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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Hawk in the Tree

This fine fellow was hanging out in a tree just down the street from me, being harassed by a few crows.

Quite a handsome creature, wouldn't you say?
He sat watching me while I took pictures, and then was chased away by the crows.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Two Hearts Beet as One

When I was younger, I remember my mother making heart-shaped meatloaf for our family for Valentine's Day.  She says she only did it once or twice, but I seem to remember more frequency than that -- it obviously made quite an impression, with that heart-shaped border of ketchup.  When I moved out of the house and started living on my own, I took up the heart-shaped meatloaf as a yummy, simple, and slightly odd way to celebrate the holiday, and I've been making heart-shaped meatloaf semi-regularly for Valentine's Day for years.
This year, however, with sickness in the house and lots of appointments and errands, I didn't have time to make meatloaf.  Instead, I made:
That's right -- heart-shaped beets!  I sliced them thin, steamed them, and then used a cookie cutter to cut small hearts out of the beat slices.
These were fresh, local beets and they steamed up soft and sweet (oh, so sweet!).  They were quite a success and may become a new favourite Valentine treat. 
(And just think of all the clever "heart + beet" valentine quips that could be developed. Two hearts beet as one!)

Valentine's Day isn't just about beets and meatloaf, though, and for those of you who need more post-Valentine's cheer, here are some beautiful roses Mr. Madley brought home for me.
Aren't they lovely?  And if you need your holiday chocolate fix (I know I did), check out last year's post (worth every single bite).

*Mr. Madley suggested the title for this post.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Twenty Thousand Inches of Nemo

I decided to post just a few pictures after all, before we lose all the images to rain and melting.

I'm not sure what the final snowfall count was.  A yardstick in our front yard measured 19 inches, but drifts were much deeper.  The shallowest snow I could find in the back yard still came over my knee-high boots, and out on the field next door, snow was thigh-high.

I love how the sun plays shadows across the snow.  Beautiful.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

This Nemo Was Not a Little Clown Fish

I suppose I should post a little storm stuff, even though I haven't yet been outside (stuck inside with the flu this week).  Therefore, everything you see here is seen through windows.  The videos show the gusty blowing snow, not during the gustiest part of the storm (Saturday morning, in fact), and some of the big machinery that came down our street (I am feeling grateful to still have an upright mailbox).
I'm skipping the before and after pictures for now, though getting some pics of the huge snow piles lining streets and driveways would be somewhat impressive.  (A BIG thanks to the Hadley DPW for working so hard and keeping our streets clear -- we appreciate it!  Also, thanks for the phone updates on the storm and the driving bans.)
I know they say there hasn't been a storm like this since 1978, but I think that is more true for Boston and the coast than for us; I could swear there was a storm here recently that gave us this much snow, though perhaps not as much wind.  Plus, this time we got to keep our electricity.
Get out and enjoy -- ski, sled, make snow angels.  Tomorrow we get rain and ice....

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Visit to the Carle

Just returned from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, wherein Mr. Madley and I enjoyed a discussion/lecture ("Eight Things You Cannot Do For Your Children") with Michael Thompson, clinical psychologist, took in the three wonderful art exhibits, and did a little shopping.

I can never recommend the ECMoPBA highly enough or frequently enough.  I have been an avid fan of Eric Carle and picture books since early in my youth, but the museum adds dimension to that and allows my love for children's books to expand.  Currently on exhibit at the Carle is an enrapturing display of Iconic Images -- a sampling from the 10,000 illustrations in the Carle's permanent collection, featuring Arnold Lobel, Eric Carle, William Steig, Mo Willems, Jules Feiffer, Trina Schart Hyman, and many other classic children's book illustrators.  I walked the exhibit twice and was just enamoured of it.
In the middle gallery, showing until mid-April, is an exhibit of Garth Williams' illustrations from E. B. White's beloved Charlotte's Web.  (As an aside, I am grateful that Charlotte's Web has not been "updated & improved" and "revisioned" with illustrations from modern illustrators.  Not that I don't love modern illustrators -- I do! -- but some books just belong with their original illustrations.)  Works include preliminary sketches and finished drawings.
In the third gallery, which I call the Carle Gallery, is a display (until Feb 24) of Eric Carle's independent art -- things he has worked on outside of his picture books.

The presentation by Michael Thompson is over, but you can still make good use of the museum and enjoy the fantastic exhibits currently being shown.  If you're worried about cost, the Goodwin Memorial Library has free-entry passes, and there are other ways to save, too.  The museum also shows movies, has a picture book library (and storytime!), provides art programs for children, presents plays and music, and has a wonderful gift shop (I can never go in without coming out with something).  Do yourself a favour a make a visit to the Carle.  If you've ever enjoyed an illustration in a book, creative word play, or learning, you'll be glad you did.

Lawns for Food

I wish more people thought like this:

Because if they did, when I finally have the time to dig up my front lawn to put in berry bushes and vegetable plants (after I have carefully planned it out), my neighbours wouldn't get upset and worried about their house values, and I could have more interesting and useful landscaping.

Want more John Green?  Take a look at this book review (The Fault in Our Stars).  Seriously -- one of my all-time favourite authors; I've been following his writing since Looking for Alaska (yes, you can get his books from the public library).  Want more online?  Check out Vlogbrothers or Crash Course.