Sunday, May 31, 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Try Some DD on for Size

It was pretty quiet when I went into Dinghy Dock yesterday afternoon. Not a bad thing, with friends and some time to talk. I didn't stay long (kitties don't care much about happy hour when their dinner hour comes along) but long enough to leave smiling over little big things.

Walt's palm frond mobile. Make a basket and keep the rain out at the same time. 

Capt. Pat all Culebra-ized. I complimented her matching John Deere scarf  headband
and she said "Culebra has deer too!" Yes we do.

Sue and Tuck's cactus at the end of the bar is blooming like mad

Shay is blooming too!
Walt told me on my way out to stop and look in his front seat .
A new kind of woven flower. Nice, Walt!
Peter des Jardin, an old friend no longer with us who lived on St. Croix, used to cover the top of his rusted out island beater with layers of woven palm fronds. "Peter, what's with the palm fronds on the roof? To keep out the rain?" I'd asked, pretty much jokingly. "It works," was his smiling reply. And it does, just so you know. Ask Walt.

Have an unsaturated Saturday! Do something seaworthy.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Free Range Friday ~ Culebra

There was a Memorial Day party to cook for and I was ready! For once. Usually I bring potato salad or deviled eggs, something like that, but this time, a Mexican casserole seemed like the thing to do. After getting to play with food when I was with my family out West, I was in the mood to do it some more.

The photos are not really as complete as they should be, you'll just have to fill in the details.

Saute some garlic and onions (of course). I had some bacon grease I used for that.
Add the meat and peppers, cook until meat is browned.
I know you could easily make a vegetarian version of this but I didn't.
Add the beans were added - black and pink (or whatever kind you like).
I also added cumin, because cumin is my Mexican cooking friend. 
Ok, this looks awful. Cream cheese, sour cream and mashed black beans.
I cheated and used canned beans. Looks awful, tastes awesome. 

Not enough beans? Add more. Mash. A potato masher would have been easier.
A blender or food processor would have been easiest
About this time a slowly growing headache I've had on and off for about three weeks was getting to the point that I knew I wasn't going to make the party. So the assembly happened later and of course, without photos. 

Here's what I did. This was supposed to be for a lot of people, so you'll just have to wing it on the measurements of ingredients. Remember: playing with food is good!

Some salsa on the bottom of the casserole pan keeps the tortillas from sticking, so start with that. Then a layer of flour tortillas (I don't like corn tortillas and that's that). On top of the tortillas went the meat/bean/onion/garlic/pepper mash up. 

(There were red peppers and chipotle in adobo sauce peppers in there, oops, forgot to mention that - applying rule number one in recipe reading; read the WHOLE THING FIRST - you might change it with additions and subtractions but you'll know everything you need before you go shopping or start cooking). 

A layer of the sour cream/cream cheese/mashed bean mix went on top of that. A little tricky, put down good dollops of the mix and then gently spread it around to keep it a layer rather than mixing it with the layer underneath. Then a layer of shredded cheese. Repeat one more time - or at least one more time with this version; it depends on the size of your pan.

The top layer of cheese got some olives and red pepper strips and into a 300 degree oven it went. Everything was basically cooked but that gets the cheese all melty and brings out a fragrance where everything blends. When you are drooling, it is done.

Of course you could get fancy and make the meat/pepper mix, then the beans, etc. to achieve a more layered effect, but I didn't do that.

I wanted to send the food to the party but the casserole missed its ride.
Instead, it has been an ongoing meal around here. Yes, I'm getting tired of it.
But then every time I warm some up? It's delicious again.
Super simple, with lots of playing with food. Plus you can add lots of other things if you have them on hand or can get them. I would have added jalepenos sliced up but didn't like the brand I could fine (too vinegary) and missed the veggie guy score. 

Sorry, party people! I'll do it again next time. 

You can do it tonight. Buen provecho!

I ran across the following today. Most people who know me know I love condiments and can rarely resist something new on a shelf, wherever I am. Even the little fridge in the Turtle gets stuff with on the road finds. Of course, those have to be given away when I finally put it in Park for storage but the already overloaded spice shelf stays in its cupboard until next time. 

A preface to this article from Buzz Feed on do it yourself  pestos, marinades and sauces that look pretty fine. Around here, finding ingredients to make them would be a challenge unless it involved a trip to the big island, but if it was easy, everyone would do it!

Here is one example from Food52 , because who doesn't love sriracha?

Makes about 2 cups
2/3 pound red jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
1/3 pound green jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
1/2 pound partially green/partially red jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
6 cloves garlic

8 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
I wondered about the xanthan gum and looked it up. Here's the skinny on it. I think I'd consider it optional, but Bob's Red Mill does sell it if you want to follow the recipe completely.
For the full recipe, go to the Food52 link above because it does take time, with fermentation involved along with the other steps. Have fun!

