Thursday, May 7, 2009

One Last Hoorah

Rob and I went canoeing a few days ago. It's been a while, since he is always working these days. We both took a day off to go down the Santa Fe one last time before I leave town.

Unfortunately, it had been so long since we used the canoe that some large ants had moved in. A lot of them. Into both the front and the back of the boat, or as Rob insists I call them, the "bow" and "stern." I want to mention here that since I am not a pirate, I don't feel the need to use this fancy boat talk.

Anyway, we had to submerge the canoe for at least ten minutes to get rid of them all. 

But they were invincible! They floated toward shore in hordes and simply got out and began marching.

All those white dots in the above photo are ants. Here they are up close.

We didn't canoe very far -- just down to Blue Springs, where we canoed up a side spring run, and then back out and down to Ginnie Springs for some R & R. 

See the turtle (also known as a cooter)?

Rob demanded I take a photo of him.

A snake swam up to our canoe at Ginnie Springs and glared at me. It was kinda freaky, but I don't think the snake was a poisonous one. Still, who wants to be that close to any snake? It literally came up to the side of the canoe. Too close for me.

I'm in Europe right now, but wanted to finish this entry before I got back and became concerned with moving to D.C. (five days after my return). 

So this was my last Florida outing for the forseeable future.

Goodbye, river.

Goodbye, springs.

Goodbye, Florida.

Tree Giveaway

A bunch of friends and I went to the GRU Tree-mendous event a couple weeks ago. GRU is our local, community-owned utility, and once a year they give away two shrubs and trees away to anyone with a recent utility bill. People go nuts over this event. I'm not even kidding, you have to get there before dawn to ensure a good place in the line that forms before the gates open.

When I got up it was still dark out (shocking for anyone who knows me). I drank a lot of strong tea that morning. We got to the giveaway location a little after 7, and were still 1/4 mile back in line!!!!!!

I got two gingers for Kim, since I don't need any plants. I mean, I'm trying to unload any plants I haven't killed yet, since I am moving in three weeks. Afterwards, we got breakfast at a new joint. It was actually really fun, despite my lack of sleep.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I haven't posted for a while because I've been trying to figure out what to do with this blog in both the short run and the long run.

Short run: I got a job in Washington, D.C. and am moving there at the end of May. Plus, I'm going to be in Europe for half of May. My energy is pretty much completely focused on these two things right now and I doubt I will get around to blogging in the next month or two.

Long run: I haven't decided if I'm going to rename this blog and keep it alive, or shutter it. Certainly the focus would change, if I kept it (or started a new one), although it would probably concern many of the same things.

I don't know. I need to think on it some more.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cooking, Cont'd

I was going to post another recipe on Friday, but it was after 5 and I needed to go home and cook dinner for some friends. And today I don't have this recipe with me, so I'm going to wing it a little bit. I'll come back later and doublecheck the accuracy of what I write.

Southwest Corn Hash
Source: The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without by Mollie Katzen

This cookbook is great because everything is super easy and fast to throw together, yet extremely flavorful. The dishes are mostly sides and so far I've been very happy with almost everything I've made from it. This particular dish is great for cooking in-season in the spring and summer and it was really, really yummy.

2 ears fresh corn, scraped off ears (you could probably use about 2 cups frozen)
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
A couple of scallions, minced
Olive oil

Heat up olive oil in a large pan at medium heat. Add red pepper and onion. When they begin to soften, add jalapeno, garlic, and corn. Saute for five minutes. Add salt and pepper and scallions, and turn heat down to low till you serve.

When this was ready I added cilantro and grated monterey jack cheese, and I would definitely do that again. I served the hash on a bed of romaine lettuce, topped with nutritional yeast tofu (recipe below).

Nutritional Yeast Tofu
Source: Self

When I make up my own recipes I never really measure anything. Sorry.

