Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fairy Rings

We appparently had some other visitors night before last---fairies! When I went out to get the paper yesterday, I saw two large "fairy circles" or that's what my mother used to call them when they'd appear in the yard on the farm. These two big circles were made up of cream and brown colored mushrooms--I have no idea what the type of mushrooms they are--and I'm not tasting them to see!

I looked around for the fairies, but they had apparently left before I got there.

I walked by the large magnolia tree and noticed that the seed pods were beginning to mature. They're now sort of pink and beginning to form the seeds which will be bright red when they mature. The tree is absolutely full of these "cones" which are 3 or 4 inches long and a couple of inches across.

This native magnolia (called the "grandiflora") keeps its leaves all year round--well, actually, it DROPS its leaves all year round! You have to rake underneath the tree every day the whole year if you want to keep your yard free of leaves, but we just let them drop and stay there. The limbs grow naturally close to the ground so the falling leaves are not really a problem if you let them grow that way--most people cut off the low limbs and then you have the problem with the leaves. I love the tree so much though, it's really not a problem for me--nothing says American South as much as the magnolia tree does.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Morning Visitor

I had or saw some "visitors" here this morning!

This bird--a sharp shinned hawk or a Cooper's hawk --decided to settle on my deck overlooking the river this morning. He/she sat in that same position for a couple of hours--just looking around. A friend in the biology department at William and Mary said the bird was checking out my bird feeders. He had no idea whether he/she would stay around or leave and never return. No matter, it was quite an experience to see this bird on the deck.

The other visitors have been in and out for the past couple of weeks--dolphins. They came in about a week ago-and there were dozens and dozens of them going upriver. I kept looking for them to come back, but I can't stand around all day looking out at the river! So--I don't know what happened to them. My guests were at the Riverwalk Restaurant last night and said they saw dolphins while they were having dinner.

Today, a couple of Navy ships came in at the time we were having breakfast--and the dolphins were playing in the wakes of the tugs that came in to support the ships. I took a lot of pictures--but you can't see anything but some waves. Maybe I'll get some pics to put on here at some point! They are so entertaining to watch.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


The tropical storm, Hanna, passed by without much effect at all here. We had rain on and off all day yesterday—and some wind–but not much more than a rainy windy day! My guests were already planning to go to the Mariners' Museum for the Monitor Center exhibit--or to Colonial Williamsburg to visit the Wallace Gallery--again, all inside. A few leaves blown off the trees--and that's about all it was.

Today, it’s gorgeous! The beach is already full of people–and I’m heading out there myself in a while.

We did not get enough rain to quell the peat fires in the Great Dismal Swamp, but, as I've mentioned before, they are not causing quite the problems that they were a few months ago.

The Alliance, a 3-masted schooner has been here all summer and takes guests out on cruises (schooneralliance.com is the website). Today, it came on this side of the bridge–and I happened to see it.

The past few weeks, I’ve been enjoying fried green tomatoes. Several people asked me for the recipe, so I thought I’d put it on here. I don’t fry them though–I bake them. They take less attention, they don’t smell up the kitchen, they don’t spatter, and they’re healthier too, I guess.

Baked Green Tomatoes, from the York River Inn B&B

4 to 6 green tomatoes, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices
(I really prefer the ones that have already started to turn–not completely green, but sort of orange, but before they’ve gotten soft inside–still very firm--this picture shows them too green in my opinion on the left , near perfect in the center, and way too ripe on the right for this dish)

2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup evaporated milk or cream
1/3 cup water
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 T vegetable oil

salt and pepper

1 c flour
1/2 c corn meal
1 t sugar
1 t dry mustard
1 t onion powder


Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a shallow bowl ,whisk together the beaten eggs, milk, water, Worcestershire sauce, and oil.
Put the flour and meal in a shallow bowl along with the other spices, and mix well.
Dip each slice into egg mixture, then into flour mixture.
Arrange tomatoes in large, shallow, greased baking pans, or bake in batches. I usually use a large glass casserole dish sprayed with Pam.
Tomatoes should not touch. Bake uncovered in 350 oven for about 30 minutes, turning over after about 20 minutes.

Slice them real thin (like on a Mandoline) and they’ll be very crispy; but don’t cook them as long.
This recipe makes a lot—I usually cut it in half, and I get enough to serve 6 people generously.People have heard of "fried green tomatoes" from the movie, and everybody wants to try them even if they’ve never had them before..