I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Spring Flea Market / Flower Show

Hi everyone! Did you all get washed out and away by the torrential rains? (At least it's not snow?)

The rain let up by this morning, but the first  spring flea market was washed out anyway. Not even a few die hard guys under the train trestle. I was very disappointed. This has been a red letter date, circled on my mental calender since the last flea market ended at Christmas. Three whole months of waiting! I even went to the bank and got---CASH, lol. But no. And the thrift shop was sparse too.

An alternative plan was required, because it is important to get out and be optimistic on these grey cold days of spring. I went to a big garden show with my friends.

This is the real world nursery where, in Nelson DeMille's best seller Gold Coast, our hero makes the acquaintance of the bad guy, as they mull over lawn improvement products. Right here. Cool.

My friends want to redo their small back garden. A two or three year plan. They are very partial to tropical looks, a style in which this garden center excels.

Feel like a tropical resort! Not hardy in our zone so very expensive to redo each year. But that's up to them, I'm just the advisor.


We bought them some elephant ears bulbs, to get their plan started....

Lots of wonderful unusual lillies and dahlias. These all do well in a seaside garden.

Beautful handblown glass orbs. Note to self to come back next year at Christmas, for my collection.

I am more of a country garden person, not that I have a yard or space to really garden. Just sand and  scrub for me. I love hydrangeas though. They're hardy at the beach.

Some deck planter ideas...

Love the foxgloves. Must have!

Oh and a pond! Like my parents had. My dad had Mr. Frogge and his family instead of koi, though.


I love the current gardening idea of mixing vegetables and herbs right  into the flower beds or planters.

Adorable spring/ Easter small basket arrangements. Lots of ideas, easy to make....

Isn't this so perfect for spring holiday tables?


This is really neat, and if it was a nicer year weather-wise I might do this in a small way: blooming purple heather, like my dad grew year round in Cape Cod. With lots of cut pussy willow branches tucked in.

Hope you all enjoyed sharing a bit of Spring with me!
gone to the beach..........
PS a few bloggy notes: Blogger has restored the function that allows me to respond to your comments right here! And then I believe they're forwarded on to your inbox. Very cool, so if you do leave comment, check back.
Also my ability to enlarge my photos for you is back and working. Plus you can still click any photo to enlarge to full screen / slide show, so please try that too.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

When Christmas Trees Just Aren't Enough

Hi everyone! I ventured out to the beach today!

Yesterday we had what local people sometimes call a *clear storm*---sunny but very high winds. Often caused by a strong low pressure area off the coast, this is lso known as migraine weather.
The Weatherbug sensor thing is over on the golf course, by the bay, so whatever winds it reads, the winds is 10 or more mph greater right here on the open oceanfront. It was blustery---with sustained winds of about 40-45 mph.

One of the neat things about a clear storm is the  [to me, magical] sight of cloud shadows racing across the open beach or water.  Too fast to capture in a photo or vid...

And look who the winds blew in, poor babies. This is the first set of oystercatchers this year, the trio that live on the beach to the west. Some people watch for the first robins, but here we watch for the oystercatchers.

very long distance shot,
they are not used to me yet, of course

This year they are 10 days past their normal arrival date of St Patrick's Day. I hope it's not too cold for them.

Or too---busy? Remember the recycled Christmas trees in the dunes project? here So far, no dunes have begun there [take years]....And the dredging barge that sucked sand out of the channel to the east, was there all January?here We thought that sand was just for the town beach. But No! They are using the sand to rebuild our dunes.

The trucks are mammoth. And a bit scary since I am not at all sure they can see me hustling down the path behind their work site.

And on the open beach, they drive so fast! Right where the oystercatchers mingle and feed.


The guys are working against the clock, since I am pretty sure they must be done by April 1st when the piping plovers may arrive? The plovers---and , eeew, arctic terns!?--- are more coddled than my adorable OCs, who are not quite totally endangered. Yet.

This is where the boardwalk usually is. It is removed in the fall, except the section that goes over the dunes. That is then removed, repaired in March, and the entire walkway replaced each spring. This is pretty much my only path to the beach unless I drive to a park nearby....

But for the last two or three days an endless stream of big dump trucks has been arriving and dumping sand. The mounds must be 20 feet high?

