Friday, March 30, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Eggies: a photo essay…

On one of our recent plane trips, I came across a description of the product Eggies in the Sky Mall Magazine.  The idea of it blew me away.  I could have hardboiled eggs for breakfast without having to deal with the shell.  I like having a hardboiled egg for breakfast but picking the shell off before my second cup of coffee is not the best.  Intrigued, I put it in the back of my mind to go on their website when I got home.  Of course, I forgot.

But the other day, I had to stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up a new shower curtain liner and there they were.  I think that this is the “Beyond” that the store is talking about…Eggies!  I threw caution to the wind and picked up a box of Eggies.

In case you want to buy Eggies yourself, this is the box to look for.

And here it is:  An Eggie.  It consists of four parts.  A bottom and a top and a screw thing to hold them together and then a little lid to keep the water out.

Then you need eggs.  I used large, brown, cage free eggs for my Eggies, but I think any egg would do.  

The next step, after you have your eggs ready and your Eggie assembled, is to crack the eggs and try to get them to go into the hole at the top of the Eggie.  Depending on the size of your yolk, this can be a challenge.  Sometimes you have to kind of poke the yolk through the hole and the white runs down the side of the Eggie a bit.  Also, it is a good thing if you can try not to get any shell in through the hole.  I was about 85% successful.

Next the filled Eggie goes into a pot of warm water.

Next you have to boil your Eggies until they are done.  Here they are boiling away happily.

Finished Eggies.  I’m pretty sure either I didn’t get one of my screw thingys on tight enough or I didn’t clean the egg white off the side of the Eggie well enough but that’s why they don’t look so neat.

Loosened and released, this is what your hardboiled egg looks like.  They do come out flat on one side.  Okay, so they aren’t really pretty but they taste fine.  I am planning to do some experimenting in the future.  Apparently, you can season them before you cook them.  A fine idea for a busy morning!  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Digging for barns…

I have been pretty busy the last few days.   Well, really ever since we came home from our vacation in St. John, I’ve been busy with stuff.  You know the way life gets.  So I haven’t had the opportunity to get out and shoot the way I would like to.  But I wanted to link up with Barn Charm today so I went digging.

These pics are from a ride I took out in the country here in Massachusetts about a month ago.  I have them so I might as well use them.  And I have high hopes that I will be out gathering new digital matter for next week so I don’t have to do any digging.

Of course, he's not a barn, but he sure is handsome.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The fence up close…

I decided to get a little up close and personal with my favorite fence this week.  This is the fence by the turtle pond that holds the horses in and helps to keep them from coming into our yards and pooping on our grass.  It’s one of my favorite things around because it consists of a little of this and a little of that in great fence-y cooperation.  It kind of represents how I wish we were with each other in this world…a bunch of ragtag, unmatched pieces strung together to do something worthwhile.

Linking to Friday's Fences:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Celebrating the Equinox...

The weather has been very unMarchlike here in central Massachusetts USA.  Temps have been in the 70s and the sun has been shining like there’s no tomorrow.  So Olive and I decided to celebrate the Vernal Equinox by taking a little walk down to see if the horses were enjoying this run of freaky weather.  Apparently, they are since they ran around and greeted us with great horsey enthusiasm.  Here are some of the shots from our walk.

The water here is very calm making it a hospitable place for turtles to hang out.

And here they are...basking in the sun on this beautiful day.  And making me wish I had brought my long lens along.

Always glad to have company.

This guy decided to play coy for a while but couldn't resist getting his nose scratched later.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Feeling like a winner…

It was an exciting weekend here in this household.  We were glued to the television watching the NCAA Basketball Championship games.   For me, it was the game last night that had me on the edge of my seat because, I graduated from the University of Cincinnati way too many years ago.  Well, that game against Florida State University was a nail-biter but UC prevailed and the Bearcats are going to the Sweet Sixteen.

For those of you who don’t live in the United States (and some of you who do), the NCAA Basketball Championship is a contest of sixty-eight of the best college basketball teams in the country.  It goes on during the month of March each year and has been given the name “March Madness.”  If your team manages to get to this point called the “Sweet Sixteen,” they have accomplished something.  

   I never expected that the Bearcats would make this mark.  Silly me!

But the other thing that is exciting about this year for people who grew up in the state of Ohio, like Greg and me, is that there are four surviving teams from that state, UC of course, Xavier University (UC’s arch rival also from the Cincinnati area), The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio) and Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), Greg’s Alma Mater.  This is the first time that a single state has had this many teams reach this point.  That’s cool!

The next step for my team is that they get to play The Ohio State University Buckeyes so it will be the battle of the two largest schools in Ohio.  It might get ugly.  But it will also be fun.

