Friday, July 30, 2010

The B6160, Yorkshire, Part II

Click on image to enlarge

In our little travelogue last week, we drove south on the B6160, from Leyburn to Kettlewell. (That's highlighted in red, above.) Today we'll go from Kettlewell south to Bolton Abbey, then turn west on another road that takes us to Embsay (road highlighted in blue). We spent the last night of our Yorkshire trip on a sheep farm there. Can everyone see the map okay? And did everyone bring a bag lunch?  What??! No...there's not a bathroom!

Those amazing dry stone walls! They're everywhere!

A closer look

My husband, talking on the cellphone to our kids back in the States. It's just the oddest feeling, to be in such a remote area, surrounded by fascinating history, and using modern technology. How handy that technology would have been for Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Stuart in July of 1863 - as long as Stuart kept his phone off 'silent mode.' (By the way, we had a great signal up on those hilltops!)

I never tired of this view: sheep, stone walls, and hills

A little hamlet in the valley

At Bolton Abbey, phone box and Her Majesty's post box
When we were in Yorkshire, there was a little town west of Thirsk that was like a cemetery for phone boxes. A HUGE lot full of discarded phone boxes. How I would have loved to adopt one!!

Bolton Abbey

Abbey and cemetery

Black face sheep near Bolton Abbey

Cemetery along the River Wharf - at Bolton Abbey
Notice the stepping stones one can use to cross the river.

In the sheep barn at Embsay
Notice the smiles on their faces. :-)

No kidding, the lovely people who ran the guest house could have stepped right out of 'All Creatures Great and Small.'  They were wonderful hosts, and watching the shepherd put his Border Collies through their sheep-herding paces was a particular thrill -  dog lover that I am. Every whistle, low or high-pitched, long or short, was a specific command to that dog. And he responded with lightning speed...It was so cool!

That's it for the B6160. Hope you enjoyed the tour. We'll be someplace else next time. Be ready...And yes, you'll want walking shoes.

This post is linked to New Friend Friday
and Friendly Friday Follow
and Friendly Friday


Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Balding of Lionel

See that bald spot on Lionel's back, on the left side? (Actually it's right in the middle of his back, it's just that he was lying on his side in this photo). Well, please don't report me to the ASPCA, but I am ashamed to say that I was responsible for that. I couldn't believe it!!! And I'm still feeling guilty about it! Fortunately, Lionel's not holding it against me. He still sleeps on my pillow.

The night before, I was just about asleep when I suddenly remembered that yet another day had gone by when I had meant to brush Lionel and hadn't. I decided to get out of bed right then and get the brushes so that I would see them in the morning. Weight isn't the only thing Lionel packs on. So, I went downstairs and got the brushes. When I went to sleep, the brushes were lying on the table in our bedroom.

First thing when I awakened at 5:30 AM, I thought of Lionel and grabbed one of the brushes. Turned away from the windows, I held the happy Lionel and began brushing. He was soon squirming, saying, 'more, please, and a little to the right...oh yeah...okay, a little to the left.' Lionel was so happy that I just continued brushing him. He loved it!

It wasn't until that evening that my husband said to me, 'Look at the bald spot on Lionel.' I couldn't believe it. I was horrified. Had I broken the skin? Would he get an infection? My poor kitty.

My husband just laughed and assured me that the cat was just fine, that Lionel probably liked it and felt a lot cooler. He also assured me that Lionel's bald spot would fill in - in just a few days.  We'll see.

...and then, true to form, just to torment me, my husband said little things throughout the day to make me think my cat just may die from this overly-zealous brushing incident!!  He's such a pill, that man! But I know he loves me, that he's just teasing me, and most important of all -  he continues to buy Lionel's shredded-money cat food.  ;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving Beyond the Dog

'Moving beyond the dog,' c. 2010. An expression which originated in a state called Wisconsin, in the former United States of America, among individual small farmers who toiled in the garden in the hot July sun.

