Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Christmas Decorating

Celebrating Christmas is one of the joys that make us all happy.  This is the 57th Christmas we have celebrated as a married couple.  Collecting decorations through the years has accumulated to quite a lot!  Being one that has a hard time getting rid of collections the boxes are really too many for me to place about our home these days.

This year has been quite joyous for Grayden and I.  We were able to go on a World Voyage for the first five months of the year. 

When we returned home Grayden began to have many health issues.  We have had quite a time figuring it all out with specialists.  It's all been quite frustrating, particularly getting appointments with the proper doctors. 

After three surgeries, we are praying that he will be feeling better.  His next appointment with a specialist is scheduled for the middle of February!  This is shocking to us that we have to wait that long.

We must be patient.  In the meanwhile we are enjoying the views outside our windows.  It is wonderful to see so many beautiful creatures.  A couple of weeks ago we even saw a very large fox across our road!

The chatterbox wren loves to sit on the railing singing his tunes!

We both enjoy daily walks together when Grayden is up to doing so.  This morning we got a thrill when we came home from a walk.  Going up the driveway we heard the call of a Bald Eagle!  He began flying around and ended up perching in the oak tree out back. 

Saying we were both delighted is an understatement!  He stayed around long enough to allow me to go inside and get my camera!

Though the photos are not perfect, it was a perfect moment for us.

We have lived in our home for 50 years now and this is the first time we've ever had an eagle land so close to us in our yard!

Observing nature has always been wonderful for us.  Bald Eagles have really made a comeback over the years we have lived here between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers.

Thank you for stopping by, my friends,  I hope your days are full of joy!


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Making Turkey Stock

Do you make stock with your leftover turkey after it has been trimmed of meat?  I had posted my way of making chicken stock and actually it is identical to that--just using the leftover turkey bones.  Any bones from meat would work for stock such as beef or pork.  I am reposting this recipe for any of you interested making it and storing it for future soups, stews or other dishes.  We had a 22 pound turkey this year, so I had to pull out both my large and smaller slow cookers.  After putting them on last night before we went to bed our home was smelling wonderful when we woke up this morning.  Now I have several containers of this gold to pull out of the freezer when I want to use it.  

Making Stock

Do you make stock?  It's the most simple thing you can do to make the most wonderful soups, stews, and sauces.  I prefer to make chicken stock.  If you are vegetarian you can make stock from vegetable peelings.  Today I'd like to show you an easy way to make chicken stock.

There are all sorts of "official" ways of making stock.  I am not a chef, but I'll show you a very easy way to make chicken stock in a crock pot that my daughter taught me how to do. I used to make this stock on top of the stove--but when she told me about using the crock pot it's much easier.

Last week I made roast chicken for our family.

After we enjoyed the roasted chicken for one meal, I removed the remaining chicken from the bones.  I made a chicken pot pie with that meat.  A chicken can give our family many meals.  Be sure to save all the bones from your chicken. Now you are ready to make stock.  It's so easy, it's hardly a recipe.

Put into a crock pot:

All of your bones from your chicken
2-3 washed carrots
1 stalk of washed celery
1 whole onion with skin on that has been washed
1 bay leaf
10- 15 whole peppercorns
Your can also add fresh herbs if you have them, such as parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme.
If you don't have fresh herbs your stock will still be wonderful.
Cover with water and cook overnight on low.  Your home will smell wonderful when you wake up in the morning.

Turn off your crock pot and let cool for an hour or so. Then strain the stock through a colander or sieve into a large bowl.  I always let that cool and put stock into 1 quart containers and then cool completely and then into the freezer. When you are ready to use just pop into microwave to thaw. You can then use them in any recipe you wish.  You can make soup very quickly with this stock. Homemade is so much better than store bought stock! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

I can't let Thanksgiving come and go without letting my friends here know how thankful I am to have formed ties with you!  I'm grateful for all the good times and the sad times we share together.  

 These little candles have been in my collection for a long time.  The 26 cent price on the bottom of them tells me they weren't bought anytime recently!

I hope your Thanksgiving is full of all the special moments that make you happy.  

Our son and two grandsons will be joining Grayden and Samuel and I tomorrow.  We'll be having all the traditional Thanksgiving foods.  I'm remembering last Thanksgiving when we served a roast beef because of many changes of plans.  It really doesn't matter the food, but the fellowship with family that is important.    

Thanksgivings have changed over the years for us.  How about you?  Have your traditions changed like ours have over the years?

This Thanksgiving I am reminded to be kind, be thoughtful, be genuine, but most of all be thankful!  Have a great time of Thanksgiving, my friends!

Monday, October 23, 2023

A Ferry Ride Across the James

 Whenever we are staying in Williamsburg for a few days we always try to go over to Surry County on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry.  The chill of the early morning soon gave way to the perfect warm Autumn day on the James river.

