Best-Laid Plans…Unplugged

“The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry”
~Robert Burns (paraphrased in English translation)

Did you miss me?

Wow. Two weeks have flown by since I last posted. That wasn’t my plan when, week before last, I was getting ready to leave town for a week-long Labor Day holiday (and for those of you in the U.S. that celebrate Labor Day, I hope yours was fun!). I had great visions of preparing a post scheduled to happen while I was gone, so that you’d know I was still out here and thinking of you. I had several subjects in mind, and all I had to do was upload the shots and write a quick and witty note. And while I was away, I thought that surely I’d be able to overcome the lack of consistent internet service that I always experience when we go to visit family in Alabama. I’d be able to reply to comments on this supposed post I was going to make, or at the very least be able to comment on the blogs I follow.

Ha!

Instead, not only did I not find the time to write a post before I left, but once I got out of town, the wireless internet connection on my phone and laptop was so bad that it forced being “unplugged” the entire time I was on vacation (see Barb’s note at Profiteroles and Ponytails about the advantages and necessities of unplugging now and then). Actually, that really wasn’t a bad thing after all, because quality time well-spent with family and friends is pretty hard to do with your nose in a computer! 

So here I am back home again, having had a wonderful time away and also having thrown a rather successful party while I was gone, but as yet I’m still not organized enough to pull together the post for sharing that with you. For now, rather than letting even more time go by where you might then begin to wonder if something truly catastrophic has happened, I’ll ask that you indulge me while I share a little interlude—a retrospective list of summer goodies that we’ve enjoyed, and that can still be enjoyed, given that summer isn’t truly over yet. And for those in the southern hemisphere of this planet, here are some dishes to look forward to, or to start to work on as you come into your spring and summer seasons!

I should be back in true blogging form by this weekend. In the mean time, I hope you’ll take a peek at any of these goodies that you might have missed, and I’ll be catching up on your posts that I have definitely missed, as well as preparing some new material. Have a great rest of your week, and cheers to you all! ~Betsy

Add some roasted new potatoes from the CSA alongside for a complete dinner, and I’m a happy camper!

A Better BLT

Luscious homemade peach ice cream. I mean really, can there be anything better than this? (A daylight picture perhaps?)

Just Peachy Ice Cream

Ready for the picnic, cookout or pot luck, this salad has outdoor fun written all over it!

Couscous Salad
Lentil Salad

Mom’s pretty pie awaited our return from the tour of Pond Spring…yay!

Mom’s Blueberry Pie

This photo almost ended up with the spoon in it…I couldn’t wait to taste!

Strawberry Orange Almond Crisp

Just look at that juicy, flavor-packed burger with oozy blue cheese and balsamic glazed onions. Who wouldn’t love that?

Sun dried Tomato Turkey Burgers

Mediterranean Pasta Salad finished with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

A little veggie sammy, too.

Pan Bagnat

Summer Tomato Caprese Pie

Summer Tomato Caprese Pie
Diane’s Butterbean Salad and Fresh fruit and herb sorbets

All dressed up for dinner.

Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza with Arugula

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A Step Back in Time.

My family loves history and architecture, touring historic sites and taking impromptu road trips. And as a result of this, we are constantly seeking little hidden places to go and gems to find. I’ve posted about some of those little gems from time to time and a lot of them are around my hometown of Florence, Alabama. Every time I go and visit, it seems like we discover more interesting little tidbits about the area.

We were in Florence visiting my mom a couple of weeks ago, and had heard that an old home…a plantation, actually…had been restored and reopened recently, so of course we had to go and check out this latest “find.” I’m offering to take you along on this little road trip of ours, if you’re interested, and inviting you to step back in time with us and take a peek into a slice of southern American history, and the history of North Alabama, in particular.

View of walkway and entrance to the grounds of Pond Spring Plantation, the home of General Joseph Wheeler and his family.

Pond Spring Plantation was the home of General Joseph Wheeler, former Major General of Cavalry of the Confederate western army, The Army of Tennessee. Many local sites have been named after General Wheeler, including the nearby Wheeler Dam on the Tennessee River. After the Civil War, Wheeler fought again as a Major General in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, earning the well deserved nickname “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler. After the Civil War, Wheeler became a long time and noteworthy U.S. congressman, and was known as a national symbol for reunification and reconciliation in the late 19th Century. And as a U.S. congressman in the early part of the 20th Century, he was a driving force for progressive economic direction and growth in North Alabama. Quite a remarkable and accomplished man. Continue reading