Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lucy's Drumstick Bake

Recently I adapted a recipe inspired from Lucy at The Pie Patch. It’s a chicken and potato tray bake. Lucy used pepperoni too but we didn’t have any. Her original post is HERE


This is super easy and delicious. You can pop it in the oven and go do something else for at least a half hour. Take the dog out in the yard, faff about on Twitter, read a chapter or two in your book….whatever you want.

Take some drumsticks and toss into a roasting pan. I sprinkled salt, pepper and rosemary on the chicken, then let a good slug of olive oil drizzle over it. Open a can of tomatoes and tip that in over the legs. Now slice up some potatoes and place those in, give it all a good turn with a wooden spoon, mixing it up so everything is covered evenly coated in oil.


Pop it in the oven at 375 F for 45 minutes, give it a good sloshing about and check for doneness. Put it back in the oven for about 10 minutes longer.

I get some great ideas from Lucy at The Pie Patch. This is certainly one of them. We served this with pole beans from our garden and a bowl of watermelon.

The potatoes are particularly good after they have roasted with the olive oil, herbs and tomatoes. This can be adapted so many ways by combining any variety of veggies. Delish!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A New Ride
{Harley Tri-Glide}

We had quite a few things in the works this past week during our vacation. Obviously our pup took the wind out of our sails and I wasn't able to update our vacation as I planned. Let's talk about something fun now - we could use it.

Check out the new ride :-) What a beauty!


Doug started checking on used trikes a while back and a few caught his interest. After much looking (and even visiting a private dealer with a used Goldwing trike) we decided to check on this one at a Jacksonville dealership.

Adamec Harley Davidson in Orange Park, Florida came up with the best price and package for a used trike. This will be the "retirement bike" so to speak. Not a single regret in making the drive to pick this up last Thursday!


We started off from our place around 7 a.m. and arrived at the dealership near 10:00. Once there, Doug was able to test ride and see if this was a good fit. Obviously it was and let me say, dealing with Adamec Harley was one of the best experinces we have ever had in any dealership. Car or motorcycle transactions - this one was excellent and the customer service is spot on.


It was decided I should follow Doug home in case he needed to pull off for anything. Water and hydration were concerns as the heat index was well over 100 F in the afternoon. We stopped for lunch at a great little country place off highway 90 near Lake City. Home cooking with crispy fried chicken, corn casserole, veggies and homemade desserts. Hydrate and stretch before gearing up and heading back down the road.


That stretch of road was brutal. So much traffic and stop and go. There was construction and lots of sitting. I am in the air conditioned car feeling very sorry for my husband wearing his jacket, helmet and gloves as he sat on hot asphalt, waiting for lights to change. We finally decided to get back on the interstate and just get home quicker.


Since we've had this trike home we've been out as much as possible for errands and a dinner date with the kids. Tristan is happy for us to be riding with him again too. We all missed that. It's been a year since Doug sold his Road King and that was a good enough break to see if he missed it.

Sunday we rode with Tristan and his wife, stopping at the Apalachee Diner for breakfast. This has been a blast and I'm so glad Doug got another bike!

Look for more "ride to eat" posts soon :-)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Goodbye Kobe

Today I write with a deep sadness as we have lost a member of our pack. Our beloved Shiba Inu Kobe had to be euthanized.


He had a seizure Sunday evening & he had to be taken to the emergency veterinarian. We were able to bring him home after he received a morphine injection for pain. As you can imagine we had a fairly sleepless night watching over him.


By morning it was clear he was failing, the renal disease was more advanced than we knew. We did all we could and ultimately the kindest thing was to let him go peacefully.


We are torn up with grief about this. Our veterinarian Dr. Simmons gave Kobe the best fighting chance but the little guy couldn't make it.

Thank you to Dr. Simmons & staff at Cumberland for the excellent care since we adopted Kobe 9 years ago.

We'll miss your smile..........




