Photo Challenge – Wednesday Weather Vane/Seashore Offerings Part II

Most of our seashore weather vanes are nautical or fishy. We even spotted a sperm whale vane on one of Ocean City’s summer homes.

Further along, across Corson’s Inlet bridge into Strathmere, we came upon a weather vane that is probably a fisherman’s weather vane. This vane is perched high on a tower and is definitely no-nonsense in appearance. Most likely, it is used daily by a seafaring man to see what direction the wind is blowing.

You can see it’s height in relation to the nearby houses.

Thanks to these bloggers for their response to last week’s challenge:
Exploring Color – It’s a Dog
The 59 Club – Fishing Forecast
Robert’s Snap Spot – Photo Challenge – Weather Vane

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Phlowers – Silken Petals

Autumn Rose Scepter
Pure silk bloom of royalty
Reigning o’er chill Fall

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
                                                              ~ Matthew 6:28-30

This rose isn’t waiting for dormancy, but is blooming still. When I pick a flower, whatever the season, I have contact with the Creator of heaven and earth. Does this bring the 2018 growing season a sense of closure or will I still dream of rosebuds in December?

Today’s beautiful blossom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Blog Post.

Pots & Pans – Repeat of a Repeat of a Repeat/Rollo Pretzel Bites

I had no intention reblogging this recipe yet again, but then I whipped up a batch for after Thanksgiving game playing. Oh MY!!! They are fabulous and everyone loves them…and they are so easy.

Rollo Pretzel Bites are a great recipe for the absolute perfect bite. There are only three ingredients involved: Square waffle type pretzels called “Snaps.”

Rollo candies, a bag or several rolls.

The third ingredient is pecan halves.

I use my toaster oven set on a very low temperature, around 275. I arrange the pretzels on the pan. (This year my toaster oven was broken so I used the large oven…works great too! I think the large oven is a bit faster)

 Place one rollo candy on top of each pretzel…

Place the pan in the toaster oven and watch closely until the bottom of the Rollo begins to spread out and melt. It only takes a minute or two.

To finish them off  lay one pecan half on the top, smoosh it down gently. Ah…the perfect bite in just minutes.

They are a bit pricey to make since pecans are so expensive right now, but definitely worth it. Your guests will love them.

Places & Pheathers – Town, Country & The Pied Pipers of Raptor

Small Business Saturday has arrived, and we supported the cause by window-shopping in one of the small towns near us, Pitman, New Jersey. I like the reflection of the Broadway Theater in the door.

It’s fun to check out how the small businesses decorate their windows to draw shoppers inside.

We went from town to a small woods and field behind our home. As we walked, a large bird swooped in front of us, almost as if it was showing off a bit, and flew to a tree on the edge of the field. What excitement filled us to see not just one very large hawk, but two. I zoomed in with my camera and after downloading was able to make out their markings. I believe they are a pair of red-tailed hawks, although one appears to be much older than the other. Not only did we see them, they were very aware of us and split up, one flying into the horizon beyond the woods and one towards the homes nearby.

I followed the hawk that flew to the trees near our neighborhood as if it was the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or as my imagination deemed it while I played catch up with it on foot: The Pied Piper of Raptor. I never did get close enough to get a photograph without using the zoom on my lens. Smart birds! What a perfect Saturday we’ve had, a little bit of town, a little bit of country.

This post is part of Skywatch.

Phavorites – The Nativity Story/Christmas Movie Listings Online Guide

I often reblog my favorite tips for seasonal projects or recipes. Every year I also repeat my recommendation of The Nativity Story as a reminder of the events that led up to Jesus’ birth.

My heart is always filled with gratitude as I watch this realistic depiction of God’s perfect plan to bring salvation, through his Son Jesus Christ, to all mankind.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with holiday shopping and activities. For those of us who find it relaxing to pull up a seat for an hour or two of seasonal entertainment, here’s a terrific movie channel and schedule available through Countdown Until Christmas/Christmas Movie Database. The Journal Sentinel also has a day by day movie schedule that is worth a look. Take a look at this amazing collection of Christmas and holiday movies and their air times. There is also a search box on the site with an amazing database of movies.

