Saturday, April 26, 2014

Birds Flowers and Food!

 Spring is always beautiful and this year is no different. We have had some very good walking weather and everything is blooming in succession so each day is different and every walk is like a treasure hunt. 
  After finishing my blog on Wednesday I couldn't resist the call to walk. It was very windy and down right chilly but I went any way. I found a park not far from home that runs along the Rancocas Creek. The park has wide paths and because it is a new park the trees are not overly tall and the surrounding bush is not so thick you can't see through it. This all works for making me feel comfortable and safe when walking alone. There are docks and lookout points along the path where you can get a good view all around you and enjoy the natural beauty of the creek. Wednesday I got very lucky with the wind at one of the look out points. It was so windy the birds flying in front of me could barely move and I got pictures I would not normally get of a bird in flight.

 The wind was so strong it flipped the bird over and forced him to land on the reeds in front of the look out point. Too cool for words.

 Unlike the Blue Jays in my yard that are skittish and camera shy the Blue Jay I came across let me take more then a dozen pictures and was still sitting there when I walked away. The natural art work in nature always blows me away and these two pieces of wood are no different. 

See what I mean it is like a treasure hunt. You just never know what your prize is going to be.

  My yard is always a source of pleasure for me. I love walking around with my camera just in case I see something that needs to be captured as a digital memory. The dogs are at the door when they see me go for the camera, and Bill just has to ask don't you get tired of taking pictures of the same birds and flowers all the time. The answer is No, I pretty much always find something out there that catches my interest. 

This apple blossom took me three trips before I finally captured it the way I wanted. 

The tulips, everyday I walk out and more tulips  have bloomed and opened, each as beautiful as the other and to date no less then five pictures of the same flower bead. Each picture slightly different from the other.
  Yesterday was Arbor Day, as well as warm and sunny. I couldn't resist a walk. I grabbed my camera bag and headed for the little park on the creek. What a great walk. It left me full, satisfied and with a little lens envy. As I was walking I came across a guy on the path with a camera with a huge wide angle zoom lens. I thought at the time I would never be able to hold that up let alone take a picture. I thought that until I got home and looked at my prize pictures of an Osprey flying and perching on a tree. 

I am proud of the shots I got I just wish I could have gotten closer.  Now I am thinking I could learn to use that lens. 
The Blue Jay was hanging in the same area I first saw him and this time he had a friend. They were incredibly playful. 

While I was picturing the Osprey this cute Red wing Black Bird decided to sit above my head and sing me a song. If nothing else he is a loud little fellow.

 I believe this is a cat bird, it may be a Mocking bird, either way he greeted me as I entered the path just to let me know I was going to have a wonderful walk in his park.

 The old Queen Ann's Lace is as pretty dead as when living.

   " What Was Dinner" Oh dinner was so good and I am so proud. I wanted something with an Italian flavor but without pasta. I have two friends that love to use zucchini in place of spaghetti and that gave me an idea.

 Lasagna replacing the pasta with zucchini. I wanted something full a flavor, different and rustic. I created just that. We all loved it. Mom had two servings and asked for more. I felt good serving this to both her and Bill. Bill was still raving about it the next day after he at his lunch. He said it was as good cold as hot. This is rustic chunky and does not lay out as smoothly as pasta lasagna but is just as pretty. Prettier even.
4or 5 long zucchini
4 cups sliced Campari tomatoes
2 TBS finely minced garlic
dried basil
dried oregano
fennel seed
4 links mild Italian sausage
12 to 14 wedges Laughing cow Swiss cheese
1/2 cup or more Cheddar cheese
  While sausage is still slightly frozen slice into one inch thick round pieces. In a skillet place a small amount of oil and heat. Add the sausage and brown on all sides. As the sausage cooks slice the zucchini length wise in one inch pieces. Once the meat is browned start assembling your lasagna. Preheat oven to 400, and spray a 9 by 13 baking dish. Lay a layer of zucchini on the bottom of the dish, then a layer of tomato, sprinkle some of the garlic, basil, oregano, and fennel seed on top of the tomato layer. Repeat with zucchini, then tomato, and then the spices and herbs. Place the cheese wedges in a bowl and mash them until creamy. It won't spread well so I dolloped the cheese evenly across the entire dish. Place a layer of zucchini on top of the cheese, then the tomatoes and the spices, one more layer ending with herbs and spicing. Top with cheddar cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Bake uncovered another 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Check in 10 minutes so you don't over cook and make the zucchini mushy. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. 
  I didn't give measurements on the herbs because I never measure them I go by feel. I use fresh dried basil from my garden that I dry and store whole and crush as I need. So I used about 3 leaves per layer. The oregano a 2 finger pinch per layer and the fennel seed no more then 1/8 of a teaspoon.

   As I said I am really proud of this creation and I hope you give it a try. 
   Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by.


  1. You never fail to blow me away with your nature photos. You probably see 100% more than most people who think they are taking in the beauty. Thank you for sharing them.

  2. Thank you so much for such high praise. I am always happy to share. Not sure about 100% but I like to think I see most of the beauty around me. You know I say thank you everyday for waking up to such beauty.