Archive for the ‘photography’ Tag

08-14-2016 Journal – My Almost Friend!   Leave a comment

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Mother Nature is normally not my friend.

We celebrated yesterday because it finally rained.  Not like the dozen or so sprinkles we’ve received in recent weeks but an honest-to-god rain shower.  The rain cooled things off overnight but ten minutes after the sun came out this morning the temperature zoomed back to 90 degrees.

I should be happy . . right?   Not very.  We need a good five or six days of rain just to get the water levels back where they belong.  Early this morning at 5am both my better-half and I were awaken by the sounds of tree branches cracking. Just outside our bedroom window a rather large tree branch snapped and barely missing the house.  This portion of the tree was obviously dead and we knew it was only a matter of time before it fell.  I once attempted to climb the tree with a chain saw to cut it down but it was just too dangerous.

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The house is just a few feet to the right of the photograph.

How it missed the house is a mystery but thank god it did. That’s the second time in the last year a tree has fallen close to the house and missed it completely.  We must have a guardian angel keeping an eye on things.

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Mother Nature isn’t usually this kind.  I remember a time in Massachusetts that we had a storm that dropped a 100 foot tall oak tree onto our backyard and took the corner of my house with it.  At the same time a giant pine tree fell on my car in the driveway and crushed it completely.  I count my blessings any time she chooses to leave me alone. Today was one of those days.

MOTHER NATURE IS NOT NICE

07-17-2016 Journal – Beach Day!   Leave a comment

My better-half was able to sneak away from work a little early yesterday making it possible for us to make our first visit this summer to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, the ultimate tourist trap.  The weather was sweltering at our house but when we arrived at OOB there was a beautiful ocean breeze that was grand. The beach looked beautiful and it was loaded with visiting tourists.

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The only place to stay cool for a few hours.

I love just walking around and people watching when I stumbled on this young lady wearing the required bikini I always look for. It was too bad she decided to stay buried in the sand.

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What’s a trip to the beach without our mandatory visit to the Surf 6 bar. It’s located directly adjacent to the beach just a hop, skip, and jump from the water. I should also mention the excellent mojitos and margaritas that are available.  As always laced with some excellent Patron tequila. OLE!

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We took a nice walk along the beach just as the sun was setting. The cool water felt damn good our poor overheated and sweaty feet.  It was heaven.

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All in all it was a lot of fun and we are planning more of these outings over the next month. The food was delicious, the water was cool, the drinks were icy cold, and the people watching was the best.

SUMMER WILL CONTINUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

07-15-2016 Journal – Garden Production!   Leave a comment

I breathed a huge sigh of relief this week when we finally began harvesting a few items from the garden.  By far the plants that seem to be doing the best are the zucchini’s.  They are weeks ahead of the hot peppers of so it seems. Here are the first two we removed and they’ve already been made into a number of loaves of chocolate zucchini bread.

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The cake was delicious as usual.

We also have five or six cucumbers ready for the table.  This meal consisted of chicken tenders grilled in a tequila & lime sauce and a cucumber, tomato, and onion salad drizzled with oil and vinegar.  Add to that vegetarian spring rolls and a cold glass of Chardonnay and your in heaven. It tasted way better than it sounds or looks.

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One of the hazards of eating a meal on our deck are the hundreds of birds that consistently visit our feeders. Over the last few years we’ve been adopted by three generations of woodpeckers.  Imagine trying to eat your meal as they zoom into the feeder just a foot or two above your head.  They seem to have lost all fear of us.

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I guess it’s nice to have visitors of a sort when dining but these guys are a pain at times.

WE ARE LOVING SUMMER

07-13-2016 Journal – Garden Flowers!   Leave a comment

I just took a quick stroll around the property this morning to take a few snaps of some of the more colorful bloomers.  The recent weeks of rain and warm weather have the garden growing as fast as possible. Just a few short weeks ago most of these flowers were only 6 inches high. Look at them now.

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Day lilies are my favorites to photograph.

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These are the first of many different colored lilies my better-half has planted in the gardens.  They are beautiful, colorful, and make for some interesting screensavers I can enjoy through those long winter months.

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I’m not exactly sure what this plant is but I love the look of it.