Have a fun with food Friday. Do something filling.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Spy With My Little Eye

I haven't taken much of any walks lately, so today I grabbed the camera and did just that. Not far, maybe farther tomorrow. Which is really today, but in the dark, it feels like tomorrow. Elastic early morning  time.

I really was looking around (along with off the porch) but the clouds were magnificent from morning until sunset and I couldn't help but look up. A lot.

The subtle sky painters were out today

This frangipani was just stuck naked into a pot. Now the reward!

The boats are so small and this cloud is so big!

Crazy twisty turny limbs with eye stunning blooms

The moon came up early

As the sun got lower, this cloud just got better and better

Something about banana blossoms, with the flower down and the bananas up...

If I was really fast and really agile, I would have could have climbed on top
of the third story roof and not had wires in this photo of an extraordinary cloud.
I'm not and I'm not. You've got wires to erase with your imagination.
By the time the third story balcony was reached I knew
I was not going on the roof, so just leaned as far out as I felt safe doing.
The cloud had morphed.
It was still beautiful and worth the run.
Walking back up the hill, some neighbors stopped to say hello. One said, Oh! you are out taking pictures? Of...? I said, just whatever catches my eye. Like that, and pointed to this still gorgeous cloud. They all enjoyed it with me and that made it even better. 

Have a taste the temperature Thursday. Do something on tippy top toes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bird Talk

(note: I don't know what is going on with Blogger today, but if the photos are a bit wacky, I've tried to fix it and can't seem to do so. Mea culpa!)

There is a flycatcher couple who have made a nest on a power pole on the street here. Of course I didn't know they were flycatchers, Teresa did though, which is how I identify most of the birds and plants on Culebra when the name is unknown to me.

Keeping watch
Singin' her song
She hears the camera (amazing). "Stay away from my babies!"
A little grooming to while away the time.

Ah, THERE he is!
"Where have you been?"
"You know how long I've been waiting here?"
Outta here
Who needs television? 

Another sort of bird

Have a warbling Wednesday. Do something with willowy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ Road Homes

My middle daughter called the other night, telling me about the 2005 Airstream trailer she bought last week. In between my excited interrupting questions, she managed to get out that it was all the original woodwork, but definitely needed a big cleaning as it had been sitting for years without attention. "Where are the photos?" I demanded asked. She'd get some to me, promise. In the meantime, I was looking up 20 foot long 2005 Airstreams and came across this article by Jakob Schiller along the way.

Ever since I got my little Turtle motorhome, I've been asked "Do you know you can park overnight in WalMart parking lots for free?" Since I avoid shopping in WalMart for 99% of my shopping, sign petitions against their treatment of employees and blatant monied overrun of local governments in locating their stores, regardless of historic sites etc., my using their parking lots for overnighting would seem hypocritical at best and creepy at worst. Well, worst would be more than just creepy but you get the idea.

I'd rather be here

Jakob Schiller, a writer for Wired, looked at the subject with a writer's curiosity and a camera in hand. This is a partial excerpt from his article.

J.D. Gilkey sold the family home and has been driving around the country researching his family's genealogy. He says his travels have brought him to 500 Walmarts in the U.S. and Canada. "€œChristmas of 2011, there were about nine of us in the Walmart parking lot in Albuquerque,"€ he says. "Christmas Eve I put a note on everybody'€™s door to come over in the morning, and I fixed Christmas breakfast for everybody."€

Bob Floyd, right, with his dog Tank. "€œMy wife is in a wheelchair. She had a stroke in 2006, and we were planning to leave on a trip around the United States. It took us '€˜til 2013 for her to get strong enough and for us to figure out how to do it. It took us six weeks. We just came up from the Grand Canyon that afternoon, headed for Birmingham. The guard came by and checked on us every two hours to make sure we were alright."

From left: Megan Hoffman; Sophia Stauffer and her boyfriend, Alex Daby; Deanna Bunch and Kerouac (dog). They were traveling from Prescott, AZ, to Montana. Each of them plays at least one instrument, and they fund their travels by "€œjamming" on street corners. Sophia describes the nomadic life as an opportunity to "€œdo what I want to do and not have to worry about all the bills and worry about what's happening next."

Joe Torpey has been alternating between stays in a Walmart lot and spots in the woods for the past seven years. Due to a back injury he received several years ago, he'€™s had a tough time finding work. "This car saved my life,"€ he says of his 1998 Ford Taurus station wagon. He fears that his car will break down, because he doesn'€™t think he'll last living on the street.

