Paddling By


We got some rain again last night and the creek was up about a foot from yesterday.
kayak
The water was not real muddy and it was flowing good. Perfect for paddling, and some kayakers paddled by today. There were six in all.
kayak
I probably wouldn’t have noticed them, but one of the guys overturned just downstream from the ford.  I spotted them while they were waiting for him to get dried off and dump the water from his kayak.
kayak
He was OK other than being wet and cold. They were coming from somewhere upstream and heading down to the bridge where Bells Branch Road crosses the creek.
kayak
Chili just had to go down and greet one of the paddlers.  Especially since she came up to our shore. What a mooch of a pooch.
chili and kayak
I could get my kayak down off the shelter roof, but I know I couldn’t fit myself and two dogs in there. I took the dogs for a bike ride instead of a paddle. They can run faster than they can swim.

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Finger Food


Surprise.  In spite of the title, there’s no recipe in this rant.  This is about my frustration over the fact that I can no longer eat with my hands!

I have a great dentist.  This is not his fault.  Dr. Brown and the people who work for him are just the messengers, and the message is, “baby” your temporary.  I had an old root canal prepared for a crown on Tuesday.  Now I have a temporary crown until April, when the permanent crown will be installed.  That means I’m not supposed to bite things with my front teeth.

I’ve discovered that just about everything I eat, I eat with my hands.  When you eat with your hands, you have to bite. Sandwiches, apples, corn on the cob, egg rolls, home-made pizza, pretzels, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, and the list goes on.  It’s agonizing to have to cut a ham sandwich into bites.  The same goes for pizza.  I even had to cut up the soft tacos I made for lunch yesterday.

On the other hand this could be a wake up call that maybe my diet’s not all it should be.  I still have smoothies for breakfast and there’s green stuff in them.  When I eat at Golden Corral I make room for green beans on at least one plate.  Besides, have you ever tried to eat salad with your fingers?  It’s not pretty.  I’ll probably hit the snooze button on this wake up call.

So until April, I cut and chew and whine.  There’s some good news though.  You don’t have to bite off Cheese Whiz!

Losing Bank


I took the dogs out to see what the spring floods did to the creek today.  There’s a cut bank just down from my mailbox on the south side of the creek.  This winter these two little maple trees, seen here hanging on for dear life by their root balls, were standing up straight:

bank erosion

Now they’re leaning out over the creek at about a 45° angle.  This part of the bank was scraped pretty good by the high water.  The water was up to the top of this bank at its highest.  For a little perspective, the bank was over my head when I was standing in the creek to take this picture.

It’s interesting to see the water shooting out of old root holes in the bank now that the creek’s down.  You can see the layer of deposited dirt over the layers of rock and gravel where the water cut the bank away.  There’s some water stuck in a perched water table that’s causing these little local springs.  There are a half a dozen of them along this stretch of the creek:

running spring

Of course I was standing in the creek to get this picture too.  There’s a whole lot of water around right now.  At least my cistern is full.

Drinking Breakfast


I have some kind of smoothie smoothie for breakfast almost every morning.  Today it was a spinach-banana-strawberry smoothie. I have my daughter Cortney to thank for the spinach part.  It was her idea to throw in a pinch of spinach leaves.  I throw in a handful.  It turns the color an interesting muddy green, but the smoothie still tastes great.  And it’s probably the only green vegetable I get most days.

I make smoothies with yogurt and lots of different fruits. Banana is the one fruit I always use if I have some.  It smooths out the texture.  Then I add some of whatever fruit I have frozen to chill the smoothie down.  I cut up pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, etc. and freeze them in zip lock bags.  I even tried a musk melon smoothie once.  Once was enough.

When you’re cutting up fruit to freeze on your own, fruit find a cookie sheet or some flat pan that will fit in your freezer.  Then layer the pieces of fruit on it, one or two deep.  Once the fruit is frozen you can break the pieces apart and put them in a zip lock bag.  If you start the fruit out in a bag you end up with a lump of fruit you need an ice pick to get apart.

The other ingredient I use is Crystal Light.  I buy the big boxes of  single serving on-the-go tubes, like you’d empty into your water bottle for some flavor.  Smoothies are good for you, but with the plain yogurt and spinach they can use a little something to kick the flavor up a notch.  The Crystal Light does the trick, and it has no sugar.  I like the lemonade flavor because it goes with just about every fruit, except musk melon.

I make a double batch of smoothie and stick the blender bottle in the fridge until the next day to save the second smoothie.  Then the second day I throw in a couple more pieces of the frozen fruit and blend for a few seconds to get it chilled back down.

Fruit Yogurt Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 pint plain non-fat yogurt
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1 pint of frozen fruit chunks
  • 1 Crystal Light lemonade on-the-go tube
  • 2 oz water or fruit juice

Directions

Add the yogurt, bananas, and spinach to your blender bottle.  Sprinkle on the Crystal Light and splash the water or fruit juice on to rinse the drink powder down into the other ingredients.

Make very sure your blender bottle lid is on good.  Start the blender out on low to get the ingredients mixing.  When they’re moving around good, go to high speed.  Once everything looks pretty mixed up, start dropping in chunks of frozen fruit, one or two at a time.  Make sure you cover the bottle up again as soon as you drop in a chunk, or you might find your chunk stuck to the ceiling along with some other smoothie stuff.

When the smoothie starts to get thick enough to slow down the blender you’re done.  Pour the first half of the smoothie into a glass.  Put the lid back on the blender bottle and stick it in the fridge for the next day.  Enjoy sipping your breakfast.

I like to have something crunchy once in a while so I’ll dip pretzel sticks in the smoothie.  You can also stir in some plain cheerios, chex, or other dry cereal for variety.  Just avoid the cereals that are 90% sugar.  You’ll have all the natural sugar you need from the fruit.

Bon Appétit…

Signs of Spring


Things are starting to green up. I can tell spring is getting close because I ran through my first spider web while walking with the dogs this morning. If the spiders are out, spring can’t be far behind. There’s all kinds of mysterious plants peeking out of the soil that I can’t identify. I’ve got spots marked for a few so I can hike back past them and see what they’ve become in a few weeks. There’s even one purple plant that’s poking out all along the slough, and I haven’t got a clue what it is.

It was a nice day for walking down the creek. It was sunny and in the 50’s.  Perfect weather for shorts and sandals 🙂  The water’s still high but it’s going down. If the weather holds I may be able to wade across the creek again by Sunday. I want to see what’s sprouting over in the woods on the other side.  Wildflowers are just around the corner.