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This is my first MOC.

After a long dark age, it recently became obvious to me, while playing with my three years old daughter, that LEGO was a fabulous source of inspiration and creation.
The discovery of the AFOL community and a few recent amazing TLG sets made me realize how far LEGO had gone since my childhood (we’re talking CS and CC era here).
This immediately made me feel the urge to try building stuff on my own.
A natural inclination towards architecture and organic structures made me want to try building a castle first. Welcome to Arboretum!


Arboretum is an outpost castle situated in a damp tropical region, not too far away from the sea coast (somewhere between the Black Marsh, Stranglethorn Vale, and Belfalas ;-), lying deep within a wet forest where walls have ears and mushrooms have eyes.
Its inhabitants are made of a wide bunch of characters and species, which seem to cohabit in a peaceful atmosphere, as well as a few unwanted guests.
Human guards keep watch of the main entrance on the catwalk (they mostly want to know when they’ll get to eat the turkey), while an unidentified bearded man in black seems to be the only one to know what the heck he’s doing here.
Wood elves keep watch of the weapons and treasure stashes, scrutinizing the horizon with their keen eyes while dreaming about the stars.
Hidden in the shadow of the Great Tree in the Arboretum room, William the Alchemist, lost in his thoughts, is imagining his next recipe while keeping an eye on the skull of his predecessor, freezed in resin.
On the terrace of the arboretum, a Kaï Man and an Orc share a game of apples, while a Dwarf is about to stove an argonian thief in front of the main entrance door.

The courtyard is equipped with a small weapons keep, food and drink for a small feast, as well as a tiny library for 101 situations – how to cook a roast on a rainy night, how to stop bleeding when the enemy just cut one of your limbs, and other useful fun facts.
The chapel is where the phials are kept and alchemical experiments made in the shade of the central oculus.
The conference hall on the second floor of the back tower has a hearth (lit by leds). It’s the room where the most precious – material and intellectual – treasures are kept in deep shadow.
The arboretum itself is kept on the third floor of the back tower. Its Great Tree is all at once the source and fruit of the castle’s inhabitant’s high level of alchemical knowledge and power. The alchemically enhanced tree growing in the room is powerful enough to have broken through the roof and part of the walls of the room now lying in ruins.


The original sparkle for this MOC was Sebaastian Art’s ( great castle tutorial in The LEGO Ideas Book (as is pretty obvious if you compare the front faceted low wall of Arboretum to the suggested model in the book ;-). Trying out some of his very elegant wall techniques led me to try and build a whole new thing; a vertical setup was chosen to save physical space, and because I love towers 🙂

I wanted to try out a few "advanced" techniques (advanced to me, anyway), and online documentation was amazing for this matter. I also wished to use a few "special" pieces out of context (the SW cockpit, the big trans-clear motorcycle rim, the planet hemisphere), which led to some tricky technical problems to solve. Yummy!

Arboretum stands on a 32×32 baseplate. It’s a modular building, which makes it easy to move around : the second floor of the front tower, the second and third floors as well as the roof of the back tower can be lifted up to have access to the room interiors, which have furniture and specific decoration elements.

I spent about a week (four or five nights, to be more realistic) building the castle. It took me much longer than that to set up my own photo "studio" and begin to understand the use of a camera and lighting setup…
Lack of elements and experience led me to some choices I would probably solve differently three months later. It certainly doesn’t pretend to respect any kind of castle building or historical orthodoxy.
But hey, I had great fun building it.

Hope you enjoy Arboretum!

Posted by Labsynth Saltcrown on 2014-06-30 14:26:20

Tagged: , LEGO , MOC , AFOL , Castle , Fantasy , Outpost , Vegetal , Labsynth

Green Tea Ice-Cream + Recipe

Green Tea Ice-Cream + Recipe

Sorry for my distinct lack of uploads, i have been very busy on the food front, and this has taken up all my time.

