Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Water Included

Today's post is about stuff. Stuff you can buy. I don't often mention products, except  products in relationship to cooking. Because cooking is a big interest for me, those mentions usually means a cooking item, like a condiment I really like and that works for me, that I want to share.

used with permission
Now I've found something else I really, really like that is about something else that is a big interest for me. My cat. Or rather, the cat who chooses to live with me. If you recall (or even if you don't), I wrote the other day that I had ordered this supposedly ant-proof food bowl for Cwim. Well, it got here. To me and Cwim, it's big, because her old food dish was a smallish, Japanese porcelain bowl, that I set inside a bigger, cereal sized plastic bowl that had soapy water in it to discourage ants. It did. Sometimes. But bits of food would go over the inner bowl and expand and go slimy - that could happen in an hour - and then I guess the ants could jump aboard and into the food. But it was better than nothing. Sort of.

Here is how I'd throw out cat food that is full of tiny little ants. Place bowl between tip of forefinger and tip of thumb. Walk really fast to the little dock. Pick up a stick to scrape out any extra bits of food. Watch the fish come eat it. Repeat way too often, growling.

Walt and Gary fixing up my dock so I don't fall in while feeding the fish
The fish are going to have to fend for themselves now, because that bowl works! I've tempted and teased with canned food and even tuna fish (the all time 'C'mon boys! mount the ramparts!' ant battle cry lure). Nada. Not one. None. Zero. Etc. I made a written promise to Don and Kris when I ordered the bowl; if it worked, I'd be their biggest cheerleader in the Caribbean, because I know I'm not the only one tired of throwing out food/money and dealing with ants around here.  I'm really, really pleased to keep the promise.

I'd add a photo of the slimy, ant-filled icky water but that's just nasty.

I asked Don if they had a smaller bowl for cats. This was his reply:

This is the only size that we offer right now, it's medium size so it can be use in general to all pets. The mold for this bowl was very costly, some point in the future we will mold a smaller size. Some people who feed their cats use a small bowl inside The Mote bowl to raise the food up for their smaller cats or dogs.
As our sales increase we will offer several different sizes.
Thank you, Don
I hope we can do more business in the future, your blog and facebook about the bowl I know will help encourage others to try the bowl.
Thanks again.
I'm going to try the small bowl in the bowl, even though I get to laugh at Cwim each feeding time (she doesn't mind). The bowl is 15.95 with flat rate shipping of 7.99. And worth it.
Small business, personal involvement with the customer, a product that solves a big problem and saves me money, made in the USA. What's not to like? After her initial, what is this giant thing with my food in it??? Cwim is happy and so am I. Just so you know, I don't get paid for this. I just want to get the word out and hopefully get an email from Don and Kris sometime soon that I can order a smaller bowl (as soon as I do, some dog owner friend will get the big one). So check it out. It works.
I wanted to put in the really cute flyer Lawrence made up for the Christmas Flea Market that the library is hosting on Saturday, the 3rd (yep, the same Saturday as the ballet - see? I reminded you!). For some reason, I couldn't get it done, but here's the info anyway. It will be at the library from 9 - 12, It will be mostly gifts for children and a good cause too, so make it if you can! 

And finally, these are not the easiest of times for so many, for so many reasons. Here's what I think.

used with permission
Have a winner of a Wednesday! Do something wonderful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Culebra Beauty - cont.

Still too many, but after a big crash here yesterday, I'm going to go with the giving while it's good.

This was Sunday, the last day of holiday weekend, and the biggest raft up I've seen in years

One of these days I will sail on this boat; it's beautiful, it's fast (it was doing loop-de-loops around us when the dinghy engine died) and the captain/builder is one of the best

Not a bad way to look at town
And then it was morning, after the storm

A watery dawning to the west

Fishin' the flats - it was chilly!

And beautiful (you got this one twice because I like it a lot!)

