Thursday, June 24, 2010


Lots of deer movement in our neck of the woods recently. We saw a very young fawn gamboling along the dirt/gravel road last week. This was a bit unusual, as they almost always hover alongside their mamas at this age. He ran in front of us as we were driving along the gravel rode, heading into L's shop that morning, with Bambi mostly keeping toward the right side.

Every once in a while he would pause and look back at us.

He ran for about a mile, right up to the paved area which crosses a small creek/river. Then he balked at the paved bridge, turned around and ran back in the opposite direction, retracing his steps.

And last night, returning from my sister's place - she had fed us some wonderful oven-baked ribs and we had a chance to visit with her three grown kids - it was later than we usually return home. Probably around 10:45 or so as we got closer to our place. L had just cranked his neck to the left, checking to see if a friend's van was in the parking lot of the local inn and I began to chide him about watching the road and then I saw a large ADULT deer who had popped out from the wooded roadside SO closely in front of us, with no warning at all. Just leapt out in front of us. L prides himself on being SO aware of deer movement... and he had just been a near-statistic, himself.

Usually we can count on the deer doing their wandering and moving onto the roadways, either late at night or else early in the morning. But they have been very active in the daytime, this past week to ten days. Guess we need to have our radar on high!

L has an old riding lawnmower that he uses (this place is on a large lot which slopes w-a-a-y-y-y down to the lake) and with all the rain we have had, the grass was in serious need of mowing. So on the first day without rain and WITH the required time available, he climbed on the ol' machine and was making countless passes to get the grass down to a reasonable length. I was doing something at the sink (it faces the backyard where he was mowing) and he drove up to the window and motioned for me to come outside. After I got out there, he related how he was on the left side of the property (as viewed from the lake), made a turn, and was nearly broadsided by an adult-sized deer! His assumption was that this beautiful creature was bedded down between our place and the neighbors' place, and he startled it awake with the sound of the riding mower. In its hurry to get away, the deer came within an arms' length of L on the mower.

Family note: my niece is getting married on the 25th, to a great guy that the entire family likes. I hope they will have many, many years of happiness! Happy wedding, A and S!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I speak of tires and birds and other things...

Well... ya gotta laugh, cuz cryin' won't help. This is what happened on our drive into town from the lake this morning.

Details: driving along with an appreciable shake to the truck occurring. As we're talking about bringing the vehicle to the tire shop and getting a second tire replaced (we'd had one replaced a few weeks ago, when it blew out), we both felt it blow out. L looked in the rear view mirrors both inside and outside and said, "I think we have damage to the truck" as he pulled onto the shoulder. And yup, he was not exaggerating. The first tire blowout had been with an inside tire, but this was an outside tire and a strip of the tire cap about 4 feet in length, had obviously pounded the beejeezus out of the fiberglass fender as it was peeling itself off the tire.

<<< Oh, btw, this is what it should look like with fender intact.

We decided to replace the weather-beaten old bird feeder (one that holds seeds for the songbirds in our area) a few weeks ago. Then weeks went on without any birds appearing and the seeds remained at the same level, so we thought we had waited too long to hang it. However, THIS week we spotted some birds using it. A pair of yellow-feathered birds have been there intermittently - I think they are goldfinches, and this morning's chow-hound was a beautiful bird with red-orange on its head and down its back. I have just been Google-ing this bird and believe it is a purple finch -- which are NOT purple, btw, but have a significant red coloring very much like the one I saw at our feeder.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A few photos

Pretty sunset on the lake last night... here are a few photos. Wish I had a fantabulous camera, but you'll have to make do with my attempts with the current camera. Actually, these were taken with L's camera, as my own is kinda packed away. I need to dig it out and start using it (more). I think it is a bit better than his.

The deer population is still growing. As I was turning into L's driveway yesterday (about 5:30 or so), an adult deer casually strolled near his neighbor's driveway, made its way past the mailbox, and sauntered into the woods. And this morning, we came upon a mama doe and her little fawn, who were moving off the left side of the gravel road and into the woods. Mama was moving a bit more quickly than the lone adult deer we came across on Sunday.

Saw a blue heron on the beach (the temporary one that we have while the lake's levels are so far down) on Sunday, walking beween L's house and headed towards the dock in front of his neighbor's. And we were entertained by one of the loons, who dive completely underwater in search of food (fish), only to emerge from the lake, some distance from their original submersion spot.

I have tried another new recipe (from those freely distributed at the cardiac rehab place). This time it was chili -- and it turned out quite well. L and I both like things a bit spicier, so this was right up our alley. It called for 3 Tbsp of chili powder as well as a pinch of red (or cayenne) pepper. It was ALL very lean ground beef (93% lean!), lots of onion and I added more garlic than the recipe called for, too. The tomato puree was salt-free, except for the naturally-occurring sodium content of the tomatoes themselves. In fact, the over-all taste was a bit sweeter than you would expect out of chili -- but then the after-effect in your mouth grew a bit warm as the chili powder and cayenne did their magic.

