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Monday, November 30, 2009

November's This and That Photographs...

Today, I thought I would post a few of the pictures that I have taken over the last few weeks that really didn't have a "theme" to them...they are just things that I found beautiful.




We have both male and female woodpeckers coming to our suet feeders all during the day.
This little girl's face was too cute to not take a picture of:
(I love how the suet is on top of her beak):






Here is the male companion. You can easily spot a male by the bright red spot on his head:




We have had several crystal clear, brisk days with sun on the lake:


Another one of the female at the suet feeder:






This was taken one early morning when the fog was still on the lake. The sun was burning it off, but it was a nice effect!:




The clear days bring wonderful reflections of the same exact shoreline.
I thought it might be neat for you to see the same exact location, only at a different time of day:

I know that within a few days we will be all white with the winter wonderland that arrives here with power....and stays here for months.
I know that this is just the "lull before the storm".
But I am so glad to have experienced it.
Nature is like that.
It never stays the same.
That's what makes it so interesting and beautiful.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You say you have leftover pumpkins that you had for Thanksgiving and you just don't have the heart to throw them out? DON'T until you read this!...

Okay.
I know how you feel.


If you eat ONE more turkey leftover, you are going to Ralph.


And now you have to take down all of your Thanksgiving decorations and replace them with Christmas cheer.


And you still have those stupid pumpkins sitting outside.


You can paint them red and green and pretend they are Christmas ornaments, but I'd advise against that.


Actually, I have a much better idea.


And once you do it, you will NEVER want to use canned pumpkin again for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, your pumpkin bars or your pumpkin bread.


Today:
I am going to walk you through how to use REAL pumpkins for your favorite recipes instead of using the poop-brown, canned, icky pumpkin that you get at the store.


First:
Gather all the pumpkins you still have that haven't frozen outside or haven't gotten moldy. We bought these WEEKS ago but since it is chilly here, they have lasted fine:

No, that stuffed turkey is not a pumpkin. (Just in case you were wondering).


Step one:
Carve out wedges of pumpkin:



Step Two:

Carve away any seeds and pulp away from the wedges and also carve away the outside part of the wedge (like you do with a cantelope or honeydew melon):





Step 3:
Cut the wedges into smaller pieces:





Step 4:
Add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of a microwaveable bowl,
and then add the pumpkin pieces that you just carved up to the top of the bowl:





Step 5:
Cover the bowl with the pumpkin and the water with a piece of wax paper
and place in the microwave.
Cook on high for 15 minutes.
Stir it.
Cook on high for about another 15 minutes:









Pick pumpkin with a fork.
If it is soft, like boiled potatoes, it is done:





Step 6:
Dump them into a strainer and let all the water drain off of them.
(Be careful, they will be VERY hot!):







Step 7:
Place cooked, hot, drained pumpkin pieces in a blender and puree them:

Note: You will probably get at least 3 bowls of pumpkin per carved pumpkin to cook, strain and puree like in the instructions above. I often am cooking one bowl while puree-ing another bowl.




Step 8:
Dump the puree into a fine strainer (the one shown is a little big, if you have one with smaller holes it is better).
Let sit for about 5 minutes (to drain off the excess water away from the pulp):





Final step:
You can use it right away (like you would canned pumpkin) for your recipes OR you can:

Measure the pulp into 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups each and freeze:

You can defrost these one at at time and use the pumpkin all the rest of the year for your pumpkin recipes.

When I take them out of the freezer, I let the water drain out of the pulp one last time before measuring the pumpkin for my recipes.

I promise you, that once you make your own pumpkin like this and use it in a recipe you will NEVER go back to using canned pumpkin.

The taste just cannot compare.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Greetings to you!

May you have a wonderful day with family and/or friends
today...
Please know I am SO thankful to all of you readers and Followers
for
having you in my life!!!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Frosty Sunbeams

We are actually warmer than usual up here in the U.P. of Michigan for November.