I first tried Green Tea Ice-cream when I visited my father in Brisbane, Australia, he had taken me to his favorite Sushi Bar, called Sushi Train and he recommended that I try it, I have been searching for a recipe that came close to the amazing taste of the Sushi Train version. After a bit of trial and error, and research, this is what I have come up with:
100ml Double cream
500ml Full fat milk. (UHT works great)
3 Medium egg yolks
110g Castor sugar
8-10g Organic green tea powder (Matcha) (I find eBay a great place to buy this)
Spring of fresh mint to serve. (optional)

1. Pour the cream and the milk into a saucepan and place over a medium heat, whilst stirring, slowly bring just to the boil, then quickly remove from the heat.
2. In a large bowl cream together the egg yolks, sugar and green tea until it has thicken, then slowly add this mixture into the hot cream/milk mixture.
3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over a lowish heat and cook for around 12 minutes, continually stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Do not over cook this mixture as it with curdle and ruin.
4. Sieve the mixture into a clean bowl and allow to cool completely.
5. Place into an ice-cream machine until frozen.
Alternatively if you do not have a machine, place into a freezable container and freeze for two hours then blitz it in a food processor and repeat this process 3-4 times.
6. Remove from freezer/machine, place in a food processor and blitz until smooth and refreeze until needed. This process really smooths the ice-cream and gets rid of any ice crystals that may of appeared.

Many more recipes can be found on my food blog. please take a look.

Posted by Mr Craig Lyons. on 2011-05-10 14:37:11

Tagged: , green tea , ice-cream , ice , cream , food , dessert , green , spoon , plate , recipe , mint , yummy , ourdailychallenge , foreign

rhubarb pie

rhubarb pie

recept is here

Posted by Zoryanchik on 2015-05-04 20:25:12

Tagged: , apple , bake , breakfast , cake , close , closeup , color , cooking , crust , delicious , dessert , diet , dinner , drink , eating , elegant , food , fresh , fruit , gourmet , green , healthy , homemade , image , nobody , nutrition , organic , party , pastry , pie , plate , portion , raw , red , rhubarb , ripe , round , single , snack , sour , strawberry , sugar , sweet , tart , taste , tasty , treat , vegetable , wheat , white

Fresh | Nopales

Fresh | Nopales

Not sure what these are…does anyone know what they are and how they are used? I know they are eaten, but are they eaten raw, cooked, used in specific recipes, etc?

Please share if you know!

Posted by D.James | Darren J. Ryan on 2005-08-27 03:28:13

Tagged: , farmer’s , market , georgia , state , fresh , fruit , vegetables , organic , natural , farmer’s market , colors , colorful , cactaceae , opuntia , djames , stock , photo , darren ryan , darren , ryan , d , james , photography , photographer , wii , technorati , blog , j , copyright , all rights reserved , atlanta , usa , architecture , architectural , urban , , , darren j. ryan ,

Fire within – h9287

Fire within - h9287

Again, a purely "pretty" picture, made after I restoked the fire (using a blow dryer) around 0500.

Posted by SouthernBreeze on 2013-04-09 03:16:51

Tagged: , 2013 , Southern Breeze , Apple , iPhone , i5 , iPhoneography , photo , photography , photograph , travel , trip , family , fun , weekend , light , food , cooking , barbecue , BBQ , pork , meat , smoked , smoking , smoke ring , ring , friends , GBQ , how to , color , picture , photos , swine , fire , heat , hot , smoker

Raw Veggie Lasagna

Raw Veggie Lasagna Brock makes organic veggie lasagna for the first time! It turned out great! Good thing because we had company coming for dinner 😉 Watch how he did it on our blog, episode #35.
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Posted by FitForTwoTV on 2010-06-10 02:38:00

Tagged: , vegetarian , lasagna , cooking , food , organic

Alcatraz Island – Golden Gate National Recreation Area – San Francisco, Califronia

Alcatraz Island - Golden Gate National Recreation Area  - San Francisco, Califronia

Alcatraz Island (sometimes informally referred to as simply Alcatraz or by its pop-culture name, The Rock) is a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, United States. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963, when it became a national recreation area.

Today, the island is a historic site supervised by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.[1] [2]
The United States Census Bureau defines the island as Block 1067, Block Group 1, Census Tract 179.02 of San Francisco County, California. There was no population on the island as of the 2000 census.[3]

It is home to the now abandoned prison, the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States, early military fortifications, and natural features such as rock pools, a seabird colony (mostly Western Gulls, cormorants, and egrets), and unique views of the coastline.

