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Friday, 14 September, 2012 Go West Quick Takes

Better Coast Quick Takes

1. Recently I seem to have caught a raging case of “West is best,” a weird form of homesickness, if that’s what it is. I am pretty darn acclimated to the East Coast and my life is here now. I don’t feel driven to buy plane tickets and head back, but I would like to point out all the superior things about California and specifically the Bay Area that I currently miss:

Picking blackberries

2. The wild amaryllis (or “naked ladies”) that bloom every year around the time when school begins again:

3. Real hills. Everywhere.

Crockett, CA photo taken yesterday. (See, the sky is often clear in CA.)

Above the color late summer; below the color of late spring.

Walnut Creek/Lafayette, CA taken from Mt. Diablo.

Suddenly when I look at the CA pictures that pop up in my facebook feed, I am really struck by the hills for the first time in my life. When I lived in the Bay Area, the hills were beautiful, but unremarkable.

4. Redwoods

5. And manzanita

6. Fog that pools like the sea between the hills

via flickr.com

Aaand

7. Superior drivers’ education. No, really. After having my life repeatedly threatened this week, both behind the wheel and on my bike, here are 4 items taken from the CA drivers’ handbook (DC doesn’t put out a drivers’ handbook, so that explains a lot) that based on my observations, DC drivers are unclear on:

-Obey all traffic signals

-Yield to traffic and pedestrians already in the intersection or just entering the intersection. Also, yield to the vehicle or bicycle that arrives first, or to the vehicle or bicycle on your right if it reaches the intersection at the same time as you.

-Pass traffic on the left. You may pass on the right only when:
• An open highway is clearly marked for two or more lanes of travel in your direction.
• The driver ahead of you is turning left and you do not drive off the roadway to pass.

-Treat a bicycle lane the same as other traffic lanes.
• Do not turn into the lane if there is a bicyclist in the bike lane.

Right                                  Wrong
Vehicle properly passing a bicyclist.                  Vehicle improperly passing a bicyclist.

Just saying.

Read more Quick Takes at Camp Patton this week!

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Friday, 17 August, 2012 Quick Takes

7 5 Quick Takes Links

 

1. I don’t have much to say this week, so:

Here are some links to other people saying things. Or doing things. Or pictures. Or links to things that entertain me.

2. Things that entertain me: This is awesome.

3. Other people saying things/Pictures: My sister sent me this.

(Just for the record: I am all for fiscal responsibility and if I had paid a little more attention, I might even be able to agree/disagree with the Ryan budget. But I didn’t. So I don’t know. However, I think he’s rather attractive and wonder if he has brothers. Liking Ayn Rand is lame, though, even in one’s youth.)

4. Pictures: I saw it on Pinterest. Makes me laugh every time.

5. Other people saying things: I admit it; I liked Labyrinth as a ten-year-old. I know better than to try and re-watch it. I looove this blog.

6. Pictures: Where I would rather be:

Be still my heart!

(Mt. Diablo in the spring. )

7.  All. out. of. thoughts. Bye!

 

Actual Quick Takes to be found at Conversion Diary

 

 

 

 


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Holy Thursday 2012 Iced Green Tea

An attempt to recreate commercially bought iced green tea. I used a Real Simple Magazine recipe for the rough proportions.

Fresh mint. The recipe called for 1 cup (!) of mint leaves, so good thing I had a lot.

De-stemmed mint leaves.

Plus just a little lemon balm. I only used 1 sprig.

Mint & lemon balm roughly chopped.

This bowl was the only vessel in the kitchen large enough to hold 4 cups of water (and 6 bags of green tea, mint & lemon balm.)

Brewing vessel.

Brewing time (per the recipe.)

Brewing complete, ready to filter out leaves. AKA What's wrong with this picture?

Then I poured hot tea all over the table, myself, and the floor.

Problem solved.

Last ingredient. About 4 heaping tablespoons worth.