As you can see the gardens are green and lush. A great place to sit on a bench and relax. There’s nothing more calming than that.  These last two photo’s are of flowers in full bloom. The white daisies are my better-half’s favorite flower. Once again I have no idea what the red ones might be but I like them regardless.

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Today will be more garden work for me. Although I use garden fabric to keep the weeds to a minimum it still requires spending some time on my hands and knees to get those few that always seem to show up in every little crack and crevice.

WE’LL SHOULD BEGIN HARVESTING SOON

06-27-2016 Journal – Garden Update!   Leave a comment

With the month of June running out I thought I’d get one last garden update  posted. Warmer weather has certainly caused the garden to go crazy. The plants are growing approximately 2 to 3 inches a week or more and it’s still early in the season. Here are a number of pictures from the garden to show the results of our TLC and nightly watering. It’s been a rather dry beginning to the growing season and the watering is the only thing that will keep this garden plush.

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‘The herbs are going crazy.’

 

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‘Looking forward to many zucchini’s.’

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‘The tomatoes are blooming.’

 

Yesterday my better-half and I spent her day off relaxing and doing yard work. We harvested some lettuce and garlic chives to add to our evening meal. We decided that since the weather was so nice we’d be eating on the deck. Here is a picture of our table.

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I grilled a number of boneless chicken thighs dusted with rosemary and a basting of ghost pepper sauce.  Just before serving I brushed on a light coating of diluted yellow mustard.  Crispy, flavorful, and hot.  My favorite three things. Add a side dish of our homemade Bread and Butter pickles and things improve even more. The ice cold Chardonnay topped off the meal perfectly.

This was the first of many meals of this kind this summer. As the garden begins to produce more items our future meals  will be even better.

GARDEN FOOD IS THE BEST

06-21-2016 Journal – June Garden Update!   Leave a comment

It appears that summer is finally decided to arrive. We having much warmer weather during the day and at night and it shows. The garden has really taken off in the last week and things are looking up except for the ghost peppers which aren’t doing well at all. They seem to need hot days and hot nights with a lot of sun to flourish and they’re certainly not finding that here in Maine.  I don’t expect much production from the ghost peppers this year and I’ve pretty much decided to try them one more time next year but in a different way. I intend to plant them either in a cold framework or I’ll build a small greenhouse to try and keep the temperature is high as possible for as long as possible. If that doesn’t work then I’ll give up on ghost peppers entirely and just buy them online. Here are a few shots of the garden taken this morning.

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 The better-half’s flower gardens are also in bloom almost everywhere on the property. This could possibly  be the best year we’ve ever had with a diversity of colors that is amazing.

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We also had a special occasion last night. We harvested the first of the lettuces for this year and they were a perfect addition to our evening meal.

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That’s all for today.  I’m having serious computer issues that need fixing and I hope I’m successful. Microsoft is making my life miserable once again and as usual they’re not much help.

06-19-2016 Journal – Weekly Update!   Leave a comment

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Summer is finally here but it’s been a little disappointing so far.  It’s the middle of June and the nights remain chilly which is doing nothing to help my pepper plants in our garden.  Very disappointing but not totally unexpected, it is Maine after all.

This week I’ve been consumed by these designs that I’ve been creating.  Each day I become more adept at using the computer software to color my sketches.  It’s an interesting process but it’s very detailed and time consuming.  I sat for almost three hours yesterday totally focused on what I was doing and when I finally finished and stood up I was suffering from eye strain and legs that went a bit wobbly. Even with all of that the results were much better than I expected.  The work will continue today and I’m actually looking forward to getting back into it.

thODZRPNDL‘Get Creative!’

Most people just don’t get it. They see my time spent doing these designs as wasted but they couldn’t be more wrong.  The hours spent in these tasks are the highlights of my day.  The focus needed to complete them is something I’ve grown to need over the years and I’ve looked forward to it since I was a young child.  It’s the best addiction I’ve ever had and I hope I never lose it.

I’m hoping to breakaway for a while this week if the sunny weather continues. I could use some quiet times in the woods taking a few photographs of my favorite subjects . . . dragonflies.  They should be swarming near the swamps in large numbers by now and I plan to make the most of it. Here are two shots taken in 2011 when there were huge numbers of them in the area.

