kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Out and About

Not only can I see again after getting my new glasses, since being on Weight Watchers and losing over 30 lbs., I can walk again.   I had been doing  lot of staying home because moving was such an effort.  It was getting to the point where Zip would pull up in front of the grocery store and leave me out  because walking from the parking lot to the front door tired me out.

Ha!  Now I'm the first one out of the car and flying into the store.  You can't believe the difference that small amount of losing has made in my energy level. I now want to go places.

One of the places I've had in mind for a while that I thought would interest both of us, Zip being a fly fisherman and all, was the Fish Culture Station at Huntsdale. 
When I was in grade school (many, may years ago) we lived in Hanover PA.  One of our field trips was to Huntsdale to see the fish.  It as quite a trip!  My Dad, for the only time in my life, volunteered to be one of the drivers.  He was an avid trout fisherman so it held some interest for him.

At that time the hatchery ponds were long ditches in a grassy area.  Very natural and nice for walking.  There are still a few of the original ditches left, but now you can't easily get into them because of the fencing.

Now the fish are kept in concrete tanks.

Swirling masses of golden fish.  These are golden rainbow trout.  There are also bins of brown trout and brook trout, but they didn't photograph as dramatically.

Aren't they the most lovely color?

Inside the visitor center is information about fish, fishing, and other reptiles and amphibians that are native to our state.

A display fo snake skins.

I don't know what species of creature this is, but it's kinda scary!

We also went to Ashcombe Greenhouse.  Mostly gardening places are a springtime thing, but I also love them in the fall when the autumn plants and decorating are happening.

Do you have an old door just waiting for new life?  I love this idea!

Loads of colorful mums inside.

On the way home we stopped and purchased some of the last-of-the-season tomatoes.
The little green zebra stripe one was especially sweet and delicious.

It is so nice to drive around the countryside at this time of year.  The mountains are coloring nicely.

The farms are peaceful.  A horse enjoying the last of the warmer days.  The sky shows signs of things to come.  The weather report for the next few days is horrible winds and drenching rains.  I hope the worst of it passes on out to sea.  That doesn't seem to be what will happen. 

This little dirt road makes me want to hike right up over that hill to see what's down the other side.  I love fields dotted with cedar trees.

When we finally get home, there's the crab feast.  Brad and Kami have been working at a seafood stand on weekends.  We have been reaping the benefits by having a new kind of fish or shellfish each Saturday.

I haven't cracked, picked and eaten hardshelled crabs since I was a kid. 

They are great for people on a healthy eating plan.  Very low in calories and lots of aerobic activity getting them out of the shell!

The kitties thought they were yummy.  Come on guys, we're picking as fast as we can!

Try to stay safe, warm and dry if you are in the path of the storm.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apple Harvest

Apple season is in full swing here in south central PA. 
It must have been a good growing year because they are big, beautiful, sweet and juicy!

Adams County is the premier apple growing area, just on the other side of the mountain from us.  This past week we drove down to one of my favorite fruit sellers, Hollabaugh's Orchards near Biglerville.

Yes, they do pumpkins too!

There were all varieties of beautiful apples displayed in baskets, but I pick mine from the big bins of less-than-perfect fruit .  For $15 we got a big bag of beautiful large apples.  You would never guess that they are 'seconds'.

We put about eight different varieties in our bag, many with the word 'crisp' in their names, Honey Crisp, Sun Crisp, Autumn Crisp, plus Rome and I can't remember what else.

With well over two dozen apples, and knowing I would never be able to eat them all fresh, there was the decision about how to preserve them.  Last year I made and froze applesauce.  Most of it is still in the freezer. 

In my younger back-to-the-land days we did a lot of preserving fruits and veggies.  One of the methods was drying them.  I started with sun drying on window screens (well washed, of course!)  Then  bought a box type dehydrator with a fan and a light bulb in the back.  It was not the most efficient appliance and I soon grew tired of all the switching of trays trying to get even dryness.  Then I bought a really nice dehydrator that worked perfectly.

