Sunday 21 February 2016

Bursting Banks

Thames.  Canon S120
12th February 2016

The Thames this morning was a little full.   Although the river is normally not very wide at this end, it seems to have taken over a few fields as well.

I am sure it will drain out eventually to the sea, although it has a bit of a distance to go.

Field of Swans

Swans swimming in the field.  Canon S120
11th February 2016

We have had a little rain recently.

The Swans seem to be happy as they can swim in the fields as well as in the river.

The road was icy though with the water that had run across and then frozen overnight!

A little prick in the mouth

Munched Holly.  Nikon D7000
10th February 2016

Even though the Holly bush is rather painful to be in contact with, some creature seems to have at least tried to eat this leaf.

I am not sure if it enjoyed the meal, but as there are no other leaves with bites out of them, I guess the spikes did their trick.

Life is Lentils

Lentils.  Canon S120
9th February 2016

Small and brown and very under rated.  Although many lentil recipes try to have strong flavours, lentils on their own are subtle but tasty.

I have developed a rather good cottage pie concoction that uses these brown darlings.

They make me fart like buggery though.

Storm Force

Blown over.  Nikon D7000
8th February 2016

It has been a bit blowy today.   The wind has been howling down the chimney and the trees have been almost bending double.

It will start raining soon too.

Grows on trees

Lichen.  Canon S120
7th February 2016

Although conifers are good at killing all plant life that grows around them, this tree has some competition however as the Lichen is taking hold.

The dim dark corner at the bottom of the garden seems to be ideal conditions to buck the trend of the trees and their solitary lives.

I am on the side of the lichen.

Full-bodied Soup

Bowling for Soup.  Canon S120
6th February 2016

This evening we had a quick trip to Birmingham for a bit of Punk.

We stood in the cold and rain for 3/4 hour, then slowly steamed dry inside with everyone else.

The band Bowling For Soup have been around for over 20 years, and had a few years out recently.  They were never small chaps, but have expanded generously over the last few years!

They still sounded really good though :)

Fallen Arches

Brick Arches.  Canon S120
5th February 2016

While walking the dogs this morning along a disused railway line, we passed under an old brick bridge.

The road over the top has been blocked of for very many years and a new road runs nearby; I really do not fancy walking over it now, let alone taking a car!

Water and Ink

Water drop.  Canon S120
4th February 2016

I have noticed that recipe books should really start each page with 'using every pan you own' and 'this recipe tastes quite ordinary, yet half of its ingredients you have never heard of, neither have the supermarket'.

As I cannot remember how to cook each dish for the time it takes to eat it, I need it written down somewhere.  I have been modifying and collecting recipes for the dishes we eat regularly.

Writing them out has made life simpler, but water from cooking and ink do not mix well!

That is what laminators were made for :)

Out before March for once

Super early Daffodil.  Nikon D7000
3rd February 2016

For many years now, the Daffodils have been in tight bud come St David's day.   This year they are out a month in advance!

They will probably all be over by the end of the month however.

Yellow with a bit of crunch

Celery.  Nikon D7000
2nd February 2016

Celery is a very under rated vegetable.  Despite the myth, you do get more calories than you expend eating it, but it is the closest 'crunch' I am going to get this year to the sound of a footprint in snow!

Urban Sheep

Sheep.  Canon S120
1st February 2016

We have chickens in our back garden, but there seem to be some folks living nearby who have sheep too.

I suppose they keep the grass nice and short.

Raggedy Zebra

Muppet's new toy.  Canon S120
31st January 2016

Muppet has shredded most of his other toys, so he got a nice new one today.

He had done his best to remove the ears already, and there is stuffing on the living room floor... It will not be long before there are legs and arms lying separate on the carpet too.

Sea of Glass

Glasses.  Canon S120
30th January 2016

These are just the glasses that would not fit in the dishwasher; Katie had realised the cupboard was empty so emptied her bedroom.

Luckily there were not too many which were festering badly and developing new life forms!

New Post about an Old Post

Old Post.  Canon S120
29th January 2016

While walking the dogs this morning, I spotted a rather nice weathered fence post.

The moss is about the only colour on the post; the rest looks almost as if it is in black and white.  It may benefit from a conversion and printing out large....

Just add custard and a little slapstick

Mrs Piper.  Nikon D7000
28th January 2016

It is panto time again; oh no it isn't!  Oh yet it is!

This years production was as good as ever.   There were laughs and plenty of cream and custard; a little too much custard at times as the band and the curtains found out!

Luckily someone thought to give the pantomime dame a mop for one of the scenes and so the stage was cleaned up as part of the act :)

Abstract: Condensation

Condensation.  Nikon D7000
27th January 2016

We were cooking dinner with a lid on the pan, so I broke out the tripod and macro lens to have a play.    The condensation patterns were changing slowly with time, but the exposures were long as I had the aperture squished down small.   I did wonder what a 'drip' may look like when it was captured, but no significant ones happened while the shutter was open.

Digging for Pixels

Minecraft.  Nikon D7000
26th January 2016

I remember well the hours I spent as a kid on my ZX Spectrum writing code and attempting to write games.   There were a few early 3D offerings in the later years, but now Minecraft seems to be supplying the young engineers of the future with a world of their own to create in.

The laws of physics are a bit different in the Minecraft world; they have a definite whiff of 'God is a computer scientist' about them.