The ferry operates 365 days a year between James City County and Surry County in Virginia.  We drove our car onto the free ferry at Jamestown.

Four ferries operate between the two counties-the Williamsburg, the Pocahantas, the Powhatan, and the Surry ferry.

Even the gulls want a free ride every now and then!  

Riding over we see the ships at Jamestown-the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed. 

The monument at Jamestown comes into view as well.  This monument was erected in 1907 at the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in 1607.  The inscription on its base reads--Jamestown the first permanent colony of the English people.  The birthplace of Virginia and the United States, May 13, 1607.

Once we traveled across the river the exited the ferry and took a ride to the Surry Seafood Company for lunch.  We had eaten here last year and were ready to enjoy some seafood.

Grayden and I shared the seafood platter of shrimp, scallops, grouper, and crab cake.  After our delicious lunch we walked the docks behind the restuarant.  


It was a lovely afternoon to take in the views along Gray's Creek Marina.  

  Autumn colored the creek edges with her golden palate.

It was one of those perfect Autumn days for Grayden and I!  

Thank you for taking a look at our time across the James on the ferry!

Enjoy the fleeting days of Autumn, my friends!

Thursday, October 19, 2023

October Celebrations

October is a special month for Grayden and I.  I've written about it every October since I've been blogging.  Both of our birthdays are this month and it's also our 56th anniversary! We are so blessed to have each other!  Being with the one you love so long we both bought each other the same anniversary card!   

This has been a very trying time for Grayden and I as he has had health issues since we returned home from our World Voyage the last of May.  Our area is suffering from lack of specialists that Grayden needed to see.  We had to wait until September 15th before seeing the proper doctor and get a diagnosis.  Then tests and tests and more tests.  Boy are we tired.  I've always wanted to keep things positive here, but this situation has been less than positive for our mental health--more me than my sweetheart...He is now on meds that are helping him immensely.  His neuropathy has lessened and surgery is scheduled for next week for severe carpal tunnel in both hands.  They preform one hand and then wait until that heals and then the other. 

Between tests Grayden invited me to Williamsburg for a respite away and celebrate our blessings.  If you have read here for very long you know we go to Colonial Williamsburg whenever we can.  Here are some photos from our time there.

Walking every morning was good for our souls.  We never tire of our visits to this unique living museum.

Wonderful Autumn sweater weather greeted us daily.  Even on the one rainy day we had we walked the area with our umbrellas. 

The handsome dovescote behind the George Wythe house is ready for residents.  Doves or pigeons would certainly love it here.

There are many folks enjoying this beautiful day here in Colonial Williamsburg.

All the pretty different fences here make me smile.

Relaxing and recentering was exactly what we needed.  Colonial Williamsburg was good medicine for us.  It was a lovely week and one that we will always remember fondly.

Thank you for stopping by my little space.  



Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Welcome Autumn!

 My favorite time of year has arrived!  The weather has been cooler and even rain has fallen on our drought filled garden.  Saturday Tropical Storm Ophelia came through our town.  The day was full of rain and heavy winds. Our unofficial rain gauge registered three inches!  Our son and youngest grandson came for a visit in spite of the weather.  It was nice catching up with our grandson who is a freshman in college and hear all about his new chapter of learning.  I cooked country style ribs, corn on the cob, and asparagus.  I'm having problems with my camera so there are no photos of our visit, but lovely memories of a good time.

Even before the rain came the Autumn Crocus (Sternbergia lutea) began to bloom.

They don't seem to mind the dry weather.

Multiplying each year they add a lot of color to this time of year.

One of the last America roses blossomed.  I had to cut it and bring it inside.

We've had this large fungus mushroom form from the area a large white oak tree used to live.  It was removed several years ago as it was unhealthy and way too close to our home.  Afterwards the stump was ground down then we planted a dogwood.  This fungus has been consuming the underground leftovers.  After checking it all out we've realized it is no danger to the dogwood, but quite interesting to observe!

Our patio is full of leaves that need sweeping each day!  A good power washing is in order as well!  

Our volunteer tomatoes are beginning to ripen.  You really can't beat fresh summer tomatoes!

A monarch visited one afternoon, though he didn't stay long.  I couldn't capture him opening his wings before flying off.

It's been a while since we've seen a box turtle in our back garden.  Living in our home for fifty years we have seen them almost every year.  It makes us so happy when we see them about!

This fellow was on the move and we all enjoyed following him to the downspout.  This was before the rain, so I'm sure he was looking for moisture.

Recently I read this wonderful quote about the turtle.  

"Try to be like the turtle- at home in your own skin." 

Bill Copeland

This morning we had a couple of bluebirds at the bird bath.

Thank you for sharing early Autumn days with me!