Dec 30, 2011

Apple core


We went to Abrams falls the other day. It was a nice day and it’s a short hike out there. I ate an apple on the way and ended up carrying the core the rest of the time because I’d opted to not bring any pack.



After taking pictures of the falls I picked up my now brown apple core and carried it back out to the parking lot.



While I was waiting for the bathroom. There was a family with two 3 year old boys with their hair gelled up in  Mohawks ahead of me. One of the little Mohawks spotted the apple core in my hand and asked what it was. His mom shot him a look that said don’t ask questions.

I shrugged and told him it was an apple core that I was going to put in that composting toilet because it was really the same stuff as was already in there, just a little less composted. I glanced at his parents they looked at me like oh no! Now we’ll have to answer questions about THAT? I looked back at the little Mohawk and could see the wheels turning in his mind working on his next question.

But just then I was greeted with a shower of crushed rock on my feet. The other little Mohawk was bent over “doggie digging” the lose stones from the parking lot.  The dad hollered at him to stop. I looked at both little Mohawks now standing right next to each other looking cute as two buttons and said it’s ok. little boys are made to dig.

From beside me the 5 year old brother says “I’m a little boy.”

I started to tell him he was probably a very good digger too but never got any farther because the other little Mohawk had fired up his primitive Mexican backhoe again. I picked him up and turned him so that his “castings” would fly into the parking lot instead.

The sister pointed to a deer mowing the lawn.



Apple core in one hand I tried my best to adjust for the changing light.




The deer was all done lawn mowing.



Actually he was just ticked off by someone’s yappy dog that was getting too close for comfort.



Once up on the hill the deer settled back into his most enjoyable career of lawn mowing and design.



Between mouthfuls he said it’s a very fulfilling career. 



The line at the bathroom was nearly gone when I got back. I started to show the little Mohawks' mom the pictures I got but then I had tugging on both legs and Can I see? Can I see? So I squatted down so my little buddies could have a look too. Little sticky fingers on one shoulder and crushed rock dust covered fingers one the other shoulder.

When I got home I realized the apple core never did make it to the toilet. Somewhere up on that hill I set it down when I was doing the low crawl with the camera. I had failed at carry in carry out.


I’ll do better next year.

Happy New Year everyone.

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Dec 26, 2011

The little things


Georgia likes the little things in life.



She sees her life as half full.



She loves doing and doing over and over again something she enjoys doing and knows it will make her happy and healthy.



Because it’s not work when you’re having fun.



Georgia really doesn’t believe in all that stuff about dogs and Chocolate. When Becky brought over Chocolate peanut fudge Georgia said she’d like a bite or two.



But everyone laughed and said that same old stuff about chocolate being bad for dogs.



Georgia maintains that there is no basis for that because she’s never tasted chocolate.



Even though it was another Christmas without any chocolate Georgia thought it was the best one yet.



The stale biscuits always bring a smile to Georgia’s face actually to her whole body, she doesn’t just wag her tail when she’s trying to sit she just wiggles all over.



She makes direct eye contact. She read about that in How to win friends and influence people with any kind of food or what ever that book was called.



She tries the thoughtful face.



The Happy face.


dog smile for biscuits

And the I absolutely love stale biscuits face because you give them to me whenever I’ve done something fabulously great.

So remember whenever you are offered a biscuit instead of chocolate it’s because they care about you and think you’ve done something fabulously great.


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Dec 23, 2011

Gingerbread men


This year it’s trees, yes gingerbread trees. I’m sorry about the endless bokeh background but I can’t stop, I’m having too much fun with Christmas lights.



I thought seriously about using the cow but her hoofs always get stuck in the cookie dough.



Maybe the bear



Then I found the tree in the bottom of the bag that was perfect. 



For my lights all I did here was drape them over a rack next to where I was working.


gingerbread cookies1000




I roll the dough out in sugar and ginger powder so that each time I reroll the dough it just get better instead of more like cardboard with each re-roll. That makes them stick to the cookie sheets so don’t be like me and forget to grease the cookie sheets until you have to chisel a bunch of cookies off the cookie sheet.



