Friday, September 30, 2011


Sam and Nate are getting ready for the roller skating party in Bridgeport to celebrate their Mom's 38th birthday. Sarah's birthday was on Monday, but her friends decided to celebrate with a party tonight at the roller rink in Bridgeport. I shall report back to you on the events of the evening.

PS- No report. We were under the weather so were not able to go to the birthday event. :(

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Judy and Lapis lazuli

My good wife has always loved the semi-precious stone, Lapis lazuli. This stone has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color.

The main component of lapis lazuli is lazurite (25% to 40%). Most lapis lazuli also contains calcite (white), sodalite (blue), and pyrite (metallic yellow).

Lapis lazuli has been collected from mines in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for over 6,000 years. Trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian and ancient Sumerian sites, and as lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania.

Afghanistan was the source of lapis for the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, as well as the later Greeks and Romans. During the height of the Indus valley civilization about 2000 B.C., the Harappan colony now known as Shortugai was established near the lapis mines.

We have a Facebook friend who works in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was so generous to offer to purchase a gift for Judy from the Bazaar in Kabul. We asked him to pick a bracelet, necklace, and earrings, and, as an afterthought, a lapis box to hold them. The lapis box is shown below.

Here are the necklace, earrings, and bracelet from Afghanistan.

This is the jeweler who crafted the set purchased at the Kabul Bazaar.

Thanks so much to Gene for purchasing this great gift from me to Judy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smoked Pork

Here is another attempt at smoking another meat - pork. The pork tenderloin was rubbed with black pepper and Greek seasoning. (and a little cayenne pepper)

Once again- SUCCESS!

Did I tell you all that I love the Masterbuilt Smoker?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It is now officially fall. Throughout the summer the deer have treated our yard as their own protected preserve. This critter was eating our flowers when this photo was snapped. I have given up my deer scare techniques which included barking like a wild and ferocious dog and yelling like an insane person while flying out the backdoor beating a pan with a wooden spoon. (I am certain the neighbors think something is really strange during all of these antics.) At this time, they have been conditioned and are ignoring all of my attempts to scare them.

As I watched the chewing beast, there appeared other hoofed critters that were sleeping in the back yard behind the ferns.

I have given up trying to save our landscape plants and decided that whatever the deer eats is something that I will not plant next year!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Proctology for a Chicken!

I smoked a chicken last week using the ole Beer in The Butt method.

Recipes for Beer In The Butt Chicken explain that you smoke the chicken with a beer can placed up the chicken's cloaca (Butt for you non-biologists!) The beer moistens the interior of the bird during the smoking process.

The device above is used to smoke a whole chicken instead of using the beer can. This "high tech" device is a stainless steel frame that sports a central canister that can be filled with beer, wine, or any other liquid. The chicken is placed GENTLY over the canister before cooking.

The rub I used consisted of dried sage, cayenne pepper, celery salt, black pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, and thyme leaves. Marinade is butter, chicken stock, brandy, and lemon juice.

After the chicken reached the correct temperature, it came out of the smoker beautifully!

It was ready to carve. We had friends over and the girls outdid themselves with the other parts of the meal.

Let's see we had a great salad...

oven roasted potatoes...


and the best peach/blueberry cobbler made by my good wife.

I will be posting other foods cooked in our new smoker!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quilting Guild

I thought I would share with you all this photo of the Thimbles and Threads. This was their 15th anniversary. They celebrated by having a special luncheon. Notice the happy quilter on the far left.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


We stayed Monday evening with Jeff and Sarah. At 6 P.M. Sammy had a football game. Grandma and I went with Nate and Sarah to the Bridgeport City Park to watch this exciting athletic event. Sammy's team is the Black Team. They played the Green Team. Happy to see that Black and Blue teams were not playing each other - that could be dangerous. (OK - poor joke)

It was a cloudy evening. Looked as if it may rain. Nate could care less. He was really not into the football experience, but was eying the playground.

The Black Team received their instructions from the coaches.

Grandma did not need any instruction. She may not know the intricacies of the game, but she knows that she enjoys watching all the kids.

It was great to see the team members learning new skillsw. We left at 1/2 time. It started raining pretty heavy. The teams stuck it out till the end of the game. Score was 3 to 2 with the Green Team winning.

We had to stop for a few minutes as the rain was pouring down our cheeks to let Nate play on the slippery playground equipment.

