Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Nature Photography Day - June 15

Nothing stops me when it comes to photographing the natural world. Wearing a skirt does not stop me if I am out and about and see something interesting to "shoot" :-) Rubber boots are always in my vehicle. This particular area was a bog and was very wet. I've been photographing the rare Orchids "Showy Lady Slippers" for over 20 years and they always bloom around Father's Day. 

Here are some ways to celebrate Nature Photography Day. 

  • Learn even more about the natural history of your environment: plants, wildlife, and land.
  • Encourage the creative spirit among your family and friends. Tell them about books and online resources with suggestions on how to photograph flowers, birds, and more.
  • Know that your photos can be invaluable, telling vital stories about nature. Find something that detracts from the natural world, showing images about how human beings sometimes adversely affect the environment.
  • Remind your colleagues about Nature Photography Day and how images have been used to protect the natural world. If you have a website or blog, spread the news there, too.
  • Even before June 15, immerse yourself in the legacy of nature photography by reading about the work of naturalists as well as pioneers in the profession.
  • Build vibrant memories by picking something close to home that you’ve never photographed before. Then make plans to photograph that subject or scene every June 15. Enjoy the pilgrimage!
  • Create a scavenger hunt for birds, butterflies, insects, rocks, and other natural sights likely to be close to you. But don’t just list what you’ve found. Take photos!
  • Finally, ask yourself how your images can help to bring positive changes to the Earth. After all, it’s our common home.
Wishing all the Fathers a Happy day on Sunday. Joe chose to do a hike on Saturday, and have a celebration with family on Sunday. 


Monday, June 7, 2021

Springing into Summer

It's hard to believe it's still spring here in New York. We've had July weather, and it's HOT HOT HOT.  What veggies are you most excited about right now?  Rhubarb is always the first vegetable to appear in the garden, and I look forward to it every year for pies, jelly and muffins. The recipe for Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly can be found on this blog . Those vanilla specks melt my heart. I reverted back to childhood and have been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on my hikes.  

My first CSA pick up was June 7, and I love spring greens. I got shitake mushrooms, spinach, beautiful lettuce, kale, radishes and Asian greens. I make frittatas and enjoy a salad as a side.

This is my second clematis to bloom this year. Roguchi is a cutie. 

‘Betty Corning’ is always first to bloom and she puts on a show throughout the summer. 

Our sweet princess Claire will be having her first birthday in August, and I helped mom photograph her for the invitations. This is not the photo we chose (I took 100), but she definitely enjoys cake which is good since she was born into a family of women that have a sweet tooth :-)
Rhubarb Streusel muffins are now at the top of my "what should I make with rhubarb" list. I used my 40 year old church cookbook for these muffins. 
Currently blooming in my garden. 

the garlic seed
is multiplying..soon
there will be many and plenty to last throughout the winter. 

Poppies too...I just sprinkle seeds each fall or spring and they do their thing. I will be gifted with poppies in July. 

I added several bare root roses this year, and the leaves are beautiful and healthy right now. Soon there will be blooms. 

Pandora's Box recently shared how to paint on glass. I used a mason jar to gift my homemade granola. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Traveling Tote - #27 and a Giveaway

If you are here for the first time, welcome to Mountain Breaths. Today I am joining a group of talented bloggers to bring you our quarterly Tales of the Traveling Tote. 

We recently took Miss Aurora glamping in the Catskill mountains and we explored the countryside witnessing breathtaking natural attractions, waterfalls and scenic vistas. We enjoyed hiking trails, and climbing fire towers. There are 98 peaks in the Catskill mountains. Truly a hiker's paradise.

Oh, there’s beauty buried in those hills

And as you walk you’ll find

That the scenery gives you chills

For you’ve never seen anything of its kind

And as you’re trekking up hills steep

You’ll enjoy the fresh pine smells

And in your heart you’ll forever keep

The beauty you find in those hidden dells

~Brandon Berman 

 Of course a little picnic is always a pleasure when hiking the mountains. 
In April we went to our local museum for a spring celebration exhibition of fine art and flowers featuring the Museum’s collection and stunning fresh-flower creations. There were fourteen floral arrangements on view throughout the Museum’s galleries. Each presented a creative interpretation of a work of art
 I Love a Picnic. We always enjoy our annual picnic at Sycamore Hill Gardens in Marcellus for a private fundraiser.
I recently went to "The Outlet" to hunt for treasures! They have one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces, discontinued prints and patterns, original samples, high-quality seconds, and more. The staff interaction and meeting with a fellow collector also made it a fun day!  I purchased a boot tray that was covered in dust lol, and a Taylor Two Tier Sweet Stand.

