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Dinner With TCR – The 100 Yard Diet Begins! April 30, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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At Chez Runt, Spring marks the onset of the Season of Free Food.  The fields and streams, the hillsides and roadsides turn green with nature’s bounty…  and I’m there to pick it!

The first freebies of the year are “ramps,” a sort of wild leek with a pungent garlic aroma and taste.  They’re abundant, if you know where to look:

field of ramps

…and unmistakable in appearance, with their twin lancate leaves and red stems:

close up ramps

…not to mention their headdy fragrance.

They clean up purdy guud, too!

cleaned ramps

Coincidentally, they come out about when the fiddleheads do:

fiddleheads

and they’re abundant as well!

So I picked a skad of fiddleheads, blanched them and put them up in two-serving bags (plus a big “company bag,”):

blanched fiddleheads

…and popped them into the freezer, except for enough for tonight’s dinner:

done dinner

Fiddleheads with ramps and a home-made corn-crouton salad, over penne pasta.

Enjoy!

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More Spring Shots. April 30, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Because that’s what Spring is for!   🙂

A flowering tree down by the river:

ironwood on the deerfield

….and the wild strawberries doin’ their thing:

strawberry

Then, on the short ride home, a bloom of little white something-or-others early saxifrage on a road-cut along the way:

whites and moss

That shot was taken from a ladder set up on top of my car.  🙂

And another view, with the fractured geology included:

whites and rocks

That one’s my favorite.

More to come.

Happy Birthday To Me! April 28, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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17 comments

…Well, actually, to Little Bang Theory, which turns two years old today (and I almost forgot!)

It’s been an interesting journey, from my first stabs at commenting over at Shakesville to Blue Gal‘s injudicious (but awfully kind) encouragement to start my own blog (Hiya ‘Gal!), to my first commenter, My Siamese Cousin Bob over at The Phydeaux Speaks Experience, to…

Wait, let me stop right there for a moment.

When I first started blogging, I had a lot to say.  Most of it was  psychotic ravings of a socio-political nature.  Some of it was tongue-in-cheek humor.  Sometimes I made feeble attempts at poetry.

And amidst it all, I threw in a few of my rudimentary “nature photographs.”

It was Bob who first (and most vociferously) championed my forays into photography, which proved to be a godsend, because before a year had past I had lost my voice, my ability to form cogent thoughts, to put them down in any semblance of readable order.  And without my photographs to offer as some scant proof of my continued existence, I’d have disappeared entirely from this amazing world of kind and brilliant friends, like Jen and Teh Portly Dyke, both of whom have helped my with technical problems which were far out of my league; like FranIAm (BTW, Happy real Anniversary, Gurrrl!) and Paul, the Byzigenous Buddhapalian, who reawakened in me a love for all that’s still beautiful about the Christianity of my youth; and to all of you who never knew my voice, but come here anyway and say kind things about my humble efforts.  I’m sorry to not enumerate you all, but again, my supply of words is being stretched beyond all expectations.  I trust you know who you are, and will forgive me.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Oh, and a special thanks to The Pagan Sphinx, whose eclectic voice carries on championing social justice issues right about where I left off, and who shares our beautiful daughters with you all in a way which I currently have neither the grace nor the ability to do.  Thanks, Gina.  I still love you, you know.

Anyway, 70,117 page views, 871 posts and 5,669 comments later, Little Bang Theory is alive and kicking and grateful.

Well, OK, now my word-bag is getting light, and you’ll be lucky to get anything out of me for the next month other than single-word descriptions of my dinner.

Besides, now I’m late for my own birthday.

Bummer, Man.  😉

Ruby Tuesday! April 27, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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10 comments

One from my Spring trip to Southern California.  Here’s the eye-popping visual in front of Sierra Saddlery in Bishop, California:

sierra saddlery

In case you doubted the continuing existence of cowboys.

Or their monumentally unrefined taste in advertising…

Thanks to Mary over at Work of the Poet for this, um, colorful meme!  🙂

More Spring Surprises! April 27, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Lots of wildflowers popping up these days, some showy and obvious, some tiny and subtle.  Here’s a selection from my ride home from work.

Bloodroot:

bloodroot

Red Trillium:

red trillium

Little White Guys (a.k.a. “weeds:”)

little white guys

…and marsh marigolds:

marsh marigolds

Enjoy!

It’s The Little Things… April 26, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
9 comments

…that make life such a big deal.  And here in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, what we lack in the grandeur of Southwestern vistas, we make up for in the exquisite details of our diminutive world.

