Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Making Plans for the Camino?

Here is what you can expect!

Thanks Phillypilgrim for this most accurate chart of how most Camino plans result.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Little About Cirauqui

Photo by Cachirri photography
The Basque for Cirauqui means "nest of vipers," 
and it's a toss-up whether the name refers to house serpents or bandits!

As you walk, pay attention to the many 16th to 19th century mansions with coasts of arms and other beautiful decorations over the doors. 

Photo by Madill

This pretty hilltop village is full of balconied houses on twisted alleys, 
and lots of steps to climb. 
There is at least one nice little tienda here, 
where you can get snacks and drinks.

According to Gitlitz, the village grew in three stages:  
in the 9th century around the church of San Román; 
in the 10th and 11th century on the hillsides south of the church on San Román; and in the 14th century around the churhc of Santa Catalina.  
You climb to the high churches through a Gothic arch in the old city wall. 

Both churches are worth visiting.
Sam Román Portal
Next to the San Román's portal is a Civil War monument 
sporting a list of Cirauqui's soldiers who fell 
"for God and for the Fatherland."

Bike Ride in Netherlands

While in Amsterdam, 
Joe and I decided to rent bikes and take a ride into the country. 
It was a beautiful cloudy day and the scenery was stunning!

On the ferry

Nice bike-sized stream bridges

The sheep were happy to see us

Joe is always in mycologist phase

Lovely waterlillies
 While riding, we came across this sign 
advertising organic milk.

We were surprised to see a coin machine inside,
and even more surprised to see fresh eggs
on the counter with a box to put your money in.

Is the cow behind the wall?

See the money box? The honor system apparently works here.

What a great way to spend a day near Amsterdam,
getting into the beautiful countryside.

Next we take the train to Bayonne!

My First Camino - 2006

I was looking at some old photos this morning 
and thought it might be fun 
to write a bit about my very first Camino 
in 2006.

Joe and I had traveled through Spain
 a few years earlier during Semana Santa
 and I remember the train ride 
from Barcelona to southern Spain, 
"I'd love to walk this beautiful country!"

Then when I was diagnosed with MCS 
and long distance walking was one option 
for my therapy, 
I began looking for walking trails in Spain 
and found the Camino.

After much study and planning, 
I decided to walk!  
I asked my friend Joe
 (we were partners at that time) 
if he would be interested in walking with me, 
and the trip was on!

We bought our gear, paid for our tickets, 
and got ready to go. 

We decided to visit Amsterdam, Wales, and Ireland, as well as Spain. 
Once you're in Europe, the rest isn't so expensive.

Our family was concerned because of the Iraq crisis, but we weren't afraid.  
I cut off all of my hair 
so I wouldn't have to deal with it, 
and off we went!

Our overloaded packs!
Waiting for our plane
We began our trip by flying to Amsterdam, 
where we spent about a week exploring. 

We stayed at The Shelter Hostal 

A very large dinner!
One of our favorite sandwich spots near the train station 
The canal boats were so pretty

One reason for our visit is the Ritman Hermetic Library
Then there was this, which I'd never seen before in my life
After a few days in Amsterdam, 
we carried on to visit friends in Wales. 
Our friend, Jodye, picked us up in London 
and drove us to Wales. 
But first, we spent a night with her in London.
Jodye cooked us a lovely dinner
and was a sweet hostess.

Do NOT come into the kitchen!
A lovely dinner!
In Wales, we touristed about. 
One of the highlights was our visit to a Holy Well.

The other was a surprise birthday party 
for ME!

And let me tell you something,
those Welsh girls can drink you under the table!

After our visit to Wales, 
we returned with some of the ladies 
to the Ritman Library in Amsterdam 
to do a bit more study.

After a couple of days at the library, 
we said our farewells,
and Joe and I took a little bike trip.

The Camino was getting closer...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Making Pesto!

My son Cameron made pesto today for the week!

It is GOOD!

