Tuesday, April 28, 2015

AVRIL 2015-Trip USA

Wild flower Missouri, Spring Beauty
Spring is really here. Now we are having warm days and cool nights. I am anxiously waiting to plant my tomatoes. Just need the nights to be a little warmer!

This month I went to the USA. So most of my post will be photos from my visit.

I started in Nebraska to visit my in-laws. Chardon is in the west part of Nebraska called the pan handle and is just below the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota. The famous Lakota Indian Crazy Horse lived some of his life in the area.
I flew into Rapid City SD and then drove south to Chadron.

My father in-law took me out on the dirt roads for some photos. The first day was grey and the second day the sky was a beautiful blue. Another day we played some golf, unfortunately I did not record this moment. But you should have seen the amazing drives that we had that morning...WOW!

One of the first days I took a walk in Chadron State Park, just south of Chardon. It is in the pine ridge area, and is hilly and covered with ponderosa pines. A really beautiful spot to spend some time. A little hard to take photos in the middle of the tall pines, but I took one at the top of the road just to show I was there!!

The pan handle of Nebraska is mostly grassland prairie. But here there is also a section called the Pine Ridge that is covered in Ponderosa pines.
PHOTOS from the cloudy day (and although the sky was dark at times, there was no rain).
Not many trees here
Way in the back upper left, pondarosa pines
one lonely tree
Closed one room school and Flag butte on the left
Another butte
A yak
An area with these rock formations
Now for the photos on a sunny dry day.
Pine ridge in the background...ridge covered in pondarosa pines
Closer view of the pines
and more pines...I found the sky was so pretty I kept taking photos
Tractor on the left side horizon.
House and BIG sky country
The sky was very blue...a road off to ?
The point of many of these photos is to illustrate the openness of the grassland prairie. Other than the pines, there are very few trees. If you like the big sky open country side, this is the place to visit. Its' stark beauty is awesome.

One last photo of Nebraska, downtown Chadron.
Chadron Nebraska
After my visit in Nebraska, I headed south to Missouri. My sister lives in Ava Missouri, it is southeast of Springfield. It is down in the southwest corner of Missouri, in the Ozark mountains. I had thought to drive from Chadron to Ava at one point, forgetting the size of the US and the states. The little drive would have been over 12 hours! Instead, I found an airline that flew to Springfield (via Dallas!!). What a contrast in nature. Here spring was in full bloom and everything was a lush green.

My niece was there too for a visit. We had a wonderful family Easter dinner at a gorgeous table.
Easter Sunday The table was all decorated when I
During the week we worked on the garden, tasted wine, took walks, went to the Ava market, did a puzzle, compared recipes, worked on genealogy, admired the country side, watched the wild animals and just enjoyed talking.
Ava market day on the city square
Birdhouses for sale at the market
Missouri is known for its dogwood trees and redbud trees. Both trees were covered in flowers.
Redbud tree and Dogwood tree
A little color along the road
Dogwood flower ( about 3 inches in diameter?)
Then there is the wildlife around the house in the country (my sister is 15 miles from Ava).
Deer come around near sunset
grey squirrel found a walnut to eat
Female cardinal
Male cardinal
Lapin (rabbit)
We did try some wine that is grown in the Ozarks. I live in Burgundy and  I guess I have become a bit of a wine snob!!...didn't mean to, it just happened.
I found the wine OK, liked the sweet wine the most.
Just a small photo to show we were there
Now for photos taken on our walks on the road that passes in front of their house. The property has a river (called Byrant Creek), at the house there is a drop to the river, but further down the road, the river and road are at the same level. Then the road goes up again.
walk down the road
 river view
sun was coming through -what light through the leaves
Little green cabin by the river
a wet road after the rain
above the river
River through the redbud tree blossoms
Some flowers along the road
Red flower is called "Fire Pink"
Wild jonquil or Daffodil
Wild Phlox
A few barn photos too...
Red barn on the way to Ava
The old barn
A little playing with sienna color and vignette effects

A root cellar door in the side of the hill
Panoramic of road to the left and the hill and the barn

I took a walk as the sun was setting. Wanted to capture the golden light.
Evening sun on the barn
My sister's house (river to the right)
And the sunset on the trees across the road (note carport
of the house on the right)
The hill side as the sun sets
Sun was setting..this is the house deck. I did push the
color just a little, but most of it was the actual color.
 It was a pretty sunset. Since I had to be quick
to capture any color...the photo includes the deck, BBQ and wires!
This is the back yard without wires and deck. The apple tree
blooming and the riverbank just beyond the apple tree
Last but not least, in an interesting twist of fate... I had lunch with friends from Minnesota. I had not seen Connie or Steve in 10 years. But posted on Facebook was a note from Steve about the Ozarks. So I wrote back and said I was in the Ozarks!!! We met half way in  Branson Mo for lunch. What a wonderful surprise. Steve took a photo ( I had 2 cameras with me to take pictures and forgot totally to take even one photo!!!).
Steve's photo of Connie et me
(sister on left) as we entered
Bass Pro

Other notes for the month, Keith did some riding while I was gone. He went south to the Mediterranean.

That is about all for this month.

Recipe of the Month
Pasta Primavera

This is an easy recipe, and you can add or subtract as you wish. Go with the flow.
Spring is here and there is asparagus at the store, or maybe you prefer spinach. And fresh peas will be in the market soon. 
Just combine some good vegetables for taste and color, and VOILA, Pasta

  • 16 oz of pasta (penne is a good choice)
  • 4 oz cream cheese ( or ricotta)
  • 1/2 sour cream
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • Red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove chopped fine
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb asparagus...washed, ends broken off, and cut into 2
    inch pieces (leave tips intact) and pre-cooked
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmensan cheese (grated)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
note: if you prefer spinach, use it. Spinach does not need to be cook. Just toss into the hot sauce as you add the pasta, and the heat from the pasta will cook it. 
If you like peas, add peas (pre-cooked)

  1. Boil water for the pasta and
    cook as instructed on the package. Reserve about 1 cup of water when you
    drain the pasta
  2. Add the oil and butter into a large pan. When hot, turn the heat down and add the onion and stir until onions are transparent.
  3. Add the cream cheese and sour cream and stir well
  4. Add the red pepper and the garlic and remove the pan from  the heat ( peppers should slightly cook, but still have some crunch, so just let them rest on top of the warm sauce)
  5. When pasta is done, move sauce back to low heat
  6. Add all of the remaining vegetables into the sauce
  7. Add cheese and stir ( this is just to rewarm a little- low heat only)
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Add the pasta and stir well. If it needs a little of the pasta water, add a little at a time until the dish is creamy
  10. Remove from heat and serve immediately
You can serve as is with some good bread, or maybe with some chicken. Main dish or side dish