"These are the best years of my life," says retiree Leroy Morris. He lives off social security in his small R.V. with Maggie, his dog. He stays in the Flagstaff Walmarts in the summer and winters in southern Arizona. 
(note: Of course he's happy! It looks like his motorhome is a Toyota mini, like the Turtle!)

 Al Van Abbema sold his house to live out of his R.V. He travels around the mountain states in the warm months and spends the winter in southern Arizona.

These are only some of the photos and mini stories in the article, which goes into more depth and is an interesting read of another facet of American life. Reading it, for me, was like walking into a (no, not a WalMart) public library and getting vignettes of a selection of people in there, with their stories hard or happy. Or both, as is usually the case with humanity. A dream field for a PhD candidate in Sociology.

It is another kind of tiny home living. I won't say never, but even though I'm still not drawn to spending any overnights in a WalMart parking lot - or any parking lot for that matter - at least if that has to happen I know there will probably be  some interesting people nearby. And maybe Christmas breakfast.

Now I'm just waiting on some Airstream photos!

Have a take to the trails Tuesday. Do something ticklish.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day ~ 2015

As a country, we've been at war a very long time. There have been honorable and dishonorable wars, as there are honorable and dishonorable motives, government war proponents and even that mix among soldiers. But this day, Memorial Day, is about honoring those whose lives were lost in carrying out the wars, the brave and the terrified (that can be, and often is, the same thing), the ones whose lives were taken by unfriendly and friendly fire, cut short often in the first bloom of their lives, serving their country, leaving behind fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and husbands and wives; children who might know little more than a photo to grow up with. So we also honor their families - who gave their best to the machinery of war. To all of them - those invisible medals of diamonds and dust.

We've been too long at war.

American History Timeline
American Involvement in Wars from Colonial Times to the Present

DatesWar in Which American Colonists or
United States Citizens Officially Participated
Major Combatants
July 4, 1675 -
August 12, 1676
King Philip's WarNew England Colonies vs. Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Nipmuck Indians
1689-1697King William's WarThe English Colonies vs. France
1702-1713Queen Anne's War(War of Spanish Succession)The English Colonies vs. France
1744-1748King George's War(War of Austrian Succession)The French Colonies vs. Great Britain
1756-1763French and Indian War (Seven Years War)The French Colonies vs. Great Britain
1759-1761Cherokee WarEnglish Colonists vs. Cherokee Indians
1775-1783American RevolutionEnglish Colonists vs. Great Britain
1798-1800Franco-American Naval WarUnited States vs. France
1801-1805; 1815Barbary WarsUnited States vs. Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli
1812-1815War of 1812United States vs. Great Britain
1813-1814Creek WarUnited States vs. Creek Indians
1836War of Texas IndependenceTexas vs. Mexico
1846-1848Mexican-American WarUnited States vs. Mexico
1861-1865U.S. Civil WarUnion vs. Confederacy
1898Spanish-American WarUnited States vs. Spain
1914-1918World War I
Triple Alliance: Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary vs. Triple Entente: Britain, France, and Russia. The United States joined on the side of the Triple Entente in 1917.
1939-1945World War IIAxis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan vs. Major Allied Powers: United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia
1950-1953Korean WarUnited States (as part of the United Nations) and South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
1960-1975Vietnam WarUnited States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
1961Bay of Pigs InvasionUnited States vs. Cuba
1983GrenadaUnited States Intervention
1989US Invasion of PanamaUnited States vs. Panama
1990-1991Persian Gulf WarUnited States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
1995-1996Intervention in Bosnia and HerzegovinaUnited States as part of NATO acted peacekeepers in former Yugoslavia
2001Invasion of AfghanistanUnited States and Coalition Forces vs. the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to fight terrorism.
2003Invasion of IraqUnited States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq

Have a moment of mournful remembrance Monday. Do something for peace.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course

Some days there are horses everywhere you turn on our island, and then other days will go by seeing nary a one. There are a few standbys, babies are born and grow up, while some, like a white one I think was very old when I first saw him, hung around for years and then no more. I miss that horse.

Heading to greener grass
Airport grass. Yum.

Another day, down the road.

This bird followed its horse down the road. Buds.

Mama and growing up fast baby
I used to see a few people riding horses regularly as their means of transportation. One man in particular I could hear every morning, coming from far around the bay in the stillness of barely dawn, eventually riding by my place and on to wherever he was going. I miss that clattering of hooves in the first silence of morning (silence with roosters, that is), a sound that said 'Good morning, this is Culebra'.

This is Culebra too. The flamboyants are back!

From one of my favorite 'yellow flower' trees

The more common color, if you can call raging color and beauty common. I can't.
Have a see what you see Saturday. Do something sublime. If you don't have lemons.