Apr 30, 2012

Cold water and poison ivy


Slickrock creek lower falls

I managed to get my feet wet in very cold water on a couple of occasions last weekend.



Slickrock creek

As usual I look at the pictures later and say as I always do, It was worth it. And I’d do it again.

Well the poison ivy part no, but it’s hard to get near any water in east Tennessee without dodging poison ivy.



Slickrock creek



This one is of a little bit of a falls in Cades cove.

At Cades Cove I was out with one of the three amigos and one new amigo, I forgot his name, so I’ll call him “blue shirt”. We were on the other side of this stream, I took a few pictures from that side, then took my shoes off and rolled up the pants and headed out into the middle. Took a few from there. When I got back Blue Shirt says “I think the best angle is from the bank on the other side.”

Let me tell you the water was not exactly warm! But I got the T-shirt, I mean the picture.



Over in the swamp I had to go see if the grass was greener on the other side.



The Amigos are hiding behind trees on the other side.

I’ll have to try to come back sometime when there are deer wading.


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Apr 26, 2012

Tree munching bear


Out on Hyatt rd. this guy was chewing on branches. I thought he was waving to us but he was just reaching for a choice branch.



I don’t know if it was the texture or the taste



But what ever it was it really hit the spot.



No, I am not that close to the bear, I’m using an 18-200mm lens so I was able to be at a safe distance.



He was very busy getting his daily dose of cellulose fiber  



and not concerned at all with the crowd of on lookers. 



Next time you go to Cade's Cove look up in the trees, I mean way up in the trees, you never know what you might see.


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Apr 24, 2012

Strawberry cream cheese tart


I saw a picture of this in Good Housekeeping and had to make it.



chop up some chilled unsalted butter, or use salted butter that wasn’t all that chilled like I did. But work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too soft.



Cut the butter into flour, sugar and pinch of salt until the butter pieces are tha size of small peas.



Add some vanilla



and ice water by tablespoons so you don’t put too much water in. Use a fork, spatula, hand to gather the dough together. I use a combination of all the above.



Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or more.



Roll the dough out and find a plate the size that will fit on your baking sheet as a guide to trim a circle.



With your fingers bend the edges in and out to make fluted edges. Then pop into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes or so while the oven heats.

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until edges  start to get golden brown.



Mince some candied ginger. Do not laugh at my cutting board! It broke in half and works just fine for small things.



Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and ginger.



When the crust has cooled spread a layer on. 1/4”, 3/8” or so.



Arrange strawberry halves, larger ones on the outside stand them up, stem end down at an angle on the cream cheese mixture.



If the berry halves are too big, trim them a little.



Serve immediately. Or make ahead, but not too far ahead or the berries will be sad.


mini strawberry cream cheese tart

Any scrap crust you have  make into mini tarts.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Strawberry cream cheese tart recipe


 The crust

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

combine flour, salt, and 1/3 cup sugar. Add butter and cut into flour mixture until butter pieces are the size of small peas. Add vanilla, then ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, gather together with a spatula. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

On  floured surface roll dough into 8or 9-inch round. Using a plate as guide, and with sharp knife, cut  round from dough; discard trimmings. Reroll trimmings and make mini tarts.

Transfer rounds, to cookie sheet. Press one index finger against outside edge of dough round; with index finger and thumb of other hand, push dough around fingertip toward center to form a flute. Repeat around edge to make a decorative border. Refrigerate or freeze, on cookie sheet, about 10 minutes to firm dough slightly.Preheat oven to 375 degree F.

Bake dough 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool crust completely on cookie sheet on wire rack, about 20 minutes.

The cream cheese topping

  • 3 tablespoon(s) confectioners’ sugar,
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, each berry cut lengthwise in half

When crust is cool, in medium bowl,  mix cream cheese, sour cream, crystallized ginger, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar until blended. Spread cream cheese mixture on crust. Arrange strawberries, wide ends down, in concentric circles in cream cheese mixture to cover.

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Apr 22, 2012

The end of a beautiful day


Add one more to my list of favorite places for a sunset, the sunset on Douglas Lake.

There’s an island out in Douglas lake that’s a real nice place to watch the day come to an end.








Dandridge Dam


Dandridge Dam at night

Most of these are made from three photos using the bracketing setting. + and - 1.3 step.


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Apr 20, 2012

Fresh berries!


Strawberry time is one of my favorite times of year.



It seems to have come even earlier this year.


In a few days I think berry picking will be even better at Strawberry Knob farms.



I’m now thinking of things to make with strawberries.



Maybe a different variation of tart…

More later, I’ve got to go wash berries.



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Apr 18, 2012

Sprocket’s day on the river

Me and Larry are partners, we do things together. When we go out in the canoe I ride in the front and Larry sits in the back.

It’s just great floating along in a canoe.

I like the smell of the water and just the time to think. I think about a lot of things, like chasing cats now that's just good old fashioned fun. I think about other things I just can’t remember any of them. I always forget as soon as I’m done thinking about it.

I also like looking into the water, I see fish swimming and sometimes I see a big dog. Oh, that’s me.

I sit back down and watch straight ahead. It’s a great life we have, Larry and me. I can’t think of a single thing to make it better.
Well maybe a Wendy’s crispy burger. Yeah I like those. I like them a lot.

Did I tell you about the time I ate that Wendy’s burger –What’s that?

Oh, a Blue Herron. I could chase one…

Then Larry says “Sprocket.” That’s my name.

I sit down real quick. But then I remembered I was thirsty.

I heard something so I sit up and listen. A train, yes a train! It’s coming I can feel it.

Oh, yes it’s a train alright. I’ve never ridden on a train. I like riding in the truck with Larry even though he says I tear things up. I really don’t I just sometimes have to look out both windows on each side real quick. Ya know to smell the air as we go zooming down the road.

Oh,  I was telling you about the Wendy’s burger. There it was sitting on the table looking at me. I don’t know what happened, the next thing I knew I was standing on my back legs, front legs bent at the elbows leaning on the table and I was licking the last juicy drips off that paper.  
-What’s over there?

  I see some geese and give them a bark or two, just to say hello and tell them I see them.
They fly off. I like that.

It’s been a good day,

a real good day.

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