In Our Backyard…

September 26, 2016

At Home 2016

This little critter scampered across our patio all summer. And, it seems, burrowed regularly into one of our plant beds based on the holes left behind. Looking out through the doors in our kitchen the other day, I was surprised to see it sitting atop the chair viewing life from a higher perspective.

At Home 2016

This plant was put in last fall to replace a similar one that had suddenly died. It has done very well. The bright red berries began appearing towards the end of the summer and should remain for a quite while after the leaves have fallen off.

At Home: Umbrella Down!

Umbrella down! (And stored in the garage.) A definitive sign that summer is over!

Autumn Has Officially Arrived…

September 23, 2016

…and I am officially depressed!

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” – Autumn

At Home: On the Last Day of Summer 2016….

September 21, 2016

The weather on this last official day of summer couldn’t have been better. Sunny, low 80’s, and no humidity. Perfect for having lunch at home on the patio. As with hot dogs, I only make barbecued ribs during the warm weather months, so this was a final opportunity to have them at home.

We like baby backs. I buy them at Whole Foods because (a) the quality is high, and (b) I don’t have to buy an entire rack since they will cut as many ribs as I want. These ribs are always very meaty, so I’ve found that for the two of us, the optimal number is eight.

The recipe I use is “Barbecued Ribs, Missouri-Style,” from The Thrill of the Grill, by Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby. The ribs are massaged with a dry rub, put into a 180 degree oven for three hours, then onto the grill where they are basted with a vinegar-based sauce. Et, voilà!

At Home: On the Last Day of Summer 2016

We started with cups of chilled Zucchini Soup (a Martha Stewart recipe). It was leftover from the batch I’d made a few days ago which I’d served warm. Tasty either way.

At Home: On the Last Day of Summer 2016

With the ribs:

At Home: On the Last Day of Summer 2016

Cornmeal Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes

At Home: On the Last Day of Summer 2016

Busch’s Vegetarian Baked Beans

At Home: On the Last Day of Summer 2016

Homemade BBQ Sauce (Dean Fearing Recipe)

At Home: On the Last Day of Summer 2016

The fried green tomatoes turned out great and, as usual, the ribs were meaty, succulent, and dee-licious!

Lucked Out! Jury Duty That Wasn’t

September 4, 2016

I was upstairs in my computer room when Michael came to the doorway waving a piece of mail saying, “Guess who has jury duty?!” Rats! Not exactly the kind of mail I look forward to. Maybe some people enjoy fulfilling their civic responsibility in this way. But I’m not one of them.

I can’t remember how many years ago I last served, but it was for five days. I didn’t have to go in the first day, and Friday turned out to be a half day. I was called for only one panel. It was a malpractice case, and when they read out the names of the doctors being sued, I was shocked to hear that one of them was the obstetrician who delivered Jen! No way would I be seated on that jury!

Opening this summons, I discovered that it was for a petit jury Wednesday-Friday, August 17-19.

Jury Duty

Jury Duty

I did have the option of postponing. But I decided to accept because (a) there’s no way to know when the postponement date would be, i.e., could be really inconvenient; (b) it was only three days; (c) I had a high juror number, so like last time I might not be called the first day; and (d) it being summer, Friday would likely be a half day.

In preparation, the week before and leading up to the first day of the summons, I put aside the NY Times crossword puzzles. Plus, when we were at EMP and I mentioned I’d be having jury duty, I was presented with this:

Jury Duty

Jurors find out the night before whether they will be required to show up the following day. Last time, the info was available only via a phone call. Now, it’s on line after 6 p.m. (though it can also be gotten via the phone). So, on Tuesday evening, I logged into the NJ Courts website, clicked on the appropriate county, and found that everyone in Group 10 – Nos. 1- 2000 — was “on call,” meaning I did not have to report on Wednesday. Great! One day down, two to go!

Wednesday evening, I again logged on. The message read something like this: Service for Group 10 is completed. Yowza! I was done! Lucky me! I’d definitely made the right decision. Never having to set foot inside the courthouse was the jury summons of my dreams.

