Sunday, November 23, 2014

voles! er, I mean, shrews!

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I wrote this whole post, sure I'd seen voles.  But I thought it might be nice to link to something about them, and I discovered that what I've seen are shrews, not voles!  The sausage shape, the tiny ears, the very short tail....  All three of the ones I've seen were black or very dark gray.  Shrews, not voles. 

Who knew!

(Now I need to find out what the difference is, between mice and voles........)



Before this month, I'd seen exactly one vole, I mean shrew, in my whole life.  It was last year.  I was walking in the neighborhood, and stopped still for a minute (to take a pic, of course).  I heard a rustling at my feet, and then a snout poked out of the vegetation, followed by a head and shoulders....  I moved; it skittered; that was that.

Now, this month, I've seen two voles, I mean shrews, both completely out in the open.  One on the 16th, and one the day before.

Late afternoon walks.  The vole, I mean shrew, was running across the sidewalk, in one case, and over someone's driveway, in the other.

Cloudy days, dark-ish.  Far enough apart geographically (different sides of different blocks) that I don't think it can have been the same vole, I mean shrew, twice.

Don't you think that's odd?  To have basically never seen one before, and now see two in two days?

I wonder if it's just coincidence, or if we're having a vole, I mean SHREW,  invasion..............

I don't think I've ever seen a mouse out in the open like that.

I think seeing those voles, I mean SHREWS, out in the open was at least passing strange.  And that's the "Bizarre News From the Neighborhood" news.

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November 14

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Leaves on the back step.  With snow.




Snow on the fence.



Tea in the sunshine.  (And plastic lizard.)



Maple leaf suspended in the weeds.



Blue sky.  Odd fully-leafed branch of maple tree, at right, and tulip tree covered in spent flowers, at left.



Usually there are several branches on the tulip tree that bloom, but not all of them, or even most.  I was surprised, on the 14th, to realize that the top of the tree was awash in bloom, late last spring.  I had no idea.




What you're seeing here are seeds, mostly.  The things that look like petals are seeds.  After all the seeds fall, what's left is the pointy thing you see, bottom right.



Indomitable rose.



More blue sky.


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 13

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It snowed, the morning of the 13th.
video


Then it snowed harder.
video

(I never noticed the neighbor getting out of the car, when I was taking the video....)



Walking, later.

My stalwart rose.  Blooming twice yearly, with no care at all.  Even after it's been days since temps were above the mid-30s (F).  Even after it's snowed.....

The last flower for 2014.






The penultimate rose.  I'm not usually fond of the "dead flower" sort of image, but I like the colors and shapes here....




Maple.



The evening of the 13th, my daughter and I went to a tasting of the Italian art of pasta.  This image is the ceiling and the lights (including strings of lights draped on the wall).



I am pretty pleased with this next one, when it's large.  I don't think it shows up, here, as well as I wish it did.  This is the room, set up for the tasting, with white tablecloths and napkins, and eager tasters waiting. 

Here's a closer crop.

I used the "cut out" filter, which I always think I should like more than I hardly ever do.  In this case I like the way it abstracted the faces, making them more anonymous, and I like the few colors it chose, which I also hardly ever do.



Enough about pics; back to the tasting!

We were all there to listen to Gianluigi Peduzzi of Rustichella d'Abruzzo and Rolando Beramundi of Manicaretti Italian Food Importers talk about pasta.

Gianluigi's father was instrumental in starting Rustichella ("Roos tee CHELLLa") in 1924.  This image shows Rolando talking to us, in front of a slide telling us the three most important things about traditional Italian pasta -- it's made from the best semolina, it is extruded through bronze dies, and it dries slowly at a low temperature.

In addition to learning a lot about pasta -- how different kinds of pasta are made, where different shapes may be made, what their names mean, what is traditionally served with different shapes -- we also learned a bit about Italian history, a bit about Italian pasta traditions (finish pasta in the sauce, then bring the pan to the table, rather than ever serving pasta that has grown cold, and do not break the spaghetti by mashing it down into the water as it begins to cook...), a bit about how to pronounce Italian words (a doubled consonant is pronounced -- do not rush over the Ts in spaghetti, but, rather, linger a moment:  "spa GET ti."  You don't say the T twice, but you give it ... presence.  :-)  )

And, of course, we tasted.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  It never occurred to me to take pics of the pasta.  I guess I was too eager to taste.

Luckily, EJ Olsen, who documents goings-on at Zingerman's, did a much better job than I at recording the food.  I hope you'll click through to see EJ's behind-the-scenes pics in the kitchen, as well as the pasta.

It was all delicious.  If you made me choose, I think maybe the linguine and the orecchiette were my favorites.  Mmmmmmm.  I love pasta..........

A very enjoyable and instructional evening.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.



In case you are wondering, my better half was off at a bridge tournament, where he and his team covered themselves in glory.  Another excellent way to spend an evening!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

November 11

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8:09 am.



Later.  Walking.  I have finished Gaudy Night, and have moved on to Hangman's Honeymoon.  Grateful to be able to continue to walk with Harriet and Peter (and Peter's mother, whose diary we are glimpsing on these pages).



Maple.




Spirea.



Dandelion, etc.



Love that little ground-cover thing peeking out from behind the leaves.



Another nice November sky.



I think this is a sweet-gum leaf.


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 10

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I haven't looked out my windows at anything like this in a while....  8:09 am.



That same bright small shrub.  Note a few lavender flowers just to the left of the top leaf....



Sedum, I think, with pine needles.



Maple.





Spirea.



I know which small tree these are from, but I don't know what kind of tree it is.



Still glad to have Harriet along on our moseys.



Excellent sky.





This nice leaf is from a tiny baby oak tree.  Top.



Underside.


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November 9

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Another day, another set of gathered leaves.

Maple.



Tulip tree.  This one reminds me of a manta ray, with those curved-under points at the top.



Bradford pear.


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November 8

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You'll remember that we admired these pink roots on November 1.  These are watermelon radishes.  Aren't they wonderful? 


(At least -- they are wonderful to look at.  Alas, they only taste like radishes.  Ok, but not special, by my way of perceiving them.)



Flavored vinegars.  I wasn't offered a taste, so I can't opine.



It was too cold to linger at the farmers' market.  We got butternut squash, russet apples, and another gallon of cider.

The 8th was a day for pie for breakfast.  This is Zingerman's Bakehouse's cranberry walnut.  It is yummy.  A bit like pecan pie, only with cranberries and walnuts instead of pecans.  Mmmmmmmm......



Later.  Walking.  A wet tulip-tree leaf.



More wet leaves.  The biggest one belonged to that new(ish) little redbud.



I'd been looking for an image that would have blue, if I pushed the saturation, and I finally got one.



Adding the watercolor filter, and cropping.....  I love the colors.  I like the green grass in the upper right, and the pointy leaf edges in the lower right.  I like the way the water droplets pick up the blue in the two leaves, and I like the redbud's golden veins.........



A few closer looks at the above image.





A closer crop of the above, losing the top/left of the above.  I couldn't decide which one I liked better......



Moving on.  Another wet redbud leaf.




While I can appreciate a black and white image, I hardly ever prefer it to color.  I'm not sure I *prefer* this one, actually, but I think perhaps it focuses my attention more on the subtle details rather than beguiling my attention with COLOR.



I really like the way we can't miss the magnifying properties of a drop of water.....



Walking on.  Always glad to see blue sky in November.............


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