Tuesday, July 23, 2013


My nine year old computer is essentially dead, the fan is broken and the video card is none to happy either. Since it is a very geriatric system that long ago topped out with XP (a soon to be orphaned operating system), it is time for a new computer.  n the mean time I'll only rarely post as it is awkward to do it on my phone. My children will happily let me  commandeer their laptops, but then I feel pressured. So until then enjoy your summer!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


worried Dell by Teckelcar
worried Dell, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Dell had a very tough start to the week. Monday morning I got the dogs ready for their big walk around the neighborhood. As always they wee raring to go and dashed ahead of me as we went through the garage to the side door. While I was getting a poopy bag from our collection of plastic shopping bags we keep in the garage for such purposes, the red boys whipped around the van to wait at the door. I wasn't very far behind them and soon I was at the back of the van only to be shocked at the sight be for me.

A two foot long copperhead snake was coiled directly behind my van, pressed tightly against the closed overhead garage door.

Dell was nowhere to be seen and snake was pacing about om the other side of the snake. He was clearly interested, but oddly silent and wary. After repeatedly telling John to "Leave It" I got him to stand down. Now I had a puzzle, how to get the dog away without either or us getting bit or losing track of the snake. As I surveyed the assorted tools and brick-a-back available I settled on our garden spade, it was just the right size to cover up the snake enabling me to call over John.

Once I had John in hand I put him back in the house. I had to off the snake and there was no way I could safely do that with a loose dog such as John. He would pretty quickly figure out my intentions and would rush in and "help." Once the dog was secure I had to decided on my instrument of doom. I settled on the spade, again, due to it's relatively sharp edge and long handle. The first whack was a failure, but with the second I nailed it right behind the head and thus I had an exsnake. I scooped its mortal remains into a bag and gingerly tied it up and put it on top of the trash can.

At this point I saw a very frightened Dell. He refused to go around the back of the van, I had to coax him around the front amongst the bikes. The poor boy was limping, this front left leg being held awkwardly out from his body. He clearly had been hit by the snake in the leg.


I called the vet and told them what was happening and I would be coming in. Having gone through this with Crunch (he got nailed in the ear) I knew it was life threatening, but he would still need treatment. At the last minute I tossed the dead snake in the back of the van. I was 95% sure, but it would be could to get confirmation.

The one funny part of this whole ordeal was when I was at the vet's office. I asked the vet if he wanted to see the snake and got an enthusiastic yes. Once I brought it in the vet confirmed the species and gave an impromptu lecture on copperheads to all the techs and myself. When he was done he asked if I wanted it back.

Ah no, he was welcome to keep it.

Dell then spent a miserable day at home, barely able to hobble about. He did perk up and dinner, but shortly afterwards staggered into his crate for the night. The next day, Tuesday) Dell was much improved with just a minor limp that diminished as the day wore on.  Buy Wednesday he was pretty much back to normal.

However, he is very leery of walking past the back of the van.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Artist of the Week: Piñata

Jacob by Teckelcar
Jacob, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is a rather valiant Jacob.

I took this photo of him near the end of the school year, The sword he is wielding is in actuality a piñata. It was an extra credit project for his Spanish class and he really knocked it out of the park. His teacher liked it and asked if she could keep it as an example for future classes. Jacob was happy to gift it to her and I was even happier to not have it add to the mess in our house.

Jacob did, however, bring it home to show off and have a few pictures taken. He was justifiably proud of his work and wanted us to see his creation. Then it was packed off back to school a couple of days later.

sword by Teckelcar
sword, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
He had told me in advance he was going to bring home his piñata, but never told me what it looked like. I had a mental image of the type you find at parties, you know something like these seven pointed stars that are filled with candy. So you can imagine my surprise when he came out of the school with a sword. A really nice and sturdy short sword. I know they can be any shape, but I (wrongly) assumed it would be a traditional shape since it was made for Spanish. Ah well, live and learn.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baking With Julia- Summer Vegetable Tart

Summer Vegetable Tart by Teckelcar
Summer Vegetable Tart, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's baking challenge was a savory Summer Vegetable Tart. to see other Tarts head on over to Baking with Julia. Since there is no host I'll give a brief run down on the recipe.

For the crust I used half a package phyllo dough, each sheet  brushed with clarified butter and seasoned with freshly ground pepper. The sheets wee draped on a 9 inch tart pan with the edges resembling the points of a handkerchief. The dough was then baked for a bit under 10 minutes in a 375 oven. It was then placed on a rack and allowed to cool.

