Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

The Return of Mrs. Phred

Mrs. Phred has returned from her expedition to the remote islands off the coast of Ecuador and mountaintops of Peru. She mailed some pictures back to me.

Mrs. Phred and her friend Felicia are in the foreground above a scene of Machu Picchu
15th-century Inca citadel, located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a mountain ridge 7,970 ft above sea level. It is located in the Cusco RegionUrubamba ProvinceMachupicchu District in Peruabove the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows, which cuts through the Cordillera and originates a canyon with tropical mountain climate.-WIKI

Some sort of lizard or dragon?'s a Galapagos land eats cactus pads...

The mountaintop at Macchu Picchu gets about 65 inches of rain. It was a good place to grow things. I read that mists float up from the river past near-vertical cliffs on three sides.
Machu Picchu is situated above a bow of the Urubamba River, which surrounds the site on three sides, where cliffs drop vertically for 1,480 ft to the river at their base. The area is subject to morning mists rising from the river. The location of the city was a military secret, and its deep precipices and steep mountains provided natural defenses.-Wiki

A group of seals is called: "bob, colony, crash, harem, herd, pod, rookery, spring, and team".

That is some impressive agricultural terracing.
Heavy rainfall required terraces and stone chips to drain rainwater and prevent mudslides, landslides, erosion, and flooding. Terraces were layered with stone chips, sand, dirt and topsoil, to absorb water and prevent it from running down the mountain. Similar layering protected the large city center from flooding. Multiple canals and reserves provide water throughout the city that could be supplied to the terraces for irrigation and to prevent erosion and flooding.-Wiki

An island in the Galapagos. Lot's of cactus pads for the land (non-marine) branch of the iguana family. There is a 3rd species of pink iguana on Isabella but you can't visit them.

She was on a boat about this size for a week. There were three similar boats anchored. This might be hers. Or not.

The blue-footed booby below has a relationship with the strange vampire finch. The vampire finch pecks the booby's neck to drink its blood. Boobys spend a lot of time in courtship with foot display. Those with the bluest feet are considered younger, healthier and more desirable as mates. Not sure if masked boobys or red-footed boobys can inter-breed with these...for sure they don't want to...

 Mrs. Phred taking a break

The islands were named after these giant tortoises. You put one upside down in the ship's hold and you have no-maintenance fresh meat for months. Galapagos is an archaic Spanish word meaning tortoise.

n his April 26, 1535 letter to Charles VI of Spain, Berlanga reported his detour to islands which he did not name, and informed His Majesty of what he saw there:
“… muchos lobos marinos, tortugas, higuanas, galápagos, … .” “… many sea lions, turtles, iguanas, tortoises, … .”

Monday, 17 December 2018

Macchu Picchu

Mrs. Phred is in Peru today, hiking up to the ruins of Macchu Picchu. She probably left her wetsuit and underwater camera behind with her glitter sandals and she's got her regular camera, canteen. hiking boots, sunscreen and other paraphernalia appropriate for the day.....

I'm mopping the floors in the RV and doing laundry, recovering from another surgery on my temple and scalp. They took a 4x5 inch chunk from my temple and scalp back in November. I'd show you my pix, but I don't want to scare the kiddies. Going back for another round in January....

So all that got me thinking about the Mayan base 20 numbering system....why not use your fingers AND toes for counting?

So let A represent zero
The letters B through T represent 1 -19.....

Therefore R=17
and BA=20 (1x20^1 +0)
and BT=39  (1x20^1 + 19)
and CAA=400 (2x20^2 + 0x20^1 + 0)
and FAS=2018 (5x20^2 + 0X20^1 +18)

If you followed that, your IQ is higher than took me an hour to work out again...corrections welcome...

So Mrs. Phred will be back from Peru just in time for our 52nd anniversary on Christmas unusual date perhaps, but the only thing the Rabbi had open. 52 is CL in my base 20 system and CAROL is a huge number...just the C is 6,400,000...2x20^5.

