Stay warm, It's 8° F (-13° C) here.
This is still very hard to get use to. But we must go where family is. We're having a wonderful time in spite of our days not being "merry and white" We're just settling for merry. Speaking of merry, it's past 5:00 PM and the lock on the liquor cabinet has been jimmied oen so I must join in the merriment.
May you all have a wonderful Christmas holiday today!
Photo by Chris Samoiloff
We were spared the wrath of last weeks storm because we live on the coast. Many folks were no so lucky. Many of my co-workers are not living at home due to power outages. Chris captured the essence of the storm in a Flickr stream that I want to share with you.
Please check it out. They'd make a great gift for your favorite angler.
I just completed a set of flies for another fly swap. The theme for this swap was Steelhead Flies. This fly design has been swirling around my head for some time now. I'm glad I was finally able to interpret my thoughts into a pretty decent attempt. Please tell me what you think. Here is the recipe.
Hook: TMC 7999 Salmon/Steelhead, Sz. 4
Thread: Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon, 210 Denier, Black
Tag: Mylar Tinsel, Silver
Tail: Whiting Bird Fur,Purple, Filoplume from the base of the feather
Body: Orvis Flexi Floss, Fuchsia
Rib: French Tinsel, Medium Oval, Silver
Underwing: Krystal Flash, UV Gray
Wing: Marabou Blood Quill, Hot Pink
Hackle: Whiting Bird Fur, Purple, Schlappen like larger feathers
Here is the family photo.
Due to the overwhelming influence from this gentleman. I decided to buy a LensBaby 3G. Today was my first set of experiments with it. Since the 3G and Nikon do not play well I have to use a hand held light meter to get the right exposure. Today was a dark overcast day with pretty even lighting. It was also late in the day. I went extreme for the aperture and shot with it wide open for maximum distortion. The shutter speed was between 1/160 and 1/60 for ISO 100. Since changing the aperture requires the changing of iris discs, I made exposure adjustments with the shutter speed. Take a look and see what you think. I have a LensBaby section in the photo album. I hope to play more with the aperture discs on a brighter day or when I have more time to play using a tripod. So far I think this thing is pretty cool.
NaBloPoMo has come to an end. The marathon is over. I'm glad I joined again this year. It is very fun to do and it does feel really good to accomplish this. I might even get to take a night off now. A huge congratulations to Andrea for also finishing this year. I knew she could do it. I'm also curious to hear who will be my prize recipient. I donated a dozen fly fishing flies to this years prize pool. As always, thanks to Eden Kennedy for creating such a wonderful event.
Our Thanksgiving destination this year was Washington, DC. We met with family and friends and had a wonderful time. Lots of love, food, conversation, fun and memories. In order not to suffocate our host Tim, we ventured out to see some of the sites on Friday. We had a great time seeing many of the sites along the mall. They included; The Smithsonian Castle, Washington Monument, The Capital, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Renwick Gallery, The White House, The American Art Museum and The National Portrait Gallery. I took a manageable amount of pictures on our tour and because of that, I've created an album with some of the highlights. Please have a look.
After the whirlwind tour we all met at Brasserie Beck for a wonderful birthday dinner and celebration. Kevin turns thirty this year and wanted to celebrate drinking Belgian beer. So we did! Thanks to our hosts and to the whole family for a wonderful time.
There was only one thing I kept thinking about. The pure white airsickness bags had no advertising on them and should have had Pepto-Bismol adds all over them.
Prosecco floated atop Creme de Cassi
Cranberry Nut Bread
The Main Event
Stuffing with Sausage
Cranberry Sauce Jellied and Homemade Whole Berry With Ginger
Wines: Merlot and Shiraz
Mile High Apple Pie With Vanilla Ice Cream
Pumkin Pie With Whipped Cream
What did you have?
I'm finally able to add Misty.
- The links page has been completed with commentary on each of the links.
- Your welcome.
- A lot more verbose than most links list.
- Tell me about all the typos please.
- I think I'll add a very concise favorite blogs list on the sidebar at some point.
A couple of weekends ago we had the opportunity to attend the fall studio sale at Purple Sage Pottery. The owner and principal at the studio is Iris Minc. I have known Iris for many years but have not seen her in for the past fifteen. It was nice to reconnect with her and also see her work. Many things have remained the same in her designs but she also has some new additions. It was fun to look at pieces that she has for sale knowing I have a twenty year old replica of the same thing. I'm always proud and delighted to use pieces I have gotten from Iris. Her pottery is an integral part of our kitchen. While other pieces have been victims of a free flight and an abrupt stop, I still have many that will become heirlooms upon my demise. Iris has classic arts and crafts style with her own touches of personal flair and whimsey. Browse her gallery and see what you like.
