was it the batter?

"Farm at Montfoucault 2" by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) French Impressionist & Neo-Impressionist Painter
“Farm at Montfoucault 2” by Camille Pissarro

Still waiting for some snow here in southeastern Connecticut. Still wondering what on earth gave me a very bad case of food poisoning. And wondering if I will be well enough to fly to North Carolina on Sunday as planned…

Waiting for test results to see what mowed me down… I’m guessing, by process of elimination, that it was the pumpkin muffin batter I licked off the spoon or the easy-over eggs I had at the restaurant. Of course I’ve been doing research online.

A post written by a 27-year-old woman proudly asserted that she had been licking the spoon when baking all her life and had never got food poisoning in spite of her mother’s dire warnings. Well, I have, too, for 58 years, and, a word to the wise, I will never ever do it again!!!

Tim and I ate all the same things in the days leading up to my illness, except for licking the batter spoon and except for having scrambled eggs when I had mine over-easy. I will never order over-easy eggs again. Tim did not get sick!

In fact, he’s been taking very good care of me. Laundry, dishes, meals for himself, taking me to the emergency room and then to the gastroenterologist. This is day four and I’m doing much better, still resting and sleeping a lot. The doctor wasn’t sure if I’d be well enough by Sunday to make the much-anticipated trip south to see Katie and her folks. Keeping my fingers crossed!

teaching our children

dave.farm.aid

This might be a good time to remember that we should not be asking why “real” food costs so much, but rather, why is processed food so cheap? This reminded me of one of my posts from last year – facts and figures about how we spend money on food that truly startled me when I first learned of them. See: food shopping. Yes, we need to teach our children well!

Flåm Railway

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After we got off the train at Myrdal, we got onto the Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana), “a steep railway taking you past spectacular waterfalls, in and out of snow-capped mountains and ending up by the Aurlandsfjord.” The little village of Flåm is 2838′ (865m) below Myrdal and the train ride took about an hour.

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There was a stop along the ride where we were allowed to get off the train and take pictures of the Kjosfossen Waterfall. Both ends of the train were still part way in the tunnels. Norway seems to be the land of tunnels and waterfalls, and presumably, trolls.

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Kjosfossen Waterfall

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The total fall is 738′ (225m). In the picture below there is a woman in a red dress who came out of nowhere to sing and dance for the passengers. She gives a little perspective about the size of this magnificent waterfall.

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~~~

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back on the train and more scenic glimpses

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yours truly (cold, but having the time of my life!)

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the little farm is in the late afternoon shadow of a nearby mountain

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Apparently Norway is home to nine of the world’s 20 highest waterfalls. High or low, we found them cascading out of the mountains everywhere. No matter how many we saw they continued to dazzle us with their allure.

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When we arrived in Flåm, we checked in at the Flåmsbrygga Hotel and then had a scrumptious Viking-style dinner at the Ægir Brewery & Pub. It was very late when we headed for bed, yet it was still light out. The picture above was taken from our hotel balcony and was the last breathtaking scene I savored before falling asleep.

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
(A Child’s Garden of Verses)

Viking Ship Museum

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on the road to Oslo ~ a farmhouse, barn and food storehouse
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at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo

In 834 two important Viking women were buried in the 72′ (22m) long Oseberg ship (below), which had been built of oak around 820. The deck and mast were made of pine, and the ship could be sailed or rowed by 30 people. It was decorated with elaborate wood carvings of animals.

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oars ready for use
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rudder and tiller on left
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holes for the oars
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rudder and tiller
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carvings on the stern

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After examining the ship from below we climbed some stairs up to a viewing balcony so we could see the inside of the Oseberg.

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Then we went around the corner to another viewing balcony and saw the Gokstad ship, which was built around 850. After about 50 years of exploring and raiding a rich and powerful Viking was buried with it.

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the “Gokstad”
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this part of the mast reminds me of Thor’s hammer
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a wagon found on one of the ships
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not much is left of the “Tune”

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Also at the museum were displays of artifacts found buried with the ships, but they were behind glass so it wasn’t possible to get clear pictures. It was pretty awe-inspiring imagining what life was like back in the 800s in the Viking Age. Much more information can be found on the museum website: Viking Ship Museum

Next stop: Bergen Railway from Oslo to Myrdal.

cows and sunflowers

7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
Buttonwood Farm ~ 7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut

Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young, when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures.
~ Thomas de Quincey
(Confessions of an English Opium-Eater)

7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
pesky flies ~ 7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut

At Buttonwood Farm, 14 acres of sunflowers are grown to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, a non-profit organization devoted to making wishes possible for children with life-threatening medical conditions.  100% of the $5 donation made when one buys a bouquet of these sunflowers goes directly to the foundation, a worthy cause.

7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut

Tim & I spent a pleasant afternoon there, even if it was hot and humid, meeting cows and taking a tractor ride through the sunflower field!  We enjoyed our cheerful bouquet on our dining room table for the week following.

7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut

I have the sunflower, in a way.
~ Vincent van Gogh
(Letter to Theo van Gogh, January 22, 1889)

7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut
7.21.13 ~ Griswold, Connecticut

oh deer!

1.27.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 1.27.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Not too long ago my friend Kathy, over at Lake Superior Spirit, looked around her little house in the snowy Michigan woods for colorful or meaningful objects to take outside and put in different places in the snow for a photo shoot. She suggested I might try it sometime.