The first European to discover the island was Juan de Ayala in 1775, who charted the San Francisco Bay and named the island "La Isla de los Alcatraces", which means "Island of the Pelicans".[4]

The discovery of gold in California in 1848 brought thousands of ships to San Francisco Bay, creating an urgent need for a navigational lighthouse. In response, Alcatraz lighthouse #1 was erected and lit in the summer of 1853. As the first lighthouse built on the current US Pacific Coast, this third-order lens fresnel lighthouse contained a California Cottage design with a short tower protruding from the center, similar to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in San Diego and to the Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove. In 1856, a fog bell was added to the lighthouse.[5]

After 56 years of use, Alcatraz lighthouse #1 was torn down in 1909 to make way for the construction of Alcatraz prison. Alcatraz lighthouse #2 was located next to the cell house and completed on December 1, 1909. Its 84-foot tower of concrete contained a smaller, fourth-order lens. In 1963, the fresnel lens of Alcatraz lighthouse #2 was replaced with an automated rotating beacon. The keepers were then discharged.[5]

The earliest recorded owner of the island of Alcatraz is one Julian Workman, who was given it by Mexican governor Pio Pico in 1846 with the understanding he would construct a lighthouse on it. Later that same year John C. Freemont purchased the island for $5000 in the name of the United States government, who subsequently wrested control from Freemont after a legal battle [2].

Following the acquisition of California by the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) which ended the Mexican-American War, and the onset of the California Gold Rush the following year, the US Army began studying the suitability of Alcatraz Island for the positioning of coastal batteries to protect the approaches to San Francisco Bay. In 1853 the Corps of Engineers began fortifying the island, work which continued until 1858. The island’s first garrison, numbering about 200 soldiers, arrived the following year. When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 the island mounted 85 cannon (increased to 105 by 1866) in casemates around its perimeter, though the small size of the garrison meant only a fraction of the guns could be used at one time. Alcatraz never fired its guns in anger, though during the war it was used to imprison Confederate sympathizers on the west coast [3].

Following the war in 1866 the army determined that the fortifications and guns were being rapidly rendered obsolete by advances in military technology. Modernization efforts, including an ambitious plan to level the entire island and construct shell-proof underground magazines and tunnels, were undertaken between 1870 and 1876 but never completed (the so called "parade ground" on the southern tip of the island represents the extent of the flattening effort)[6]. Instead the army switched the focus of its plans for Alcatraz from coastal defense to detention, a task for which it was well suited because of its isolation. In 1867 a brick jailhouse was built (previously inmates had been kept in the basement of the guardhouse), and in 1868 Alcatraz was officially designated a long term detention facility for military prisoners.

On March 21 1907 Alcatraz was officially designated as the Western US Military Prison. In 1909 construction began on the huge concrete main cell block, designed by Major Reuben Turner, that remains the island’s dominant feature. It was completed in 1912. In order to accommodate the new cell block the Citadel, a 100ft x 200ft reinforced three story barracks, was demolished down to the first floor, which was actually below ground level, the building having been constructed in an excavated pit (creating a dry "moat") to enhance its defensive potential. The first floor was then incorporated as a basement to the new cell block, giving rise to the popular legend of "dungeons" below the main cell block.

Among those incarcerated at Alcatraz were some Hopi Native American men in the 1870s.[7]

Inmates also included prisoners from the Spanish American War and the subsequent uprising against American rule in the Philippines at the turn of the century.

During the First World War it held conscientious objectors, including Philip Grosser who wrote a pamphlet entitled ‘Uncle Sam’s Devil’s Island’ about his experiences. [8]

Because of its natural isolation in the middle of a bay, surrounded by cold water and strong sea currents, Alcatraz was soon considered by the U.S. Army as an ideal location for holding captives. The maximum number of inmates was 302. In 1906, following the San Francisco earthquake (which destroyed much of the city), hundreds of civilian prisoners were transferred to the island for safety reasons. By 1912 a large cell house had been constructed on the island’s central crest, and by the late 1920’s, the three-story structure was nearly at full capacity.

Alcatraz was the Army’s first long-term prison, and it was already beginning to build its reputation as a tough detention facility by exposing inmates to harsh conditions and iron fisted discipline. The prisoners who violated the rules faced strict disciplinary measures. Violators were assigned punishments that included, but were not limited to, working on hard labor details and solitary lock-downs with a severely restricted bread and water diet.

The average age for law-offending soldiers was twenty-four years, and most of the prisoners were serving short-term sentences for desertion or lesser crimes. However, it wasn’t uncommon to find soldiers serving longer sentences for the more serious crimes of insubordination, assault, larceny, and murder. The prisoners were allowed to stay in their cells. They could clean up, play cards or read books with their neighbors. They were still required to do their work assignments, but once they were done they could go to their cell. Inmates with first or second class rankings were allowed to go anywhere about the prison grounds, except for the guards’ quarters on the upper levels.