Quote – Heart’s Gratitude

“Thanksgiving is very vocal: doorbells ringing, kitchen sounds, automobiles hurrying up driveways, and in cities hasty footsteps resounding on pavements. It is also full of sounds of greeting, welcome, laughter, and reunion.

But it’s quiet during the moments when we pause to offer heart’s gratitude, not only for the blessings of the months past but for the disciplines; and above all for the ability to believe in the future, whatever we may read or hear; to believe in friends, in love, in the world itself, no matter how troubled it may be.” ~ Faith Baldwin

I always feel a sense of calm when I read the reflections of Faith Baldwin. I have three of her books and most often when I read her words I am inspired by her insight. The quote above was taken out of Evening Star, pubished in 1966.

Photo Challenge – Weather Vane Wednesday/Seashore Offerings Part I

We took a Sunday drive to Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle City, New Jersey on the weekend.  Most weather vanes I see tend to be near our seashore towns.  We saw at least three vanes that had spun and predicted wind for so long they lost their decorative top piece and were left with only letters. The chosen weather vane photograph is one my husband predicted, ‘Maybe today you’ll get two vanes in one photo.’ Within minutes of his remark I did just that. Can you see the second vane behind the first in the distance.

Most of the vanes I find at the seashore have a nautical or ocean theme. One interesting note is the positioning of both vanes. These two are actually working vanes and both show the wind blowing from the same direction.

Thanks to these blogs for their participation in last week’s Weather Vane Wednesday. Take at look at their great weather vanes:
The 59 Club – The Highest Point
Exploring Color – Farm Barn Vanity
This Made Me Smile Today – Seascape Weathervane

The weather vanes, seen from above and below, are also a perfect fit for Nancy Merrill’s challenge of Above and Below.

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Pots & Pans – Drying Cranberries and Bananas

Some ideas are worth reblogging every year. As I write this post I have cranberries sorted and washed, waiting to be heated, dried, sugared, frozen and dried in the oven. Give this a try while cranberries are on sale for the holiday. It appears to be a lot of steps, and it is, but each step is very easy and quick. The craisins turn out lovely.

Cranberries are available again in the produce section. I love to use dried cranberries throughout the year, but I am very allergic to the sulfite preservatives sprayed on them. So…I did a little research on the Internet and dried my own.

First I sorted through the berries, keeping only those that were firm and dark red in color. I carefully washed them taking care not to bruise them. While I was doing this I boiled about two quarts of water. I placed the clean cranberries in a large bowl and poured the boiling water over them.

They started sizzling and popping right away. When it appeared that all the cranberries had at least one large crack in their skins, I drained them in the colander. I let them sit for about a half hour to dry.

I placed the cranberries on a cookie sheet covered with parchment, sprinkled them with sugar, and froze them for two hours. After their chill-down was complete, I put them into a preheated 350 degree oven for ten minutes, and turned the oven off for several hours as the directions instructed. The berries didn’t seem to be drying out though, so I turned my oven back on to the lowest temperature. It seemed to do the trick, within a few hours the cranberries had turned into craisins.

The directions I followed recommended freezing them on the same sheet and then bagging them for storage in the freezer. I can’t wait to make cookies, breads and muffins with my delicious and nutritious dried cranberries.

