Monday, September 26, 2011

Mums




Couldn't resist these beautiful mums at Costco


It is nice to have some color on the deck.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Who needs toys ?

Otis loves to pick up boxes and carry them around. Given a chance, Otis will tear the box apart.

Otis knows that boxes are not toys. I think Otis likes being chased around, as we try to retrieve the forbidden item.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Touch of Spring


Fall is almost here and summer will soon be a distant memory.


When I saw these Dutch Iris, I new that I needed to bring springtime back to our home.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Comfortable ?

Otis spends a lot of time, lying on his back, with his paws up in the air.

Cooper sometimes adopts a similar pose.


I cannot imagine that sleeping like this is very comfortable. However, since each dog does this, it must make their back feel good.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Together Again

While we were vacationing at Kiawah Island, SC, Cooper and Otis stayed at Passage East Kennels. When we dropped the dogs off, the attendant  checked to make sure he had our contact information. The words, "We rarely need to call, but just in case..." stuck in my brain.


Each day I checked the cell phone to make sure there was no emergency message that Cooper or Otis was sick. When we picked the dogs up, Otis raced around like we had been gone for months.

Both dogs were bathed before entering the house. Otis followed Jeff and I wherever we went. It was obvious that Otis did not want to be left behind again. Cooper raced upstairs and hopped on the bed to take a 3 hour nap. Even Otis eventually settled down to sleep.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Birds of Prey


We visited the amazing Birds of Prey Center in Awendaw, SC. The Center houses eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures and owls. Many of these birds have been injured (a bald eagle was shot , a hawk hit by a car) and can no longer live in the wild. Photo: Turkey Vulture.


It was a beautiful sunny day. As we toured the grounds, we could see wild hawks and vultures soaring overhead. Our tour guide was wonderful and we learned a lot about these magnificent birds. About 50% of the birds which are brought to the Center are returned to the wild. Photo: Hawk

After the tour, there is a free flight demonstration. It was amazing to see a vulture, hawk, falcon and owl flying free, but returning to the trainer when called. When the turkey vulture landed on the ground, the wild vultures which were soaring above flew closer to see if there was food. I asked the owl trainer if the blood curdling screams we hear at night were from owls. He laughed and said owl's hoot - the screams are from the rabbits or squirrels they catch.  Photo: Falcon


I have always been fascinated by raptors and the hours spent at the Birds of Prey Center passed quickly. Jeff and I agreed that we would definitely return here again. If you are ever in the Charleston area, I highly recommend you add this to your must see list. Photo: Barred Owl

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Charleston Tea Plantation

We visited the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island, SC. This is the only tea plantation in the US.  Tea plants are disease resistant, have no natural enemies and can produce tea for hundreds of years.

I did not realize that tea grew on bushes. The top 3 inches of the bush are cut off every 3 weeks from May - Oct. The tea is then dried and the stems separated from the leaves. Black, green and oolong tea are all from the same plant. It is the amount of drying time that determines what type of tea is created.

The harvester which trims and collects the tea leaves does the work of 500 men. The egrets follow the harvester and feast on the grasshoppers and bugs which are disturbed when the tea leaves are collected.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Fat Hen

While walking on the beach at Kiawah, we met a couple who highly recommended eating at The Fat Hen restaurant on Johns Island.

We looked at the menu online and decided that it would be worth a try. The Fat Hen uses locally grown ingredients in their dishes and is very popular with visitors and locals. I called to make a reservation and was told that they were completely booked, but we could get a spot the next day.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I saw that water was served in Mason jars and knew this would be a relaxing place to eat. As an appetizer, Jeff had onion soup and I had a salad topped with goat cheese. The goat cheese was the freshest that I had ever tasted. For dinner I had crab cakes (no bread crumbs, just solid crab) and Jeff had steak and spinach. Jeff raved about the fresh garlic spinach and said it was the best he ever had.

At the Fat Hen there is no salt or pepper on the table. It is obvious that the chef does not want anyone to alter his creations. Dinner was fantastic, but I was disappointed with dessert.

The waiter recommended the chocolate peanut butter cake, but we ordered an apple tart. The tart was ok, but did not live up to the dinner. We should have taken the waiter's advice.

