Schezwan Hands

Yellow Swallowtail

As it turned out Anne ended up doing the painting in the bathroom. This freed me up and allowed me to do some cooking. I prepared another batch of Maque Choux or what I call Cajun corn. I love this dish and I have made it often enough that I’ve started to ad-lib a little with the recipe. In particular I now eschew the use of fresh corn for frozen. It is much easier and all of the other ingredients kind of overwhelm the corn anyway. The recipe calls for hot peppers and even though the finished dish is not too spicy, I managed to burn myself by handling them again. My right hand is feeling a little burned. I’m sure though that this little bit of pain will be worth the final product.

In-between spells in the kitchen, I took the RAV4 into the dealer for its first checkup. Going to the cabin, we had finally put enough miles on the car to activate its nag-ware that kept reminding us that it was time for some service. I think all that they did was check on things. The car is still brand new, with barely has 5,000 miles on it after eight months of ownership.

In sense, I am suffering something like buyer’s regret with the RAV4. Don’t get me wrong I still really love our new car, but with the plague it hasn’t been as useful as I had planned it to be. For example, we went from March to June on just one tank of gas. It’s a hybrid, but it doesn’t get that great a mileage! We specifically bought the car to do epic road trips, not to drive just a few miles to the park. In this sense, though no fault of its own is has been a disappointment. A similar thing occurred when we bought the Prius. While we were shopping for that car, gas was pushing five dollars per gallon. Almost as soon as we took delivery though, gas dropped to two dollars per gallon and has been hovering there ever since. I just can’t win for losing.

Droning On

Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche and Pineapple Gazpacho

First off, a follow-up from yesterday’s post. Behold, our lovely repast! It was as much fun to eat as it was to prepare, plus we have plenty of leftovers for today.

Dan’s New Drone in a Box

What should I blog about now? Oh, I know what I can drone on about now, Dan’s new drone. Bought secondhand, he saved so much money on it that I can only guess at its cost. Here it is in its rather rugged, but also snazzy looking carrying case. Dan and Britt hope to eventually use it to get movie making gigs. They recently streamed a new movie that had lots of drone footage in it and ever since then, any new show that they watch they see even more such work. In addition to this purchase they are both taking an online Zoom class to help get FAA certified. You can fly a drone for free, but if you want to make money off of one, then you need to be certified. His may sound a little like a harebrained get rich quick scheme, but Dan knows someone who is already making his living doing this kind of drone work and knowing him, Dan figures that he could do it too. It beats just sitting around day-after-day.

As soon as word got out about his drone plans, everybody, including his brother, sent him an article about an incident involving a Bald eagle and a drone. It didn’t end well for the drone. Dubbed EGLE, for Michigan’s Environment, Great Lakes and Energy department, this state owned drone was supposedly attacked midflight. The case against the eagle is only circumstantial, no one saw an attack and an eagle just happened to be in the area when the drone crashed into Lake Michigan. Its wreckage was never recovered. Attorneys for the eagle would only comment that their client is federally protected, immune from prosecution and that includes from likes of state officials and their pesky drones.

Eagles aside, I think that a much graver danger to Dan’s new drone is some kite eating tree. Although getting taken out by a bird would make for a much better story. I got to believe that the flight envelope in and around Brooklyn is kind of narrow, but he could always drive out-of-town someplace to practice. When he eventually lands a gig, I imagine that permitting will be a big part of the job.

If the drone ever makes it to the cabin, then the whole eagle gambit may have some play. There is a Bald eagle’s nest on the point, at the far end of the beach. This summer, I even saw one of this nesting pair zoom down the beach, just above the waves. It was being chased by a flock of seagulls, probably because it had tried to eat one of them. In years past I saw an eagle successfully hunt a gull. It was floating in the water on a calm day. Coming from behind, the eagle thumped the gull on the head, circled and thumped it again, before on the third pass, snatching the stunned bird and flying away with it.