About an hour before serving saute in olive oil a sliced onion and two cloves of garlic. Once the onion is translucent add two sliced peppers and a half a pound of sliced mushrooms. Once the peppers are soft remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste, fresh thyme, and half a cup of crumbled goat cheese. The objective to to warm the cheese, not melt it.

The dish is best slightly warm or at room temperature.

I was very pleased with how the phyllo dough worked out for me. Sometimes it can be a royal pain, shredding every time you handle a sheet. I got the corners all artfully draped and backed to a lovely golden color. The filling was delicious, at least to the older half of the family, those 14 and under really didn't care for it. My only complaint was how messy the dish is to serve, the phyllo dough would keep breaking off. Mess aside it is a recipe well worth repeating. I had it as a vegetable side dish for my chicken piccata and the light lemon flavors worked well with the tart.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fear of Flying

A fun little movie about a bird with a fear of flying. Created by Conor Finnegan, the Dublin artist explores a narrative style beyond gags and develops both storyline and characters. For a full rundown on the film check out its page over at Short of the Week.

FEAR OF FLYING from conorfinnegan on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cathedral of Trees

Cathedral of  Trees by Teckelcar
Cathedral of Trees, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I can't believe it, we got an actual sunny day. An event that has been far too infrequent this summer.

I took this picture of Max up at my cousins on another of those rare dry days. We had climbed the hill behind the house and found a short track in the woods. It was at most 50 yards, but the effect was almost cathedral like.

The tall trees reaching up and arching overhead enclosed an open area within the woods. It was cool and inviting after the hot and open field. I would have lingered longer, but Max had other places to go off to.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer in Vermont

Summer in Vermont by Teckelcar
Summer in Vermont, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Since today was such a wet and dreary day I thought this would a nice bright and cheerful way to end the week.

I really like this picture, I took it last week in Vermont. It was a spur of the moment idea to put the dandelion in the foreground with the the mountains fading into background.

We were all tromping down the hill when I saw the dandelion towering over the other plants. I did a quick shot and immediately liked what I saw. All I did was straighten out the picture and crop it just a bit.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rainbow in Vermont by Teckelcar
Rainbow in Vermont, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I am so sick of rain.

It has rained almost every day this summer with the added bonus of some sort of thunderstorm rolling in every couple of days. Last night's storm was particularly notable. The thunderclaps shook the house numerous times and at one point is was almost like the fourth of July.

It even rained during our grand tour of up north. The rivers were running high and fast with no hope of their going down in the near future. Once again we missed out on fireworks.

On the upside we have seen plenty of rainbows. I caught this one up at my cousin's house in VT. It stretched all across the sky and lingered for quite some time. The only other benefit is that I have yet to turn on our sprinkler system. With all the rain we are getting the lawn is just fine, thank you very much.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Artist of the Week: Portrait

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca is this week's artist. I took this picture of her at my cousin's house in Vermont. Since my mom moved to her apartment we can no longer stay with her. Instead, my cousin has generously opened his vacation house to us. It is located about a half an hour away from where my mom lives and is in a sparsely populated area. That said, it is a wonderful retreat.

Surrounded by the beauty of New England and with no internet, we try to do things outside. Unfortunately it is the summer of rain and we were limited on what we could do. All my favorite swimming holes were closed and I was leery of going on a big hike and most likely getting rained on. However we did spend some time climbing the hill in back of the house, picking wildflowers along the way.

Anna by Teckelcar
Anna, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Anyhoodle, the art was an incidental find at the end of the school year.

Way back in June Max was AotW with a small castle he made in art class. The castle was put on display in the main administration building and a note was sent home informing me that Max had something on exhibit. It took a while, but I eventually went to go have a look-see.Much to my surprise, Jacob (who I had just picked up from school) found a picture by Rebecca.

It is a portrait of Rebecca's friend Anna. I'm not familiar with the
particular style of the drawing, but I am sure I will be duly informed when I ask. As for the drawing itself, Rebecca did a good job capturing the essence of her friend. Drawing on black paper is not easy and Rebecca was able to make it work.

The picture was a very nice surprise.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

En Vacances

En Vacances by Teckelcar
En Vacances, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As my tiny handful of readers guessed, we were away last week. It was a whirlwind tour of two grandmothers and an old friend spanning four states,not counting the ones we drove through. It was exhausting, but quite fun.

We ate far too much good food, drank too much good beer, and didn't get enough exercise (stupid never ending rain). I think we all wished we could have stayed longer with each of our hosts, but it felt very good to finally come back home.