Well, sad to say, it hasn’t been snowing much here in southeastern Connecticut since the winter of 2011, which was the snowiest winter we ever had. But I decided to carefully pack up the most meaningful of my objects, a large doe figurine, and head out to hunt for a little patch of relatively unspoiled snow.

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1.27.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We wound up at Haley Farm State Park and chose a few spots on a crumbling, lovely old stone wall. For the first picture, which is my favorite, I positioned my doe on a stone that had fallen in front of the wall. For the second spot I put her up on top of the wall so she was a little above the camera. Tim suggested the third setting, placing her on the ground in front of the wall. The little birds came from home, too, as they are usually perched with the doe on a special shelf in my room.

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1.27.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

It was fun, Kathy! Then something wonderful happened after we had packed up my precious doe and her little bird friends. A few people came along with their dogs, who were off-leash. Some of my readers may know that I’ve been afraid of large dogs ever since one bit me when I was a toddler. But I watch Cesar Millan on the Dog Whisperer all the time, trying to understand dog behavior and overcome my deeply entrenched fears.

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1.27.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

With my deer totem safely in my bag and my husband by my side I watched in awe as three dogs, who seemed to belong to several different couples, greeted each other and asked each other to play. All agreed and a fast game of chase ensued! I suppose dog owners see this kind of thing all the time but for me it was amazing. The dogs were running like the wind, making huge circles around a tree, and barking for the joy and thrill of being alive. Their energy was boundless, and they whooshed close by us several times. I wasn’t afraid! I could interpret their behavior correctly! Tim took the camera and tried to get a few pictures. I will never forget this experience!

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1.27.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

River Valley Farm

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River Valley Farm created by Sandra Bender Fromson ~ 10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Warren, a wee faerie of farming, lives in this house with his wife Elvina and children Lily and Eldon. The house was built by his grandfather with stones cleared from the farmland more than 100 years ago. Raised on the farm, Warren and his family continue the age-old traditions of working the land, growing vegetables, and tending the orchard. Elvina bakes pies using the enormous apples that grow in Miss Florence’s orchard. Although great for the delicious vegetables and fruit, the gardens and the orchard are favored painting locations for the artists as well.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

covered with boulders

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Winter is well over the half-way point and we’ve had no snow to show for it. After last winter’s record-breaking snowfall amounts this is a bit unsettling. We did have a lot of snow and power outages for that freak Halloween Nor’easter in October, but that was an autumn storm, not truly a winter storm… What strange weather.

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Bulbs are coming up months too early. Witch hazel is blooming at Mystic Seaport. Tim & I went for a walk on Saturday at Haley Farm State Park, looking for photo opportunities. The birds were chirping away as if it was a sunny spring day! This time it was warm enough for my fingers to hold the camera and take 86 pictures. Perhaps I should have tried a landscape setting for a few of them. But I’m still getting used to holding it properly and finding the shutter button at the same time…

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Caleb Haley of Haley Farm

Caleb Haley owned and farmed this land in Noank, Connecticut, and took on the daunting task of building stone walls between the pastures all over the property. The crumbling foundations of his house, stables and barns remain. In October of 1898, Walter Hill came from New York to visit his friend here and wrote an account of their time together. Excerpts following are from the Haley Farm Souvenir Book, found transcribed at the Groton History Online website.

2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

If there is any one thing in which my friend delights more than another, it is the works of improvement which he is carrying forward at Haley Farm, Long Point; so breakfast dispatched we, of course, drove at once to the locality of the improvement now going forward.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

It may be mentioned here, that the land in this vicinity and for miles in all directions is covered with boulders, boulders large and boulders small, sometimes ledges, but boulders in all shapes, boulders in all positions, boulders on boulders—everywhere. The first settlers simply removed or cleared the smaller rocks, such as a horse could easily drag out of the way, leaving hundreds of heavier ones half embedded in the soil in all directions.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Thus thousands upon thousands of acres of splendid soil have been fit for naught but cattle runs of natural pasturage. To clear such land of everything to obstruct the free running of a plow, is a herculean task and it is this wrestling with the stern face of nature, that I found to be the delight of my host. A forenoon spent in watching and assisting in the operations, found me deeply interested. A device called a “Stone-puller” was quite fetching, and was the invention of a near-by resident whom I was disappointed to learn had never realized much out of it, for without it, such operations as are here going forward, would be prohibited by the question of cost. Mr. H— has 428 acres of just such land as described; skirting the shores of L. I. Sound with deep coves running up on either side of his property; forming between them, Long Point, which is all included in the Haley Farm, with the exception of a tract on the extreme point, which is owned by parties who started to boom it for Summer cottage purposes, but came to a dead-lock with the town authorities regarding approaches, and who should bear their cost.
~ Walter Hill

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

According to the the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection website:

In 1963 efforts to protect the farm from being sold to developers began. The State of Connecticut agreed to match funds raised for the purchase of the farm. The Groton Open Space Commission led a successful fund raising effort that led to the purchase of the property. Haley Farm became an official Connecticut State Park in July of 1970.

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We found several burls on the outstretched branches of this tree:

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I think this is a private boathouse across the water.  I thought it looked especially cheerful and welcoming!

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

So we had a good time poking around our local historic “ruins” and enjoying the scenic views of Palmer Cove. It was nice enjoying a spring day in February, but I’m starting to get a little nervous about what weather we have in store for us this summer. For now, though, perhaps I can manage to stay in the present… It is what it is and what will be will be!

Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Haley Farm State Park ~ 2.18.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut