Video: Cool Doggie Days + Lillian Brummet’s Leeks Recipe

K-D doggie is a singer.
K-D takes her singing seriously.

Even writers get hungry. When I hit a rough patch as I edit “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat,” my novel, it’s fortunate I’ve got my workmate who reminds me to break for lunch. Having her beside me as I eat on the steps of our front porch turns sweltering breezes into caresses. If she’s in the mood, she’ll serenade the neighborhood when a siren goes by…

These soft days of late spring we get to see monarch butterflies flutter across our Los Angeles front lawn. They’ve flown all the way from Canada and are headed for Mexico (here’s a wild PBS video of them). How arrogant humans are to use our supposed intelligence as a yard-stick against the know-how of earth’s other life forms, insects included.

Speaking of gorgeous weather and sights, during a recent walk with K-D, I was holding my cellphone to my ear to listen to an audiobook. The novel was the outstanding, “How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House,” by Cherie Jones. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I got home, I found I’d unintentionally snapped several serendipitous photos! They’re of blue skies streaked with clouds and of our shadows across the sidewalk. This morning we even enjoyed a few minutes of rain. It was nowhere near enough to slake Southern California’s ongoing tremendous thirst, but it brightened the air.

Photo of amazing in Los Angeles!
The sky is amazing in Los Angeles!
This photo of my dog's shadow is a bit of accidental art!
This photo of my dog’s shadow is a bit of accidental art!

Author Lillian Brummet, who blogs from Canada, says it’s leek season. In my garden it’s time for their sisters, green onions. Before my husband started planting them, who knew one could grow food from the rooty scraps of store-bought ones. They also produce gorgeous flowers! Khashayar, quite the cook, has contributed recipes for Happiness Between Tails such as a great hot soup, a crunchy salad, a fruity dessert and a carrot cake, an entrée, and this appetizer and this one.

Closeup of flower on a green onion.
The flowers on green onions are fascinating!

Back to Lillian and her leeks. Here’s a recipe for them from one of her many books, “From One Small Garden,” which features 300+ recipes. Visit her site for more about her books and the many endeavors she and her husband, Dave, work together on…

Photo of Lillian and Dave Brummet.
Lillian Brummet writes books and works with her husband, Dave, on many projects.

“Leek N’ Mushroom Bundles” by Lillian Brummet

Tis the season of fresh leek harvests  this beautiful bounty is of the onion family and looks like a giant, flat green onion. Early spring and late fall leek varieties are quite sweet due to the plant concentrating the sugars when the weather turns cool. It is one of the earliest items to come out of the garden, especially if you have spread the seed just before snowfall. They don’t take much room in the garden, and they keep very well in the fridge.

These delicious, crunchy bundles make a wonderful side dish to almost anything, or served as an appetizer to enhance the appetite. The bundles can be frozen when raw; and taken directly out of the freezer and straight into the oven (do not thaw) whenever you are craving a few of these tasty tidbits.

1/3 c. olive oil, divided

2 c. chopped leeks

8 c. chopped mushrooms, dime-sized pieces

3/4 c. milk

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

16 oz. package phyllo pastry cut in 4” squares

Sauté the leeks and mushrooms in 1 Tbsp. oil for 3 minutes. Meanwhile combine the milk with salt, nutmeg and pepper, then add to the skillet and cook on low for 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated. Grease 2 phyllo squares, and layer one on top of the other offsetting the top one. This creates 8 corners to draw into a bundle. Place 1 Tbsp. filling in the center of the phyllo squares. Grabbing all the corners of the dough in one hand, twist firmly to hold in place and set on a baking sheet. Cover both the unused phyllo and the bundles with a clean damp towel while you work to prevent drying out. When you’ve made this dish a few times you’ll get faster at it and probably will only need one damp towel to cover the phyllo sheets. Bake at 350˚ for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

What are you hungry for these days?

Guest Blog Post: Save the bees and the farmers by Stella, oh, Stella

Thank you, Freeimages, for this bee-utiful photo!

Bees — including the tiny not-so-flamboyant ones easily mistaken for pests — need global support. The most important step is to minimize poison in our lawns, gardens, and farms.

Here Birgit of Germany, who blogs from Denmark at Stella, oh, Stella and has been our guest here and here, tells us about the bee-utiful activism of India’s lauded environmentalist Vandana Shiva — which we can all learn from, wherever we live…

Vandana Shiva: photo by Elke Wetzig (Elya) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

“Save the bees and the farmers: Vandana Shiva becomes protectress of this citizens‘ initiative” by Stella, oh, Stella

The European citizens‘ initiative, “Save bees and farmers,“ just got prominent support!

