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Gone For A Bit. September 30, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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Between moving and setting up a new phone system and dealing with some rather serious health issues, I’m going to be absent from Teh Nets for a while. Give me a week or two to get my act together.

Meanwhile, live every day like they were numbered, and love like you mean it.

I’ll see you on the other side of this li’l bump in the road.

Ralph

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Ruby Tuesday – The Bishop, CA Edition! September 28, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Ruby Tuesday!.
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Half way up California’s fabled East Side sits the quintessential Western town of Bishop.  I’d driven through there once before, ’round about 1980, but all I recall about that particular trip was that the brownies were absurdly green.

Ahem.

Fast forwarding to March of 2009, I had occasion to stop there with my buddy Lizz on our whirlwind tour of Southern California, ostensibly in search of wildflowers but taking in anything which was visually Not Massachusetts.  I’d expressed my desire to see Mount Whitney before descending into Death Valley, expecting the geographic contrast to possess a certain power (which it did,) and Lizz did me one better by first humoring me, then spiriting me a little ways farther north to Bishop, where Galen Rowel’s Mountain Light Gallery exhibits some of that photographer’s astounding work.

People.  If you’re ever in the area, make this stop an imperative.  You’ll be transported by one of the visionaries of modern photography to places which we mortals can barely imagine, exquisitely rendered by an artist of rare stature.  I bawled like a baby before half a dozen of his works.

By the time we left I was trembling, partly with desire to see what Galen saw, and partly out of the fear which comes from knowing how rare that gift really is.

We drove Up West ’till a late season snow storm made continuing imprudent, then parked and wandered around beneath the thick grey skies, benefiting from the dry air of the high desert as it ate the falling snows, leaving us to swim in the turbulent air below great granite massifs piercing a blanket ofy winter sky.

And amidst all of this, hints of Ruby enlivened the austere majesty of the High Country:

sagebrush

Buttermilk snow storm

I bet you thought I forgot to dance with The Meme What Brung Me, courtesy of Mary.

No way, Mary.  I;m clumsy, but I’m not a cad.

Late September. September 27, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Massachusetts, like any place else, has its better moments.  And a disproportionate number of them happen in September.

Mind you, I’m prejudiced; I happen to have happened in September as well.  But that notwithstanding, the mix of warm wet air and cool dry wind do produce an invigorating perceptual pallet, weather permitting, of course.  This year the weather wasn’t particularly permitting, delivering oranges when reds were expected and substituting browns for the yellows I ordered.

But still, it’s been pretty:

Cheshire view

Looking down into Cheshire on the way home from work.

The niches in the landscape which had access to daily fogs and vapors fared well this past month, with dense fogs down at the river rising with the sun, misting the steep valley slopes before dissipating into a bright blue sky.

Mosses loved it:

moss in Florida

…as did I.

Hey, what can I say.  I’m a Libra.

Anyway, expect light posting for a couple of weeks, as Susan and I are moving in together; that is, we’re each moving to a mid-way location so we can both keep our jobs.

This past weekend saw the bulk of my moving, with my brother and me doing most of it (Susan is having health complications, and despite a laudable willingness of spirit, her body isn’t really cooperating.)  I’m certain it was a sight – he, at 5’4″, is the family giant, and though he’s fit as a fiddle, he recently injured his back.  Between that and my totally destroyed shoulders and right ankle, we must have looked like the Jerry’s Kids Moving Company!  🙂

And next weekend we do it all again with Susan’s move.  So you’ll likely only be hearing from me when I can’t stand up any longer but am too wound up to sleep.

Come to think of it, this may devolve into nightly posts after all!

Dinner(s) With TCR! September 24, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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Courtesy of the last ‘shrooms of the season.

First, a Bolete quesadilla, made in this case with a pair of King Boletes.

This was fun, doing the mushrooms first at high heat, then adding celery and chunky garlic, then taking the whole lot out and reserving it before adding a little butter and frying a large flour tortilla a bit ’till it was ready to receive back the ‘shroom filling:

bolete quesadilla

It folded over quite nicely, thank you, before I crisped it up for the kill.

‘Twas guuud.

‘Twas equally guuud to think of something to do with my last harvest of chanterelles for the season.  They’re a summer mushroom around here, and are most likely done blooming.

I sautéed the chanterelles with celery and sun dried tomatoes, then unceremoniously removed them all from the pan and replaced them with my new love, fresh goat cheese raviolis poached in chicken broth.  Then, as above, I added back the niceties to dish up Raviolis with Wild Mushrooms:

raviolis and chanterelles

I made noises eating this.  I may have bothered the neighbors.  I didn’t care.  Life is too short to not appreciate what’s good, and I’m just not into dampening my enthusiasm for what I have left of it.

