Saturday, August 27, 2011


Over the last couple of years since we moved out here to our farm, I've become enamored with cloud formations.  Maybe it is because there aren't a lot of houses around us and we can see them better than we could in town.  At any rate, I try to take pictures when I see one that I find particularly beautiful or strange.

I have a little camera that I carry in my purse.  It is about the size of a deck of cards.  I'd show you a picture of it, but then I can't use it to take a picture of itself!  However, it takes great pictures, and since it is small enough to carry in my purse, I have it with me most of the time.  I go to work around 7:00am and, during certain times of the year, I am driving to work just when the sun is coming up.  This time of day lends itself to beautiful displays of sunlight on the clouds that happen to be there.  Last spring, I took the following pictures on my way to work in the morning.

This one was taken in April.

And, this one was taken in May.

Just this last week I took the picture below.  This picture was taken at sunset.   These clouds were in the east while the sun was setting in the west.  One of my granddaughters thinks it looks like a huge bear.  Children have such wonderful imaginations!  If you can picture the bear's nose on the right side and the bear's behind on the left side and the "hole" in the cloud as being under the bear's stomach, then I think you can see this too.

Finally, some clouds are just plain strange!  The picture below was taken this past winter after one of our snow storms.

I'm sure there is some sort of meteorological term for whatever caused this.  I emailed it to KFOR in Oklahoma City, but nobody answered.  I probably sent it to the wrong department.  At any rate, if anyone out there knows what caused this, then let me know!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Altered Skyline

To the east of our property there is a small "wet weather" creek bed.  It only has water in it when it rains a lot.  However, that is enough to have spawned the growth of several huge cottonwood trees.  I love sitting on our back porch in the morning and watching the sun come up above these large cottonwood trees. 

At a certain time in the fall, the sun rises exactly in the middle of a triangular shaped opening between two of these big cottonwood trees.  It sort of reminds me of Stonehenge!  Here is a picture I took last fall of this spectacle.

Last week we experienced what, in the weather world, is called a "downburst".  This occurs when an area of significantly rain-cooled air reachs ground level and spreads out in all directions producing strong winds. Unlike winds in a tornado, winds in a downburst are directed outwards from the point where it hits land or water.   During the downburst, we had 70 to 80 mile per hour winds.

Oddly enough, we had very little damage to our home or out-buildings.  There were a few small limbs blown down and items, like buckets, blown around, but no real damage.  Unfortunately, one of these big old cottonwood trees was unable to withstand the force of the wind and was basically twisted off at ground level.  Here is a picture of the damage.

It is sort of odd, but I have found that the destruction of this tree has rocked my world to some extent.  Just the fact that something so majestic can be brought down by the forces of nature makes me feel a little vulnerable.  Plus, I have a mathematical background and like for things to be symmetrical.  That is no longer the case with the "skyline" to the east of us.  Here is what it looks like now.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Basil Pesto

A couple of weeks ago I shared my "Friday Night Date with Basil".  Well, I don't always sell all that basil at the Farmers' Market, so I have to find ways to use it here at home.  Otherwise, I have to throw it out.  What a waste!

One of the easiest ways to use a lot of it is to make pesto.  Here's the basic ingredients.

You start with 2 cups of basil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic (chopped), 2/3 cup of olive oil (divided) and 1/4 cup of pine nuts.  Put it all in your food processor.

I usually put the basil, garlic and pine nuts in first and give them a pulses to get them coarsely chopped.  Then, I slowly add 1/2 cup of olive oil.  Blend until it is smooth and add salt and pepper to taste.

If serving immediately, stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese and the rest of the olive oil. 

If you are not going to serve it immediatly, then put it in an air-tight container and pour the rest of the olive oil over it.  This will keep it from turning brown.  Then, stir the parmesan cheese in at serving time as above.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sun Tea

I am trying to find some ray of optimism in this awful hot, dry weather we are suffering through this summer.  I find myself getting depressed when I look at the 7-day forecast and only see more days of 100 degree plus temperatures. 

One thing that I can say this hot weather is good for is making sun tea!  And, we've been making a LOT of that this summer.  Here's how we make it. 

1)  Get a 1-gallon glass jar and fill it with water.

2)  Unwrap two gallon size tea bags and add them to the jar.

3)  Screw on the lid.

4)  Find a nice sunny spot and set the jar in the sun.

5)  Check on the tea in an hour or two.  It should look like this.

6)  Fill a glass (or jar) with ice.  Pour in the tea and ENJOY!