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What are the chances that I would have taken a picture of my backyard in the first week of spring each of the last 3 years? I mean, two years ago we hadn’t yet purchased the house! But, somehow I managed to do so.
I ran across these pics the other day, and must say, I pretty impressed with the progress. Changing a landscape may take time, but it can be done!

 
It may not be a luscious David K. lawn, but at least I’m making progress… 10 points to the first commenter to note 8 improvements aside from the grass!

~Alex

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So we’ve added a few lenses to our kit since we got our DSLR last summer. It’s been fun to experiment and learn about the strengths and weakness of different types of lenses. Our latest acquisition is a ultra wide angle 10-20mm lens, which is quite a bit different from the 50mm lens we got for Christmas.

Wikipedia explains focal length like this:

The focal length f, is the distance from the front nodal point to the object to photograph S1, and the distance from the rear nodal point to the image plane S2 are then related by:

 \frac{1}{S_1} + \frac{1}{S_2} = \frac{1}{f}  . As S1 is decreased, S2 must be increased. For example, for a camera with a focal length of f = 50 mm. To focus a distant object (S_1\approx \infty), the rear nodal point of the lens must be located a distance S2 = 50 mm from the image plane. To focus an object 1 m away (S1 = 1000 mm), the lens must be moved 2.6 mm further away from the image plane, to S2 = 52.6 mm.


Horrifically boring, right?

But, check out the difference between these two pictures; taken from the same spot but with different lenses:

10mm

50mm

I have loved starting to explore what kind of shot I can get from the different lenses and focal lengths. It seems, much like music, the art of photography parallels mathematical logic. Maybe Science, Art, and Nature are not all that far apart.

Luna, for one, definitely appreciates the combination of science, art, and nature that goes into creating a wonderful German lager.

~Alex

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 Meredith’s Grandma Beck’s Crackles

Sometimes in life, being organized is just plain nice. I tend away from the orderly but when life gets crazy I always come running back.

Most recently, we’ve started using our Google calendars to plan our meals by the week instead of 1 or 2 hours in advance. I kind of miss running to the grocery store every night, but it certainly adds some calm to our schedule. Plus, you can anticipate good ideas for days like bbq’d tempeh sandwiches or cookies for a friend.

 Tempeh Simmered in Bittman’s Homemade Barbecue Sauce

BTW, I think that Tempeh made be my new favorite food. Hearty, Cheap, Nutritious, and Delicious. If I ever stop being vegetarian I’ll have to think of meat as a tempeh substitute…

~Alex

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If you are one of our three faithful readers, you may be wondering what arosko has been up to lately. Or you might have hinted about when arosko might post next (hi, Kimi!).
Well, we have been keeping ourselves busy waiting for spring. First off, we’ve actually followed through on some New Year’s resolutions (I know, right?). Our new elliptical machine and Friday yoga classes are helping us towards our goal of a more active lifestyle.

We’ve also successfully traded in our “carbs and cheese” diet rut for the “beans and greens” route. It is not only much healthier, but so much more satisfying!
What else? Loving the Olympics…being a piano accompanist for dozens of student soloists…bringing order to our chaotic basement….catching up on Lost (omg fake Locke is so scary!)…becoming square foot gardening masters…video chatting with our new niece…dreaming of warmer days…

And oh PS – I’m FISH negative! Ah, the wonders of modern medicine.
Here’s to hoping the snow melts soon – and an original recipe to get you through these last days of winter :)
~Sonja

Cabbage, Bean and Farro Stew
We made up this recipe tonight (based on this one) and it was one of the best soups we’ve ever made! It is chock full of every nutrient you might want. Choose your own quantities depending on how much soup you want to make – soup is very forgiving, so you can’t go wrong!
1. Cook some dried beans of your choice. The standard method is to soak them overnight and then boil them until they are soft (around 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the variety). We cooked them in a Crockpot while we were at work, which also did the job…though they got fairly soft.  Drain the beans and set aside.
2. Bring water to boil in a stock pot or dutch oven.
2. In a skillet, saute some minced garlic, chopped onion, carrot and celery in olive oil. When they are soft, add them to the water in the stock pot.
3. Chop some whole canned tomatoes and add them to the mix.
4. Throw in about one cup of farro or other whole grain of choice (barley, quinoa, etc).
5. Let this mix boil for a while. Then add some chopped cabbage (we used 1/2 head).
6. When everything is soft (maybe around 30 minutes total), add the beans back to the mix. Then add some chopped kale (we used purple flowering kale, since that was all that was at the grocery – it added great color!).
7. Add a fair amount of kosher salt and some fresh ground pepper to taste.
Enjoy with some grated parmesan!