April 14, 2014
Yesterday I went adventuring with a friend. I left the house at 5:30 AM as we were to walk Wildcat Falls in Merrimack and take photos shortly after sunrise. Even though it was cloudy and cool, and the sun didn't make an appearance as it was supposed to (per the weather-guessers), the hike was worth it.
Then we went and saw Captain America at a place where you sit at a table in comfortable chairs and they serve you lunch (or dinner if you are there later). They had very good burger (no bun for me) and their fries were awesome. I haven't had fries for a long time but these were obviously fresh made and not overly salted.
Then we headed out to walk the old canals in Nashua to MIne Falls. I never would haave thunk there is such an extensive walking trail system in the heart of Nahsua - NH's second largest city. By that time the sun had come out and it was starting to warm up. It ended up being a beautiful day to discover Mine Falls.
At that point I had to get back home to let Prince out, but it was a wonderful day full of fresh air, new sights, great hiking and never ending discussions. Oh, and I scored a planter box (sans the bottom) from the early morning walks - someone had left it in the middle of the trail so I carried it out (you know, leave the trails better than you found them). And, my friend had an extra weed wacker that he didn't use because it hurt his back, so I brought that home too.
Couldn't have asked for a better day!
May 11, 2013
Friends from Indiana
Were in town last weekend. We grilled hamburgers and talked up a storm. Jimmy and Karen came over to see Harry and Heather too.
December 16, 2012
Another Tree Comes Down
Several weeks ago Jimmy took down a couple of maples in his yard. They needed to come down before a big wind took them down, and WS was glad to help. Jimmy was just going to use the wood for his fire pit, but WS told him that we wanted the wood, and we had some pine trees that needed to come down - he could have that wood for his fire pit. So, WS got wood for us and BIL for next season.
Last weekend the weather finally cooperated so Jimmy and WS could take down the huge pine in front of the dog pen.
The placing was tricky as if it fell straight down the hill, the fence and one shed would get hit. If it fell the way it leans, it would hit the deck (and maybe part of the house). If it fell back (unlikely), it would take out the dog pen. If it fell at an angle to the right, it would take out the lean-to for the wood. Way to the right was a bunch of trees they didn't want it to get hung up in.
November 23, 2012
Another Thanksgiving has been survived! We had BIL&SIL, Jimmy and Karen over (Karen specnt some time with her family then cam over for dessert). I started the cooking on Sunday to help reduce the stress of everything that needed to happen Thursday to create a good meal.
Sunday I made the mashed potatoes - that included pealing and boiling up 10 pounds of spuds (minus 2 potatoes). I still had to put them in the crock pot, but the crockpot was in use because I also made a double batch of Sausage Stew to take to work for the Thanksgiving pot luck (evidently that was a hit as I did't bring home any leftovers and the 6qt pot was filled to the brim with sausage stew). Then I also washed and cut up several pounds of fresh greanbeans, then blanched them, for use in the green bean casserole. After cooking all that on Sunday, I set it out in the lean-to and let mother nature take care of keeping it cold (with lows in the high teens, and highes in the 20's, that worked out well).
Thurday dawned brightly and I got to work cooking. Okay, first I decided it would be good to vacuum, brush Missy, then vacuum again to get rid of any dog hair floating around. Then I made the stuffing, so it could cool before stuffing the turkey. Now, to be clear, I have never made stuffing before. I generally don't care for it, so don't bother. However, I found a recipe in the November 2012 issue of Prevention Magazine for sausage, stuffing that sounded awesome (with a few tweaks), so decided to give it a try. I also used their recipe for turkey in the same artcle (for the most part).
The bird was seasoned and stuffed, then ovenized. The majority of the dressing went into a large casserole, was covered with foil, then placed on the deck to stay chilled. The neck and giblets were boiled and saved for the dogs' dinner. Next I took all the mashed potatoes and started cramming them in the now empty crock pot. A layer of potatoes, then a layer of shredded cheese. Anohter layer of potatoes, and shredded cheese. Topped off with potatoes - and once again the crock was filled to the brim. Set that in the back room on high for an hour, then low until we were ready to eat.
Then it was on to house preperation - cleaning the bathroom, cleaning out the wood stove, filling the wood rack, a little scented oil in the bathroom, and a candle lit in the living room. Shortly after that, Jimmy arrived and WS came in from his final leaf clean up, and we socialized over snacks (chips and dip and a bag of mixed nuts - the peanut gallery can leave the obvious comment alone :).