We thought we'd better start rowing in, the clouds were building up again

The sun was really trying, though (and made it, on and off all day)

Boat dog and his driver

Capt. Chris and a lucky client
Now we get to the starfish portion of our show. There were a lot of starfish around for some reason. I wasn't quite awake enough to get my shutter speed faster, so I got some pretty surrealistic photos, water is powerful stuff on the eyes and lens of cameras both. But, I liked, for the most part, the strangeness.

Not starfish

In real life, those two starfish to the right were NOT halding hands

So concludes the show. It is glaringly bright out, the air is a cool 78 degrees. The radar is dotted with bits of rain, but nothing like yesterday. Time to get up and get out!

Have a far more than tepid Tuesday! Do something hinting of two-step.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Too Much (shooting) of Good Things

I realized, not quite halfway through culling photos out of the 200 + that I took yesterday and this morning that it was going to take a bit longer than I thought. So here is a sampler.

I thank, in a weird way, the faulty dinghy engine that led to me staying on the houseboat at the reef last night. There was swimming. And talking. And laughing. And I'm pretty sure I made some nachos. There was that blasting rain storm and a cloudy, watercolor of a sunrise. With fishermen and boats and starfish. Not necessarily in that order.

A half row, half tow in, a now fixed engine and a lot of photos and memories. I didn't feel the earthquakes...did you?

and that's all for now. Hopefully I'll get things sorted soon. After my nap.

Have a many-splendored Monday. Do something magical.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All Peli's All the Time. Almost.

If you are tired of pelican photos, feel free to leave the classroom and please close the door quietly behind you. See you next time!

Maybe it was the big weather system (that still has not dumped on us - us meaning Culebra, the big island is a different story - but it still has more chances), but fish and birds were having a fine old time all day yesterday, leaping swooping diving jumping, crash and grace tumbling together.

I'd wash the dirt off my hands from moving walkway stones, sawing roots away, pulling more weeds and get the camera once more, after being sure I was done taking shots, except then there would be a volley of splashes, three, four, more and I had to do it again. Compulsions are my friends. Apparently.

These are not pelicans. These are horses drinking from my rain buckets.
While all the other kids were splashing and flying, this one stood for at least two hours, watching. It was sort of sad.
This is not a pelican. It is not a horse either. I can tell from the orange beak.
Almost up!

Oh. Oh. My.

Prehistoric in 2011
Still watching the show
Nice feathers, dude

I am a rock, I am an island
Are you ready to go yet? I need dinner and these things are too big to catch.

And that's pretty much how Saturday went. A book finished, some pavers rearranged, a bit of this and that. Which is how Saturdays should go, sometimes. The expected weather didn't come in, but it was a great reason to stay close to home, where life is good.

Because I was playing in gardens and rocks, this book preview was a great find, via 'Lew Shelterpub." on facebook. Of course, I'll never do anything remotely close to what Jeffrey Bale does, but it was inspiring to see his beautiful work.

Another soother is the video below. I don't have enough words to describe all the feelings evoked by this, and I hope you feel the same.

Have a senses-full Sunday. Do something sating.

(This is dedicated to my fellow pelican lover in Australia, Samela. Who is very much alive!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bright Saturday

I was going to put up the big deal about Small Business Saturday, as opposed to the manipulation (and danger: pepper spraying to get at Xbox's?? what?) of Black Friday, until I realized that the 'official' Small Business Saturday is sponsored by American Express. It's like the 'health drinks' put out by Coca-Cola, or the green lawns advertised by Monsanto. Sometimes, I have great despair of the general public, being run by the marketing firms of America, which are run by the corporations of America, which are run by...well, you get it.

I missed seeing the actual parade, but a friend sent me an email of it. Thanks, Jerry.
What does that have to do with Culebra? Mostly, how glad I am that I live in a place where small businesses are THE businesses. Where the lure of glitter doesn't exist (unless you happen to be a hardware store junkie, which I semi-confess to being) You have to want to partake in the bigger better more mentality enough to get over to the big island - a true feat these days - and find it. Sure, that happens here; we've got plenty of shiny things brought back on the cargo ferry.