So I have had enough excitement for a while until next weekend.  I have decided to comb through my remaining St. John photos and post a few relaxing shots to calm down and  prepare for the week ahead.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Table art and other St. John funkiness…

When in St. John, one must go over to Coral Bay and eat at Skinny Legs.  You can get one heck of a hamburger there served amidst chickens and stray dogs...and all kinds of people.  It’s a fun place.  Their motto is “same day service”, but we’ve rarely had to wait for too long.  In any case, they keep the rum runners and VI beers coming at a steady pace so you can’t really find too much to complain about.

Good advice any day of the week!

I think Melissa may have had too many Rum Runners...

Our other favorite lunch place is called “The Tourist Trap.”  The first time we spied this place we were a bit on the skeptical side, but now we wouldn’t miss it for anything.  They serve terrific Bloody Marys and even better pulled pork sandwiches.  My friend Dona and I fell for the Trap Dog, a spicy hotdog served on a New England style bun (the owner is from New Hampshire) with pulled pork and spicy slaw and we both got it the two times we managed to get over to the Trap on this last trip.  Now, the d├ęcor in this place is truly funky and you eat under a tarp that flaps so hard sometimes in the island wind that it’s hard to hear yourself think.  But then, who wants to think, man…we’re on vacation.

Hi from The Tourist Trap

When I first saw this, I didn't get it.  But then I realized it was a high-top table and since I am on the short side, I could read it without actually being "under the table."  

The Tourist Trap has truly unique decor.

Building a better money trap...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Foraging for St. John Fauna…

A few creatures we came across on our trip to St. John, USVI.

Glad I don't have to buy shoes for this guy.  Anybody know what it is?

Pearly-eyed Thrasher

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Perfect Day for Bananaquit…

Every afternoon around 4:00 at Reef Madness, the bananaquits started gathering in the trees next to the pool where we were relaxing.  That was Bob’s cue to go in the house and fill the little bowl in their feeder with sugar.  Once the bowl was full, it was no problem snapping away at them.  They were totally immersed in the sugar.  Cute little birdies, aren’t they?

They seemed like cheery little dudes, but I think they kind of look like angry birds.

The sugar was flung all around.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

No worries...

One of the things we truly love about St. John, USVI, and especially the Coral Bay side of the island, is that it isn’t crowded.  I think that there are three reasons for this.

One is that unless you are on a relatively small boat, you can’t get there directly.  If you want to go there, you have to fly to St. Thomas and take a ferry over.  It’s not really a big deal but for people who don’t want to wait to start their vacations, it might be an issue.
The second reason is that large cruise ships can’t dock there as there is no deep water harbor available.  On this trip, we noticed that some smaller cruise ships are stopping by and tendering their passengers onto the beaches and sugar plantation ruins and you can certainly buy excursions from St. Thomas to St. John if you are a cruise ship passenger, but Royal Princess’s Behemoth of the Oceans isn’t going to be docking at St. John and letting off thousands of people seeking good beaches and cheap rum drinks.  I certainly have nothing against cruising or cruisers per se, but it is nice that they have to “work” to get to St. John.
The third and probably most important reason that St. John is not crowded is that Laurence Rockefeller purchased a lot of land on St. John and in 1956, he donated most of that land to the United States National Parks Service.  That means that about 60% of the island is national park and will not be developed further than it already is.   This also serves to help protect much of the coral reef that is included in that park.  Thanks, Mr. Rockefeller.  You did a truly good thing there.

But beware if you are planning a vacation to Coral Bay.  The driving on the island is not for the faint of heart.  I mentioned yesterday that it takes seven switchbacks to get us up to Reef Madness.  We like that the road is paved.  At our last villa, it was not.  It made it kind of exciting to get home especially after dark.   And, well, all that driving is on the wrong side of the road…sorry, I mean on the left side of the road.  We’re just lucky that Greg has yet to meet a driving challenge that he won’t take on and we are more than happy to leave all the driving to him.  And while there may not be much traffic, you do run into (not literally, I hope) donkeys and goats moseying along and the occasional iguana or mongoose.

Things such as food and gas are expensive there.  It’s an island after all and most stuff needs to be shipped to the location.  And water is at a premium so it has to be used sparingly.  Sure St. John is surrounded by water but it’s not so good to drink.  Water is caught in cisterns on the roofs of the buildings from rainfall and filtered for human use.  Conservation is a good thing.  Something we need to consider even in this wet climate.

And don’t get hung up if a chicken, lizard, cat or dog wanders into the restaurant where you are enjoying a nice island lunch.  That’s just the way it is, mon.
Here’s the payoff:

Looking down on Trunk Bay.  This is often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Good for snorkelers.

View unobstructed by sunbathers and other living things.  Can you spell r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g?

Goats in the road.  No worries...