If you are ever at Kiawah, I would highly recommend dining at the Fat Hen - just remember to order the chocolate cake.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kiawah Scenes





If you look closely, you will see 2 deer in this photo

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Very Sweet

Whenever we are in Charleston, we make a point to stop by our favorite ice cream store, Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream shop.

Past experience has taught me that their sundaes are so large, that it is best to split one. Upon entering the store I saw two freezers full of different ice cream flavors. After a few minutes of consideration, we ordered a  sundae with birthday cake and chocolate fudge ice cream.


The young man behind the counter placed 4 large scoops of ice cream into a bowl, added caramel, whip cream nuts and a cherry and handed this huge dessert to me. The sundae was delicious. As we sat outside enjoying this sweet treat on a beautiful afternoon we looked at each other and said, "Maybe we will skip dinner tonight!"

Friday, September 09, 2011

Kiawah Island

Every time we visit Kiawah Island, it feels like we are returning home.


The beach is as beautiful as ever.


Now that Labor Day has passed, there are very few visitors at this wonderful place.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Emporia, VA

Back in February we made reservations at our favorite vacation spot, Kiawah Island, SC. The months flew by and suddenly it was time to leave CT and head south.

The drive from CT to SC is too long to do in a day, especially when we get a late start after dropping Cooper and Otis off at the kennel. We normally spend the night in Rocky Mount, NC but this year we decided to stay in Emporia, VA.

I had never been to Emporia. We stayed at a new Country Inn & Suites. The hotel was very convenient to I-95, extremely clean and there are restaurants within walking distance. The staff was very friendly and the fresh baked white chocolate chip cookies had me stopping by the lobby for seconds. The continental breakfast included Belgian waffles, bacon, sausage and hash browns.

The hotel lost power during hurricane Irene. One week later, some of the staff still did not have electricity at their homes!

If you are ever in the Emporia area and need a place to stay, I would highly recommend the Country Inn & Suites.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tight Places

Cooper and Otis like to sleep on the cool tile in the master bathroom.

This makes getting up in the middle of the night hazardous.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Birthday Cooper !

Cooper is 10 years old and has been with us for 3 years! Cooper had several medical scares this year and I was not sure he would make this milestone. Jeff says after years of mistreatment, Coop is not going to easily give up his good life. I hope that is true.

Coop has come a long way in the last 3 years. I am proud of the dog he has become. Cooper often gives me kisses, which is a huge statement of trust. 

Cooper is a beautiful, smart, stubborn dog who has captured our hearts with his enthusiasm for living each day to its fullest. At 5am Coop races over to wake me up with shining eyes and a wagging tail. If Coop could speak, he would say, "Get up! It's a new day! Let's see what is happening in the world!"

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Help is on the way

Traveling on the NJ Turnpike, we saw a caravan of utility repair trucks headed north. We can certainly use the help.

There are still 50,000 people in CT and 21,000 people on Long Island without power. Some homes will not have power restored until Wednesday. 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

130,000

There are still 130,000 people in CT without power. CL&P is saying that the power may not be fully restored until Tues or Wed. 2,000 people in Wilton still have no electricity.

I keep thinking how lucky we are to have had power and no damage to our home. I told Jeff I would be living in a hotel if we did not have power for 5days.

To all the utility workers who are repairing the power problems - THANK YOU! I am sure you are getting very tired of 16 hour work days.


Friday, September 02, 2011

Lots of hot air


Seeing all these balloons at the Plainville, CT festival brought back memories of our hot air balloon ride in Sedona, Arizona.


If you get a chance, I would highly recommend taking a balloon ride.


There is nothing like floating among the clouds, looking down at the earth.


Thursday, September 01, 2011

Evening walks

With the sun setting earlier, we have been walking Cooper and Otis at night in Wilton Center. It is wonderful to be outside, enjoying the cool evening breezes.

I can't say we get much exercise. Cooper and Otis slowly shuffle along, constantly sniffing at each tree and blade of grass. I often wonder just what their noses discover about the people and animals who have traveled the path ahead of them.

Otis loves these walks so much that he will whine from the second he hops in the car, until we arrive at our destination.