Random thoughts and such. Photos. Birbs. Woodworking. Recipes. Miscellany.


  • ¼ lb maple-smoked bacon, diced (we use Beck & Bulow wild boar bacon, which is lean enough that I need to put some oil in the pan)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Trout fillets
  • 1 C red split lentils
  • ½ C green beans (frozen will work, fresh are better)
  • 3 C water
  • ⅓ tsp red chile powder (to taste)


  1. Sauté diced bacon in 2 or 3 quart saucepan.
  2. Mix soy & maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. When bacon is cooked, but not crispy, pull bacon from saucepan and set aside. If there’s significant grease, save it for some biscuits.
  4. Put 3C warm water in saucepan, deglazing the pan & bring water to a boil.
  5. Place trout, skin down, on broiler pan and coat flesh side of trout with maple/soy mix.
  6. Broil trout, 9 minutes @ 400F, or 7-8 minutes if you don’t have a temperature setting on your broiler.
  7. Put lentils & beans in boiling water, and reduce to a simmer – simmer for 7-9 minutes, until lentils are done.
  8. Pull trout from broiler, and sprinkle with chile
  9. Add bacon to lentils.
  10. Serve and eat. Enjoy.

Total time, about 25 minutes.


The house finches are building a nest again in last year’s birdhouse. Yay!


Biscuits on a cooling rack

Makes about 15 biscuits. We ate 3 of them before I could take the picture.


  • 4 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ C honey
  • ¾ C bacon grease, chilled
  • 1 can (13oz-ish) coconut milk


  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Prepare a baking pan by placing a piece of baking parchment in it
  3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
  4. Add honey and bacon grease, and cut ingredients together until a “crumb” has formed
  5. Shake can of coconut milk well, open, and pour into bowl
  6. Stir ingredients together just until a dough forms
  7. Put dough onto a floured surface and fold and knead a few times
  8. Roll dough into ¾ inch thick sheet
  9. Cut out biscuits using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass, and place onto pan
  10. Reform leftover dough into a sheet and cut out remaining biscuits, placing onto pan
  11. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown on top
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack, or eat as soon as you possibly can without burning yourself


Based loosely on 5 Ingredient Dairy Free Biscuits

For each taco:

  • 1 large soft taco shell (burrito-size tortilla)
  • 1 trout fillet, approx 3oz
  • 1 half-strip bacon
  • 1 tsp orange oil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ⅛-¼ tsp Penzey’s Pico Fruta


  • About a half hour before cooking, coat the flesh side of each trout fillet with oils and spices
  • Grill or broil 7-10 min with bacon on top of trout
  • After broiling, remove bacon and turn it into crumbles, which get sprinkled on top of the trout (the bacon might need a minute or two more in a skillet, depending on your grill / broiler)

Salsa (enough for 4 tacos):

  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 8 round slices dill pickle, diced
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • ⅛-¼ tsp red New Mexico chile powder

Also chop up a tomato and have some dark greens (spinach, mustard, etc) and salsa verde for garnish.


Female bluebird sitting on the birdhouse

The birdhouse I built for our yard last year was sized for house finches. This year, I wanted to build a birdhouse for the bluebirds that are already trying to nest.

Gluing up the pallet wood to make wide enough pieces

As before, I used pallet wood, but the pieces I had on hand this year were smaller, so I needed to glue them up into wider boards.

Once the glue had dried, I picked one edge and planed that smooth and flat. Then I used that as a reference to mark the other three sides before cutting the pieces to size, and then finally planing the surfaces flat. I also drilled a hole in the front, and cut the corners off the bottom and left and right sides to provide ventilation.

Here are the measurements I used.

Then I glued and screwed everything together. I used a fancy hinge I had on hand. A friend pointed out that I could just as easily hinge one of the sides with a couple screws going into oversized holes. Next year!

Built birdhouse, in the shop

Then I dug a hole in the yard, put in a post, and mounted the birdhouse to it.

Birdhouse on post

I think it looks pretty good, and we can see it from our dining room table.

Birdhouse on post, front view

This morning, while we were eating breakfast, there was already a pair of bluebirds checking it out.

Female bluebird sitting on the birdhouse

#birb #woodworking

Pork and shrimp kebabs, on a plate


  • 1 pork chop
  • 1 packet Thai aromatic bbq (https://ASIN.cc/XVwgPf)
  • ¾ pound 16/20 shrimp, peeled, de-veined, with tail removed
  • ½ seedless English cucumber, (or an equivalent amount of zucchini or eggplant) cut into 1cm slices (18 slices)
  • 18 pearl onions
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp red chile powder
  • 1 oz soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dark honey


Night before

  • Cube pork chop (you’re looking for about 30 pieces) and marinate overnight in Thai aromatic bbq mix
  • Peel and clean shrimp, sprinkle with chile powder, and let sit overnight

Cooking time

  • Slice cucumber into 1cm thick slices
  • Peel pearl onions
  • Mix 1oz soy sauce with 1 tbsp dark honey and warm until honey dissolves (10 seconds in the microwave is plenty)
  • Load up the skewers: pork, shrimp, cuke, onion, tomato, pork, tomato, cuke, onion, shrimp, pork
  • Grill, about 7-10 minutes per side, drizzling the kebabs with the honey and soy mix. Or broil, 8 minutes per side at 500F.
  • Serve in a pita or on couscous. Makes 9 kebabs. Serves 4.