1 slab firm tofu (preferably one that you've frozen but which has defrosted in the fridge; this is to keep the tofu holding together nicely), cut across the short side into slices 1/4" thick
About 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
A couple tablespoons nutritional yeast
A couple of teaspoons cornstarch
A couple of tablespoons flour
Salt (1/8 teaspoon? 1/4? I don't know)
Oil for pan

In one bowl, combine almond or soy milk and cornstarch, whisking to combine. In another bowl, combine flour, nutritional yeast, and salt. Heat oil in large nonstick pan. When the oil is hot but not before -- this is very important -- you'll start adding the tofu. First take each piece of tofu and dip it in the milk (first whisking to re-suspend the cornstarch), then dip it in the nutritional yeast. Make sure each piece is coated thoroughly on all sides, then drop it in the oil. Repeat for rest of tofu. Fry it up on both sides. Pat excess oil off and eat it on top of the hash above or with your breakfast or whatever you feel like.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Okay, I'm sorry again I haven't written anything. In the gap, I've done some more vegetable gardening, resurrected some seemingly dead plants, went to the Kanapaha Spring Festival with Sally, went to the Spring Arts Festival with Robin, and took photos of none of it. Sometimes I just want to experience my life instead of blogging about it.

To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about blogging. Unlike many people in my approximate age group, there are actually many things about my life that I like to be private. Plus, I just don't know how many things I do are that interesting to other people. Don't get me wrong -- I'm an avid blog reader and consider myself to be an extremely curious (you might call me nosy) person. But I'm not always sure I want to be on the other end of that spotlight.

But every week or two I feel ok about blogging. Sometimes I enjoy the exercise of examining my daily life. Or whatever.


In the summer I do not like to cook, and consequently end up eating a lot of salad. This is probably mostly because I live without A/C and the heat diminishes my appetite. So in the past few weeks I've been milking the tolerable temperatures for all they're worth. Here are recipes for two tasty meals I recently made.

Red Coconut Curry
Source: Self

I doubt coconut milk is real low-fat (sarcasm), but it sure is delicious and coconut is supposed to be some kind of miracle food, so who cares? Live it up. This dish takes about 20 min. tops and is delectable. You can also add potatoes or corn or anything else you feel like.

1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 lb-ish collard greens, rinsed and chopped
2 carrots, diced
1/2 lb-ish tempeh*, cubed
Red curry paste, to taste
1 can coconut milk
Salt to taste
Some rice (basmati or jasmine)

Heat up some coconut/olive/whatever oil in a pan over medium heat. Throw in the tempeh and saute it until it's brown. Then add the collards, red pepper, and carrots. Cook for five or so minutes. The greens will start turning bright green. Add salt.

Turn heat down a little bit and add coconut milk and curry. I used more than a tablespoon of curry, because I like some heat.

Stir till blended, then let it warm up slowly. Serve over rice.

*We Gainesvillans are lucky enough to have a local tempeh maker, Jose, who sells his tempeh in frozen cubes that have been marinated in soy sauce and stuff but you can use regular tempeh plain and cubed, or marinate it yourself.

I have to run but will write more about cooking and maybe other stuff later this weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fishin' on Newnan's Lake

It is definitely spring. It's very warm and there is pollen everywhere. Last weekend was a great time to go fishing.

I went out to Newnan's Lake with my friend Brandon, who has a canoe. I have never met anyone who likes to fish as much as Brandon. Here is his "I am so happy I am fishing" face.

I really like to fish, and I love canoeing, so I was stoked.

It was pretty much a perfect day, warm and breezy.

We saw and heard tons of birds -- it was actually pretty cacophonous! In the water, there were ducks, herons, and egrets (small and large). We heard a barred owl hunting in the woods. Fishing from high above the water were a bald eagle and a pair of osprey.

We fished for a while near the ospreys' nest. See it? It's on the left, and one of the ospreys is watching over it while the other hunts.

I zoomed in a bit. The nest is in the dead center of the photo, and the osprey is perched on a branch just above it and to the right.

That was a fantastic day.

Oh, Brandon caught a catfish (for a change!), which he threw back, and I didn't catch a thang.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Christmas Cactus

I bought a Christmas cactus at my department's student club annual holiday plant sale a couple of years ago. When I got it, it had multiple gorgeous fuschia blooms. Then it entered my house and slowly lost them all.

Christmas cacti are trained when to bloom by growers. They need to have light only during the day for something like six weeks before they bloom. Well, mine's in my kitchen, and I definitely don't make sure it's in the dark all night. So it hasn't bloomed since I got it.

Until now! For the past month or so, I've been getting one beautiful bloom at a time. When one dies, another opens up. It's nice to stare at while I do dishes (the plant is above my sink).