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I’ll be disappointed if I can’t get a few pictures but these cool nights may delay their arrival just a bit. I may be forced to return to the swamp a few more times before I have any success at all. Thankfully I live close enough which makes things so much easier.

ENJOY YOUR DAY

06-09-2016 Journal–June Garden Update!   Leave a comment

Even though June has barely started I thought an garden update was in order. The warmer weather for the last few weeks has brought everything to life in a big way.  Due to the efforts of my better-half we have flowers blooming everywhere.

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The gardens in the yard are filled with irises as you can see. we’ve planted them every where and this is the first year we get to see them in all their glory.

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Just three years ago this rhododendron was one foot tall and looking poorly. We transplanted it to this spot and here is the results of our efforts.

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One of the better-half’s passions is to have as much color in as many places as possible.  That of course includes the deck.  We get to walk through all of these flowers on our way to the table to have our morning coffee. How great is that?

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It’s things like this that help us Mainers wipe away memories of sleet, ice,  snow, and our six month’s of winter.  It’s worth waiting for. Here’s my recent photo of the vegetable and herb garden as compared with one taken in May.  The changes as we move forward will become more and more obvious.

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‘May’

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‘June’

05-28-2016 Journal – Salsa, Salsa, Salsa!   Leave a comment

Now that the garden has been planted I have extra time on my hands for other things. I noticed a few days ago that we seem to be running out of our homemade salsa.  We both love salsa so much and eat on average a quart every two weeks or so. My better-half insists on putting it on and in everything she eats so running out is not an option.  I’ve had a newly developed recipe that I’ve been waiting to make and this is the week to do it.  This recipe is called ‘Six Pepper Bean Salsa’. 

It even sounds hot and trust me it really is.  I’ve gathered together jalapeños, habaneros, Serrano’s, Thai chili, black pepper, and finally Ghost peppers. Add black beans and chili beans and a host of other ingredients and there you have it.  I even managed to harvest some early chives from my garden as well. During the summer months we always try to have at least one item from the garden in every meal.  So let’s get started.

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‘Slice & Dice with rubber gloves.’

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I usually wear very think rubber gloves when messing with hot peppers. I tried the normal latex gloves but they weren’t getting the job done.  Thick rubber from then on assures me of no more burning body parts. Then I gather the necessary jars, lids, and pots and boil them thoroughly.

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Everything must be boiled to keep things as sanitary as possible. That’ll keep contaminated jars from becoming a problem later on.  Next I begin the cooking process and the adding of a little heat.

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‘Dried habanero and chili peppers.’

Finally the salsa is ready for canning. I know canning seems complicated but it really isn’t.  The process is simple and easily managed. The more often you do it the easier it becomes.

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And here’s the finished product.  Thirteen quarts of really delicious salsa that is also hot enough to get anyone’s attention.

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EASY PEASY

05-26-2016 Journal–Miscellaneous Updates!   Leave a comment

As summer looms in my future I’ve been attempting to close out some existing projects to make room for what’s to come.  My infusion of hot peppers in tequila has finally ended with the hot peppers almost bleached white as you can see. I took a small sample and gave it a taste test and was very very hot.  I can’t wait to give it a try in a my first attempt at a Hot Pepper Margarita. I think it will be fine for me and my better-half but I doubt if most people will be able to handle the heat. We’ll see very soon.

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‘The Tequila sucks the color and heat from them.’

My second project has been the Sake that’s almost ready for bottling. Within the next few days I’ll begin the bottling process and finally be done with it. It’s taken a little longer than usual due to it’s refusal to clear.  It’s looking good now and it also has passed my first taste test.

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‘Nice and clear.’

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Today I’ll be making my second visit to the Saco Police Department. I’m trying to renew my permit allowing me to carry a concealed weapon for another four years.  I’ve held permits in multiple states in the past but I have to say the state of Maine isn’t quite as difficult as some others.  My reapplication was only ten pages long and in comparison to some states it’s rather short. I’ve finished the forms, obtained a new and handsome picture of myself, and a check to the city, of course, for $20.00. By far the cheapest fee I’ve ever paid for this constitutional privilege.

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CAN’T LET THE BUREAUCRATIC MINUTIA GET ME DOWN