Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas is over, and all through the house ...

not a creature is stirring not even a mouse.

I had a wonderful Christmas.  Family, friends and an abundance of love.

My family, and my friends are amazing.  It started with a party night with friends on Friday.  Then a short vacation to Mendocino with Smiley.  3 days in a northern California paradise with the girl I love so much.   I am blessed.

Then family and friends at Christmas eve.  Gifting and the white elephant thing. So fun,

Today was a loved filled calendar,  Merry Christmas everyone.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turkey Soup

When I was a kid I used to work at a kennel (my first job, at a surprising $1.10 an hour)  for the Barton's and Mrs. Barton used to make this marvelous, rich and savory turkey soup every year after Thanksgiving.  I am going to recreate that soup today if I can.

For the turkey stock.  

3 stalks of celery and celery tops 
2 cloves of garlic mashed. 
1 t. peppercorns 
5-6 sprigs of parsley 
A few sprigs of marjoram 
a few sprigs of thyme 
2  bay leafs 
A turkey carcass the turkey neck (and giblets other than the liver)  
Salt and Pepper

Break up the turkey carcass and put in a large stock pot.  Add cold water to cover the bird. You can add water if it cooks down Add the neck and the giblets if you use them.   I don't mind the giblets, but the rest of my family doesn't want to eat them so I leave them out.   

Rinse and clean the herbs and add to the pot.  Thyme and Marjoram are my favorite combination of herbs, In Germany, where my mother's family finds it's roots, marjoram is referred to as the "goose herb", probably because it's such a natural in seasoning poultry.  Mash the garlic with the side of a knife and add, loosely chop the carrots, onion, and celery and add to the stock.   

Cook the stock for three to four hours, then strain the stock to another vessel and reserve. Skim off the fat if you like.  I don't do that, because I want to emulsify it into the soup, to enrich the flavor.

The soup

Pick a solid selection of root veggies.  I've chosen parsnip, carrots, onion and rutabaga.   Turnips would also be a good choice and add a sharper flavor than a rutabaga.    Since a rutabaga is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage, it naturally has a milder flavor.  I probably wouldn't choose a beet in this soup, because of the red color it would add.

2 cups or more leftover turkey 
4 carrots cubed
2 ribs of celery chopped 
1 large parsnip cubed 
1 rutabaga or turnip cubed 
2 cloves garlic
1 t. each sage, marjoram and thyme
1/4 c. olive oil
1 cup uncooked orzo.
1 t red wine vinegar, cooking sherry, or white wine

In the stock pot add the olive oil and some heat.  Toss in the pepper first and sauté for a minute or so to infuse the oil. Add the celery and onions and sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add the herbs and garlic and continue for about 2 minutes.  The celery should look like it's starting to cook.

Add the other root veggies and sauté until it seems critical to add some liquid to avoid scorching.  Add the reserved stock, the turkey meat. and the white wine or sherry.  Cook 40-45 minutes then add the orzo and salt and pepper to taste.  By now the soup will have married together and be rich in root flavors.  Once the orzo is tender about 10 minutes later, it's ready.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Turkey Brine Recipe for 24 hours

4 Gallons Water
2c. salt
2 T Rosemary
2T Peppercorns

I am pretty sure you would cook it then let is cool, put the turkey in for 24 hours prior to cooking.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How diminished our world is without Lou Reed

One of the largest influences in my life reached out and touched me the other day, after a 5 or 6 year haitus.  One of the things I always wanted to ask you L.T, now that I am in Alviso every workday, is what happened to the boat that was in Alviso harbor?

There's a little tribute here to Lou Reed.  Thanks L.T

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dear Marmot ...

... Hello, 

Last weekend I was camping and fishing in the Sierra Nevada, not some thing new, or something I was unprepared for.  This is something I have been doing all my life.   I was a good trip generally.  It rained though.  On Monday Morning about 1:00 AM it started and rained hard until about 11:00. 

At about 7:30 I got up and started to pack to leave and put on my Marmot rain gear.  One, the pants, I have had for several years, and two, the new jacket I bought in Alaska over the solstice.  

 The pants are the ones with the zipper up each side so you can take them off without removing shoes, and the have velcro attachments on the sides to adjust the waist and hold them together. 

There wewe some problems.  I find the real test of gear is when you have to use it to do real work.  Not casual walks in the park, or a gentle spring shower.  Monday morning's camp take down was hard work, hauling all the makings of a camp up a hill to load in to the truck, amidst a serious summer downpour.  

Well, Marmot, your $200 rain suit failed miserably on multiple accounts.  One the hood on the jacket wouldn't stay adjusted and the visor, really wasn't stiff enough to protect my glasses from the rain or stay out of my line of sight.  The velcro on the pants wouldn't stay attached, so the pants were falling down for most of the morning.  The pockets of the jacket are very small and really weren't helpful.  

Here's the kicker though.  After about 3 hours of slog,. we were packed and I went to take them off.  I was soaked through and through, and then the zipper on the pants wouldn't operate, so I had to take off my shoes to get them off.   

Complete fail. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Japanese Inspred Woodworkers Toolbox

 My day really got going with lunch at Su's Mongolian BBQ..   

Lately I have been going through my tools, my studio, my gear, with an eye toward organizing it and reducing it. 

I have a fairly good toolbox, it's one of the 5 foot high multi-drawed thing from Lowes or where ever.  It's stuffed to the gills.  I have a lot of tools.  Auto tool, sculpture tools, woodworking tools.  The list goes on.  I have a lot of interests and I am exceptional;l fond of tools. 

It's all a burden really. 

My wood working lately has moved away from machines, primarily because I dislike the noise they make.  So many years in shops has damaged my hearing.  I have more time now.  I prefer to work by hand.  Saws, planes.  Labor.  Slow, methodical effort. It takes skill and patience to do these things well
by hand. 

Inspired by a book on Japanese Woodworking Tools by Toshio Odate, I set out to extract my wood working tools from the the big tool box and build them a nice Japanese styled home.    


 Gloria with the plane cleaning up the uneven spots.

 The completed box
 The box full of tools.
 And with the Planing Bench.

So it was a good day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ketchikan, Alaska

I'm in Alaska!  First time.  It's my 45th state.  Current travel count: 3 continents, 14 countries (including North Korea), 45 states. I am in Ketchikan for the Summer solstice.  Ketchikan is interesting and the food is good when it's fish.  More about that in a minute.

My travelling companion, and I disembark, proceed down the jet way, and go the the baggage carousel, to get my baggage.  Achut, has no baggage to speak of.   He is an accomplished world traveller, recently returned from an adventure to Antarctica.  Me, I travel like Redmond O'Hanlon, I need porters and bearers.  And a boatman.  Achut travels with just a bit of stuff and sandals.  My bags contain about 35 lbs of camera gear.  Surprisingly, Aschut taps me on the shoulder and points at the cart half full of luggage and runs off.

He's forgotten his laptop on the plane. 

The cheery girl behind the counter at the car rental place asks if we need tickets for the ferry.   I ask, "What happens if we miss the ferry? Will it wait for us?"  "It drops you off then comes back for the employees. so you'll get another chance."  The  ferry is $5 each plus 6 for the car.  We drive the rental car out of the parking lot to a sign that says "U-turn for Ferry."   Although there are only about 1000 yards of road on this entire island.  It appears we are lost already.   The ferry handles about 15 cars and comes out to meet every flight.  It takes maybe 10 minutes for the whole crossing. 

We have rented a house for our stay it's a three bedroom job, called plainly enough, "The Thomas Street Vacation Rental."  It's very nice and has a kitchen, "So we can cook the fish if we catch any, " so says Achut. Thomas street is a Boardwalk out over the Harbor.  The boundary between water and land here in Ketchikan is a board walk with a building on it and two wooden rails facing the water. 

It's easily nine o'clock P.M. by the time we get situated, and Ketchikan is already slipping into the doldrums of night.

Finally we find the spot we need <> and have a halibut fetticini.  We wander  empty piers designed for cruise ships, and then pass by the rowdy bar, with what sounds like a fight coming from inside.

We are seriously undecided about this bar, because it's rough.  We stop to discuss it.  We're are in Alaska, after all, so lets give it a go. we head back. 

A moment later the doors fly open and several people get shoved out, and turn toward us.  High fives, all around as we walk through them.  I have this feeling that I need to be really careful as they ask if we missed our ship.  We get to the door of the noisy pub and it's locked.  The bartender runs up to let us in. Sorry, "I had a problem."

"I think I just met your problem walking down the street."

It's the Arctic Bar, home of the Happy Bear, a beer, whose tap handle looks remarkably like two bears fucking.  Like almost everything in Ketchikan, this place is built on a board walk out over the water. Josie, the bartender, pours us a beer. 


Friday, March 22, 2013


I am working on my photo process and the workflow from camera to print. Here are some recent shots.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Antique Store Plane

I found a few things, among them, this Stanley transitional plane.  It is 17 inches long and has an iron 2 1/8", but possibly originally had an iron 2 1/4" wide.  So it could have been several 3 32 like jointer planes.  It appears to have been cut down from it's original length by using a handsaw.  Aside from the iron having been ground square, it looked like it good still function as a plane.   

 We looked at a few other plane irons and ground it to a suitable angle. 

And it cuts pretty well.  
 A little sharpening and tuning, and voila!