Meaning: To take the extra initiative to achieve one's goal, even while an object (or objects) threatens to impede one's progress. Moving past the barriers.

So as I was picking beans, walking along the outer perimeter of the 'bean fence' with my basket, I noticed Bridger lying in the shade, in the way. It was hot. He was panting. He was resting. How could I ask him to move?

But I still had at least 20 feet of my bean row to pick. I reached over my dog to get as many green beans as I could, then finally told my hubby (who was picking beans on the other side of the fence) that I was going to have to move beyond the dog.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that years hence, this may be a common phrase - there may be people using that expression, moving beyond the dog, and wondering about its origin, just as I often wonder about the origin of certain expressions.

So I will use this expression in a sentence for you:  'Bethany was moving beyond the dog to get her degree.'

And you will be among the first to know 'the rest of the story.'

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jicama Salad with Black Beans

I was in the grocery store, looking for jicama for this salad, when I spotted the teenage produce stocker, busy opening boxes of fruit. When I asked him if they carried jicama, he looked as though he were trying to translate that into something which was in his vocabulary. I told him it started with a J, thinking that might help. It didn't. 

'Nevermind, that's okay,' I said, and continued looking for the elusive vegetable. Eventually I did find it, on a shelf near the floor, under the onion bin. I'm still puzzled by that.

The lowly jicama
This jicama salad with black beans is a delicious summer salad I changed slightly from a South Beach recipe.

1 small jicama, pared (or is it 'peeled')* and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 handfuls of fresh peapods, cut on the diagonal
1 can petite diced tomatoes or 2-3 large tomatoes, diced
2 t. finely cut cilantro
3 T. fresh lime juice (juice from 1 small lime)
1 t. cumin
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
coarse ground black pepper
sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, and cumin.  Add remaining ingredients and mix. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and sea salt. 

As a side dish, this should serve 8-10 people. If you're looking for something with lots of COLOR and CRUNCH, this is definitely it.

* pared vs. peeled:  Here's my theory - It just seems right (in other words, I have absolutely no proof) that you peel something that can have its skin removed with your fingers - like a banana, an orange, and a grapefruit. You pare something that has a skin that requires a knife or 'potato peeler' ?? to remove it, e.g. a potato, an apple, or a jicama.

So, what do you think? Feel free to weigh in on paring or peeling the jicama. :-)

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
and Tuesdays at the Table
and Tuesday Tag-Along

Monday, July 26, 2010

God is Our Refuge

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The B6160, Yorkshire, Part I - Kettlewell

 Click on image to enlarge

First of all, I have to tell you something I found online. I could hardly believe it: The area of Wisconsin is 54375 square miles. It has a population of 5.6 million. The area of England is 50352 square miles. It has a population of 51 million. And yet, you can drive through the beautiful English countryside and never see anyone for miles. Of course, it does depend upon where you are. Still, isn't that amazing!!

One of the prettiest drives we took in England was in the North Yorkshire Dales, from Leyburn to Kettlewell on the B6160, on our way to Embsay, where we would spend the last night of our trip.

One thing we'd learned earlier:  Although Mapquest says the 19.7 miles between should take 30 minutes, don't believe it for a minute! If we doubled the time, that would be more accurate. It always took longer to get anywhere, for there was never a straight path to our destination!

 Along the B6160

The roads in England are different. I'm trying to come up with a less-than-disparaging adjective here.  What they call 'A' roads are like our county roads in Wisconsin. 'B' roads are our town roads, if you eliminated the ditches. But they're often flanked by stone walls or hedges. And they are narrow. In Yorkshire they are full of curves, often steep, and always amidst the most amazing scenery. Definitely worth the trouble.

A pretty door in Kettlewell

 Bridge and Blue Bell Inn, Kettlewell

There seem to be many walkers, even busloads of them, who walk those great hills around Kettlewell. Walking is a huge pastime over there. You can see the hills in the background of this photo, behind the Blue Bell Inn. I love all the stone everything in Yorkshire! But then, I wasn't the one who had to lift and carry those stones.