The final product. Paper towel under the lid because I was worried the lid still smelled of lavender.

That jar was the only *lidded vessel I could find large enough to hold the tea. I had been using it to store lavender bath salts. Don’t worry, I washed out thoroughly, but between the lavender, tea, mint & lemon balm, the kitchen smelled really good!

A taste test revealed pretty tasty tea concentrate. I think the mint could be a little stronger, but that can be remedied by adding a few leaves along with ice and water prior to serving.


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Friday, 23 March 2012, Placeholder Quick Takes

 

1. There’s not much to these QTs. I’m just trying to not totally lose the thread of blogging – it’s been a long week, but none of it is blogable.

2. Please, if you read this and are moved to do so, pray for a special intention for a dear friend of mine.

3. Blogable – one “g” or two?

4. That first set of unidentified bulbs have revealed themselves to actually be bluebells. Sorry no pics.  I still don’t know what this other set is.

5. This week marks total derailment from Lent for me- it was kind of unavoidable. However, as much of this Lent as I’ve observed has been very fruitful. I hope to re-focus myself this weekend. Also, how is Easter only two weeks away?

6. Positives: a) It is supposed to hit 80 degrees today and has been muggy as all get out most of this week (welcome to DC), but I have a fabulous new linen dress. b) I am in love with my bicycle. Owning it is making my life manageable.

7. … And I’m out of words. God is good. Please pray for my friend. See you next week, I hope.

More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.


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Thursday, 15 March, 2012 Lent, garden, QTs

1. Regular blogging is just not happening right now, (see #2 – maybe next month I’ll be able get back to it) so most blogging will be Quick Takes and most Quick Takes are likely to be garden related or Lent related.

This week’s  exception: There was meme going around fa.cebook showing how to use make fac.ebook reveal the “name” of your cell phone (based on fa.cebook’s codes for member pages, I’m guessing.) Normally, I ignore that type of thing, but I was bored, so I tried it.

My cell phone’s name is “Doug Quirke,” which, I think, is fitting for a cheap, lime green, plastic brick. I should remember to call it Doug when cursing at it for randomly shutting off.

2. Lent: getting a bit spotty here in the third week. A combination of weakening of the will and ongoing  health issues that bring with them forgetfulness.   I’ve been randomly forgetting to do basic daily tasks, what I’ve said I’d do for Lent, almost anything that’s not built into a routine – one day last week, I arrived at work wearing rain boots and discovered I’d forgotten to bring any change of shoes.

3.  Garden progress! I would like to report that the laws of physics are still true and highly useful. (I bombed high school physics, so doing anything that relies on gravity or laws of motion brings up memories of failed labs and the conviction that something will probably go horribly wrong with my attempts.)

I am pleased to report that  a garden hose can become a working siphon.  I successfully siphoned the standing water in this beast (there was so much in it that I couldn’t move it or tip it over):

into the drain in front of the basement door! After picture:

Viola!

Note the daffodils blooming, as well!

Also, I have begun the project of digging out the bamboo in the very back (not “after” picture worthy, yet.) Some prior tenant knew what he was doing with the bamboo, as I found a very handy root-cutting spade leaning against the garage.

4.  I think these unidentified bulb things that are in the back yard (and along the side of the house) may be liriope. Or maybe “glory-of-the-snow.”

Unidentified bulbs to the left behind snowdrops

I’m leaning “glory-of-the-snow” based on these buds.

5. The very back is still under exploration.  I have found more daffodils.

About to bloom! Makes me ridiculously happy.

And here is a new crop of unidentified bulbs (in the farthest corner of the very back):

About twice as tall as daffodils, but a similar gray-green and with much broader leaves. Thoughts?

6. Here are the missing bits of the back yard not pictured in last week’s before pics:

The slope up to the garage with camellia tree.

And ivy

The stairs leading to the pathway to the very back behind the garage.

