Happy New Year!

I don’t have any food today, sorry! I know it’s been a while, but we’ve been out of town. I hope to have a real food post soon, but since I don’t know when that will be I thought I’d pop in and wish you a happy new year. We’ve been in Charleston visiting Mark’s family, so I also thought I’d share some of the pictures I took of various animals there to tide you over until I’m able to do some proper cooking.

The first ones are from Middleton Place, which has beautiful gardens.

Lots of water fowl, which I love. I think this is an ibis:

I grew up next to a farm that had peacocks and I’ve loved them ever since.

My first word was “duck”.

Mark has decided that I have “catdar” because I constantly spot kitties. I usually then chase them around attempting to both pet and photograph them. This one was very friendly. Success!

Water buffalo.

I love this and the other sheep pictures I took. The sheep had been driven off from their shady resting spot by a terrorizing toddler. After he left, they wished to return but in the toddler’s place was a much quieter but still untrustworthy Renae, who was trying to photograph the water buffalo. Unaware of this, I started heading back to my group and encountered all of the sheep lined up several yards away staring at me like they were going to eat my soul if I didn’t get out of their spot.

I was reading Folly Beach- and Charleston-themed novels while I was down there this time. I did some reading after returning home from a day of lugging my tripod and camera around Middleton Place and found the narrator of the book I was on at the time taking his camera and tripod to Middleton Place for a day of shooting. Weird, huh?

I recently got an infrared filter for my camera and spent most of the trip taking pictures through it, which then got converted into kinda-creepy B&W pictures that I’m really into right now. My poor mother-in-law had to drag me around town and wait patiently while I set up my tripod and took exposures anywhere from 10 seconds to 5 minutes. It was suggested we go to Magnolia Cemetery for the types of pictures I was taking. It was a great location and I got some fun shots. I wasn’t expecting to run into much wildlife there, but I did. Apparently there are even alligators there, although I unfortunately didn’t see any. I DID see this goose practicing his ballet poses:

Wouldn’t it have been hilarious if after my parents had repeated the word “duck” to me a million times, trying to get me to say my first word, my first word had been “goose”?

Other than the fun infrared pictures I took, the blue heron was my favorite part of Magnolia, though. What a beautiful animal. He tolerated me for a while and let me get pretty close:

Eventually, though, he got tired of me and took off across the water …

… and landed on a tree on the opposite side:

I returned home from Magnolia Cemetery and picked up a different book I was reading, only to have the main character die and be buried in…Magnolia Cemetery. What was going on with the books I was reading mirroring my life?? Well, at least I wasn’t buried in Magnolia.

In more materialistic news, Mark gave me a Vitamix, which I’ve been very much coveting, for Christmas, so if anyone has any favorite things to make in one, please share! I feel I have a lot of blending to do this week.


  1. Jain Said,

    January 2, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    I love the heron shots! We have lots of them here but they’re very wary and won’t tolerate me and my camera.

    I got a vintage-ish Vitamix on eBay last week. It runs fine but I haven’t made anything with it yet — I’ll be watching this space for ideas.

    Happy new year to you and yours!

  2. Zoa Said,

    January 2, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

    What beautiful pictures, the flying herons especially, wow! I’d also like to see some of your creepy black and white photos if you’d care to post them.

    You must have a general type of critterdar; it’s amazing the wildlife you’re able to find and photograph, and I love seeing these images.

    Have fun with the Vitamix. I don’t have one but probably won’t be able to resist once I see all the fun things you’re likely to do with yours.

    And finally, I wasn’t there of course, but it looks to me like you may have been projecting somewhat onto those sheep…

  3. Josiane Said,

    January 2, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    Gorgeous pics! And wow, it must have been a weird experience to see your activities mirrored in the novels you were reading!
    A Vitamix! What a great Christmas present! I’m looking forward to reading about your experiments with it.

  4. Holly Said,

    January 3, 2012 @ 7:44 am

    I always love your animal photos, but the duck and goose shots were extra special. Our goose looked exactly like the one doing “ballet poses”.

    So jealous of your Vitamix. I’d love one for quick soups and our green smoothies.

  5. Rhonda Said,

    January 6, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

    Since I love your photos, I will give you my TOP SECRET method for making perfect almond butter in the Vitamix. Ignore the ‘recipe’ in the Vitamix book — it’s gross and won’t work anyway.

    – Roast 1 pound (about 3 cups) of almonds at 300 for 1/2 hour. No salt, NO sweetener.
    – Allow to cool fully.
    – Put just 1 cup of almonds in the Vitamix and turn to power level 3. No higher!
    – When almonds look creamy (it’s okay if there are still some chunks) add another cup. Repeat for third cup.
    – At the very end, it’s okay to turn the speed up to get rid of last chunks. And at the very, VERY end, you can add a few tsps of maple syrup to make it sweeter… but don’t go overboard, and don’t add it early, because it will make the almond butter seize up and drive you crazy. Add a little salt too, just a half tsp or so.
    Enjoy! 🙂

  6. renae Said,

    January 6, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

    Wow, Rhonda, thanks! That looks great…and nut butters are definitely one of the top things I wanted to make. Can’t wait to try it!

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