Thursday, July 31, 2014

Even a Glittery, Jazzy Fence is a Good Fence

Jazzy fence at the Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France. It too is a good fence because it protects the Chateau.

Photo taken in 2012; with my Nikon D7000, with the Sigma Wide-Angle Lens.

This post is linked to Good Fences.
More fences to come in the future...


Peace :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vendhayam (Fenugreek) Pachidi

Venthayam Pachidi is akin to a 'dip' in the Western world.

In Southern India, Venthayam Pachidi is often eaten with hot curry dishes and rice. One can also use it as a dip for Pita/Nan/other breads.

The preparation is very simple.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp of Fenugreek seeds
1 Tsp of Mustard seeds
2 cups of whole milk or full-fat Green yogurt {a rarity these days, I know :) }
2 dried red chilies
1 Tsp of Sesame oil
1 Tbsp of chopped cilantro
Asafoetida - a pinch

Preparation:

  1. Dry roast the Fenugreek seeds and chilies in a sauce pan
  2. In a coffee-grinder/blender/tool-of-your-choice, grind the Fenugreek and chilies, coarsely
  3. Add the ground Fenugreek and chili mix to the yogurt in a serving dish of your choosing
  4. In the same pan, heat up 1 tsp of sesame oil and splutter the mustard seeds. Add a pinch of Asafoetida to the hot oil and mustard mix
  5. Add the cilantro and salt to taste
  6. My preference is that the yogurt is a bit sour and that the finished Pachidi is a bit spicy with a touch of bitterness and the very refined aroma of Fenugreek. Some people prefer to use buttermilk and combine it with a little yogurt, so the Pachidi is a bit runny than like mine - very thick in consistency


Bon appétit :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Beautiful Heron

On my last photo tour, I spotted this 'guy', whom I think is a Heron. But, I could be wrong. If so, please do let me know. I will update my post and e-bow to you, as a show of my gratitude.

And, I have another question for my dear readers: Will a 400mm VR Nikon lens make that big a difference? I currently have a non-VR Nikon 300mm lens. I wish I could zoom in some more and avoid the shake. Hence the question.

So, here is the sequence of the photographs. I spot the guy in the distance. It is raining and I take a quick shot with the kit lens.
Next, I park my cycle under a rather large tree; mount the telephoto and start taking more photos. All the photos below have been cropped.
The preening begins.
Dang - I thought I cleaned myself very nicely earlier today. All this muck...
What's that?
I need a breather...
Ha-ha! I found you, little buggers.
Now, let me see who else is hiding under there...
Cleaning; head to wing-tip.

By the way, my friend Steve, of DFWPTP, wondered if I will ever give out information on what cameras I use.

Sure, I will be glad to:
1. Nikon D7000 DSLR: This replaces my old D70. For those of you, who are nerdish, the efficiency/gain is calculated as follows: D7000/D70=100 :)
2. I use different lenses on the DSLRs:

  • A Nikon Macro - 105mm, 1:2.8 D 
  • A Nikon telephoto - 70-300mm AF Nikkor1:4-5.6 G
  • Nikon kit lens - 18-70mm AF-S Nikkor 1:3.5-4.5 G 
  • A Sigma wide-angle lens (10-20mm, f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Nikon AF). None of my lenses are VR. My hands ain't either, which may be evident in some of the photos. No big deal!

3. My box cameras (with only an electronic zoom) are; Pentax Optio W-90 (a shock-proof, water-proof and mud-proof and Chandra-proof camera; has been dropped from 5-6 ft height, several times, accidentally and yet works like a charm) and the camera on my iPhone 5s.
4. I do have a GoPro Hero 2 HD, which I don't use often. One of those things that I keep in my arsenal, for who knows when I would need it. The application of this camera; was to find out where there were holes in my neighbor's roof.

I am not sure what I am going to do with my D70, yet. But, it doesn't take up as much room as my old cycling magazines, so I might just keep it, for a rainy day, perhaps.

Lastly, I am not an Optics expert. If you have any difficult questions, please check online/Nikon's website :)

Peace :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Will you please name this flower?

Guilty as charged. I have no clue what flower this is. I need your help :)
But, not knowing the name is no reason to meet this flower and admire its beauty.
Photo taken during my recent photo tour on the Thorn Nomad bicycle.
Location: Lake path near my home; in Roswell, Georgia.

Peace :)

Message from The Universe

Beautiful quote from TUT


Whenever your perspective on something creates emotional pain, Chandra, it's always because your perspective is still so narrow that you've yet to see all the good it will make possible.

Because it will.

