Kew Gardens: The Adventure Continues

At Kew Gardens there is a lovely pair of Canada Geese who are very protective of their little ones.

Here they are starting off their morning stroll down the path.

The geese with a little one

The wee goslings would often stop on their walk to examine their surroundings.

Mama says, “Don’t stare at the strange man with the camera, dear.”

Mama would often give here brood tips on how to behave in public.

“Just walk along and ignore any strangers you might happen to meet.”

The morning stroll was enlivened when papa goose discovers a treasure.

“I found something!”

The little ones dashed over to see what papa had discovered.

“How is it? Is it good?”

After papa goose nodded his approval the little ones crowded in to get a taste of the delicious orange bread.

“What a great treat!”

But all was not well, for in Kew Gardens lurks naughty Raven, who is always stealing everyone’s snacks. Today was no exception, Raven was on the prowl for tasty pieces of bright orange bread!

Becoming more famished by the minute, Raven watched the goslings devour the scrumptious orange bread.

But mama and papa goose saw Raven watching them and were having none of his monkey business.

Mama and papa goose honked and hollered at Raven, but he did not leave.

Of course, Raven was too proud to be scared off by a bit of goose chatter, he dove in to claim his orange prize!

Papa goose saw Raven coming and stood his ground.

However, Raven was very hungry, a puny indignant goose would not detour him.

So, papa had to chase after Raven

And chase…

And flap…

And he even puffed himself up so that Raven would be frightened of him, puffing-up was papa’s secret weapon.

Finally, Raven gave up. Papa duck was very proud and strutted back to mama goose.

Papa goose proclaimed to mama and the frightened little ones, “Puffing-up always does the trick!”

With the naughty Raven out-of-the-way, the family was able to seek out and enjoy their yummy orange bread.

The wee goslings could not find the bread on their own, mama had to show them where to find it.

Once they had found the tidbit, mama goose sampled it to make sure it was still good for the little ones.

“Mmm… yes, that will do.”

Once mama gave her approval it was a free-for-all, the wee ones fought as vigorously for the bread crumbs as Raven had.

“What’s that there! No, don’t, I saw it first!”

“Aww! Come back here!”

Peace was restored, as it always is, when all the food had filled the tiny bellies.

“Come dears, its time to continue on our walk.”

All the little ones said yes mama, hoping that around the next bend would be more amazing bright orange bread.

Summer Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

With all the great produce that summer has to offer there is nothing better than a delicious salad full of crunchy veggies and sweet berries topped with an amazing blueberry vinaigrette.

Summer Salad:

1 English cucumber, sliced

1 red bell pepper, quartered and then sliced

1/2 pint blueberries

12 ounces strawberries, quartered

1 bunch of radishes, sliced thinly (use a mandolin or V slicer)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 package of baby spring greens

Once you have cut all the produce just through all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss.

The different colored radishes used here all taste like regular ones, but they are so much cuter

The best part of this salad is the amazing blueberry vinaigrette. We discovered this recipe after we came back from our local you-pick blueberry farm and realized we needed something to do with six pounds of blueberries. A Veggie Venture blog recipe came to our rescue. We have changed the recipe a tiny bit, for the original just click here: Blueberry Vinaigrette Recipe.

Blueberry Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup fresh blueberries (freshly picked is best)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons blueberry juice (POM blueberry juice is good)

In your blender, mix the blueberries, garlic, onion, red wine vinegar, and juice together. Once the mixture has been liquified drizzle in the olive oil, whip in blender until combined. That’s it, the best dressing you will ever make, seriously. A word of warning, the vinaigrette will turn into a jello like mass if you don’t use it right away, if this happens just add more juice and spin it up in the blender, or eat it with a spoon while your husband is distracted.

Blueberry vinaigrette drizzled over a crisp summer salad

Drizzle the vinaigrette onto the summer salad and enjoy! This salad pairs perfectly with our Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings.

