At Home: First Franks of Summer 2015

May 25, 2015

At Home:  First Al Fresco Meal of 2015

Those who have visited this blog with any regularity know that for me, franks are specific to one season: summer. So, I start serving them on Memorial Day weekend – when summer unofficially begins — and stop on Labor Day.

Yesterday, the weather was gorgeous. After we put up the patio table umbrella (another Memorial Day weekend tradition), lunch was al fresco. Instead of regular franks, we had the ones known as “Specials.” They are made by Hebrew National. Wegmans is the only place near us that carries them.

At Home:  First Franks of the 2015 Summer Season

At Home:  First Al Fresco Meal of 2015

At Home:  First Al Fresco Meal of 2015

Sour Kraut and Sour Tomatoes

At Home:  First Al Fresco Meal of 2015

Homemade Cole Slaw

At Home:  First Al Fresco Meal of 2015

Busch’s Vegetarian Baked Beans

At Home:  First Al Fresco Meal of 2015

Summer is lemonade time!

Umbrella’s Up!

May 24, 2015

The unofficial start of my favorite season — Summer!

At Home:  Umbrella's Up!

First Strawberries of 2015 From Battleview Orchards

May 22, 2015

The start of the 2015 strawberry season at Battleview Orchards was delayed several weeks by the horrible winter weather that kept its grip well into spring. They finally made their first appearance in Battleview’s market on Wednesday.

New Jersey Strawberries From Battleview Orchards

Lunch the same day:

At Home:  Salad With New Jersey Strawberries

Spinach, Strawberries, Chèvre, Toasted Almonds, and Raspberry Vinaigrette

Looking forward to doing “pick your own” very soon.

NYT Thursday Puzzle – May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015

NYT Thusday Puzzle - May 21, 2015

The theme is found at 52-Across: Elevated expectations … of what this puzzle’s maker did to five answers in this puzzle? Answer: Raised the bar. The letters BAR start the answer of that line’s clue and are the beginning of the answer to the clue in the line directly below. Ergo, BAR has been “raised.”

17A. BARge (It gets a tow)
20A. REL of monkeys (Metaphor for fun)

10A. BARk (Communicate like a drill sergeant)
16A. OQUE (Scarlotti style)

31A. BARe (Unpainted, say)
36A. RIER reef (Shoreline protector)

38A. BARo (Prefix with –meter)
42A. T SIMPSON (Perpetural 10-year-old of TV)

60A. BARnstorm (Campaign from town to town)
64A. BIES (Line of Mattel dolls)

It didn’t take me long to figure out the theme (the first one I got was the Barbie doll) and to complete the puzzle (about an hour). I’ve actually been doing very well on Thursdays. Either I’m getting smarter or they’re less difficult. More than likely, it’s the latter.

NYT Sunday Puzzle – May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015

NYT Sunday Puzzle - May 17, 2015

Title: To-Do List (Abridged)

Theme: To-do lists with three tasks. The last word of the first task is a noun. It becomes a verb that starts (overlaps) the beginning of the next task, and the same thing happens between the second and third tasks.

23A. Set time/Go to theater/Engage in tomfoolery = Wind watch a play a prank
33A. Hitchhike/Surf/Show patriotism = Thumb a ride a wave a flag
54A. Somersault/Start football game/Invent some language = Do a flip a coin a phrase
75A. Not stop at intersection/Warm up/Use rifle = Run a light the fire a shot
89A. Play baseball/Take public transportation/Clean up after diners = Make a catch a bus a table
108A. Finish taxes/Visit library/Plan vacation = File a return a book a trip

Hurray! Finally, another perfectly completed Sunday puzzle! The last was on February 15th, so a very long stretch without one. I’ve actually finished ten Sunday puzzles since then. However, six had one error (really annoying!), two had two errors, and one had four (Oy!).

This was an easy puzzle for a Sunday. The title made the theme obvious. The trick was the overlapping part. Once I figured that out, filling in the lists was pretty much a cinch — except for 108A. I had the rest of the grid filled in except for the lower right hand corner because I had a bit of trouble coming up with the correct third task for 108A. I thought it could be “[book] an inn” or “[book] a room.” But they wouldn’t work. Then, the “Aha!” moment. Once I filled in “a trip,” I was able to swiftly complete everything else in that section.

At Home: New Shrubs

May 13, 2015

The shrubs that eventually formed the hedge on the left side of the front lawn were planted in 1997 when our landscaping was totally renovated. A couple of years ago, the hedge started to looked a bit raggedy but was nursed along until now. Our landscaper found just the right size replacements, so it was out with the old, and in with these new beauties.

At Home:  New Shrubs

At Home:  New Shrubs

They’ll eventually grow together and be trimmed as a hedge.

Meanwhile, in the back, deer had been busy feasting on two plants. Hopefully, they won’t care for the flavor of these replacements.

At Home:  New Shrubs

At Home:  New Shrubs

In a few weeks, once all the helicopters come down from the maple tree near the patio, we’ll have our annual spring clean-up, trimming, and fresh mulching.

At Home: Azaleas in Bloom

May 11, 2015

At Home:  Azaleas in Bloom

Happy 7th Anniversary, Jen and Louis!

May 10, 2015

Jen and Louis 7th Anniversary Flowers

NYT Thursday Puzzle – May 7, 2015

May 8, 2015

NYT Thursday Puzzle - May 7, 2015

A rebus puzzle. 59-Across: Reducing one’s carbon footprint … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme. Answer: Going green. ECO, the three letters that start the word “ecology,” are together in 7 squares on the grid.

1D./19A. Safeco/Second Nature
9D./23A. Wilee Coyote/Deuce Coupe
32D./52A. Pentecostal/Dade County
33D./39A. Pecos/Ice cold
37D./51A. Zydeco/Greco
52D./58A. Decorum/Ecoles
57D./66A. Precook/Records

It took me a while to realize this was a rebus and more time to figure out what letters were involved. The “Aha!” moment came when I got the answer to 33-Down: River to the Rio Grande. I didn’t know the river’s name straightaway. But once I had the first and last letters (P and S) with only one square in-between, it hit me that the answer was “Pecos.” Ergo, ECO.

Quite a few across fell into the “I didn’t know that” category:

1A.: Rishi, in Hinduism. Answer: Sage

13A.: _____ Perelman, prolific Russian science writer. Answer: Yakov.

34A.: Ruy _____ (chess opening). Answer: Lodez.

69A.: Wind-related. Answer: Eolic.

70A.: European blackbird. Answer: Merl.

72A.: “I Wish” rapper _____-Lo. Answer: Skee.

At Home: An Annual Sign of Spring

May 3, 2015

At Home:  Japanese Cherry Tree

We moved into our house in December 1969 and planted this Japanese Cherry Tree on our front lawn in Spring 1970. At 45 years old, it’s the only thing that remains from the original landscaping. Every year, we look forward to its brilliant flowering. It never disappoints!


Uppity Woman

I'm just one of those Uppity Women. Live with it.

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