His partner, Michael, grew the BEST Italian Basil this season that I've ever eaten. It is so fragrant!  When I crushed the flowers between my fingers and closed my eyes, it was unbelievable - next season I'm going to infuse some in alcohol.

Anyway, there is no real recipe, 
but here's what goes into it:

Pine Nuts
Olive Oil

Here is the Basil from our garden. 
There is the Italian Basil, 
and also just standard garden variety Basil.

I helped him clean it 
and take the leaves off the stems.

Next, he put it into the food processor 
and chopped it up.

Then, he chopped some garlic 
and ground it in the mortar and pestle 
along with pine nuts, salt, and olive oil.

He added that to the big food processor, 
then added some grated parmesan cheese
we had grated in the small processor.
(we're a 2 food processor family)

This house uses a LOT of pesto! 
It's one of our favorite easy meals.

When we buy it, 
we buy this Buitoni 7 ounce size 
for about $5.99  

Today, Cameron made about 28 ounces 
(4 times as much) 
for $8.
And it's soooo much better!
Look how thick and luscious it looks.

I love having a garden and sons that like to cook!
Thanks Cameron!

Baby Chicks!

When my son and I bought this house, one of the things I had in mind was to have a small flock of hens. Having fresh organic eggs each day was important to me, and having grown up on a farm, I love to watch the silly antics of chickens!

My current flock consists of Kallie and Hattie, two Barred Rock Hens, and Sissie, a Rhode Island Red.

Kallie and Hattie

Kallie - the Good Mum!

Sissy - Excellent Layer!

They're about 2 years old now, and lately, I've thought I'd like to have one or two more hens. So instead of buying hens, when Kallie went broody, I decided to see how she'd do rearing a nest of chicks.

I paid the same amount of cash for a dozen fertile eggs. A lady behind me has a permit to have all sorts of poultry, and she was selling eggs for chicken breeds that bring in quite a bit of cash.

I bought 6 Copper Marans, 4 Americauna, 2 Olive Egger, and 2 Mille Fleur/Leghorn cross eggs and stuck them under Kallie and she has successfully hatched the clutch!

Two weeks after putting the eggs in the nest, I moved Kallie just to see how things were coming along and noticed that one of the Olive Egger eggs had vanished!  I moved all the eggs, checked all around the nest and it had just vanished into thin air! I never have discovered what became of it. I suspect a rat carried it off, and am hoping the rats (of which we have two in residence) won't get my new chicks!

The first excitement happened night before last, 2 days before the eggs were due to hatch. I heard peeping, and when I checked the nest, found one Americauna egg pipping and one Copper Marans with a dime-sized hole.  Next morning, the Copper Marans was dead, having gotten stuck in the shell. The weather has been so hot, there just wasn't enough moisture in the air and the membrane inside the egg stuck to the poor little guy. The other chick, however, hatched just fine and since then, chicks have been hatching!

This morning I counted SIX new babies, with 4 eggs left to hatch! I'm hoping for hens, of course. Roosters will go into the freezer (sorry, vegetarians!) and extra hens will be sold to pay for the venture.

Here are some photos of my new little chooks:

And here is what the eggs looked like.
This is not a photo of my actual eggs,
but this is what mine looked like:

The dark chocolate brown eggs are Copper Marans
The white egg is a Mille Fleur/Leghorn Mix - they lay 300 eggs/year!
The blue eggs are from Americauna hens.
The two lighter brown eggs are actually not mine - mine are an olive green and are from the Olive Egger hens which are a cross between Americauna and Copper Marans.

The Olive Eggers lay eggs like this:

I'm very excited to see how many hens I end up with and this has been so much fun watching these little chooks hatch!

And I'm not the only chicken crazy person in the family. My little granddaughter Hayden LOVED her chickens. This is her, with her hen Buttercup, who followed her around like a puppy!  The family recently had to sell their hens, because they were thinking about moving. So Hayden's very excited about the new chooks!