Eric Guel Photography (and other things)

I know it's crickets around here these days. If you want to see some family updates and various Eric Guel stuff, here are your options:

Flickr Photo Stream.

Thinklings.org (general blog posts about life, theology, whatever).

Eric Guel Photography.

and, of course ...


That's What I'm Talkin' About!

I've gotten an itch lately to make yummy food. A couple of weeks ago I made Asian lettuce wraps, last week I made specialty grilled burgers, and just a few days ago I thought I'd try my hand at salmon.

Keep in mind I don't know squat about cooking. I know how to scramble eggs and that's about it. Brandi, on the other hand, is an amazing cook, so she's been my mentor throughout this process.

About the salmon, the recipe was easy. It involved olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice ... I think that's it. The wild-caught salmon fillet was procured at our local mega grocery store. The finished product was dee-lish.

Without further ado, here are a few photos.

In the marinade
marinade

Out of the oven
oven

Ready to be consumed
eat

It's Hot!

I really will start updating this blog religiously. The primary good I see in this blog is it acts as a journalistic time capsule, and hopefully my children and grandchildren will cherish reading these words one day. So I'll keep writing. :-)

Here's what's up ...

I have a very brief post up at Community Chickens.

It's been an oven here in Waco. Hot. Hot. Hot. The garden is struggling, but the animals seem to be thriving. We really need consistent rain.

We're in Houston right now for my sister's birthday. Brandi, Eve, and I will be back on the farm Sunday night, while the older kids will stay for a few more days.

I'm going to go cool off now!

Happy Anniversary, Brandi

I love you!

What I'm Up To

I haven't blogged here much lately. I'm not shutting this place down, but I wanted to communicate that I'm doing a wee bit of blogging over at a new blog I started, Under the Arch.

I'll be back around here for sure. I've got to post farm updates, and photos are overdue here too.

Sic 'em

This team, this program, is good. These Bears are a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a legitimate threat to make it to the Final Four.


That's from The Houston Chronicle. Read it all here.

A Couple Of Things

So it really snowed like crazy yesterday. I had never seen a life-size snowman in person until yesterday and today. We didn't make one, but several people around our neighborhood did. Very cool.

In other news, the 17 new meat birds are doing just fine. They're little pigs, munching like crazy. We'll slaughter them within 4 to 6 weeks.

Goodnight.

Record Snow?

It snowed overnight. That's the third snowfall we've received this winter. I have to admit, waking up to snow on the ground is nice, but it's not as magical the third time around. It's funny, though, because just two days ago the temperature was in the upper-70s.

We could get six inches of snow today, which would be some kind of Waco area record.

I'll post pictures of the snowman.

I Want To Make One

I want to make a rocket stove. I saw on Youtube that you can even make a simple rocket stove out of cinder blocks. I might try that to start out, but eventually what I'd really like is something like this:

rock2

The cool thing about a rocket stove is you can supposedly cook an entire meal using twigs and small sticks you find laying around your property. It's like free energy! Here's the idea behind a rocket stove:

rock1

The Harvest

I expected us to harvest our meat chickens this weekend, but the dude who was going to show me the ropes had to do it sooner. So I ended up whacking those birds yesterday.

It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. Even the actual killing process (slicing their jugular vein) was pretty straight forward. And as far as gutting goes, if you've gutted a decent size fish then gutting a chicken wouldn't be hard to pick up.

Tonight Brandi fried up one of the birds and we enjoyed the best fried chicken ever with my brother and our friend, Andrew. Seriously, the stuff was DELICIOUS.

We're all about raising our own meat birds now. We've already got plans to order a whole bunch of them here pretty soon so we can slaughter them by late spring. By that time we'll hopefully be ready to harvest some of our ducks as well.

Good stuff.

What's This Blog For?

I ask myself that sometimes. The answer usually always goes back to either me or my family. While I love the idea of a blog being a wide-open journal that anyone in the world could stumble upon, I realize that I probably only have a handful of readers, and that's completely fine with me. I have no delusions of grandeur, and if I'm feeling compelled to entertain any such delusions, Thinklings is a great outlet.

This blog is more of a personal journal (and photo album) than anything. I want to be able to look back on this blog years from now and see what was going on in my life at any given time. Hence, I've focused heavily the past few months on our family adventures in moving out to the country and starting a homestead. The whole process has been life-changing, and as a result we're different, better. God's been amazingly faithful, and I know His faithfulness is steady despite circumstances.

In 2009 I pretty much avoided a lot of theological speculation on this blog. I still read theology -- in fact theology and church history are my favorite reading subjects. I still think on the things that have consumed my theological ruminations in the past: the nature of hell (I think it's a reality, but perhaps not in the Dantean sense), Universalism (I reject it, but in my heart of hearts, I hope that it's true), and Calvinism (I embrace it). I don't know if I'll speculate much on theology in 2010, but who knows? The goings-on at our humble farm (along with photographic documentation) will probably keep me pretty busy on the blog this year. Therefore, I don't have any plans to ever really shut this blog down. I may take a break for weeks, months, or even a year or more, but I can't see myself calling it quits. I think journals are valuable time capsules, and I have a hunch that perhaps my future grandchildren would want me to continue blogging.