And another "miracle" -- L actually suggested that we bring the chili with us, to have for lunch at work today! So we did that, and it was (1) healthy, (2) easy, (3) economical (read: much cheaper than lunch out!) and time-effective. What's not to like, eh? I must say that I violated my own principles and even added a can of black beans (I do NOT like kidney beans) as called for by the recipe. Well, confession here: it called for TWO cans of the beans, and I added one. But I think I will go ahead and add the second can when I make this recipe again. It was a lower-sodium can of beans, plus you actually rinse and drain the beans before adding them. The whole thing is YUM!

Sorry... don't want to turn this blog into a copycat of anyone who actually does a wonderful job of blogging about food. But it is SO nice for me to actually cook at home again AND do it in a healthy fashion.

That's it from the Crispy NorthCountry!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Little things...

Not much special to blog about...

We have now seen two does (as in deer, a deer, a female deer), one with a pair of very young fawns and the other one with a solo offspring. So, yeah, in one sense, it is springtime in the Northland. Although today was a nasty, nasty day -- cold would have been enough, but coupled with heavy, steady rain, it was bone-chilling. I won't even bother to mention how bad a hair-day it was. It is hard to realize - except by the calendar on the wall in front of me - that it is indeed nearly the middle of June.

The cardiac rehab sessions continue. I think L has had his eyes opened to just how much crap he has been consuming over all these years. On Wednesdays, the 1-hour session is, first, a half-hour on the various exercise machines, then a half-hour talk and Q-and-A on various topics. Last week the expert was a pharmacist who answered questions about prescription meds as well as mentioning interaction with food and also over-the-counter supplements (such as ginseng). This week's talk was on diet and specifically, sodium and how many places it sneaks in its sometimes well-hidden punch. And there were also some questions and explanations of saturated fat. L has always loved a local chain's pizzas (and they are quite tasty!) and I think his consumption of that product alone contributed to a lot of the blockage of his arteries! But he has been very open to the foods that I have prepared and has been pleasantly surprised at how much taste there is to items prepared with low-salt/no-salt products, such as the marinara sauce I made last week and the pork tenderloin that I baked last weekend with lots and lots of veggies.

On Thursdays, he golfs with several guys he went to high school with, and after the game, they gather at one of the above-mentioned pizza locations. Ordinarily, they will split a pizza between two guys -- a favorite is the pepperoni-sausage combo. He did this the week following the stent-placement. After that, he has refrained from the pizza (a choice that he made himself) and now gets a salad with 3 meatballs. That's progress for this guy!

Our breakfast for most weekdays consists of a good-sized bowl of fresh fruit that I prepare (between a cup and cup-and-a-half total) of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. That is topped with banana slices (half for each of us). If we have time, we have yogurt with the fruit. And we will tote an apple into the office, since the fruit is good for us, but not as filling as other items would be. Once in a while, we have oatmeal.

We both like lots of veggies, so when we do eat at home for dinner, we both consume probably at least a double-helping, whether it is broccoli, asparagus, or other veggies. The veggies with the tenderloin included carrots, new potatoes, onions and cauliflower. And I doubled the veggies in that recipe, and we consumed most of them! So we have leftover meat and I'll add another fresh round of veggies to that. To L's credit, he has not consumed one french-fry since he had the stents put in.

A national restaurant chain (begins with A) has added some items to its menu that are 550 calories and less. Now that is a lot for me to consume, but for a guy of L's size (about 6' 3" or 4" and over 240), his caloric demands are higher. So we have gone there for lunch, and he consumes what I do not finish of my dish. Aain, we both can taste the salt in some of the dishes... But we usually do not bring anything from home, to have for lunch - so what are ya gonna do?

Hmm... what else has been going on...

L's son and daughter-in-law were at L's place on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. L's son purchased a used pontoon which needed a new deck put on it. So L purchased the plywood and the two guys spent hours removing the old deck and bolting the new surface on the pontoon. L had done the same thing on his pontoon last spring, while he and I were Skype-ing. I know it took him several days to do the task all by himself, so he welcomed his son's offer to help him with the reflooring chore. While they were working on that, I drove into town and picked up some groceries to put on the barbecue -- yes, it WAS a great weather-day that day. L and I had decided we would grill fish, but his son and DIL chose beef. It was a fun and impromptu meal.

The hope is that all of this rain will bring up the lake's water levels. It is down about four feet (!!) and many docks no longer reach the water. So lots of boats and pontoons remain landlocked. L has an expanse of beach that he has never had before, and his floating dock is inadvertently in drydock!

Well, ya'll, that's about it for now. I'll catch up with everyone soon, I promise.