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What’s Blooming!

I have a couple new blooms to show this week!  Nothing like late bloomers (see what I did there?)

I still am stuck on close up shots of the garden. Looks like a Daddy Longlegs on the coneflower.




Did you know that DLL is not really a spider?  I saw some science show the other day that said that.

Off to the back yard. This is the back patio work in progress. The middle windows are the dining room that overlook the back. From the front of the house, that is the ground level, but we have the walkout basement.


To the right of that tree is the in-progress shade bed.  This was one of my plants I just put in there. Solomon Seal:


The hydrangea flowers are starting to turn pink now.


Some of the blooms are amazingly massive and weight down the whole branch.


That’s one bloom!

So, I planted 3 types of flowers by seed this year. I did french marigolds, moonflowers and teddybear sunflowers.  Two of those are just blooming now.  Here are the teddybears:



I know they are supposed to be a dwarf sunflower, but these are tiny!  Not sure what happened with them. They don’t look like the picture on the seed package.

Autumn Joy sedum, now in color.


Cardinal flower:


This one kind of glows in the evening light. It’s very pretty.

I also have what I believe is some kind of bittersweet maybe:


I left this up. It can be kind of invasive, and actually this is pulling heavily on the shrub that it is intwined in, so I will probably remove it.

Out front I am just about ready to pull the cosmos and the remaining cleome.  I think I might get some hay bales and put pumpkins out or something to fill the space.  The cosmos have a few blooms left and a bunch of new seedlings, actually. I am going to leave those and see how big they get before frost.  Anyway, a birdie must have dropped a seed here because a little wild sunflower popped up.


I was beginning to think my moonflowers were never going to bloom this year and I walked out the other day and boom – I saw a huge bloom!


There are a lot more buds, too, which look pretty neat:


Moonflowers open up at dusk and close in the morning sun. They are like the opposite of  morning glories.  The blooms are very fragrant – and the plant is poisonous, so don’t eat it.


I’m glad to finally get some blooms on these. I do seem to have trouble growing plants from seed.  I might invest in a grow light to do more annuals indoors this winter and start them earlier.

We hope to see more balloons this weekend and go on a hike. The weather should be pretty nice to be outside.  It’s just about my favorite time of year!


Getting close to my 2000 mile goal!  Only 60 something to go.  Think I need some new gloves?


They are disintegrating a little more each time I put them on! 


I was hoping to get through the season with this pair, but I broke down an ordered a new pair. I couldn’t find any gloves I liked in person, so I went online to order.  I don’t like a lot of padding in the palm, just a leather pad, which takes some digging to find. Not sure how long it will take these gloves to get here, so I will just have to make do :D

Speaking of not being able to find stuff locally- one of the problems with owning a unique house is that standard stuff doesn’t fit. We have been looking for sheer curtains for the living room forever. Right now I have some lace things just tacked onto the window (classy…) for some privacy at night.  Well, there are no curtains that are the right length, which means I would have to hem them or just make them.  So, I hauled out my sewing machine, which I haven’t used in probably almost 15 years!  I had forgotten how to even thread the darned thing:


Thanks to the magic of the internets, I found the manual online and actually got it working again.  I have material and am going to try to do my own curtains.  Are you scared? I am! 

Tonight kicked off the weekend balloon festival.  They had opening ceremonies and a small launch at Crandall Park, which is about a mile from our house, so we could walk there.  Yay for no parking issues!!


I took the Rebel with me to get some pictures.






About 20 balloons went up tonight. We have company coming this weekend and will hopefully be able to go to one of the bigger launches if the weather holds out. It’s not supposed to rain, but it could be too windy for the balloons to go up.

Downtown extended the festivities with music and some classic cars:


I think it would be fun to drive or ride in one of these, don’t you?



Now it is time for the Broncos to hopefully beat the Chefs Chiefs!  And try to sew some curtains – eep!

Food round up

Seems like the blog is all about gardening and cycling lately!  It’s time for some more food pictures.