Always,

    The Universe

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Removal of 1838

I came across this plaque when riding the Roswell Riverwalk on Sunday. It is about the Removal of 1838. It is particularly pertinent to Georgia.
The uniqueness of this particular plaque caught my eye and was curious and did some research. I won't go through all the details, as many of you are probably already aware of it. But, it suffices to say, it is worth a read, for those who may not know.

Peace :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spiritual Guide

"Even if someone I have helped
And of whom I had great hopes
Nevertheless harms me intentionally,
May I see him or or her as my holy Spiritual Guide."

From Prayers for World Peace, Tharpa

Friday, July 25, 2014

Loaded Mini-Tour on the Nomad for Photographing things

Last Sunday, I loaded my Thorn Nomad with the panniers and went out for a short ride along the lake and the river.
On the left side of the bike (non drivetrain side), I mounted the Arkel Bug pannier and the Arkel Utility Basket on the right. 

I needed both the panniers for this particular ride, which was a photography tour on my cycle. I stuffed the Arkel Bug with my old military Field Jacket and packaged telephoto and the wide-angle lenses in the pockets of the jacket. The Nikon DSLR, with its kit lens, were protected by the jacket as well and there was enough room in the Arkel Bug pannier for all this and a bit more.

I put my toolkit and the Gitzo tripod in the Utility basket.

And, off we went to photograph.

This is my 'first loaded ride' in Georgia. I do carry a bunch of stuff in my Bromton's T-Bag, but I don't believe I have ever carried this much weight and rode on these hilly roads. The Rohloff made the entire experience quite enjoyable. Did I forget to mention it was drizzling all day Sunday?

No big deal, but I do admit I am quite happy that I got out and cleared my mind.

What's new with you?

Peace :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Velo Fence

The best picture I have for today is the one right below.
Taken during our trip to Paris, France.
I know the little red cycle is competing for some attention, but I think the guard rail / fence still is worthy of notice.
Oh, by the way, I have a real nice fence picked out for next week's Good Fences meme.

This post is linked to Good Fences.
More fences to come in the future...


Peace :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Inspiring Quote

Inspiring quote!

Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.

― St. Francis of Assisi 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A boatload of kayakers

Scene from Friday last week. I was headed back from work on the Roswell Riverwalk, when I saw a whole bunch of Kayaks in the Chattahoochee river.
There is usually quite a few kayaks and canoes on the Chattahoochee, but never have I seen several in a group, like this, ever before. It is possible that it is a class or they are all in an event; or, training for something.
Here you can see the kayakers, closer, when going under GA 400. As I have mentioned in other posts, there is a parking underneath the 400, for those wanting to launch their kayaks at this point in the river. There are several other places for that along the river. Many road cyclists park their automobiles here and start their bicycle ride from this point also.

For those interested in exploring cycling in Roswell, there are a lot of beautiful roads one can cycle on. Many of them will challenge you adequately, especially if you love hills and winding roads. On the other hand, if you would like to go for a relaxing ride with your family or by yourself or a friend or two, the Roswell river walk is relatively flat and is quite scenic and really enjoyable.
The Chattahoochee is about 430 miles long and is a major river in Georgia. There is more about the Chattahoochee here.
Going...going...
gone!
I always look at this river and think of the several thousands of lives that travelled on it. I am very curious about this river, in particular, as it is always been a mysterious river to me, especially on foggy days. It has an aura about it that is hard for me to explain, but nevertheless, very powerful.

Hope you had a nice weekend!

Peace :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

The King is resting

It is alleged that the one in the center, with the lighter coloration, is the King of all the geese at the lake in our neighborhood.
I found him resting this afternoon, as I headed out to photograph things around the lake.
I sometimes wonder if there are two like the him.
Or, was it just him in a different pose this morning? The photo below was taken using the Pentax and the ones above were taken using the Nikon DSLR.
Irrespective of how many of these guys are around, one thing is for sure - they are very beautiful. I love visiting with them. All of them.

Peace :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Resin/Gum

Our a recent walk along the lake path, I had plans to take my DSLR along. However, there was rain in the forecast and given we wanted to walk spiritedly, I changed my mind and took my Pentax Optio W-90, compact camera. Well, it is waterproof, shockproof, etc.

Towards the tail-end of the first half of our walk, I found 'a tree' on which I found some deposits of gum. No, no - not the yucky chewing gum that gets discarded carelessly, but resin/gum. Well, I told my wife that I will catch up with her and started shooting.

I knew they were beautiful formations, but I didn't know I could capture them as well as I managed to, using the fixed focus Pentax.
This particular Pentax has two macro modes; a 'Flower Mode', and a '1mm mode'. I took may of these pictures using the 1mm mode.
The ambient lighting was very good and I could get closer to the deposits of resin without casting a huge shadow on the object of interest.
There were different colored resins too.
Or, was the lighting and the shadows playing games with my mind? I don't know for sure, but I plan to go back and examine these beauties again, with both the DSLR and the Pentax.
Last, but not the least; here is the final photo for this post.

