Loquat Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Loquat fruit, seeds and leaf on a bamboo counter with a jar of salad dressing

It’s May and my loquat tree is bearing fruit.

Every year I lose the game of harvesting the ripened fruit before the birds get to it. The photo shows one of the fruits the birds got to – revealing the inner seeds.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind the fruit feeding the abundance of birds my yard attracts. I like birds and I regularly put out seeds for them. However, I love the taste of loquat and want to have some for myself!

Loquat is similar to an apricot in both fruit and skin texture, but with a milder flavor that’s unique, but sort of like a mild peach crossed with a pear.  It is in the Rossacaea (rose) family and is native to south central China, but also commonly found in Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. More info about loquat can be found here: www.crfg.org

Back to the birds … this year, I claimed victory! I was able to harvest enough fruit that the birds hadn’t destroyed to have fresh fruit to eat and experiment with a batch of salad dressing. We decided the somewhat citrus-tasting vinaigrette was a keeper, so here is my recipe:

Loquat Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 lb fresh loquats, (about 1-1/4 cups)

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp oregano

1/8 tsp. Himalayan pink sea salt

Fresh-cracked black pepper – to taste

Directions:

  • Wash & cut loquats in half; remove seeds and inner “skin” around the seed.
  • Use top of scrubbed, clean fingernails to push the fruit off the outer skin. Discard skins.
  • Put in food processor with other ingredients and blend well.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. [Yields: a bit more than 3/4 cup]

Notes

There are recipes online for loquat dressing, but they have a complicated process of removing all pulp and just using the juice. As such, they are throwing out almost all the fiber (leaving only a half-gram per serving). My version retains all the fiber, which produces a thicker, coarser dressing with much more fiber (most of us need it!), but once on a salad (or as a chicken marinade) that thicker consistency is just fine.

http://www.marthalochertphotography.com

 

You Don’t Need To Hoard the Toilet Paper

Box of tissue with COVID-19-induced TP shortage  timely message on the side

I’ve had this box since December, but quite inadvertently, it got turned today and I discovered this oh-so-timely sentiment on the other side.

I don’t know that I will ever understand the toilet paper shortage that has occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but don’t worry; my tissue knows it will be OK.

Thanks, tissue!

Photo copyright Martha Lochert Photography

Hygiene 101 – Stop the Spread

Bathroom faucet as a visual for the importance of washing hands thoroughly and often

When I was growing up, and even into her last years, my mother always said “wash your mitts!” I use that expression too. It’s a fun-loving way to tell someone to wash their hands without coming across too domineering.

I am still saying ‘wash your mitts,” but it somehow seems too casual during this COVID-19 pandemic.

We need to take social distancing seriously (I’m pleased to say my closest friends are all doing so) and wash our hands; our clothes; our counters, door knobs and light switches (among other things) thoroughly and often.

I’m still telling those in my household to wash their mitts, but for now, it is the verbal equivalent of being in all caps and with an exclamation mark.

WASH YOUR MITTS!

 

Photo for a past real estate client © Martha Lochert Photography

Community Foundation for Southern Arizona Turns Forty

CFSA executive director Clint Mabie at the podium

We self-employed photographers are in very vulnerable professions.

 

Safety first, but this coronavirus is going to impact us in a big way. No “sick days” with pay – just instantly no jobs that can be invoiced, so no payments coming in for an undetermined period of time .

 

I hope I can still get some head shots and things of that nature to see me through the period of time after all my current receivables have been paid.

 

Here is a photo from what may be my last big event for awhile, until the pandemic passes.

 

Executive director Clint Mabie addresses the crowd at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s recent 40th anniversary celebration (before they implemented a “no large gatherings” mandate until the covid-19 has run its course). Congratulations to CFSA on 40 years of community support and empowerment.

 

© Martha Lochert Photography

Merry Christmas 2019

2019-LowResWeb-SnowmanDesert_6255

This little snowman was sitting on this rock as I went out for a hike on the Cactus Forest Trail during one of our rare snow days in Tucson last February. It may be years before the next snowfall, so we all jumped at the chance to be out and walk around in it.

Wishing you all good health and happy holidays. May you feel contentment in whatever position life has you; joy in your heart; a sense of gratitude for what you have and an appreciation of family and friends – whether their philosophies jive with yours or not.

Peace to you.

 

Robert Frank Died at 94

The photography community and those who were inspired to make social change as a result of his 1959 book, The Americans mourn the passing of Robert Frank, who died on Monday, September 9, 2019, in Nova Scotia at the age of 94.