Today I went to the Mary Lyon Homestead in Buckland to fetch water.  It’s the purest spring water I know of, and jets out of a small-bore pipe into a well-like cistern with enough force to rip the bottle out of the hand of the unprepared:

mary lyon spring

The rough lawn surrounding the stone foundation remnants hosted some beautiful examples of tiny perfection, easy to miss at a walking gate but memorable for those of us who ply the local forests and fields on our hands and knees:

mary lyon mini-whites

These tiny bluettes were a riot of form and color, and begged to be seen from two inches away:

mary lyon pinks

…while this creeping ground cover revealed itself with shameless sensuality:

pink provocations

And in every field, along the margins, trout lilies crowned their speckled foliage with luminous blossoms of gold:

trout lily

All in all, a good day for my little Sigma 50mm macro lens.

…though I’m still trying to get the dirt out of my ears from all those lying-on-the-ground-getting-down shots!

Anza-Borrego, Part Three. April 24, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Talk about milking a gig – Part Three, and I may not even be done yet!

This place was a trip, a real challenge for a New England boy, used to forested hills and fields of green.  We had approached Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from the east, driving up out of the Salton Sea, which looked completely uninhabitable to me, then gaining a little elevation into a bowl of desert surrounded by mountains.

They weren’t particularly large until you contemplate their passage.  On foot.

The valley bottom was riddled with shallow “canyons,” drainages where the seasonal rains would gather to grow green things in an otherwise brown world:

A-B canyon with chickory

This desert chickory was cool, having a diferent light than our bluish Eastern version:

desert chickory close-up

And the washes, despite their dry sand surfaces, were awash with Spring:

canyon sunflowers

Climbing up out of the drainages, the desert assumed the angularity of a landscape hewn by the wind:

lily-scape

These lilies were amazing – I loved the tight kinks of their leaves and the intensity of their white blossoms:

lil lily

Frau B suggested that we check out an area promisingly known as the Desert Garden, which proved to be an excellent call:

blue flowers

Blue agaves provided the appropriate punctuation to this landscape of light:

agave stem

…and were in turn accented by an array of wildflowers:

agave

lying skeletons

Chuparosas and ocotillos punctuated the scene, dancing in the wind as we waited to shoot between the stronger gusts:

chuparosas

Eventually it got so windy that we didn’t know whether to hang onto our cameras or our hats:

lizz's hat

…so we packed it up and headed back north.

But that’s another post!

Overheard At Roadside: April 21, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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“Screw this, I’m gonna go kill somethin’!”

turkey vultures

Turkey vultures: ugly, efficient, and ubiquitous these days (they didn’t used to be!)

While We Had Clothes On… April 21, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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At Bella’s 100th, that is…

I so seldom wear Sunday-Go-To-Meetin’ Duds, I figured I’d get some evidence for the prosecution.

The Smooth Brothers:

The Smooth Brothers

…and in case you missed ’em:

boots

(There’s a reason we don’t get invited to these things.  😉  )

And I was honored to be accompanied by my sweetie, Susan:

with Susan

You’ll be seeing more of this woman, I promise!

Ruby Tuesday, Birthday Edition! April 20, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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12 comments

This weekend I had the great privilege of attending my Great Aunt Bella’s birthday party:

birthday cake!

Yep, she did it – hung in there for a century!  And she’s still beautiful, with her Angel’s heart shining through:

Bella St. Sauveur

Can you begin to imagine the changes this woman has seen?  Being born into a world of horse-drawn wagons and dirt roads, where mail crawled across the continent by train (at 2 cents a pop!)  Where the Modern Miracle of the Telegraph had shrunk the world, where radios were magical and televisions existed only in the dreams of madmen.

She was a child during World War I, a beautiful young woman through the Great Depression, a hard working seamstress praying for the safe return of her nephews during the dark days of World War II.  She watched in disbelief as a man first walked on the moon, cried when John F. Kennedy was shot, cared for her elderly mother throughout most of the ’60s and well into the ’70s (and whose 100th birthday celebration I attended in 1969!)  She’s outlived the corded telephone, analog television and the Soviet Union…

And through it all, she’s managed to attend Catholic Mass most days (as did her Mom, ’till she was this same age.)

God bless this sweet woman, with her easy smile and her kind words for all.

Oh, and Auntie…  see if you can get your little sister (Rita, left, a mere girl of 94) to lighten up a bit…

two sisters

I asked Aunt Rita if we’d be seeing her here in six years, and her reply was full-on snarled back at me (think Dick Cheney in drag):

“Nope!  Not me!  This world is rotten, rotten, I tell you,  and I’m sick of it!

My obvious discomfort wrung the only “smile” of the day out of her:

Aunt Rita Smiles, sort-of...

Oh well.

See a short video of my Great Aunt Bella on the local evening news here.

Happy Birthday, Gurrrl!

And a big thanks to Mary over at Work of the Poet for hosting this Ruby Tuesday meme!