I have really had a hankering in recent months to do something/see something different. I am in love with the beautiful county where I live, but I’ve also wanted to just see something new, local or otherwise. So when a friend mentioned going to a buffalo watch, which would most likely offer some good photo ops, I thought it a great idea. And off we went. The day was overcast, but for me, that doesn’t detract at all from the lovely views.
This is a photo of the Readington River Buffalo Farm from a distance. My friend and I decided to take the tour, which is a bunch of us in a hay wagon pulled around the farm by a John Deere. The farm is 200+ acres, and also stables a number of polo ponies. There is a store on the premises which sells a variety of cuts of buffalo meat, which, of course, I did not go in. I am well aware why they’re raising the buffalo; I wanted to simply enjoy the animals.
This is Lance, who drove the tractor. Our “tour guide” on the hay wagon is a member of the nearby Whitehouse Station Rescue Squad which benefitted from the small fee for the tour. He provided us with a lot of information about the economics of raising buffalo, the farm, the animals and how the owner came to raise them. I love that a woman runs this entire operation and that the whole farm is solar powered!
This is one of the two prize breeding bulls. I honestly wanted to get out and give him a kiss, but who knows how he would have felt about that even if it were allowed? Not to mention, if I could smooch a buffalo, EVERYONE would want to get out and smooch a buffalo!!
This is the second breeding bull. Here are a few things I learned about buffalo: they have 7 layers of skin and 4 stomachs; males and females both have horns, but the males’ horns are bigger; the bulls weigh 1,800 pounds! and did I mention they’re damn cute?
This is a shot on the road leaving the property. So often I want to take photos when I drive the beautiful backroads of Hunterdon County and share them here. The problem is, almost all roads are 2 lane blacktops with a double line and no shoulder. Very rarely is there anyplace to pull over, (without being in a ditch), to photograph the countryside. But today on the farm’s road, I could get out and do so.
And another shot of a farm set back from the same road.
Thanks for coming along, and I hope you enjoyed the (short) tour!
Posted in Animals, Life, Nature, Photography | Tagged backroads, buffalo, buffalo watch, countryside, Farms, Hunterdon County, Readington | 2 Comments »
Sometimes you just get lucky. And in this instance, it certainly was me. I was unable to go to the big annual library sale held by my county library in April, the one where over 100,000 books are on sale for dirt cheap. This has become a yearly tradition with a friend and her book-loving daughter, but circumstances prevented me from attending. So how is this lucky, you ask?
Because I had an unexpected benefactor who is also a regular book sale attendee, an avid reader and someone sympathetic to my situation, and … who hand-picked a bunch of books for me … my girlfriend’s husband. He was the one who somehow managed to divine that I would be a big Mercy Thompson fan – a book series I would never have picked up on my own. So without really knowing what I might like, he made a selection of books that included one by Ursula LeGuin, (an author I have enjoyed in the past), Alice Hoffman, one of my truly favorite authors, and others unfamiliar to me in the areas of fantasy, sci-fi, dark and edgy, and a couple for mindless entertainment. On the latter, he promised “no brain cells will be harmed.”
My girlfriend boxed them up and shipped them out, and here they are … most outside my usual realm of selection, but as he had personally read and recommended them, I’ m excited to try something new. The last 6-8 weeks have not had me reading very much … too many distractions and not much concentration, but the reader in me is back! And thanks to caring, book-loving friends, I’m one lucky reader to boot.
As you can see, Claude was quite bored by this whole discussion. His only interest in books is when I finally settle down in one place and have one in my hands. (So I guess that makes him lucky, too.)
Posted in Books, Good Reads, Life, Novels, Writing | Tagged annual library book sale, books, Friends, friendship, Novels | 2 Comments »
If you’re sensing that there may be a bit of a double-entendre in that title, you are so right.
Here you see a photo of a wingback chair, new to me. In some ways, it seemed to have arrived in my possession as a consolation (prize) to offset a number of things I found myself having to deal with recently. And, being an item that I’ve wished I had for such a long time, I find it not only the most wonderful reading chair possible, but also one that consoles me when I curl up in its winged shape.
There really are times when we feel we’ve spent as much of our energy as we have coping with whatever is on our plates. But wait … the Universe has one more challenge to throw our way. Really? I say. Apparently so. In Living in the Light, Shakti Gawain writes about problems as messages. She says that when there are problems in our lives, it may be the Universe trying to get our attention, to tell us something we need to be aware of, something that needs to be changed. If we pay attention, we learn from the messages; if we don’t, the problems often intensify until we start to pay attention.
So I’d say I’ve been smacked quite smartly about now. And I am paying attention.
But back to the chair.
I’d gone across the street to my neighbors’ house to discuss something relevant to said problem and we chatted for an hour or so. When we came out, I noticed a wingback chair sitting at the end of another neighbor’s driveway in the spot where he usually puts out his garbage or recycling. Could that chair really be there for someone to pluck? I immediately sat in it. Possession is 9/10ths of the law, right? Mmmmm – comfy. He was mowing the lawn so we waved him down to see if, indeed, this chair was there for the taking. It was.
In no time, I had this chair, which had been in his family for quite some time and is in excellent condition, in my living room just waiting for me to grab a book and read. He was happy it went to someone he knew and I was thrilled to have it. (And of course, he has visiting privileges.) Somehow this chair appeared in that spot in a very brief period of time … it seemed meant for me, a consolation for an array of recent difficulties and for which I am very grateful.