While traveling in England last summer I came upon a brochure and my heart leaped, I spotted The Gnome Reserve and Wild Flower Garden. Can you imagine? I did buy the gnome book in my youth but who would have thought. Four enchanted acres, one thousand plus gnomes, featuring the Gnome Airport, Space Rocket Launch Pad, the Circle of Imagination and best of all the Gnome Motor Bike Scramble. How famous is this gnome mecca of North Devon? Sixty plus times on T.V., touts the brochure. "Nowhere in the world is there anywhere like this magic spot at West Putford in North Devon" says United Press International. Travelocity eat your heart out. I know you're wondering what my first hand impressions are. What were the size of the gnomes? Did you get to see all the attractions? How were the cream teas in the garden? Um. . well, I don't know. We never went. Maybe next time.
Here's what I came up with Pink and Blue Bunny Flies as well as Pink and Blue Ants. I call it "Eight is Enough"
Photo by Lane Hartwell
I had the good fortune to discover Zoë Keating while listening to a Radiolab podcast earlier this year. She is a musician and her instrument is the cello. The Host of the podcast Jad Abumrad seemed quite taken with Zoë as he interviewed her and discussed her music and the process by which she creates it. Zoë played during a live performance of Radiolab where hosts Jad and Robert discussed the making of the famous radio show "War of the Worlds." She supplied the interim and background music for the performance. Let me assure you that this is not classical solo cello that you would hear at a salon in a friends home.
I was immediately struck by the amazing sound and layering she creates as she plays. She uses a piece of computer technology that allows her to record or sample bits of music and then via foot pedals she can replay or loop that piece continually or for just a few repetitions. The affect is both mesmerizing and transcendent. I was immediately transported as I listened to the music she was creating. She uses not only bow and string to produce the sound but may also pluck, scrape, strike or pat her instrument to add percussive ingredients to her music. The part that still perplexes me is the precision that the music and recording are able to be laced together in a live performance.
I purchased her CD and was also able to download other music of hers only available digitally. She also has a new CD coming out soon. While exploring her site I discovered Zoë's Incredibly Interesting Blog and her performance schedule. To my surprise she was playing at MIT at an upcoming conference and it was open to the public. I jumped at the chance to witness a live performance and demystify how she is creating all those magical sounds. After watching her perform I am still confused but more impressed. She was nice enough to sign my CD and talk briefly.
I want to urge you to go to her site and listen to some samples of her music because you have to experience it for yourself. It will be well worth it. She has been one of the top classical music downloads at iTunes which is no small feat considering iTunes is now the largest retailer of music in the country. I'm sure this will not be the last you have heard of this wonderfully talented artist.
If you remember last year I asked the question, what to do with a pile of sticks. This year we did not have quite as many sticks but we still wanted a quick way to start our fires. The materials this year were a bit different in that we had a lot of smaller branches and twigs to get rid of. The bundles would work but the smaller stuff was falling out and causing a mess. When you have a problem like this it deserves a creative solution. In this instance we not only solved the problem but actually improved upon the idea we had from last year. The new 2008 models now sport a newspaper wrapper that not only keeps the twigs from falling out and messing up the place it also helps with lighting the bundle. We use newspapre anyway to start the fire so this just makes even more sense. It even eliminated the box we used to align the bundles. We still do like the box for bigger bundles of sticks though. Go wrap some up and burn 'em yourself.
An interesting twist of fate, the same process that brings people together daily all over the internet via social networks, enabled us to connect. There was nothing so exciting as reconnecting with someone I thought I had lost. It was a real pleasure to experience. Although our lives diverged we still have the basis of our upbringing, no matter how dysfunctional, that will give us common ground. We both agreed that we throughly enjoyed our time in school and the place we grew up in. It was not until we were exposed to other students from other places in college that we realized the challenges we faced in the city by the sea. Those challenges made us tougher and created survivors. Meeting back up again after we both turned fifty requires a lot of catching up and explaining. The time flew as we both caught up with each others lives. I'm always so impressed with the things my friends accomplish in their lives. Even better is all the plans we have for the future.
I'm sure we will be in touch again soon. It was so nice to reconnect.
As I dried the last dish in the sink, whomp! All the power in the neighborhood went out. That nothing running in the background dead silence took over the house. Crap! Plans for the next item to do for the day was to get a blog post out of the way early. That was foiled temporarily. I reported the outage to the power company and called around. Looks like it is just my street. I then called Kin and Jim and they still had power and WIRELESS. I'm over at their house right now enjoying their view of the river as I type this. Looks like the heavy winds knocked something out of the power grid. Hopefully we will have power soon or we'll be sleeping in front of the wood stove tonight.