As I opened the car door, the first thing I saw were the two ducks standing beside the car. No idea why that chicken wire was on the ground, but it was. My husband wondered why I took the photo of ducks - because we actually do have ducks in Wisconsin. He said the same thing about the sheep I was continually photographing.

The bleak hills of Kettlewell

Downtown Kettlewell - notice the building material?

The villages are so close together here!

Racehorses Hotel - and iconic phone box

We weren't in Kettlewell long - just long enough to stretch our legs with a little walk and have tea and a treat at a little shop that charges far too much for blueberry pie and ice cream. But seeing Kettlewell and driving along the B6160 was so worth it. :-)

There's an entirely different England awaiting when you get out of London, Birmingham, Manchester, etc. and off the M roads
In other words, 'off the beaten path.'

Next week we will travel from Kettlewell south to Bolton Abbey. Hope to see you then. Bring your binoculars. There are some great views from the B6160.

Have a Great Weekend!

This post is linked to New Friend Friday

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First Picking of Raspberries

It's not much, but it's a start. Last year our biggest raspberry pickings were the first part of August. I think they're going to be a tad earlier this year, due to all the rain we've had. 

Picking raspberries isn't fun. You have to wear long sleeves and jeans in the hottest part of the year, and fight with mosquitoes and thorns, not to mention the net if you put one over the top of the berries to keep the birds from eating them all.  But I'm thankful for the berries. This variety, whatever it is, makes especially delicious jam!

More produce. The peapods draining, after being blanched, almost ready for the freezer. My husband made this great hardware cloth basket, a basket that is large enough to get a lot of peas blanched at once - no monkeying around here! - and nearly fills a 14" diameter pot.  It may not be pretty, but it's very functional! I kept out some peapods to use in a sirloin stirfry later in the week.

...and even more produce! We had our first green beans from the garden last week. They are amazing!

I've got to get to the Farmers' Market and see if they still have blueberries.  What are you eating these days from your garden or the Farmers' Market?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tornado Watches and Warnings

If you live in tornado country, you're probably very familiar with this type of photo. It's the radar we follow closely when storms are in the air. We also get a constant red 'crawler' on the bottom of the TV screen, so we're pretty well covered with weather news!

On Saturday last, we had tornado watches and warnings all evening. I like to get the dogs downstairs before it gets too nasty out, just in case, for Bridger will not do steps. My husband is unconcerned. I ask him, should a storm come up suddenly, would he help me get Bridger wrapped in a blanket and help me carry him down the steps. He gives me a LOOK and says Bridger would take our arms off before allowing that. Okay, okay. Just askin.'

So there we were, in the dungeon once again, our unfinished basement, the place where we wait out tornado warnings. Misty cowered under the bed and Bridger lay, bored to death, on the cool floor, waiting for a reprieve from this craziness.

Why do these things always happen at night? I don't really want a technical answer. It's more like a rhetorical question. It's when it's dark and you couldn't see a storm coming if you tried. You only get glimpses of the dark, threatening clouds when the lightning flashes. Sorta like that part in Conspiracy Theory (you have to fast-forward to minute 6:40 on clip) when the bad guys tape Jerry's eyelids open. I know, it's an old movie and no one's seen it, but it's one of my favorites.

Okay, moving on. Here's the list of what I take with me to the basement when the dogs and I are waiting out the storm - just in case! My husband is often upstairs, watching the Weather Channel and wondering why I go to all this trouble.

He has accused me of being afraid of storms. I absolutely am not afraid of storms. I am completely happy and unafraid when I take the simple precaution of heading toward the basement. Why is that so difficult to understand?

