Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween - the fair holiday that it is (Happy Birthday Dad!) I have a great link to some really off the wall Pumpkins

Extreme Pumpkins

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blast From the Past Thursday #25

This is what 23 year old gum looks like.

So I'm helping Paul pull up carpet this past weekend - the original carpet from the house - he is toting the carpet out to the curb, while I am rolling up the old pad, and then both of us are vacuuming and sweeping up - So I look down and to my utter shock and dismay I see this: A piece of discarded chewing gum. 23 year old chewing gum that has been quietly and secretly lurking underneath the carpet since the house was built! Yuuuuummmy! So of course I had to document it being pried up off the concrete floor. This is one piece of chewing gum that will lurk no more!


Friday, October 13, 2006

TAG! You're It!

This past weekend was the 29th Annual TAG Fall Cave-In. TAG is an awesome caving, camping and all out fun extravaganza! There are vendors, competitions, caving trips, raffles, carbide bombs, door prizes, toasted powdered sugar doughnuts, a massive bonfire, a bit of metalsmithing, entertainment and lots of late night silliness from lack of sleep - all packed into four days. We had a good turn out from the Huntsville Grotto, along with many friends and family members too - 38 that I can think of offhand.

Here's Michelle setting up the camp kitchen and then there's my cool Cinderella pumpkin I bought on the way up Lookout Mountain. (Thursday the 5th)

This is Vic changing out some batteries in Gourneck Cave (Friday the 6th).

Here's Nathan in Gourdneck

Paul and Michelle hemmed in with all of out nasty caving gear and some towels (Sat the 7th)

Tommy and I amidst all the caving gear from Gourneck the day before.

So this is the TAG bonfire. This year's isn't as tall as last years - but its also the first time I've seen them do a hexagon, so that kind of made up for it. I like this picture - I think its the angle of the shot - they all look very intrepid.

Michelle, Paul and I with a wider angle. The sky was so fantastic on Saturday. Perfect weather for being outside - and for camping!

Here's a close up of some cool fungus that was growing on the underside of one of the logs - just below where I was sitting in the last photo. I thought they were worth documenting before they went up in flames in few hours.

This is Toni's Fire Story - its hysterical. You need to watch it.

So here's the bonfire on Saturday evening, just after it was lit. The white spot to teh right of the flame is the moon. It was so bright you really didn't have to use a headlamp at night.

Here's the bonfire a few hours after it was lit - white hot.

Here's a little late night metalsmithing, in our much smaller campfire. See the lock?

Ah yes, and here Nathan is pulling it from the furnace. You have to understand that after a few days of extreme sleep deprivation we all thought this was a perfectly brilliant idea at oh around 2am Saturday evening. Mark successfully pounded it flat with a rock, all of us were happy, and we eventually went to bed.

Sunday we would all get up and slowly pack up our home-away-from-home and travel back towards Hunstville. But there was one more cave trip to be had - Sauta.... the cave with the crystal room. I spent I think at least an hour or so photographing them, tried out some techniques similar to what Nathan used on Helectite Heaven - with a few successes:

Here's one of the crystals in Sauta with the flash on my camera and my extra slave unit flash.

Here's the same crystal cluster taken with only the ambient light of my extra 9 LED Streamlight without the use of any manual settings (I'm not that cool yet - maybe one day I will be). I had my camera on a little tripod, dangling over the pool of water that the crystals are growing out of. I turned off my flash and set the timer, pressed the button, and then had 10 seconds to play with the angle of the light and make sure I held the legs of the tripod steady enough to not blur.

This shot is actually a composite of two photos. I bracketed a series of about 6 photos of this little crystal, picked two and then layed them on top of each other in photoshop. I took the brighter version and screened it back to about 70% so you could see more background - and still keep the crystal in the forground nice and bright.

This is (from left to right) Ohad, Mark, Michelle, Tommy and I in Sauta.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Herbs of Summer

Ever want to have fresh picked herb flavor for dishes in the winter? Here's a handy little idea to do just that!

Herb Cubes

1. Pick and wash fresh herbs before first frost

2. Chop and strip preparing the herbs as you would normally

3. Fill ice cube trays half-full of herbs
4. Top off with water
5. Place in freezer overnight
6. Pop herb cubes and double bag in freezer zip-locs
7. Don't forget to label them

When you need a pinch of herbs for a dinner dish throw in a single herb cube and it'll thaw while your dish cooks. I harvested a full ice cube tray's worth each of Sage, Rosemary, Spearmint and Basil. You can also combine commonly used herbs into a pesto and freeze them too.

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