Monday, March 31, 2014

Exploring the Lake

The water levels at the lake are still really low, so we've been taking advantage of it by walking the shoreline as much as possible.

During summer pool the water would be to the top of those piers....

This guy may have been sunning himself or he may have been dead....  I'm not sure but I wasn't going to poke him and find out.

Would you have poked him?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

That's a Big Rock

The other day we did a great cache called Big Rock in Kentucky.  I've had this cache on my "to-do" list for awhile so I was excited to finally get a chance at it.  It's located at the Land Between the Lakes region of Kentucky Lake and it's considered a rather challenging cache due to the hilly terrain.

We started off by crossing a land bridge onto an island, then crossing another land bridge onto the main land. 

The day we chose was bright and sunny, but the winds blowing in across the bay were fierce and biting!  Let's just say it was a quick walk across the exposed areas.

Along the way we saw a couple of survey markers.  I always like running across those.

We also saw a trail marker to the Nature Center, but that wasn't in our sights for that day.

 We crossed the second land bridge, climbed down some wooden steps and then up into the timber line...

I love walking through the woods and having a path like this to follow.  It just seems to call to me...

After walking for several blocks the GPS pointed us north and we cut into the woods.  Ahead of us lay several ravines and then high hills.  We had quite a bit of climbing to do!

We reached 2 summits and still had this ahead of us....

Once we reached the top ridgeline, we walked the high peak until we came upon this outcropping.  There was a narrow walkway across, with shear sides dropping off on 3 ends.  It took some careful footwork....
 Success - I found the cache!

Chablis was not about to be outdone and insisted on walking out to the edge and enjoying the awesome view...

The only problem with climbing up is that eventually we have to go back down....

The first section down was extremely steep and we really took our time.  Walking sticks sure do come in handy....

See that outcropping on the upper right side?  That's where we were just at.

Louie and Chablis taking a break.  We had all worked up a sweat and the coats had come off.

Heading down the second section of trail...

And finally back on solid ground. 

We had a great morning in the woods.  It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to make the 3 mile round trip climb.  We also stopped and looked for one more cache on the way out but couldn't come up with it.  But that was ok - it was still a fun morning!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review - An Invitation to the Garden

An Invitation to the Garden by Michael Devine, Rizzoli New York, 2014

Recently released by Rizzoli Publishing, An Invitation to the Garden is 192 pages of beautiful and easy to execute outdoor dining ideas.  I liked so many things about this book from the gorgeous decorating ideas to the simple meal plans, and especially the stunning full page, color photographs.

Author Michael Devine has an internationally recognized line of hand-printed fabrics and his textiles and gardens have been featured in many print and online magazines.  Who better than Mr. Devine to share the thrill of outdoor dining?  If you're intimidated by the thought of throwing an outdoors party, then this book will help you to conquer your fears.  And if you're an accomplished party thrower, I think you'll still find features of this book that you can incorporate into your next social gathering.  This book has been released just in time for your spring and summer gatherings!

An Invitation to the Garden starts off with a chapter where lilac is the star, front and center.  Michael introduces us to his garden prize - the bagatelle - which is a refurbished garden shed where he likes to entertain.  He stapled a pagoda fabric from his own collection to the walls and utilized lilac centerpieces.  He then coupled lilac with an Asian theme of porcelain monkeys and used dinnerware that featured monkeys and pagodas.  For a finishing touch he poured lilac infused water.  Doesn't that all sound heavenly?  Breathe deep because the scent of lilac is drifting in the air.

In the chapter on hosting a breakfast in the garden, Michael picked early June for his intimate party because of the profusion of roses as they exploded with color and fragrance.  He chose matching napkins and bud vases, accented with turquoise china and flea market finds.  As a finishing touch and a nod to his heritage, he used his great grandmothers silverware.   A simple yet elegant meal of eggs topped with rose petals, bacon and rhubarb muffins completed the setting.   The photographs of this exquisite table showing roses dripping with dew and bobbing gently in the breeze made me wish I were sitting there as well.

Also included are menu's tailored to each party with accompanying recipes.  Some prime examples are the salmon tart, lemon soda, chilled vegetables, savory mini muffins, gooseberry sauce, sea salt chocolate honey caramels, mushroom soup, and scrambled eggs with rose petals.  My personal favorite meal was the one presented in the chapter called Early Autumn Dinner.  How delicious does this sound.... 
  • tomato soup
  • puree of turnips, carrots and potatoes
  • roasted rosemary chicken au Jus
  • pumpkin cake roll
Let me tell you, the chicken looks crispy and succulent.  Oh, and the pumpkin roll..... well, the frosting looks creamy and the plump walnuts covering it had my mouth watering!