Check out this link for good directions for drying cranberries: In-Depth Article on How to Dry Cranberries

I was so pleased with my dried cranberry success, today I dried bananas. They were even easier, slice them, dip in citrus juice, I used lime, and dry them on parchment until they are dry. A good tip I found is store them first in a glass jar for 7 – 10 days. If condensation appears on the sides of the jar, you will know you need to dry them for a bit longer in the oven. Shake the jar every day while you are doing the moisture checking. When the time is up and the sides of the jar are dry, you can store them in plastic bags or jars in a cool dry place. They will keep for several months up to a year. I had one problem though…

Can you see all the empty spots on the parchment? That’s because I couldn’t stop taste-testing the delicious, scrumptious, delectable and tangy banana slices before they were even finished cooking. They are FABULOUS.

Quote & Photograph – The Heart of November

“November is usually such a disagreeable month as if the year had suddenly found out she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it.” ~ Anne Shirley (L.M . Montgomery)

I love the heart of Anne Shirley in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables novels. There are so many wise quotes and life lessons in the books. I’ve read the stories many times over and love to rewatch Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in the 1980’s series, Anne of Green Gables.

November is full of change; the glorious jewel-like colors of Autumn leaves have vanished and left behind the rough textures of grasses burnished to golden hues by the frost. The cooler weather has cleared out the dense undergrowth in our forests, giving us the opportunity to indulge in a short hike this past weekend.

We’ve always wanted to see this beautiful pond up close, but it would be lunacy to try and forge through the massive amounts of undergrowth in summer. In November, when bare branches rule the day, it was finally possible to clamber over the strands of thorny, but leafless brambles to get our first look at this small pond near Belleplain State Forest.

Quick Tip – Sprouts!

The first snowfall was pretty, but also makes me resigned to the long winter ahead. For those of you who, like me, enjoy standing in the garden eating peas right out of the pod, I’m posting a reminder about sprouts. I love sprouts. The batch above was especially delicious, although definitely odd in appearance, when I used them on hummus for lunch this week. The meal might look a trifle strange, but it is full of health benefits and a good percentage of your daily vitamins and minerals.

Amazingly, the sprouting seeds I used were purchased in 2015 from The Sprout House through Amazon. After three years almost all the seeds in the packet I chose to use still sprouted. The Sprout House offers an amazing variety packet that will last for months, if not years.

“There are tremendous health benefits from including sprouts in your diet: … Vitamin, such as A, B, C and E, and essential fatty acid nutrients increase in sprouting and minerals bind to protein, making them more easily absorbed. Sprouts alkalize the body and protect it from disease including cancer.” ~Longevity Wellness Worldwide

The Sprout House on Amazon. Here’s the link to the variety package I purchased in 2015. You can also find smaller products through Amazon offered by The Sprout House.

This post is part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge

Past & Phavorites – Throwback & Nurturing Thursday/The Waltons

I’ve already been playing Christmas music and loving every minute of it. One of my very favorite CD’s is ‘A Walton’s Christmas – Together Again.’ This CD was given to me by my sister many years ago. Not only is it a perfect choice for Nurturing Thursday, the  music and show are also an excellent selection for Throwback Thursday. It’s easy to see how well-loved and played the CD has been over the years by the battered state of the case. If like me, you are immediately uplifted by the opening chords of this song, enjoy listening to the Youtube video below. If you have never seen ‘The Waltons,’ try and find these reruns on your cable channels for enjoyable Christmas nostalgia.

Photo Challenge – Weather Vane Wednesday through the Windshield

Before I go further than this first sentence, I must apologize for the quality of the photograph. The word ‘windshield’ works nicely with the alliteration in the title of the post, but the photograph is terrible. We have had so much rain in our area, and I was on a busy road with low visibility, and well..um…I weaseled out of getting a great shot, and just settled for whatever would show up through the windshield.

One reason for taking the photograph from inside the cozy car is a response from someone to my photography attempts in a previous week. I found a cute weather vane on a feeding stall in a field, with the sweetest little donkey nearby, and stopped my car to take a photo. “Get off the grass!” a belligerent shout broke into my enthusiastic endeavor, and I realized it was the owner of the field shouting at me for parking in front of the field. He was within his rights though; my right side tires were touching his grass. I waved in apology to him and hurriedly drove away half-expecting to be stopped by the police for trespassing. Now I am more careful of where I stop, or park; I don’t want to damage a well-maintained lawn. This photo was taken in Harrison Township, New Jersey. (The location is only half a block from the belligerent donkey owner.)