Has she changed much? She might have gotten easier to live with? Looks about the same....she says the climb to Machu Picchu is very steep and the air is thin....she's feeling dizzy from the altitude...the natives have given her leaves to chew to help her complete the climb...

So I think maybe the Mayans used the numbers above. The zero looks like an empty basket or are three types of people in the world....those that can count...and those that can't.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Winter Storm

Raleigh is kind of a Southern city, not well equipped to deal with ten inches of snow. My return trip to Tampa on the Silver Meteor is canceled because of the winter storm I reschedule for two days later and splurge on a sleeper compartment.

That's my Civic and my old "creeper" van under all that white stuff.

The three youngest walk with me into a park. The snow has only our own footprints.

Warren has me stand under a tree so he can shake its snow on me. Unfortunately, the tree is dead and it falls on my head when he shakes it and I lose my glasses under the snow.

The one with the "Noles" shirt is going with us this summer to Barcelona, Lisbon, England and Paris.

My newly reformatted iPhone 5s has a bunch of my pictures in Icloud folders. I have no idea how they got on my iPhone.

I like the picture above of the two youngest.

My oldest grandson playing some kind of volleyball or something (not today).

Here he is again helping us with our selfie stick

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Caesalpinia bonduc (Buddha Beans)

My new neighbor brings over 16 Knicker Nuts as a gift. He calls them "good luck" beans and claims to have amassed a collection of 30,000 beans.

The seed is within a hollow hard wooden sphere about 1/2 inch in diameter. The seed is "designed" to float on ocean currents. The plant is found on all continents near beaches in pantropical locations. This method of reproduction is pretty brilliant as an example of invention by endless mindless mutations...{Mrs Phred is going to the Galapagos next week to doublecheck Darwin's wild new theories)...

He explains that if you drill a small hole in the sphere and plant it, a plant from hell will emerge covered with stickers and spines. It grows quickly, scrambles over everything and is impossible to uproot.

I think I'll save mine and pack them away near my assault rifle ammo in case I ever have a problem with someone that doesn't justify the use of lethal force

Caesalpinia bonduc seeds have been used in the folklore medicine since long time. The use of this plant has been quoted in the Ayurvedic and traditional scriptures.[] Plant is reported to have multiple restorative properties like anthelmintic, antibacterial, antidiuretic and recently it has received considerable attention to treat Diabetes.
C. bonduc F. (family: Caesalpiniaceae) is a large, scandent, prickly shrub found throughout the hotter and southern parts of India. It is a large straggling, thorny shrub, the branches are armed with hooks and straight, hard yellow prickles. The leaves are compound. The flowers are pale yellow in color, in supra-axillary racemes at the top. The fruits are inflated pods, covered with prickles, 6 cm long, and 1-2 seeds per pod. The seeds are globular, hard, bluish grey in color with a smooth shiny surface.
C. bonduc has numerous synonyms like Duhsparsa – difficult to touch, Kantaki karanja – having prickles; Vajra bijaka - having hard seeds, Kanta phala – has fruits covered with prickles, etc. It is attributed to be an aphrodisiac and general tonic helping in the rejuvenation of the body.[] The roasted seed powder is used as an antileprotic. The seeds are useful as anti-inflammatory,[] antidiabetic, antiperiodic, antipyretic, etc.[,]

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Halibut Recipes

 I think that halibut has a great texture but not much taste. It makes a great platform for other tastes like capers and lemon pepper. Here are a few recipes that I've created or stolen....go online for more ideas....

 Bob's Old Bay Halibut Recipe (best with "skin on" halibut)

 Two Halibut steaks (6 to 8 oz each)
2/3 can diced tomato (or chop your own medium tomato)
1 can butter beans  (or Great Northern or Cannellini beans)
1 heaping teaspoon Old Bay spice
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 heaping tablespoons pesto
2 lemon slices
2 sheets (18 x 18" each) aluminum foil

 Preheat oven to 400°F and combine beans, tomatoes, Old Bay spice and Garlic. Place Halibut skin down on aluminum foil and cover with bean mixture. Add pesto and lemon slice and fold foil into packet. Bake about 20 minutes or until halibut flakes easily. Do not overcook fish.....

