Sunday, June 22

Today, I had planned to make Smitten Kitchen's Apple Slab Pie.
But it's summer solstice, I had stone fruit instead of apples.
And on such a beautiful summer afternoon, I jettisoned Deb's buttery pie crust in favor of something less finicky.
And for the four of us, I made a small and round instead of a big and party-size rectangular.
In reality, I guess I was making a peach-nectarine "slabbette" after the Smitten Kitchen model.

Anyway...Mom pressed me to use her favorite crust recipe - The Never Fail Pie Crust from the Zion Lutheran Church 115th Anniversary Cookbook. (See, right.) I was dubious. How can this be her favorite recipe if I never heard of it before. And wait, what?  There's an egg in this crust? No way!

But okay - it's my Mom. (Melissa would be nodding and saying "uh-huh, she knows.")

So, right about the time I stirred the liquid into the flour-shortening crumble, I started to fall for it. Never had a crust come together like that! Then, I divided it and without chilling it, rolled out the bottom crust and...Whoa! That was smooth.

The final swoon came after I rolled-out and picked-up and placed the top crust. This is never a good moment in my pie-making - it's why I like galettes. Today, it was a breeze and the romance was sealed with the crimped edges of the slabbette.

Well, truly the romance was on when I tasted the first bite of this peach-nectarine gem of a pastry. This is a fine, flaky, short, lovely crust!

Now, I have a new favorite pie crust recipe and, lucky me, it's a generous one, so I have two balls of crust in the 'fridge for later this week.

You might check it out, too. I pasted the spattered and  spotted recipe just to the left.

Thanks Marie Wieck, for contributing the recipe. Thanks, Jane Meyer, for giving this book to my mom! Thanks, Mom for persisting in trying to educate me in the kitchen.

To all my Jones cousins - have fun at the family reunion next week! Wish I could be with you. Maybe next time!

Saturday, May 10

241,300 miles

I was sorta hoping to get a quarter of a million miles on the red Jeep before I replaced it.
When it became clear that I needed a more reliable car, I thought I'd reach that milestone before I found a vehicle I wanted to drive.

Well, about a month ago, the Jeep was towed out of Death Valley National Park for the second time (thanks to good Samaritans Steve and Sally of Dixon, Montana for getting us safely to Bishop) and I had to be an adult. I put aside my prejudices and got a modern car.

Then the heartbreak came: out-placement.

Today, the red Jeep went home with a new owner. He said he'd take care of it and I have to believe him.  He said he needed a town car, so I think it's a good match.  I hope he gets to a quarter of a million miles and many, many more.

Tuesday, April 15

Flash post - Hummingbirds

Feeling compelled to post so you won't worry that I've been hit by a bus. Here are some pictures and a few words...

On Sunday, my friend Allan led a CamCo workshop on photographing hummingbirds in the Huntington Beach Central Park. I facilitated and soaked up as much instruction as I could from Allan and the other participants.

I feel like I am picking up some skill and moving in the right direction. My hummers are not out-of-focus fuzzy so much of the time.  They are definitely sharper when perched, of course!

Between improved facility with my equipment and more patience, I'm getting more, better (but not spectacular) shots. I may have to leave spectacular to the big lenses and the infinitely patient.

You can see the photos posted by our participants in this Meetup gallery

Sunday, February 9

Rainy days in San Francisco

No picture again but since I have time to spare, I thought I'd make a quick post. Janet and I are waiting for time to go to the airport at the end of a lovely (if rainy) weekend in San Francisco.
I worked on Friday and Saturday but after that we had dinner at Hayes Street Grill with friends and enjoyed a Henry Butler show at SF Jazz.  What a wonderful venue that is and perfect for Henry's easy-going style. He looked great sitting on stage in the Joe Henderson Lab with street life in full swing behind him and along the right wall of the auditorium. He showed up in a silvery, shiny jacket and then out-shone it with his killer piano and engaging vocals. He is a real trooper at 80 years old!  He greeted fans and signed CDs between sets. We hung out after our show and hoped to get into the next one but no luck.
This morning Janet and I rode the N Judah Muni line to the end and got a view of the Pacific beyond ice-plant covered dunes. It was what I expect English beaches look like: gray and breezy and damp.
After breakfast at the Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen, we walked up to Murphy's Windmill in Golden Gate Park and meandered back through the park to 9th Street. Saw several soggy bison and lots of runners. There were flowers blooming and more promising to break out in bloom at the first hint of sunshine. We only got about halfway through the park, bailing out to catch the Muni for the return to our hotel in time for our late check-out.
Now, with our flight delayed two and a half hours to spare, we are cooling our heels in the lobby and weighing the advantages of a cab v BART to SFO.

Great weekend!

Tuesday, January 28

Pete Seeger Died Yesterday.

Pete Seeger wrote so many of the songs that were just in the air in my youth. Like, did someone have to write "On top of Old Smoky" and "Where have all the flowers gone"?  I can't imagine a life without them.
In his Wall Street Journal obituary, Stephen Miller noted Pete Seeger "attended Harvard on scholarship, but dropped out to join an itinerant puppet troupe with leftist leanings." That's a career path to be emulated, right?

We are all richer having lived in a world that included Pete Seeger. 

Friday, January 17


Eureka Dunes Pan
Just getting some images out there for my pals to see. I've been carrying these around on a flash drive and that it not a good sharing device.

Looking across Eureka Valley
Peter, John B, and I ventured to Eureka Dunes early in January to scout it as a location for a Camera Committee outing.  I think it has potential as a Shoot the Moon location.

Landscape in a square foot using the new Elph.
How about those watermarks?  Too obnoxious? 

Sunday, November 10

First Light of the Week

Today I actually got up for first light without the motivation of people waiting for me.  I even woke before the alarm.
Without a solid plan, I headed north on 395 looking for an interesting foreground for the fine Sierra background.  Before long, and well before dawn, I found myself in Manzanar tromping around on the north end between blocks 26 and 27.
First light on Mount Williamson from Block 26, Manzanar

Me looking very self-satisfied
I set up and waited for the light on the mountains. Then, I followed its progress down the mountain and across the valley until it finally reached the cottonwood remains of a Manzanar garden.
After capturing the image below I had trouble moving on - which is to say getting back in the red Jeep and preparing for the drive to Los Angeles.

First light on Block 27, Manzanar with a view of Mount Williamson
I dawdled. I set up a couple of detail shots. I poked around and finally got in the Jeep, only to stop again on the access road for George's Creek. That's a great location and I think there will be photos posted from that stop. And return visits, too.
No more stops before I got to Lone Pine, but now I am sitting in my Timberline Motel room and blogging.
I gotta go.