Friday, October 5, 2012

Experimental Dawn

I took Cheyenne out for yet another early morning walk yesterday which she thoroughly enjoyed, leading me this way and that sniffing and checking and doubling back and checking again, until I got bored enough, I admit it, that I pulled out my phone and started playing.

I am impressed by the ability of the camera in my Android telephone to adapt to conditions. Changing settings is a pain as one has to press icons on the screen but the basics work quite well across a range of conditions especially for the small screen display on the phone.

Granted some of the pictures came out a little dark for the iPad but these are in retouched and as they came out of the phone, went into the Picasa account to be saved in the iPad and then downloaded. All of which seems like a rather laborious trail. But is not as complex as it sounds to me.

As the sun came up I took a picture of the Boondocks Bar, a Ramrod Key landmark where I hope one day to reduce Jack Riepe insensible on cheap beer. A delivery truck advised me Budweiser has superior drinkability. I'm not at all sure what that is but I guess one day I'll give it a try. Drinkability. Weird.

Anyway there it is. Phone pictures on my blog. A first and not I expect the last time but I do prefer the pictures I get from my pocket camera. These are fun to use on the phone and I like to send them as postcards but I suppose I have to accept I am slow when it comes to updating my technology.

Cheyenne had another enjoyable walk with a mud bath thrown in and subsequently an inadequate shower to remove the cooling mud. I had some dubious pictures and now we all get to sit back and see if they were with the download. Hmmm.


Eating Well

It is a constant source of irritation that for whatever reason fresh fruits and vegetables purchased in supermarkets go off before you can eat them. There is a myth that Key West (and Big Pine) are stuck so far out to sea and distant from American Civilization that it is a wonder that food and fuel can even be supplied to these islands. They shake their heads these people who want to make Keys living out to be more remote and hardy than it ever really is, and mutter about the trials and tribulations of transport when confronted with freezer burnt or rotting vegetables for sale at astonishingly high prices. I see the delivery trucks barreling back to Miami every morning as I leave Key West after my night shift and when I go to the supermarket the freshly supplied lettuce and tomatoes look like survivors from a disreputable bar fight, bruised and battered and curling at the edges. Granted one cannot expect to be able to buy local foods in islands that long since gave up the struggle to grow even pineapples commercially, but there is an organic solution.

For $40 and curiously fifty cents, we get a box of vegetables delivered to our neighbors on Cudjoe Key, along with a helpful e-mail reminding me to go pick up the contents of my box. It's an extremely well organized operation and its very easy to participate. Drop a check, empty the box into a shopping bag and bob's your uncle!

As far as I can recall Annie's Buying Club is an offshoot of an organic grocery chain in South Florida that originally had plans to expand into the Upper Keys. Then 2008 happened and the comfortable middle class assumptions of the Era of Credit shrank and with the shrinkage organic shopping took a hit. Too bad but nothing deterred decent vegetables, and fruit for those so inclined, are making their way back.

I believe that the trucks bringing delicate fresh vegetables to the mainstream stores are over chilling their cargoes. A shopping expedition to Publix or Winn Dixie requires paying a lot of attention to the brown stains on the lettuce and bruises on the tomatoes. Take a fresh head of lettuce home and watch it turn to brown water. Not with this stuff, including this watermelon radish, a vegetable new to me, and my wife.

Cut it open and it's red inside and looks and tastes like a raw radish, yet it's the size of a tennis ball. Thanks to the Web my wife found a potential use for this root vegetable, thinly sliced and baked it makes an interesting chip apparently. Annie's supplies regular vegetables but adds small challenges each week which inspire my wife to stretch her repertoire. A large squash last week became a delicious starchy sweet side dish and this week's selection of kale, always a bitter challenge is forcing the wife to stretch her skills.

In the past we've tried Community Supported Agriculture but found the food supplied to be insufficiently varied and not useful enough to replace regular vegetable shopping locally. Annie's provides plenty of the stuff we normally eat in addition to the interesting surprises which makes it worthwhile for us. It's not as good obviously as having a local farmer's market in the neighborhood but on these scraps of limestone rock it's a pretty viable substitute. Perhaps it's a another note of gentrification or yuppification but it is a way to eat well, miles and miles from "civilization."