Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aah, country living!

Another story from the country...

Today I came home from work to discover that a few of my plants on the steps and front porch were tipped over, so I righted them and put the potting soil back in and went to get the dogs. We head back outside for a potty break, Kiwi on a leash, Ginger running free. When we get to the spot where the plants were knocked over, Kiwi goes crazy with the smell. She really wanted to just stay and sniff there for awhile. But necessities await. We are near the flag pole/planting bed you see in the below photo when, I hear the unmistakable sound of cracking underbrush. And from the sound of it, it was something large in the tree line ahead of me. In the photo below, it is to the left of the driveway. I realize that we are not alone and pick up Ginger who has yet to go potty and wait to see if it moves on or stays put. I am watching the tree line as a really big bear moves out into view and just stares at us. (Gulp.) I know I'm not supposed to turn and run and I really don't want to 'cause Ginger still needs to go potty, so I just take a few steps backwards. The bear, seeing me move, decides to turn and run (Something that I am quite happy for them to do!). Unfortunately, it runs into the road just at the end of the driveway as a car was just going by. The car misses the bear, but spooks him to turn back around and start running towards us!! My sensible back-up, baby steps turn into a full fledged turn and run maneuver. The bear is headed towards us. The car that spooked the bear sees what is happening and backs up and watches (My hope is that they wanted to lend a hand if I got into trouble!). I make it to the front porch and see that at bear has turned off and is now running parallel to the road/stream, across our front yard and back into the woods. But he is going slow, so we all got a good show of it.

Now the old terrified-of-bears me would have turned tail and gotten back into the house as soon as she had heard the cracking in the woods. Or, would have figured out that those plants were probably knocked over by a bear and not ventured out at all for the rest of the day. But, no... The new embracing-all-parts-of-country-living me knows that bears are all around us and has decided that she is not all that scared of 'em anymore. Respectful, but not scared!

Oh, and PS-the foot prints in the grass leading away from our front porch were from a bear. A really, giant bear since those footprints/impressions remained in the grass for days.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hello Autumn Menu

Hello All!

I have been working hard on putting together a yummy menu for our long weekend in the Pennsylvania countryside. There is a full kitchen with all the bells and whistles on site and I am going to use that baby to make us up some tasty meals.

I always post the menu ahead of time so that in case my menu doesn't meet any of your dietary requirements or if something isn't to your liking you can make other arrangements. There is a 'fridge space in the kitchen and in the crop room, so feel free to bring something you might need. As always, there will be PLENTY of food, but if there is a snack that you MUST have to crop with, then by all means bring that along. I will have coffee service set up all day long as well as iced tea, lemonade, water and a few sodas. There will not be a TON of soda, so if there is one that you need, please bring it along. I always prepare a vegetarian (not vegan) option to every "meat" meal, so please let me know ahead of time if you are a vegetarian. All the food is prepared together, so I cannot take any special requests at mealtimes.

Whew...with all that said...here is the menu!


Breakfast-Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Grits, Biscuits with Jen's Homemade Jams & Preserves
Lunch-Posh Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Peppers, Mixed Green Salad with Jen's Homemade Blackberry Dressing and Mini Brownie Banana Splits
Snack-Chips & Salsa
Dinner-Olive Chicken over Linguine, Crusty French Bread and Chocolate Bread Pudding with Whipped Cream


Breakfast-Caramel Sweet Rolls, Thick, Smoked Bacon and Melon Salad
Lunch-Vegetable Quiche, Cheddar & Cauliflower Soup and Lemon Drop Cupcake
Snack-Peach Bellini Floats
Dinner-Toasted Almond Chicken, Whisky Glazed Carrots, Creamed Spinach, Parker House Rolls and Baked Apples with Jen's Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream


-French Toast with Berry Butter & Maple Syrup and Sausage
Lunch-Grilled Turkey & Cheddar Panini with Chutney, Spiced Cabbage Slaw, Chips & Assorted Chocolate Truffles
Snack-Homemade Pretzels with Cheesy Mustard Dip
Dinner-Pumpkin Penne, Green Beans, Roasted Tomato Bruchetta and Peanut Butter Mousse with Whipped Cream


Breakfast-Made-to-Order Omelets, Hash Browns and Fresh Fruit
Lunch-Grilled Goat Cheese & Tapanade Sandwiches, White Bean & Wild Mushroom Soup and Cheesecake Tartlets with Blackberries
Snack-Fruit & Cheese Plate
Dinner-Meaty Moussaka, Marinated Vegetables, Greek Salad and Baklava

Winter in Summer?

When I told all my friends and family that Charles and I were moving to Pennsylvania, I had a bunch of mixed reactions. But almost every person wondered how I would make out in winter time. Being a clever Southerner I made sure that all my "up north" visits were made in the summertime and thus had avoided seeing snow up until our move up here. There was cause for their concern. Heck! Even when I was wearing my most optimistic pants I held a small dread for (gulp) snow.
There was one fellow down south that really worked hard to convince me that I would hate snow. That I might think it was nice at first, but I wouldn't get used to it, wouldn't like it and would never be able to stay up here. He pounded me with this every time I spoke to him or would relay anti-snow messages to me via his wife. It got to be downright pesky.
Now I consider myself a pretty positive and upbeat person, and for the sake of my husband and my sanity, I told myself that I was going to make the best of the big changes that were coming into our lives. So with arms (and mind) wide open I have embraced our new rural lifestyle-winter days included. In fact, I have either put up such a good show that I have convinced myself or it is more possible that I actually do LOVE it up here! I find myself telling folks ad nauseum just how much I am enjoying life as a Northerner.
I so wanted to tell my friend that for me, it wouldn't matter the season I was living in, that I would still be ME. I would still think the same, enjoy the same things, love the same, create, socialize...that I would just have to do it all in snow boots!

So, today, during this most wonderful summer season that I was looking up some summer quotes when I found this one that I would like to share with that negative dude down south...

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. -Albert Camus