With summer coming to an end soon (nooooo! I was getting used to the 8 pm sunsets), I thought I would finally share the biggest highlight of my summer, and that was my birthday adventure in a little-known gem of the Eastern Sierra called Florence Lake.
What makes it so little known, and what makes it a gem? For starters, it’s not easy to get to — once you leave the main highway, it’s a solid 3 hours on a relentlessly winding road through the foothills and into the mountains, even though you’re only traveling 90 miles. Florence Lake is small-ish compared to its big sister, the nearby Edison Lake, and therefore doesn’t have the facilities that a larger lake would offer. But what it does offer — and what sets it apart from Edison and many other lakes in the region — is extreme solitude, boat-in camping, and remote campsites that face both a river and a lake.
With Florence Lake “closing” today due to the lake being drained for the year, I thought this post would make an appropriate send-off for this little end-of-the-road sanctuary.
I rarely get to see pictures of myself surfing, so this sequence of shots (captured last month in Baja at one of my favorite secret spots) makes me feel the stoke all over again.
How beautiful is this? Eggs from my Barred Rock, my Easter Egger, my Cochin, and my very own backyard dragons! (What, you didn’t know I had backyard dragons?)
If you follow my Facebook page, you may have noticed a few recent posts from my new project, This Is La Buena Vida, which launched this past weekend!
The site aggregates all of the images from my new Instagram account @GardenBetty. As a photo-centric blog, This Is La Buena Vida is my personal pinboard for all things exemplifying the good life, from pretty plants and hippie homemaking to wanderlust and world adventuring. Simply put, a photo diary of my life.
If all you want are pretty pictures to perk up your day, I hope you’ll follow along and find some inspiration in my posts!
After an abundant summer, my bush beans have finally bitten the dirt. I harvested the last of the beans — all 15 pounds of my Dragon Tongue, Royal Burgundy, and Beurre de Rocquencourt varieties — and after many three bean summer salads, spicy stir-fried beans, grilled beans, braised beans, and buttery bean casseroles, there’s only one thing left to do with them: pickled beans!
In keeping with the ice-cream-for-breakfast theme, I introduce to you my daily habit: Vietnamese coffee (also known as cà phê sữa, or sweet liquid crack in my world).
Vietnamese coffee is different from all other coffee in that it’s a single-cup slow drip of dark roast, sweetened with a swirl of condensed milk.
Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century but with limited availability of fresh milk, they creamified their dark roast with condensed milk instead. The result is a thick, rich coffee, slowly dripped into a small cup and tamed with a buttery sweetness, meant to be savored on a stoop amid the hubbub of urban Vietnamese life.
But it’s not only condensed milk that gives cà phê sữa all that decadent dulce de leche-like goodness. Many Vietnamese-grown coffee beans (such as those from the country’s largest domestic coffee producer, Trung Nguyên) are actually roasted in clarified butter! And my stepdad, who corrupted me with my first cup of cà phê sữa when I was a wee one, still enjoys his daily cuppa with a dollop of French butter stirred in!
Throw in a hot summer day on top of all that — and it’s all the fixins for a cold and creamy coffee treat.
And the carrot on the left? Well, I don’t really wanna know what’s going on there.