Scattered throughout the book are TIP boxes with wonderful garden and entertainment ideas such as
  • warmed hand towels heated with sage
  • dry rose petals for home made potpourri
  • ice cubes frozen with bachelor's buttons
  • grow potatoes in your garden by staking them
  • use fireplace ashes as repellant for slugs and snails
  • create topiaries using fresh vegetables
  • fill black garbage bags with leaves in the fall to create compost

An Invitation to the Garden makes outdoor entertaining a breeze and beautifully showcases colorful tablescapes and centerpieces, no fuss starters and easy to serve drink ideas.  It features settings and meals for a wide variety of occasions such as breakfasts, luncheons, drink parties, alfresco evening dinners and holidays.  You will learn some of the magic of incorporating fresh flowers, herbs and even butterflies into your decorating themes and how to create centerpieces in winter when garden blooms are sparse or non-existent.  Find out how to sprinkle your table with gorgeous color and textures.  It's possible to entertain with flair and yet keep your budget in check by utilizing affordable options like EBAY tables, Ikea chairs and slip covers made from linens.  The possibilities are easier than you'd think as the author shows how to take items from your garden to create a feast for the eyes as well as the palette.  It also introduced me to the delight of a bagatelle.  Well organized and inspiring, this book makes me want to attempt an outdoors party soon.  An Invitation to the Garden?  I accept!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.   Get your copy here

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.  Photo's credited to Michael Devine with John Gruen.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Silo Overlook

The other day we did a geocache at a cool location at LBL in Kentucky.  It was called Silo Overlook.  I really like caches that take you to an interesting location, and even though we've been going to Kentucky Lake for years, we've never gone to see the Silo Overlook.

Wonderful old, but locked, grate door....

At one time there were 3 pavilion's at the top of the silo that afforded you a fantastic view of Lake Barkley.

It was a sunny clear day, but with a cold, brisk wind that roared in from the lake. 

The old wooden walkway to the top of the overlook has fallen apart and is now partially dismantled.  No way to get to the top anymore, which was a shame, because I would have loved to go up there.

Before we left, we took the opportunity to do a little phooning.

Even though we couldn't climb to the top of the silo anymore, we did find the geocache that was hidden there.  This was a great location and a fun place to visit.  Plus it felt good to be out walking in the woods again.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kentucky Lake Treasures

One of the best things about early spring at the lake is walking along the shoreline while the lake levels are still low.  They haven't started raising the water to summer pool yet, so we like to walk the shore and see what kind of treasures have washed up since last fall.

Yesterday we walked about 3 miles and found some good stuff.  Want to see?

Chablis was loaded down with goodies....

A nice boat seat cushion, 2 boat buoys, a huge fish basket, a bucket, 2 fake owls....

another bucket, assorted fishing lures and bobbers, a 1964 Pepsi bottle in really good condition, a glass Gatorade bottle from the mid 1980's, an old mason jar, a brown bottle of some kind, a cool looking blue beer bottle and an old tin "Mr. Peanut" lid....

And a gorgeous turtle shell.  This one is a beauty!

I love walking around and looking for treasures.  I never know what we're going to find.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tony's Vintage Hand Stamped Spoon

My son, Tony from over at Tony's Nutrition Tips, recently celebrated  his 21st birthday.  Tony eats a very healthy diet and as part of his daily fitness routine, he eats oatmeal.... a lot of oatmeal.  So for his birthday I wanted to get him a special gift that showcased that.

Enter Etsy.  I try to buy hand made items as often as I can.  I think it's important to utilize our crafts people as often as we can.  So I started searching and I found a company that makes these adorable hand stamped spoons that they will customize for you on vintage silver plated utensils.  Enter Milk and Honey Luxuries.  Check out their beautiful items over at Etsy.

I contacted them and asked if they could make me a spoon that said Tony's Oatmeal.  I got an immediate response back from them, ordered the spoon and within 7 days I had the spoon in my possession.  I was so excited to give it to Tony.

Isn't that cool?  And let me tell you, Tony loved it!  It came beautifully wrapped in it's own little bag.

It's his favorite spoon and he uses it all the time.  I was very pleased with the product and I'd definitely use them again.  I thought it was an interesting idea for a unique gift and I just wanted to share that with everyone.  Oh, and Happy Birthday again to my special son!

I received no compensation from Milk and Honey Luxuries nor was I asked to do a review of their product.
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