Sunday, August 28, 2016

Magic Mushroom

Every summer, this huge, orange fungus springs up practically overnight underneath one of our oak trees.  It's pretty, but I had no idea what it was till I read an article written recently by a friend.  (I would link to the actual article, but it seems to have disappeared from her web site.  I will have to let her know about this.)

This thing is huge ... 3.6 pounds huge!

Chicken of the Woods.  A mushroom that sprouts from dead wood in the summer.  This was my first experience with mushroom foraging, so I was a bit nervous.  In our Facebook conversation, Marianne was positive about the ID, and she said, "FANTASTIC!!! And very edible.  Enjoy!"

All I had to do to ready this behemoth to cook and eat, after I harvested it from the yard, was to break it apart, discard the center woody bits, wash the pieces and let them dry.  I test tasted a few small pieces, after I cooked them thoroughly in a little bit of butter.  YUMMY!!!

The massive mushroom yielded four one-quart plastic bags full of pieces ... two for me, and two that I shared with friends.  For supper that night, I made steak and broccoli stir fry, with a good-sized helping of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms added to it.

Thin slices of mushroom cooked first ...

... then I added the steamed broccoli and grilled steak.

For breakfast this morning, I made mushroom and cheese omelettes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


We sent Maggie to Heaven last month.  She had been sick for about a week.  In typical cat fashion, she hid the extent of her illness ... that's okay, because we did all that we could.

Maggie was our miracle kitty, the world's most expensive PetsMart cat, surviving two life-threatening conditions (Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia and Hodgkin's Lymphoma), and living an incredible life in the process.

Lounging on the screened porch, as a kitten.

Helping with laundry.

She ruled the other critters in our household with a velvet paw, gently (or not-so-gently) showing each cat and dog who was the boss.

Sleeping on Daniel's bed.

Taking over Ruby's crate.

"Excuse me, this is MY windowsill!"

Even Winnie little wasn't exempt.

She probably would have been happier as an only cat, since she was so people oriented, but she coexisted relatively peacefully with Alice and Dorothy (and with Cindy and Amy before them.)

Sharing space.

Poor Maggie wasn't used to Dorothy's type of snuggling.

Maggie loved her people most of all.  She was in the middle of everything, and a constant fixture in my or my husband's lap every evening.

I have come to accept that she's gone, no longer napping somewhere in a sunshine spot.

My favorite photo of her, with her personality on full display and her neck fur barely growing back after cancer surgery.

The last photo I took of her, on the way to the vet a few days before she died.

It's weird to be here without Maggie ... she was a huge presence in our family for 15 years.

Maggie.  2001 - 2016

Godspeed, Maggie.  Mama loves you.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I'm Still Here ... Just Not as Often Lately

Oh, my ... has it really been a full month since I posted here?  Where does the time go?

Spent some time away from home doing fun stuff ... a long weekend visiting my brother and sister-in-law at their place in SW Virginia ...

Photo of a very happy couple, during a visit to Bear Tree Lake.

... and another long weekend at a greyhound event in Wheeling, West Virginia.

These are nine-month-old pups who really wanted to snuggle.

These yearlings are the same pups that I met last year when they were four-days old.

(Photo with a puppy from last year)

Ruby and Winnie stayed with my parents while we were out of town ... it was their version of a summer vacation.

The cats ... they have been doing what cats do.

Dorothy loves her new cat basket, in the sunshine on the dining room windowsill.

I have been spending most of my early mornings in the garden.  The roses are recovering nicely from the annual onslaught of Japanese Beetles.  Their season appears to be over and the nasty critters are mostly gone now, thank goodness.

Mine Road Noisette

Indoor time has been spent doing things like canning quart after quart of farmers market tomatoes ...

... and in the basement workshop with projects.  This is a door from an antique corner cupboard that I am stripping to repaint.  I work on this a little at a time, when schedule permits.

I have mostly been concentrating on being home, decluttering and downsizing, and organizing what's left.  The pay off for this effort is a much lighter mental load, and a house that's getting a whole lot tidier.

This is a view of our family room from one morning last week, as seen from the dining room.  It's an angle that I don't think I have shown you before.

I have stopped posting to the Hartwood Roses Facebook page, and have switched to Instagram.  I'm getting the hang of it, with the hash-tags and stuff, and I find that I like the spontaneity of it.  It's fun to instantly share whatever I come across in the garden or am working on at the time, without some logarithm that limits who sees what.  Come on over and follow along, if you're inclined.

As you see, life is pretty much the same as it has always been ... I just haven't made time to write blog posts about it.  I still have lots of stuff to share, I just need to take the time to do it.  

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