The winner of the alternative Nobel Prize, Vandana Shiva, has officially assumed patronage of the initiative. We are calling for a gradual EU-wide ban on chemical-synthetic pesticides, measures for the recovery of biodiversity, and an EU agricultural policy that supports farmers in sustainable farming.

During her lecture tour through Bavaria, the Indian scientist and seed activist publicly declared her support for the campaign:

“If we don’t save the bees and insects, the farmers will also be lost. But we are also fighting for our next generation with the initiative. With great pleasure, I, as a godmother, will make an active contribution to making the European Citizens‘ Initiative a wake-up call to politicians in Europe to finally be consistent and courageous. “

Europeans — join Vandana Shiva by signing the European Citizens‘ Initiative now. Almost 160,000 people have participated. If we can collect a million votes across Europe by the end of September 2020, the EU Commission is legally obliged to deal with our demands. Can you help us save bees and farmers?

Everyone else — please do what you can to protect, to educate, and to get the word out!

How important do you think it is to protect bees?

Beasts of Brisbane, Australia by da-AL

It’s impossible to snap a photo of beautiful Brisbane, Australia without it looking like a postcard!

Brisbane, Australia, is even more gorgeous than it looks in this photo.

There’s some incredible wildlife at the Queensland Museum (Brisbane is in the state of Queensland).

Just us monkeying around.

Australia’s names for animals can be as unique as the critters…

These little ‘Red-Legged’ cuties are Pademelons.
This Bandicoot is Northern and Long-Nosed.
The Papuan Frogmouth is aptly named, ay, mate?
A Playpus always defies imagination.
Barramundi, a.k.a. fine Australian dining.
Moreton Bay Bugs are also delicious to Australians.

Brisbane was just one day in our fun vacation that began with a whirlwind tour of New Zealand’s beautiful Auckland / Rotorua / Redwoods / Huka Falls / Craters of the Moon / Waitomo Glowworms Caves / Taupo / Pirongia / and Hamilton Gardens. For the second portion of our vacation, we flew to Australia, where we began our visit with Gold Coast. There we met terrific family, observed these exciting birds — and these too, hiked breathtaking views, enjoyed delicious eats at the beach, and saw this and this unique wildlife at Currumbin, had fun with Rita Rigby, and saw the beauty of Brisbane,, and enjoyed Sydney this much and that much, as well as the purring there!

By the way, there’s lots of good food to be savored in Brisbane besides ‘bugs’…

I’ve yet to eat an actual bug (that I know of). Have you?

Guest Blog Post: Reconnecting via Photography by Richard Keys

Puffin (Bempton)
Photo courtesy by Richard Keys of Photosociology.wordpress.com

Fellow blogger Richard’s photos are stunning! Here he describes his process and how photography can heal…

Dandelion: Photos courtesy by Richard Keys of Photosociology.wordpress.com

Introduction
Hey, I’m Richard, and my blog is photosociology.wordpress.com. To be honest, I’m surprised that my blog is followed by others, I’m just a guy with mental health problems, which photography helps me to cope with. Initially, it got me going outside when I was too scared to do so. Basically, I’m a middle-aged guy, trying to grow up and find a way to live in this confusing world.

Close up of a fly courtesy by Richard Keys of Photosociology.wordpress.com

Reconnecting
Although I am a student photographer and use photography to explore social issues, such as inequality, mental health, and diversity (and more), I also thoroughly enjoy photography. Macro photography and photographing birds are my joy and my peace, especially when I am having a day of intense anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia.

When photographing birds, flowers, bees, and bugs, I have to slow down. I mean really slow down. I’m not here to take a quick photo and walk on. I want to make a great photo and that means searching. Seeking out the best angle, ensuring that the background doesn’t distract from the subject, checking the focus, and making sure the exposure is correct. When it comes to bugs, bees, and butterflies, I have to slow down even further, firstly to spot them and then to ensure great focus by getting close without scaring them off.

Having a mental illness brings challenges with living, over-thinking, analyzing, being busy because I’m scared of my feelings, and being suspicious and paranoid about people. At first, I was scared of slowing down because I thought these difficulties would overwhelm me, but the opposite is true.

Slowing down is vital for my mental health, it refreshes me, recharges me, helps me to stop running from my emotions and thoughts, and allows whatever is there to be allowed to be, as it is. The process of connecting with nature means that I reconnect with myself, and all is surprisingly well.