Ricki Jill @ Sketchy Reader is hosting a giveaway, so leave a comment to have a chance to win this adorable Courtly Check switch plate. Good luck! 

I know the other "travelers" would love a visit. 

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths (you are here)
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader

Have a wonderful summer!
Debbie and Miss Aurora

Monday, May 31, 2021


I know some of you have peonies growing in your garden. They are so lovely in vases around the home. Celebrating the peonies is something we do. For several years, I  have stored peony buds in the refrigerator for a month, and brought them out for a Fourth of July celebration. I found the instructions at Boreal Farms. If you are interested, here is information on how to store peony buds to be used at a later date. It's peony season here in New York!!!!

"Commercial cut flower operations pick their peony buds and can successfully store them for up to three months. This practice allows them to extend the marketing season as the peony bloom period is short. The home gardener or small producer can also save their flowers for a later occasion but because the home refrigerator typically cools to a range of 2-4 C , as opposed to the commercial 0 C, the storage time frame is reduced to two to three weeks. Not all peony flowers are the same though, some varieties have a longer vase life and store better than others but almost all will hold a few days in the vase after storage. The peony buds are stored dry, packaged in plastic, and placed flat on the shelves of the refrigerator. Alternately they can be stored upright in buckets with a few inches of water. When storing dry, remove almost all of the leaves as they tend to produce too much moisture when bagged resulting in the buds rotting. Bunch the stems together and place in a plastic bag, any bag will do but the two gallon Ziploc work well, place them flat on the shelves of the refrigerator. Moisture is the key to successful storage, too wet and they mold. Check them periodically, if there is moisture build-up open the bag to vent or place paper towels in the bottom and remove and replace them when they get wet. Upon removal from storage don’t worry if the blossoms look wilted and the cut ends are dry. Re-cut the stems to expose clean fresh tissue and place upright in a bucket containing warm water. I allow at least 24 hours for opening especially if the flowers are wanted to decorate a special event."

My garden is planted, and since we are Zone 5, we typically wait until after the May full moon to plant our garden. We have had some exceptional weather. Hope everyone had a nice weekend. 


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Grilled Pizza Tutorial

I hope this helps you to make grilled pizza successfully. Choose your favorite pizza dough. We use store bought some of the time, but for this pizza I used my sour dough bread discard to make the dough. I follow the King Arthur flour sour dough pizza dough recipe.  
Step #1 - for two thin crust pizzas, divide your dough in half, and shape into a flattened disk. t. In the photo above, I have dusted a pizza peel with rice flour for our next step. You can use a cutting board if you don't have a peel. 
After the dough rests for 15 minutes, I roll the dough as thin as I can get it (about 14" round), but you can choose the thickness to your liking. We prefer thin pizza crust with crispy edges. It doesn't have to be shaped perfectly.

Prepare your pizza toppings before you light the grill :-)  I use prep bowls, and my toppings always include pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and the rest varies. 


Slide the pizza dough from the pizza peel onto the grill. In the photo, you can see that the dough starts getting crispy on the edge right away. I leave the grill top open so I can keep an eye on the dough. Then I flip it once there are grill marks on the bottom. Transfer cooked to a cutting board. 

Spread sauce and cheese over pizza dough, leaving a 1” border, but making sure not to overload the center.

Place pizza back on grill; cook a few minutes more (I keep looking at the bottom so it doesn't burn), or until cheese is melted. Remove pizza from grill.
We've been doing pizza this way for fifteen years, and have made hundreds for get togethers. When we went to the New York Botanical Gardens, they were demonstrating how to grill pizza. I've included links to the two pizzas they made. I've made both at home and they were both wonderful. I hope you try it! 


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