I spent many days in the library at the Center for Creative Photography looking at Robert Frank’s work while I was a photography student in the Fine Arts program at the University of Arizona in the early 1980’s.

Though early critics denounced his “snapshot” photographic style and called him a bitter man who didn’t appreciate his new homeland (he was born in Switzerland, but immigrated to the USA at age 23), he changed the look of photojournalism and ultimately, the United States.

He was not bitter; he had a desire to strip away the “all’s good in post-war America” facade that he felt the media was playing into and reveal what was truly good about the United States in its diversity. His so-called snapshot aesthetic supported a feeling of experience; of reality; of being there in the moment and seeing what and who truly makes up America. The style was about experience, as much as subject.

He empathized with those who struggled and distrusted the privileged who made up the rules. His choice to let the photographs speak for themselves, without text, in The Americans forced the viewer to truly see the reality of our country in that time.

Well done, sir.

Rain or Shine: The Show Must Go On

Saturday evening I photographed the Arizona Theatre Company’s annual gala.

I drove down to the mostly outdoor event through torrential rains after an entire day of rain, which is an unusual event in Tucson.

Needless to say, I was not looking forward to photographing four hours in rainy conditions – even if they did scramble and set up tents (which they did not).

I walked from my parking spot under the protection of my umbrella, hoping to turn the corner and see that the outdoor venue for the dinner and dancing was under cover of tents. Instead, I turned the corner to no tents, but rather, a sea of plastic covered dinner tables and rental company decor drenched in rain. It was grim, but apropos, given that theatre protocol is “the show must go on.”

By some miracle, the storm ceased a few minutes later and the skies cleared fifteen minutes before guests arrived! Cocktail hour went ahead as planned in the open-air courtyard of the Temple of Music and Art and thankfully, no one slipped in the puddles then or after the indoor program when they all went back outside for dinner under the stars.

Though a bit soggy, it actually turned out to be a lovely evening.

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

National Public Land Use Day 9.22.18

422_SagNatlPark-GoldenHour_3386

Tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 22) is the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere, but for those of us in the United States, it is also National Public Land Use Day.

Entrance fees are waived to national parks, recreation sites and public lands, so get out there and enjoy some nature!

For more details: https://www.neefusa.org/npld

Bears are Hungry, But They Don’t Need Your Help

While you’re out on your summer camping trips, don’t forget to be bear savvy, so you don’t come back to a destroyed camp like this guy did near Ward, Colorado.

Leave no food sitting out except for when you are preparing and eating it and NEVER have any food, drinks (other than water) or fragrances like lotions, bug spray and even flavored antacids in your tents.

If there are no bear boxes nearby and you don’t have a car to lock your food in (and cover ice chests in the car with a blanket, as some bears have learned what coolers contain and will break out windows to get in), then at least hang all food and smelly things from bags in the trees away from the tent.

Once a bear discovers the sloppiness of a lazy or ignorant camper, it’ll know that location is perhaps an ongoing food source (and that tents are worth investigating) and will come back to scavenge again, putting the next camper in possible danger. Needless to say, we chose not to pick any campsites in this area after happening upon this mess.

Please respect your fellow campers and respect the natural rhythms and behaviors of the wildlife and keep an enticement-free campsite.

Happy camping!

Photo copyrighted. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Creative Use for Plastic Bottles

These women were in a 4th of July “Whatever Floats Your Boat” race across Sahuarita Lake in their creation made from all recyclable plastic bottles! They won 1st place in the AMATEUR category, but also 1st place in CROWD FAVORITE 🙂

Nice job, ladies! You had fun and brought joy to all who watched.

http://www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Our Planets Rotate Around the Sun – And None of Them Are Flat!

Ancient astronomical tool – the Armillary Sphere.

Used to chart movements in the heavens of other astronomical problems, the nine-ringed armillary sphere has been in use since at least AD 140 Greece.

The center sphere originally represented the earth, in keeping with Ptolemy’s idea of the planets orbiting the earth. It later came to represent the sun with the Copernican theory of planets, including earth, orbiting around a central sun.

To learn more about this fascinating and aesthetically interesting tool, visit https://sciencing.com/armillary-sphere-6112069.html

Image copyrighted. No use without licensing from Martha Lochert.

