Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rescuing Our Toads

I want to share with you, dear readers, this interesting exchange today from my neighborhood listserv…

Problem: “We are not the only ones trying to escape the oppressive summer heat. Toads are being discovered in window wells throughout the area. They are drawn to the window wells at night when indoor lights are on and lots of tasty snacks are flittering around the lighted wells. But can they get out – even by making Super Toad Jumps? Their skin is very delicate [and] anything sharp and hard—like a shovel—or pointy—like a straw broom— risks injuring them. Maybe someone knows more about this and what to do? As we all know, finding toads or frogs gets high environmental marks. (P.S. Before you fill in or cover that small hole—around the stoop, next to the wall, or an old stump— make sure you're not asphyxiating a toad abode.)”

Solution: “…without aid, the toads are, indeed, facing an impossible escalade. The solution? A wooden board. Despite the perilous angle…toads have tiny toes with teensy toadie claws and suction-cups that will enable them to climb this fearsome Mt. Everest - a rougher surface is less daunting than a smooth surface. You could even provide a snack at the top — a toad sized bite of fresh raw hamburger or a bug of your own choosing! So check your wells. The toad you save, may be your own.”

I highly recommend reading this wonderful book: Toad by the Road: A Year in the Life of theses Amazing Amphibians, by Joanne Ryder, a collection of poetry which includes a brief paragraph of information about toads for each poem on nearly every page...

Cassandra ♥

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bouquets of Thanks…The Joys of Blogging - and, Awards, Also!

Although I have been and will continue to be an intermittent blogger this summer due to many travels - as well as extended stays at our currently “internet-deprived” farmhouse in upstate New York, I extend a sincere thank you to my regular readers for their continued support and a warm welcome to some lovely new followers. Once back home in mid-August, I look forward to following, once again, your wonderful postings.

As blogging is new to me (since only March of this year), I have been constantly amazed at how fun, interesting, and rewarding it can be. I have enjoyed following so many creative, insightful and inspiring blogs and have learned so very much from fellow bloggers. What a gift to be presented with awards from two bloggers, whose lovely blogs I so enjoy!

First, my sincere thanks to Rosemary of Content in a Cottage for presenting me last month with my first ever blogging award - a Sunshine Award!

I now “pass the torch” to my most loyal friends and blogger friends, in addition to Rosemary, who comment regularly (both publicly and privately). It is suggested that they, too, pass on the sunshine - for, as author and dramatist, James M. Barrie, so eloquently stated, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” Reading each of the blogs below has certainly brought sunshine into my life!

Betsy W. - my most ardent encourager

Catherine of Le Monde de Catherine

Edith of Edith Hope’s Garden Journal

Gina of A Touch of Super Sappy ROMANCE and Antique Art Garden

Jacoba of Les Trois Jardins

Jeanne of Collage of Life, Finding My Way, In One Place, and B-Well Report

Jeanne at Tales from a Cottage Garden

Jeri of Hopalong Hollow Gazzette

Katy of In the Sunny Spot

Ria of It’s Me

Rosie of Leaves n’ Blooms

Saskia of Join My Joy

Sonny R.


Susan M.

Also, bouquets of thanks to Katy Noelle, author of one of my very favorite blogs, In the Sunny Spot, for awarding to me the esteemed Charm Award:

The award’s rule is that I must pass it along and share some additional things about myself.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I pass this special award to Edith Hope of Edith Hope’s Garden Journal. Edith is not only an expert gardener, whose knowledge of plants is nothing short of impressive and inspiring; but also a most outstanding writer on a variety of charming topics and travels. All who comment on Edith’s postings must be so very appreciative, as am I, of such prompt and gracious responses to each comment.

Some additional information about myself:

1. As a child, I once worked with a sister and several friends to create a clover chain that encircled our entire town block!

2. As an educator (before retirement), I have had many wonderful positions, yet one of my favorites was as an Education Projects Manager at our local Public Television Station, in which I coordinated institutes for teachers about environmental health and cancer.

3. I am a Mexican food fanatic – guacamole, refried beans, tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, tostadas are, to me, the ultimate comfort foods!

4. Perhaps because I grew up on the land-locked plains of Indiana, I especially love mountains and the sea.

5. During my retirement years, a goal is to write children’s books.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Song in a Sea Shell & Some Lovely Seaside Scenes

I held a sea shell to my ear,
And listened to its tale
Of vessels bounding o'er the main
And all the ships that sail.
It sang of brilliant water flowers—
The bright anemones
That bloom beneath the ocean waves—
Tossed in from seven seas.

Each time I harken to this song,
I hear the breakers moan,
And fancy that a warning bell
Rings from a lighthouse lone.
No longer need I wish to go
Where foam-capped billows swell,
For I've an ocean of my own
Within this pearly shell.

~ Violet L. Cuslidge

And, of course, Cassandra must add a couple of sea-themed antiquarian books from her collection:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things...

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels

Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things...

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Silver white winters...

...that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things!

Cassandra's favorite recipe for
Pork Schnitzel with Noodles and Browned Cabbage

4 ounces medium egg noodles
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
6 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
Cooking spray
Lemon wedges
Fresh parsley

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Combine noodles and sour cream in a large bowl, tossing well to coat.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage, onion, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to pan; cook 6 minutes or until cabbage is wilted, stirring occasionally. Add broth; cook 6 minutes or until cabbage is lightly browned. Stir cabbage mixture into noodle mixture. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel.

Cut pork crosswise into 12 (1-inch-thick) pieces. Place each piece between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle pork evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 pork cutlet in flour. Dip in egg whites; dredge in breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining pork, flour, egg whites, and breadcrumbs.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat; add 4 pieces pork to pan. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until pork is lightly browned and done. Remove pork from pan. Repeat procedure twice with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and pork. Serve with noodle/cabbage mixture, lemon wedges, and parsley. Serves 4

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sweet Summer Strawberries

This is the time of year to make the most of the sweetest of fresh strawberries available in our farmer's markets and "pick-your-own" farms. I recently found a small patch of wild strawberries in a hedgerow on our upstate New York farm - what a treat!

Here is a simple way to use sweet summer strawberries:

Sweetheart Meringue Tarts with Fresh Strawberries


1 c Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/8 tsp Salt
3 ea Egg whites
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Vinegar
1 tsp Water
Fresh sliced strawberries


Sift the sugar with the baking powder and salt. Combine the egg
whites, vanilla, vinegar, and water. Add the sugar mixture, 1/2
teaspoon at a time, to the egg whites, alternating with a few
drops of the liquid, beating constantly. When all combined,
continue to beat for several minutes. Place large spoonfuls on
baking sheet and shape into shallow cups. Bake at 225 degrees F.
for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the meringues form the sheet
quickly and cool them on rack. Once cooled, fill with the sliced

Please enjoy these sweet depictions of strawberries...

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's "Daisy-Time..."

And what's romance? Usually, a nice little tale where you have everything as you like it, where rain never wets your jacket and gnats never bite your nose, and it's always daisy-time.
D.H. Lawrence

The Field Daisy

I'm a pretty little thing,
Always coming with the spring;
In the meadows green I'm found,
Peeping just above the ground,
And my stalk is cover'd flat
With a white and yellow hat.

Little Mary, when you pass
Lightly o'er the tender grass,
Skip about, but do not tread
On my bright but lowly head,
For I always seem to say,
"Summer is here to stay."

By Ann Taylor (1782-1886)

Beatrix & Friends...

Frolicking Lambs

Cassandra Follows...