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Showing posts from August 28, 2011


It was nearly 90F/33C and very humid yesterday and for this late in the summer, I thought. On my way to the coffee shop this afternoon (with a laptop to work amid air conditioning) a couple grasshoppers hopped and flew in front of me then landed on the sidewalk / pavement. With the air being as hot as it was and the sun baking directly down without a cloud in sight I can't imagine what the temp of the cement was (my feet were certainly  hot). The grasshoppers didn't seem to mind, why should I?

Sometimes I love Trash...

First I have to qualify the above statement--the title of this post--by saying that I don't love just any trash...but I really enjoy picking up useful and fixable curbside items that other people discard. But if you've been a regular reader of this blog you already know this. I have a job, and I can afford things, but I like to reuse and recycle things...and also get things for free. I've done this as long as I can remember and I really don't care who sees me picking through their (sometimes useful) trash. The grill pictured above is case-in-point. The top two photos are the grill just after I wheeled it to my backyard last week. It was sitting curbside down the street for a few days and I finally went and inspected it. After bringing it home and cleaning it out, I basically tightened every screw and bolt on it, re-attached the handles (one was inside the thing and half-burnt), and gave it a couple coats of high-temp paint (which I happened to have on hand). The botto…

Natural Beauty...illuminated

Click it for a larger view

Things That Can Be Carried on a Bike (#351)

A plastic bucket containing 5lbs of whole wheat flour.

A cardboard box containing two loaves of freshly baked boules of whole wheat bread (pictured below), 3 pints of soup, and 2 pints of clam chowder.

A canvas bag containing a few books and other items.

Last Days of Summer

Things That Can Be Carried on a Bike (#350)

A decorative urn. .

More Natural Beauty in the City

I took the photo here; click it for a larger view. .

(Mini) Zen Triathlon

Photo was not edited; it was, ironically, taken from behind the window of a car in the rain.
I didn't intend on this, it just sort of happened (does that make it even more Zen?). The pool is closed this week for yearly maintenance (swimming is my primary exercise, besides biking, of course) and when I don't get physical exercise on a semi-daily basis I start feeling antsy and annoyed (and I'm likely annoying to be around). I had planned on going for a power ride (ie, fast) on the Mundo purely for aerobic exercise, and being out of work early today thought I'd fit in a quick yoga/meditation session. Anyhow, when I originally left work it was beautiful and sunny (the reason I thought of the bike ride), but after my meditation session it was starting to rain...not hard, just starting. I had a route planned in my head, which I know is about 5 miles, and thought the worst that could happen is I'd get wet...and get wet I did. About 1/2 mile into it the clouds opened up …

New Bumper Stickers

More specifically, these are my new fender them today at the WNY Peace Center booth while walking through the Elmwood Festival of the Arts.

Refrigerator Pickles

A next door neighbor gave me a few cucumbers and hot peppers today. Still having a couple cucumbers hanging on their vines I wanted to preserve these so  I made a quick batch of refrigerator pickles. These are so easy to make (and you can make them with almost any vegetable). Combine the vegetables and spices in a bowl, make a sweet-and-sour brine, bring it to a boil and pour it over the vegetables. The cucumbers will last about a month like this in the refrigerator. Click here for a recipe (not mine or the one I used but it looks pretty good). The recipe says not to eat them for 4 days but you can start eating them within an hour...I did.

Back to the Basics

Today was the first time I've baked bread at home in probably two months. This is mostly because it has been so hot this summer I didn't want to heat up the kitchen. My kitchen at work is already hot so I've been baking it there (making the dough at home and carrying it to-and-fro on my bike); a pretty good situation. Anyhow, today the high temp outside was only about 70F/21C so I made some at home.

The loaves you see pictured are about as basic as you can get. Truly delicious, but basic. All whole wheat flour and a few other ingredients. If you learn to make this recipe you'll be able to make a seemingly endless amount of variations. Most of my whole wheat bread recipes are based on this one. Here it is in pictures; a recipe follows.

Place two bowls side-by-side, one larger than the other. The smaller bowl will hold your pre-ferment and the larger your autolyse (the recipe tells you how to do this).

Next you'll combine all the ingredients and mix the dough until …