Not that I’m checking out, mind you, but I’m no Spring chicken either.

And one never knows, now, does one?

Mr. Maple. September 23, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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Striding through the woods, up the steep hillside, stepping carefully over a single white wood aster as though it were a treasure:

Mr. Maple

Such grace for one so large!

Ruby Tuesday – Falling Into Autumn! September 22, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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Just a quick break from sorting my life into piles of “pack” and “pitch” prior to my upcoming move.

Here are a few shots demonstrating why folks in these parts look forward to the autumnal equinox.

An ordinary utility pole becomes a beautiful lady in her gown by Virginia Creeper:

virginia creeper

A swamp in upper Florida shines its lights on a steely sky:

Florida with cattails

…and a view along the Deerfield river:

along the Deerfield

It’s going to get better before it gets done, but I expect to be more or less tied up and might miss a lot of it.

But I’ll share what I can.

Thanks to Mary over at Work of the Poet for this rubylicious meme!

Lone Pine, CA September 18, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Waaaay back in March I spent a week in Southern California with my friend and neighbor, Lizz.  She’s been photographing Southwestern landscapes for a few years now and has some beautiful images to show for it, and I hoped to learn from her on this trip.

I did. A lot.

After posting some pictures from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Park I got distracted by Springtime in New England and never really finished telling you about our trip; now it’s time for a bit more of the story.

Frau B. (that’s Lizz) and I left SoCal and headed north along the East Side, partly because I had the conception of seeing the highest and the lowest places in the Lower U.S. in quick succession, and partly because Lizz is a climber and can’t resist a beautiful granite face.  Besides, she was pretty jazzed to get to Death Valley and probably figured I’d be satisfied with a drive by.

It’s a tribute to her driving stamina that she “assumed the position” and arrowed northward, barely stopping ’till we pulled into Lone Pine, the turn-off town for Mount Whitney.

The Southern Sierras are stunning, and I took way too many photos along the way, but the views from Lone Pine were still more so.  I snapped away, despite a ferocious wind which  threatened to snatch my hat and rip the lens cap off my camera!

From the main street in town, Whitney is visible through a notch in the closer mountains:

Whitney and cattle

It’s on the left in this picture, which doesn’t do the mountain justice, but I liked the iconic feel of the cattle grazing below the Alabama Hills with the Sierras beyond.  The wind was blowing much too hard to just stand there and shoot, or even for a tripod, which would have been thrummed like a double bass, so  I sat my camera on a stout fence post, which to my dismay was vibrating with every gust.  This is the best of those ill-fated shots.

We headed up the turn to Whitney Portal, a village closer to the mountain’s base.  But March is still winter in these parts, and the road was closed just beyond the Alabama Hills.

Still, I got a better view of the peaks, parked along the side of the road and hunkered down in the lee of our rental car as the wind whipped by:

Whitney

That was with a 35mm lens; this is from the same spot with Gizmo, my 400mm lens:

Whitney Group

The peaks were bathed in a wind-driven snow, and it was difficult to get good shots, but I was satisfied with these.

More to follow, though I’m not promising when; I’ll be spending the next three weekends (and the free bits in between) moving and might not get to posting much.

So hold the fort, ‘k?

Pastoral. September 16, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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September is a transitional month in Massachusetts, with nights getting colder and colors appearing in the trees.  The skies can be vivid and crisp or, as at present, shrouded in muting gray tones:

Gould's field

But the fields are verdant, and the roadsides peppered with treasures:

Omphalotus illudens

Omphalotus illudens, adorning the base of a mighty oak in Shelburne, but at a price: it inflicts its host with a delignifying butt rot.

Ouch!

Dinner With TCR! September 16, 2009

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Still trying to sauté my way out from under a mountain of wild mushrooms and failing, in that I keep bringing home every juicy bloom despite my bursting fridge.  Oh well, looks like mushrooms in every dinner ’till the frosts come!

Bummer.  😉

Tonight, black trumpets, carrots, celery, onions and fennel over a pesto tortellini steamed with lemon grass:

trumpets and torts

…finished with Asian accents of tamari and sesame oil.

‘Twas guuud!

A Change. September 16, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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There’s been a change in the air, a change in the light.

It’s becoming Autumn.

The trees are changing too, beginning in the swamps and bogs and moving up the hillsides.

In the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont, this past weekend:

Greens

The skies were a uniform New England Grey, but the trees were doing their best to liven things up:

Vermont swamp

With a little luck on the weather – some rain without a ton of wind and an end-of-September warm spell – we could get lucky.

If we do, I promise to share it with you.