Normally, we have at least a few inches of snow on the ground by now. I am not complaining, because I know we will get it (and then some!) very soon...and it won't disappear again until April.

But the delayed snowfall has given me some extra opportunities to get some shots of frosty mornings and scenery.


The ponds are now getting frozen over:


And some mornings offer frosty sunrises, sometimes with foggy mist:







And giving us huge sunbeams through the frosty forest:




Highlighting ice and frost on the now-barren bushes:







Back lighting them in a wonderful glow:


And if you are patient....
really patient....
You may be lucky enough to get sparkling snowrain coming off the trees as the warming sun chases them off the frosty woods:




Even in the freezing barest of times,
nature provides a lightshow:

May the beauty of the season find you this Thanksgiving week....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Dumb State Laws: Florida

Yes, it is that time again!

Time for some more DUMB STATE LAWS, along with MY COMMENTS in bold italics.

Since I am going in alphabetical order, the next state up: FLORIDA!!!:








Are you ready????? Ok.
Here goes......

1. Pregnant pigs to not be confined in cages. So, in Florida, when you are driving..be careful. You may just hit a wandering pregnant pig. You may not be able to tell if she is pregnant, or just fat...so don't ask. It is rude.

2. Unmarried couples may not commit “lewd acts” and live together in the same residence.
Ummm....I hate to tell the police of the great state of Florida, but I think...I mean...just MAYBE (I could be wrong), but just maybe this may be happening right in their districts.

3. Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner. I would be so busted if I got my hair done in Florida. I would fall asleep for sure. But really, when is the last time you sat under a hairdryer at a salon? Don't most of them use blow dryers now? And they are going to fine the salon owner if you fall asleep under one of their hair dryers??? So what are they going to do? Poke you with a long stick if they see your eyelids flutter? What harm would this be?

4. A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing. Lets see about the details of this one, shall we?
Can MARRIED women parachute? Even on Sundays? Or is it just the unmarried ones that can't?
Or is the day of the week that is against the law? Maybe there is a limit against that much praying on a Sunday? Because believe me, if I was parachuting on a Sunday (married or unmarried) (on Sunday or any other day) there would be PLENTY of praying going on!

5. If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle. Oh yeah. That's fair. I mean, there is a LOT of elephant poop that would have to be taken care of. And it is hard to find a parking spot for your elephant after all. I wonder if you rode a giraffe and tied it to the parking meter, if this law is also the same? Or what about a zebra? Is the law that black and white?

6. It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit. So no karaoke bars on the beach in Florida? No beach blanket bingo movies? Maybe its okay if you ditch the swimsuit and sing nude?

7. Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown. Dang. So much for the crossdresser's prom that was going to take place in Miami. And they already shaved off their chest hairs and everything! And, is it legal for them to sing in a public place in their bikinis?

8. Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal. Ummmm..not to mention: PAINFUL!!?? Oh, NOW I know... THAT is where the name Pokemon came from!
By the way, doesn't this lead to the question---why did they need to make this law in the first place? This law is pointless.


9. You may not fart in a public place after 6 P. I guess I won't be visiting public places in Florida before 6pm, because it is legal to do then. At least I won't be going out with out a clothespin for my nose and a bottle of Glade. Again...doesn't it make you wonder why they needed to make this a law in Florida?
Honest honey, it is the swamp gas you smell...it wasn't ME!

10. It is considered an offense to shower naked. Wow. This is going to cause some problems. Well, at least you can wash your clothes and yourself at the same time and be efficient. (They must mean on the beaches where those little outdoor showers are...but it doesn't specifically say that, does it?) And since the other law (above) said it is illegal to sing out loud while wearing a swimsuit and you normally sing in the shower, this poses a dilemma, now doesn't it!?

11. Oral sex is illegal. Oh, there is going to be some really full jails in Florida, that's all I am going to say about that.....

