Thursday, July 24, 2014

Going up stream in the rainy season, Amazon Cruise

Amazon Cruise, June 2014
During the World Cup trip we took an Amazon cruise. 
 This was our boat, the Iracema, named for an aunt of the family who owns/runs the cruises.  I booked through Rainforest Cruises, who I had used before and were excellent once again (quick response time, good understanding of what I was looking for and just overall helpful).  The cruise was run by Amazonia Expeditions, and was simply delightful.

These were the passengers and crew.  So nice to be in a small group-it feels more relaxed somehow. Mo Jr. is relaxing on the ground.  He was our main everything-waking us up before the sunrise, going out on the canoe trips to point out the wildlife and arranging everything we did.  He has a very good sense of humor and when we met Mo Sr. it became clear what that come from!  We could not have had a nicer group leading us around.

We got on in the late afternoon and had a lovely can see I forgot to grab the camera earlier...

Our first day trip was an overall intro the Amazon during the wet season.  It was strangely foggy so we didn't get a sunrise.  

I don't think I've ever been on the water in such fog.  You think it is my bad photography skills...but it was really like this!

It is thinner than what we get in the San Francisco area, but extra spooky.  The water is so calm the reflection is spooky too.

It lightened a little after breakfast

and we got into canoes to go up river.

It is hard to grasp, but because this is the wet season, we are paddling around at the TOP of the forest.
Imagine the 30-40 ft of tree that is underneath.

And not just in this one place, but all around.  And upstream and downstream.  For thousands of miles.  It's crazy how much water there is!

as you travel up stream

more of the forest reveals itself

until it feels more like a stream

where you are finally near 'the ground'.  Of course that is nuts since there is 'ground' at the bottom of the ocean.  But the Amazon river just goes up and down and there is no single ground level, it all depends and where and WHEN you are.

We parked the boats at a little waterfall and got out into the jungle!
The inches of leaf litter make the ground all spongy

 Now this feels like the jungle-no trails mean you have to meander through the thinner spots.

you wouldn't have to go far to get lost.

As long as you find your way back to the stream

Loved just standing at the top of the waterfall and looking around.

Monday, July 21, 2014

so much citrus

Garden and preserving update  July 2014

The prettiest are the pickled plums

I had a new crop of Rangpur limes delivered and wanted to try something new-preserved limes.  Most recipes are for preserved Meyer lemons which are generally mild but I figured you won't know if you don't try.  

I started looking for recipes at Punk Domestics.  They seem to have a nice mix of usual and unusual.  There were quite a few that all have the same basic idea-mix lemons, salt and juice and let sit anywhere from a week to 3 months.  I ended up at West and Wander because there is a recipe for lemon salt as well.  Shockingly Delicious and Prim and Primal have the most recipes for using them-everything else vaguely  references Moroccan food.

I'm terrible at following a recipe word for word. First off, I have WAAAAAY more fruit than the recipes I find. Does everyone else scale down? Do you really only do a jar at a time? I usually just scale it up and see what happens. For the preserved limes, I cut everything into quarters and tossed with salt rather than try and keep them whole.
I think this let me shove more into each jar. Maybe that is bad?

I also needed way more juice than the recipes.  I'll chalk that up to different type of fruit. So far they look pretty good.  I think I will try the next batch with added spices.

I still had extra limes so I made the lemon (lime) rosemary salt.
washing the rosemary seemed tough till I put it in a strainer and swished it around

easy peasy lemon squeezy!

guessing at the proportions

mix and dry in the oven for 30 minutes-not bad!  Now I need to find a reason to use it!

Next up the pluots

I decided to preserve them like my Mom used to do peaches.

but DancinTurtle also found pickled plums-lemon, mint, vinegar.  Pretty tasty-lightly pickled and refreshing.

All the finished pluot products.

And finally the garden this month
the roses had a second burst of flowers

the apples are getting big

and oh my gosh the blueberries are so pretty.  They are sooooo close to being ready...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Iguassu Falls-Flora and Fauna

June 2014, Iguassu Falls

Iguassu Falls has some great wildlife-Coatis
I got my picture with zoom

NOT like this.  Stupid people!

We were walking back to the rooms and this pack of coatis
 run across to the bamboo stand. 

They just kept coming until ~20 of them were in and around the bamboo digging in the ground.

 They do tell you to watch out-they hang around the snack stands and grab unattended snacks.

They little guys were shy and didn't come into the open much.  We decided they were capybaras but we really have no idea.

 These guys were everywhere.

These were not-the picture is terrible, but these are toucans!  We saw this pair flying about in the morning.

In the past I've seen a lot of butterflies but it was so wet that they didn't come out until the last day and then not in the quantities I was expecting. 

  The ones that did come out were beautiful!

Jungle Ant!

I love to photograph the fungus...