For some reason, I am reminded of the movie Jurassic Park. And, yes, I mean the very first one, by Spielberg.

Peace :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Spicy Spinach

Another easy-to-prepare, yet delicious dish. I am the lucky person who got to eat it, but didn't have to do the cooking :)

The original recipe is an adaptation of the Spicy Spinach recipe in 101 Cookbooks.

Ingredients:
1 big carton of baby spinach
Leeks
Sunflower Oil or Ghee
Cumin Seeds
Turmeric
Red pepper flakes
Oregano
Lemon juice
Mint leaves
Preparation

  1. Clean and dice the leeks into 1 inch long pieces
  2. Heat up the Sunflower oil in a pan; sauté the leeks, until silky tender
  3. Add the cumin, turmeric, and oregano, to the leeks and sauté with the leeks
  4. Add the red pepper flakes (spice it up as much as you like)
  5. Top with Feta cheese and walnuts
  6. Add the Mint leaves
  7. Stir it all together
  8. Add salt to taste
Bon appétit :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Simple, very easy to prepare; yet, a delicious salad.

Ingredients:
Heirloom Tomatoes
Nectarines
Lime Juice
Diced Mint Leaves
Diced Green Onions
Thanks to my lovely wife, I get to eat some great food.

Peace :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good Dogs and a fence that did its job :)

Picture from way back when we lived in St. Louis. The redhead is not Chaka, but Shaggy's former mate, Leah, who crossed the rainbow bridge in 2011, in Texas.
I don't have any other nice fence to post today, but I will add this to the Good Fences meme; for, these were good times that were had behind these good fences. Keeping our family safe.

The Blue Heeler is Zippy, who need a farm and hopefully found one.

This post is linked to Good Fences.
More fences to come in the future...

Peace :)

Positively Geotropic

An Asiatic Lilly, which I found in one of the yards down the street.
I remember that they use the term, 'negatively heliotropic' and 'positively geotropic', to refer to plants that don't grow toward the sun.
Though this Lilly plant is, in fact, positively geotropic, the flower is going away from the sun :)

Hence the title.

Irrespective of the title, this is one beautiful flower and the iPhone did a reasonable job of capturing its beauty.

Peace :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eating Tool

During my last visit to REI, I picked up a new toy - a CRKT Eat'N Tool.

The Eat'NTool will come in handy for consuming many a snack or perhaps a meal, on my cycling trips, which requires the use of a fork/spoon.
As an bonus, the Eat'NTool can double as a small wrench, a screw driver, a bottle opener, etc.

At roughly $8, I didn't mind trying this tool.

Now, it proudly hangs on my belt loop, on a daily basis.

As shown in the picture above, I did eat my entire bowl of Quinoa and Black Beans, with my Eat'N Tool.

And, I used it to tighten a few bolts in the lamp in our bedroom.

I say the Eat'N Tool is pretty good. Of particular interest to me are: 1) how long will the paint job last and 2) how hardy is the tool?

Only time will tell, I reckon. I will update y'all with my observations in the future.

Peace :)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Broken, but not wasted

I planted about 20 Gladioli bulbs in April-May 2014. Not all of them are blooming yet, but we noticed one of them had a lovely stalk of flowers. Something (I suspect wind or an animal) must have bumped against the plant and hence it was kinda smushed to the ground.

I tried to 'fix' the smushed plants with some props and ended-up breaking the stalk with the flowers, off the plant.

Well, it worked out okay, as I made it a gift to my lovely wife, which she appreciated.

I couldn't help take a lot of pictures of this flower stalk, as I find it so pretty, in red.
As you can probably tell, I placed the flower on the top rail of our porch and took many of the snaps. It had rained recently, so the raindrops are the beaded water on the top rail.
And, the beads inside the flower are real too.
So delicate and beautiful.
 Gladioli and Dahlia are two bulbs I have had success growing.
I haven't planed bulbs in many years. In fact, the last time I planted Gladioli was in 2003. I had over 20 plants, all nicely supported using bamboo sticks. Mostly, red, pink and yellow.
This year, I may not see as many flowers as I did, back in 2004.
But, I am thankful for whatever I get.
I am fine looking at the nice greenery, if they don't bloom.
This stalk is still in the vase, 7 days after it broke off the plant. Still in good condition.
Every little piece of the flower is so pretty. Even the ones that haven't bloomed fully yet.
Lady in Red, you are so beautiful.

Peace :)