This Means War!

WANTED – DEAD OR ALIVE

Yes, it’s you I’m talking to Woodchuck.  Your crime?  Crimes against humanity.  Crimes against a garden, it’s owner and all the vegetables and flowers you’ve destroyed.  After what you’ve done while I was on vacation means that I have to take our battle up a notch.  It’s me versus you.  Man versus beast.  One of us has to go and it’s not going to be me…..I have way too many things that I’d have to pack.  I knew something was up in my garden and now I am keenly aware that it is not a slug problem.  How do I know it’s you, Woodchuck?  It all starts the morning after my return from Las Vegas and a walk back to the garden.  These are the green beans that I saw and now grow.  No slug could do this.  I found the hole you dug under the fence and looked at all your destruction.

YOU GOTS TO GO!!

As someone who loves to garden, seeing my garden in bad shape was pretty devastating.  I tried to stop the damage early, as many of you have read, and thought that I had been successful.  Between the fence, the company that came and set traps and moved animals to another location and the various slug removal ideas made it look like I was beyond the destruction that had been occurring.  I felt so smart!!  Well, that is not the case anymore.  I’m taking matters into my own hands.  I am going to become my own Daniel Boone and catch Woodchuck on my own.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

How?  I bought a woodchuck sized Havahart trap.  I saw how the firm that came early this season set their trap up.  They put their trap inside a black contractor’s garbage bag.  Makes it look less like a trap and more like a dark little tunnel to those smart woodchuck critters.  I can do that.  They filled it with onions.  I’m going to do one better….I have read a number of internet articles and I’m filling my trap with ripe cantaloupe, sliced onions and seafood flavored cat chow.  I am going to put the food in the front of the trap, in the middle of the trap and then in the back so that when Woodchuck gets back there, it will trip the lever and the door will come down and trap it.  I’ve decided that on Friday and Saturday night, I will not set the trap, but fill it with food.  Woodchuck will come both days and eat the food and get used to the set up.  Then I’ll set it on Sunday and hope that Woodchuck feels comfortable going inside the trap and then I’ll get it.

I WILL WIN!!

Right now, I’m pretty sure I will be able to remove the cage if I catch Woodchuck and open it far away from Glen Road so that the animal can get out.  Well, let’s say I’m 75% sure I can do this.  I have never really liked critters, so there is always the small chance I will need someone else to do it.  I’m feeling confident though since I know that if I can’t do this, then my garden will be done for this season (if it isn’t already!).

DOWN WITH WOODCHUCKS

I’m more concerned about Woodchuck getting aggressive with me than I am about overcoming my fear of critters.  I think I’m pretty smart, but reading on the internet about woodchucks makes me believe they are smart too.  What if Woodchuck tries to trap me?!?!  Here’s hoping I’m working against a dumb woodchuck versus a smart one.  I’ll keep you posted…………..

We’re Back – Random Thoughts And Shots From Las Vegas

I know that what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, but I won’t give too much away from our trip.  As usual, the weather was hot and so was the Strip.  Lots of great food, some wild cocktails, a trip to see Celine, some shopping and lots of gambling has to add up to a great time and this trip was no exception.  Turn up Elvis and enjoy my random thoughts and shots from our trip.  It’s good to be home, but Viva Las Vegas!!

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Friday Dance Party – Luck Be A Lady Tonight

It’s time for Friday Dance Party here on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

It’s time for a little vacation for us here on Glen Road.  We’ve decided to head out to Las Vegas.  Nothing is smarter than leaving Connecticut when it’s 99 degrees outside and heading to Las Vegas where it is 107 degrees!  Don’t worry that we will go up in flames and melt into the desert.  For the most part, we hardly go outside.  If you do, it is usually off to the pool where you can find a cabana to shield you from the sun or misters that blow water on you to keep you cool.  While we like to gamble, we also like a few days in Las Vegas to hit up a few restaurants, see some shows and just have fun.  But back to the gambling…..it would be nice to win a little bit of money.  I’m not talking millions (well, maybe I am), but at least enough to cover the cost of our trip.  It just never really seems to happen.  We must not have that much luck.  That’s where Frank Sinatra comes in.  I’ve decided if I listen to this week’s song “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” over and over and over, then I will get enough luck to win some money.  Either that or I’ll get so sick of listening to the song, I will never want to listen to it again.  So, turn your speakers up a little and go back in time with Frank on his wish for luck.  You’ll notice Frank does a little dancing and you should too.  You’ve made it through another week and deserve it.  If you don’t hear from us again, you’ll know that we hit it big and are looking for our new house in Beverly Hills.  Wouldn’t that be great!?!