Another Pink Glow

Sunrise.  Nikon D7000
25th January 2016

The sunrise is getting a little earlier each morning, and today it was stunning again; violet and pink across the sky.

Although not very environmentally friendly, the aircraft contrails do make pretty patterns in the sky.

Pale, but green

Clematis shoots.  Nikon D7000
24th January 2016

The clematis has decided that although Spring is not officially here yet, it is plenty warm enough to start doing the growing thing.

Although the clematis at the end of the patio has a bed of its own, it has never been the most prolific at growing up the wooden pergola structure.  Hopefully the early start will give it a helping hand.

A test for the dishwasher

Lipstick.  Canon S120
23rd January 2016

There are some marks that the dishwasher is really good at getting out; but there are some items which provide a challenge.

Porridge that is well dried onto the bowl is sometimes a real struggle to get off, but the lipstick on this glass (thanks to Katie!) should actually be shifted very easily.

Beats washing it all by hand anyway.

Split and Wrinkled

Rice Pudding.  Nikon D7000
22nd January 2016

As the apples 'in storage' in the garden are coming to an end, we have been having rice pudding in the evenings.

As the oven had been on for cooking dinner, then we made one in the oven.

Skimmed milk does not create quite such a thick skin on the top as you get with full bodied milk, but it still tastes just fine :)

Never ASSuME: Fat and Sugar

Cottage Cheese pots. Canon S120
21st January 2016

As Benny Hill once said, "Never assume as you will make an ASS out of U and ME".

So you would have thought the fat free cottage cheese on the top would be lower in calories than the 'low fat' version?  Think again!

Yes there is less fat in the fat free one, but there was not much in the low-fat version either.   No, there are more sugars in the fat free one and a higher calorific value.

The wonders of labels.

The low-fat version also tastes better; I know which one I will have from now on.

Mud & Ice

Mud and Ice for a path.  Canon S120
20th January 2016

It was a cold chill out walking this morning.   The recent rain has left the ground saturated, which has now frozen.

The mud was very Armadillo this morning; crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.

Misty Morning for Jenny

Misty Morning.  Canon S120
19th January 2016

There was an eerie 'sea of mist' across the valley this morning.  In places just the tops of the trees were poking through the layer.

In the garden though, as the sun started to break through, Jenny Wren made the most of it, hopping around the veg patch, probably looking for insects emerging into the warm 'Spring' sun.
Wren in the veg plot.  Nikon D7000

White and Droopy

Snowdrops.  Canon S120
18th January 2016

Although it is theoretically mid winter, it has been much more like early Spring for a while now.   The Snowdrops are in full bloom; shame snow flakes have been rare this Winter, and  none so far for 2016 :(

Sunday 7 February 2016

Pecked Off

Blackbird stealing apple.  Nikon D7000
17th January 2016

Having collected all the apples together off the garden, the local birds are making the most of them all being easy to get to on the patio.

This blackbird has been a regular visitor, however it does insist on pecking a little from many apples, rather than just eating one at a time.


Coffee Beans.  Canon S120
16th January 2016

Although we have now invested in a decent coffee producing machine, there are still times when we need to fill a more traditional filter device.  

The silky sparkle of the beans and of course the aroma are always a treat.

Cleaning the film of dust off the worktop after grinding them all is more of a pest however.

Too Early

Flowering Currant Blossom.  Nikon D7000
15th January 2016

The disgustingly warm Winter has really been an extended Autumn.   The lack of cold has meant that with the lengthening days, the plants have all got very confused.

The flowering current in the chicken pen has taken it all to extremes and is flowering a few months early.   Normally it is March before the blooms appear!

Stars and Planets

Early Morning Stars.  Canon S120
14th January 2016

The mornings are getting lighter very slowly.   This morning there were a few stars just visible, as well as what appeared to be a lonely planet, shining in the sun.

It is quite chilly too; a little extra time may be needed to scrape the car.

Heaped or Level?

Custard Powder.  Canon S120
13th January 2016

I hate using measuring spoons and then not using a true level measure to get the designed quantity, but a one-person dose of custard powder is almost, but not quite, a table-spoon measure.  

If I measure correctly with the powder level, then the custard is too thin;

If I put a proper 'maximum sustainable' heap on the measuring spoon, then the custard ends up as one solid lump.

The necessary quantity is half way between, which really bugs me.   I may have to print a few on the 3D printer to get a measuring spoon that needs to be properly level.

Paws on the Sofa

Xena's Paws.  Canon S120
12th January 2016

Xena likes her creature comforts.   With all the recent rain, the garden has a tendency to stick to the dogs' feet.

At the moment, Xena's paws are nice and clean, but it will not last.   She has the sofa and cushions to wipe them on however...

Earth shine

Moon.  Nikon D7000
11th January 2016

There was a very thin crescent moon this evening.  Just visible by eye was the outline of the disk of the moon; earth-shine providing a very feint illumination of the surface!

I guess that as the Earth is bigger than the moon, the light from a 'full earth' when seen on the moon must be much brighter than the light we get from a 'full moon'.   The moon is pale dust though which may reflect more; does 'earth shine' have a blue tint?

Scratches and Shine

Scratched pan base.  Canon S120
10th January 2016

It is interesting how light interacts with scratches on shiny surfaces.   The bases of the pans in the kitchen are great examples with all the scratches running in concentric circles; adding even more interest to the shapes of the reflected patterns.

Over time, the pans also get lots of random scratches through use; more Picasso than Rembrandt though.