Serene Summer Walks

Chirped by Cass and Tina

The past few months have been busy, with our fledglings sent home or visiting over the summer. Our Empty Nester lives have been all aflutter with family activities. Routines certainly change when all the chicks are home! One thing that remained consistent during these crazy times was our commitment to our serene summer walks.

I like to walk very early in the morning, when it is still cool and peaceful. There is a convenient walking path right near my home. Besides getting my steps and exercising the dogs, walking gives me time to think about the day ahead, and put worries or deadlines into perspective. I often think about loved ones who are still with us and those who have passed, and relive fond memories along the way.

Serene Summer WalksTina has a quiet residential loop by her home and a wooded path connecting to a neighboring community. Her walks happen later in the day, often when her husband (now working remotely) has a break in his meetings. For her, walks are a chance to connect with her husband, stay active – and make the blog dog ecstatically happy.

Though the purpose, place, and timing may be different, we both get a lot of pleasure from the serenity of our daily walks. Here are a few highlights from recent months…

Sunrises and Sunsets

Serene Summer WalksI love the way the morning sun comes up over the trees and makes the fields sparkle with shimmers of dew on the leaves and spider webs. Tina is drawn to the golden glow that lights everything up just before sunset.

Wildflower Wonders

Wildflower WondersWhile stretches of our paths seem awash with weeds, a transformation occurs as the summer marches on. Unexpected pops of color and texture all get their time in the sun. These little surprises brighten our days…

Glorious Gardens

Nature isn’t the only impressive gardener around. My path runs by one home in particular whose yard is a continual marvel to me. The time and energy they put into their gardens make for a very plentiful harvest and a beautiful space. I always wish my own vegetable patch would look that way.

Friends Along the Way

Sometimes we get lucky and encounter a few friends on our walks. They watch from the fields, peek out from the bushes, or just carry on about their business. Good thing our dogs are always on a leash!

Obstacle courses

Flora and FaunaOn certain mornings there is a section of my route that becomes the “Game of Frogger,” as I try to steer clear of dozens of leopard slugs making their way across the path. Similarly, after a good rain, Tina’s trail through the woods sprouts an amazing variety of delicate mushrooms. Her mom has a fondness for woodland fungi, so she tries to capture them in photos before the blog dog tramples them.

Serene Summer WalksSurprise Sightings

A few times during the summer I was fortunate enough to watch a hot air balloon float by on a sunrise tour. So serene and peaceful… its occupants getting a bird’s eye view completely distinct from my own perspective. I wonder what features of the landscape catch their eye?

Walking Companions

Tired Pups

Our walks would not be complete without our furry beasts by our sides. There are certain areas they always need to wander off to inspect, mark, and take a sniff or two. They enjoy greeting or growling at other pedestrians and pooches that we happen upon in our travels. Every outing is a source of fascinating new adventures! They are our personal trainers and our inspiration – for exercise, attentiveness, and knowing when to take a break…

Now that fall is upon us, the daylight hours are getting shorter and colder. Our walking schedules are adapting accordingly. The scenery changes with the season as well. Pennsylvania foliage adds its own vibrant pallet of colors. Do you often take walks? We hope that you, too, are taking time to appreciate all the little moments that make each one special.

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Serene Summer Walks

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Cheep Trills from Our Quarantined Kitchens

Chirped by Tina and Cass

One thing many of us are dabbling in during the Covid-19 lockdown is home cooking. Maybe we have to substitute a few ingredients, since we can’t run out willy-nilly to the grocery store every other day. Personally we’re getting much better at planning our meals ahead of time, so that our once-weekly (or less) shopping can go the distance between trips. We’re also getting good at searching for recipes online that use ingredients we already have on hand. For this month’s Cheep Trills, we decided to share some of our favorite recipes from our quarantined kitchens… Some are easy, some more elaborate, but all are tasty if you’re looking for a little inspiration for next week’s menu… Hope you enjoy!

From the Sea…

Tuna Kabobs (Cass)

Favorite recipes from quarantined kitchensThis shish kabob marinade can be used for any kind of cubed meat/seafood you wish to “kabob”: chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or our favorite – tuna steaks. Mix up the marinade, add your choice of protein, and let it sit for three to four hours in the fridge. An hour before you want to assemble the kabobs, cut up your vegetables and add them to the marinade, too. Let sit. We usually use a red onion, peppers, and mushrooms in ours. Skewer your marinated meat and vegetables and lay directly on the grill rack. We use the leftover marinade to baste the kabobs as they grill. Once they’ve cooked, we like to disassemble it all into a large bowl, so people can pick out the goodies they wish to eat. Continue reading

Easter Gatherings – From a Distance!

Chirped by Tina

The stay-at-home orders can’t keep the holidays from arriving on schedule, and it’s Easter weekend already! While we can’t do our big family get-togethers in person this year, here are a few last minute tips for enjoying a fun Easter gathering – from a distance!

Zoom It!

Whatever your preferred virtual meeting platform is, schedule a big family meetup on Easter Sunday! Where else do they all need to be this weekend, right? Zoom, WebEx, Skype, FaceTime… whatever works and can handle multiple families joining in. We’ve been having a great time doing Zoom and FaceTime happy hours with friends and family. Facetime is easy if everyone has an iPhone, but for the Android users, sign up for one of the other services. We successfully hosted 14 people on a book club Zoom meeting a couple of weeks ago, and it worked quite well! A lot of students have upgraded Zoom accounts that will allow unlimited meeting lengths, unlike the free version, that cuts you off at 40 minutes. Continue reading

March’s Cheep Trills – 10 Ways to Keep Busy at Home

Chirped by Cass and Tina

We hope that all of you and your family and friends are doing well during this crazy time. So many of us had to adjust our work, school and lifestyles due to this virus. This month’s Cheep Trills post details how we are keeping busy at home in this new norm. We have listed five things we are doing for others, and five things we are doing for ourselves.

For Others:

Homemade Masks

Homemade MasksTina and her crafting groups have been researching and sewing homemade cloth masks for health care and other essential workers, as well as friends and family. There is some research that questions the utility of cloth masks. However, healthcare and safety specialists that they’ve talked to say that at the very least, the homemade masks:

  1. physically remind people not to touch their faces,
  2. visually remind people to give each other a wide berth, and
  3. protect other people from the bulk of any cough or sneeze that the wearer might project into the air.

If you want to join the cause, check online for local Mask Makers groups – we have a really well-organized Facebook group near us: Mask Makers of Doylestown, PA, but there are others out there. Ours has a porch pick-up/drop-off spot where you can donate materials, grab more supplies, or drop off finished masks. Also check out this Continue reading

February’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Cass and Tina

Oh February! Even though it had an extra day this year, it still seemed to fly by. The weather didn’t help, being very mild, warm and wet here in PA – hurrying us along towards spring. Our shortest month did, however, yield some efficient days of crafting, blogging and catching up. We squeezed a lot in! Here are our top ten favorites from this productive month…

Favorite Books

February’s choices for both book clubs had mixed reviews from our members. Cass’s book club read Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood. It describes a mother in the ’70s trying to save her daughter (born with Downs Syndrome) from a cruel institution and manipulative in-laws. The novel is based loosely on a 1971 exposé of horrific care inside a Massachusetts “school for the feeble-minded”. A guest speaker came to talk about her adult son, who has severe autism. The writing was good, the discussion interesting. Some of us were dubious about how quickly Lucy adapted and rebounded from her first two neglected years. But hey, kids are resilient, right? Continue reading