12. You may not kiss your wife’s breasts. I guess you better aim those lips at some other woman then. Or, tell those oral sex offenders to move over in that jail cell.

In Cape Coral:
13. It is against the city ordinance to hang your clothes outside on a clothesline. So much for that fresh air smell on your sheets and towels. Nope. Not in Cape Coral. No flapping underwear in the breeze for them.
Oh wait. I forgot about the farting thing going on before 6pm. Now I get it. It would be too stinky to hang your clothes out on the line because of that hazard. Now I get it...

14. It it illegal to park a pick-up truck in your driveway or in front of your house on the street. They don't want no rednecks in them there parts.

In Daytona Beach:
15. Owning a flower pot with water in it that isn’t capable of draining is considered a public nuisance. I want the job of the flower-pot-checking-for-drainholes police. Please??? I'd come out of retirement for that job.

In Destin:
16.If you like to love to ride your bicycle in Destin, don’t lean it up against a tree in a cemetery.
Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy, all for the death of you.....


17. If you notice an ice-cream man attempting to sell his cold concoctions in a cemetery, call the police immediately, for that is illegal. And if you order any flavors, don't ask for "Death by chocolate". That would just be inappropriate.

In Key West:
18. Chickens are considered a ‘protected species’. Guess I am not going to look for any KFC's in Florida during our next trip then.

In Miami Beach:
19. No one may bring a pig with them to the beach. How about if they are just a little bit ugly instead? And they promise that they are on a diet?

In Palm Bay:
20. Persons may not tow a sled behind their bicycles. As far as I know, there is no snow in Florida. So that begs the question...why on earth did they EVER need this law?
If people were using sleds, maybe that is why the highways in Florida are in such rough shape?!

In Pensacola:
21. Citizens may not be caught downtown without at least 10 dollars on their person. Never mind...instead of the checking-the-flower-pots-for-drainage police job, I want THIS one. I want to stop everybody on the street and see if they have at least ten dollars on them. And if they don't ....I get to arrest them!

22. A women can be fined (only after death), for being electrocuted in a bath-tub because of using self-beautification utensils. Wait a minute. Read that again. Go ahead. I'll wait right here.
Done?
Alrighty then. Lets go fine a dead electrocuted woman, now...shall we? But don't bicycle down to the cemetary to do it, and while you are there, for God's sake, don't order an ice cream cone from that vendor there.

In Satellite Beach:
23. Persons may not appear in public clothed in liquid latex. Especially not in green. It positively clashes with your blue eyes. I hear there is a sale at Walmart for liquid latex clothes. Oh, and don't light up any matches near them. I hear they are flammable.


In Tampa:
24. Women may not expose their breasts while performing “topless dancing”.
Wait a minute. Read that one again.
Go ahead.
I'll wait (again!).
I want to meet the person who wrote this law.
Seriously.
I want to see who they PAID to write this law.
And then?
I want to see how the topless dancers dance topless legally.

15. Lap dances must be given at least six feet away from a patron.
Yep. I am SURE the person who wrote the topless dancing law also wrote this one.
Here, honey....I am going to give you a lap dance. Let me climb on this 6 foot stool and you sit under it, okay? Sexy, isn't it??
****************************************************************************************
I know, that as a law-abiding citizen, you want to run out and sell everything you own and move to Florida after hearing all of these essential laws.
Me too.
But for now?
I think I will just visit there a few times a year and then head home.
But it is a good thing I read them before I leave on vacation. Now that I know, I will not be doing any topless dancing, parachuting on Sunday, giving any lap dances, having sex with porcupines, parking my elephant without filling the parking meter, or falling asleep under the hair dryer while there. The rest of the laws? I'm not so sure.....
I better bring all my credit cards (in addition to the $10.00 in my pockets) to pay the fines...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lovely Doves!

I have really been enjoying all the birds that visit our yard lately. It seems that now that the leaves are all down, we can see them better and they are coming to the feeders more.

