I literally just made these images. While sitting at my computer editing some images for my wife, something caught my eye near the woods behind the house. This pileated woodpecker was looking for bugs and worms in an old stump. I grabbed my camera and long lens to get some photos out the back window. A second after I set up, a squirrel came along to challenge the woodpecker for supremacy of the stump. The bird won. As you can see it is good sized and I’ve seen the holed they can drill in wood. I would not mess with one.
I was up at 6:00 and getting ready to head to the gym. When I looked out our front window, this was one of five deer on our front lawn. I made this image with my iPhone. The deer would have been gone by the time I got out my dSLR and the right lens. Remember, the best camera is the one you have available to take the shot. When I went out the back door a few minutes later, the deer had moved to the back of the house and we cautiously observed each other as I walked to my car.
This mural by Cedric Douglas is at Northeastern University. I really enjoy how the whole thing emerges from a child’s can of spray paint. The final image of the mural in its entirety is from Northeastern’s website.
Three tiny toys on a street vendor’s table.
Some of you may remember James from a post I did some weeks back. Last night, he invited me to go to Boston with him for a traditional hot-pot dinner. James grew up eating hot-pot and I’ve heard him talking about it since we met two years ago. I have to say that as someone who has always eaten American-ized Chinese food, I was excited about this outing.
Hot-pot is much like fondue. You have a pot filled with broth in which you cook various foods that you order. First you have to select the broth. James comes from a region of China that favors spicy foods, so we had a bowl divided with a spicy, red Szechuan broth and a tame yet flavorful mushroom broth. You can see the bowl and James in the main image. The bowl is placed on a heating element built into the table and heated to boiling. Next, each of us was provided with a small bowl of soy sauce. The little white containers you see are filled with flavorings to mix into your soy sauce. We added four: garlic, green onion, salty fish paste, and spicy red paste. As the broths cooked, the waiter brought us the food we ordered to go in the pot: thinly slice beef and lamb (pictured with the rice), broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, Chinese yams, tofu skins (which looked like noodles), noodles and quail eggs.
James expertly cooked each in turn and served them. We dipped them in our soy sauce and then ate them. Oh, if you ever do this with quail eggs, let them cool a bit before eating them (ouch). Everything was really tasty. The spicy broth and sauce was spicy. I slowed down on the spice about half way through the meal. Also, I had ordered the white rice and used it to counter the spice when my mouth became too hot.
This was really a unique experience and not something that I would have been likely to try without someone who knew that they were doing. The reality is that is was not that difficult. The food was good and the process made it fun. It was also really healthy. We left there full, but there was no oil or frying involved and the only sauce was the soy sauce. Everything came to the table really fresh with little processing. I thanked James profusely for this rare opportunity, and I was proud when he gave my chopstick skills and A+.
When I came out of the parking garage and into this park, I spotted this man amidst dozens of potted plants that he was busy putting in the soil. “What a great thing.” I thought, “He makes the world more beautiful.” I went over and asked if I could take his photo. He allowed me to do so. When I asked, he told me he is from El Salvador. I’d lived and taught there for a couple of months two years ago. We chatted for a few minutes about El Salvador and his new life here in the US. Then we shook hands and went our ways.
This is some of the other street art at Madison Park High School in Boston’s Roxbury district. There are some very talented people out there. Cheers!