I digress. Here's the list:
  • My Bible
  • My cellphone
  • My purse with wallet and too many little odds and ends
  • My Flashlight
  • My laptop
  • My hikers with the heel lift
  • A clean pair of wool socks for in my hikers
  • My favorite snuggly polar fleece jacket
  • Almonds
  • If I have a Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate With Hazelnut, I take it too. No sense having it end up somewhere in Rusk County.
And don't think that I don't trust God. I do. And I thank Him for providing me with a basement to go to in a storm. I'll admit, there probably hasn't been a tornado through this farm since the last century but I figure the odds are against me.
I truly hope my husband doesn't get blown away in a storm. I'm really quite fond of him, but I'll be sure to blog about it if he does. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm thinking that I use the word 'easy' in so many of my recipe intros. You can see that's important to me. I like good food, but I don't enjoy fussing over it for hours at a time. I love this menu for how easy it is and how visually attractive the food looks when set out. And, of course, it's always a bonus that it tastes good! :-)

BBQ ribs
Steamed and buttered green beans, always better if they're fresh from the  garden!

I placed the ribs in the crockpot, poured some 'Famous Dave's' BBQ sauce over the top, and cooked on Low for several hours (like six or seven?) Toward the end, my husband got the charcoal grill going, and when it was ready, put the ribs on the grill to get them crispy on the outside. They were delicious!

Steamed and buttered green beans? Well, green beans and butter. Don't skimp on the butter. And don't over-steam them. They need to be bright green and still a tad crunchy! Salt and pepper to taste. What more could they need. They look so pretty left whole, rather than cut up.

My mom always set a pretty table. So to me, it matters a lot how food appears, not just how it tastes.

The thrift store is a good place to look for inexpensive and unusual serving dishes. The right thing in the right bowl makes an attractive table. I'm still working on it. :-) I think my mom would be pleased with the food I make...and horrified that my dogs get to be in the kitchen.

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

and Tuesday Tag-Along
and Tuesdays at the Table 

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Getting Warmer

 'Ole,' in a snowstorm, bringing in firewood - December

This post was inspired by Robin over at PARTIALEMPTYNESTER and her hilarious post about being at Lake Minnetonka in the wintertime. Don't miss it. It's a must read! :-)

As July turns to August, we will no doubt see temps nudging 100 degrees. I know that's nothing for you folks south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but in Wisconsin, it causes us to get cranky. Soon the chorus will begin,

 'Isn't this heat just somethin' awful!'

 'Oh, it's not just the heat, it's that awful humidity!!'

We once had a foreign exchange student from Mexico who spent the summer with us. Knowing how cold it gets in Wisconsin, his mother packed blanket sleepers. Evidently no one told her about Wisconsin summers - warm and humid.

So, just in case the heat is getting you down, I thought I'd post this as a reminder of what we could and will be experiencing, come November, December, January, February, and March!

The backyard. Remember my little pond garden? It's behind that larger snowbank.- December

Bunny and Cardinal - December
Huddling to keep warm ;-)

Winter sunrise  19 degrees below zero - December

So cheer up, Wisconsinites. The days are already getting shorter and winter is just around the corner! Enjoy our short summer while it's here! :-)

P.S. I just found out that for some of my blog viewers, my labels (on the sidebar) are blocked, e.g. when they click on 'Recipes', it won't open up into the blog list of recipes. Have any of you had that problem? Did you find a solution?
Thanks. :-)

This post is linked to Meet and Greet Monday

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Patchwork Garden

Welcome to my vegetable garden!  Beyond this gate you will find several yards of old, discarded carpet that, admittedly is not the most aesthetically pleasing, but makes an amazing mulch between the rows of vegetables. 

Although some of the other photos were taken last week, this one was taken this morning.
Yes, we've fenced the perimeter because we don't like planting a garden solely for the purpose of feeding bunnies. The vegetable garden is at the edge of the alfalfa field, out in full sun.

A couple short rows of popcorn I planted because my husband pops corn at least a couple times a week. Those shorter green plants between the popcorn are what we call 'weeds.'

