Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ABC Wednesday B

It's time to take a small break from all the photos of Sandhill Cranes, because it's time for ABC Wednesday! This week, the letter is B, and while I know it's a bit early, I wanted to get his posted.

I thought I'd try to be a little more original than last week (A is for Apple, duh!) so I've done some searching through my archives and came across this photo.

So why would I post dinosaurs for the ABC Wednesday letter B?

Because this outstanding museum features a selection of fossils that have all been recreated in Bronze! While they look like normal skeletons, they have a depth and detail like I've never seen.

They are Beautiful!

I actually did a whole blog on this Museum, so if you'd like to learn more about the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, you can click here

And while I guess I'm only supposed to post one ABC picture a week, while going through my archives, I also found this shot.

Please remember to click on both images for larger versions. The Bee, in particular, looks much better at a larger resolution.

I've gotten so many comments on the bee photo, I thought I'd mention that this was taken several years ago in my friend Carol's garden with a little Casio Exilim EXP600 camera, It was my first "serious" digital camera.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Blog, and Uh, More Cranes!

I just wanted to share with all of you that my sweetie Terry has started his own blog!

He's not really up to date on the whole computer/internet thing, but I've convinced him that this would be a great place to showcase his photographs.

I'm so proud!

For starters, he's decided to join the ABC Wednesday group, so that way, he can post at least once a week and get comfortable with this whole uploading pictures and blogging thing.

If you'd like to take a look at his new blog, simply click here.

And now, because I've become Crane Crazed, here's a few more shots.

I think the lead bird in this line is the rare Snooty Crane!

The Bosque is a managed preserve,
which means they plant and flood
and generally manage the whole area.

But no one can manage these skies,
they just happen!

Another group out for a stroll

I took this in black and white,
then added a small bit of sepia tone.

Remember to click any photo for a larger image.

The water here is so still,
it's hard NOT to get great reflection shots.

And as the sun begins to set
yet another silhouette.
This reminds me of those 1930s paintings

One more reflection shot,
it looks like rain, but the showers never came

I love it here . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kitchen Gadgets

Just a quick entry today.

Regular readers know I love to cook, so I thought I'd share two of my very favorite kitchen gadgets.

I thought I'd get all fancy schmancy and take a picture. I liked the composition but after I had it posted and included here I noticed how dirty my window is!

My bad, so apologies.

The first goodie is my wooden lemon reamer. I just love lemons, they're so very versatile. Also quite good for you. I like them squeezed in my water, they're great in your chicken marinade and I also like just a little squeeze over my veggies.

For a long while, I went from squeezer to squasher to whatever, but I swear, this simple wooden reamer does the very best job. It gets all the juice out of any citrus, cleans quickly and easily (but don't soak it in water, just rinse clean). And it sells for just about $5.00, a great deal.

Next is this little knife. As a person who likes to cook, knives are a big deal. Since I have a smallish kitchen, it's been a struggle to find the right knives that do several things very well.

I first came across this knife in my friend Luke's kitchen and knew it was one I had to have.

It's called a bird's beak knife and it is absolutely the best little peeler, parer, veggie, fruit knife you'll ever find. And it's a Henckel's knife! After using Luke's I was afraid it would cost a lot, but I knew needed this knife.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find it at Bed Bath and Beyond, in a blister pack along with two other Henckel's knives for just under $10.00. I really suggest you pick this one up. The first time you put it in your hand and use it, you'll understand why I like it so much.

And it's great for cleaning up your Brussels Sprouts before you roast them.

That's it for today, I told you this would be a quickie!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Brussells Sprouts and Dave Van Ronk

Let me start today's entry with just one teensy weensy photo of a crane,

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

And now, on with the show.

So what do Brussels sprouts and Dave Van Ronk have to do with each other?

Nothing at all, they're just what's playing on my ipod and cooking in my oven.

First, Dave Van Ronk. What can I say except, WOW. Really, where have all the smoky, grizzled, blues/folk singers gone?

The voice, the songs, the clean guitar, the passion.

I have a special place in my heart for this kind of music. It resonates to a place within me that is seldom touched by any other kind of art.

And while we're talking about old folk singers, did you happen to see Pete Seeger at the concert for Obama on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial? When he came out with Bruce Springsteen and started singing This Land is Your Land, it brought tears to my eyes.

I love folk music.