The EGLE drone was white and about the size of a seagull. I’m not saying it did, but if the eagle had attacked their drone, it might have seen it as a seagull. Dan’s drone is bigger and darker, about eagle size and is unlikely to be mistaken for a seagull. Maybe another eagle though? How territorial are eagles anyway?

COVID Hair No More

After months and months, Anne couldn’t stand it anymore and had her shaggy mane sheared. I had repeatedly offered to cut it for her, but she never had any interest in that. She was pleased before the haircut in its anticipation and doubly pleased afterwards with the results. No more COVID hair in her eyes anymore. 

Honeymoon Beach, St. John, V.I.

I don’t know if it was that Anne didn’t eat much yesterday or did my cooking just excite her appetite?  Earlier she had handed me this week’s food section from the paper and I got to work in the kitchen. The theme of the feature article was tropical dishes, as in a Slice of Summer Sunshine. They all seem to rely heavily on pineapple as an ingredient and I chose to prepare two for dinner tonight: Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche and Pineapple Gazpacho. They both first smack you with a citrus zest, but are then sweetly fruit flavored. The idea is if you can’t actually visit a tropical island now, at least you can eat as if you had.

Private Places

Vandeventer Place Gate

Well, I did a weeks worth of “cooking” on Sunday and except for breakfast, I didn’t use the stove. Breakfast was eggs and bacon, but I already told you about them. After breakfast and after our walk, I got to work in the kitchen. Using the Cuisinart, I first made pesto, which I promptly froze. It became one of the blocks of ice that we’ll be hauling up to the cabin next month. Next up was gazpacho, which I also mainly froze, but we will be having some of that this week. Finally, I made tabbouleh, which will be our base course this week, including both grain and veggies, but wait there is more. Bill and Mary invited us over to their house for an outdoor happy hour, the one that we were going to enjoy yesterday. Anne was feeling well today, so I packaged two sets of chips, dip (French onion and pup cheese) and veggies (celery and carrots). This way we could share our dish with our hosts in a socially responsible manner.

Bill and Mary live closer to Forest Park than we do, almost kitty-corner to its most northwest point. Last night, while we were having wine and snacks on their back porch, a little more than a mile east of us a drama was unfolding. I learned of it this morning, when I checked Twitter and saw that St. Louis was trending. Never a good thing. A Black Lives Matter protest had begun a march to the city mayor’s house, to protest the doxing that she had done earlier of other protesters. They were marching to her home to demand her resignation. There were several hundred protesters, They were loud and apparently they broke down a gate (or maybe not) and entered a private street called Portland Place. 

Starting in the late 19th-century these private places became popular in Saint Louis among the well to do. More akin to a neighborhood association than a gated community, they were formed to address the problems that arose from a lack of any zoning regulations in the city at the time. The photo with this post is of one of the gates for a private place that didn’t make it, called Vandeventer Place. The gate is purely decorative and was not meant as an impediment to access. This gate somehow made it to Forest Park, where it is still on display.

Anyway, two white homeowners hearing the commotion of the passing protest, took matters into their own hands, when they appeared in their front yard and confronted the protesters with their guns. A brief standoff between the 1st and 2nd amendment ensued, until cooler heads prevailed and the protesters moved along. Photos and video of the two homeowners went viral and the Twitterati were not kind, pointing out that neither person knew how to handle their gun and asking why had both of them shown up to a gunfight while barefoot?

According to reports, the homeowners are both personal injury lawyers. Their truly elegant home was featured in St. Louis Magazine. Built in the 19th-century, as an Italian palazzo, by a scion of the Busch dynasty, it is purported to be the most beautiful home in Saint Louis. It wasn’t so nice, when this couple first acquired the place, but 30 years of work has transformed it back to its former aristocratic splendor. All of that accomplishment has now been tarnished, by one evening’s rash decision to brandish firearms. Maybe if they had taken the time to put on their shoes first, none of this would have happened?