Still a lot of the same meals I usually eat. I did my protein waffles in pancake form to change things up.



We made the Dutch baby one day:


Need to make this again. It’s easy and tasty!

I got on a kick for egg sandwiches for a little while for lunch:


When the weather got really hot there recently, I started having protein shakes for lunch.  This one was made with almond milk, applesauce, protein powder and cinnamon:


This one was pumpkin, protein powder, almond milk, honey and cinnamon:


When it is really hot and humid, my appetite takes a dive, so the shakes are a good way to get in nutrition without it feeling like a heavy meal.

Still lots of chicken on the dinner menu:


I did get some brussel sprouts for a veggie change up!


A couple weeks ago, our neighbor came over and asked if it was okay if he trimmed some of our tree branches that were overhanging his garage.  Well, he is 87 years old, so we certainly didn’t want him doing that.  So, John got up there and trimmed them down and I hauled the branches.  Our neighbor brought over a gift certificate a few days later to the Pepper Mill, which we had never been to.  That was very nice of him! I had a crab stuffed baked shrimp, which was quite good.


We have more of the GC left, too, so we can visit again.

I broke out the crockpot at the end of last week and made a Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchilada casserole.

enchilada casserole

I subbed in pinto beans instead of black beans because neither of us like them very much. My picture doesn’t look as nice as hers.  I used a large can of enchilada sauce since her recipe didn’t specify which and maybe that is why.  Or, she styled it with uncooked ingredients.  Still, it was super tasty and chocked full of beta carotene!  It made enough for 5 meals. We froze 2 meals’ worth and ate the rest over a few days.

And… we broke down and tried some of these:


They were pretty good, but I don’t know as I would necessarily get them again.  I am holding out for candy corn!  I told myself no candy corn until equinox fall on the 23rd? Somewhere around there.

The weekly:


This is a beer brewed with coffee!  It comes in a 10 oz pour because it is pretty intense.

You have seen the usual weekend ride suspects as well.

I really flat-lined during August, but this week the scale moved down and I didn’t really do anything different.  Just goes to show how you can’t really predict anything.  Maybe it was the M&Ms? I was snacking a little bit on cereal again, but I think I got that stopped.

I pulled out clothes that I haven’t worn since spring as it got cooler and I am pleased at how they fit since they were pretty snug back then.  I’ll take any reward :D

Cooper’s Cave

Saturday called for rain in the afternoon. We thought of risking biking to Saratoga for lunch, but we didn’t want to be pressured with thoughts of a rainy ride home. So, we did some large loops more locally and went for lunch.  We also did a little tourist stuff.

I brought along the Rebel for the photos.  This is along route 197.  There is a farm along the hill.


We went along  the Betar byway, which is only about a mile long, but really pretty.


It goes along the Hudson river.  You can see Glens Falls in the distance:



I want to come with my zoom lens and do some birding early in the morning some time.  We did see some geese:



We also saw the first signs of fall.



South Glens Falls is home of Cooper’s Cave, which is the cave that James Fenimore Cooper visited and incorporated into his novel Last of the Mohicans. It is right by the hydro plant (which wasn’t there at the time Cooper visited).


The cave itself is protected and you can’t actually go into it, but you can view it from a fenced platform.

coopers cave



We actually haven’t visited this little attraction in a few years.  We rode some more and headed out for lunch at Martha’s. Normally we do the ice cream here, but since our ride was early to avoid the rain, we had lunch at their new food area.


John had a veggie burger. I had chicken strips and we split the big basket of fries:


This was too much food, even after 24 miles of riding.  I had about 3 of the strips.  Turns out I don’t do as well riding with a greasy lunch as I do with the cupcake LOL!  You know I love Martha’s ice cream, but the food was fairly pedestrian.  It was super fresh, though, I will say that.

We were nervously watching the radar and figured we would probably be clear to get in another 10 miles or so before the rain came.  It would make a short day for people at Great Escape, too.