I just thought I'd share a little stream of consciousness.

Now on to the Brussels Sprouts!

I LOVE Brussels Sprouts.

A few months ago I saw the incredible Ina Garten (also known as the Barefoot Contessa) on her show and she was roasting Brussels Sprouts.

This sounded too good to be true, so I tried them, and they have become a staple on our table.

We've also served them to many friends and everyone (even those who claim to not like Brussels Sprouts) agree, these are a wonderful food.

So I thought I'd show you how to make them (really just an excuse to take pictures, but here we go!).

First you get your Brussels Sprouts, we usually get a little over a pound. I like them small and tight and bright green.

Before you start, set your oven to somewhere between 300 and 400 degrees (depending on your oven). You'll want a pretty warm oven.

Then you trim the ends and pull off any loose or browning leafs. This will leave you with this.

Now take a spoonful of your richest olive oil and coat the sprouts. They will get all shiny and glistening, like this .

Now you want a generous coating of salt. I feel that Kosher salt is really the best for this, but if you don't have any, use what you have on hand. Whatever you use, don't skimp, it will mostly melt into the oil.

Now sprinkle with a lot of pepper. Again, don't skimp. What were going for here will be something like a French Fry, crispy and salty on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside

Now put them into the oven and set your timer for fifteen minutes. When the timer dings, check the sprouts, giving them a toss. You want then to cook evenly and not burn. I usually cook them for anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Just make sure to keep an eye on them and turn them every 15 minutes or so.

You'll know they are done when they're nice and brown and crunchy on the outside. They should look like this.

We usually eat these straight out of the oven, but sometimes add some additional seasonings, such as garlic powder, cheese or Balsamic Vinegar.

Give these a try, I bet you'll be surprised how yummy they are.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Too Many Pictures . . .

Once again, I'm going to be guilty of way too many pictures.

But what can I say? This blog is like my own personal picture album and sometimes I just want to keep too many!

Remember that you can click on any image for a much larger, clearer version.

HOORAY, I finally got a semi clear closeup of a Sandhill Crane.
This one is my very favorite.

As the sun was setting,
the water looked like molten gold

I liked the reflection of the reeds

A wide shot of the golden lake

The pond is a bit low
so there are lots of plants
peeking up through the water

Here come the cranes!

Every time I see this,
I'm amazed again.
How can these mountains be so black
against the setting sun

Of course I can never resist the silhouette shot

The pond is so still,
the reflections are as sharp as the actual sky

Now the cranes are starting to huddle

These next shots were taken in sequence

I'm fascinated by the way they groom themselves

Their necks are so agile
they can reach around and under their wings
and totally hide their heads

I liked the composition of this shot

Another semi closeup

I love their little red masks

This is one more reflection shot.
Right before sunset the sky turned blue
and I got this reflection shot

Then the gold returned.
While this isn't as clear as I'd like,
I loved the sense of movement

This guy is just settling in for the night

Their balance is pretty awesome

One more wide shot

And the day is done

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ABC Wednesday-A

My friend Susie has a great blog where she posts a different picture every day. For some time now, I've watched as she participates in a web event called ABC Wednesday.

It looks kind of cool, so I've decided to try this out.

My first entry is very simple, just a photo I took at an Apple farm up near Manzano, New Mexico.

Remember to click on the image to see it at full resolution.

A lovely spot, they were growing more strains of Apples than I've ever seen.

It was a perfect day with just the perfect mix of blue skies and those white fluffy New Mexico clouds.


While I try to avoid politics in this blog, I just wanted to comment on my feelings this Inaugural day.

Hope is a wonderful thing.

This line from Barack Obama's Inaugural speech is the one that makes my heart sing.

"We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals"

While I know that things will not be perfect, it's been a long time since I've had this much optimism and it's my sincere wish that you feel the same.

Life is Good, and I remain expectant of better times to come.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Few Closeups

I've been so busy trying the extended zoom on my new camera that I haven't spent much time with close ups. We pretty much hung around the rig today so I went for a walk and came up with these.

Be sure to click on any image for a full size version.

Barbed Wire!
I was attracted to the shapes . . .

When I got home and looked at the photos
I realized how closely
the curves of the wire
mirrored the horizon

I also took several inevitable flower shots.
This was my favorite
These tiny feathery buds measure
approximately 1/4 of an inch across

That's it for today!