Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pizza Party!

Yes, we still love to eat!  

Here's a Greek pizza with olives, peppers, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, pesto, capers and feta cheese.  This was an experiment that worked out deliciously. 

Chevre, pheasant, morel mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Parmesan cheese, topped with fresh basil and chives adorn this family favorite.  It's a regular on pizza party menus.   

The sun decided to shine through the dining room window, putting pizza and salad (lettuce, celery, apples, walnuts and blue cheese with a champagne vinaigrette) in a natural spotlight.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chillier Weather

Freezing rain coated these apples.  They look so glossy and maybe just a little sinister with the dripping ice.  They're not poisoned, though.  Baloo thinks they taste just fine. 

Ice pellets falling from the sky aren't our favorite, but we walk in all kinds of weather!

This handsome fellow was a bright spot of color on a grayish day.  

These snow dusted trees are in my back yard.  There's something magical about evergreens covered in snow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Red Belly

I got to enjoy the antics of a red-bellied woodpecker one afternoon and thought I would share the fun. 

He's a cutie, isn't he? 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fuzzy Faces

This chubby fox squirrel is a natural acrobat.  

This one is a happy snacker.  

And then there's the little chipmunk cheek packer. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tracks and Tractors

A great, big bear track in the sand on our family property.  

This tractor sits near the road on a farm located along the route Baloo and I travel to several favorite walks.  They have a charming sense of humor and have decorated a number of their outbuildings with whimsical paintings.  They also have a few sculptural pieces made of vines and things, but I think my favorite may be the metal sculptures in the John Deere.

Baloo squeaks his special L'il Buddy to urge water to boil for warming his dinner.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Duck, Duck.....Grapes?

An old family friend brought home a couple of ducks to paddle around in the turtle pond in his yard this summer.  

One of the ducks decided the yard next door (where a famous chicken used to live) was a more interesting place to hang out.  

It liked to nibble on lilies of the valley.

My brother said that the duck mostly ate, slept and pooped.  He didn't think it was nearly as much fun to have around as a chicken.   

It did do the occasional graceful arabesque, though.  

I thought these grapes looked absolutely luscious.  

There may have been a shortage of grapes this year, but the few I've seen are certainly beautiful.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Brown Study

Kermit thought it was a challenge being green, but brown might be even more of a stretch for us to appreciate.  Since most of the autumn colors have flown from the trees, Baloo and I went in search of more subtle beauty today.  

The crisp, curling brown leaves on this field plant were a nice contrast to the light tan seed fluff.  

This group of puff balls has matured and blown spores out into the world for next year's crop.  

Brown on brown, this pine cone looked like it nested comfortably on a soft bed of fallen oak leaves.

Another field plant - could it be the seed stage of the dreaded goldenrod?  It sort of looks like that shape, doesn't it? 

These mushroom caps peeked out of an old nesting cavity in a fallen tree.

So, okay, Baloo is sort of black on brown, but he was having such a lot of fun I had to include him.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Friends at the Feeders

My sister, brother and I were raised by bird lovers, so we all inherited the bird feeding and watching habits our parents shared with us as we were growing up.  This chickadee is on a peanut feeder out my sister's front window.  

Suet is a favorite food of lots of birds and this little downy woodpecker is taking full advantage of the feeder in my sister's front yard.  

This nest was revealed when all the leaves fell off the small crab apple tree outside my dining room window.  I wish I had known it was there while it was inhabited!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fruits and a Fire

These beautiful berries, service berries, if my neighbor is correct, hang on a beautiful little tree in my back yard.  The color is so vibrant, I just love them.  Oddly, the birds don't seem to favor them (although Baloo partakes).  Maybe they're waiting until January for a little frozen berry dessert and a dose of vitamin C.

The crab apple tree just a little way off the path of one of Baloo's favorite walks has no leaves, but Baloo loves to take me off the beaten path to stop and have me pick an apple or two for him to munch along the trail.  

Baloo points out all the apple trees for me.  He loves fruit.  He also points out the cherry trees, the berry bushes, the peach and plum trees and, well, you get the idea.  He also eats acorns.  

And sometimes, we go to my sister's house and snuggle in front of the fire after a brisk autumn walk.  Life doesn't get a lot better.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Enchanted Afternoon Walk

Just a couple trees still have leaves on them.  These stand along yet another one of the walks Baloo and I often indulge in taking.  It's a wonderful trail that has several different sections, from deciduous forest to high meadow to coniferous forest.  

This section of the trail winds through an old hemlock forest.  Obviously, the wee folk live among the tree roots - it is definitely an enchanted spot.  

One of the tree trunks sported these layers of fungus.  I'm not sure exactly who they are, but they are striking against the dark bark.  

I couldn't get a very good photo of the hawk amidst the tangle of branches, but it was certainly fun to see. 

After a long walk, it's time for Baloo to climb on the couch and watch the action in the back yard through the window.  You never know when a bunny might hop by.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Little More Color

The vineyard in the foreground is covered with nets to keep the birds from stealing all the grapes.

This is a charming historical church in Old Mission.  It's on my 'things to carve' list.  

On our way back from a nice, long walk in the woods, Baloo and I were captivated by the clouds.  Well, at least I was.  Baloo was probably napping in the back seat already.  

This awesome maple is bare now, but it lives in my front yard.  

This dapper crow is searching for goodies among some of those fallen maple leaves in the front yard.  Baloo thinks the crows are very interesting -- not quite as riveting as ground squirrels, perhaps, but interesting nonetheless.    

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fruits, Feathers, Fungus and Flowers!

I'm trying hard to do better with the blog after a long, long hiatus.  It's fun to share some of the pictures I've been taking.  I hope you enjoy seeing them, too.   

The cold weather of January and February took a toll on the grapes this year.  There is not nearly as much fruit as last year, but we walk past a couple vineyards nearly every day and it's fun to watch them ripen.  

This mockingbird wanted to help with the harvest.

Clumps of scarlet tipped cladonia nestle among mosses on logs and forest duff.  I've always thought they were pretty.  

The shaggy mane or coprinus comatus has been one of my favorite mushrooms since childhood. Sauteed up in a little butter and mixed with a batch of scrambled eggs in the morning, they make a superb breakfast.

The last little tea roses of the year are just slightly frost burned, but still brave and beautiful.