You can see how cloudy it was by this time in our ride.  The day started out sunny and beautiful and changed pretty quick.

I ended up getting a headache towards the end of the ride and had to stop to take some Motrin.  At least we were prepared! We carry a lot of stuff on rides because you never know what you will need.  

We made it home without getting rained on, too!


Almost 36 miles.  Not my best feeling ride, but we stayed dry :D

Have you read Last of the Mohicans?

What’s Blooming!



It’s now actually starting to seem a little more like fall and less like summer.  Still plenty of bloom time left, though. Fall always seems like black-eyed Susan time to me.  Maybe because they bloom for so long and are still around after other stuff starts to fade.  This is called Tiger’s Eye.





There are all these fancy names for the varieties and they mostly look the same to me.  :)

Couple of macro shots.  This is a dahlia.



Fairy impatien:


I dug up all the hostas on the side of the house.  I kept 2, which I put in the shade bed.  That uncovered this yard ornament that I kind of forgot about:


The next pictures are all with the 70×300 zoom lens. This is playing with the focal point. I took a few shots focusing on the front or rear flower.

butterfly bush


I have been using a small f-stop, which makes the background blurry, which I think is pretty cool.

My delphiniums are blooming again.  They are much shorter with this flush of blooms:


One of my coral bells:


I do leave those plant ID markers in the ground with all my plants. That way come spring after the snow has  melted and the ground is totally dead, I know where stuff is supposed to come up.

Now for some fauna.  John and I were having lunch outside and it was a complete menagerie in the back yard.




Nuthatches are such funny birds.  This is a typical pose for them with the neck at an L angle. It looks so uncomfortable!

Male cardinal.



And I finally got some shots of the hummingbird.  This is a tricky little bugger!



I will work on some overview shots this week of the garden instead of the closeups.  


I have some fall plants arriving this weekend!  Gotta do some planting.  Looks like Saturday morning/early afternoon for riding will be the only good weather.  Not sure where we are going yet, probably back down to Saratoga.  On a good note, the alligator trunk will be going to its new home this weekend!

Our town

Is it Wednesday already?  My schedule is all kinds of messed up now.  I worked all day on Monday since it was really busy.  I do work on a 24-hour urgent care now and so the work is crazy all over the place.  It is busy in the morning, then slows down in the afternoon, then picks up again at night.  That means that I run out of work during the day and if I want to get in a specific number of lines, it means splitting my shift.  I must say that is tiring. It’s like working 2 jobs, only for one pay!  Uck.  I hope it smooths out more with the holiday done and kids back in school.

Anyway, today is the last day of this beastly heat.  I know I shouldn’t complain because of how bad our winters are, but I don’t like extremes on either side.  I have been a cranky pants with the humidity.  I sweat way more than John (such a lady) and even riding in the cooler mornings and my forearms are covered in sweat.  Just in case you wanted to know that.

I brought my uber camera along for this morning’s ride to breakfast.  Here is our downtown:


It’s early enough to be quiet and not many cars yet.


Can’t afford anything here, but it is nice to window shop:


This building is my favorite to look at:


It’s really well kept.

It’s quite a charming downtown. The only thing missing is a lot more retail. There are a handful of shops, but it is hard because you need a lot more for it to be succesful for drawing people in, which then makes me want to open a retail shop.  8-O 



I took about a dozen shots of breakfast playing with settings.  The thing I am enjoying most about the Rebel so far is the ability to change where to focus in a shot instead of the camera deciding.  Now I have allll the power!

I have been practicing my bird shots.  Little Chickadee!



I call them Chicka-dee-dee-dee a lot since that is the sound they make. :D  They come right up to our window feeder and eat seed, much to Pixie’s interest.

I have been working on my projects, too, with it being hot out.  Welcome to my mess:



Three projects in progress – a chair, the trunk and a picture frame on the table.  I have totally claimed this basement room to do all my stuff. John called it Lori’s Workshop.  I am currently hiring elves, btw.