Tuscan Halibut (best with "skin on" halibut)

 4 sheets (12 x 18" each) Reynolds Wrap® heavy-duty aluminium foil
2 cans (15 oz. each) Great Northern or Cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp. prepared pesto, divided
4 (4 to 6 oz. each) Alaska Halibut steaks
4 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon pepper
4 lemon slices

Preheat oven to 450°F and combine beans, tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons pesto; mix well. Center ¼ of bean mixture on each foil sheet. Top with one Alaska Halibut steak; drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle halibut with lemon pepper. Top with lemon slices. Bring up sides of foil and double fold. Double fold ends to form four packets, leaving room for heat circulation inside packets. Bake 16 to 20 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven. Serve with remaining pesto. Makes 4 servings

ALASKA HALIBUT ROYAL (best with "skin off" halibut)

1 cup dry white wine
2 tsp. salt
1 ½ lbs. Alaska Halibut steaks
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
½ cup each sour cream & mayonnaise
¼ cup minced green onions
Combine wine and salt; pour over halibut. Marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour. Drain halibut on paper towels; dip both sides in breadcrumbs. Place halibut in shallow buttered baking dish. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and green onions; spread over halibut. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until halibut flakes when tested with a fork

Grilled Fresh Alaska Halibut (best with "skin on" halibut)

1 pound (454g) halibut fillet
lemon pepper, salt (for seasoning)
Preheat the grill. Place the halibut skin side down on oiled tinfoil, sprinkle with lemon-pepper-salt mix, and close the grill cover and cook only until the flesh flakes with a plastic fork.

To Accompany:
Consider sliced red peppers and mushrooms wrapped in tinfoil and steamed on the grill
Wild rice i s also nice if there are indoor cooking facilities

SPICY DENALI ALASKA HALIBUT (good with skin on or off)

  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp. each dried oregano and dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. each onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. each black pepper and salt
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp. butter, melted
  • 4 (6 oz. each) Alaska halibut steaks, thawed if necessary
Mix together all dry-seasoning ingredients until well combined. Place Alaska Halibut steaks on a non-stick or spray-coated baking sheet or broiler pan. Brush butter onto top surface of halibut. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon seasoning mixture over the surface of each halibut steak. Broil 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Store remaining seasoning mixture in airtight container for future use.

HALIBUT WITH CAPERS (best with "skin off" halibut)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 halibut steaks (6 to 8 oz)
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon minced or chopped garlic
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper
3 tablespoon capers with butter


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the halibut steaks on all sides until nicely browned. Remove from pan, and set aside.

Pour the wine into the pan, and use a spatula to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine reduce to almost nothing, then stir in the garlic, butter and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce simmer for a minute to blend the flavors.
Return the steaks to the pan, and coat them with sauce. Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish immediately with the sauce from the pan poured over it.

Blackened halibut or salmon (best with "skin off" halibut)

Ingredients to serve four:
2 Tablespoons ground paprika
1 Tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 pieces of salmon or halibut (about 6 oz each).
1/2 cup butter


In a small bowl, mix paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, salt, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil and oregano.

Brush fillets on both sides with melted butter, and sprinkle evenly with the cayenne pepper mixture. then rebrush one side of each fillet with melted butter.

In a large, heavy skillet over high heat, cook salmon, butter side down, until blackened, 2 to 5 minutes. Turn fillets, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue cooking 2 to 5 more minutes until blackened and fish is easily flaked with a fork.

Consider moving the fish around a little occasionally while cooking to prevent the spices from sticking to the pan. I used an olive oil spray to lubricate the pan before adding the fish...... Remember: It is against the laws of nature to overcook fish until it is dry and tough. DON'T DO IT!