Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Magic mushrooms

It was a cold, rainy November day.

What to have for dinner without going shopping...what do we find in the cupboard? It is time for mu'er (wood ear fungus) with pickled peppers!
The dried fungus doesn't look like much at first....

But we add some boiling water and voila!

Within a minute or two the fungus has expanded to fill a big bowl!

While the fungus is soaking, we make a tasty sauce with the peppers.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Alpacas and Baltimore

Today Anuenue went to the Maryland Alpaca Festival! There were all kinds of alpacas, including some baby alpacas (cria).  The parent alpaca kept a close eye on Anuenue.

This herd of alpacas stayed in a tight cluster.

One special part of Anuenue's visit was meeting several other craftsters and craftster-to-be!

After the festival, Anuenue headed over to downtown Baltimore. She took a short stroll through the Federal Hill neighborhood with classic rowhouses.

From the top of Federal Hill, there is an excellent view of the inner harbor with lots of boats.

There are even some cannons on the top of the hill, used during the Civil War to threaten the business district of Baltimore to ensure that the city and state would remain loyal to the Union. Riots that accompanied the Union seizure of Baltimore lead to the writing of what is now the state song, the lyrics of which encourage Maryland to secede and join the Confederacy. Really.
Next to Federal Hill is the American Visionary Art Museum, dedicated to self-taught, intuitive artists. No photos allowed inside, but there are a number of outdoor sculptures:

And this art van too...

At night the chandelier tree is extra sparkly!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Visiting NASA

Anuenue went to visit the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. There is a small visitor center with movies, displays, and a gift shop. This model of the Hubbard telescope being deployed to a space shuttle is almost the right size for Anuenue!

She took a stroll around the rocket garden. The giant one in the middle of the garden is a Delta launch vehicle.

There are several sounding rockets, including these Argo D-4 Javelin and Tomahawk rockets.

This cute little rocket is an Iris rocket from the 1950s, the only known example still in existence. Some of the campus is also visible behind the rocket, but photos are not allowed of the buildings when outside the visitors center area.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crafting medieval style

This weekend Anuenue went to a craft workshop for re-enactors on a farm in southern Maryland.

Before she could start crafting, there was a lot of excitement because the harvester arrived to harvest the soybean field!

It only took a few minutes to harvest the whole field, then the harvester poured all the soybeans into a waiting truck.

Anuenue helped set up the dye pots - black walnuts collected from the neighbor's trees.

After finishing the walnut vat, she helped with the madder root vat too.

Some of the dyed yarn and fabrics - orange from madder and browns from the walnuts. Some folks were also going to use the walnuts to make ink and wood stain.

She also got to check out a metalworking forge. There were some important rules for working in the forge, helpfully posted to the wall.

Anuenue was too small to use most of the tools in the forge, but instead she learned how to do metal casting. These plaster molds were cast with melted brass bullet shells.

After a long day of crafting, Anuenue headed down to the neighbor's dock. There was a big party with a pumpkin shoot - the pumpkins are floated in the creek to use as targets.

As the sun set, the longship was readied for a short voyage and photo shoot by torchlight.

It is hard to see in the dark, but Anuenue rowed around in circles for a while while we experimented with the torches.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Anuenue tours the West Wing

On the day after the election, Anuenue got to take a tour of the West Wing of the White House!

First, she had dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill, a restaurant that was founded in 1856 and is a Washington institution.

Then it was time for the tour! She had to walk around to the side entrance at the EEOB (Eisenhower Executive Office Building). The construction is already starting for Inauguration on Pennsylvania Ave.

Looking out at the North Lawn from the West Wing entrance....a cold and rainy night.

The seal of the President is over the door to the West Wing.

Photos aren't allowed in most of the West Wing, but Anuenue got to see the Oval Office, the Cabinet room, the Roosevelt room, the dining room, the door to the Situation room (closed, of course), and some of the office area. One place where pictures was allowed was the press briefing room:
The briefing room is actually not very large, just a few rows of chairs and a bank of cameras in the back.

Anuenue took a break in the chair belonging to the AFP.

No more news for tonight!

Anuenue also got to take a look inside the EEOB:

This big spiral stair leads up to the top of the EEOB.

Hmmm...better not try to investigate the closed offices!