Restaurant Field Trip – The Whelk

Last year at about this time, we visited Le Farm restaurant in Westport, CT.  The restaurant’s owner and head chef, Bill Taibe, is one of the leaders in the area for the farm to table movement, where fresh food is bought from local farmers, brought into his restaurant and served to his customers.  In January of this year, Bill Taibe opened up his latest restaurant, The Whelk, along the water in Westport.  This new restaurant is heavily concentrated on seafood.  Just like Le Farm, The Whelk shares the same artisanal philosophy, using as many fresh and locally grown ingredients as possible.  The Whelk is also focused on fresh and sustainable seafood.

Question:  So, you are asking, what is a whelk?  The answer is below.

While the Whelk is just above the Saugatuck River, the windows in the rectangular dining area face the street, not the water.  Yet the interior has the feel of an informal seafood shack with large harbor lights hung above the bar and slatted picnic chairs and benches, the kind you might find outdoors at a roadside spot.  During our visit, there were eight main course offerings, but it is the smaller plates and appetizers that were the draw for us.  The food that we ate was so good, we are planning to return for a second round next week.  Come see what we ate at our first visit to The Whelk:

We started off with appetizers and small plates.  As in a typical seafood shack, our first courses were served on plates covered in newspaper.  Here is one BBQ little neck clam left from a plate of eight.  These were fresh clams with a little bit of BBQ sauce and bacon placed on top before being placed under the broiler for a few minutes.  These clams went fast.

Another favorite was the hot smoked trout dip served with trout roe and crackers and bread.

We have a friend who says she has never met a potato that she doesn’t like.  Here are some french fries with ketchup and a delicious smoked mayo.

A good wine that was recommended to us by our server.  The Whelk has a large list of by-the-glass and by-the-bottle wines.  This French selection was a little more acidic than I would normally like, but that worked well with the seafood that we ate during our visit.

One of my favorites!  Gulf shrimp and grits with pickled jalapeno-ramp butter and country ham.  Reminds me of our trip to Charleston, SC.

One of the more unique offerings the night we were there.  This is squid ink cavatelli with red shrimp, mexican chorizo and preserved tomatoes.

Cornmeal fried catfish with early summer slaw and walnut-pepper romesco (partly devoured at time of photo).

Rare seared line caught tuna with bacon and black olive and green pea dressing.  An offering that was limited, but we were lucky enough to “snag” one.  Get the seafood joke here?!?

My vote for “Best Of Show”.  Norman’s (we don’t know who Norman is, but he is a man with good taste) lobster butter with leeks, peas and fingerling potatoes.  We were told this is a lobster that is slowly poached and then removed from its shell.  The poaching liquid is then reduced and the lobster meat is added back along with the potatoes, peas and leeks.

What’s dinner without some dessert?  The Whelk offered a small and homey dessert menu for us to choose from.

A quickly devoured set of Whoopie Pies.  These pies never disappoint.

Two at a time…a magic bar in the background with butterscotch and sea salt.  In the front is a meyer lemon posset with cornmeal cookies.  Yummy!

As in our visit to Le Farm, we all left full and happy.  Like I said, we’ll be back on Tuesday so that shows how good The Whelk is.  If you are around Westport, you need to give The Whelk a try.  If you are like us, one trip just won’t be enough.

Answer:  So what is a whelk?  A predatory marine mollusk (family Buccinidae) with a heavy, pointed spiral shell, some kinds of which are edible.  As Bill Taibe has said, calling his restaurant Le Mer would have been too easy.

Friday Dance Party – Kiss Me Again

It’s time for another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

So it is now officially Summer and, to properly bring the new season in, temperatures have soared to 100 degrees.  Needless to say, we have not gone out of the office or house much other than to get the mail or get into one of our air-conditioned cars.  100 degrees is just way too hot!!  Every year, the promise of Summer always makes me think of the same few things.  So from the official start of Summer that occurred on June 20, to the official end of Summer on September 21, here’s what I’ll be concentrating on:

  1. Vacation plans –  I mean, it is a shame not to go someplace and enjoy the warm Summer weather.
  2. How white my legs are – like Foster Farms chicken pieces laid beneath clear plastic wrap in the grocery store, my legs are that same yellowish-white color.  It is embarrassing.  Why is it that I only notice them well into official shorts weather?
  3. Sunglasses – I don’t really wear sunglasses at all, except in Summer.  So the new season always puts me into a panic until I have located my stash of prescription and non-prescription sunglasses.  I’m always scared that I have lost them.
  4. Hamburgers and hot dogs – both of these foods become my favorite when Summer hits.  Nothing like them hot off the grill.
  5. Garden hoses and nozzles – Summer means plant watering and so it is time to drag all our watering equipment out of the shed and install them into spigots in the front and back of the house.
  6. Weight – how I wish I would have stuck to my beginning-of-year diet so that I would be all thin and buff this year when I remove my shirt and jump into the swimming pool.

