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  • Archive for September, 2011

    I can’t take credit for this recipe. Our field boss made these for us last spring at the Big Thicket project and ever since they have become a favorite. I didn’t grow up eating eggplant, in fact I only really ate it for the first time a few years ago. This is a very tasty dish, easy and for the most part healthy.


    Things you need:
    +Ciabatta buns or your favorite bread
    +Large slicing tomato
    +Good mozzarella, not the sliced kind.
    +Basil leaves
    +Olive Oil and spices to taste
    +Other condiments as necessary but it is not needed


    Slice, spice and grill the eggplant and tomatoes until tender. Apparently the eggplant will firm up again once it becomes tender. Grill the buns of the bread if interested.

    I think Chris puts the mozzarella on top of the tomatoes and eggplant while it is on the grill to get it to melt. Put the sandwich together and—mmmm, delicious!

    This pairs great with sweet potato fries!

    Went to DFW on Sunday and Monday to finish getting the rest of our stuff and to see the family. Here’s a small snapshot..

    Zoe showing off her purse sent from Elizabeth’s mom.

    Really excited about the animal inside the purse, too!

    Goofing off with my dad, PawPaw, during his lunch break.

    Grayson tucked away in his sleeper, cozied up in the blanket I made him.

    He smells so good!

    Pumpkin vines are taking over the side yard at my parent’s house!

    Grayson and my brother scoping the pumpkins out.

    Oh, we found a little pumpkin! He definitely didn’t like that and was swooped out quickly.

    There’s the real pumpkin!

    We’ve been decorating our house with some of our work. It is nice to see our work off of the computer and on the wall! Not only that, but it reaffirms that we are doing something right!

    Chris ordered canvas prints from Pixel 2 Canvas because they had a discount sale on particular canvas sizes. He opted for a 40×60 print of this shot taken in Fakahatchee Strand. The flowers up close are clamshell orchids, Encyclia cochleata. I was hesitant about the shot on the computer but I really love it printed. You can almost feel like you are walking through the swamp!

    I went back and forth on what I wanted to print. What I liked, Chris didn’t. Not to say he didn’t like them, just not for our decor. We ended up settling on this macro shot of butterfly orchids Encyclia tampensis taken at Myakka River State Park several years ago in Florida. I’m very happy with this shot and I know that I have some others of the butterfly orchids that I want to have printed one day.


    We had small prints done as well. This one and the next are mine.

    Shot at an angle to keep the flash from bouncing. Just quick shots done for the blog.

    Chris’ ghost orchid

    And a nocturnum orchid

    I can’t remember where Chris ordered this canvas from but it was different than Pixel 2 Canvas. This is the panther he saw last July in Fakahatchee.

    Drop by Wildscape Photo and look at our galleries. Some of these photos are not on our galleries yet but are available for print if desired. Print Pricing. And if you want you can ‘like’ us on Facebook on the top left of the blog here. If you see something you like feel free to email me and we can discuss what you may be interested in and the sizes you would like! oceanicwilderness at gmail dot com

    The garden is coming into full swing. Soon we will be harvesting daily or at least every other day and putting food away for the winter. I’m very excited about this!

    The golden zucchini was half this size on Saturday evening. We had about 20 minutes to run by our plot and water and check on things after four days doing field work and before heading to DFW for the weekend. We opted not to pick the squash because how could it have gotten much larger?

    Apparently it could have gotten much larger! It’s ginormous! I love the flower bud still attached to the cucumber in this photo.


    I tried to get Chris to pose with them since he’s the one taking care of them mostly and the one who picked them. Instead he made me model them for you. You can see I dug out my crochet tunic I made a few years ago to wear today. Good option! I need to wear my own clothes more often!

    We cut up half the zucchini and used it in Randy’s pasta sans sausage and Chris forgot to get goat cheese or feta so it was cheese-less. But this was really good! The rest of the squash went into the freezer for use at a later date.

    The cuke is being held until we get a few more so we can turn them into pickles. This pickle fiend is excited!

    With books. The Hunger Games trilogy to be exact. Over the last week that’s what I’ve been reading. Of course I could read them all at once but other things have gotten in the way. Work for example. Went back to the field for a few days to the Big Thicket in Beaumont, so paired with my reading I don’t have much time for blogging.

    I will need to take a break from reading to tackle some creative projects though. Julia Cameron in The Artists Way writes that reading is often a good excuse not to get things done. And she’s right. Reading, at least for me, is very consuming. Ask my parents about my growing up years and books. So once I get through this I will be hitting some projects hard.

    But when I’m ready to read again, what should I read? Give me your book suggestions!

    So I made these two baby hats for some coworkers out of scrap yarn I had in my stash. Always a good thing to find a way to use leftover yarn!

