Monday, October 20, 2014

Time Passes

In 1980 when our kids were just toddlers, I took a picture of this intriguing tree in Washington Park in Anacortes.  It was the occasion of our second trip to the San Juan Islands, and our very first ever boat charter (a Newport 28).

1980

We had occasion to be at Washington Park again this fall, and I was surprised to see that the tree was still there.  But sadly, the intervening 34 years have not been kind to it - tho still in place, it is sagging downward, and it has died.

2014

One other thing is apparent in these two pictures...  the technology of photography has changed dramatically over those years.  The first picture was taken as a 35 mm Kodachrome slide.  The second was a snapshot taken on my iPhone.  Clearly 35 mm format slide film with a 250 mm zoom lens beats the pants off of an iPhone, digitally zoomed out to the max.  Nevertheless, I'll probably never go back to toting around a big heavy camera bag full of expensive lenses.  The convenience of having the camera in my pocket wherever I go is for me an overwhelming advantage.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Micro-forecast iPhone App

An area like Puget Sound and the San Juans has many micro-climates. No "one size fits all" forecast is going to do a decent job. What you need is a micro forecast - one suited to just where you are.

It's not free, but for less than the cost of that last latte you bought, you can have it!  The app is called "Dark Sky" - search for it on your app store.

So you can see what it does, here's a look at some of the screens.  First, the current forecast for your location, for the next 60 minutes:

Next hour
Swiping to the next screen (see the dots at the bottom?) gives you a little longer range look:

Next day
One more swipe gives you a look at the next seven days.  Here I've touched Saturday and so it is being shown in greater detail:

Next week
Finally, for a graphic view, you get a look at the radar loop. 


This view is shrinkable to show the whole world, or you can zoom in to show your location in great detail.  In the zoomed-out view, the time scale changes to days instead of hours, and you will get a couple of days to the future of the 'now' point - that is, a predicted radar loop.  It can also show a loop on temperature, but I find that less interesting.

Now tell me that you wouldn't find this handy on board!
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Sounds

I moved aboard at the end of 1996.  It was the end of the year, so a) I didn't spend much time outside, and b) neither did anyone else...  It was cold, after all.  But as the seasons progressed and the weather warmed, the sounds of spring filled the marina: sanders.  Whenever it wasn't raining, the air was filled with sound of sanders, near and far.  Multiple sanders - on G Dock, F Dock, and even as far away as the nether reaches of E Dock.  People were cleaning up their teak for the annual varnish job.

But times have changed.  It is no longer profitable to mine the dumpsters for scraps of teak - there are none.  And the sound of sanders is gone from the marina.

Now instead what you hear is the whine of the boat detailers' buffers.  Boats no longer have teak on them - it's just too expensive and too hard to keep looking good.  Now they are all white fiberglass, frequently buffed by that detailer's wool pad.

Progress, I guess.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lawn Mower Pesto

Have you ever planted chives in a small bed next to your yard?  If you have, you know that they spread and spread.  How about mint?  Even more spreading.

We have.  And when we mow the grass, some of that chive and mint gets chopped up.  It smells wonderful!

Tho this happens every time we cut the grass, Jane and I were discussing the aroma for perhaps the first time last nite after mowing the grass.  In one of those "Aha!" moments, Jane suggested that since it smelled so good, I should try making a pesto out of chives and mint.

Wow!  We had it mixed onto pasta last night.  It was fresh, warm and wonderful!  I'm sure it would be good on salmon, lamb, or just smeared on bruschetta. 

Here's how I made it:
  • Grab a handful of chives and pull out the browning ones so that you have all green.
  • Strip the leaves off a few mint plant tops - if the soft stems at the top come off too, that's OK.
  • Pack these into your Cuisinart along with 3-4 large peeled garlic cloves.
  • Pulse until chopped fine.
  • Pulse while adding just enough olive oil to stick things together.

Sorry I don't have an exact recipe.  The first attempt smelled a little too "onion-y", so I just added a little more mint.

If we had not planted these two things right next to each other, the idea would never have occurred to us.  But after-dinner research disclosed that we were not the first to discover this wonderful taste combination.  Google "chives mint" and you'll see that even Martha Stewart beat us to it.  You might even get some more exact recipes...
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