Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ahhhh Summer


It really feels like summer to me.

It's warming up here.

The garden plants are getting happy.

I look forward to when the garden chores shift from mostly weeding to mostly harvesting.

It's way more fun.

Here's this week's payoff:

There were lots more potatoes but I didn't think you would feel the need to see every one.

We've been chowin on the peas all week. Once those babies get going you really need to pea and blueberry hunt every day.

An everyday gift for sure.

We almost went to the lake for the whole weekend but we decided to get the garden stuff done Saturday and just make a day run on Sunday.

The wind forecast was great.

And this time it came thru for the guys.

We have a long history with Floras Lake. We've been going there since Dylan was 4. I plan to blog a bit about that soon.

When we got to the lake Sunday we got some sad new that a fellow Floras camper, waterman and colleague of Rich's had passed away from brain cancer this week. He was a phenomenal surfer, and a nice guy. He and Rich liked to surf and talk shop together. We'll miss ya Gary.

Here's the set up looking down from the campground.

Lake>Sand Dune>Ocean

When you see white caps on both the ocean and the lake people in camp start smiling a lot and rigging sails.

Dylan started learning to windsurf when he was 6.

He had this adorable little 2.2 meter sail with Goofy on it.

This sail isn't nearly as adorable but it looks like he caught on anyhow.

The first day of the season is sometimes a day to remember what you used to know.

Jibe practice is high in the list.

A nice tight one here by Dylan

I had to hike around the lake to get the shots from this side.

From here you can see the windsurfing and kiting school and gear rental that Will Brady runs. Will is the best. Great teacher and all around nice guy. People come from all over to learn here. Our oldest son was lucky enough to work for him here one summer when he was about 16.

Oh and I make good use of that deck with the wind block glass.

I love that.

When it's blowing 20-30 on the lake even if it's sunny it can feel a little brutal.

I may have to take a little flack for this one.

When Rich saw it he said "What? You got the baby, weenie jump? What about the one that was head high??"

Sorry honey.

Mea Culpa.

It looks pretty good to me but what do I know?

Time at the lake always leaves us feeling tired, refreshed, sunburned and happy.

When life gets tough and we want out. This is were we go.

The lake works it's magic and then we can get back to work.

We're hoping to head back for the 4th of July holiday. The wind forecast looks dismal so it's still up for discussion.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fishing is Serious Stuff

This past weekend was Rich's dad's 75th birthday.

Anyone who knows him would say that a weekend on the lake is the perfect way for him to celebrate.

Especially a weekend with his son and a couple of grandsons.

It never ceases to amaze me how serious this fishing stuff is.

The evening we arrived the four of them poured over the contents of several tackle boxes.

I get a pretty good laugh out of the names of these things.

I mean grown men can say these crazy lure names with a straight face.

They crack me up.

Sean, our oldest son, is especially good at the straight face thing.

It was very cool that Sean made time to join us for this weekend. Even though he lives next door to us...and works for us...we don't often get a chance to just hang out.

I know he knew Gramps would like it.

He's cool that way.

And if ever there was a guy who liked "messing about in boats", Sean would be said messer.

He has been a boater most of his life. He was about 5 when we bought our first sailboat.

In truth he was way more useful as a deck hand than I was.

Heck, he could tie a bowline.

I gotta pick on Sean just a bit here.

You know that straight face thing?

That is classic Sean.

That was the first face he ever made.

I swear.

Ok, well, after the whole crying thing.

We didn't get a big baby smile til he was seven months old.

He studied everything in great detail.

I could show you pictures throughout his life with that face.

Back in the day my sister and I used to instant message each other for therapy.

His name was interchangeable with this smiley

And I know she's falling off her chair about now cause this is totally true.

I mean check this out

See the resemblance?

And he can crack a joke and still have that face.

Gotta love that.

Early Saturday morning I went down to the lake.

While I was waiting for the guys to gather their fisherly belongings I saw this:

How many shades of green can you count?

It's so amazing what you find when you get up early.

The guys, of course, were all business cause fishing is serious stuff.

The light on our favorite lake is just gorgeous in the morning

Plan A was to windsurf this weekend.

I love all the colors and shapes that the sail and kites make on the water.

But that is one big sail and the guy was giving us all a backache just watching him.

Although the guys remained optimistic, the wind never materialized. It was a great day for beginners.

And see all those kites parked on the shore...that does not bode well. If the wind is too light for those kites it sure won't get a sail and board movin out.

Since weather is... well, weather,...and these guys are not into sitting around and relaxing... we always bring Plan B equipment in case of no wind. Sometimes that includes surf boards and enough bikes for everyone to bike at least part of the coast trail.

This weekend it was fishing gear and...since you can never bring too many boats...the Sabot.

I love that look.

There's something about that look right there that gets me everytime.

The morning bite had never materialized.

All they got was hungry.

Like I said these guys can not just sit around so we went for another shot at fishing/cruising the lake in the afternoon.

