Friday, November 21, 2014

DeVona's Holiday Spice Tea

~8 cups of water
~18 tea bags -- orange/Mandarin spice tea
~4 cups apple cider
~4 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
~4 cinnamon sticks
~5 whole cloves
~1 cup brown sugar
~1/2 tsp. ginger powder

Brew tea first and remove bags. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a strong simmer without boiling. Strain out solids. Keeps well in frig. Serve hot with a slice of orange in each cup.

This tea has such luscious flavor. We plan to serve it with our dessert at Thanksgiving supper at church next week. The orange slices are so good -- they become soft in the hot tea. Pick the slice out after the tea is gone, slip the peel off, and eat the orange flesh, saturated with the tea's flavor. Yummmmmy.

This recipe is from my sister-in-law, who is a most marvelous cook. This is actually a double recipe; you could easily halve it.

The River Trail

Yesterday Adam and I took a walk with Max (my brother), Anne (his lovely wife), and Faith (another dear sister-in-law). We're visiting in West Virginia for a few days before the holiday season hits us all in the face. The nice walk in these hilly parts of the world is down along the Greenbrier River, on an old railway bed -- flat and straight.
Temps are in the teens or lower at night, and highs are still cold. The water just looked cold to us -- know what I mean? Brrr!
A sign at the head of the trail. I found it humorous that in West Virginia apparently it's just as common to have a mule as a horse, and to take it on a walking trail. Adam turned his mind to how you could possibly indirectly tie your animal to something, and thus keep the law.

Many years ago, a rock quarry was active along this railway line. The rock faces dotting the trail are impressive.
Some private landowner spanned the river with a foot bridge.
They do their best to prevent anyone else from coming across to their island in the middle of the river.
Faith noticed this mossy log with its community of mushshrooms.
Pom Pom, I thought you might enjoy this. If I were a very tiny fairy, I'd live here.
Icy white caps ~
My brother Max is an energetic walker, and could go on indefinitely (he's a farmer), but at last I asked to turn back. I knew I'd walk each step thus far, again. The sun was sinking along the sky.
I love the light in autumn, its slant, and the effect on tree trunks and ground, the crumble of leaves
Our side of the river was in deep shade; the opposite side was lit by sunset.
How I love these two ladies -- sisters to me who am sisterless, and friends to me for many years.
MK, Anne, Faith. Our warm gear doesn't do much for our looks, but they are stunningly beautiful, inside and out.
Not many leaves have the tenacity to hold on now. Late November in West Virginia this year has been unusually cold and more like January, I'm told.
Sheets of thin ice sparkle in the sun's fire.
We headed home.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Southern Color

We have color in Oriental. Not Colorado color. Not New England color. The South has its own muted autumn.
Crape myrtles:



Knock-Out Roses:

Our neighbor had two large pine trees removed from this spot and put in a brilliant garden:

That sycamore again, from a different angle:

I love the look of a wet autumn road, scattered in leaves and pine straw.
A parade of black trunks ~

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Homemade Feta Cheese

This past week Adam tried his hand at making feta cheese. He used whole milk and yogurt from the grocery store.
At this point he is pressing and straining the cheese through a cotton cloth, after cooking it on the stove.

He pressed it even more by putting it into a large can, having removed the two ends, placing a smaller can on top, and putting heavy books on it.
It will last in the frig for a while, but the first recipe he tried it on was a Marguerita pizza. It was soft, creamy, and very good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday's Sky

On my bike ride Tuesday, the sky was surprising.
 I've heard that nature doesn't have straight lines, that straight lines are made by man. Well ... here's a straight line for you!
 A dock into eternity ~

 The other end of that line of clouds, heading to the Pamlico Sound  ~
At last, I decided I needed a video to show you the full expanse of the sky today, and even the video isn't equal to capture the sky overhead, but it's a start.

And from further down the river ~