In short, if you're someone who frequents this blog, thanks for stopping by. I probably won't change the format much because, as a journal of sorts, this place is more for me and my family, although I do hope to write a few things that might pique the curiosity of outsiders.

Quite Possibly The Best Love Song Ever

I don't listen to a lot of different music. I can't remember the last time I tuned in to FM radio, and the last time I watched MTV or VH1 was probably 1996. Most of the music I've been turned on to the past ten years has been handed down from my brother via copied CDs and, more recently, MP3s.

About a year ago or so my brother hooked me up with Coldplay, and I've been salivating over U2's heir apparent ever since. Right now I'm completely mesmerized with Coldplay's contemplative love song from A Rush of Blood to the Head, "The Scientist." I. Can't. Get. Enough.

The song is multilayered, poetic, profound, and mysterious -- from the get-go:

Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are.
I had to find you, tell you I need you,
Tell you I set you apart.


On that foundation the lyrics, music, and aura of the song build skyward, second by second. And what an incredible apex:

I was just guessin' at numbers and figures,
Pulling the puzzles apart.
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart.


I'm thinking "The Scientist" has got to be one of the best love songs ever written. To borrow a phrase from U2, the song masterfully dissects "the mysterious distance, between a man and a woman," while circumspectly steering clear of the inherent codependency that manifests itself in so many modern love songs.

Thank you, Coldplay.

I'm goin' back to the start.

Bird Challenges

About three nights ago one of our ducks got eaten ... I assume. You see, he was our fat drake (boy), and he just went missing overnight. I assume some raccoon or bobcat ate him, though it's possible, if he wandered on to someone's property, that one of these bumpkins out here shot him. Thankfully, the guy who gave us our ducks has another drake from the same batch, and he said I could come by and pick the duck up next week.

In other bird news our chicken flock has started to wander to our neighbors' fields. Sometimes those birds can end up being about 1,000 feet away from our house. We're trying to train them to come home at the sound of a whistle; we've had some success in that regard. Since we're rookie chicken farmers, I think it's pretty amazing that we haven't lost a single chicken. I hear stories of chickens getting eaten by coyotes, foxes, raccoons, hawks, dogs, you name it.

So we've had some bird challenges lately, but only one casualty.

The Axe

We're going to dip our toes into the world of butchering meat-birds. We're getting six meat-chickens in December (as opposed to the laying variety, meat-birds are bred to get beefier, so to speak), and, come early February, they're getting the axe: at that point I'm going to take them over to an acquaintance's house and he's going to teach me the art of the butcher. I'm looking forward to learning how to do it.

Life Update

- We went to the beach last weekend. It was great. A nice beach house, right on the beach ... and the beach was empty. Very cool.

- Here's an article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the spiritual side of U2's lyrics. It's nothing that an avid U2 fan doesn't already know, but it's still a decent read. I liked the last quote: "I think U2's music, but particularly Bono's lyrics, are perfect for the context of church and worship," he said. I'd have to concur. The last 15 to 20 minutes of the Vertigo show in Houston in 2005 were all about worship: "The First Time," "Yahweh," and "40."

- The U2 show at Reliant Stadium is coming up in one week! We secured coveted floor seats over the weekend. Yay! Our old nosebleed seats are officially for sale.

- We thought we had lost our cat, but, thankfully, he came home.

- Our two duck hens are flying now. It's pretty amazing to be able to watch your ducks fly across your yard. The drake (male) still hasn't gotten the flying thing down yet, though. The chickens are still dropping about six eggs a day.

Population Density

I happened upon a U.S. Census Bureau report on population density per square mile. The numbers are interesting.

Houston -- 3,371.7 people per square mile.

Waco -- 1,350.6 people per square mile.

Gholson (our podunk new home town) -- 78.6 people per square mile.

What I Did Today

1. Got up.
2. Read the Bible and prayed.
3. Watered and fed the chickens.
4. Watered and fed the ducks.
5. Charged the lawn mower battery.
6. Went to work.
7. Came home from work.
8. Tried to get the lawn mower to crank (didn't work).
9. Fed the chickens and ducks.
10. Walked around with Evangeline in my sling.
11. Started shoveling some dirt out of the chicken coop (to clean it).
12. Ate dinner.
13. Finished shoveling.
14. Did a homeschool history project with the kids.
15. Put the kids to sleep.
16. Sat in front of the computer.

If I Had Twitter ...

If I understand Twitter correctly, I believe you essentially use it as a miniature blog to tell about every detail of your life (e.g. I just flushed the toilet).

I'm thinking, just to add more content to this blog, of posting occasional tweets (I can't believe I just said tweets) on this very blog. It'll be fun. I guess.

Without further ado:

Right now I'm reading a Wikipedia article on Oneness Pentecostalism.

Almost Done

The chickens aren't quite ready to move in just yet. We still need to build the nesting boxes and do a few more finishing touches.

one

Milky

There wasn't a cloud in the sky Tuesday night. On just about any night that the stars are out, Brandi and I love to sit out back behind our house and look up at the stars. Tuesday night the sky was so dark you could see the Milky Way stretched across the blackness -- it was awesome. I love gazing into space.

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