Thursday, February 19, 2015

some heat

Here's last summer's cayenne peppers, good and dry.

Here's my coffee grinder, nice and clean.

Here's the result, which ought to be about a year's supply, since I don't use much when it's homegrown and not aged on some grocery shelf.

And here's the very last pepper, that was green before the first frost when I spotted it and brought it indoors, where it has been very very slowly ripening, until I picked it today and hung it up to dry and await its turn in the coffee grinder.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

toy drive at work leads to nostalgia

This year our work is participating in a toy drive so I went out and bought new toys for the first time in thirty years or so. I found some amazingly cheap ones, fortunately.

The stick horse has a button you press to make him whinny. (No, don't ask yourself why I'm absolutely certain this stick horse is a gelding: my underbrain at work.)  I, of course, made my own horse noises for my stick horse (he was black, with a white star, and some white hair in his black mane, so his invisible feet probably had at least a few white socks) but I realized how few children nowadays have horses over the back fence to imitate. How sad.

I, on the other hand, had no plush dinosaurs at all. Also sad. This one is so very squishy, yet so RAWR! that I'm tempted to keep him. 

I had a lot of little metal cars, but no tanks. I had a toy tractor, though, and best of all, a fire engine that pumped real water through its hose. I hope that the unknown children who ultimately receive these have as much fun with them as I had with mine. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

walking the Big Beech trail

My latest walk covered more of the Louisville Loop, and got me off the bicycle friendly pavement

(which I appreciate more in wet weather.)

About half a mile of this from the parking lot to the Big Beech trail.

It was a very sunny day, which meant that when I took pictures with the iPod touch I could see absolutely nothing in the screen except my reflection, which led to lots of pictures like this:

This is a really pretty bridge, and I took lots of pictures of it, most of them with even better views of my fingers.

On the other side of the bridge, this structure stands. Is it a bike rack or an exercise device? Or both?

Here I'm looking back at the pavement after turning onto the trail I planned to take.

And forward into the woods.

I've always loved tree roots.

The trail went uphill quite quickly, but without being too challenging. That's the same creek the bridge crossed.

Roots. I managed to crop my finger out.

More roots.

And roots of light.

Lots of sky at the top of the hill.

The trail starts gently down.

Here I spent several frustrating minutes trying to get a picture of some wrens. I heard them, and I was so pleased when I actually spotted them. But the camera refused to see them. Somewhere on that downed tree is a wren, but in all five shots I can't find one, and there were actually two of them.

Even in the woods it was a bright day, but coming out onto the main trail there was So Much Sky.

I can't wait to go again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

first snow

Luckily I have lots of dry wood inside.

My dwarf pine.

No birds were braving the feeder yet.

I didn't dig the Jeep out for the less than half a mile to work.

There's the tree that's lost two branches in a year. I do hope this isn't a very heavy snow.

Monday, November 17, 2014

a walk at the lake

I went for a walk on some familiar trails that I haven't walked in a long time.

Yes, it's fall all right. The Osage oranges are on the ground.

This shows that these woods were pasture once. Early in Kentucky settlement Osage orange was favored as a hedge material; it's got thorns and the wood is very tough. It makes excellent fence posts because it's very slow to rot. It also burns very hot and long-lasting, but if you don't cut and split it while green, you'll blunt a chainsaw on it to no effect. (Good fence post material!)

And the fruit (loved by squirrels) is about the same size as an orange.

More signs of fall:

Buck bushes are called that because deer love the berries. So do birds, and everything else that lives in the woods. By January they'll all be gone.

See that patch of white that looks like mist in the center of the picture? That's actually the lake, and it looked blue to the eye.

Another sign of cultivation:

Rock fences last longer than you'd think, what with frost heave. I doubt this has been repaired since the Corps of Engineers bought this land in the 1970s.

This is the trail, which is about sixteen inches wide between trees at this point. In wet weather you have  to step wide across a little rill making a tiny waterfall here. Hence the moss.

More evidence of former pasture:

I'm pretty sure that's a built pond, though I haven't gone off the trail to walk all the way around it and make sure.

Which fork to take?

Rose hips. (Native wild roses, not strayed from an old garden.)

I went a little way down the so-called "lake view" trail which is impassable when the lake is high because it's really partly a "lakeside" trail. I didn't go all the way around the loop, because it's extremely steep. This part is steeper than it looks in the picture, but it's not the steep part.

And there's the lake.

Baby oak!

More lake.

I heard lots of deer galloping off when I disturbed them. The area is a no hunting zone and they're well aware of that. Later in the season they won't bother to move far, but all I saw of them on this walk was white tails in the distance. I was there by myself--only car in the parking lot--so I was the only thing disturbing them.

And here's the dam that makes the lake:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I made a fruitcake from one of the family recipes (the one that only takes half a dozen eggs instead of a dozen) modified according to what fruit I can get and what I like, and leaving out the figs, which I like to eat but hate cutting up. I'll make another batch before Christmas, and maybe still another, since I like to have fruitcake for my birthday in January.

The bowls of floured fruit ready to add to the batter, alternately with the cider that I'm substituting for the orange juice my great-aunt's version calls for.

Ready to go into the oven. The pan on the left is older than I am.

Out of the oven and almost cooled off enough to eat.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Desi dancing


If I finally got this to upload, after five attempts, you'll see Desi the macaw showing off after watching me taking pictures of a cat.