Saturday, June 20, 2015


This past week we have been off on vacation. We like to take the week of our anniversary off and putz around, do some fun things we can't manage during the work week. This particular week has been a roller coaster of emotions due to an unexpected health issue which arose with our 11 year old Shiba Inu.

Kobe is the dog with an unfortunate genetic disposition who was hit with glaucoma 4 years ago. Recently the little guy started losing weight. When we dropped the shibas off for their bath last Tuesday we had him looked at by our veterinarian, Dr. Andrew Simmons. Kobe was diagnosed with a renal disease. Knowing his kidneys were failing him we worried he'd die very soon. If you know me, or have been reading about our dogs in this blog or my other site, you'll know our dogs aren't pets. They are family. We love them dearly.

FullSizeRender (17)

Many a tear was shed for Kobe as we awaited test results. Fortunately getting him examined and starting treatment early will make a difference in how long we will have him. Our vet is amazing. He gave us all sorts of treatment options, no pressure on one option over others and is always supportive and available for any questions we have.

I know most of you who are reading this aren't in our neck of woods but if you are, I highly recommend Cumberland Animal Clinic and Dr. Andrew Simmons. He spends time with you and you'll never feel rushed as he answers your concerns and gives great detail about a procedure, how a medicine or disease works in your pet's body, benefits of preventive care and any other pet related issues.

Dr. Simmons spent two sleepless nights attending to our Kobe, making sure the kidney flush IV and catheter were attached and doing their job. He was there in the wee hours of the morning and late at night to let Kobe out to relieve himself and re-attaching the catheter when Kobe pulled it out. We very much appreciate the commitment and dedication.

Kobe is home now and and is doing well. We'd give so much just to have more time with these little shibas. Fortunately, Kobe had excellent care and he will be with us many more years, barring anything else unfortunate coming up!

Here he is with the female shiba, Aja. She rules the roost but she certainly missed Kobe while he was away at the hospital for 2 days and nights.


So I guess we can't move to Wyoming or we'd have to change veterinarians and we just don't want to do that!

Thank you Dr. Simmons and let me give a big shout out to Cumberland Animal Clinic.

Coming up I have some fun vacation happenings to share and a few book reviews.
I hope all is well in your world!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June Garden update

There is the good news and the bad news, as the story always goes.

Here is some of the bounty we have harvested this past few days......obviously this falls under the good news.


Summer temperatures have moved in and many of our plants are not loving it. Fortunately the pole beans seem to be fine with the hot evenings and brutal, humid daytime temps.


The tomatoes are a lost cause. We ought to have gotten them in much earlier than we did but we were trying to grow them from seed. Under the grow light they did not flourish as the squash, beans and peas did.

By the time we decided to pop the little seedlings into the ground it was too late in the season. We managed to get one enormous, juicy beefsteak tomato. Very tasty. The rest of the little green tomatoes most likely won't ripen as the temperatures are not below 78 to 80 some nights. Oh well, live and learn.

The Little Finger eggplants are doing well.


The squash were excellent producers for a good while and we had many side dishes of yellow squash and a casserole or two. They developed a fungus recently and we had to pull out the remaining plants.

Look at our poor bush bean plants! It looked like a cutworms or some heinous bug snipped the little branches off.


Funny how the pole beans are doing so well but the bush beans are biting the dust. Every year we learn something new about gardening. Now we are aren't sure what to plant for the fall or even when to plant for a fall harvest.

If you are a fellow amateur gardener I hope your plants are doing better than ours. Any advice is always welcome!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reader's Workout #10


Good day and welcome to my 10th link up with Joy at Joy's Book Blog for her Reader's Workouts series!

In addition to updating the exercise regime I would like to share with you this is our 31st wedding anniversary. Woo-hoo....this calls for celebration! We will plan out something fun for our dinner this evening and I will share with you later. :-)

Friday, June 05, 2015

Where do you find me??

If you are a regular reader of Squirrel Head Manor and Novel Meals you may have noticed lots of duplicate posts over the last month or so. I don’t intend to keep up with two blogs much longer and am trying to decide which one retires. Here is some background as I try and reason this out:

Opinions anyone? Do you like one better than the other? Do you visit both?