Despite the strict rules for criminals, Alcatraz primarily functioned in a minimum-security capacity. The types of work assignments given to inmates changed depending on the prisoners, their classification, and how responsible they were. Many inmates worked as general servants who cooked, cleaned, and attended to household works for the families who lived on the island. In many cases, select prisoners were given the responsibility to care for the children of staff members. Alcatraz was also the home of several Chinese families, who were employed as servants and made up the largest segment of the island’s civilian population. The lack of a strict focus on prison security helped some inmates who hoped to be able to escape from the prison. But in spite of their best efforts, most escapees never made it to land, and usually turned back to be rescued from the freezing waters. Those who failed to turn back died because of the cold water.

Over the decades the prison’s routine became more relaxed, and recreational activities were more common. In the late 1920’s prisoners were permitted to build a baseball field, and were even allowed to wear their own baseball uniforms. On Friday nights the Army hosted "Alcatraz Fights" that featured boxing matches between inmates selected from the prisoner population. These fights were highly popular, and often civilians from San Francisco would come to Alcatraz just to see the fights.

Due to rising operational costs because of its location, the War Department decided to close this famous prison in 1934, and it was subsequently taken over by the Department of Justice.

The Great Depression and Prohibition contributed to a severe crime increase during the late 1920s and 1930s, which produced a new era of organized crime. The nation witnessed a sharp rise in horrific violence, which was brought on by the combined forces of prohibition and great need. The American people watched in fear as influential gangsters and public enemies gained heavy influence in metropolitan areas and the authorities that were responsible for their safe-keeping. Law enforcement agencies were not equipped to deal with the situation, and would frequently be beaten by better armed gangs in a shoot-out.

Alcatraz was perceived as the best solution that the government could find in response to these problems. It could serve the dual purpose of placing public enemies away from the general population, and also to serve as a warning to this new and ruthless brand of criminals that were ruling the streets of the country. Sanford Bates, the head of the Federal Prisons, and Attorney General Homer Cummings led the project, and they were responsible for the finely detailed design concepts. One of the top security experts of the day, Robert Burge, was asked to help design an escape proof prison. The original cell block, built in 1909, would undergo an extensive process of upgrades and renovations.

In April of 1934, the work gave the military prison a new face and a new identity to the prison. The soft squared bars were replaced with very modern tool-proof iron bars. Electricity was routed into each cell, and all of the utility tunnels were cemented to completely remove the possibility that a prisoner could enter or hide in them for escape purposes. Tool-proof iron window coverings would protect all the areas that could be accessed by inmates. Special gun galleries surrounded the cell block perimeters, allowing guards to carry weapons while being protected behind iron barriers. These secure galleries, which were elevated and out of reach of the prisoners, were to be the control center for all keys, and would allow the guards the ability to keep an eye on all the inmate activities.

Special teargas canisters were permanently installed in the roof of the dining hall, and they could be activated remotely, from the gun gallery as well as from the outside observation points. Guard towers were strategically positioned around the perimeter, and new technology allowed the use of metal detectors, which were positioned outside of the dining hall and on the Prison Industries access path. The cell house contained a total of nearly 350 cells, which were very far from the perimeter wall. If an inmate managed to tunnel his way through the cell wall, they would still need to find a way to escape from the cell house itself. The inmates would only be assigned to B, C, and D blocks, since the primary prison population was not allowed to exceed 300 inmates (although the record was 302). The implementation of these new measures, combined with the natural isolating barrier created by the very cold Bay waters, meant that the prison was ready to receive the nation’s most incorrigible and dangerous criminals.

Source: Wikipedia

Posted by MattArtz on 2008-01-10 01:23:10

Tagged: , Alcatraz Island , Golden Gate National Recreation Area , San Francisco , Califronia , CA , The Rock , Alcatraz , prison , travel , tourism , history , Matt Artz , photo , photography , Flickr



A cafe that supports local produce and serves only organic rainforest alliance coffee.
Read more here –

Posted by jeroxie on 2009-12-11 22:38:03

Tagged: , cooking with a microwave using fresh ingredients , pork and miso soup noodle , microwave recipe , microwave vegetables , cooking soup in microwave , microwave food , microwave dinner , food , breakfast