Take a look at these terrific weather vanes:
The 59 Club – Against the Clouds
Heaven’s Sunshine – Top of the Candy Shop

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Photograph – Rainy Day Trio

I ventured out with my umbrella today for City Sonnet’s Umbrella Challenge. It also was the perfect opportunity to take photos for my first time posting on Dutch Goes the Photograph’s Tuesday Photo Challenge of Trio. Here’s my trio of trios for the challenge.

Wisteria Pods

Barberry Berries

Bald Cypress Cones

If the temperatures were colder we’d be covered in a blanket of snow. Locations a bit north of us might be getting their first snowfall today. In the Mid-Atlantic state of New Jersey, my home, we’ve had more rain in 2018 than I can ever remember.

“Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.
New Jerseyans have been humming that tune to no avail for what seems like all of 2018, a year that is poised to go down as one of the wettest in our state’s recorded history.”
~ Asbury Park Press

Too bad a challenge word today wasn’t ‘doozy,’ because that is exactly what the Farmer’s Almanac forecasts for New Jersey’s Winter of 2019. Oh my, considering the weather pattern of the last months I can easily believe the Almanac is right.

Project – Comminatory Weather and The Big Save

Comminatory is the challenge word today for ‘Your Daily Word Prompt.’ I enjoy expanding my vocabulary, and this was a new word for me: comminatory-threatening, punitive, or vengeful. We have certainly had a change to comminatory weather here in southern New Jersey. Frost, frozen bird baths, ice-sheathed grass blades, are what we wake to in the early morning hours. Today I noticed every garden flower that was lingering is now brown and drooping lifelessly.

I knew a freeze was coming, and took a bit of time on Saturday to walk around the yard and take a few photos of the last flowers of Autumn. I noticed the dill was still green and on closer inspection was astonished to see two black swallowtail caterpillars on its foliage. Since I had good luck a year ago raising caterpillars on dill plants on the porch I decided I should try and save these poor critters from the hard freeze. Unfortunately, my ambitions were forgotten until the evening hours. Resolved not to be put off by my forgetfulness, I went out in the dark and found one caterpillar, the other eluded me.

I placed him in a vase and covered the opening with a knee-high stocking. These make great barriers and are easy to slip over the top of a jar or vase. The soft nylon will not harm the insect.

The caterpillar became lively overnight and the next day my grandsons helped me create a habitat for him. We dug up any dill plants still growing, a parsley plant, and added branching sticks for him to form a chrysalis upon. I know from past experience, while eating and growing, the caterpillar will not leave the food source. When he’s ready to form a chrysalis he might wander, but its fairly easy to find him if he is contained in one area.

We decided it was worth a second look in the garden for the second caterpillar, and after a little searching found him motionless in the garden soil. My grandson said he thought he saw him twitch a bit so we carefully brushed him into a small container and took him indoors. Within an hour or two the caterpillar that appeared lifeless began to move and this morning had joined the other on the dill.

Black swallowtails in their chrysalis have no problem overwintering. A small caterpillar, caught in a hard freeze, isn’t likely to survive to form a chrysalis without a food source. Updates will follow on our winter visitors.

Photographs & Quotes – Morning Walk, November, Glen Lake

I often walk or bike to a small pond near my home to admire the way the surrounding landscape perfectly depicts the changing seasons. This week the beauty of Autumn was painted there in glorious colors by the Father of all Creation.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

                                                 ~ G.K. Chesterton

“This way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable.”

                                        ~ Hannah Whitall Smith

“In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety.”

                                                   ~ A.W. Tozer

This post is part of Sunday Trees.