How many blogs?

I started with The Pierce family history site. As I tend to do, that blog went off topic here and there. Not 100% genealogy but punctuated with recipes, a memorable meal, book reviews, dogs………

Since I wasn’t sticking to the subject matter I created Squirrel Head Manor blog in December of 2007. It was the everything blog. The food, recipes, motorcycle trips, camping, books, you name it. I have been rambling on SHM for 7 years and 5 months. (I am about to get to the point….patience, please ) Eventually I wanted to try a site that focused only on books as well as seeing what Wordpress was all about. That was several years ago and Novel Meals was born.

Merging and Focusing

After analyzing stats it seems some posts at Squirrel Head Manor receive 80% more interaction than Novel Meals. BUT, there are a number of posts at Novel Meals getting hits and comments and zero at SHM. So, different audiences and different interests. What I want is an everything blog again. Simple categories such as food, exercise, gardening….you know what I mean?

For sheer folly I have posted a poll on the sidebar. Would you take a look at both sites and vote on one please? Just as a curiosity and to see what sort of interest there is. Ultimately it comes down to what I like best but I would like input all the same.

I think Wordpress looks cleaner. I like the options with menus and looks in Wordpress. It’s easier (for me) to upload photos in WP.
Blogspot is also a free site and I have had residence with it for over 7 years. So there is the sentimentality factor.

Arrgh! Decisions.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The Beekeeper's Daughter

bee I was not familiar with this author prior to reading The Beekeeper’s Daughter but I will certainly try another of her publications after this story. What attracted me to this book was the description on Goodreads and the inside flap of the book:

“England, 1932: Grace Hamblin is growing up in a rural idyll. The beekeeper's daughter, she knows her place and her future - that is until her father dies and leaves her alone. ”

The setting of rural Devon had me interested and I had hoped it wouldn’t be a flat-out romance. I don’t mind some love interest woven into stories but I’m not a big fan of the romance genre. However, stories set in the British Isles and Ireland attract my interest. This is a multigenerational story which flips between 1932 England in 1932, Massachusetts in 1973 and ending with Massachusetts in 1990.

The book starts in Massachusetts – it’s 1973 and Grace’s daughter Trixie (Beatrix) is tired of the small community life. She takes up with an aspiring English rock musician, Jasper Duncliffe, and plans to tour with his group across the USA. Straight off I have to say, I wasn't invested in Trixie's character at all. However, her mother Grace is an interesting character and I became fully absorbed with her backstory. That’s what kept me reading at first. Too much more about Trixie and I would have called it a loss, picked up another book.

Anyway, a family emergency arises for Jasper and he has an obligation to return to England but promises to send for Trixie. It becomes clear to Grace and Freddie which family Jasper is from, they both know their daughter will be forgotten. How do they know this family, you ask? Well it will be explained in Grace’s backstory.

When we start reading about Grace she is married to Freddie Valentine, living in Massachusetts, employed as a landscape designer and keeps bees. When her backstory starts she is only 14 years old and Freddie is her best friend. So you have certain spoilers right off such as knowing who she will marry and knowing her beloved father dies while she is still living in England.

The scenery and dialogue are very detailed and you have a feeling of viewing the countryside rather than reading about it. Great descriptive prose. If the research about beekeeping is correct then you will learn so very much about bees and how they are handled, winterized, how to collect honey and more. I personally enjoyed reading those passages. It flowed smoothly, it wasn’t a tutorial at all.

This book isn’t a romance but there is romance and family upheaval in the plot. There are betrayals, mysteries, sorrow and love.

The bees had a supporting role in this story so I choose to make a dish with honeyed chicken tenderloins.


This is a light meal which may be prepared in under a half hour. A cold Rose went well with this meal.


Planning on reading more by this author and then getting back to my Inspector Banks mysteries. Hope all is well in your world!


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