The skies were pretty cool.

Still no fish.

Dylan muttered something about hoping they were going to stock the lake before the 4th of July weekend.

The wind forecast for the upcoming weekend is good.

We may take another run at it.

Probably just a one day trip since we will be there a good part of the following week for our traditional 4th of July campout.

Wishing you all a fabulous week.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More family Gradumawation

It's not my fault.

Collin came up with that Gradumawation thing and it stuck.

I have been a blog slacker.

Sadly,that is mostly due to the poor quality of the photos in this batch. I apologize in advance for excessive noise in some of them. I really need to get over my flashaphobia. It would save me tons of quality time with Photoshop Elements.

So these are a week and a half old.

The good news is I have the full set ready for the family members to whom they were promised and they will soon be headed to a postal truck near you.

Adorable Ali... soon to be a high jumpin' Cyclone at Iowa State studying Nutrition.

Handsome Joel ... soon to be attending Marian College in Indianpolis as a student of Motorsports Management.

Miss Lizzie. Is she just the sweetest thing?

Grandma Tedrow and Grandma Meziere enjoying the class reception in the hall after Mass.

Do these look like happy faces or what? Remember that feeling?

The jump rope princesses... Connie and Gina.

I'm still not sure what the rules were to the wacky game of basketball that Mike had going.... or if there even were any.


I think...

It's pretty safe...

to say...

a good time was had by all.

We were all blessed by the nice weather, and wonderful company.

Oh check these out.

Sheila actually made the little tassles out of fruit rolls. Which I'm pretty sure qualifies them as health food.

And ya they were as good as they look.

Tim's awesome big brothers have been helping him get his new race car ready to run. Kyle says he has to run it pink at least once before they break out the paint.

Thanks guys for sharing the fun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chemex - Some Days It's All About the Coffee

A while back I promised to write about my strange coffee maker.

It's the day we all dread.

The day the coffee maker croaks.

You can never be prepared for a thing like this.

It always catches you off guard.

Usually I just run out to the local store here a grab one that looks decent and go with it.

This time we had a backup.

We have a little Valira Isabella stovetop esspresso maker that we keep in our camp trailer. I think I got it on ebay a few years ago.

Boy do we look forward to camp coffee. This stuff is a little intense for me to drink everyday tho.

They call it 4 cups.

We call it one good mug.

I tend to get a little spun out and very chatty.

Which can be entertaining every so often. But on a daily basis... not so much.

BUT since we had this back up I had time to go into research mode.

Any of you who know me very well know that I get a little carried away when it comes to researching things.

I spent days reading blogs and forums of coffee nuts.

As a result I found this great website called Sweet Maria's

There is a hecka lotta info here about everything from roasting your own coffee beans to information sheets on the best ways to use the various brewers.

It seemed that the only automatic coffee makers that came recommended were the Technivorm Electic Brewers. I love the design. Wouldn't mind having one of these babies on my counter. Especially the one toward the bottom ... the redesign by the Clementdesign studio.

But then I looked at the price tags and for the life of me could not figure out how to justify $265 for a coffee maker....and believe me I tried.

So back to the research I go.

Ultimately we decided on the Chemex brewer since it seemed to work reasonably well with the plain old grinders that we have and make coffee good enough to impress the coffee nerds.

And it totally appealed to my minimalist side

First we just got the 10 cup version on the right. Figuring that would work for anything we needed. Sweet Maria's didn't carry that size in the version with the handle so we got it here.

I toyed with the idea of getting the handblown ones... I love hand blown glass.

But the trade off was no handle.

I like the handle.

After a couple of weeks of using it and really liking it I found myself wishing for a single serving size.

A lot of days Rich goes with the Frontier gunpowder green tea so it's just me.

I started alternating with green tea but I found out I'm allergic. I get all itchy and welty.

Who knew a person could be allergic to green tea??

Anyhow since 80% of the time it's just me we, went for the smaller one too and keep the larger pot for weekends and guests.

The tip sheet at Sweet Maria's gives brewing tips.

Basically you put your coffee in the filter, boil water...well the real afficiandos measure the water temp but I'm a little too free wheelin for that. I just get the tea pot going and after it whisltes I let it sit for about 30 seconds and call it good... and pour it over a little at a time.

Ya, you have to stand there and pour it but it's a good time to be in the moment ya know?

My only complaint is that they make unbleached filters in the larger size but not for the small ones. They call these oxygen bleached but I would much prefer the unbleached.

You keep adding water until it gets just past the bubble.

That's it!

The filter and coffee go in the compost bucket and you rinse the coffee maker.

No more old musty coffee maker mucky coffee.

No more big ugly coffee maker on the counter.

I have to show you this:

I keep the little coffee pot on this coaster.

I got it when we camped at San Elijo State Beach.

This is definitely one of our happy places.

And I like to have stuff around that reminds us of that.

Just seeing that little coaster every morning brings back a piece of being there.