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Prickly Pear In The Spring

It’s that time of year when the prickly pear cactus start budding flowers. They are so interesting looking – especially through a macro lens. The tiny polka dots on the pads are normally not visible to my naked eye. This one, which is native to Mexico, is an Opuntia ficus-indica.

https://worldofsucculents.com/opuntia-ficus-indica-indian-fig-barbary-fig-cactus-pear/

 

Fruit, which may or may not be edible, depending on the species, will appear after the flowers dry. In June, the ones in my yard are usually being devoured by Scarab beetles.

Photo copyrighted. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

http://www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Spring Brings New Growth

Happy first day of spring from Tucson – where the cactus are starting to sprout new buds, just like the citrus trees and wildflowers.

This is a macro (close-up) photo of a cholla cactus. They’ve been called jumping cholla because the individual sections seem to jump out at passersby. The reality is, the passersby move too closely to them, unaware that they have long, fine needles unseen to the naked eye. Those needles catch on clothing and pull the section off the cactus, making it appear to jump.

Image copyrighted. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Fleeting Fog in the Desert

It was a foggy morning in the Sonora desert after a day of rain. The last time we had thick morning fog like this was in 2015. Since it is such a rare occasion, the landscape becomes magical and surreal when it does occur.

Image copyrighted and registered at US Library of Congress. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

It’s Cold, Elsewhere

As we enjoy lows in the 40’s and high’s in the upper 70’s in Tucson, Arizona, I think of those who are experiencing record snowfall and bone-chilling cold, single-digit high temperatures today. Keep warm and be safe as you go out into the world today.

Image copyrighted. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Edible Christmas Tree

 

So, I saw one of those 30 second video recipes on Facebook originally posted in Spanish on kiwilimon.com (at twice the quantity) and thought I’d give it a try at our annual holiday lunch at the studio. Everyone seemed to like it, so here’s my slightly altered recipe from the theirs.

 

CREAM CHEESE & OLIVE CHRISTMAS TREE (appetizer)
(Arbolito de Queso Aceitunas) – from kiwilimon.com (*cut in half from original, as that would be for a huge party)

4 – 8oz. boxes of Neufchatel cheese (2 cups cream cheese)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (moist, but dry; not packed in oil)
¼ cup tri-color bell peppers – cut into tiny bits (except for one piece – cut into a star or flower shape to use on the top of the tree as an ornament) – or, as I did: use 8 of the sweet mini peppers & a whole one for the tree topper
1/2 cup pepperoni slices – cut into tiny strips (orig. said salami, but didn’t indicate what type)
(orig. said 1 morita peppers, finely sliced – but I left this out)
1-1/2 tsp. rosemary, dried
1-1/2 tsp. oregano, dried
1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
Olives – green, black, Kalamata, etc. – various colors – stuffed is OK – but use all pitted olives. *This took a 6 oz. can of small black olives and about 3 oz. each of Kalamata, pimento-stuffed small green and jalapeno/garlic stuffed large green olives.

●The cream cheese needs to be worked, to make it more pliable, by creaming it with a heavy spoon (that won’t break) in a large bowl.

●Add all the other ingredients and cream some more –  thoroughly mixing the ingredients.

●Place the “dough” on 2 pieces of waxed paper or parchment (placed side-by-side on the serving plate/platter with a gap in the middle. Place dough in center of the gap.

●Cover with another piece of parchment or waxed paper (to keep it off your hands) & mold the blob, like working with clay, into a triangular Christmas tree shape. Dispose of the paper & carefully pull on the two pieces underneath to remove them; clean tray with clean wet towel, if there were any smears – though the 2 pieces of paper were there to avoid this.

●Cover tree with olives by twisting & pressing them into the cheese mold – alternating colors as you work up the tree.
(* recipe didn’t say this, but pat all the olives dry or they won’t stick into the cream cheese as well.)

●Add short sprigs of fresh rosemary randomly between some of the olives to simulate pine needles, and the bell pepper star/flower shape or whole mini pepper as a tree topper.

●Present with a spreader and firm crackers; guests can remove the sprigs of rosemary before eating, if they don’t want to chew a stem!

*** This was enough for a party of 16 – with leftover.

 

Photo © Martha Lochert.  www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com 

 

Happy holidays!

Filter Broken / Thankfully, Lens OK

I sometimes give private photo instruction or teach classes on mastering one’s camera and on photo composition. One thing that comes up in every class is my instruction to get protective filters on their lenses. It’s much easier and cheaper to unscrew a scratched or broken filter than to buy an entirely new lens. I give that instruction knowing that it’s easy to get fingerprints on a lens or have a twig hit the lens surface while out doing macro landscape photography.

