07 July 2013
22 June 2013
Then there's the sort of thing that happened to me today. I went out to Lake Wheeler Park and rented a kayak. It was a sit-on-top kayak, which I always find incredibly uncomfortable (I miss my old kayak, which was very comfy but also 16 feet long and a bit of a nightmare to take places), so I spent much of my paddling tour sitting lotus-style on the back end of the boat. This is very peaceful and calming but not conducive to getting anywhere very quickly.
I paddled down one arm of the lake to find the end. It was very quiet; there was a little drizzle, and consequently very few people on the water. I drifted along the shore, past what looked like an anhinga (couldn't have been though, right? This far north?) resting on a branch sticking out of the water, and down a small stream lined with alders. It was peaceful. I drifted by a turtle sitting on a log and the turtle didn't even feel the need to dive into the water.
The alder-lined stream got too narrow, so I went back out by the anhinga-lookalike and down the next channel. This was all rushes and cattails and willows, completely different from the almost exclusively alder community down the stream literally forty or so feet to the south. I pulled the paddle out of the water and laid back in the kayak and just drifted.
And a fish jumped in the boat.
Actually this was entirely terrifying. You don't expect a fish to jump in your boat, especially when you haven't seen any fish all day anyway. And it was so quiet and peaceful, light rain, almost no sound at all, and then *splash* there's a fish flopping around by your feet.
It wasn't a mullet, either (that would have been truly shocking in a small lake in inland North Carolina). I don't know what it was; I would guess some sort of lake bream or something, but it was pretty big, 14-18 inches. I've honestly never seen a bass in my recent life except in that Dan Aykroyd SNL commercial (and that may not have been a bass) so I wouldn't recognize one. This fish was not tall like a bluegill or crappie, though, so that's what it may have been.
I did not fall out of the boat but if I'd been sitting up lotus style on the back of it I definitely would have. As it was I struggled to get up and tried to grab the poor thing, but he kept slipping out of my hands. After probably two seconds (it seemed longer) the fish flopped out of my hands and out of the boat and back into the water. I watched him go; he stirred up the dirt on the bottom, and then jumped again a few feet away from the boat. Maybe he had a parasite he was trying to dislodge.
In any event, given the ease with which fish simply present themselves to me, it seems unsporting to actually go fishing.
Oh, hey, there aren't any trails at Lake Wheeler Park that I know of, apart from a par course. There's the lake. That's enough reason to go, right? Kayak rental is $5 an hour (they also have canoes and other sorts of floating things). You can park way closer to the rental building than I did; when you go for the first time, just keep driving toward the water and you'll see the final parking lot on the right when the only alternative is to drive into the lake.
19 June 2013
18 June 2013
13 June 2013
On my way home, I stopped by Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level. I like pretty much every winery I've ever been to (even the ones without any actual wines I liked), so henceforth just assume that if I mention a winery here, I'm encouraging you to visit. Hinnant has mostly muscadine and fruit wines, which aren't always my thing, but they make good use of the Blanc du Bois grape and the Norton is very good (there's a bottle of it in my wine fridge right now). And the blackberry wine would be out of this world with a slice of cheesecake. $5 gets you 8 tastings (your choice out of a list of about 20) and a glass.
10 June 2013
08 June 2013
14 January 2012
05 November 2011
This isn't quite the right recipe. I can't put my finger on exactly what needs to be changed, but no question I need more pineapple, less coconut, and probably something other than guava juice (really? On a blog called "Gin & Guavas" I'm posting a recipe that I need to cut the guava juice out of). But they are tasty.
I use the following recipe for my dry muffin mix:
1/3 c white whole wheat flour
1/3 c teff flour
1/3 c flax meal
1/3 c + 1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix together and combine with 1 egg and 1/4 c applesauce, and you have a basic muffin mix. Of course I use teff and flax instead of just wheat flour because they have more fiber, more vitamins and minerals, and quite frankly more flavor. I think everyone should add flax meal to their recipes; the teff flour is harder to come by. But of course you could just use 1 cup of regular flour. And most people would probably use closer to a full cup of sugar (but I was adding pineapple, and that's plenty sweet).
What I added for the tropical part of it was:
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 c crushed pineapple
3 tbsp guava nectar
3 tbsp chopped coconut (rehydrated)
1 tbsp chopped rehydrated banana chips (I'd prefer a banana, but I didn't have any).
fresh grated nutmeg (maybe about 1/4 tsp?)
This made six muffins. I'm single; I don't need to be making a dozen muffins at a shot.
Next time around I think I'll try mango or maybe passionfruit juice instead of guava, and less almond extract (perhaps none at all), and a little more pineapple, and maybe one less tbsp of the coconut. Still, a good first effort.