Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a nice Thanksgiving, despite this ominous beginning. Ed read that it's nice to turn the turkey over after an hour. It would be even nicer if the juices didn't spill into the BBQ during the process. It turned out to be one of his best turkeys ever! He also, through the joy of YouTube, learned how to carve the turkey an easier and faster way!

We had the Crue crew over, which included June, Rick and Kris, Karen and Justin. They are about the closest thing we have to family here, We share a common Baltimore ancestor named Joseph Peregoy. I think we might be 6th cousins!

After we stuffed ourselves silly we went downstairs and watched football while we played pool or Bananagrams. Then we broke out the pecan pie and apple strudel and stuffed ourselves silly again! Don't you just love Thanksgiving?

Decorating the House

We spent a good part of Wednesday decorating for Christmas. We wanted the house to look pretty for Thanksgiving! It was a nice snowy day, so it made the view from the conservatory particularly inviting.

Ed was in charge of the garland for the second year in a row. He didn't like it any better, but did it with a good deal less muttering than last year. He put his library of over 600 Christmas songs on random shuffle, and we just hummed along. Coda wasn't much help, but she's so cute!

It was my job to decorate the tall tree. Ed had to help with the really high spots. This is me hours before I fell off the ladder. At some point the clasp on one of the four foot sections came undone, and the ladder collapsed while I was on it. At that time I was on the left side of the tree with my back to the fireplace. I fell backwards, missing the hearth and the window, landing on my back between the hearth and smashing the lower tree branches. I didn't hit my head on anything, amazingly, nor did I even scratch myself on the sharp corner of the hearth going down! I wrenched my leg and was in some pain later that night, but woke up Thursday morning in pretty good shape! I was really lucky! (Or was I really unlucky?)

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

I had so much to do on Tuesday, but as I started cooking I realized I couldn't find anything  in the pantry. So I got sidetracked. I spent three hours cleaning, purging and organizing the pantry. This is the after picture! I would have been to embarrassed to print the before picture even if I had had foresight to take it!

Then, I got cooking! I made a beautiful chocolate pecan pie all from scratch. Crystal will be happy to know I finally used the nice pie pan she gave me!

Monday night Ed put the turkey in a bucket with water, salt and spices to see if we would like brining it! My friend, Barb, gave us brining instructions. She's been doing it for years and we had never even heard of it. We're always the last to catch on!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

33 Years Together

Ed and I celebrated our 33rd Wedding Anniversary Friday night by going to a bed and breakfast in Virginia for the night. As Ed is always looking at new ways to get places, he took me the scenic route--over the Potomac by ferry!

The small inn was L’Auberge Proven├žale, in White Post, VA. (http://www.laubergeprovencale.com/). We had a lovely room with a nice sitting area and large bathroom.


We stopped at the factory outlet malls in Leesburg on the way, and had a very good time, judging by how much money we spent! It was nice resting by the fire before we went down to dinner.

We ate at the inn, so the cuisine was French. This meant that we barely had any idea what we were ordering. Between each course they brought out little surprises. This was a carrot, foie gras and a scallop.

And this was citrus drink with a pouch of dry ice in it! It was delicious and beautiful at the same time.

Saturday morning we enjoyed the eggs Benedict together before going exploring.
We stopped in Middleburg for a little antique shopping before moving on to the Civil War Battlefield in Manassas, Virginia. I'd been hoping to visit that site since fourth grade, when I read an Encyclopedia Brown detective story in which that battlefield played a key role.

We took the walking tour of the first battle, and the driving tour of the second battle, ending up at the old stone bridge, where it all began.

A little stop at Costco on the way home helped us get 10,000 steps on Saturday, not nearly enough to counteract the rich food we ate this weekend! It's a good thing we only have an anniversary once a year!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pearl Strings Going to the Senior Center

The Pearl Strings are going to the South Carroll Senor Center Thursday, December 11th, at 12:30 p.m. We hope to see you there! (They'll let you in even if you're under 60!)

We unwisely chose the coldest day of the year to take our pictures. We were happy we found a few shots where the wind wasn't blowing!

There was some whining going on, but we forgot it all when we went back down in the basement and started making beautiful music together!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Who Loves Coda?

Ed loves Coda! He is cleaning her teeth, as she has a lot of tartar buildup for such a young dog. She is so sweet to put up with it. It's like she knows he's trying to help her. Afterwards she gives him a loving look and says "Thanks, Dad."

Christmas with the Pearl Strings

The Pearl Strings have also been enjoying recording themselves. Unfortunately, Ed only has time to mix one album, so I have ventured into mixing land. It is not for the faint of heart!

