A block or two away from our house is an empty field belonging to one of the neighboring lots. From early spring to summer the field is lit up in different colors, depending on the wildflower in bloom at the time. In late March to early April it is a brilliant blue, brimming with bluebonnets. As I drove by on my way home from work today, this last day of May, it pops with bright red and yellow. It is full of gallardia…a nice treat at the end of a long day.
On this Memorial Day, we spent several hours with friends at the marina. We are actually just starting to look at boats for sale. We looked at 2 sloops on E-dock today. Time will tell how long it will take us to find a successor to our beloved Cupholder
Speaking of Cupholder, we sailed the slip with Marty, Sue, Joe and Wally, and then headed home.
One of the shy turtles in the cove today.
We headed to the lake today to raft-up with Marty & Sue on Caribbean Hug, Lori, Dave & Jake on Camelot, and Mike and Kathy on Soul Healer. Julie joined us for the night, and Laura dropped by for a couple hours, too.
I paddled the kayak to shore to tie a stern line and saw these pretty little weeds growing in the rocks on the shore.
Mike had a pair of military grade night vision goggles, which everyone passed around for a while. This is a shot I took through the goggles. Just thought it looked cool.
And, finally, this is a shot off the stern, of the last moments of dusk.
A good time was had by all.
My niece is moving to Austin to attend grad school at UT. She and her brother drove down from Seattle, and arrived on Friday. We’ve enjoyed visiting with them for the last few days. Tonight we drove down to South Congress to meet them for dinner, and afterwards watched the bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge.
Today a solar eclipse occurred right as the sun was setting. Farther west in the US, the entire eclipse would be visible. But, in Austin it started about 45 minutes before sunset, and by the time the sun was to set, it would only be about 50% eclipsed.
A few weeks ago, monte ordered #14 welder’s glass so that we could view it safely. We scoped out a high enough perch that would allow us to see the sun for the longest time before it slipped below the horizon.
We decided on the Iguana Grill above Lake Travis. The view was pretty great. A bunch of friends joined us to watch it occur. This is a shot right before the it slipped away.
Things that make you go “hmmm.”
Butterfly out back on the lantana. Maybe one of these days I’ll have (make) the time to take some proper shots out in the garden, with a tripod and patience. But for now, I’ll try to be quick on the shutter for these chance encounters.
We headed to the lake yesterday to raft-up overnight in Arkansas Bend cove with Marty & Sue, and Joe. It was really pleasant out. Overcast yesterday, but nice breezes. This is a shot from yesterday of the windsocks on Joe’s backstay on Prelude. It got into the 60′s last night. Refreshingly chilly. It will be hot again soon enough.
We made quite the fleet. 2 sloops, 1 catboat, 2 kayaks, a rubber dinghy and a stand-up paddle board.
Today, we kayaked and sup-ed around the cove, and then headed back early in the afternoon to prepare for Monday. Today was much sunnier, blue skies with big clouds, and a nice breeze for the sail home.
When I got my Mac, I realized that it could only open the windows filesystem on my old USB backup drive in read-only mode. Not great for doing backups. I’ll need to reformat it to use it. But I’ve been procrastinating, because i’m going to have to sort through what’s on there to see what to keep and what to get rid of. So this week I took the first step – I copied most of what was on the backup drive to my mac to prepare to reformat the USB drive.
Consequently, the next time I opened Picasa, it found ALL the photos that I had just copied and loaded them into its library, which took a while. But, once it finished, it makes for very easy viewing of many years of pictures. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time this morning browsing through photos I’ve taken that I haven’t looked at for years.
When I got to this one I thought I’d share it with you. This is a photo that I took when my sister, Colleen, and her son, Jacob, were visiting about 4 years ago. We drove down to Port Aransas for the weekend, and stayed a place right on the Gulf-side of the beach. This is a picture of Colleen and Jacob jumping together in the surf. I used some piece of software, can’t remember what, to create a water-color effect — oh, and I edited out the oil rig on the horizon . I later printed this and framed it for her.
I guess it’s kind of appropriate, too, because this is Mother’s Day weekend, and she’s a great mom.
I have to smile every time I look at this pic.