    Leo obliged me with some modeling…

    A nice profile view.

    Not sure about this mom!

    But really, I’m just a cute baby!

    Of course Leo and Samson are no strangers to modeling! Hehe!

    Mentally I was prepared for a 10-12 mile hike. Because our maps were conflicting and not quite accurate we ended up on a 16 mile hike and I could feel it at the end. Hiking as much as we have hiked in the last year and a half it is easy to gauge how far we travel. Sometimes I think that since we are going on a day hike that I don’t need to prepare as if I’m thru-hiking. That’s a mistake! I learned when we hiked to the giant sycamore and wore cotton socks. This time I didn’t wear my hiking underwear…bad idea. Chafing! I wore the right socks but wasn’t in my normal boots so I ended up with some blisters, one that ended up blood filled, something I’d never had before.

    It was an enjoyable hike, though. I’m always bummed when I go places that don’t seem to get much use. We were in some fairly far out regions of the forest and I wonder how often anyone comes through there. A few forest roads access that area so one can get in that way, though.

    We ended up making a large loop out of the North Wilderness Trail and then connecting the west end of the Little Lake Creek Loop, back to the Pole Creek Trail that we’d taken on our last hike. Chris found a better map online and figured it to be about 16 miles. I had guessed 18.



    A small patch of snow-on-the-prairie, Euphorbia bicolor, made me opt for a photo stop. Can you tell sedentary work life is catching up with me? Hrm. More running and yoga needed.




    Not too far after this point we heard thunder and Chris thought we might be half way at this point. If we’d been on the right trail and our maps weren’t messed up. Good thing the main storm bypassed us, but we did get a five to ten minute sun shower a little while later.


    We saw a lot of deer on the trail, plus a pack of three dogs that appeared to know where they were going, and then this little turtle. I think this little friend is a three toed box turtle.



    We were supposed to have been on this trail for most of the time, however the map was labeled wrong. Then we chose to go to the right and took the long route. Had we gone left we’d of done the 10-12 miles we’d estimated originally. Oh well! Adventure!

    One of the few water sources we saw.

    A luna moth dead on the trail.


    And another small water source.

    I need to be out doing 16 miles every weekend! Love the feeling after a good hike and being out in the woods. I’m disappointed that there is this huge forest right near a large metropolitan area and it is not used nearly like it should be. Maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t know? But, Ocala National Forest is right by Orlando and Ocala and gets heavy use, Chris says mostly because of the springs, but lots of hiking goes on in that area. Texans are missing out!

    I think a few people, Katie specifically, who were interested in what we made for our dinners since we pre-plan right now. Here’s a sampling of our meals for the past week:

    We kicked off with homemade pizza last week. Chris used a dough recipe he found in a cookbook from the library, a recipe we really love. I think it would even be a great flatbread/dipping bread, too. He made two crusts for us to each have our own pizzas the way we wanted them.

    He had a little extra dough so he made a few mini pesto pizzas to much on. Very good!

    A few weeks ago we were looking for something particular in the pepper section and they typically put more Latin foods in this section. We saw the corn husks and thought making tamales we be fun! Well, Chris ended up making them and he said they were quite a pain to be making every month, but I think the results were great! We did vegetarian tamales and I really love how they turned out. We have enough for at least a few more meals in the freezer.

    I’m a bit bummed on how this turned out because we had to improvise. Our grocery store just isn’t as varied as I thought it might be, it carries whole tamarind fruits just not the jarred tamarind sauce needed for the pad Thai. Instead Chris bought a package of rice noodles with sauce that came with it but the sauce just wasn’t enough and not enough to taste. I’ll have to pick up the extra ingredients in the ‘big town’ when we go.

    The corn patties were a second meal for these guys. I actually didn’t eat much that night because I’d had a bunch of snacks at a baby shower at work so I think I ate one of them that night. Chris made a bunch of these corn patties up a few weeks before and froze them for a second meal later, which was this night. We found the recipe in a meatless Mexican cookbook. They taste great! Chris had a salad with his, I think we made beans and rice with them the first time around.

    We had a heavy lunch on this day, Saturday, so a late dinner of salad was what we opted for. Since we had a few corn patties left from the night before we threw them in the salad. Perfect!

    Last night we opted for spaghetti squash ‘spaghetti’ which I really love. Chris was lamented the fact that the squash cost $6 but then I told him that it was a pretty good bargain because we got several meals out of it. Including last night’s meal we had enough for leftovers, some to freeze and then we used some in tonight’s meal. So, if you think about it it wasn’t that pricey at all. We used meatless ‘meat’ crumbles and spaghetti sauce to top.