However, with a little help from my friends, we also have a Christmas album out this year. If you'd like to hear the Pearl Strings, click on the link below! You can download the entire album with a click of the mouse!

http://whistlingprairie.blogspot.com/p/pearl-strings-christmas.html

Christmas Day on the Prairie

Whistling Prairie has just wrapped up it's latest CD. We've been sending them out with our Christmas letters for 10 years now. Every year I think it's the last one, and then we do one more!

We're running out of ideas for titles. This one shows the family in their traditional Christmas morning pose at the top of the stairs waiting to see if Santa came.

Ed finished the mixing a few weeks earlier than normal so we could send it off and have someone else print it for us!

If you'd like a sneak peak, or just to download it to your ipod, check it out at:

http://www.whistlingprairie.com/christmas-day-on-the-prairie/

The Sisterhood

The Sisterhood was a great title for a book club called the Book it Sisters. It was an ambitious book spanning several centuries. Some of the ladies thought there were too many characters to keep straight, but it was an interesting premise. Megan hosted us Monday evening and gave us some very yummy tapas in honor of the Spanish setting of the book. Check out our review at:

http://bookitsisters.com/posts/

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New Balusters

We've been thinking about getting wrought iron balusters for the house for several years now. One of us has been thinking about it more than the other one, however, but we finally got around to it.

Look what a difference it made in the back stairs! It's like we have a new house. It makes the hand railing itself look even prettier!

We have a lot of balusters but our contractor, C&S Ornamental Iron, did the entire job in a day and a half.

 It did, however take them 8 weeks to fit us into their schedule. We think it was worth waiting for.

It made the biggest difference in the front staircase.

It's so dramatic that is takes me by surprise when I walk out of the bedroom door in the morning. Even the one of us that was dragging his feet is happy about the result! And I'm completely out of any more ideas on how we could spend any more money on home improvement!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dog at Dusk

Coda and I were all dressed up and ready to walk when it started to sleet a little--just enough for Suzanne to cancel. However, Coda could not be put off!

By the time we got down to the end of the street it was getting dark. I took a nice picture of Coda looking over the reservoir in the waning light of day.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Scripture Pictures

In Activity Day on Wednesday we had a picture taking scavenger hunt. The girls divided into teams and were given one camera per team. They were sent out into the church to take pictures from a list of scriptures they were given.

Some scriptures were easy to think of ideas for--like prayer.

Other scriptures took a little more creativity. This looks like the water of life to me!

The winning team was rewarded with a pat on the back and their picture was taken while posing victoriously in front of the blackboard. They had an appropriate picture for 15 out of 17 scriptures!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Obstacles in our Path

There's always something new on the fire trail. Today it was a giant tree with a lot of branches. It took down a couple of other trees when it fell in our path. Luckily, we were not there when it fell, but we'll be climbing over it for the next 6 months at least. The City of Baltimore only comes about twice a year to clear out the dead trees. The good thing about this one is that it is at the base of Dead Man's Hill, which we skip when we're short on time. We'll only have to climb over it when we're serious about getting our 5 miles!

We switched dogs for the picture!

Hospital Benefit Dinner

Saturday night Ed and I went to a dinner/fundraiser to benefit Carroll County Hospital. We got Ed a new bow tie to go with his tuxedo. Thanks to YouTube we were able to figure out how to tie it, too! It was our first foray into the world of the no-clip bow tie.

The gala had a Downton Abby theme, and they even had a bagpiper call us to dinner. The dinner had two main courses, salmon and Cornish game hen, the kind of feast you'd expect in a manor house.

The ladies' maids added an air of elegance that made you feel like you'd stepped back in time. It made me want to ask them to arrange my hair! Sadly, if I'd lived back in those days I would have been on the wrong side of the hair brush!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween, or Dinner and a Show

Ed and I went out to dinner at City Cafe in Baltimore last night. It was a very good restaurant, that had a very scary waiter dressed as a clown from the series American Horror Story. I'm glad I haven't been watching that!

Afterwards we went to a house concert for Charm City Junction at Brad Kolodner's row home in the Hampden district of Baltimore. They are a terrific band, and we enjoyed them very much. They asked everyone to dress as their favorite fiddle tune. Brad was Cotton-Eyed Joe, Patrick was Whisky before Breakfast, and Alex was Forked Deer. Sean, the button Accordion player was an Adjunct professor--no fiddle tune there. Check them out at:

http://youtu.be/SeidaPGGYPo

End and I went as Harvest Home.

The second set was performed by Hoot & Holler, a fiddler and guitar player from Boston who sang as well as played. They did such a great job on their original song, Cigarettes and Coffee that we almost wanted to pick up a couple of new vices!

Check them out at:

Cigarettes and Coffee