Advent Day 10: Holy

Today’s topic is “Holy.” It’s an interesting concept for someone who does not embrace a religion. Actually, even when I was nominally Catholic, my sense of the holy, the sacred, always had to do with very real things: the night sky, trees, rivers, the call of an owl or a loon at dusk. Here, several of the things that inspire a sense of the holy in me: the sea, the setting sun, a location I love (Samoa Beach in Humboldt County), and the love I share with my husband.

Edit: And look at Edmund’s entry for the same topic today!  No, we did not know each other’s choices in advance.

Advent Day 10: Holy

Image by Sophie Lagacé 2010, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

Advent Day 5: Flood

Today’s topic is “Flood.” There’s a concept that depends a lot on where you are located; if you live in a floodplain zone, like way too many humans do, then you’re really just waiting for the next flood. If you’re living in a coastal zone, welcome to global climate change! You’ll see flooding up close and personal some day. But if you’re a fish, it’s a different issue…

Ah well, if not for a flood season, the cat we would eventually adopt and call Ubaid would not have lost his home, so I guess we got an indirect benefit.

Advent Day 5: Flood

Image by Sophie Lagacé 2011, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

The holiday review: Cooking

"Locally Delicious" coverMy husband gave me a local cookbook for Christmas, “Locally Delicious”, which was just published about a month ago. I’ve been talking about cooking more often (he does most of the cooking)and we’re both partisans of the idea of eating locally grown or produced food, in season. I was raised that way — my mom always goes into cooking overdrive during the successive harvests of strawberries, string beans, corn, tomatoes, raspberries, etc., and still buys locally produced beef, chicken, bread, cheese, etc.

This weekend I tried three recipes from Locally Delicious: the cross rib roast (Humboldt grass-fed beef cross rib was on sale!), spicy roasted beets, and oven rosemary potatoes. Everything but the rosemary, salt and pepper was locally produced. (OK, the olive oil was regional, from Sonoma County.) All three recipes were keepers and quite easy. I liked that I was able to prepare everything in advance in the morning and leave it in the fridge until I was ready to pop the dishes in the oven.

I like “slow food” and I detest most instant, frozen, highly prepared foods (with some exceptions for brands like Casbah, Newman, and Oetker). I like a seasonal menu that reflects the changes around us. I like restaurants where the dishes taste a little different every time you go because they’re made in small batches by a cook, not an industrial assembly line. I like planning a menu based on what looks fresh. I like the rich flavours of produce and meat that have not had to travel more than a few hours to reach my kitchen. I like encouraging our local producers.

There are resources online for people trying to find out more about their local food chain. A good, food-lover’s book explaining our alimentary systems is Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

No reason

No good reason, anyway. I’m just blue tonight. I’m reading a sad book; I’m disappointed in a personal project that had me all excited; and money flows out too fast.

So here’s a recent image I was happy with, to leave something with nicer at the end of the day.

Lovely weekend

On Friday night my husband and I went to to take a walk and do a little bird watching and photographing at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Table Bluff. Even in overcast weather, it’s lovely to walk along Hookton Slough between the large heron and crane rookery at the foot of the bluff (great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, great egrets, white egrets, cattle egrets) and the cormorant colony nesting on Teal Island and beyond.

On Saturday, we went to the farmers market in Arcata, got lovely produce and meat (those strawberries from Fortuna were divine!), had lunch at Humboldt Brews. I’ve loved farmers markets since I was three; they feel so vivid and exciting.

Yesterday we went to see the new Pixar animation movie, Up! and were pleasantly surprised.  I really liked it, and yes, we both shed tears.  The movie is full of good quotable bits, clever observations, and little send-offs.

And under the full moon, we went to the Samoa Cookhouse to do a little night photography and light painting.  I hope a few shots will come out — but I won’t know until the film is developed.