I have all of the copper polished up on the trunk now.  It seems that it was covered in some sort of reddish paint, which you can see in some spots,so I don’t know if I will try to remove that or leave it as is.  I like the copper.



Now to  scrub and sand the wood and get this lady shining!

Sundaes and cameras

We got a break from the really hot weather for a day or two.  Saturday was just beautiful. Less humidity and low 80s.  Perfect for our bike ride.  We had a hankering for ice cream, so we did a circuitous road route to get to Martha’s since we live a lot closer to it now. 


And it begins:



Seriously – is anyone influenced by a bandit sign endorsing a candidate?  I am more likely to follow that garage sale sign…

It was bright and sunny, but a lot of our roads gave shade:



I actually brought along the new camera to take some shots – which made me nervous :) . I am still getting used to it.  John portrait:



Snack portrait:



After 20 miles, we arrived at Martha’s:



Sundae with cheesecake flavor ice cream, hot fudge, raspberry sauce and cookie crumbles.  Ride worthy.  We headed out for another long road ride.  I had put on extra sunscreen for the rest of the ride.  This is out by our municipal airport:



It sort of feels like the middle of nowhere, but it is only 4 or so miles from home here. This is actually pretty close to where I found that bird last week.



The thought bubble over John’s head would be something like “Stopping for more pictures?? Sigh…


Ride stats:

Miles: 31.1

Top speed: 32. 4 mph (yeah!)

Average speed 12.4 mph

Calories burned:  933

A shorter ride than usual on a Saturday, but a good ride.

So, I have been muddling around with the new Rebel!  It arrived along with 4 lenses and some other stuff.  It is going to take a long time to figure all of it out, but that’s the joy of a new toy, isn’t it?


I have been taking pictures around the house.


I even left unfluffed pillows and a glass there.  I probably should have neatened that up for the picture :D

I have spent time on the patio taking a billion bird pictures at the feeder, too.  This is a downy woodpecker and a white breasted nuthatch eating together in harmony:


I finally realized I should have it set for multiple shots in a row for the birds since they move so much.  I haven’t tried that yet.

On a side note, this is a squirrel proof feeder. Those leaves close down over the holes when a squirrel gets on there.  Chipmunks are too light and the holes stay open, but at least they don’t eat as much as squirrels do.  The squirrels don’t climb on the feeder anymore since they realized it won’t yield them food.

And some macro experiments:


Anyway, this week’s pictures should be fun.

Have a great Labor Day!  I will be laboring – gotta pay for that camera!

What’s Blooming!

I have been making progress on the shade bed.  It’s actually all along the fence on one side, but I am only concentrating on this one area of it right now.   I have been clearing and planting as I go.  I tackled the hardest part last weekend.  This area was full of ground cover when we moved in.  I cut all that growth down in the spring and I have now been ripping up all the root systems that were matted in.


It’s been a lot of work to get to this point.  The roots were matted terribly:



This stuff was all throughout the bed.

This was the bed originally:


Tick country and   It’s all pretty much ready for planting now. I am not sure how much I will be planting this fall other than a few plants and a ton of bulbs.  I do have some Solomon seal for the shade bed coming, though.


But who am I kidding?  I will be on the lookout for plants all fall!  I did put in my baby Heuchera!


The big ash tree is dropping so many leaves already.  It makes quite a mess, I have to say.  Anyway, I love the foliage colors on these.  I think this is going to be my new favorite shade plant!

My new camera arrived today, so here is me goofing around with it a little bit.

Cantaloupe Supreme




I need to work on the bird pictures.  They move too quick! This is either a downy or hairy woodpecker.



Female or juvenile cardinal.




The shy bowling ball shocked at being caught on camera:



I have so much to learn about this camera.  It’s pretty complex.  Or, I guess it is really easy to use for a novice, but the opportunity is there to take control over all the functions and take even better pictures.  Good thing that you don’t have to pay for film developing anymore!  It would cost a fortune with the amount of pictures I take – and will be taking :D

Welcome September!

