If the rain turned to snow…

It might look like this.

Read the rest of this entry »

125: Olives

(Olive plate.)

It’s that time of the year again.  Time for the semi-annual trek to the dentist for a cleaning and check-up.  This is not something normal people celebrate.  But M and I do.  Because it means we also make our semi-annual visit to DeVitis Italian Market where I almost drool over the olives, the pastas, the cheeses, the wines, the pesto, the rapini!  (Well, maybe I do drool but I am very discrete about it.  You’d never know if I hadn’t just told you.)  It is worth enduring the torture of the oral hygienist to spend some time in DeVitis loading up on scrumptious foods.

(Olive plate #2)

Once we got home and unpacked all of our goodies, of course I had to plate the olives and see what I could do with them.  The deadline for Scott’s Assignment 11:  Food Photography is midnight tonight.  Most of what I’ve been cooking lately didn’t translate well into photographs.  I had high hopes for the olives.

(Fruit, cheese, and olives.)

I played around with bowls of fruit, cheeses, and the olives.  The three shots above were the best of the lot.  I think the last one has too much going on, but that could be because I wanted the olives to have a starring role (which is why I prefer the second shot over the other two).

All three photographs have been processed in Photoshop.  To me, there is something romantic about olives so I wanted the photos to have a softness to them.

The assignment is over but I’m hoping to get a chance to play (photographically speaking) with the olives again over the next day or two.  Maybe do something a little more creative with them.  Take some toothpicks and make olive people and march them around the kitchen.  Or something.

Today’s Outdoor Adventures:  Warm up!

After the Blue Wall experience this past weekend (you can catch up on the adventure here and here, if you missed it), life here at Breezy Acres and around the pond seems almost dull in comparison.

(The Blue Wall.)

(Today’s view of the creek.)

See what I mean?  How about another comparison?

(The Blue Wall.)

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I know.  It’s not fair at all to compare the two.  First of all, the Blue Wall is one of those things that you don’t see every day.  And if you did see it every day, you might take it for granted or find the beauty starts to fade with daily visits.

Second of all, the weather makes it a doubly unfair comparison.  It was cold as the dickens on Saturday, but it was sunny and beautiful.  There was much more color to the day.  Not just at the Blue Wall.  The forest and ravine were dotted with hemlocks which leant their greenery to the scene.

So, one more look at the Blue Wall and then it’s back to Breezy Acres and the Bogs.

The temperature here is above freezing today, melting things slightly.  It is, as you can see from the above photos taken today, cloudy and gray.  The January Doldrums, when even the weather can’t get excited about the day.

My walk was fairly uneventful.  I took a tumble or two going down hills due to some slipperiness under the snowpack.  I was also overdressed.  I ended up taking off a few layers on my way back to the house.  I have to admit it was nice not to be freezing for a change.  (Don’t worry.  Those tumbles were not at all serious.  All those layers make me bounce right back up.)

And that, folks, is it from the Bogs for today.  See you tomorrow with more from the great outdoors.

123: Toughening up

(Back at The Blue Wall.)

I think yesterday’s adventures toughened me up.  When I went out for my walk today, it didn’t feel so bad.  But I’ll get to that in a little while.  Let’s go back to The Blue Wall first.  (If you missed the first part of the hike to The Blue Wall, scroll down or click here.)

It almost makes me shiver just looking at it.  One more and then we’ll walk over to the covered bridge.

When we finished at The Blue Wall we retraced our steps (easily done in the snow), climbed back up to the top of the ravine, and then headed back to the camp where we took a short break before walking down the road to the covered bridge.

(Unpaved road that leads to the camp and the covered bridge.)

Before stepping out into the road, our guide looked both ways in case one of these guys happened along:

(Horse, sled, and Amish man.)

That photo was taken on our way home and not on the road to the covered bridge.  In the directions we received, we were instructed to drive slowly once we reached the road the camp is on because there is a lot of horse and buggy traffic.  I was really hoping an Amish buggy or sled would come by, but it didn’t happen.  We saw the guy above on one of the major, paved roads.  If you look closely, you’ll notice there are no wheels.  That’s because it was a sled and not a buggy.

(The group making their way to the bridge.)

If you like covered bridges, Ashtabula County Ohio is a good place to visit.  There are 17 covered bridges in Ashtabula County.  The bridge we visited is one of them.

(Windsor Mills Bridge.)

The Windsor Mills bridge spans Phelps Creek.  It was built in 1867 and was renovated 2002-2004.  M and I went back so he could drive through it after we finished our hike.  Because he likes that sort of thing.  We thought about driving around to look for some of the other bridges but we were pretty tired from the early rising, the hiking, and the cold.  We’ll go back another time.

(Inside the Windsor Mills Bridge.)

We took a driving tour of covered bridges in southern Ohio a few years back.  Boy did we get lost on those back country roads!  Ohio is not particularly good at putting up street signs so it’s difficult, even with a map, to know where you are.  I have a feeling it isn’t much different in northeastern Ohio so it should be fun getting lost in Ashtabula County.  You never know what you might come across when you get lost.

For more information about Ashtabula County’s covered bridges, you can visit the Ashtabula County Ohio Covered Bridge Festival website.

Not so bad

That’s how I felt today when I stepped outside.  It was not so bad.  I must be getting used to the cold.  Toughening up.  Becoming a hardier winter soul.

(In the woods.)

The sunshine and blue sky helped.  It was also a little warmer, around 10°F.  It’s up to a balmy 14°F now.  We had some brief snow showers this morning.  Nothing much.  Just enough to freshen up the top of the snow cover.

(By the creek.)

I haven’t been back to the woods or the creek in a few days.  Maybe more than a few days.  It’s been either cold or icy, both conditions keeping me from making the trek.  As you can see in the above photo, it’s icing over.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it completely frozen over.  It’ll be interesting to see if that small channel of running water is still there tomorrow.  It is expected to be near zero again tonight.

(Still flowing.)

The pond continues to drain, probably due to the pressure from the ice and snow on top.  I thought for sure the pond would be frozen over, but my foot broke right through the ice when I started to apply pressure by stepping on it.  Good thing I was prepared for that and didn’t put all of my weight down or I’d have come back with a wet foot.  My snow boots are not waterproof.  I’m loving these, in case you’re interested.

(At the back of the pond.)

It was, surprisingly, an enjoyable walk.  This is one of those days in which I am happy with my commitment to get outside every day.  Otherwise, I might have stayed indoors, thinking it was too cold, missing all the beauty that’s out there for us to enjoy today.