Tag Archives: Summer

On the waterfront (bis)…

Okay. So sorry about the multiple pictures of Buffalo’s waterfront. I have posted from this same vantage point on numerous times prior. But I just find it so fascinating. Every time I go there for a couple beers (there’s a beautiful outdoor bar) and to take photos I see something different even if looking at the same scene as before. I shot these a couple evenings ago. I really like them all but the most dramatic, I think, is the one pictured above. I saw this when I first arrived…this crazy turbulent low-lying cloud just sort of rolling across the lake and above us. And rolling is a good description because I later found that it is actually called a “roll cloud” (or Arcus cloud). Shortly thereafter there was lightening and rain; this cloud was a sort of precursor. Anyhow, and I apologize in advance, but there will likely be more waterfront photos before the summer is finished…

Urban Simplicity.

On the waterfront (bis)…

Okay. So sorry about the multiple pictures of Buffalo’s waterfront. I have posted from this same vantage point on numerous times prior. But I just find it so fascinating. Every time I go there for a couple beers (there’s a beautiful outdoor bar) and to take photos I see something different even if looking at the same scene as before. I shot these a couple evenings ago. I really like them all but the most dramatic, I think, is the one pictured above. I saw this when I first arrived…this crazy turbulent low-lying cloud just sort of rolling across the lake and above us. And rolling is a good description because I later found that it is actually called a “roll cloud” (or Arcus cloud). Shortly thereafter there was lightening and rain; this cloud was a sort of precursor. Anyhow, and I apologize in advance, but there will likely be more waterfront photos before the summer is finished…

Urban Simplicity.

Seven fading flowers and a quote…

As every flower fades and as all youth
Departs, so life at every stage,
So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
Blooms in its day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To find new light that old ties cannot give.
In all beginnings dwells a magic force
For guarding us and helping us to live.

Serenely let us move to distant places
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.
If we accept a home of our own making,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.
We must prepare for parting and leave-taking
Or else remain the slaves of permanence.

~Hermann Hesse 
The Glass Bead Game

Urban Simplicity.

Moon stalking, a correlating poem, and a few other things…

As you likely know–if you happened to be outside last night or the night prior–there was another super-moon, this time it was the harvest moon. It’s glow was intense to say the least. The night was scheduled to have clear skies so at sunset I hopped on my bike with my gear and rode to to the pier along the lake and the river. As the moon rose over the skyline it was really breathtaking. And it was interesting to watch the sun set over Canada while the moon rose over the U.S. in the other direction. Anyhow, I took dozens of photos, these are a few of my favorites. Click any for a slightly larger view. A poem by Mary Oliver is at the bottom of the page.

Harvest Moon, by Mary Oliver
No sky could hold
so much light–
and here comes the brimming,
the flooding and streaming
out of the clouds
and into the leaves,
glazing the creeks,
the smallest ditches!
And so many stars!
The sky seems stretched
like an old black cloth;
behind it, all
the celestial fire
we ever dreamed of!
And the moon steps lower,
quietly changing
her luminous masks, brushing
everything as she passes
with her slow hands
and soft lips–
clusters of dark grapes,
apples swinging like lost planets,
melons cool and heavy as bodies–
and the mockingbird wakes
in his hidden castle;
out of the silver tangle
of thorns and leaves
he flutters and tumbles,
spilling long
ribbons of music
over forest and river,
copse and cloud–
all heaven and all earth–
wherever the white moon
fancies her small wild prince–
field after field after field.

Urban Simplicity.

L’heure bleue et nuit…

Okay. So you may be getting tired of seeing photos of Buffalo’s waterfront. Sorry. But I have been so drawn to it this summer. I find it relaxing. Yesterday after a very crazy-busy and super hot-and-humid day of running a round a kitchen and facing a stove, I wanted nothing more than to have a cold beer and feel the breeze off the lake. So, yup, that’s just what I did. And if you’ve visited this site before then you know that my favorite time of day to take photos is at dusk, or what is often called “the blue hour” (l’heure bleue)…it’s that incredibly beautiful time of day–dusk and dawn–when everything takes on a blue hue. It only lasts about a half hour or so before the day turns into night and it is gone. 

