I think it is time to learn how to make pesto.

I don’t really feel like I have much of a green thumb, but a couple of years ago I planted some basil. I mostly didn’t want to pay the price to get the little bit in the plastic container from the grocery store every time I wanted caprese salad. Since I planted the basil I have had more delicious caprese salads and they all have way more basil in them which is also so much fresher and tastier now.

IMG_4438 caprese salad with greens-small
Caprese salad with spring greens and balsamic vinegrette.

Then last year I split it up and put it into more and bigger planters and pots. I have never had a food processor so I never got around to trying pesto, even though I like it very much, but looking at my kitchen window ledge, I think it’s time to do more than the occasional caprese salad with the basil.

IMG_7358 basil-small

So I looked up making pesto without a food processor, and found not only is it possible, but the best way seems to be with a mortar and pestle. Makes sense, as that would have been the way to do it before food processors. I have wanted one for a while but I didn’t really feel a strong need, but now with that in mind I started researching where to get them.

They don’t seem to be an overly common kitchen item. I did see online that Bed Bath and Beyond carried them, and as I wanted a new top cover for the bed I thought I would see what they had in store. I looked and looked. I went up and down all the kitchen related isles. As I was about to give up, a worker asked me if I needed help finding anything. I said, “a mortar and pestle?”  She said “A what?” I said, “a mortar and pestle” and mimed using it. She said “Ah, I don’t think we have those, try online.” I thanked her and went on my way. I found a quilt I wanted on sale so I took that to the counter to pay for it. The sales person there asked me if I found everything okay. I said “yes, mostly.” She then asked what it was I didn’t find. I said “a mortar and pestle.” She said “a what? Is that a name brand?” Before I could role my eyes, another sales person who had over heard this exchange, who seemed a little more knowledgeable, said “We have mortar and pestles” and went off to find one. I followed and she had trouble finding one too. Just as she paged someone to verify one was actually in the store, she spied it. One lonely box hiding on the bottom shelf. So after all that I got me a mortar and pestle!

IMG_7362 mortor and pestle-small

So the next step. Make it. I bought all the other needed ingredients when I knew I was going to make pesto. I decided I was not in the mood for pasta and I like squash so I wondered if spaghetti squash would work with pesto so I decided to experiment. Taking chances. I pounded up a batch of pesto, and baked me a spaghetti squash, mixed the two together and yum. Dinner!

I used a piece of rustic seedy bread to help me clean out the mortar, Oh my that’s the way to do it!

IMG_7443 pesto spaghetti sauce-small

 

It’s been photo taking weather.

Not cold, and not too warm and clear sunny days. So I thought I would take you on a photo walk with me.

One of my favourite walks is a park near a creek walking distance from home. It’s nice and shady with sunny spots and in spring so many plants and insects to see. Some of them not until I get home and see them in the photos I took!

So once I got to the park I was admiring the green of the pond so I head closer. So many interesting plants and flowers growing all around. This is one that caught my eye first.

Then there is the pond itself.

Lily pads! I have never really seen proper lily pads. I looked hard for frogs… maybe too hot in the middle of the day for them. Still I didn’t see what was actually lurking there…

DSC_9921 lily pads and spider

Can you see the spider?

Off I go down the path. Shooting anything and everything that catches my eye. From more flowers, to the path with the trees and sky.

I was hoping maybe to capture some butterflies or dragonflies. They move so quickly and are so hard to get close enough for a good shot, but I persevered.

I continued taking shots of more flowers, and came across more insects.

This guy I didn’t get a great shot of, I tried to get too close and he moved faster than I imagined he would and disappeared. I don’t think I have ever seen something so iridescent green in the wild before.

DSC_0345 six-spotted green tiger beetle
Six-Spotted Green Tiger Beetle

There were other critters playing hide and seek as well. These two I saw move so I knew they were there. The first shot has a butterfly in it. The second, there is some kind of grasshopper or katydid.

DSC_0292 butterfly camo

DSC_0405 there is a bug in here

Then there is this shot I was taking of the bee on a dandelion. I didn’t know until I was looking at the pictures at home there was something else there too. Hard to tell what it was, but from the bits I can see I am guessing a grasshopper or katydid of some kind.

