Monday, September 25, 2017

Puffball for Lunch

 When I was walking in the yard a few days ago I noticed a puffball mushroom recently up and made a mental note to check back. Yesterday, while mowing, I saw that it had grown quite large ... about four inches in diameter. I picked it and decided it would be today's lunch.

A slice of puffball mushroom for lunch

Here's how the puffball looked before I picked it ...

 I washed the mushroom with plain tap water, rubbing any dirt from the rubbery surface. And then I dried it and began slicing it. I made each slice about half an inch thick because they reduce when fried. The first slice (bottom right) I discarded. Puffballs are best when their insides are pure white, Once the spores turn yellow, they are unusable (in my opinion, anyway).

 I fried each slice individually because we have only a  small frying pan. It's just a simple matter to fry the slices in butter. Nothing else is needed beyond the addition of some salt and pepper when finished.

 As the slices fry they take on a creamy golden color. The insides stays soft and creamy, almost like brie cheese. I don't consider this mushroom to have much flavor so the butter is necessary (oil would not make them nearly so good).

 Mom and I ate about half the puffball. Lunch tomorrow is already planned.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oktoberfest - 2017

 Tom and I enjoyed a warm afternoon in downtown Cincinnati (Zinzinnati is this case) yesterday taking in all the sights at Oktoberfest. While the event officially runs three days (09/15-09/17 this year), it is really Saturday that is the official kick-off. Quite a crowd, too!

 We parked at the Garfield Garage on W. 9th Street and walked to Oktoberfest which is held between 2nd and 3rd Streets at Fort Washington Way). So we had a nice hike getting there. The first beer truck we saw was this one ... close to my heart in a familial way.

 The Schmidt's truck said it was from Columbus's German Village. Oktoberfest is actually presented by Samuel Adams which brews in Cincinnati. The annual event is produced by the Cincinnati Regional Chamber.There are a host of sponsors.

 Just arriving at Oktoberfest ...

 Tom and I saw several German bands playing polka music.

 Cincinnati's skyline makes a magnificent backdrop to Oktoberfest, The weather could not have been better. We had partly cloudy skies with temperatures pushing into the mid-80's. After earlier cooler weather, it seemed as though summer had returned.

Yuengling beer had an inflatable bottle marking their spot.

 This shot was taken at the eastern end of the event.

 Besides beer, various German foods were available, including Bavarian and various soft pretzels. I bought one of these ($3) and brought it home for an evening snack.

 The stage in the distance is at the western edge of the event. A keg was being tapped as we arrived, signalling the official start of Oktoberfest.

The Great American Ballpark provides another interesting backdrop.

 Delectable foods were available from countless booths.

 I suppose we spent about an hour at Oktoberfest and then began working our way back towards the parking garage. Rather than eat the food at Oktoberfest (mostly meats and various sweets) we stopped at Penn Station for lunch. It was pleasantly air-conditioned so we allowed ourselves some cool-down time.

 For more information on Oktoberfest, click here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

 Tom and I enjoyed an afternoon at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton yesterday. The weather was perfect: a mostly blue sky with a few puffy white clouds and a pleasant high temperature of 72°. We had not been to Pyramid Hill before but with two free Groupon passes courtesy of Nan McGinnis, we had our Saturday afternoon all planned.

 Pyramid Hill is situated on more than 300 acres and displays "60+ monumental sculptures displayed in a landscape of rolling hills, meadows, lakes and hiking trails". We decided to see what we could minus available golf carts ($20/hour) and found the going a bit strenuous.

 The park calls itself "the largest cultural tourist attraction in Butler county". They boast of having 300,000 visitors annually.

 The Visitor Center and Gift Shop is nondescript and small. We found a parking spot easily but after an afternoon of hiking that small lot was full and a nearby lot was filling fast. Still, parking is ample for a non-event weekend and it's also free. But admission to the park is $8 per person.

 And so we began a foot tour of perhaps half of the area ...

 Tom is dwarfed by this sculpture.

 There are at least six "lakes" (actually ponds) on the property.

 This sculpture has a canoe atop, sawed in half.

 These standing stones reminded me of Stonehenge.

 I would suppose these to have been industrial grade pillars set for architectural work.

 Tom sitting on a bench with a sculpture of Harry Wilks. Read more below.

 A statue of a dog in front of the Pyramid House.

 This large sculpture has natural mica and quartz inclusions. Not so natural is placement of red glass, particularly a large piece set in the top. Below, Tom is looking up at the red glass.

 These remind me of papyrus.

 Harry Wilks "Pyramid House" is a private home on the grounds and is off limits. Finished in 1992, information about the house can be found here. Harry T. Wilks, a Hamilton philanthropist, died in March of 2014. He was called an "advocate for the arts, schools and community" by the Journal-News.

 Close-up of the statue above in a walled garden area.

Bill (l) and Tom

 A map of Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park can be found here.

 The park consists of beautiful rolling hills in a rural setting.One negative is the number of still-standing ash trees which have been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. Due to the number, it'd be a substantial project to remove them all. But as they stand, they're quite numerous and unsightly. Also, some areas of the park have a severe mole problem (but then so do I). There are hills and runs in large areas. Both of those problems need dealing with.

 I'm told the park has wonderful Christmas light displays. I can imagine that's a stunning sight when there's snow on the ground.