From WikipediaDuring the blue hour, red light passes straight into space while blue light is scattered in the atmosphere and therefore reaches the earth’s surface. Because of the quality of the light, this period is treasured by artists.

Indeed, some devote entire websites on taking photos during this time. Anyhow, I’ll stop blathering on about it, but it really is a magical time. The above and below photo are of Buffalo Harbor, and the bottom photo–after night had fallen and I was on my way home–is an image of Buffalo Navel Park. Click any for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Three Flags, the Shark-Girl, a Gaggle of Geese, a River in Two Countries, and a few other Things I saw while Riding my Bike this past Weekend…

I’ve mentioned it before but I have to say it again, taking photos for me is like a form of therapy or meditation. I love focusing on something and trying to capture what I see with the camera. With that said, these are a bunch of photos I took this past weekend while riding my bike. It was Labor Day weekend in both the U.S. and Canada–and I was really trying to enjoy the last official weekend of the summer–so on Saturday I rode up to Crystal Beach for a swim, stopping on the Peace Bridge to snap a photo of the Niagara river while I had one foot in Canada and the other in the U.S. I also spent the evening last night at Canalside here in Buffalo. And interestingly, in both Canada and the U.S. I saw off-shore rainstorms (one of which I got caught in later)…they were beautiful. And lastly, if you are not familiar with her, Shark-Girl is a somewhat new art piece on the waterfront in Buffalo. I saw her for the first time yesterday and I’m not sure how I feel about her. Anyhow, click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Two simple but delicious recipes to use up all those tomatoes growing in your garden…

Both of these recipes have been posted in the past (or at least variations of them). And whether you grow them in your own garden or buy them from the market or a store, this is prime tomato season. Both recipes are simple to make a bursting with fresh flavor. 

 

Garden-Fresh Tomato Sauce 

Makes about 3 quarts
4 quarts fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh basil
.
Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds; discard the seeds and dice the tomatoes. Heat the oil in a heavy sauce pan; add the onions, then the garlic, then the sugar, salt, fennel, and hot pepper. Add the diced tomatoes and the chicken broth (or vegetable broth). Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook the sauce for about 45 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened. Stir in whole basil leaves and remove from the heat. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Taste it for seasoning, then puree in a blender. Refrigerate until needed.


Spicy and Smoky Tomato ketchup 

 Makes about 2 cups
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove the cores of the tomatoes, and make a small X-shaped incision on the opposite ends. Drop the tomatoes in the water a few at a time and blanch them for only about 45 seconds, just to loosen their skins. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of iced water. Peel away their skins, cut them in half, squeeze out their seeds, and dice them. Transfer the tomatoes to a small pot with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower to a low simmer. Cook for about an hour, until it becomes quite thick. Transfer to a blender and process until smooth.

The (same) view from my handlebars (but six months apart) and quote that inspires me…


I likely speak for other all-weather cyclists out there when I say that this winter has been challenging on many levels. I pass this hidden little alley many times during my week and have taken multiple photos of it. Today (the bottom photo) it looked especially beautiful as I passed it so I snapped another photo. But it also made me remember photos of summer and it made me pine for warmer weather. Anyhow, I found the top photo that I took last July standing nearly in the same spot, but six months earlier. Summer will come, eventually, I thought. It also made me think of the following quote regarding the 16th century monk, Brother Lawrence (who also happened to be a cook). It is recorded in the classic text, The Practice of the Presence of God, as a series of conversations. I personally find it inspiring (if only we all could have such an epiphany). If you are interested you can download the book for free in many formats here or here. Anyhow, here’s the quote…

“The first time I saw Brother Lawrence was on the 3rd of August, 1666. He told me that God had done him a singular favor in his conversion at the age of eighteen. During that winter, upon seeing a tree stripped of its leaves and considering that, within a little time, the leaves would be renewed and, after that, the flowers and fruit appear; Brother Lawrence received a high view of the providence and power of God which has never since been effaced from his soul.”

