Friday, August 20, 2010

Random Stuff

This post isn't about anything in particular--just some random stuff that I've snapped recently.

 Random Garden

I love the vibrant colors of these zinnias.

One of the Anna's Hummingbirds that live in our neighborhood alighted at the feeder to give her wings a rest and have a tipple.

As small as they are, the Anna's Hummingbird is described as medium-sized and stocky in the world of hummingbirds.

I'm definitely growing this variety of zucchini again next year; the variegated skin is pretty.

There are spiders everywhere at the moment; their webs are truly amazing. Be Kind to Spiders!

These garden lanterns are fun and easy to make. I saw a how-to guide in some magazine a few years ago. All you need is empty jars and some wire. You can make them as pretty as you like by using interesting colored/shaped jars, shaping the wire into pretty flourishes, and adding trinkets. Mine aren't  pretty, but they add a nice ambience nonetheless hanging from the branches on a summer evening.

Random Food

Veggie and tofu kebabs marinated in Thai flavors:

The marinade was roughly 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar,  6 inches worth of lemon grass with tough outer sheaths removed, 2 kaffir lime leaves, 1 smallish piece fresh ginger, 1 large shallot, 1 large garlic clove, hot chili pepper and a dash of sesame oil,  liquified together in a blender.

Thai marinade before blending

Seitan in lemon and caper sauce:

( a bit greeny in hue, but very delicious)

We eat this Vegan Pho on a regular basis. If you like rich aromatic broths, noodles, and garnishes...I recommend you try this.  I've never had traditional Pho, which I gather is not vegan, so can't testify to the authenticity, but whatever you want to call it, it is good.

I describe more about how to put it together in this post.

Random Rats

Hey, that's a catchy title.

I have two rats that I adopted from the animal shelter. Rats are extremely intelligent, social, and sensitive.  My rat friends know their names, have great personalities, and enjoy many different activities. Here's Daffodil (aka Scamp) peeking out of a play tube:

Check out those whiskers:

Some of you may remember Harriet from this post. She's a bit older and wiser now... and better at hoarding treats! She's enjoying a piece of corn on the cob.

And here's some rat action, Harriet is in a blur grooming Daffodil...usually it's the other way around:

Rats are dexterous and the digits on their front paws are nimble, much like human hands. Check out Scamp's cute fingers!

One more random snap:

A heron I saw on my lunch break.

Happy Weekend!


  1. Those kebabs look amazing! I just ate but just seeing those made me a bit hungry again. :)

    I've never had rats, but I do adore them. They're so cute and have such great personalities!

    All of the photos are amazing, especially of the spider and zinnias. Love them!

  2. i love random posts. thanks for the photo of the marinade before you blended it. gave me some ideas. did you just put tea lights in the jars?

  3. Great collection of random photos. My favorites are the zinnia and the lemon seitan. The seitan looks just delicious. Traditional pho has a lot of star anise, a flavor I can't deal with very well, so I have to make a non-traditional version.

  4. Vegan Flower,

    The kebabs were good...can't go wrong with veggies and tofu. Rats are awesome...if you ever get the chance to get to know one, don't pass it by...they really are very charming.


    Glad you got a smile! Happy weekend.


    Hi. Yes, I put tea lights in the big jars I put two or three.
    I'm a fan of random stuff too.


    I think those are my fav snaps too. I think you could sub out the star anise for whatever suits... or leave it out would still be good.
    Enjoy the summer's cooling down here...I think we'll have an early autumn.

  5. Looks awesome! Did your Kabobs use your garden veggies?

  6. Wow, so those are the rats. I've got to say...they are MUCH cuter than I would have imagined! So...just curious, were these origanally pet store rats? Do you cuddle up with them? Do they bite? I think it's fabulous that you have them - my innate self says "rats - run!" so this is a great learning experience for me. :)

    Love the lanterns. And I get so upset when I see someone killing a spider. We gently carry them outside at our house - or just let them remain on the wall since they're not hurting anything.

  7. Besides Nasturtiums, Zinnias and Spider Flowers are the only flowers I've successfully grown from seed. I couldn't even get Cosmos to come up.

    Here's a random factoid: There's only one species of Hummingbird east of the Mississippi, so count yourself lucky to have a variety.

    Lovely tea light. You don't have to burn Citronella candles?

    Were all those Kabobs just for you and Mr. Dandelion? I hope so.

    Coincidence: I plan to make Seitan Piccata as soon as I make a batch of Seitan.

    Unfortunately, Pho is traditionally made with beef broth.