Well, last night I arrived at a gala event, opened the camera bag I had just prepped a half-hour earlier, removed the lens cap on my wide-angle lens and shocked to see my filter smashed. Here it is as I discovered it. Horrifying!

For a split-second I thought it was my lens, not the filter.

The lens was perfectly fine when I put it in the bag, but a pressure stress on the glass filter shattered it in transit, when the end of another lens pushed into the cap of this one. Luckily the broken shards did not scratch the lens surface and I was able to remove the filter, carefully clean the lens surface and start my job!

Filter broken, thrown away and new one ordered; lens is fine. 🙂

 

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

 

 

Happy Autumn

Something calm and soothing for your weekend respite on this first weekend of autumn: lily pads and a tiny waterfall by some airplane plants at Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona.

I love the spatial disparity in this photo. The water level appears lower than the lilies, making them seem to float above the water level, since there are no light reflections in front of the pads connecting the plane of the water to the front section.

Image copyrighted. Use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

http://www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Colorado High Country, Mt. Bierstadt and Altitude Sickness

Mount Bierstadt ( elevation 14,065 feet), is the summit of the Chicago Peaks on the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It is accessible from Guanella Pass, which stretches from Georgetown south to Grant, Colorado.  This is a gorgeous area, but be prepared. Even if you don’t hike the dog-friendly (on leash) 7.3 mile out-and-back Bierstadt trail from the summit of the pass, you are still at 11,670 feet from the vantage point of my photograph and at risk of altitude sickness, if you’ve come directly from a low altitude within a day. Don’t be deceived – being physically fit has nothing to do with who does or does not get sick.

I’m not a medical professional, but I have been in the position of aiding someone who had a very bad case of altitude sickness. We were in the middle of nowhere and it was very scary. At a time and location like that, you can’t “Google” an answer, since you won’t have an internet connection and more-than-likely won’t even have cell service. So, know what to do ahead of time.

Here’s what I have learned in my research:

To avoid altitude sickness –

  1. drink extra water and avoid alcohol and caffeine for a few days before your trip and for the first day or two after arriving at the higher altitude
  2. get plenty of sleep the night before (and if possible, follow the “climb high; sleep low” axiom of sleeping at an altitude 1000 ft. lower than where you were hiking or sight-seeing during the day – especially for the first few days, as altitude sickness quite often doesn’t show up until a day after arrival)
  3. acclimate to higher altitudes in increments for a few days – so if coming from the desert and into the Rockies, spend the first day in Denver or a similar altitude, then go higher the next day
  4. if you must go straight to an altitude above 8,000 ft. in one day, make sure to rest, hydrate, not smoke and not drink alcohol on that first day
  5. eat plenty of carbohydrates (free pass for eating breads, pastas, grains and cereals. Yippie!)
  6. remedies/aids with mixed opinions include: a high-dose daily intake of vitamin C, ginkgo biloba and lemon water.

 

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/article/avoiding-altitude-sickness

http://blog.outdoorherbivore.com/camp-tips/preventing-altitude-sickness/

 

If you do experience altitude sickness (trouble sleeping – due to lower air pressure reducing available oxygen intake; headache; fatigue and nausea), take ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, drink lots of water (a tincture with ginger extract drops, will ease nausea), eat some carbs and rest. In extreme cases (symptoms mentioned previously, plus breathing problems, lack of coordination and lethargy to the point of passing out), move to a lower elevation as soon as possible, as life-threatening cerebral or pulmonary edema may be present.

Image registered with the US Library of Congress. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

http://www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

 

An Aspen by the River

It’s such a relaxing sight to watch the Aspen leaves rustling in the breeze and gently reaching over Clear Creek on the eastern slopes of the Rocky mountains in Colorado.

http://www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Image copyrighted and registered with the US Library of Congress. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

 

Tranquility in the Rockies

Just across the road from Molas Lake, south of Silverton, Colorado, is a pristine little alpine lake called Little Molas Lake. As the name implies, this lake is much smaller than its neighboring lake. It is also more peaceful, in my opinion.

There are not very many people here at one time, since there is not a highly developed large campground, as there is at Molas Lake. There are a few dispersed campsites, but you are on your own at this lake.

I’ve been here several times and each time I experience the same sense of calm. It is a silent place – a respite from a noisy civilization. The only sounds are a few birds chirping, maybe a frog croaking and the occasional gentle splash as a fish or beaver comes to the surface.  Though there are usually one or two fisherman, they all have the same respect for silence in the grandeur of this lovely place.

www.MarthaLochertPhotography.com

Image copyrighted and registered with the US Library of Congress. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.