 

DSC_0383 bee and bug on dandelion

Then there is this one. Couldn’t have missed it! It was HUGE, for a bug. I am not sure what it was. About 2-3 inches or so long. I thought at first a bumble bee but it’s so big and not quite right. Then I wondered if it could be a moth of some kind. Never did figure it out.

DSC_0771 bumblebee or moth

Heading back home I found a couple more sights to point my camera at and got these.

All in all, one of my better days for good clear shots. I recently had the camera cleaned, so that probably helped.

I really enjoy the long walks and the weather in the early spring here in North Texas. I can’t handle the heat of summer, so there won’t be as many walks then. Spring has all the new life and fresh growth going for it too.

So back home I go through over 900 shots, deleted it down to 699, named 278 that I liked, narrowed those down to 111 of the very best, then down again to the best of the best of best sir, of  the 36 I posted here.

Anyway, that’s a glimpse into part of my process when I put on my photography hat. I hope you enjoy!

Riding Out the Shift Storm

One of the things I really enjoy capturing are candid shots of animals with their tongue stuck out. I am happy to get any goofy shot of animals but the tongue out is the pinnacle of goofy shots. I don’t often share them. I am never sure if any one finds them as enjoyable as I do.

Well today I am giving the world a big fat NAH! 😛

01-kaboodle-monster-tongue

02-kitties-kaboodle-tongue

03-kaboodle-monster-tongue

05-frazier-tongue-cute

06-window-frazier-tongue

07-an-anole-lizard-dewlap-and-tongue-focused

08-giraffe-tongue

09-giraffe-tongues-dsc_0199

010-emperor-tamerin-tongue

011-emperor-tamarin-tongue

012-lemur-tongue

012-lorakeet-tongue

013-dsc_3099-beartongue

014-dsc_7220-grizzly-tongue

015-dsc_6621-rhinoserous-tongue

016-dsc_2117-mountain-sheep-tongue

017-dsc_0004-red-panda-tongue

018-cheetah-tongues

018-snow-leopard-tongue

dsc_3792-tiger-tongue

white-tiger-tongue

 

Kingdom Come – The Civil Wars

“Kingdom Come” by the The Civil Wars is the song running through my head this morning. I find it to be an incredibly beautiful song, my favourite from this duo. I realized after the fact it was in the movie “the Hunger Games”.

The best thing I could find to match this song was a picture I have of a mocking bird. It was the first bird I saw in the new year of 2016. I spent until spring to capture it on film. Today I fancied it up for you.

a-mocking-bird-v2-1-small

Red Skies at Night

You would be wrong if you thought that “Red Skies at Night” by the Fixx was today’s earworm. It tried though. I was out walking and captured this:

red-skies-at-night-sunset-jan16-17

So I was inspired, and was singing that song in my head on my way home.  I even listened to the song when I got home, but then “One Thing Leads to Another“, and I listened to a whole list of songs by the Fixx. So when I woke up this morning, it was “Saved by Zero” that had gotten stuck.

Lily Love

Woke up today with the Civil Wars “Lily Love” going through my head. Happy for that one. Irish folk music was one of my early staples and this, even though it’s a fairly recent composition it’s right in tune with that early love and a perfect contribution to the Chieftains’ 50th anniversary album.

I didn’t find any pictures of lilies in my collection but the song also mentions daisies, so I worked a little on this photo and came up with this.

dsc_1302-daisies-v3-1-small

I think I will be the sun today.

Today I woke up to the song “Lovers on the Sun” David Guetta, featuring Sam Martin, so I figured I would feature some images showcasing the sun.

These were the first images I was thinking of when I started my search:

which lead to these images:

which brought up an image inspired by a dream, from which I wrote this short poem:
I think I’ll be the sun today, in spite of what my mother will say.
A ray of light will be my smile,
I’ll wear a crown of gold
and my dress will be the sky.

which inspired this quick drawing:

i-think-i-will-be-the-sun

which developed into a linocut print:

i-think-i-will-be-the-sun-today

which I coloured digitally today:

i-think-i-will-be-the-sun-today-v3

So more than just a song inspired by an earworm today. You’ve gotten some insight into the creative process!

I don’t always go on such journey’s to get to where I go, but often it can work this way. Inspiration comes from so many places, in so many ways. If you are so inclined I would love to see some of your own creative methods.

all images and photographs credit: Katherine Nutt © 2017