Urban Simplicity. 

No recipe needed…

One of my food purveyors delivered a case of peaches today from which these two come. Perfect, I thought (or likely said aloud) as I opened the case. I took one and bit in and sweet nectar ran down my chin. In some instances, such as this, I also thought to myself, I could not create a recipe using these peaches that would improve them. They are perfect as is. No recipe needed. Mother nature is amazing. I just felt like saying this and sharing the photos.

A Dish of Peaches in Russia

With my whole body I taste these peaches,
I touch them and smell them.  Who speaks?

I absorb them as the Angevine
Absorbs Anjou.  I see them as a lover sees,

As a young lover sees the first buds of spring
And as the black Spaniard plays his guitar.

Who speaks?  But it must be that I,
That animal, that Russian, that exile, for whom

The bells of the chapel pullulate sounds at
Heart.  The peaches are large and round,

Ah! and red; and they have peach fuzz, ah!
They are full of juice and the skin is soft.

They are full of the colors of my village
And of fair weather, summer, dew, peace.

The room is quiet where they are.
The windows are open.  The sunlight fills

The curtains.  Even the drifting of the curtains,
Slight as it is, disturbs me.  I did not know

That such ferocities could tear
One self from another, as these peaches do.

Urban Simplicity

Sweet, Sour, and Spicy Pickles (in just five minutes)

This is a basic refrigerator pickle recipe that can be made in just a few minutes but is really delicious and will keep excess produce for months (if kept refrigerated). I make this nearly every year at summer’s end to store cucumbers still hanging on their vines. You can make it with just cucumbers or (as I do) add other items as well (this really can be made with any produce). I added garlic cloves, onion, hot peppers, dill seed, and a pinch of turmeric for color and nutrition. Anyhow, the basic recipe goes like this:

Slice cucumbers and other vegetables. Layer them in a bowl or crock with garlic and onion, if you like. Make a basic brine using the following measurements: 1 1/2 parts cider vinegar, 1 part sugar, 1 part water, a little salt, and (if you like the color) a little turmeric. Combine all of these ingredients together in a pot, place the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Simmer the brine for just a few seconds, then our it over the vegetables. Refrigerate the bowl and the pickles will be ready in an hour or so. Simple as that.

Urban Simplicity.

Three more from a garden…

Though I took these photos today they are really a continuation of a previous post. My apologies if I’m boring you with flower photos all summer but I just can’t help myself…they look so beautiful to me when viewed up close. At any rate, there’s only another month or so of them left before we move into autumn (my favorite season)…at which time I’ll no doubt post photos of trees in transition. I really like all of these photos but if I had to choose just one it would be the one directly below…a droplet captured at its point of departure. Click any for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

In the garden after the rain…

No this is not my personal garden, these photos were taken in the garden of my place of employment. I had mentioned a few times prior that I am lucky enough to work in a place with such a lovely garden (and one which I can walk when it is empty) and I often find it relaxing to look at some of the plants through the lens of a camera. Today I was feeling a bit stressed (not about work, about other things in my personal life) and on my lunch break I went out to snap a few photos. It had just finished raining, and these are the result. Click any for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Playing with Light

One of the many things I like about digital photography is that unlike film photography you can shoot as many photos you want and choose only a few that you really like. This was the case this evening. I shot about 25 photos of Hoyt Lake and Marcy Casino at Delaware Park and these two are my favorites. What I like about these two are the color contrasts. This was achieved by not only long exposure but also the light around me. The blue in the sky was the result of the time that I was there– l’heure bleue, which is one of my favorite times of the dayand the red foreground is from a series of lampposts, which are just out of view but shone on the water directly in front of me.

 Urban Simplicity.