I also think a lot about what Summer music I will be listening to in the car or around the pool and which of these songs will be the favorite hit of the Summer.  I already know my first Summer song choice for 2012.  It’s from ‘We Are The In Crowd”.  They are an American pop punk band from Poughkeepsie, New York, formed in 2009.  If you are like me, you are saying what is pop punk?  Pop punk is a music genre that combines elements of punk rock with pop music, to varying degrees.  The genre is a strand of alternative rock, which typically merges pop melodies with speedy punk tempos, chord changes and loud guitars.  Think Green Day.  Whatever it is, I’m a fan with ‘Kiss Me Again’.  It’s Summertime!!  Not only have we made it through another week, we’ve made it through another season.  Be happy and celebrate with some pop punk and, if you are really talented, bust out all of your old punk rock moves and astound your family and friends.  In other words, have fun dancing while you watch the horror on other people’s faces who are watching your hot dance moves.  Just don’t get too over-heated…remember, it’s 100 degrees outside.

Friday Dance Party – Alex Clare’s Too Close

It’s time for another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

It’s graduation time everywhere I turn here in Connecticut.  When I was little, families only celebrated when you graduated from high school.  Today, we are going to parties to celebrate graduations from elementary school, junior high school and high school.  I guess the more parties the better, right?  While I like to go to a graduation party, I have always tried my hardest to get out of times where I was invited to go to the actual graduation ceremony.  I find them extremely boring…..really, so boring they are painful.  The truth be told, I find them so boring that I didn’t even attend my own college graduation.  I had the college send me my diploma and instead of going to my own ceremony, I enjoyed a long vacation in New York.  I think I don’t like the ceremony because of the speakers that are there to encourage the youth.  I have always cringed at the speakers that are chosen for graduation ceremonies.  What really can these speakers say to the young ones that is not cliché and something we’ve heard a thousand times.  Unless you can nab Obama or Oprah to speak at your graduation, you should just skip it in my opinion.

I say all this about graduation speakers and their weak speeches and then I kind of do the same thing this week.  Someone at work asked me what advice I would give to a young employee and I said without hesitation one of the oldest pieces of graduation advice ever given:  “never give up”.  Even though it’s true, it is a lame piece of advice.  I’ve been in the working world over 25 years and this is the best I can do?  I guess I understand why I’ve never given a graduation speech.  So my piece of advice, in all its wisdom, is why this week we are listening to Alex Clare’s song ‘Too Close’.  The actual song and the album it was on bombed when it was released in 2011.  Fast forward to now and have the song used on an Internet Explorer commercial and you come back with an instant hit.  Just goes to show you to “never give up” and you can have a hit with whatever it is that you do in life.  I’m a prophet!  So enjoy the song and dance while listening to it.  You made it through another week…you deserve it.

Friday Dance Party – Back Again

I just looked up the last time I posted something here on Acorns On Glen and I can’t believe that it has been close to three months ago.  A year ago, I was posting stories (sometimes almost daily) about my life here in Connecticut and now I am posting nothing.  From cooking and gardening stories to absolutely nothing.  I just haven’t felt like it.  I just haven’t had the energy.  You see, I lost my father on April 12.  You may remember that I briefly wrote about it during the holidays.  The days leading up to his leaving and all these days after have been some of the hardest of my 48 years.  I think I have learned a lot about myself during these days of despair.  I know that I have faith.  I have never really been a religious man.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always believed in a power bigger than me.  I think it’s God, but whatever you want to call it is fine by me.  But the belief that there is someone or something up there for me to talk to as well as someone or someplace up there for my father to go to has been very comforting to me over the last few months.

I have also discovered from the ‘most played’ feature on my iPad, that I have listened to the same group of songs over and over during the last few months.  Songs of inspiration, understanding, hope and faith.  The one I chose for today is the one that I listened to the most.  Sometimes it made me think about myself and sometimes it made me think of my father and his battle against cancer.  I’m just glad I found it.

I think my father left us in Spring so that there would be so much for us to do after he was gone.  We’d get on with our lives in a quick manner because there would be gardens to plant, yards to be mowed and flowers to watch bloom.  He wouldn’t want us to be sad for very long and he would want us to quickly get back to living our lives to the fullest without him, just like we did when he was here.  So guess what?  Like I’ve done for so many Fridays here on Acorns On Glen:

It is time for another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.