It rained yesterday and last night and has been drizzly today – a gray day, indeed. But I am not complaining…not til the lake is full.
I downloaded the Color Splash Studio app for my Mac a couple months ago, but have never taken the time to figure out how to use it. This is my first attempt. It allows you to manually remove colors from a color photo. I know I should just get Photoshop, but I’m playing around a bit with other tools first.
For some reason this song popped into my head as I was writing up this post…just try keeping it out of your head for the next day or two.
Jacques Pépin‘s biggest fan may very well live under our roof. Monte follows his show regularly. Every once in a while we’ll try one his recipes out.
This is a soda bread recipe that I’ve tried, two ways. Jacques says it can be made either with regular milk and baking powder, or with buttermilk and baking soda (the more traditional, I suppose).
Last week I made it with milk & baking powder. Yesterday, (pic above) I made it with buttermilk and baking soda. Both were good. I think this last loaf cooked a little too long, though. Either that or the fat in the buttermilk caused it to get more yellow than white inside.
You can watch the episode (link here), if you like. Or, here’s the recipe, below. If you want to try it w/ the milk and baking powder combo, just swap out the buttermilk and baking soda in equal quantities.
1/2 tsp canola oil
3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c buttermilk (room-temperature if possible)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut sheet of parchment paper to cover baking sheet. Coat parchment paper with canola oil.
Hold 1 Tbsp flour aside to dust loaf before placing in oven. Sift the rest of the flour together with salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
Add buttermilk to dry mixture and stir til combined. You want to make sure to add the buttermilk right before you’re ready to put it in the oven. Don’t let it sit. Turn dough out onto parchment paper. It will be a bit sticky. Cover with saran wrap and form into a round dough, about 7″ in diameter. Remove saran wrap. Dust with previously set aside flour, and cut a shallow x in the top of the loaf.
Cover with an upside down stainless steel bowl. Cook in oven for 30 mins covered. Then remove bowl and cook for another 30 mins.
Remove and place on rack to cool before enjoying.
We had planned to raft up last night, but as it turned out, we didn’t make it to the lake. It ended up raining overnight, so it’s just as well that we weren’t out there. Today we went to the marina to bring home the kayak and close up the boat. It was nice to back on the lake. It’s been a while, for me. The temps were in the 90′s. The water temps are in the high 70′s. Tis the season for B-dockers to hang out on the lake every weekend.
We saw Joe, Mike, Marty, Sue, Jerry and Wally. Sue has her stand-up paddle board in their slip. So, she and I paddled up and down the dock for quite a while. Along the way we saw lots of the neighborhood ducks. The mom and babies in the shot above were not too leary of the kayak – we were able to get pretty close. Though, I’m told that last week, this momma duck had seven babies, not six.
The shot below shows some of the ducks that have become quite accustomed to handouts from B-dock. You can see one of the big carp under the surface of the water on the right side of the frame.
In the interest of spending less time running errands on the weekends, I have really embraced on-line shopping. And not just for presents and big purchases but consumables – I’ve recently bought shampoo, sunscreen, batteries, light bulbs, hangers, replacement parts, adhesives, air filters…you name it. It’s GREAT!
I signed up for Amazon Prime about 6 months ago. It offers free 2-day shipping, and sometimes discounted prices, for many items. It’s a god-send. And only $79 a year. You also get free online video streaming (which is handy with a kindle fire), and free e-books. Check it out.
Amazon does sell postage stamps, but when I ran out this week, I just ordered from usps.com. I usually buy a couple hundred Forever stamps at a time, and they show up in my mailbox in a day or two.
The picture above is of a sheet of Forever stamps that I ordered on Thursday that arrived today. They are of a painting by Edward Hopper called The Long Leg, part of the American Treasures series of stamps. Pretty, gaff-rigged sailboats. I couldn’t resist. I have admired several Edward Hopper paintings and drawings (especially The Cat Boat) over the years, but I don’t know much about him otherwise. So I googled him and in the process of doing so, found a most awesome website for viewing art called wikipaintings.org. What an amazing resource. They have several hundred artists and many thousands of art work browsable and viewable online. A must-have in your bookmark list.