone, pests don't like it either.  So I am all excited to get going on this.  Husband is meant to be out buying the blocks today while I'm at work.

Nema Gone
Nema-Gone is proven in trials to be effective in killing nematodes in the soil, and it's beautiful and fast-growing too. A ¼ oz. packet (2,000 seeds) sows up to 500 square feet.

She mentioned a couple of tomatoes that she likes, Black Russian and Amana Orange.  I already plant a Black Krim.

Amana Orange
This huge orange heirloom tomato takes its name from Iowa's Amana Colonies, one of America's longest-lived communal societies, where it has been a long-time favorite. With a mild, sweet, tropical flavor, this beefsteak variety's fruits are light orange and fluted, growing up to 1-2 lb. on indeterminate vines.

Black Krim
This medium-sized, very dark maroon beefsteak, with wonderfully rich flavor, originated in Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea with perfect "tomato summers". Extremely tasty.

Black Russian

Afterwards, my friend Janice joined me for the presentation, she said "I don't feel like going home how about a coffee?" So we settled for Starbucks and a Chai Latte, which goes down well in the late afternoon with a little cooler weather, we managed to get two leather armchairs in the corner, a plus as the place was quite full.  We chatted, girl talk and talked about her travels, she has just come back from South Africa, can't wait to see her photos, then I said how about we pop over to Joanne Fabrics and take a look.

I found an adorable teapot pin cushion on clearance, so that was my little acquisition.

Sunday I phoned my friend J. in the UK, in less than two weeks she will be over for a visit with another friend named J.  My childhood friend Graham calls them "The Pair of Jean's" I think that's a rather fun name for their visit.  So Jean I've been thinking about what to do. Amish Country, New York City, The Shore, as Jean said it's all new to her.

All my flowers will not be babied along to their visit, they are just fading out quickly and the yard and garden is beginning to need that Autumn clean up, which we started on at the front on Sunday afternoon, but when you start you never realize how much there is to do.  We accomplished a lot though, and went in tired but satisfied.

We had some NZ lamb chops for dinner, on sale for a ridiculously lower price than USA lamb, shipped from the other side of the world.  Maybe you should buy local, although I don't think we get get local lamb right around here, but one has to also shop one's purse.  All this shipping of things from one side of the globe to the other seems to not be environmentally friendly and something just not right about it. But did I say I very much enjoyed them, we all did.

Since the evenings are cooler now it seemed the right time to bring out my half started knitted scarf.  I thought I had more scarfs in the bag that I had made from the fishnet yarn, then I remembered that I had given several away.  So finished one off all lovely shades of deep brown, aubergine and red, sounds funny but it isn't and I have a friend who wears exactly those colours in Autumn, so I think she will like it.

I have both crocheted and knitted these scarfs.  Crochet goes more quickly and there isn't a too discernible difference, it's probably a matter of preference.  At the moment I'm working on a knitted one in pinks, maroon and greys.

They have more wonderful yarns out this year to make these scarfs, such luscious colours and all types of thickness.

Ann Hunt Designs, this is a Logo I came up with.  It comes of being in the print business one's mind is always thinking of logos and designs, at least I do.  Any thoughts?

Plus Ann Hunt Designs or Creations or Atelier could cover what ever I want to showcase.  Dream on, me with little time.

Every day I pass by this old Pennsylvania Barn for Rent.  The outside has lots of character, stone and weatherboard.  I always dream that it would make a wonderful crafting space to give lessons and gather together.  Off course this is all a dream, as I have never seen inside and I'm sure it is huge and probably has a very nice rental tag to go with it.

Watched the New Inspector Foyle who is about to join MI5 or maybe not.

Well now I must go home and summon up the energy to lug around breeze blocks.  I have just one corner bed in my mind.


P.S.  One raised vegetable garden made, four more to go.

Palm Beach, Miami and Little Havana

The first photo is Palm Beach and all the rest are Miami.

We got up very early on Sunday morning to get a good start on the day.  We wanted to spend the day in Miami and knew we had a long drive from Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  The boy wanted to stop off in Palm Springs, but it was far too early on a Sunday morning for anything to be going on; which was rather disappointing, especially for the Boy.  The shops were closed it was dead.

We did get to see the beach and the air conditioned beach Life Guard huts, only in Palm Beach, on all other beaches the Life Guards swelter with everyone else.  This is just about the only photo I took all day as it was very intense driving, super wide highways.

We made it down to Miami going to a new artsy type area, with just a few ritzy stores, that had just moved there, lower real estate prices, but up and coming, just a block or so away was a be very careful area.  We didn't stay long here, Sunday again and not much going on.  So made it down to the Latino area of downtown Miami.  Where we eventually found a parking space, and found a nice restaurant for brunch which we splurged on.  But we still knew we had not found Little Havana.  With more looking in the guide book we eventually made our way there.


Here I am in a music store in Little Havana.

I wish we would have come here first because I had wanted to get a Cuban Sandwich and this was the place for them.

Here is the famous square where they all play games, mostly Chess.  I had heard of this square before, but imagined it much larger with more trees.

The music was great and I bought a lovely pair of wooden hand made earrings from a street vendor, they were so inexpensive, and later I kicked myself for not getting more things there.  Very dangly and Latino, I love them.

Here we are going over the bay inlet across to South Miami Beach.  By then it was later in the afternoon, Sunday and mobbed, I mean mobbed.  Driving was a nightmare hence all Rob's photos.

If we were to do it again on a Sunday, we should have hit the beaches coming down first thing in the morning, from North to South and then gone into Miami downtown, but it always takes a day to become oriented in a city.  Rob would have liked to have parked and walked the beach and the restaurant area, but there was not a place to park anywhere.  By then I was tired of looking and driving and looking and driving, plus with the bus with no power steering you cannot easily get into a space, it takes a lot of yanking on the steering wheel.

So at this point we decided to call it quits and head on to our next State Park camp site down in the Keys.  John Pennekamp Coral Reef.  We knew that too would be quite a drive.

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