Tour de Farm: Idyllic Idling in Erdek

With a population of over 13 million and one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul has all the thrills, diversions, and energy of a huge cosmopolitan city. But all that can sometimes leave one wishing for a respite. We were treated to just that by our friend George. As a transplanted Texan who has lived in Turkey for the past 20 years, George combines the patented charm of the Turkish men with good old-fashioned Texas hospitality. Not really knowing any of the four of us, he nevertheless graciously invited us to be his guests on his farm outside of Erdek, a lovely small town a 2-hour ferry ride across the Sea of Marmara from Istanbul.

George’s farm is flush with flowers, vegetables, fruit and nut trees. We were treated to apples, peaches, pears, pomegranates, plums, olives, and almonds all grown on his farm, as well as his own honey and fruit preserves. All were incredibly fresh and delicious. The almonds were small and crisp and tasted like they were infused with almond-oil compared to the ones we can buy in the States. To this feast, he added fresh, locally made borek (a Turkish pastry), baclava, and of course, tea.

We revelled in 2 days of lolling on his deck with spectacular views of the sea, strolling around the farm, and enjoying George’s good company. We watched the full moon rise and indulged in a delicious dinner seaside at Yesilim Camping and Restaurant–unassuming-looking and informal with fabulous seafood and vegetables.

The second day, after a stroll through Erdek with stops for lunch and ice cream, it was time to catch the ferry back to the bustle of Istanbul.

I swear that’s a fly rod he is carrying off the ferry.

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Strangers in Good Company

An iPhoneography workshop in the rolling Palouse Hills of Eastern Washington with Teri Lou Dantzler and Harry Sandler offered up incredible photo ops and 4 days of learning about taking and processing photos with the iPhone and iPad. But the trip gave the added wonderful bonus of the people in the class. We braved 4 a.m. wake-ups for sunrise shoots, scorching heat in the high 90s, and dust everywhere. No whiners here–only a bunch of photo and iPhone fanatics who made the time an unforgettably fun experience.

And when they hunkered down in a patch of posies seeking the perfect shot, they looked like a bunch of lovely flowers themselves.

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Cody and the Tetons

What can beat a week in the Grand Tetons? Having Diane’s great, great nephew Cody with us. We crammed in a boat ride across Jenny Lake; a hike past Hidden Falls to Inspiration Point where Cody lured and petted chipmunks; a bicycle ride; a fly casting lesson; canoeing Lower Slide Lake; a horseback ride; moose, buffalo, pronghorn, raccoon, and eagle spotting; outfitting Cody with cowboy hat and boots; fishing on the Gros Ventre River; a fish/float on the Snake River; and a birthday dinner for Diane.

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