Last quarter of the year.  It’s starting out *hot*, too! Phew.   Because of where we live, it actually gets cooler overnight, but heats up a lot during the day this time of year.  With the humidity, it gets foggy.  Here was a shot from my ride after breakfast yesterday.  This was probably around 9 am  (I start work late on Wednesdays  :oops:  )


When I rode to breakfast, the mist was collecting on my helmet and dripping off.  It was almost like rain.


Seems like September starts hot around here – or at least it has for the last few years.  

It’s a super busy month around here.  There are multiple birthdays, anniversaries and we have 2 sets of company coming to stay with us this month.  

Here is my niece who just turned 16 (eek!)


How time flies!  She is going to be driving…

We finally have everything with the house settled up.  We just refinanced to a regular mortgage. We purchased Radiance Manor with a private mortgage and with the sale of the old house done, we were then able to go the conventional route to refinance.  Now all Ts are crossed and we are like normal people.  Or whatever passes for normal around here.

So, I have a gift to myself arriving tomorrow. I finally – after talking about it for a couple years – ordered a DSLR camera.  It’s been on my wish list for so long and it was time.  No vacation this year, so gotta treat myself somehow, right?  It’s a Rebel T5.



I ended up ordering a kit that included the zoom lens I wanted and a wide angle/macro lens.  I will try not to overwhelm you with pictures on the blog, but then again, I just might anyway :D

I realize that I have been remiss in the Pixie love on the blog.  Here is a photo I meant to post before, but forgot.  This was taken while the driveway was being done.


Pixie was able to lay on the piano far away and still give a side eye to the workers through the window in the kitchen door.

I am close to my 2000 mile biking goal. I am at 1769.  That means only about 230 to go.  I would normally say I would have it before the end of the month, but with 2 sets of company and none of them riders, I won’t be on the bike as much, but barring injury I won’t have a problem meeting that goal.


Here’s to a busy month!

Recipe: Dutch Baby Pancake

I was looking for a quick recipe to make Saturday morning and I felt like baking, but didn’t want muffins or something like that.  Then I ran across the Betty Crocker recipe for a Dutch Baby.  I had forgotten how easy these are to make.  It’s a cross between a popover and a pancake and the term originates from the Pennsylvania Dutch, although the origins of the pancake appear to be in the Pacific NW (thanks Wikipedia!).

Dutch Baby

Anyway, you can make them sweet or not.  I chose not to for this recipe from Betty Crocker, although with a different cooking technique.


  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of milk (warmed)
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces

The first thing you want to do is set your oven to 475 F and put in a 10-inch cast iron skillet.



While this is heating up, you can assemble the batter.  It doesn’t take long.  In the list above, the room temp eggs and warmed milk will help make a puffier pancake.  I put the eggs in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and then heated up the milk for about 30 seconds in the microwave.   In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and nutmeg.

In a larger bowl, add the eggs and whisk until fluffy and light in color.


Stir in the milk.   Your oven has probably reached the preheat of 475 by now.  Once it has, open the oven door and put the butter pieces in the pan:


Now add the flour mixture to the batter and whisk to combine:


Carefully pour this batter into the skillet.  I removed it from the oven to do this (remember the handle is HOT!)



Reduce the oven heat to 425 F and return the pan to the oven.  Cook for about 12 minutes until puffed and golden:

Dutch baby

It puffs up so much!  Too bad it won’t stay like that.  It does deflate as it cools.  Cut into wedges and serve however you like.  Many people do lemon and powdered sugar.  You could do maple syrup, fruit, or even bacon and cheese since this one isn’t sweet.  I chose to put an apple topping on ours:

Dutch baby

It tastes like a cross between a crepe and a pancake and is really good.  It probably took 20-25 minutes from start to finish, so not long for a weekend breakfast.

Nutrition:  The entire dutch baby has 590 calories (made with 2% milk).  So, if served into 4 slices –  that is 145 calories per wedge.