The perfect summer meal

Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Neist Point is one of the many wonderful places to visit on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Many travel to Neist Point to view the lighthouse, but I suggest that the best part of this trip was absorbing the beauty of the region.

Neist Point Lighthouse perched a top the cliff

When standing on the cliffs looking out over the ocean I was struck with the feeling of being at the edge of the world.

Panorama of Neist Point, click on this image (and all the overs) to enlarge

Perhaps, my favorite part of the Isle of Skye was the ever-present sheep that seemed able to navigate every type of terrain that the island had to offer. The tiny white specs in the grass are sheep.

Sheep, they go everywhere

The clouds on the grassy cliffs add another layer to this awesome landscape, also sheep

We were always surprised with how a short walk would reveal a new and beautiful perspective.

A new perspective grants new photographic opportunities

The enormity of the landscape is always a welcome surprise

The more subtle features of the area can be just as dramatic as the showy ones. On the drive to Neist Point you will pass Loch Mor, a lake that seems to float in the cradle of the surrounding hills.

Loch Mor, on the way to Neist Point

We always try to visit the more dramatic locations when the sun is rather low in the sky, the lighting is just more magical and grants the photographs some of that wonder that we experienced while taking the photographs.

A perfect end to a long day, at Neist Point

 

 

 

Winchester Cathedral

We concluded our last day in England with a visit to Winchester Cathedral, it was amazing.

Winchester Cathedral is a Church of England Cathedral located in Winchester, Hampshire, England. The Cathedral boasts many great examples of English church architecture dating from  the 11th to the 16th century.

West front of the Winchester Cathedral, the sun and clouds were all aligned perfectly for this photo

The Gothic window which was destroyed during the English Civil War was rebuilt in 1660 using the shattered glass from around the Cathedral

The flying buttresses of the Cathedral are a Gothic characteristic of the building. Flying buttresses keep the walls of the nave from bowing outwards.

This is the Lady Chapel on the east end of the Cathedral, it was remodeled in the 15th century

South transept from the Norman period of 1079-1150

This is the north side of the Cathedral, the brick paths trace the foundations of Old Minster built-in 634 and demolished in 1093

The longest nave of any Gothic cathedral in Europe

Exterior of the choir from the south side

The choir stalls date from 1308

Bishop Langton’s Chapel, showing painted ceiling

Interior of Bishop Langton’s Chapel

Lady Chapel, showing wall paintings from the early 16th century

The north transept shows the original Norman cathedral’s style

Sun shining into the north transept

Looking up in the north transept

The oldest part of the building is the crypt which dates from 1093, it floods frequently

Nave and alter of Winchester Cathedral

This Cathedral is spectacular, if you are in the area visit it. For more information on  Winchester Cathedral visit their website: http://winchester-cathedral.org.uk/

Travel Tip #8: Washing Up

Travel Tip #8: Advice from a Purple Hippo

Be sure to take a bath and do laundry regularly, no one likes a stinky tourist.

The busy traveler often has difficulties when looking for adequate facilities in which to take a bath in. Never fear, a little ingenuity can go along way. One can use a large sink or basin for sponge baths. A hose is just a portable shower, try it out.

Or you could go with my personal favorite… (note for safety reasons the technique that follows should only be used by properly trained tiny purple hippos)

 Just climb into your machine of choice with your favorite bath puff

Yes that’s right, I use a front-loading washing machine, preferably with a window door so that I can watch the world spin by.

Have a friend close the door for you, or devise a system of levers and pulleys so you can shut the door from the inside, I have yet to master that technique.

At this point the water will start to fill the drum of the machine, make sure that you have set the water temperature to warm. Hot will scald your delicate hippo hide and cold will leave you chattering and a much darker purple.

This is my favorite part, the gentle agitation of warm water with lavender-scented bubble bath.

Here comes the spin cycle. Wa wa wa weeeee!

Oh bother, *burp*

There you have it, just look around and you will find so many places to rid yourself of all that grime you have picked up in your travels.

Click here to see more of my Travel Tips.