    I love rats too. I took care of one for a few months and every day I would give it a big hard-shelled nut like a walnut or pecan to work on. It was so cute to come home at the end of the day and see the empty shell.

    Herons are cool till you see one eating out of your pond. Then you will run outside screaming and waving your arms to scare them away.

  8. Nice random post. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful pics.

    I made those same tea light holders a few years. Great minds think a like again. ;-) I had a lot of fun making them and they are beautiful in the greenery of the garden at dusk.

    Love the little rat toes that is a cute pic. Glad you shared some new pics of the girls.

    hope you are having a good weekend,

  9. came back to look at that close-up of little rat fingers. so cute! so soft and..well id be kissing them, ill adn=mit it:) Walter(my husband) loves pho but its the marrow in the stock bones that is what is supposed to make it so special...and the msg that they put in it at any pho shop:) while we were in LA walter got pho twice, at one place they had a vegetarian pho but i didnt get it since they said they put a little msg in it. i would MUCH prefer your version, and your kabobs:)
    goodbye again:)

  10. Vic,

    I used zucchini from the garden in the kebobs, I wish all the other veggies were too, but sadly no...they were from the market.


    Most of the rats that come into the shelter are from pet stores. Domesticated rats are generally very friendly towards humans, provided they have neglected or badly treated. Once in while, you may meet a rat that nips, but it's usually because he/she has had bad experience with humans in the past.

    They are very social, so they enjoy spending time with humans and other rats. I never knew any rats before I started volunteering at the animal shelter...and I was surprised at how intelligent and engaging they are. You need to give them plenty of toys and space to explore, otherwise they'll get bored and depressed.

    We do the same thing with spiders at our house; we usually have a few resident spiders indoors with us too. :)


    Interesting fact hummingbirds. Good idea about burning citronella in the lanterns. I should try that...we don't have many mosquitos here, but there are a few around.

    As for the kabobs: yes, that was just for me and Mr. D. We have pretty good appetites! And, I had a feeling that traditional version of Pho was meat-based somehow. Rats are really cool...I'm sure they loved working through the nut shell...they are much happier when you give them little rat projects to work on...that way they don't get bored. And I hear ya about the herons...definitely wouldn't want them near a gold fish pond!


    I'm sure your lanterns turned out much prettier than mine, but it is so nice to have the cheery little lights hanging from the trees isn't. Glad you liked the rat toes! They are so cute and remind me of human hands.

    Hope your weekend is going well.


    Hi again, glad you liked the cute rattie fingers. They're very gentle with their hands and it's so sweet when you put your hand out and they come to explore it (looking for food of course). I give my rats lots of kisses for sure.

    I had a feeling that there was some gnarly meat aspect of real Pho...but if you use some rich veggie broth ( like mushroom broth) some soy sauce or Bragg's aminos, spices and some's super tasty w/o icky bone marrow stuff or should try it. I love it because it gives me an excuse to eat lots of spicy chili sauce.

    Hope you're having a good weekend. :)

  11. Such a wonderful post, Rose! I find random posts like this are often the most fun to visit (and to put together!)

    Your Zinnias rival those of Thuya - just gorgeous! I must plant some one day (perhaps in a more hospitable environment). And your zucchini is beautiful too! Love the pretty variegated look, both in the garden and on the grill! (Your food pics never fail to make me hungry!)

    Your little Anna's Hummingbird visitor does indeed look stocky compared with the three species who regularly visit us. She particularly dwarfs our tiny Calliope. Sadly, we had horrific winds Friday night and all day yesterday (along with 101º heat, it was like being inside a blast furnace - as I said, Zinnia plantings will wait for more hospitable climes!), and the wind yanked the heavy-duty eye-screw right out of the soffit so both it and our hummingbird feeder to which it was attached crashed to the deck below. The feeder didn't survive the ordeal. :-(

    As a former rat-mom myself, I share your view of our rat friends, of course! Oh, those little ratty hands and whiskers, not to mention those precious faces - are there many things cuter on this planet? :-) Daffodil and Harriet are such loving buds, how nice they have each other and you!

    And what a beautiful spider, who spun such a lovely web! Sweet! Handsome heron, too!

    Your garden lights are so, so pretty! I must do that someday as well, along with the Zinnias!

    Thanks for a fun, interesting, inspiring post, full of lovely photos! I enjoyed my visit tremendously!

  12. Wow, what a great post, and great discussion in the comments. I looked at this briefly yesterday and dreamed about hummingbirds last night. We're far north for them, but in the warmer summers, especially when I grow nasturtiums or when my honeysuckle bush was really big and healthy I'd see one once in a while. They're like fairy visitors to me. Must grow nasturtiums next year...