I just realized it’d’ve been perfect if I’d rolled them in green granulated sugar. But I didn’t have any and it’s just as well because I know there’s nothing good about artificial food color.



I am not a professional froster by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not really sure what a frosting bag or a pastry tip is! This here is a sandwich bad with a hole poked in the end. I was happy enough with the results.



By the end I had so many trees it looked like a Christmas tree farm!




Gingerbread Men

•    3 cups  whole wheat pastry flour
•    1/4 teaspoons salt
•    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
•    2 teaspoons ground ginger
•    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
•    1/2 cup  unsalted butter, room temperature
•    1/2 cup granulated sugar
•    1 large egg
•    2/3 cup molasses



  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter

In a bowl  beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt  beat until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. grease two cookie sheets and set aside while you roll out the dough.

On a lightly sugar and ginger powdered surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies.  I
Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes.  They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown. 
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minutes. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then frost if you feel like it.



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Dec 22, 2011

Bokeh, my lens can do that?


f/1.4      1/100 sec.      ISO-250      50mm



f/2.8       1/30 sec      ISO-800      50mm

I keep reading about “Holiday bokeh” and some of the examples are just the coolest shots ever.  Some people’s photos use the Christmas lights around to create stunning shots. So inspired by what I’d seen I got out the camera and played around with it a little. Actually I first cleaned some dried food off of it. Somehow there was cookie dough in random places.


f/2     1/80 sec.     ISO-800      50mm

Yeah, this isn’t exactly what “Their “ shots looked like.   This was done on manual focus.



I got out some lights to see what I would get.



I just put them a messy pile. Nope nothing fancy.



f/2.8       1/125 sec.     ISO-400      50mm

At 2.8 and my subject distance at 1m  I could still see the green wire of the lights.



f2.0      1/250 sec.   ISO-250      50mm

Next I opened it up a bit to 2.0 but I changed the shutter and ISO – I don’t know why but I did so it’s a little darker.



f/1.4      1/640 sec.     ISO-250     50mm

Here I opened it just as wide open as this lens will go and I see the hexagon edges are gone.



f/1.4     1/100 sec.    ISO-250     50mm

I don’t know why I ended up with oval circles in this one. Maybe it’s because I’m nearly on top of the pile of Christmas lights. That cookie is burnt. It was  perfect I didn’t have to worry about anyone stealing it.



f/1.4      1/320 sec. ISO-250 50mm

That’s all for now I’ve had a lot of fun with this experiment. I think you can get some kind of bokeh going on even with a lens that only opens to an f/4.  I need to think about how to get the light bubbles to not compete but compliment the picture.

The bad picture is the one you didn’t take.


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Dec 20, 2011

Home made Croutons


I’m a big fan of croutons. Making croutons is very easy. You really can’t go wrong, even if you burn them it’s no big deal cause it’s only left over bits of bread.



This is a great tasting use for odd bread pieces.



Cut into cubes.



place in a baking pan and 



drizzle with olive oil.



Season with Herb salt,



some cayenne,



onion and garlic powder  



Toss to coat.



add a little more olive oil if it seems too dry.



I singled out some of them and rubbed them facedown in the olive oil. They’d been escaping my tossing.



Bake at 375 for20 minutes.



Serve on salads.



or munch them as an unofficial snack.

Feel good about giving old bread a second chance.



Home made Croutons


  • a half a loaf worth of odd bread pieces
  • 3-5 table spoons olive oil
  • cayenne, salt, garlic powder and onion powder to taste

Cut bread into cubes. In a baking pan mix bread cubes with olive oil. season to taste with salt, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder. Add more olive oil by the spoon full if they look too dry. Bake at 375 for at least 20 minutes plus minus. Depends on how crunchy you like and what type of bread you’re using.



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