We have been blessed for the last few years to have about seven doves that are coming to visit us on a regular basis.

I love their sweet faces:


Often they sit in pairs on the same branches:







And they often "puff up" their feathers:



Often they face away from us, like they are enjoying looking out at the lake, just like we do:




I love it when I can see their longggggg tail feathers!:




Here's a bunch just hangin' out:



Just look at his ruffled breast feathers:
Ok.
I know.
We are probably feeding them a hunkin' carload of food per day because I can't stand to see the birdfeeder empty bit much.
Because he does look kind of fat fluffy.




Here's a side profile of a lovely couple:

They always look so peaceful.
So calm.
We can take some lessons from them, No??

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gone With the Wind...

One day last week it was REALLY windy out side. As usual, I had my five or six Blue Jays coming back and forth to my feeder for corn.

During a particularly gusty time of day, I saw that the BlueJay's feathers were whipping all around while they were eating, and I knew I had to get my camera out.




Here he comes from our apple tree to our feeder on our deck:


He was saying, "Awww..you are NOT going to start taking pictures AGAIN, are you?":





"Well, how about just a shot of my fashionable FEATHER HAT then?":






"I hate it when people take pictures of me with food in my mouth!":




"That's more like it! This is my BEST side!
(But just ignore my chin hairs..I didn't get the chance to shave this morning!)":





"I'm a guy...I'm not supposed to have a SKIRT blowing in the wind, am I?":






"Oh, what the heck. I'll just embrace WHO I am....besides, the BlueJays in SOME other countries wear kilts, don't they?":




"No, I'm not hanging my head in shame. I'm tired of posing for you. I am HUNGRY!":






"Good Grief! I didn' t think it was SO WINDY that the corn would be blowing away too!:






"See what happened? I lost my lunch!
Are you DONE YET with the pictures, already??":

So I left him alone.
The big Grump.
Come to think of it, maybe he has low blood sugar?
Yeah, that's it.
I will forgive him.
This. Once.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Critters and Crusts!: REVISED :-}

Before hunting season started, we took one last ride into the woods.

We stopped and saw some streams where the ice had already started to freeze them, and we saw a few woods' creatures just to make the day a success.

I saw this foam on the side of a rapids, and noticed that the foam had frozen into the most amazing shapes:




And we saw this creature swimming way far out in a dam.
Can you guess what it is?
Here is a hint: it's tail is stuck on a branch, and it is a playful animal:


Didn't guess yet?

I will give you one more view in a minute.


This little guy was so busy eating seed pods, he stayed on top of that log and let me take about 15 pictures of him. He was so cute!:


One more of the frozen river foam:

(Doesn't it look like frozen threads?):



Here is ONE more view of the mystery critter:I am going to be cruel and not tell you what animal it is until you make guesses in the comments section of this blogpost.

The first one to guess gets mention in a future blogpost!

Just because I feel like playing with you today!

I've gotta have SOME fun with my blog, don't I????

REVISED: obviously, it would have really helped if I hadn't put the words "OTTER PHOTOGRAPHS" in my post labels. hahaha DUH. But Lorac got the answer first...stop by her blog, it has some great photography too!

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REMINDER: All photographs on this blog are COPYRIGHTED.

REMINDER: All photographs on this blog are COPYRIGHTED.
Please do not copy any of my photographs (or narratives) without my permission! All pictures will be tracked for copyright violations.

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About Me

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I retired in June 2008 and started my blog in November 2008. I worked at several jobs as a Registered Nurse prior to retirement. I LOVE being retired! Blogging has offered me a whole new venue to start writing again and to share new hobbies such as gardening, birdwatching and sharing my nature photography. If you like my blog, PLEASE click on "follow this blog". Having a lot of followers reading my blog gives me incentive to continue to do photography and to continue to write. I also LOVE comments, so I encourage you to leave me a comment after you read my posts. Thanks everyone, for taking the time to read me!!

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