But after Brad grew up and there were only two of us, we severely cut back on the gardening and harvesting of fruit.  The dehydrator went into the back of the pantry closet and gathered dust.

Now that I'm trying to eat healthy, the thought of dried apples as snacks seemed pretty appealing.
We dug out the dehydrator, washed it, and went to work.

And it was easy!!!  Just slice the apples nice and thin.

Arrange them on the plastic screens.

Let it run for about 5 hours.
And eureka!  Beautiful and yummy dried apple slices.

I then packed them in quart freezer bags to store in a cool, dry cupboard (and hope they don't mold!)

I am still on the Weight Watchers plan and doing well.  Having healthy foods to enjoy helps me stay focused.  Would you believe that I haven't had a donut in almost three months?  I don't miss them one tiny bit.  I am just so happy with my progress.

Others aren't doing so well.  The Big One hasn't lost an ounce.  He-he!  His exercise program on the treadmill has fizzled.  He's now doing upside-down pushups.

I must apologise to one of my readers, Donna, who emailed me about some hooked carrots/ears of corn that I had post a picture of over a year ago.  That email along with a bunch of others was accidentally lost.  This happens quite often and I can't understand what happens.  Could this be part of the problem???

Donna, I do not have that pattern personally.  It was the work of Linda Keller at Grant Street Woolworks.  She has a website where you can contact her. 

The lovely tree in Shippensburg was at it's peak this past week.  We went by yesterday and most of the leaves had fallen.  The fleeting beauty of nature!

Hope all of you are enjoying the delights of the season.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hey, I Can See!

For quite a while now I've been noticing that my eyesight seems to be getting worse. 

I've worn glasses or contacts ever since I've been sixteen.  I went to take my driver's test and couldn't read the eye chart.  Guess what, I didn't pass!  Off to the eye doctor.  Second time I made it!

Seven years ago I had what I thought was a spider bite at the inside corner of my left eyebrow.  It started with three little itchy blisters.  VERY itchy blisters!  And then it spread up my forehead to my hairline with many tiny red blisters that looked like poison ivy.  I went to the walk-in clinic and they gave me some anti-itch medication and steroids.  The painful rash spread to the outer left forehead and all around my eye and on my eyelid.  I really looked like H---!  And it hurt and itched!  It finally settled down about six weeks later.

I was left with three small black places in the sight in my left eye and general blurriness.

After doing more research on the Internet, I now believe I had shingles.  I've since taken the precaution of getting a shingles shot.  I NEVER want to go through that again!

It's been six years since I've been to the eye doctor.  My contact prescription had long since expired.  I've been bungling through by just using 'cheaters' from the drugstore.  When I drive I don't feel like I can see traffic signs until I'm right on top of them.

So I made my appointment.  Nothing can be done about the damage to my left eye.  Came home with a prescription for my new glasses.  After calling around to the local optical stores, I'm in shock.  $250 to $300 for a pair of glasses.  I kinda figured, but was hoping for better.

Then someone on the Weight Watchers message board suggested getting my glasses on-line.  I checked out two sources, Eyebuy Direct and Zenni.

What fun!!!  I spend hours picking out my glasses.  They have this nifty feature where you can upload your picture and try on the frames and then line up four pictures with different pairs and compare which looks best. You just type in your prescription details and they tell you which glasses would be suitable.   And best of all, I could get a pair of glasses for about $50!  Too good to be true???

I got three pairs for half of what I would have paid locally. 
And they seem to be good quality!  I am happy, happy, happy!!!

 I can see!!!

Just in time for the lovely fall colors.  The leaves are slowly starting to change.

Just a touch of color here and there on the maples.

During the summer, this is just an ordinary-looking tree.  In the fall, it becomes one of the most spectacular trees along the main street in Shippensburg.

I'll post a picture again as the colors intensify.

Thanks for stopping by.
Enjoy the season!