I sit it in it and read and I sit in it and contemplate … exactly what is the message I’ve been assiduously avoiding that I needed such a wake-up call? Of course, I’m quite sure I know, and now I have someplace to sit and plan what steps I next need to take in my life. Funny how things work out.
Posted in Home Stuff, Inspiration, Life, Reflections, Spiritual | Tagged life, life challenges, life lessons, reading chair, the Universe, wingback chair | 4 Comments »
And now for a lighter – and more delicious – topic. (Vs. my last post, that is.)
Easter brings with it an invitation to the home of a friend and her family, and that means one thing for me … baking a delicious treat. Considering something that both adults and children might like isn’t always easy, and as I pored over yet-to-be-made recipes, I realized that many of them were more sophisticated in flavors than youngsters would like. So I hit my tried and true recipe box.
I came up with a marble cheesecake, and was happy to later learn that cheesecake is my friend’s husband’s all time favorite dessert. The original recipe calls for a crust made from dark chocolate wafers, but I like a traditional graham cracker crust made with butter just as well.
Above, the one slice I took home — as my host loved it so much, I left the rest there for him! Above right, fresh out of the oven with the crack that always appears.
I’ve had this recipe for so long I have no idea where I originally found it, and therefore cannot provide a link. So here it is below. Pretty easy to make and not for the cholesterol-conscious. Happy baking!
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes
18 chocolate wafers, crushed (1 cup)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Or: make traditional graham cracker crust. Just as good!
6 squares semisweet chocolate
3 pkgs (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 container – 16 oz. – sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Make crust: Combine chocolate crumbs, butter and cinnamon in a small bowl. Press over bottom of 9” springform pan and chill.
2. Make filling: Melt chocolate over hot water; remove from heat, reserve.
3. Beat cream cheese with sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer `til fluffy.
4. Beat in eggs one at a time until well-blended. Blend in sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
5. Combine the melted chocolate with 1-1/2 cups of the cheese batter in a small bowl and blend thoroughly.
6. Pour 2-1/2 cups of the plain batter into chilled crust; place 1/4 cup chocolate batter on top pf plain batter. Cover with remaining plain batter.
7. Drop remaining chocolate batter by spoonfuls and pull a spatula through in swirls to marbleize.
8. Bake in a moderate over – 350 – for 1 hour and 10 minutes, Turn oven off and leave cake in oven for another hour. Remove to wire rack to cool. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!
Note: Top will crack and sink slightly.
p.s. I always wrap the bottom portion of the pan with aluminum foil, so the butter doesn’t drip onto the oven and burn.
Posted in food, Holidays, Home Stuff | Tagged cheesecake, dessert, Easter, food, marble cheesecake, vanilla and chocolate | 8 Comments »
In Memory … Gypsy Rose
July 1999 – April 6, 2013
Rescued from Weequahic Park, Newark, NJ – January 2000
Gypsy Rose was a 6 month-old kitten when I (literally) grabbed her from a parking area in Weequahic Park on my way to work. She was with her mother, and it is likely the two were living in the cemetery on the other side of the wrought iron fence just a few feet away. I was unable to get the more street-wise mother, but brought this little tyke into my car. I buried my head under my arms against the steering wheel, while the kitten ricocheted all over my car. When she finally settled at the rear window, I drove the rest of the way to the shelter where I worked and where she would get a chance at a real home.
Gypsy’s “baby” picture … 6 months old in the shelter, waiting for love.
She was written up in the system, and placed in a cage in the area just inside the front entrance – prime real estate for adoption. There was a multitude of reasons why bringing another animal into my home at that exact time was a very poor idea, and since Gypsy Rose was cute as a button and only 6 months old, I was sure it was only a matter of time before someone would fall in love and adopt her.
But there she sat. After six months and no one expressing an interest in her, among other reasons, I knew she was meant to be mine, and the rest is history. Soon after walking into my home, Gypsy decided she should run the place thus earning herself the name of Miss Bossy Boots. All went well for this petite Queen of Everything until about October 2011, when she experienced seizure-like activity and was put on medication to reduce swelling from a possible tumor or cancer in her brain. This event repeated itself in June of 2012 when we tried to wean her off the medication.
Still, Gypsy forged on, unfazed by some growing malignancy within. In the last few months, however, Gypsy began a slow downward and irreversible decline. In the last few weeks, I watched her behaviors change, isolating herself more, eating less and less, rallying occasionally, until it became clear her time had come. She left peacefully in my arms, loved `til the end.
Farewell, Gypsy girl … you will always be home in my heart.
Posted in Animals, Cats, Life, Reflections | Tagged cat, euthanasia, Gypsy Pose, older cats, pet loss | 6 Comments »
They’ve hatched! Two Bald Eagle eggs have hatched on March 25. The live eagle cam at Duke Farms allows the viewer to keep an eye on the two parent Bald Eagles as well as their hatchlings through a web cam in the adjacent tree.
There was no web cam in 2012 due to issues with the functioning of the camera; as the eagles were already building their nest, the repair would have been too disruptive so Duke Farms decided to forego the camera for the eagles’ well-being. But the site is now back with great footage and several new features. You can now view select video clips to the right, among them a red-tail hawk attempting a fly by on the eagle nest. Watching the eagle defend the nest is amazing.
Take a breather from your day and join in with nature … watch this great eagle cam.
Posted in Animals, Nature, Wildlife | Tagged Bald Eagle, Duke Farms, Eagle cam, eagle nest, Hillsborough, NJ | 2 Comments »