Richard Keys

Guest Blog Post: “When Fashion and Nature Collide,” in Roda’s exact words

photo of nature

Color everywhere! Blogger Roda shares her artful view of the world…

photo of Roda & donkey
Photos courtesy of GrowingSelf.blog

Guest Blog Post: “Bugging About and Global Warming,” in Mick E. Talbot’s exact words

Each of UK nature lover Mick E. Talbot’s three sites (first here, and then here, and lastly here) is a delight. Here’s a sample of his unique writing and photos that he’s kindly contributed to us here at da-AL’s blog …

A Little About Me

Sticking to the little bit, as anything larger would constitute an autobiography, and if my memory serves me well they cost. So going back to when digital cameras became available to me, (some time in 2006), which meant I could take my interest in photographing wildlife into the realms of the affordable. Back in the analog days spending £50+ for a few hours enjoyment, and then the worry as to how many shots made the grade had me limiting myself until, yes, digital. A couple shots out of the many 10’s of thousands digital cameras allow.

yellow fungiThe first is of ‘orange peel fungi’, the second, although a captive bred specimen, is found in the wild in Lake Malawi, East Africa. It is of a cichlid, namely, Melanochromis auratus, one of the many cichlid species found in the lake.

Moving on to 2007, this was quite an eventful year. Cutting a short “About Me” even shorter, I made my first big insect find during this year, which got me a mention in the British Entomological Journal. The bug, a tiny little leafhopper, was first discovered back in 2001 by a professor from the university of Sussex, my find, the second in the UK, wasn’t until the year I’m on now, (2007),  and some 200+ miles further north in my back yard, literally, in the City of Lincoln. Well pleased I was, oh, its name, Zyginella pulchra.

The third photo depicts the male Z. pulchra, showing the distinctive red v,  formed by the closed wings, the female is basically monotone from pale green to yellow.

A big jump to 2010, this was my biggest year in the field of entomology. I discovered a first for the UK and it was also the start of my disillusionment with the professionals involved with natural history. The species involved this time is Conostethus venustus, and as my claim was not accepted even to this day, (I hasten to add it was originally authenticated by the county recorder), has still not been resolved, so my disillusionment is to some extent on-going. I’ll end this one with an image, and a link to my page on flickr where Tim Ransom, himself a professional entomologist, gave me the link to another claim a year after mine, and as far as I am aware is the one that has been accepted as the first. The image below is that of Conostethus venustus.

Moving on to 2014, the year when I first signed up to WordPress. Never used it until 2016, and then it was on the rebound from disassociating myself from the professional naturalists fraternity. My first posts were still concerned with, and for nature. My Garden Biodiversity blog goes to show just how much I was still involved with the recording side. I still go out with my cameras, and should I find something I can’t find an ID for online, I will let the appropriate authority know.

Getting toward the end of 2016, I found I was being drawn to poetry. Now, I have always been into writing poems, for the lads to their girlfriends, whilst in the army, and being somewhat of a romantic, for my beloved. Micks Blog, is where I started to really let go and used it in a way I have never done before, as in trying to inspire folk to get more involved with caring for wildlife. More than that, I thought would be a bit OTT. However finding myself online more often than my normal 8 hours, I was becoming more and more aware that climate warming was for real. And the main cause was due to all manner of human pollutant’s, from *deforestation, the destruction of sensitive habitats, the use of fossil fuels, which in turn pollute the atmosphere and the oceans. You will find all my feelings on the topic of pollution, climate warming, along with my romantic side in my poetry on my blog, Mick E Talbots Poems.

Other folk’s blogs that inspire me, and there are many, to name some I must, yassy66, a genius of a poet, a definite must read. Whispering Whippets, Xenia a mistress of Japanese poetry, and her amazing photos of her two whippets Pearl and Eivor. Her photography is amazing and her haiku visionary. My hosts blog Happiness Between Tails, the truth, her video on Happy Persian New Year! a Toastmasters Speech, is as far as I have got, but I am working on it. If I haven’t named your blog, and I found inspiration in it, you know who you are, and I thank you, and long may you continue with your inspirational works.

*Deforestation, pollution of the oceans and the burning of fossil fuels are the main human contributing factors that are affecting the world’s climate. The production of CO2 by industries is now recognized as a major contribution, domestic production of the gas is also adding heavily to its depth, and therefore needs to be considered. Deforestation, unless totally forbidden, is hastening the end of the world as we know it. Forests remove CO2 and produce life-sustaining oxygen, as does all flora, the oceans are also a major producer of the gas we breathe. How long do governments think they can go on supporting businesses that are either in denial or have no understanding, or even no wish to help in the control of global warming? If the scientists are correct we have less than a thousand years to put nature back on its feet. A study has highlighted the risk posed by projected climate change on the world’s ability to grow enough food. A US team of researchers found that forecasted shifts in climate by 2070 would occur too quickly for species of grass to adapt to the new conditions. For governments to think that global warming is a conspiracy is scary, and to think one of those is that of the United States of America, is a nightmare.

© Mick E Talbot 2017/66