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

At Home: New Jersey Peaches

July 19, 2016

Have I mentioned that peaches are my favorite fruit? Each summer, I eagerly await their arrival. A few weeks ago, I bought some pretty good southern peaches (don’t know from which state) at Delicious Orchards. And the other day, I bought a couple of Lori Anne peaches from South Carolina at Wegmans. I remember seeing them there last year but never thought to give them a try. They turned out to be excellent — sweet and juicy. However, my favorites are New Jersey peaches. But I’m picky! For example, I do not like the ones from Battleview. Too fuzzy and not sweet enough. Though I don’t know which NJ farm is the supplier, the ones I like are carried by Wegmans. They just got in the first batch.

At Home: New Jersey Peaches

In Our Backyard, a Robin Builds a Nest in a Bush

July 16, 2016

A few days ago, when we were having breakfast on the patio, I noticed a robin flying into this bush.

At Home: Bird Nest in a Bush

Hmmm… A few seconds later, the robin flew out and off. A few moments later it was back. This time I saw it was holding something in its beak – a twig. Again remaining inside for a few seconds, the robin flew off once more returning with another twig.

Aha! It must be building a nest inside the bush! I’d always thought birds only build nests in trees – and there are lots of those on our property – but obviously not!

The robin departed yet again. I quickly got my camera figuring I might be able to use the telephoto lens to “see” if I was correct. Though it’s hardly the most powerful lens available, it did manage to capture the nest.

At Home: Bird Nest in a Bush

When the robin returned, this time it didn’t fly out immediately. What was it doing? I ventured closer to the bush though not too close because I didn’t want to disturb the bird and snapped these.

At Home: Bird Nest in a Bush

At Home: Bird Nest in a Bush

My guess? It was laying an egg! Via Googling, I learned that unlike most other birds that lay their eggs at sunrise, robins lay theirs mid-morning and lay one at a time each day with a maximum of four.

After a while, the robin flew off but didn’t return. I took one more shot hoping I might be able to see if there was a blue egg in the nest. (I’m sure we all know that robins’ eggs are blue. There’s even a color named after them.) Alas, if there was/is an egg in there, it wasn’t visible to my camera. And there was no way I was going to get up close and personal to find out because I didn’t want to disturb things if there was an egg there.

At Home: Bird Nest in a Bush

I haven’t seen the robin since then. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any further activity and will report back with any news. So, stay tuned!

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

July 11, 2016

July 4th fell on a Monday. Ergo, a three-day weekend. Not that it matters to Michael and me since we are retired, so every day is a weekend! But for Jen and Louis who are still gainfully employed, it meant an extra paid day away from the office. And that’s a good thing! We let them select which day to come out for our holiday barbecue, and they chose Saturday. A few days before, Jen and I discussed possibilities for what to serve at lunch and dinner. After she checked with Louis as to his preferences (Michael said he was fine with whatever was decided), we finalized the menus.

Lunch was simple and pretty quick: franks and beans. I decided to keep my camera zipped up, so no photos. At least, not of those franks and beans. But stay tuned….

We had settled on chicken for dinner’s main course. I chose to do a whole chicken beer-can style.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

I love doing it this way because once you get it ready and put it on the bbq, it requires no tending. Ready in about an hour. However, instead of beer, I used white wine. Since you can fill the container with any type of liquid, the past two times I’ve made chicken this way, I’ve tried first beer and then white wine. Frankly, Michael and I haven’t detected any beer or wine flavor in the chicken. So we’ve come to the conclusion that the liquid makes a bird that is incredibly juicy. Even the white meat!

While the chicken was roasting, we had cups of watermelon gazpacho.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

Chicken’s ready! Here’s some of it carved. Dee-licious!

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

After lunch, we had taken a ride to get Jersey corn. We all agreed these were disappointing as they weren’t very sweet.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

It’s a tradition for us to have the “Clairmont Diner Health Salad” at July 4th barbecues. Michael’s mother gave me the recipe years ago. She got it from one of her sisters who lived in Verona, NJ, near the Clairmont Diner. Since I’ve never been to the Clairmont, I have no idea how authentic this recipe is. But it sure makes for very tasty eating!

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

Before lunch, the topic of pickles came up since I was going to put some out with that meal. Louis said he liked half-sours but not sours. I didn’t recall him every telling me that, so I didn’t have any half-sours on hand. Actually, I don’t like them, but had I known, I would gladly have bought some for him. After all, he is our favorite son-in-law! In any case, the pickles I prefer and always have in the frig are these:

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

Louis was skeptical about liking them since he thought they’d be like sours. But after a nibble, he promptly fell in love with them. So, of course, I put some out at dinner.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

Drinks were lemonade for Jen and me, beer for Michael, and Perrier for Louis.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

We kept dessert simple. I still had some of the strawberry ice cream I’d made using the second batch of strawberries Michael and I picked at Battleview Orchards in June. I also made Bing cherry sorbet. Delectable! Delectable!

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2016

On Sunday, Michael and I enjoyed a barbecue for two with Missouri-style baby back ribs taking center stage. Again, I decided to relax and not be a slave to my camera.

On Monday, the 240th anniversary of our nation’s birth, Michael and I had franks and beans again. Made sense since there were two franks that I hadn’t cooked. This time, I took photos of them and the rest of the meal.

At Home: July 4, 2016

Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta

At Home: July 4, 2016

Hebrew National Franks

At Home: July 4, 2016

At Home: July 4, 2016

At Home: July 4, 2016

At Home: July 4, 2016

Batampte Sour Kraut and Garlic Dills

At Home: July 4, 2016

Homemade Cole Slaw

At Home: July 4, 2016

At Home: July 4, 2016

At Home: July 4, 2016

At Home: July 4, 2016

At Home: July 4, 2016

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

At Home: July 4, 2016

Homemade Bing Cherry Sorbet

Photo sets on Flickr for the two meals can be viewed here and here.

Dining Out: April – June 2016

July 1, 2016

Cafe Boulud

April
New York City
Dinner:
Le Coq Rico
Maialino
Schnipper’s
Blue Smoke
Toloache (Passover)
Telepan (Passover)
Maison Hugo
Grunauer Bistro

Lunch:
Le Coq Rico
Marta
Café Boulud

May
New York City
Dinner:
Natsumi Tapas
The Clocktower

Lunch:
Benoit Bistro

Supper:
2nd Ave. Deli

New Jersey
Dinner:
Surf BBQ
Apella Greek Taverna
The Poached Pear Bistro

Lunch:
B2 Bistro

June
New York City
Dinner:
Le Coq Rico
Agern – 2
The Modern Dining Room
Turkish Kitchen
NoMad
Eleven Madison Park (Our Anniversary)
Monte-Carlo
Rotisserie Georgette
Autre Kyo Ya
Covina
Lincoln
Marta
Le Coucou
i Trulli

Lunch:
Red Hook Lobster
Craft
Bonchon
Dizengoff
Gabriel Kreuther
Eleven Madison Park
The Modern Bar Room
The Clocktower

Brunch:
Maialino

Snack:
Milk Bar

New Jersey
Lunch:
Local Smoke BBQ
Koy Turkish Grill
Inlet Café


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