Tuesday, August 30, 2005


This is the second harvest of tomatoes from the garden. What's left of it anyway, after a week of incredibly sweet tomato salads, BLT's, fresh tomato sauces and sharing with neighbors and friends. These splendid red globes from sweet summer sunshine have topped bruschetta, my morning eggs, sat alongside steaks from the grill and been marinated in soy sauce and ginger for a homestyle Filipino condiment.

Even with a month of outright neglect, drought and weed infestation, my garden offered this harvest. Maybe what effort I gave in the early spring, getting that dry, hard and rocky ground ready for planting actually paid off. And...my roses bloomed again. And the deer left them for me. And my father made it out of the hospital. I'm sure there's some Biblical reference to harvest and reaping and sowing, but I'm not that well read. And I'm too tired to look it up. And I'm not great at analogies anyway. Suffice it to say, the fruit is sweet, I've picked it and savored it and shared it. It'll be gone before I know it and then autumn will come and it'll all be a sweet summer memory. But for now, I have a bountiful harvest.

Monday, August 29, 2005

End of summer recipe

My beefsteak and patio tomatoes are all but gone, but those tiny, tender sweet grape tomatoes keep on coming! I threw together a great pasta last night with the last sprigs of basil from the deck, some fresh spinach from the refrig. and a handful of herbs from my garden pot outside the door. For extra flavor, I added a few slices of chopped bacon, garlic and shallots...it turned out to be a keeper!

1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
giant handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 piece of shallot, minced
five fresh basil leaves, torn into piece
handful of fresh spinach
salt & pepper
3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbl grated cheese (I like pecorino romano)

While boiling the pasta...

In a large non-stick saute pan, saute bacon over low-medium heat until just turning brown on edges. (You can remove a Tablespoon of bacon fat if you think it's too much saturate bacon fat). Add olive oil & garlic & shallots. Cook one minute then add the tomatoes. Raise heat to medium and cook until tomatoes are turning saucy (no more than 5 minutes). Add basil, salt & pepper to taste and fresh spinach. Mix well, taste again, then add cooked pasta to the pan. Add cheese and toss to coat. Serve with tossed salad.

More from the Dutchess County Fair

It's a girl! The Fair dedicated an entire tent for a Dairy Cow Birthing Center this year. We got there just one hour after a calf was born. There were three born during the six-day fair. When we saw "Ken," he was still all wet from the delivery and couldn't stand up yet. When he tried to stand, the crowd "aaaw'd" and "oooh'd" and cheered him on. I'm not sure why we cheered, but you just wanted to see that little guy get on his feet. We even heard his first "mooo!" The nervous mother didn't care for the applause and, in between his wobbly attempts, licked him clean, keeping one eye on the curious spectators.

Proud Mommy & Baby Ken, born 8/27/05 at 10:25am.

One on one with a dairy cow.

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Blue skies on the way to the Fair.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

In memory of my Gramma...

originally posted, August 2005

My Grandmother, Violet Honeysett La Duca, died from complications from Legionnaire's disease. She was 87. She was a sister, a wife, a mother of five, grandmother of 17, great-grandmother of 23 and friend to many where she volunteered for over 25 years. She was a fine painter and an avid gardener. She was from Bournemouth, England then moved to New York City, where she met my Grandfather. She lived through two world wars, the Depression and many challenges in life. She always met the world with a smile and a song. I received my middle name, Violet, from her. I hope I can live up to the name. = )

A pic I took of Gramma last year at my house...

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Portrait she did of my son from a photo I took...

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Her gift to me on my 30th birthday...

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rhinebeck farm

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Holly Bush Farm, Rhinebeck, NY

Stopped on the way to the fair to admire this lovely farm in Rhinebeck, NY.There are so many scenic views up there. It's hard to get where I'm going on time because I'm constantly pulling over to take pictures! Just beyond the reach of the NYC Metro-North train line, Rhinebeck has been able to avoid the crush of development and retain its rural character.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sunshine in a bottle

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Honey jars on display
Meadowbrook Farms
Wappingers Falls, NY

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

From the Dutchess County Fair

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I'm always finding something new at the Dutchess County Fair. This is the first time I ever visited the Dressage Competition. Great to see these young kids atop these huge horses. Absolutely fearless. The kids in the 4-H cattle showing were also impressive. One boy got smacked in the jaw by the head of his cow and he toughed it out until the end of the show. Poor guy didn't even place, but he received a nice round of applause when he exited the ring.