I have read that artificial dunes like these are not structurally sound compared to natural dunes  where there is debris, driftwood and roots, and and all the tiny sand grains kind of nestle into one another to form a permanent hill of sand. On the other hand , this work area is right between my neighborhood and a park. The high storm tide of H. Sandy swept the dunes away. The water here flooded all the way to the main road, maybe across the entire island.

So whatever is done to repair that dune break [and others] is probably an excellent plan. Even if the trucks do scare me and the birds away...



gone to the beach

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Make-do Meals and other Culinary Adventures,lol

Hi everyone! The weekend is almost over, we have to think about meals for the coming week, right?

This past week we travelled far and wide on an unplanned international food adventure. Our itinerary, in reverse, begins:
last night! Oh yes, yes. Fantastic Mexican dinner, a treat for me to eat out. Guacamole made fresh right at our table, sizzling beef and shrimp fajitas served with paper thin artisan corn tortillas. But the best? Peach Margaritas! As pastel-y pretty at as a summer sunset cloud, and unbelievably delicious.

I'll be back, Don Juan's! With more of my friends!

A few days previous, at home, we had a belated St Patrick's Day dinner  inspired by my blog friend Sue, who mentioned a meal of Irish shepherd's pie. I was inspired, but lazy:  browned a pound or so of ground beef [dislike lamb] and onions, added a bag of fancy frozen mixed veggies which included tiny carrots and asparagus. More tiny carrots from the bin. A jar of Heinz brown gravy.  Stir, heat gently. Season with parsley, black pepper, horseradish, dill, tarragon, caraway. Dump it into a casserole dish [9" x 13" Pyrex]; heat a container of store bought mashed potatoes then spread on top to make a crust. Bake 350 * for 1/2 hour-ish until bubbly and the mashed are browned a bit. I served it with steamed cabbage on the side and sauteed spinach.

It was pretty good, and very easy. But it would have been better as a ''pot pie'' with a buttery, flaky pie crust on the top instead. Bob Evans mashed potatoes are, um [sorry!] not so great.

But then! The best meal of the past week was ''homemade''--apologetically from a kit,
Pad Thai.

Pad Thai is the most common epitome of Thai food, like chop suey or pizza, or---shepherd's pie? But I *love* it. It's a wonderful combination of rice noodles, crispy veg, and chopped peanuts. It isn't hot-spicy. So one day a few months ago while probably hunting for sesame cooking oil or soy sauce in the ''Asian'' aisle, I spied this fun red box. To experiment with?

I brought it home! Then I set it aside because I never had all the makings at the the same time. Kinda forgot about the box, but when I was spring cleaning the fridge I saw it again and set it on the front row so I'd remember it. The other day I actually had leftover rare steak to slice for the minimal amount of meat needed. I had a bunch of green spring onions, or scallions.

The noodles are almost transparent rice noodles. If you ever use them be very sure to undercook them, as they turn into nasty mush if left to soak too long in their hot water. I actually time them at 6 minutes.

Fine. I opened the little pouch and made the sauce, got the big skillet going....uh oh.
I finally read the directions. No seasame oil. And did I have limes? No. [lemons!]. Did I have peanuts? No. [toasted sunflower seeds okay?] Did I have fresh raw [or any, let's be honest here] bean sprouts?* Well no. But I had lots of beautiful green cabbage, a head sells for 18 cents a pound right now.

*Bean Sprouts! I just have to add my little OT rant here. I was reading about ''healthy'' food substitutions the other night. And the article sugested subbing bean sprouts for spaghetti/ pasta. You know, with your meatballs and marinara? Now I love veggies, I like bean sprouts fine, but the last place I wanna find a bean sprout is in my freakin' spaghetti dish! Yeesh. Get real, Delish or whoever.
 Okay, back at the stove at the beach..... 

Yum! I forged on with my prep. The noodles and sauce get stir fried for about 2 minutes, add the veg, just heat through, add the thinly sliced beef or chicken. Stir it around. I added a leftover cup of Trader Joe's lemon pepper pappardelli noodles, which added dimension and extra flavor.

I stirred in the green onions at the end.

Serve with the chopped peanuts on top , garnish with the green ends of the scallions. My children like their Thai food spicy and added red pepper flakes. And chopsticks.

This was...not like Cha Ba's in town---but pretty fantastic on a cold rainy night.
Another winner! Yay.




gone to the beach....

brave tiny daffodil shoots

lol, prob'ly do not need to say that this was NOT a review paid for or solicited by Thai Kitchens.