Never tire of looking at the sea

by Steve, May 27th, 2014

Last night

Hydrangea

by Steve, May 24th, 2014

hydrangea

whales on shaky cam

by Steve, May 20th, 2014

Here’s a shaky video of the whales we saw just offshore last weekend. Nothing at all like being there.

Salty life

by Steve, May 19th, 2014

We saw a bunch of whales — the big kind, gray whales, not the transient pod of orcas also sighted nearby recently — a block or two from our house on Saturday. There were probably 4 or 5 in the pod, feeding just off shore. I got some stills and video (stay tuned), neither of which capture the feeling you get being so close to such huge mammals. I told Zeke, “I feel like I can feel their consciousness.”

“You can,” he said, “and it’s probably the biggest consciousness you’ll ever feel.”
California grey whales

They fed for a while in front of the Cavalier condos, then we followed them as they swam north toward Schoolhouse Creek. They stopped just before the creek, and fed some more. They were around all afternoon, and we saw them again that evening, further south toward Boiler Bay. There was at least one calf among them, which means they’re probably migratory, on their way up to Alaska for summer feeding, and just stopping for an opportunistic snack in our plankton-rich waters.

You can see the whole set on flickr.

We also saw several harbor seals popping up in the surf.
Harbor seal

And we found our first fishing float on the beach, and came to the realization that to take them home to decorate your yarrrd you have to murder a lot of barnacles. Gooseneck barnacles in this case. We left it where we found it.
Gooseneck barnacles

Speaking of barnacles, I took a walk down to Fishing Rock at low tide Sunday morning and said hello to some of our invertebrate neighbors: anemones, sea stars, sea snails and several kinds of barnacles. I don’t get that whole “massive consciousness” drift from these guys, but they’ve got their own trip going on and it’s pretty damned cool.
anenomes
low tide
sea stars and anenomes
Barnacles, sea stars and anenomes

Lupine

by Steve, May 13th, 2014

Lupine

Fletcher Henderson “Sonny” Lott, October 17, 1941 – December 12, 2013

by Steve, May 12th, 2014

SonnySonny Lott (I never knew till today that he was named for Fletcher Henderson; he was always just “Sonny Lott” to everybody I knew) died late last year. Much like Dennis Jones, who died this year, every musician in Iowa City knew Sonny.

I first met him when I was playing bass with a rag-tag group known at the time as “Sky Truthhawk and the I-ones” (Scotty “Sky” Hayward on kalimba, Terry “Truthhawk” Hale on keys and vocals, and anybody else who showed up). Sonny, an ace drummer, played miscellaneous percussion because Terry had a one-man-band set up, playing kick drum and snare with his feet. Sonny didn’t care. He always had a great time, and his attitude was contagious.

We were playing a campaign benefit concert for Karen Kubby, who was probably running for city council for the first time (this was probably 1988, I’m thinking). I don’t think Sonny liked the name of the band. He said to me, “I told Terry we should all wear afro wigs on our butts and rename the band ‘Terry Hale and the Hairy Tails.’”

Yeah, you probably had to be there, and know something about the situation to appreciate how hilarious that was.

I didn’t know Sonny’s history at the time, just that he was always around, always making music. (He played with Patrick Hazel’s legendary Mother Blues back in the mid 70s, where Bo Ramsey also got a start.)

He was also night janitor for a time at the co-op where I was working produce. We’d hang out after work sometimes, just relaxing and bullshitting. Tony D. probably has some stories from those times. Seems like we ended up at Tony’s place more than a few times.

When Totem Soul was active in the late 80s, Sonny played drums with our friendly rivals on the scene, Divin’ Duck. When Nigel fell gravely ill on the afternoon of a gig at Gabe’s, we briefly considered going drumerless but instead called on Sonny. He showed up, played his ass off, and never missed a beat.

It was always about the music for Sonny. In a room full of egos, Sonny would be the one cracking wise, keeping it real, and laying down the groove.

I’m not going to write a song about Sonny, because Greg Brown beat me to it. Here’s Greg and Joe Price (another Mother Blues alum) singing about Sonny at the Mill back in 2010:

Sincere condolences to Sonny’s extended family.

Mothers’ Day Fritatta

by Steve, May 11th, 2014

frittata

Ingredients:

    1 package frozen hashbrowns
    6 eggs
    1 6 oz. tub pesto
    1 bunch asparagus
    olive oil
    balsamic vinegar
    salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

Preheat a large cast iron skillet* with oil over medium-high heat. Put hashbrowns in preheated pan and cover.

Roast asparagus in olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Beat eggs, and add tub of pesto. Chop up roasted asparagus, let cool a bit, then add to egg mixture.

Preheat broiler.

When hashbrowns have browned on the bottom, remove from heat and pour egg mixture over the top. Put under the broiler until firm and browned on top.

*If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can improvise with a non-stick skillet and a roasting pan. That’s what I did today. I browned the hashbrowns in two batches in a non-stick skillet, then transferred them to the roasting pan for the final broiling.

Blondie brownies

by Steve, May 10th, 2014

 
Brown on blonde

Zeke and I mixed these up and baked them today. They are too good. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. The idea is a layered bar, bottom a blondie, the top a brownie. Start with the blondie layer.

Blondie ingredients

    1 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup butter, melted
    1 cup brown sugar, packed
    1 egg, beaten
    1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Mix melted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, then add egg and vanilla.

Gradually stir in dry ingredients to the sugar and butter mix. Spread mix evenly in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Set aside.

Brownie ingredients

    2 sticks butter
    2 cups sugar
    4 eggs, beaten
    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup cocoa
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs. Mix dry ingredients together and add to butter-sugar mixture. Add Vanilla.

Spread evenly on top of the blondie dough.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

You may recognize the brownie recipe from Grandma Margie’s cookbook, which you should go buy if you haven’t already!

Personal space issues

by Steve, May 8th, 2014

Personal space issues

Sunset at the beach

by Steve, May 8th, 2014

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