    So part of the squash ended up in the vegetable lasagna we had tonight. This was really good! I remember my mom making a vegetable lasagna when we were growing up and I think we all hated it, mom included. This was really good! We had the squash, a potato (ask Chris, he wanted that one), garlic, kale, calabaza squash, shallots, parsley and then the regular lasagna fixins. Plus some veggie ‘meat’ crumbles. We have enough for lunches and another dinner later on!

    So, that’s a sample of what we had made this last week. It really is pretty easy and sometimes when you are making a meal for the first time the budget might be larger, but once the staple ingredients are on hand it is easy to get the rest for cheap.

    If you are interested in making meals at home that are affordable and bought locally, Chiot’s Run did a series on her $5 challenge. I wish we had one of the shops she went to! I’m lucky that we can buy local eggs; I bet we could source other things if we looked.

    Share your meals with me! Do you have any ideas (vegetarian please!) that we could try?

    Chris spends most mornings at the plot watering and doing random chores. Right now we’re waiting on compost before starting more seeds in other beds. Here’s a snapshot of what’s going on:

    Watermelon’s from a school’s plot. We took one of them but it was not quite ripe and very seedy.

    Chris hand pollinated a few watermelon flowers to see if he could get a few more out of the season.

    Brussels sprout seedlings…I think Chris said Long Island Improved is the variety.

    sweet potato
    Sweet potato vine flower

    Remember it a few weeks ago?

    Sumter cucumbers.

    More cukes

    The corn and zucchini bed

    Little zucchini flowers!!


    I went around doing random low-to-the-ground shots without looking through the lens…

    And macro watermelon flowers up top with a zucchini leaf on the bottom.

    Things are growing like crazy! Pays off that Chris is full time gardener right now!

    +Summer is gone. Well, not officially, the autumnal equinox is still a week or so away. But, the lighting is different, it gets dark earlier and light later. I don’t like the light later thing, rather I don’t like either one. I’d prefer if it got light at about 5:30am daily and got dark at about 10pm. Year round. At the very least, in the winter it should get dark only at about 8pm, no earlier.

    +Working on some posts for next week. I’ve got a list of adventure books that I’m writing about, plus I’ll have a post about a week of our pre-planned meals and how they work out. We’re going to do another long day hike this weekend so I’ll have a post on that I’m sure. Plus, I crocheted some baby hats for two coworkers that are having kids soon and so I had Leo model them for me. He’s good at that. Samson wouldn’t cooperate so Leo got the modeling duties.

    +Trying this yoga thing about more. I got a really good book at the library, so good I renewed it. Right now I am working on mastering some poses before I start working on a series of poses. I am out of shape. Yes, hiking all those miles in the last year was good cardiovascularly but my stretching ability is almost nonexistant. I can still touch my toes but my days of doing splits and other gymnastic tricks are long gone. I always drool at the really cool yoga poses like scorpion pose, but I know I have to work my way up. Right now I am focusing on headstand, which I’ve been able to get up in and stay for several seconds, but my goal is to get to a minute in the nearer future. Was mostly inspired by Katie’s post on it. Yesterday I was up for a few seconds and came down early because I noticed ants walking across the floor. They looked very large and much darker upside down!

    +Part good news on my hard drive problem, I found some tiff files without my signature on the files of all of my photos that are on our website. Bummer news it that other files besides that are still on the hard drive. So, I can print ‘good’ photos but other photos I don’t know about. I’m also going to be eliminating some photos from the portfolio; I decided there are several that aren’t strong enough. Frankly I do not like a lot of my landscapes, I’m just not that strong at them.

    +Chris and I are getting two large canvases of our photos printed. See, I’m pretty easy going on agreeing to a photo but Chris usually doesn’t like what I like. So, we’ve had to debate on what photos of mine to print. It is very frustrating! Anyway, the one of mine we decided to print isn’t on the website but hopefully in the next few weeks it will be. I’m going to be reworking them all and then getting much more serious about selling stuff. Still up in the air about portrait photography. Really want to do it but not sure how to go about finding clients, especially in a new area. Hrm.

    +Just finished a book that I will be chronicling on the adventure book post, but I’m about to delve into teen novels with The Hunger Games. I actually don’t know much about it, kind of how I was with Twilight. My basic premise for reading them is to read the books before the movie comes out, much like I did with Twilight. I read it literally days before it came out in theaters. I come late to the game most of the time. I was going to lament that one of my favorite recent YA series A Great and Terrible Beauty should be made into a movie and what does Google get me?….a movie! in 2013. Sweet! Well, crap. More digging has given me this movie canceled from the author herself. Damn!

    +I guess that’s about it. I need to spend some time doing some creative things in the next week…getting some projects rolling more.

    +Oh yeah, our AT/FT friend Speaker….he’s paddling the Mississippi from Source to Sea. Right now!


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