Thursday, January 23, 2020


 I fondly remember a walk through the woods and discovering a great horned owlet with a broken wing. Although the owl was in my possession for only three hours, I will always remember "Hootie" and my desire to protect him and not leave him on the forest floor. 
You may have heard about the family that had an owl in their Christmas tree for over a week. The family had purchased the tree from a store about two days after Thanksgiving, and the family left their windows and doors open that night, hoping the bird would leave on its own -- but it didn't. The next day, they called the Chattahoochee Nature Center, and an employee there told them to leave the owl some raw chicken, concerned it may not have eaten in a few days.The owl was safely removed from the home the next day, was skinny and hadn't eaten in over a week. 
Hootie was taken from my arms by a wildlife rehabilitator in our area, and was later was transported to Cornell in Ithaca where his wing was repaired. After rehabilitation, I was told that Hootie made his permanent home at a zoo. As an injured owlet, he never learned survival skills to make it in the wild. Male and female owlets look alike, so for no particular reason, I decided to refer to Hootie as a "he". In the picture below, these fluffy owls look just like Hootie did when I found him.
from the internet

After the "rescue" of Hootie, co-workers gifted me with a book that I have enjoyed reading again and again. In the book, "Bubo" was a baby great horned owl that was found buried in the snow in the Vermont woods by a scientist, and he was able to get permission to keep the owl and study its development. If you can find the book, I know you will enjoy it. An Owl in the House - A Naturalist's Diary 

This is a table I set a while back using owl print fabric to make napkins and a small table runner for the table.  

The glass owl vase was filled with greens and branches, and then I added some red roses for our dinner. Whoooot loves ya Mr. Mountain Breaths! Happy Birthday to You!! 
Thank you for stopping by! We are heading to Lake Placid for a few magical days to celebrate Joe's birthday. The Mirror Lake Inn and Lake Placid are truly our "Disneyland". 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fifth Anniversary - Tales of the Traveling Tote.......A Surprise That Touches My Heart

Welcome friends! I am so happy to finally be able to share this with you. What's in the box? Here are some clues.
What's in the box you ask? It's a surprise that touches my heart. Each of us received a unique, hand made tote bag, designed especially for each of us. The designers did a little research on each member of the Tales of the Traveling Tote ladies, and chose fabrics to suit our personality! I sent a personal thank you to the designers in Aurora thanking them for choosing fabric that reminds of mountains! Also, a very special thank you to all my friends and readers who follow along on my adventures with "Miss Aurora". Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would be traveling and having this much fun with a tote bag. My hubby and friends have had so much fun joining in, and even strangers approach me which leads to a fun discussion. Let me now introduce "Miss Tassie". I love the happy bright colors! 

Whether I am visiting our beloved New York State mountains in Lake Placid, or am at the grocery store, "Miss Tassie" is my new friend that will be at my side. You will see more photos of "Miss Tassie" in upcoming posts. I am in LOVE. 

We took a survey to see how many states our totes have been to, and it was discovered (as you will see on the map above) that we only have a handful of states left to visit (the ones highlighted in grey). Joe and I are going to Colorado so that will take care of one of the states the tote has not visited. 

Our totes have been to the following countries:
France, Italy, England, So Africa, St. Kitts, Neves, Grand Cayman, Honduras, Mexico 
OK it's giveaway time! Thank you for visiting! Check out every blog and leave us each your comment. On January 27th, you could have a grand moment. Winning a one-of-a-kind tote OF YOUR OWN!
Debbie with Miss Tassie @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Lulu @ The French Hutch
Patti with Miss Tizzy@ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss  Hello Gorgeous @ The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Gigi @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Penny @ Panoply
Sarah with Miss  Poppy @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie with Miss Pansy @ Purple Chocolat Home  

RickiJill with Miss Square Peggy @The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay with Miss Waverly  @ Entertaining Women
Have a great winter, and our next tote post will be March 1st!  

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Snowy Owl and A Happy New Year

 We had a wonderful Christmas, and wanted to get outdoors on the mild winter weekend to hike so we did.  As you can see in the photos above, we have no snow left. We were lucky enough to see this beautiful owl sitting on a small patch of snow. A snowy owl, completely white with variable amount of black markings. In general, old males are the whitest, while immature females have the most dark markings. The owls favor lakeshores and coastal areas with fields, marshes, piers, and sand dunes in winter. 
Just two weeks earlier, we had a good amount of snow. We are starting 2020 with green grass, and fond memories of 2019. Noon Year's Eve was spent at the Utica Zoo sipping apple juice with Xavier and hanging out with the animals. A safe and happy way to spend the last day of the decade. Then we made pizza at home and put out a few appetizers for the adults. Joe cooked filets and served with my sister's potato pierogies.

New Year's day was spent organizing and hiking. The mallards were enjoying the sunshine, and on Friday our favorite bread (and chocolate croissant) baker is opening in a new location, and it's walking distance from our home (oh dear)!! Unless you're in France, one of the best chocolate croissants you'll eat all year is hiding out at this bakery.They just need to fill up the racks and they’re good to go. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2020. Love to all!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

A Very Merry Mountain Breaths

The phrase "true meaning of Christmas" was originally coined in an 1889 issue of The American magazine. It read, "to give up one's very self - to think only of others - how to bring the greatest happiness to others - that is the true meaning of Christmas." One hundred and thirty years later, the meaning still rings true. December was spent with famiy enjoying the outdoors and taking moon shots, making bird seed ornaments and building wooden cars with grandson Xavier, hanging out with grandson Quinn in Albany, making kissing balls and going on a llama trek with friends, a quick getaway to Lake Placid with Joe, and of course decorating our home for Christmas. We will be hosting 20+ and love every minute of it. 

The 25 year old Christmas cactus that I inherited from a friend that wanted it to have a good home :-)

My sister Diane applied for a retirement incentive and got it!!  There were hundreds of employees that qualified, and she submitted her paperwork in November NEVER thinking she would get it. But others weren't quite ready to retire, so they kept going down the list. SHE IS RETIRED as of 12/20/19!!!  She is 57, and working outdoors in the winter was getting to be a little too much. A wonderful Christmas gift.

Do you do Advent calendars? I've been having fun with my Beekman Advent calendar that I was lucky enough to purchase on the first day it was offered as it sold out immediately. I have been enjoying a variety of items including cuticle cream, lotions, soaps, sprays, and my favorite lip balms. I've also shared some with friends that have taken a trip with me to the Beekman store in Sharon Springs for the first time this year. 

I made tourti√®re for the first time after many years of hearing about it on blogs. I followed a recipe that was shared with me and used Pillsbury crusts, cooked 3 sliced and chopped onions until tender, added 2 lbs ground hamburger and 2 lbs ground pork. Added 4 teapoons Bells seasoning and pepper to taste. Cooled mixture and put in pie crusts. Baked at 350 for about 30 minutes. I made ahead and froze them for Christmas. Joe and I sampled one, I cut a small piece and served with cooked carrots, potatoes and brussels sprouts. We really liked it. 
This photo was taken on Thanksgiving, and on Christmas we will take another with almost the entire family.

 I gave myself a present this year by making the menu and table setting very easy, We used beautiful plaid paper plates. 
Some of the thoughtful Christmas gifts I already peeked at :-)

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a healthy and joyful 2020!


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