Oregon Sugar Pod II is the variety of pea (left) and the beans are pole beans, climbing on the fence. I will never plant bush beans again. I found out last year how much easier it is to pick beans from a fence! (There is a carpeted aisle between the peas and beans, but you can't see it in this photo.)

Beans climbing fence, taken from outside the garden.
 If you look very closely, you can see the itty bitty beans forming on the vine, to the left of the blossom. :-)

I've had four pickings this size so far. I've been blanching and freezing what I don't plan to use up within the week.

Part of my row of peppers: jalapeno, long red, and poblano. If all these carpet scraps offend you, just remember how much fun weeding isn't!

Onions with a few of last year's parsnips-gone-to-seed in the background.

Parsnips and carrots. I've about 20 feet more to thin out, my least favorite job in the garden!

The squash patch, photo taken a week ago. They've really begun to spread out this week! In a short while you will hardly be able to see carpet for all the runners and fruit! (Isn't it a fruit? The seeds are inside...hmm)

 Just to the left of that dying blossom you'll see the little zucchini forming. In another week I should have zucchini and yellow crookneck squash for my stir fry!

The tomatoes, after I pruned them. The sun will quickly dry out the pruned leaves and they will easily brush off the carpet.

So why did we have this little tour of my garden? First of all, because I can't seem to stop taking pictures these days. Secondly, to show you that vegetables and weeds can co-exist, as long as the poor vegetables aren't totally outnumbered, at least that's my theory, and I'm stickin' to it!  Thirdly, to show you that carpet makes a wonderful 'mulch.'  Laying carpet is much preferable to pulling weeds, in my opinion, especially since you only have to do it once!

 Another squash blossom.

When you do have to pull out weeds between plants, the carpet is kind to your knees. And when it rains, the rain goes through to the soil, but the weeds do not come up through the carpet. This is The Great Carpet Mystery.

So when your neighbors are replacing their carpet, you might want to offer to take it off their hands. :-)

Someone asked my husband if I have to vacuum the carpet. :-) (Really. He was actually serious. And no, I do NOT vacuum the carpet in the garden. Most of my vacuuming has to do with dog hair!)

As I said last week, when I look out the kitchen window, I'm glad that I see the pond garden, not the vegetable garden. Now you know why. Misty hurried to get into the picture. 'Good girl, Misty!'


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This post may be linked to one or more of the following: Mop it Up Monday  and Get in My Tummy and  Cure for the Common Monday and  Clever Chicks Blog Hop and  Barn Charm and  The Marketplace  and  Mix it up Monday and Make it Pretty Monday and    Making the World Cuter Mondays and Make the Scene Monday and  Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and  Making Monday Marvelous and Get Your Craft On and   You're Gonna Love it Tuesday and Creative Showcase and Memories by the Mile and Crafty Texas Girls and  Tweak it Tuesday and  Coastal Charm Tuesday and  Take a Look Tuesday and  Tasty Tuesday  and Love Bakes Good Cakes and Mom on TimeOut  and Adorned from Above and Wildcrafting Wednesday and   Cast Party Wednesday and  We Did it Wednesday  and All Things With Purpose and Home & Garden Thursday and It's a Party at Creative Princess and Artsy Corner Thursday  and The Girl Creative, Thursday and  Creative Things Thursday and Be Inspired and Time Travel Thursday and Thrifty Things Friday  and  Friday Fences and  Thursday's Inspiration and  The Self-sufficient Home Acre and  I'm Lovin' it Thursday and Creative Things Thursday and   Mandatory Mooch   and Foodie Friends Friday and Freedom Fridays and From the Farm and   Anything Blue Friday and Junkin' Joe and  Serenity Saturday and Get Schooled Saturday  and Inspiration Friday(ThursNite) and Vintage Inspiration Friday and Photo Friday and Share Your Creativity and   A Favorite Thing Saturday and Sunny Simple Sunday and Sunlit Sunday and  Market Yourself Monday and  Saturday Nite Special


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