#recipe #kebab

Not entirely traditional, but not entirely untraditional, either. It takes about 75-90 minutes from first heating the pan to eating. Serves 6-8.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or bacon grease
  • 2 chorizo sausages, sliced in 1cm pieces
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 pound ham steak, cubed
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • ½ C dried tomato dices, or 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 15 oz can green beans, drained
  • ½ C frozen peas
  • ½ C frozen sweet corn
  • 6 scallops (½ pound or so)


  1. Put oil or bacon fat in a large sauté pan and heat
  2. Sauté chorizo, then set aside in a bowl
  3. Sauté chicken or turkey with oregano and paprika, then set aside
  4. Sauté ham, then set aside
  5. Sauté onions, celery, parsley and tomatoes (sofrito), then set aside
  6. Briefly sauté rice
  7. Add chicken stock to rice and bring to a boil
  8. Add meats, sofrito, and saffron, stir and bring back to a boil
  9. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes
  10. Stir mix, simmer for 10 more minutes
  11. Add scallops and stir, simmer for another 10-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed
  12. Stir to fluff, let cool a bit (5 minutes), and serve.

There is probably enough salt in the chorizo, chicken stock, and ham that you won’t need to add any to the dish. A little black pepper won’t be wrong. Serve with salad or fruit on the side to make a lighter meal.

#recipe #paella

It’s been a few weeks since my most recent Rocks on the Fence post and almost two months since the first one and needing a bit of a rest after my morning walk today (3500 steps, but in snow with a bit of a crust on it, or ruts from the cars in the street), it seems like a good time to write an update.

Also since I finished the previous post with a snowy day, having the next big snow ending this one seems fitting (though I missed taking a walk and getting photos the past few days).

We’ve continued adding a new rock, or picking up one that had fallen down every day we walk to the mailbox.

And we haven’t seen all the rocks knocked off again this month.

We did even meet a guy and his dogs one morning, and then put a rock up on the fence and took a picture as he was walking away. He didn’t seem curious about the rocks, though.

In spite of it feeling sunny here a lot of the time, we’ve had quite a few clouds in the morning rock picture this month. I think that’s partly due to it being cloudier here in the winter.

It I think it’s also due to mornings having clouds, and us getting out pretty early most days.

As we get closer to summer, the sun will move north, which will be left in the frame.

But I don’t think I’ll ever have a morning shot with the sun in the frame. I guess we’ll see. Sunrise is pretty early in midsummer though, and I generally don’t get out the door until after 7 at the earliest.

And while the number of rocks on the fence is slowly growing, there are plenty of mornings when we find a bunch of them knocked down, either by the wind or by someone walking on the path.

It’s all part of the process, I figure.

Over time, rocks that aren’t very stable get knocked off more often, and then I’ll stack them with the flatter, more stable rocks on the bottom.

So I figure over time, the row of rocks will become more stable, and will probably grow.

But there are only so many that the fence will hold. I’m not sure what I’ll do if we hit that point. Maybe start a pile on the ground.

But for now, it’s something to do after checking the mailbox each morning.

And hopefully someone else in the neighborhood gets a kick out of the rocks.

Or maybe someone reading this thinks it’s neat and will be encouraged to do their own little project.

Have a great day!

#photography #rock #NewMexico #fence

I’ve continued setting rocks on the fence since my first post, though not every day.

It seems I’m mostly the only one playing with the rocks this time of year, but there are very few other footprints walking past the fence now, too.

I suspect I’ll see more activity once the weather gets warmer.

Then again, it may be that everyone will figure that I’ve got so much work into setting up rocks that they won’t want to mess with them.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

For now, I’m happy to add a rock most mornings, and if I didn’t find a good rock on the way to the mailbox, I either rearrange those that are there, or pick one up that’s fallen to the ground.

It takes a pretty good wind to blow the rocks off the fence (more than 30mph, I think), but people also bump the fence as they walk past. That’ll topple a few rocks.

In any case, it’s just a pile of rocks. On a fence, but still.

I have been thinking that I have enough pictures that maybe it would be interesting to make a time-lapse movie from them at some point.

But I’ve tried that before. Aligning all the pictures is conceptually simple, but complicated if you do too many. And while I’m pretty sure I could convince Photoshop to do that, it would take some scripting I have never had much enthusiasm for.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep adding or rearranging a rock most mornings, and then taking a photo from roughly the same point-of-view.

I am looking forward to warmer weather, though. It’ll be interesting to see if I pick up any collaborators.

Maybe I’ll get a dozen years like Ted did with his Lake George series. Or maybe not.

#photography #rock #NewMexico

Curry shrimp with Anne Amie Dry Riesling.


  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ pound carrots, cut into half-inch cubes
  • ¾ pound potatoes, same
  • cup of frozen peas
  • 13 oz can of coconut milk
  • pint jar of Jon’s awesome yellow curry
  • pound of cooked, frozen shrimp


  • Carrots, taters, onions and celery get sautéed in oil for about 10 minutes
  • add peas, coconut milk and curry sauce, bring to a simmer
  • simmer for 10 minutes, then add frozen shrimp
  • bring back to a simmer
  • serve over rice

#recipe #IAteThis

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