We are such good grandparents! (And so modest!!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Casselman Inn

Judy and I left Sunny Meadows and, in about an hour and 1/2, arrived at The Casselman Inn in Grantsville Maryland, for a bite of lunch.

The food at the historic inn is always good.

Built in 1824, The Casselman was one of the numerous inns along the National Trail to serve the stage coaches, covered wagons, drovers and riders that made the Old Pike the busiest thoroughfare crossing the mountains.

US Route 40 travels in front of the Casselman, it is probably the most historic road crossing the Appalachian Mountains. Originally an Indian trail known as Nemacolin's Path, it became a military road when General Braddock marched west from Fort Cumberland in 1755 on his ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesne. For 25 years this rough military road was the main route of travel connecting the East with the Ohio Valley.

Early in the nineteenth century the National Congress appropriated funds to rebuild the road from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, West Virginia, and thus it became our first national highway.

We enjoy stopping by and dining at this inn as we travel Interstate 68.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Is Here

Judy and I traveled on Sunday to Shepherdstown to visit our Eastern Panhandle family. On our way home, we stopped by Sunny Meadows which is located on Sharpsburg Pike near Boonsboro, MD. These folks do a tremendous job throughout the year in providing landscape services, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, and pond/outdoor furniture needs.

I love to take photos of pumpkins.

I really believe that fall is in the air when the pumpkins appear at local markets. They have a variety of unique pumpkins. Judy and I bought a large pumpkin called a knucklehead. It has large wart-like bumps on the skin. Pumpkins with smaller warts are named goosebumps.

Asters were outstanding and always make me happy. I think blue flowers are harder to find than the whites, reds, and yellows. These asters are very hardy.

Chrysanthemums also are harbingers of fall. The varieties of colors available in these plants are amazing.

Judy and I appreciated the fresh fruits and vegetables that were available. Peaches have been exceptionally wonderful this year.

We selected three varieties of local grown apples to take home.

We left with our van filled with peaches, chrysanthemums, Indian corn, apples, cantaloupes, green beans, and that knucklehead pumpkin.

I was interested to see hydrangeas were still in bloom.

Where did we eat lunch? You will know tomorrow.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


On Sunday, September 11, Jeff and Sarah hosted a gathering of folks who were interested in learning about the NURU project. The purpose of NURU International is to eradicate extreme poverty by holistically empowering rural communities to achieve self-sufficiency and inspiring the developed world to confront the crisis of extreme poverty.

Sarah and her friends prepared a wonderful buffet for the guests. Jamie and Jen are preparing the caramelized onion salad with blue cheese.

The spiral ham was super. It was glazed perfectly. This was one of my favorites.

Who could go wrong with wine, cheese, and grapes?

The desserts were wonderful!

Hummus and pita along with cucumber sandwiches were also on the buffet.

John Hancox introduced Billy Williams who explained the NURU project. John is a dermatologist that is in the practice with Jeff at Mountaineer Dermatology. He and his family are wonderful folks and we are blessed to have them as friends.

Billy Williams is posing with lovely wife, Jamie. Billy is the Grassroots Movement Director at NURU International. They live in Morgantown. Billy is a renaissance man. He speaks Fran├žais, KiSwahili, Shawnee, American English. He is a member of the Eagle Clan of the Youghiogaheny River Band of Shawnee Indians and served as an elected representative of their tribal government for 8 years.

Let me post the purposes of NURU. This is lifted from their Facebook page. Please visit their website at


1. WE LISTEN to those living in extreme poverty through interviews, community meetings, and extensive surveys.

2. WE INNOVATE with local leaders and brainstorm appropriate, sustainable solutions to their greatest needs.

3. WE EMPOWER the poor through training and mentorship to lift themselves out of poverty.

4. WE PARTNER with other NGOs and organizations that employ local people to undertake infrastructure projects (like drilling new wells and building new schools), and invite volunteers in the developed world to come to Africa and share their expertise.

5. WE EVALAUTE our work by inviting outside teams of professionals to measure our results and tell us what we can do better. We then go back to step one and listen all over again to create even better solutions.

6. WE SCALE our work by training trainers to go out and empower other local communities.

7. WE LEAVE after 5 years to prevent dependency.

I would hope you would become involved with this important endeavor.

It was a great afternoon with family and new friends. Thanks to Sarah and Jeff for hosting this important gathering.