Friday, July 25, 2014

Free Range Friday ~ Matt Armendariz

Taking good photos of food and drink is not as easy as it might seem. Frankly, I do a pretty crap job of it. This is not self-deprecation, I'm just not that practiced in making food look beautiful. Matt Armendariz, on the other hand, is very good in this art form.

When I opened my email and saw these photos, the heat of the day lifted and I fell into the coolness of them. Since I'm not really cooking much these days, this became the offering. You can find these drinks on Matt's blog  Matt's Bites, as well as a link to Chandon for the recipes. If you are into food porn, make sure you check out his link to his other photos on his page. Delicious!

Summer in a Glass

photo credit - Matt Armendariz
The photo in the upper left is called The Refresher. What is there not to like about this, including the glassware? Just reading the recipe blew in some fresh breezes.

Yields 1 cocktail (ed. note - makes ONE! which could get you into serious trouble in my world, so I suggest you'd better make a pitcher!)
Honeydew, canteloupe and watermelon balls
1 oz honeydew mint syrup (4 cups chopped honeydew melon, 2 sprigs fresh mint, 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar)
2 dashes orange flower water (do not substitute orange blossom perfume, trust me on this)
3 oz Chandon Rosé (no Chandon? Use your imagination here)
Fresh mint sprig for garnish
Put the melon balls on a plate and freeze.
Combine the chopped honeydew melon, fresh mint, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir. Remove from the heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a container with a sealing top and chill. Discard the solids.
Pour the honeydew mint syrup into a decorative glass. Add the orange flower water and Chandon Rosé. Add a selection of melon balls and garnish with the mint sprig. Serve.
Recipe from Chandon.

(If you enjoyed that and want to stay in the moment of cool refreshing, beautiful drink, do not continue reading. Just click and get outta here. Fair warning!)


Truly the WORST food item I saw this week was sent to me by my brother. I was really, really hoping it was a joke. isn't. You can read about it here on ThinkGeek. If you must. I'm sorry, but I couldn't be alone with this.

I'm going back to look at cocktails. Then, when the sun looks like it is thinking about going over the yardarm, I will make something delicious and jump in the water. Even if it's the sprinkler. I will forget about all the ugly things in the world, including the above. You do the same.

Have a fruitfully festive Friday. Do something fluidly frolicsome. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another Point of View

Here at a new housesitting gig, the views are new, to me anyway. This morning showed how different  it really is here. I was getting dogs outside when my gaze was drawn down the driveway, maybe 20 feet away. A doe was staring at me, staring hard. I stared back. I was sure the dogs would frighten her, but it was a frozen tableau. The dogs stood still. The doe was statue-like. We stared into each others' eyes while I wished for my camera, 3 feet away but inside the door. Finally, because we might have been there all day, I made a move and she slipped into the brush, silently, instantly. Maybe tomorrow.

Living in a flamboyant bower

Sahara dust and haze at sunset

Treetop frangipanis

Yes, I want to know more!

Hillside through the haze
Hazy, somewhat lazy, summer daze. Life is good.

Have a transcendental Thursday. Do something true-hearted.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ Out There

There are as many ways to own a tiny home as there are imaginations in their stations. The Shelter Blog brought a couple of these ways to my attention, one calling for intensive labor but very feasible from the money end. The other, there are some bucks involved. Big bucks. But tiny and small homes aren't just for those with little money, either trying to get out of debt or not incur it in the first place. There are plenty of folks, with plenty of money, who also see the sense of large living on a small scale.

First up, Morgan, from Asheville, North Carolina and his 5000.00 earth bag home. But first, long time readers will remember Jack's start on one in Texas a few years ago. His was more specifically sand bag than earth bag, because sand is what he had. Sand and plenty of rocks. When he found a piece of land he liked better, Jack left behind an incredible amount of work. So out there in the westernmost of West Texas, there is some real cheap land and the start of a sand bag home, complete with the diggings and stone base of an bath/outhouse, if you're looking that way...

Morgan on the other hand, did finish his earth bag home. The complete story with lots more photos can be found on the Alternative Homes website. Photo credits - unknown

Amazing what plaster can do!

I love the use of the bottles.
5000.00. Of course, there's the price of the land and accoutroments - solar panels and appliances come to mind. Plus a lot of bathing at the end of each day. But do-able. Very do-able.

David Coulson Design built the structure below as a home as well as a landscape design studio for their business. I don't think much expense was spared and it shows, in the good way. Plenty of money doesn't necessarily translate into good taste and the intelligence to make practical beautiful, but I think it happened with this post and beam beauty. Lots more photos and explanations of same can be found here.

More small than tiny and there is nothing wrong with that! By the way, have you subscribed to The Shelter Blog yet? You should.

In my not yet finished search for a class C motorhome on the U.S. mainland, I'm reading a LOT of road trip stories, off shoots of ads, the flotsam and jetsam of a different sort of lifestyle floating around the internet. One bit was a blog from a woman named Sue. In her 60's, she chose a trailer and van as her mode of travel life.  Selling her home and packing up a couple of dogs, she hit the road and hasn't looked back. Her posts have made me laugh and she gives a lot of practical info (seems these road life people have a lot of that to share) and that's enough to keep me interested for now. You might enjoy her as well. You can find RV Sue and her canine crew here.

Over on Cabin Porn there is this wonderful cabin from an ecological reserve in Masatepe, Nicaragua. I tried to find out exactly WHERE in Nicaragua, but there are a lot of them and I'd be posting this next week if I continue trying to track it down.

Contributed by Alex Schoemann
I fluctuate between liking the combination of materials and not being sure if I do or not, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. Wish there were interior shots, but I can't find any of those either.

So there's your grab bag of small and tiny homes for today. Be inspired.

Have a tactical Tuesday. Do something tantalizing.

p.s. There is a tropical depression out in our neck of the woods. The expectations aren't high for much to happen, but it is that time of year and a good reminder that if you aren't ready, get ready.