Friday, July 31, 2009

Under the flight path...


Anna: We seem to be under the flight path of any airshow-type demonstrations! We got buzzed a few times during the Capitol Ex. Yesterday, I have no idea what was going on - practise sessions, perhaps? - when we suddenly heard the roar of plane engines. I got onto our balcony in time to see several Snowbirds disappearing over our roof. I grabbed my camera, but by then I only saw 3 planes turning in the distance.

Noticing my lens was covered with dust again (it's like a dust magnet!!), I sat on our patio swing and started brushing the dust. That's when I heard them coming. I looked up in time to snap 4 photos of the formation coming in over the valley, then disappearing over our roof.

As far as I can tell, most of these planes are Snowbirds escorting an F18, but there's one plane at the rear, right, that I can't identify.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ew alert!

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: A crappy picture, but I now understand why our cat lost her tooth. It had been sticking out sideways for several days before it just disappeared.

And my daughter solved the mystery of what happened to it, when she found it on the rug in the living room.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bird Dance

Philippe: So we hear a Jet go by overhead; it's the snowbirds.. by the time I get out there with a camera, they're long gone. this is the consolation prize :P


Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: The current heat has been very rough on my lettuces, and the herbs aren't doing much better. I've been turning planters, chasing the shade and watering diligently. Even then, I have to be careful, as the watering can I keep full outside ends up with water too hot to comfortably touch!

Here, my blooming basil is perking up with a bit of moisture. My thyme is blooming now, too.

Philippe: Anna mentioned she watered things again... :)


I love my macro lens :D
p.s. I need to clean those beads; they're getting dusty

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lens Flare

Going through the maintenance routine on lenses doesn't have to be boring :)


Apparently, two military jets were working out at the downtown airport.. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just hangin'

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: The girls and I went back to Taste of Edmonton to use up the last of our tickets before heading to the library. The square is looking beautiful this time of year, with the gardens at their peek, much to the delight of the bees. I didn't have the macro lens, but still managed a couple of ok photos using the 18-55mm lens. Bees are solar powered - with the heat and sun we're having right now, they were doing double time! I was lucky to get the few shots I did. :-D

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Taste of Edmonton, 2009

Taste of Edmonton, 2009
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: More photos here.

The girls and I took in this year's Taste of Edmonton food festival. I'm so glad we timed it to miss the lunch rush!! As it was, when we caught a table in a bit of shade opening up, I had to leave the kids there to keep it while I went back to the booths to pick up new dishes. When we started packing up, someone else grabbed it right away. *L* It was a lot of fun, though the 28C heat made it a bit difficult to enjoy. There was a wide variety of dishes to try - I made notes of what we got at the above link - with prices ranging as high as 5 coupons. Coupons were $1 each unless purchased in advance. I got 2 sheets (30 tickets) in advance for the 10% discount. We still have some left, and my daughters suggested we keep them for tomorrow, when we're back in the area for library day.

We plan to be there earlier in the day, before the lunch rush and the predicted 27C temperatures!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Brother Cadfael evening

A Brother Cadfael evening
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Last night we hosted the first of what we hope to be many historically-themed dinners. It was a fantastic success!

This evening combined two interests of mine - Medievel cookery and the Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. The character was born in Wales, lived an adventurous life as crusader and sailor before settling down in England and becoming a monk. This gave a wide range of possible cultural dishes from the time period, which took place in the first half of the 1100's.

In this photo, you're seeing the first remove (course) of the evening. The leek soup is a Welsh recipe our guests made, and was quite delicious. The breads are a rye and multi-grain, purchased from a store that sells stone-oven type baked breads. (Most people during the time period would not have had ovens, if they were allowed to bake their own bread in the first place, and had to buy their bread from the local baker). Fresh fruit, a selection of cheeses, herbed butter, spiced "wine" and berry juice round out the start of the meal. Oh, and the white stuff in the bowl is salt. These would have been put in front of the person of highest status during a meal.

You'll also notice the place settings include a knife and a spoon, but no fork. Forks weren't used for quite a while yet.

The second remove included a chicken stew our guests chose that had beef in it as well (it was oh, so tender and flavorful!), mushroom pasties (we'll be making those again!), and a salat (salad) of fresh greens and leek with an oil, vinegar and fresh herb dressing. Most of the salad recipes I found were much more complex, but they used whatever was avialable during the season, so that's what I made it with. These were all eaten off trenchers.

The third remove was a bit more challanging - baked apple and a strawberry tart. The strawberry tart included an ingredient we'd never encountered before. A google search had 0 results! So we made a vague guess based on the fact it was pourable and used a strawberry syrup. Both the strawberry tart and baked apple recipes had no quantities and what instructions there were, were very confusing. The apple dish included egg yolk, of all things. So we winged it. ;-) They turned out all right.

One thing's for sure. Folks in the 12th century ate very well! The dishes were wonderfully flavored and satisfying. Our meal, with only a few dishes in 3 removes, was quite a lot simpler than the menus I've looked at from the time period. We didn't even try for something fancy, either. Some of the recipes (or should I say, reciepts) were incredibly elaborate.

My older daughter is already talking about a future evening. Perhaps with an ancient Egyptian them, or pioneer cooking. Whatever it ends up being, we'll definately be doing it again!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: The Street Performer's Festival happens at a really bad time of year. This is when we get lots of thunderstorms and pouring rain. The last two or three days had high winds, pouring rain and even tornado warnings.

Which worked out, I guess. The girls have been fighting summer colds. My younger daughter was feeling well enough to head downtown for a quick stop at the library; yesterday was our regular library day. The festival is right across the street, so we checked things out.

This juggler of flaming batons was someone who's show we just caught the end of. Other photos we took are available for viewing here. For a friday afternoon, the crowds were pretty thick, so we couldn't get close to any of the performances.

Zoom is such a wonderful thing. I could see things better after uploading them to the computer than while we were there!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just a little battered

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: We've had some pretty wicked weather lately. First, high winds yesterday, then pouring rain today. The rain was badly needed, though too late for some of the farmers surrounding the city.

Strangely, our balcony has absolutely no shelter from the wind. There are walls on two sides, plus the building itself in the back. Instead of blocking wind, they seem to instead act as a funnel, forcing the wind to blow in circles inside the balcony. Near the floor was only slightly better, so I moved the rail planters down. A couple of my basil were bent over at the stem bases. I don't think they were broken through and should survive, but we'll see. The driving rains battered my second sowing of spinach almost flat. Again, I'm pretty sure they'll survive. I hope they do. The first sowing is starting to bolt, so I'll have to harvest them tomorrow.

Things seem to have calmed down, so I tucked all the planters close together for a picture before putting things back in their various places. This is my entire balcony garden, all in one place.

For a first year, I'm quite happy with it. :-)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Street Performer's Festival, 2009

Elvis saying hello to a fan
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Today is our first visit to this year's Street Performer's Festival. It won't be our last! I've started a new set on flickr, if you want to see more photos and the odd video.

This has to be my favorite performer. I don't know what he calls himself, but I call him Robot Elvis. Usually, he's on a small pedestal doing his act, but he also interacts with the audience, as you can see here. I could watch his performance for hours!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Yesterday we had a full day of celebrations. I've uploaded photos in a Canada Day flickr set, some of which are also in my updated The Works Festival set - that festival ended on Canada Day.

Canada Day

We left too late, couldn't find a parking spot, and so got a really, really bad view of the fireworks..

Test shot to make sure the focus and shutter are right; if you notice the river boat, *that*'s about where we should have been :P

k.. the last picture refuses to actually *go* below the others, so it's staying here.

(Anna: fixed it...)