Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Country Mice go to the City

Mr. B and I lead a quiet life here in the woods beside the lake. So when our son and his lovely wife gave us a weekend in Baltimore as a Christmas gift, we were a little hesitant to venture forth and sample urban life. Especially we are always reluctant to join that aggressive stream of traffic on I 95 that flows through Washington and Baltimore. But we joined the fray and we're glad we did.

The weekend included lunch on the waterfront at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. After lunch it was only a short walk to the Baltimore Aquarium which must be the most popular spot in the city. It was packed on a Saturday afternoon! The center photo is of the pedal boats with the Aquarium in the background. All the other photos were taken inside the Aquarium. I'm hoping to return this summer and go out on a pedal boat with my son.

We spent two nights at the Baltimore North Sheraton in Towson. What a treat that was! An afternoon visiting and watching movies at the son and daughter-in-law's house was great fun. Then we attended a concert - Celtic Woman - at the Hippodrome Performing Arts Center. It was a nice mix of slow songs and lively ones - a wonderful performance in a lovely setting!

We've had a taste of city life. And we learned that Mr. B can still pilot our car through the congestion with me reading the directions and maps, albeit with a wrong turn or two.

Now it's back to the woods, our cats and the quiet life.

I'm joining Mosaic Monday at the Little Red House.

Can anyone tell me why my collages made in Picasa don't look better in the post? Am I choosing the wrong size? What's the trick?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fresh Tomatoes

Doesn't this look delicious? I'm joining Claudia at Friday - Finding beauty, because I think my simple salad is beautiful. I can't wait for summer and fresh tomatoes!
Remember how good tomatoes taste when they are still warm from the garden? Yummy. This salad is made with a mix of lettuces, fresh tomatoes from my garden, crumbled bacon and feta cheese. The dressing is olive oil and lemon juice, salt and cracked black pepper.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Warm Brownies on a Cold Day

This is the way it has been looking this winter in Virginia.

So on another day when snow is expected and there is no sunshine, I find this to be a cheery sight. I love the touches of red and the very green plant. And the promise of brownies!

My daughter posted on Facebook that she was eating warm brownies. I've wanted some ever since! Warm, with nuts and topped with whipped cream. Mr. B has promised to bake some for me. I can't wait! In the meantime I had better go for a walk and use up some calories - in advance.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Before the Snow

These are photos I took recently, before the big snowfalls. My cat Sylvie joined me on a walk so her portrait is included. Sylvie is 17, so we didn't go far.

I absolutely love the center photo with the sun shining through that leaf! The dried arrangement is made of things I gathered. On a drive when I holler "Stop!" - Mr. B always stops and waits patiently and has learned not to ask, "What are you going to do with those weeds?" The lovely cream pitcher was bought at an auction in Greencastle, PA.

The road in the right corner is our own Iris Lane, the back drive into our house. In the upper left you can see a small stream running into our lake. The picture of two trees on the right side - I love the way two different trees can grow together - like Mr. B and me (yankee and southerner)!

I'm joining Mosaic Monday at the Little Red House.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter Hammock

This is the hammock that is pictured in my header. But this is the winter version. I think of all the hot summer days when I would lie in the hammock and read and nap. Often Mr. B would bring me lunch - with Lays potato chips. Doesn't get any better than that! Hot days will come again!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beauty in my Yard

I'm joining Claudia at Friday ...... Finding Beauty.

After taking hundreds of photos in my yard I was looking for something different. Believe it or not, this leaf was stuck on our outdoor light. The drip was a bonus!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Feathered Friend

After weeks of teasing/frustrating me, Mr. Cardinal has come forth in these last two snowstorms and actually posed for me. In another post I will show you photos of our cat and mouse game.

Here he is yesterday taking a break after his lunch. Yes, he brought the missus, a brother and his wife and assorted cousins. View yesterday's post, Dining at the Hoffmanns' to see them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dining at the Hoffmanns'

More snow overnight! This is Virginia?

At least the birds have a place to dine. No reservations needed but there is a wait! The lobby (trees and shrubs) is full.

I am having such fun taking bird and squirrel pictures. Even the elusive cardinal posed for me - repeatedly!

You will be seeing lots more of my nature photos. The scattered seeds on the deck railing and the table on the porch are really bringing the birds in close. I can take photos from the comfort of my recliner and not even get cold!
Can you believe I have taken 1500 shots since Christmas? What a fun day!

And I am so grateful for power and heat!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Near Disaster

This is the stump of the tree that broke this morning. We were awakened by a horrible noise. We couldn't understand what was happening. I looked out the window and saw the tree falling. It was only a few feet from the house. Had it fallen a few feet the other way it would have fallen on the house and us in our bed!

You can see how close this is to the house. Thank goodness it even missed the air conditioning unit. We spent the day with no power and cooked lunch on our stove that has gas logs. The power came on this afternoon.

I spent the day reading "The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton and snuggling under the covers. Of course we fed the birds extra seeds. I took some photographs and did some shoveling. And the children called to see if we are okay. Tomorrow is to be 8 degrees and tomorrow night 7. More sleet and snow coming next week. No snow plows out today. We literally are snowed in!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

That's My Boy - on YouTube!

My son, Kevin Hoffmann, is appearing in "Whisper House" at the Old Globe in San Diego. In this video he is the one in the Coast Guard uniform. Do you think I'm a Proud Mama?

Hornets' Nest

I was out for a walk and feeling so cold that I was ready to head in. I looked at the trees in the distance and saw something large hanging. "Couldn't be," I thought. "Maybe it's a squirrels' nest." As I walked I kept my eye on it until I was right under the tree where it was hanging. And here it is for you to see!

It would be perfectly safe to collect the nest this time of year. It is only used one season, during the summer. The hornets leave in the fall or those who stay freeze or die of old age. This link tells more about it. I asked my hubby if he would get it for me, maybe by using a truck with a bucket! I am in no danger of actually getting the nest as it is about 25 feet up in the air!

After I took some pictures and turned toward home, I realized I wasn't cold any longer. In my excitement I had forgotten about being cold!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow Collage

We had another large snowfall. Ten inches this time. And the day after was sunny with a brilliant blue sky. Perfect for picture taking, although a big cold. This is a walk around my neighborhood.

I'm very proud of the icicle-with-the-water-drop photo. That was made using the Macro setting on my new camera.

Be sure to stop by and join the fun at the Little Red House blog for Mosaic Monday.