    Lemon and capers are a match made in heaven, for sure.

    And I just *love* your garden lights!

    I fifth or sixth the remark that random posts are wonderful (especially yours)!

  13. Laloofah,

    I'm sure nothing in my garden compares to Thuya, but thanks for the encouraging words! The hummingbirds look much more sleek when they're in flight...but really do appear stocky in the photos...I guess it's true what they say, that the camera adds 10 pounds...or in this case, 10 milligrams!

    Sorry about our hummingbird feeder and the post it was attached too...nature is so powerful...but somehow, I think I would like to experience that type of blast furnace at least once (sans hummingbird feeders)... I can't imagine what it would be like. Must be amazing to witness nature in that way...provided you can stay out of its wake!

    Rats are so awesome arent' they? I always feel like people will pre-judge me when I tell them I have rat companions...they are so maligned. When John told his boss about our rat friends, she exclaimed, "Oh how gross!".

    But, I don't care...I need to be a rat diplomat...(hey that rhymes:)

    Speaking of diplomats...I won't even mention how many spiders live in our house..I know people would think we are creepy...but they really don't bother me in the least...I just wonder how they ever manage to catch food in here!

    Talk to you soon!

  14. Zoa,

    Hummingbirds are indeed like little fairy's hard to define...but I don't think anyone would disagree that they are very charming. Catching the odd glimpse of one in the summer season must make their visit even more so.

    What is it about lemon and capers? I agree, so divine, especially with white wine! Sorry about the obvious rhyme! (hey that almost rhymes) Ok enough is enough!


  15. Gorgeous photos! I think my favorite is the down-the-blender shot. I made grilled veggies last night and didn't think to blend my marinade. I had hunks of garlic falling off the veggies.

    I love seeing hummingbirds. My parents keep a feeder that attracts a few and it's always a treat to see them. I wonder if it's the single variety that Shen mentioned ... they are right on the Mississippi. Hmm.

  16. Hi, Rose,

    Okay, everyone said about all I could on your beautiful photos, except for one thing. Since S.V. didn't cover this, I have to - was that your beer box, or did the rats have a party?


  17. Jessica,

    Blending the marinade works pretty well, and saves chopping things into little bits...which I'm a bit lazy about.

    Hummingbirds are cute; Shen seems to know her hummingbird maybe the ones you see at your folks place are that one.


    HaHa! Good one! The rats are like, "Hey, yoohoo, the box is empty over here...can we get a few more brewskis please?"

    Sometimes, I put empty pasta boxes in their cage and they look so cute when they make their nests in them and snooze away inside a pasta box.

  18. Rats are cute, I'm sure, in whatever box you put them in. My oldest, SR, is dying for a rat. But, her father is a holdout; he's never warmed up to them as pets. But, we look at them at our local shelter.

  19. Yeah, rats have a PR problem in general. It's wonderful that the shelter is your first choice when you go to look at them.

    If you ever need any advice on rat ownership...let me know, I've fostered almost 20 rats from the animal shelter over the last 5 I've learned the ins and outs and the pros and cons.

  20. Between you and rats and Dirty Duck and pigs, SR will have a rich store of wonderful ladies full of unorthodox pets advice! Thanks for the offer; I'll definitely keep it in mind.

  21. WOW, so much great random things to take in! Your mousies are so sweet! How precious!

    That marinade sounds fabulous too! I love grilled veggies, and yours have me hungry.

    I LOVE those lanterns! I am making some right when I get my own place!

    Lastly, those hummingbirds are so cute. I have yet to see any since I got here, but I hope to see some soon! I saw hummingbird nectar at the store the other day. We don't have those in Hawaii.

  22. Hi Carissa,

    Good to hear from you! I hope you see some hummingbirds soon too! Hope everything is going well for you and that the move went smoothly.

    The lanterns are super easy to make....mine are ugly, but if you take a little time, can make them really pretty by adding little beads along the wire and stuff like that.

  23. What great pictures! I have got to make some of those lanterns...those are way too cute!

    I love hummingbirds! My mom used to have two hummingbird feeders that she would have to fill up twice a day, because of all the hummingbirds that would come visit. I counted as many as 21 at one was awesome!

    Those kebabs look so good!

  24. Michelle,

    Wow, that's a lot of hummingbirds! That would be so fun to see. We only have a handful around the place.

  25. That's so cool that you have rats! They are amazing creatures :) By the way, all of the food pics look AMAZING!

  26. Cassie,

    I lurve my little rat girls. Thanks for the kind words. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...