And here’s the even better news. I won’t be called again for at least three years, by which time I will have reached the age where there is the option to decline serving. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what my response will be. Jury duty finis forever!

Bunny Update: Now There Are Two!

August 29, 2016

A few weeks ago, I posted about the bunny in our backyard. During these past few weeks, it has been back almost daily and has begun venturing from the far side of the yard into the middle.

Yesterday, I was surprised to see that another bunny has arrived.

At Home: Two Bunnies in the Backyard

At Home: Two Bunnies in the Backyard

Is this a buddy or a mate? Might there be baby bunnies in our future? Stay tuned!

Heirloom Tomatoes from the Clayton Family Farm

August 16, 2016

I first bought heirloom tomatoes from the Clayton Family Farm in 2011. Here’s the blog post I did back then. I also posted a complete set of photos on my Flickr.

Each year, the Claytons have increased the variety of heirlooms they grow. Now, it’s about a dozen. When I went down there several weeks ago, they didn’t have any yet. But this morning, there were plenty.

At Home: Heirloom Tomatoes

Of course, we had to have some at lunch this afternoon. A sprinkling of Maldon Sea Salt, a very light dressing of extra-virgin olive oil, and a bit of fresh basil. Yum!

At Home: Heirloom Tomato Salad

I also bought Early Girl tomatoes and fairytale eggplant. Clayton is the only place that grows these in our area.

At Home: Early Girl Tomatoes and Fairytale Eggplant

Have I mentioned that I love summer vegetables?

Heat Wave!

August 14, 2016

I went to Wegmans this morning to pick up a few things. You know it’s HOT! HOT! HOT! when the car’s thermometer says 89 degrees F. at 9 a.m.! It’s not just the high temperature but the excessive humidity that makes it so uncomfortable. Even our patio where we have lots of trees and shade is not the cooler oasis it normally is when it’s hot out. It’s all about the heat index (we’re near Freehold):

Heat Wave!

Face it, Wizard fans!  It is summer.  And I’ll take this weather — with a.c., of course! — over winter and snow.

A Bunny in Our Backyard

August 7, 2016

So, you’re probably wondering why I’m posting about this. Like, what’s the big deal about a bunny in the backyard?  Well, here’s the thing. When we moved into our house 47 years ago, rabbits were ubiquitous. However, over time, they mysteriously disappeared, and it’s been ages since there have been any on our property.

That is, until a few weeks ago, when Michael mentioned that he’d seen one. Then, day before yesterday, I spotted it (presuming it was the same one) scampering through the plant bed to the right of the driveway. It stopped at the far edge, so I went inside to get my camera. But by the time I came back, the rabbit was gone.

Yesterday, I saw it again. This time, it was sitting in the middle of the backyard having a grass munch. I figured I’d try again to get a photo, and this time when I came back with my camera, I got lucky. The bunny was still there. Using the telephoto lens (not the world’s best), I inched as close as I could without scaring the little fella (or gal) away and snapped two shots.*

At Home: Rabbit

Munching

At Home: Rabbit

When I dared to move a bit closer, it scampered back toward the woods stopping at the edge. As it ran, I noticed it had a white tail. You can make it out in these photos.* Googling, I learned that it’s a cottontail rabbit.  Cute!

At Home: Rabbit

At Home: Rabbit

*Note:  I was actually much further away than it would seem from these photos.  To better see the bunny, I cropped them.

At Home: The Flowers That Bloom in the Summer, Tra-la!

August 4, 2016

Our day lilies which bloom in the spring, tra-la, didn’t bloom this year. A real bummer! Especially since they add splashes of bright yellow color to our front lawn.  (You can see what I mean by clicking on the link.)  As to why, it looked to me as though some critter feasted on them, but I’d have to have our landscaper Ed Wendel look at them to be sure.

Happily, however, some plantings in the backyard have produced lovely summer flowers.

At Home: Summer Flowers

At Home: Summer Flowers

At Home: Summer Flowers

It’s Official and Historic! Hillary Rodham Clinton Accepts the Democratic Presidential Nomination!

July 29, 2016

Better eight years late than never!!

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton