asakiyume: (Em)
Who found this image and story of a tiny floating shelter that, as she says, looks like it could be from Mermaid's Hands! The houses in Mermaid's Hands are made of salvaged wood and roofed with thatch, but with corrugated metal over the kitchen portion, but people living in Mermaid's Hands are adaptable and would love the painting on the side.


Source

It was found floating 180 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Pen Pal starts with Em wondering what would happen if she could detach her house and have it go floating free--I guess this little house was finding out! (It turned out to have been a floating dock in Key West, Florida--so that's quite a journey it went on.)

Gotta love the art ♥
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
My dad has a friend--and now I have a friend--who co-owns a vineyard and winery--the Hudson Chatham winery. I was especially interested to get a look at it because I'd just copyedited a novella by Joyce Chng in which the protagonist inherits a vineyard. It was really cool to see the actual reality.

My big takeaway was that a vineyard is HARD WORK. Here is my friend pruning the vines in a cold time of year (she gave me permission to use the photo)



Here are those same grapevines this past weekend. Lush! The Hudson Chatham winery grows both white and red wine grapes, and many of the wines it makes are what are called estate wines--made totally from grapes grown on site. (This isn't true for a lot of small New York wineries, which make wine from grapes they buy in, and even the Hudson Chatham winery buys in some grapes so it can make certain sorts of wines, like Chardonnay.)

grape trellises

Here, up close, are some Seyval Blanc grapes, for white wine. They'll eventually turn a yellow color; they're about as big as the green table grapes you get in the supermarket.

Seyval Blanc grapes

Seyval Blanc grapes

And here, just beginning to get some color, are some Chelois grapes, used to make red wine. They're smaller, only slightly larger than the wild fox grapes you can see out in woods and fields.

Chelois grapes

photos of pressers, barrels, bottling machines, corking machines, and labels )

Last but not least, the wine on display in the tasting room!

wines on display

My friend invited me to come help out with the harvest this fall. I want to give it a try!


buttonbush

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:31 am
asakiyume: (glowing grass)
The Ashley reservoir is now one of my go-to places to take people when they visit. I took my old college friend and her husband there, and learned that the water-loving plant that I had thought looked very mangrove-y is buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), which grows up and down the Atlantic coast and as far inland as the Mississippi, and is indeed a species in the mangrove biome!

Buttonbush

button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Yesterday I took [personal profile] osprey_archer there (and we read aloud to each other--so much fun), and lo and behold, the buttonbush was in bloom! I didn't have a camera, so she obliged me with a photo:

Buttonbush in flower, by [personal profile] osprey_archer



The flowers look like how pollen looks under a scanning electron microscope:

Buttonbush flowers....

buttonbush flowers

Pollen, much magnified:



(source)

Or, um... like an influenza virus...



(source)

It smells nice, though, and bees and butterflies love it. AS DO I.


asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Did you ever play the authors card game? We had this when I was a kid: 13 authors--a pretty random assortment of 19th-century English and American writers, all men with the exception of Louisa May Alcott--with four works for each author. You play it like you play Go Fish, with the goal being to get as many completed sets of authors' works as possible. Wakanomori and I enjoyed playing it the other day, but I thought it would be fun to make up a set of YA fantasy works. [personal profile] osprey_archer is visiting, and we created a set. It's a fairly random assortment, only two male authors (CS Lewis and Lloyd Alexander), and two authors I follow here one LJ/DW (that would be [personal profile] sartorias and [profile] pamaladean). The authors had to have four works or series of works; we tried not to list individual works in a series, and we decided all the works should be fiction.

The original Authors game features portraits of the authors...



But we are not good at portraiture, so we used symbols for each author. [personal profile] sartorias, you're a fan! [personal profile] pameladean, you're a sprig of rosemary!

(click through to embiggen)
DSCN6425

DSCN6426

DSCN6427

DSCN6428

DSCN6429

Just now [profile] wakanomori, [personal profile] osprey_archer, and I played it. Very satisfying!
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
One of my earliest memories of Internet goodness is of searching for a recipe for wild mushrooms--this would have been sometime between 1998 and 2005--and finding one offered by a guy who identified his location as Turkish Kurdistan. We had a brief back and forth, and I thought, Now this place is personal to me. I know someone there. I know he used to pick wild thyme with his grandmother.

Fast forward to last summer. One of my best memories from Timor-Leste was of being served deep-fried plantain chips, homemade, and of sharing the leftovers with friends. I wanted to make those myself, to feel close (because eating food brings us close) to Timor-Leste. And the best recipe I found? Was a Nigerian one.



So easy to follow, so clear, so pleasant! (And the recipe was a success)

Not only did this bring me close to Timor-Leste, it made me feel close to Nigeria. I had one previous experience with Nigerian food: akara--wonderful, croquette-like deep-fried items, made with ground black-eyed peas, with onions and hot peppers to flavor it. I bought some at a local market, loved it, wanted to know how to make it, and had found recipes online, but was stymied by one key detail--getting the skins off the black-eyed peas.

Oh My God, the time that took. I'd soak the black-eyed peas, and as they expanded, the skins would begin to come loose. Then I'd rub them together in the soaking water to get more loose, and then I'd strain off the skins (which would float), while trying to keep the peas themselves from pouring out. It was such a slow process! I mean, kind of relaxing, too, if you have nothing else to do, but. . .

Well, Flo, the woman behind All Nigerian Recipes, has the answer for that, too:

two videos about getting the skins off beans )

So by this time I'm really loving this Youtube channel, loving the recipes, loving the fact that Flo responds to comments--and loving her personal videos, too. Like this one:



Pretty cool, right? Not only does Flo put up fabulous cooking videos, she also has an *intense* day job!

And because the Internet lets us make friends with people all over the world--just write hello, just hit send--I thought . . . maybe she would let me interview her.

Then I checked and saw that she has close to 30,000 subscribers. Her top video has more than half a million views, and her top ten videos all have over 100,000 views. I'm not the only one who loves her. So then I felt more hesitant about getting in touch. . . . But I overcame that and wrote to her, and she said yes!

So come back on Monday, everyone, when Flo will answer my questions about cooking, YouTube, and self-publishing a cookbook.

Meantime, enjoy her channel and maybe have a Nigerian meal tonight.

Video List Here!



asakiyume: (Timor-Leste nia bandiera)
Every morning, a bus leaves the market in Dili, Timor-Leste's capital, and six hours later it arrives in Ainaro. Ainaro is only 70 miles away, but the road is rough and mountainous.

Then every night, a bus leaves Ainaro to go to Dili. It leaves at 9:30 or so at night, and it gets in around 4:30 in the morning. This was the bus I rode to get back to Dili, the day before my journey home. One of the local assistants of the program I volunteered with gallantly offered to accompany me on the bus journey, so I wouldn't have to sit in Dili market by myself for four-and-a-half hours until the hostel where I was staying in Dili opened.

We waited on the porch of the house where I'd been staying. Everything was quiet out, and dark, and then here comes the bus, its cheerful music blaring. The bus picks up people all through Ainaro. It's cold in the mountains at night, and people wait for the bus wrapped in fleece blankets. Then, when they get on the bus, they're all ready to go to sleep.

We sat in the first seat after you enter the bus. People ended up sitting on the step up into the bus; they leaned against our legs to sleep. In the aisle, two people stretched out full length, wrapped in their blankets. Under the seat across the aisle were some hens and chicks, as well as one rooster, who crowed periodically to let us all know who was king of the bus.

cigarettes and stars )

daily bread )

Also walking the streets in the early-morning hours were small boys hawking hard-boiled eggs. I remember seeing a little girl in Ainaro, out in front of her house, peeling cassava root with a machete as long as--and thicker than--her arm. Kids work hard here.

Later that morning we walked along the seashore and saw some sights (click on the photos to see them bigger)

boats

a wooden outrigger boat
outrigger boat

sailboats
boats in Dili harbour


the palace of the government
Palace of the Government


a mural for the Tour de Timor
tour de Timor mural


a dramatic, but unexplained, monument monument to the victims of the Santa Cruz massacre ... makes me wish I wasn't smiling like an idiot...
statue
asakiyume: (Timor-Leste nia bandiera)
Dear all, I am back from Timor-Leste! I have adventures and photos to share, but it may be 24-48 hours before I'm back in the groove (ha! I typed grove... the LJ grove!)

A big personal thank-you goes out to [livejournal.com profile] khiemtran, though, who met me with his family in Sydney on my long journey home, and showed me some pretty wondrous sights--but more about that later.

And [livejournal.com profile] yamamanama, I could almost never get online while in Timor-Leste, but one of the times I did get on, I visited your last.fm page! I hope you registered a user from TL.

Okay everyone. More soon.

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