Archives for august break 2013

2013-03-31 11.39.30

 

I took this picture in the rain through the window of a moving car. I take a lot of pictures like that. It’s hard to stop sometimes. You’re going too fast, or there’s no place to pull over, no shoulder, only a ditch to get mired in. So you take the picture through dirty glass because there’s not even enough time to roll down the window. You reach out for the thing you see before it’s gone.

The barn is nearly a silhouette, even against the storm-dark sky. It’s abandoned, but I don’t think it’s been forgotten. It has an air of waiting. Maybe it’s only waiting to be torn down, but that’s something too.

2013-08-06 16.39.06

 

I worked in my mother’s garden today. Mostly, I pulled out dying groundcover, August-brown, and trimmed the frayed edges off a juniper bush. I also walked through a massive spiderweb and would’ve gotten, if not for my hat, a more intimate acquaintance with the spider than I would’ve wished.

Towards the end, my mother called me over to the hedge she’d been trimming. There have been some wild turkeys coming to visit her house this summer. A mother passed by with a string of little fluffy chicks in tow. At some point, one of them left a feather behind. She pulled it out of the hedge, ragged and bleached in places, the dark pigment along the quill rubbed off. I took this picture in her dining room, which, as you will notice, is painted a glorious shade of purple.

DSC_0406

 Happy Cake

Pans: 2 loaf pans or 1 10 cup bundt pan

Cocoa mixture
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C water

Orange batter
3 C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 C sugar
1 C extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely ground white pepper
1/4 tsp cardamom
5 eggs
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
1 cup milk or non-dairy milk
Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour a 10 to 12 cup bundt pan or 2 6 cup loaf pans.

Whisk together cocoa, sugar, and water in a small bowl.

Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder, and sift.

Beat together sugar, oil, vanilla, and spices. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3-5 minutes. Add juice and zest.

Stop the mixer and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until just blended. Add half of the milk and beat until just blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, the remainder of the milk and then the last third of the flour.

Split the batter in half and add the cocoa mixture to one half. Mix well.

Pour the batters into the pans in alternating layers. The marbling will happen as they bake.

Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 50 – 60 min. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes and invert onto a rack. Let cool completely.

 

photo (1)

 

I bake because I love.

 

Optionally Vegan Chocolate-Cherry Scones

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 Tbs vegetable shortening
2 1/2 Tbs butter or coconut oil (coconut oil should be chilled first)
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
2/3 to 1 cup milk or non-dairy milk
Preheat the oven to 375

Mix together the first five ingredients.

Cut in the butter and shortening.

Mix in the chocolate and cherries.

Pour the liquid of your choice into a well in the center of the flour mixture. Fluff it into the flour with a fork and, when that becomes untenable, your hands. Try not to work it too much; it should just barely hold together.

Flatten gently and cut into rounds, hearts, or terrifying bat-like creatures from the nether realms (and then link me to where you found that cookie cutter), put on a baking sheet, and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. They should have a matte appearance and be fairly firm when tapped with a fingertip.

Makes aprox. 1 dozen.

photo

 

This has nothing to do with the picture I’m posting, but I just wanted to let you know that I got into the elevator to go up to my apartment today, and there was already a bookcase in it. It was big, about 7 feet tall. It was made of dark wood. It was riding the elevator all by itself. It was still there about an hour later when I left again. I hope it’s having a nice time.

Maybe my building is going to open a small elevator library? That would be nice.

(PS: the water fountain is smiling at you)

2013-08-02 09.20.34

 

August Break’s theme for today is circles. My new wireless headset is not exactly circular, but it’s pretty close. (The background definitely contains circles, so I think I’m safe.) Yesterday, I joined Instagram because the only other way of sharing photos for this project seems to be Flickr, and I haven’t logged into Flickr since 2011. I hate playing ‘guess my password’, and I like 500px better than Flickr anyway.

I found Instagram initially confusing, but the steady stream of pictures from around the world, different colors and places and food and so many cups of coffee, has settled into a soothing rhythm.

If you do Instagram and you want to add me, I am here.

paper food 1

My actual breakfast does not bear thinking about, let alone photographing. Doom flakes with Cthulhu sprinkles. Don’t ask.

In other news, I’ve got a new wireless headset to use with my dictation software. My dictation software knows the word Cthulhu. That’s going to make me happy all day.

 

august

 

Tomorrow, I’ll be starting August Break. It’s meant to be a rest for bloggers, in that all it requires of you is to post one picture every day for the month. For me, it will be more of an acceleration, given my lackadaisical posting schedule.

I did do Project 365 back in 2007, but, although I took a picture every day, most of those pictures never made it onto the Internet in any form. It’s probably a good thing. They were, to say the least, not spectacular, but my plan in doing Project 365 was to improve, and I think the ones I took in December were better than the ones that I took in January, so mission accomplished.

Actually, maybe in addition to the new ones I take for August Break, I will also post some of my ancient Project 365 photos. I do enjoy making things harder for myself, and it might be an interesting contrast. Unless I haven’t improved as much as I think I have. Then it will just be embarrassing…

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