7. Last and best: it has been so crazy warm here in DC the past week (the longest stretch of humane weather I have experienced on the east coast thus far) that things are bursting into bloom left and right, most particularly the trees. Many people make a big fuss over the cherry blossoms in DC, but I have noted that the magnolias on my block are going crazy – time to go to the Arboretum to see their magnolia/dogwood collections. (The Arboretum is also much less prone to crowding than the Tidal Basin and there’s not large murky body of water for the tourists to try and jostle you into.)

A little taste from last year:

More Quick Takes at the blog of our gracious hostess.


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Friday, 2 March, 2012 Garden Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes Friday – Finally! Garden time

1.  Living on West Coast I never experienced the disconnect between the discipline of Lent and the change of seasons. (March in CA is historically wet. Endless rain, and the hills get so saturated that they start weeping mud. Pretty penitential.) I will admit that it does seem a little odd to enter into penance surrounded by spring bulbs. However, it also time to start serious work in the garden, which is hard labor, not always pleasant, and sometimes involves manure – but all that is aimed at blooms and fruit later on, so there’s a trite comparison to Lent for you.  How is your Lent going?

2.  I am so proud of myself for executing the world’s crudest (yet apparently effective) fix to the formatting on my garden brainstorming page! And so excited to be able to start garden blogging.  Although – the weather here has been so strange, so unseasonably mild, that it’s hard not to regard it with suspicion and the superstitious fear that the minute I put out vulnerable little seedlings, all the winter we’ve missed will come crashing down on us.

3. First, here’s what’s blooming already:

Purple crocuses (I always want to say "croci") in the front yard

White crocus bud

The camellias are still at it.

Snowdrops (?) and unidentified bulb foliage

I don’t really know what the white flowers are, but I presume that they are snowdrops.  They just look that way. And I don’t know what the other bulb foliage (behind them) will produce. (It looks to me like wild amaryllis or agapanthus, but both those flowers are seemingly unknown on the East Coast. It cracks me up to see agapanthus, that standard of bland suburban city-scaping in the Bay Area, used as an exotic addition to floral arrangements here.) We will see.

4.  And now: here is the backyard in all its “‘before’ pictures” glory:

Fallen tree obscuring the right hand corner of the yard

Lefthand corner of the yard (and fallen tree)

Against the fence. There are crocuses (not in bloom) back here too.

Opposite side (behind garage)

Enemies in chief: bamboo & ivy. That downed tree is going to be a problem, too.  It’s my intention to avoid, as far as possible, digging up the crocuses (I always want to say “croci”) and snowdrops, and instead plan beds around them.  I’m going to try and encourage the roses (totally invisible because of the tree, I just realized), too. What to do with the center space, I’m not yet sure.

5. I need to spend this weekend checking which parts of the yard get sun when, but I have a  fantasy of using the garage roof here for more flowers in pots.

You get to the very back via a pathway behind the garage

Not pictured are the stairs up to this level of the yard and the little area just in front of the garage and this path. (But that’s where the camellia tree is.)

6.  This little bed is all of the backyard that is already confirmed to be in the sun. (Although the very back patch looks fairly sunny, the leaves are still off the trees, so that will change soon.) All the dead foliage is crabgrass. (Aside: is it really crabgrass if it is on the East Coast?  Crabgrass in CA is impossible to get rid of. I’ve cut my hands trying to pull it out. This looks like the same plant, but it’s so much easier to remove, I have to wonder.)  I am debating whether to mulch between the existing plants as I have plans to put as many sun-loving flowers here (zinnias, mostly, I think) as will fit.

Shown here with the back porch and an abandoned garbage can

Daffodils and oregano under there somewhere

Rosemary ❤

7. Speaking of weeds, I found this story whilst googling to identify some of the plants pictured above.  Very interesting, but I’m not sure I’m ready to follow in this fellow’s footsteps.

(Aaack! I forgot!) More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!