Like a person wanting a healthy diet, it's easier to stick to it if you aren't surrounded by junk food. So while it might be more expensive to live here on one level, it is easier on so many other levels, without being able to pop into a big box store, intent on one purchase and coming out with a full shopping cart of things added to a credit card bill. And that's a good thing, in my mind.

 Yesterday morning, while I was at my little table selling bread and hot sauce (thank you, strangers, who stopped to ask what I was selling), Mama and her boy were strolling up the road. I was happy to see them, but also ready to defend my bread, when a vehicle came along that scared them back down the road. Clippity clop, clippity clop went 8 hooves, dancing down to a safer place.

This morning dawned beautifully again, the rising of the sun later and later as we draw near the Winter Solstice. Instead of a 5:30 wake up call, it was almost 7 when  CWIM began pulling down my cover, head butting my cheek to let me know I was being extremely lazy in taking care of her breakfast. Morning was indeed breaking and breaking fast.

"These sticks are starting to look awfully tasty. I'm starving!"

There is a large weather system that seems to be heading our way, from west to east. I remember wrong way Lenny, but am not expecting anything like that. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on, if only for the sake of laundry and hatches. We've just been getting short lived rain showers around here, while on the big island, some places have had days of rain. And while right now the sun is shining and the sky mostly blue, we are under a severe weather alert. Check it out (thanks for the head's up, Suzanne).

Don't forget to mark your calendars for the ballet upcoming December 10th. I went last year and it is really a nice production. Yes, ballet on Culebra! I'll try to remember to remind us all again, but it's a plan ahead sort of thing. Is your tutu back from the dry cleaners?

Have a small business Saturday, using cash! Do something serene.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving with a Family of Friends

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of people and things to be thankful for! I'm baking bread, so I'll let the pictures tell the story.

This is the turkey and stuffing I cooked so we'd have 'leftovers', 
because you have to have leftovers. 

A Dinghy Dock and Melones Beach Thanksgiving

Chef Neil behind the bounteous buffet
Friends, good food, wine...I am thankful!
Dee discusses desserts
I had no idea so many people went out to eat on Thanksgiving!
Toasting silhouettes
Pumpkin scone, champagne and Walt (with Audrey and Mattie back there)
Our man Celestial Chuck
Jeff and Francie
Proud Dad Mike and Helena, who is taller than me (and when did that happen?)
Neil, transformed from chef to Packers fan

Melones nearing sunset

Day is done, gone the sun. A beautiful ending to a wonderful day.
My Dad's Turkey Stuffing

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing (yes, yes, I know I should make it myself and there is even the original recipe, sort of, online, but this is what I grew up eating and this is what I make and that's how that is!)
1 large onion, diced
3-4 large sections of garlic, minced
Turkey giblets (heart, liver, gizzard), chopped small
Turkey neck
Two tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons dried 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Take the neck and put it in a pot with about 2 cups of water, simmer 20 minutes or so (until you have a nice broth, the neck should be cooked through). Take what bits of meat off the neck you can get and give the rest of the neck to the cat. If you don't have a cat, give it to someone else's cat. The neck goes to a cat, that's the law.

In a large skillet, put the butter and olive oil in and saute the onion and garlic. It can get a little bit crispy, that just adds to the flavor. Crispy, not burnt!

Add the the parsley, giblets and turkey neck meat. Saute until meat is lightly browned.

Add the broth and stuffing, mix well. You've got stuffing! You can put this in the bird, along with some extra roughly chopped onion in the other cavity, or keep it warm and serve separately. I stuff the bird and if some is left over, leave in in the pan and then mix it all up at the end of the turkey cooking. Your choice!

Have a free range Friday! Do something festive (like having festive dreams sleeping off yesterday).