Before I was so rudely interrupted I had just completed the soup trifecta. Tomorrow is our annual harvest festival at work. Each person brings in a dish to share with the team for a pot luck luncheon. It is a nice way to enjoy the team without work on the agenda. My annual contribution is Butternut soup. I was also planning to try Lee Ann's Fall Vegetable Ginger Soup. and while I was doing inventory I realized that all the leeks in the fridge needed to get used pronto or they were going to be demoted to compost. I went to Epicurious and found this simple Leek and Potato Soup recipe. With all the ingredients ready It was time to execute the trifecta.
There was chopping, peeling, dicing, browning, wilting, reducing, stirring, mixing and blending all morning and into the afternoon. Each soup took a turn in the blender, until a tidy collection of storage containers were all filled. The Butternut soup is always a favorite. That had the biggest quantity. I'll use some tomorrow and the rest may be frozen. The leek and potato soup was transformed into a silky loveliness that is delicate and hearty at the same time. The Fall soup may become a frequent visitor to the house. The ginger adds a nice warmth and snap to the soup, while the carrots added an unexpected sweetness. I'm thinking maybe cardamon may be added to give it an even more exotic flavor. Thanks Lee Ann, for turning us on to this interesting variation on butternut soup.
Without me planning it, all the vegetable ingredients turned out to be organic. This was a nice bonus. Most things came from our CSA share. The grocery store was able to supply the organic carrots and squash. This was an effortless use of organic food. What a concept.
Now that the Soup Trifecta and the posting is over it is time for a very important Sunday activity. The afternoon nap. Ciao!
I've already been asked how the picture from the last post was done. I used some basic techniques and Photoshop to make it look half way normal. Double lighting and a curved background are the basics. The background is a piece of white 1/8" foam I had from fly tying. Close proximity to the light source also softens shadows considerably. I did so many things wrong. The exposure should have been calculated with a grey card. White balance was off by a mile. The arrangement could have been more symmetrical. I can go on and on. Dusting the cobwebs off my brain, plus adjusting to digital media rather than film, and owning no macro lens, all posed challenges. I've stated before that photography is a process of elimination. You learn to eliminate all the things that do not work until you come up with a formula for success. The huge bonus using digital media is that I went from nothing to published in about an hour. My minute abilities with Lightroom and Photoshop got me to results that I could at lease publish during the high pressure of NaBloPoMo.
I just finished photographing, sorting and shipping a dozen Clouser Minnows tied by fly tyers from across the country. I was the host this fly swap. Participating in this capacity was a lot of fun. The swap even helped me learn some new tricks in Photoshop and Lightroom.
Here is how it works. Someone declares they want to host a swap on a Forum. The forum I hang out at is Fly Fishing On The Web (FFOTW.com). The host gets to pick what type of fly to tie or a theme. I picked Clouser Minnows. Enrollment is open to members until there are a sufficient number of tyers and then the swap is closed. The host sets the due date and instructs the members where to send the flies. Forum members produce their creations, plus one extra fly. The flies are sent to the host along with a return mailer and postage. When all flies are received the host sorts the flies so that everyone gets one fly from each participating tyer. Many hosts photograph the flies to share with all the members of the forum. I did the team photo above and also made a composite of the individual fly photos I took. All the above steps have been completed and I also made a trip to the post office today to ship all the members their flies.
What happens to the extra fly? We auction the extra set off on ebay and donate the money to a fly fishing centric charity. We have selected Project Healing Waters. An organization that helps injured veterans that are returning home. Healing Waters assists in their rehabilitation by teaching them to fly fish. We have several more auctions planned in the near future for this great organization.
I have now participated in a few fly swaps. All quite different but always a lot of fun. A big benefit for me has been an opportunity to be disciplined about producing a set of flies in a timely manner. Tying season is starting out and the swaps have given me a chance to get back into the groove for my winter sessions at the tying bench.
Seven random facts about me.
1. I sucked my thumb until I was nine. Since my mouth was busy a lot of the time, I was a quiet child. People are amazed to hear that. The quiet part, not the thumb thing.
