Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dark Clouds

The ominous dark clouds did more than threaten as intermittent rain softly touched the earth's surface. (click on photo)

Within an hour the foreboding quickly turned to blue skies and sunshine as is so often the case.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Like A Watercolor

This morning's sky is as a watercolor.

It is hard to believe that two weeks has passed without having posted, but we have been in a whirlwind of things to do: from gardens to projects and visiting family and friends, cleaning and cooking, and most exciting was a trip to watch our 10-year old granddaughter play soccer on Saturday and see her kick a field goal. So proud!

Also exciting is that rain is finally forecast for the valley.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Curry Squash Soup

Yesterday's rain and rainbows brought this on a beautiful Labor Day.

We plant our gardens, tend to them, and receive such reward with harvest. Over the past five days we have picked 30 pounds of yellow squash, given some to neighbors and friends, diced one for an omelet, grilled several each evening as part of our dinner, and yesterday was a day to use half, 15 pounds to make a Curry Squash Soup once again. Why 15? That is what our largest pot will hold.

This is the third batch I will have made in the past several weeks as the first two disappeared quickly: we have eaten several meals as have our friends and neighbors. Only two servings found its way to the freezer for future enjoyment on some cool day.

From the garden I gathered some carrots, a few potatoes, a sweet Walla Walla onion, and some garlic cloves. My measurements are not always exact since that is generally the way I cook, but the following recipe was written as I was preparing the soup. You can determine if you would like more carrots, potatoes, garlic, cayenne... but this seemed to be a good balance. Also, the soup is even better the day after, a period during which the flavors seem to meld.

Chopping the vegetables takes the most time, but the soup itself is pretty easy. By the way, one bowl is very filling. Begin by cutting the squash in half, lengthwise, then slice each half into 3-4 lengthwise slices, depending upon how large each is, and chop into smaller pieces. Set aside in a large bowl. Repeat with onions, carrots, potatoes and garlic.

Curry Squash Soup
from Diana's kitchen


15 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1" cubes or smaller
1-2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
1 med to large sweet onion, chopped
5-6 small carrots or 2-3 large, chopped
3-4 medium potatoes, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (optional) or 1 teaspoon dry ginger
2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
32 oz organic vegetable broth (low sodium) or chicken stock
32 oz water
3/4 cup half and half or cream
salt and pepper to taste
Paprika and chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a large stockpot, add onion, pinch of salt and pepper and saute for few minutes. Add carrots, potatoes, garlic; stir. Add ginger, curry, cayenne, a sprinkle more of salt and pepper, stir and cook for another few minutes. Add vegetable stock, one container of water, heat, add squash, bring to boil and simmer until all is tender. Remove from heat. And just so you know, I love my Bamix!

Since it is hot, very carefully puree the soup until smooth or transfer it to your food processor in batches. Once it is as you want it, stir in half and half or cream and check for consistency. If it is too thick, add some additional cream, water or broth. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve it up, sprinkle with a bit of paprika and garnish.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Yes, finally we got some rain, and at times it seemed to rain buckets. It came through the night and lasted intermittently throughout yesterday. The benefit this morning is the crisp cool breeze and freshness that makes you want to stand and deeply inhale and these...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hubbard Glacier... For This Is Love

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls." ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta
~ ~ ~

There are places on earth where neither soul nor creature wants to speak, a place of such extraordinary beauty so resounding, overwhelmingly captivating, that we stand and listen to the reverberating sound of silence, nature's voice, and this is one of those places.

We stood in awe and obeisance. A few whispered softly, with reverence. Then no one spoke as we quietly awaited the impending. There it is... a thunderous rumble... a crack... we gasp, and all heads turn in search of the new birth. The calf has severed itself from the massive mothering tower and with such force slices into the unknown depths of the frigid and still waters. There before us is the undulation of the water, the afterbirth, as another hush of wonderment follows. Silence... for this is love.

(click to enlarge the panoramic photos)

As we began to pull away, the sun burst through and applauded the performance.

Here is Alaska, Final Days and should you like to start at the beginning of the trip, you may do so here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Alaska, Hubbard Glacier, Day 7

We departed Sitka the afternoon of August 7 and headed west to the Gulf of Alaska and then northwest toward Hubbard Glacier. We rocked and rolled throughout dinner and the evening. Nonetheless, our dinner at the Pinnacle Grill was exquisite, another fine event, and our thanks go to Anne, Robert and Zsolt for making it a memorable experience.

By 5:30 the following morning the ship passed Ocean Cape, then embarked the U.S. Park Service Rangers, and within a few hours thereafter came face to face with a most amazing natural phenomenon where we would stop for several hours and the ship rotated so all could see.

The largest tidewater glacier in the North American continent, Hubbard Glacier stretches 76 miles from the Yukon to the sea at Yakutat Bay, and its open calving face stretches over six (6) miles wide. Glaciers advance and retreat based upon the mechanical terminus, the snout at its end, and according to the Army Corp of Engineers, Hubbard Glacier is rapidly advancing seven (7) feet per day and has been advancing for a century . (Here is a partial list of other glaciers that are expanding and may be of interest.)

Phenomenal beauty as we make our approach

(Click to enlarge the panoramic photos)

Part II at the Hubbard Glacier.

Should you like to start at the beginning of the trip, you may do so here.