I got a quick glimpse of some Food Network Chefs giving a live demonstration and even got to have a sample of what they were cooking. The pesto-stuffed salmon with a fresh corn & tomato relish was quite delicious, even at 10:34am, though the pairing with my morning coffee was an unfortunate choice. They had tough competition noise-wise from the Mad Science demonstrators across the building who were busy making kids' hair stand on end with static electricity. Stuck halfway between the salmon odors and the Mad Scientists were the Bake-Off competition volunteers. They were dutifully guarding the blue ribboned entries of (now two-day old and sprayed for preservation) pies, cakes cookies and scones. You can't make this stuff up. Only at the fair!

A few booths down, I was intrigued by the local wood carving association's demonstration of basswood carving. If I wasn't holding so much stuff (greek food, an apple cider, peanuts from the fresh-roasted peanut guy), I could've taken more photos of their carvings. They tried to recruit me for their Monday night carving club, but I think they might have been flirting. I might send my dad in my place. ;-) I did end up buying a "wood spirit" carving, the face of which looked oddly Ent-like. One carver said every time he tried to carve a face, it looked evil. The other carver said, "You gotta get the good wood." Uh huh. I exited stage right.

I'll be back up to the Fair this weekend with the kids. I'm sure I'll have another memory card full of blury from the kiddie side of the park. Brace yourselves. ;-)

Monday, August 22, 2005


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Sunflowers, Meadowbrook Farms, Wappingers Falls, NY

One of my favorite blogs, "As the Clever Crow Flies," had a Van Gogh Sunflowers post recently and I was reminded how much I love these impressively lofty but friendly flowers. My favorite farmer at Meadowbrook Farms allowed me into the fields for these shots.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Photo Friday Challenge: One

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One dogwood blossom, NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx, NY

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Blue skies

Took a last minute day trip to Albany, NY for the Giants training camp scrimmage against the NY Jets last weekend. Great day for a drive. Took some shots from the "scenic overlook" spots along the Taconic State Parkway in Columbia County. My whole life I've lived here, driven up and down the Taconic en route to college, and I never stopped at the overlooks. There always seemed to be more to see where I was going. The journey seemed inconsequential. But when you've been there and back again so many times, maybe Point A or Point B isn't quite what you thought it would be and you realize what you might be missing in between. Detours are good. Getting lost here means you'll get found over there. Over there is good, too. Over there, up on the overlooks, I found endless blue skies and distant mountain views. Nature's version of the blue light special.

An overlook isn't someplace you tend to linger, good view or not. Although, by simply getting out of my car with my tripod and taking pictures, I was able to coax a few drivers out of their cars to take a better look. I even took a picture of an older couple on their way back home from their own Point A. They'd never stopped either. Busy day at the overlook.

Note, I wouldn't recommend flying into the exit at 70mph. The exit ramp was obviously designed back in the dark ages when folks actually drove 55mph. I guess you're not supposed to be driving that quickly up there. It's the country, afterall. Slow down, you move too fast, etc.

Here's a few shots from the trip. Those are the Catskill mountains in the distance, beyond the pines. I'll spare you the Chad Pennington fan shots I took. An equally impressive sight, but his eyes weren't quite as blue. ;-)

p.s. These are untouched...the sky was really this blue!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Let's Go Mets!

To help cheer on my beloved Mets in their run for a wild card playoff spot, I offer these.

Let's Go Mets!!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

From the Aquarium

Monday, August 01, 2005

Random photos from Boston Trip

Been a tough few weeks here in the Woods. My dad's been in the ICU for two weeks and I haven't been out taking photos. Here's a few from a trip to Boston last year for the Lord of the Rings Museum Exhibit. Wonderful family trip.