2. Left hip = Titanium It's 15 years old. Fell through a window INTO a house. Talented!
3. I did not eat seafood until I was twenty three. Still won't eat beets.
4. Blue cheese tastes like metal shavings to me. I don't know how I know what metal shavings taste like.
5. I've lived in the same state my entire life. Traveled a lot, but always called Massachusetts home.
6. Plastic surgery on my face twice. No Improvement.
7. I know how to splice rope.
I wanted to share with you what the results of the harvest were this year from our CSA. We just got a newsletter today and it points out that this list does not include all the pick your own items like cherry tomatoes, herbs, beans and berries we harvest ourselves. We split this share with our neighbors since we are both two person households. This was a wonderful year with only blueberries not being offered due to a severe late frost. We have continued participating this year by purchasing a winter share which supports late harvest farms within the area. We also are anticipating our pork and lamb shares in the weeks to come. As is every year the quality has been amazing.
|Pac Choi||4 heads|
I dare you to not touch it.
It's time for the trees to do their spectacular display. It's one of the wonderful things about being in New England. Because our house is situated atop a hill near a river and next to a brook, we get a very specific microclimate that causes the maple leaves to turn golden yellow. As the sun arcs low across the sky the trees that surround our house filter the autumn light and give everything a gilded glow. This magic continues as all the reflected light showers the inside of the house with the same hue. It is as if mother nature is exhaling her warmth into the house to protect us from the chill of the approaching winter.
I just found out today that the Fly Fishing Film Tour will again be coming to Boston. A huge thanks to the guys at First Light Anglers for sponsoring the event this year. It will definitely be a fun time. Details are still up in the air.
This is the third year of the film tour and I know it promises to be another exciting night of the best Fly Fishing porn produced. Entries are still being evaluated by the guys at AEG Media, but I'm sure the year over year improvement will continue to set the bar high and amaze and excite members of the Fly Fishing tribe. The footage is sort of fly fishing video meets Warren Miller. It infuses excitement for the upcoming season while we huddle around the fireplace with our tying vices. I'll let you know more details as they become available.
This time I ask if you think these are Ken Legs?
If you think I am correct, the question is, did they get together?
Huge thanks goes to my niece Andrea who helped with the EUEKA moment when she noticed a legacy menu item being displayed by the phantom page. This lead to the discovery that the web software does not clean up the server when you delete a page. This is probably an intended feature to protect the user from doing harm to themselves. Why a deleted page continues to be updated, I have no Idea. With a little HTML duct tape and PHP bailing wire, I think I can move on. No, it's not rocket science but sometimes I wish I could fix these things with a wrench, hammer and screwdriver. I'm much more comfortable with those kinds of tools.
I ask two favors of you my wonderful readers. If you have subscribed to the RSS feed for this blog prior to this week, please delete the subscription and re-subscribe. You can use the GIANT RSS BUTTON on my home page. Go ahead click on it, it will not bite you. Second, Please leave a witty comment so that we can exercise the the comment service and make sure it is performing well. I am now greatly indebted to you. Thank you very much.
Striper Moon: Fly Fishing Techniques and Flies for Striped Bass in Estuary, River, Bay & Surf by J. Kenney Abrames.
From a unique man comes a very unique volume that is continually referenced by striper fly fishers throughout New England and beyond. This brief and enlightening tome takes salt water fly fishers out of the routine of predictable big cast and strip, strip, strip mentality and encourages fly fishers to do something we often forget to do, think. Think, where am I, think, where would the stripers need to be, think, is the exact fly needed or is how it is fished more important, think, what is the best time of day and also best moon phase to hunt stripers
Abrams brings revelations to the surf fisher that stripers hunt very close to shore and will swim in the hump of an incoming wave in order to harvest tumbled and disoriented prey. Other instruction includes using drift and mend techniques similar to fishing for trout with streamers. The author also likens striper prey to the trout fishers insect hatch. He asks, when are the peak times for herring, crab, krill and sand eel.
The topic of fly tying, for which Kenny is well known, is somewhat down played considering how colorful and beautifully crafted his flat wing imitations are. His salt water fly patterns are some of my all-time favorites to tie. What the author teaches us about flies is that a perfect fly fished with a poor presentation will not catch as many fish, if any at all, as a perfectly presented fly that is only an impression, but not an exact copy. If the fly is within the size range of the bait the fish are targeting and fished well it will catch more fish. He openly admits that no two flies he ties are alike. What he suggests is that colors in the ocean are constantly changing and giving different impressions at different times and so do his flies.
Equipment is also covered, giving ideas on what makes a good set up for a coastal striper fly fisher. All his explanations are presented with the caveat that the equipment does not catch the fish, the fisherman catches the fish, reminding us, presentation, presentation presentation.
In addition to giving the fly fishing community this well executed document, Kenny continues to instruct locally to intrepid fly fishers who gather at selected locations along the coast. He also hosts a helpful website that shares the same name as the book Striper Moon. The site extends the value of his instruction to the internet community and includes a forum where he is happy to answer anglers questions and encourage dialog among members.
I highly recommend this book and I know I will return to it often for reference and inspiration.