Shortly before the turkey was done, I put together the green bean casserole. Then it, and the rest of the stuffing went into the oven after pulling the turkey out to let it "rest". then I got the ingredients together for Clinton Kelly's Apple-Cranberry Cobbler so it would be ready to go in when the sides came out. As an aside, I added 1/8 tsp ground cloves and a bit of ground ginger to the cobbler recipe (just because it sounded good to me).
Up until this point everything was wheat-free. I used pure cornbread for the stuffing and used a Bob's Mills gluten free general baking mix for the cobbler. However, Thnksgiving just insn't Thanksgiving without crescent rolls - so it wasn't a totally wheat-free meal. And, Karen brought a fabulous apple pie to go with the cobbler, and I couldn't pass up a slice of that.
I pushed back the dinner because after much conversation with everyone (somewhere in there BIL/SIL arrived, we watched the end of the Lion's game. It was a close game at that point and everyone was busy cheering on the team they wanted to win. So, after the game, WS carved the turkey while I tried to figure out how to get all the food, plates and serving utensils on the few counters we have. I finally moved enough stuff to allow for buffet-style loading of plates, and the feast was on (Karen arrived shortly after we started dinner). Aparently everything was good as it got really quiete, until people got up for seconds.
After that, we lazed around for an hour or so before bringing out the deserts (with ice cream and whipped cream) - then everyone lazed around moaning and groaning from their full tummies.
I managed to send most of the leftovers home with everyone else (another sign that the meal was a hit - they were eager for leftovers!), so the fridge isn't stuffed to the brim! I'll share the stuffing recipe with you in a day or so - it got rave reviews, as did the turkey and cobbler. I was so happy it came out well since I was nervous I was using three recipes that I hadn't tried out previously!
Eventually everyone recuperated enough to find their way home - all thankfull for the family, friends, and the meal, and the day set aside to enjoy it!
September 30, 2012
So Long Dear Friends Until Next Year
Jimmy had a bonfire last night. The occasion was to allow peple the opportunity to come see Ray and Christine before they leave to head back south and west. They will head to Tennessee first, to see some friends, then will eventually make their way to Arizona for the winter.
We didn't get to see them much this year. The only time we got to ride with them was when we went to Bike Week in Loudon. Unfortunately, in late July, Ray had to ride the bike thru a newly dug out ditch to avoid running over a bunch of bicyclists who had taken over the entire lane. Ray came out okay (bumps, bruises and a scrape down his arm), but the bike was totalled. As an aside, you know how it's said that bad luck happens in 3's? During the same week, we found that a woman I used to work with was rear-ended (she was on her bike, the other vehicle was a car), and one of our neighbors just down the street died when he wrecked his bike in MA, coming home from a concert (no, drinking was not involved - and he did have a helmet on). Anyway, they decided not to get another bike until they get to Arizona.
Anyway, we had a great time with Ray, Christine, Bear (the dog), BIL & SIL, Jimmy, Lisa and and several of their kids watching the fire, standing in the drizzle, and of course telling stories. After several hours, the moon made a short appearance - so Ray and Christine were blessed with the Harvest Moon before the cloud cover closed up again.
Until next year - have safe travels!
September 03, 2012
In the Pits
Saturday we rode to White Mountain Motor Sports to watch a friend of the Wonderful Spouse race his stock car; an expensive past time, not his regular job. Since I was on the back of WS's bike (saves gas and we would be returning at night - I don't drive at night), I had time to look at the clouds. I thought this one looked like a camel.
We were there to watch Oren and his purple 21 car, but that didn't mean we couldn't enjoy the other races like the minis.
All pictures are taken during practice or qualifying as the main events were held after dark. We did get to attend the driver's meeting before the main events though. I don't imagine that NASCAR driver's meetings are quite this informal, but this is the (very) small time, so it was very loose.
We had a great time, got to see some great racing, and even got to see and 11.5 year old kid get 3rd in the truck racing (a 14-15 yar old got 1st, a young lady got 2nd). The venue, although small, is very fan friendly and prices at the food stands much more reasonable than other places - which we appreciated since we were there from 3 until about 9.
We told Oren that we will definitely have to come back next year!
July 15, 2012
That is how many miles we road in 6 days. Technically, we rode those miles in 4.5 days as from 6 PM Friday until noon on Sunday, the bikes didn’t move an inch.
We left early Thursday morning and took Rt 9 thru NH and Vermont. In NY we picked up Rt 7 – a big mistake. Nice road and all, but slow, slow, slow. After a couple hours on that road, we had made very little progress so we hopped onto US 88 which took us to Pennsylvania. There we got on Rt 6. Another mistake. Although faster than Rt 7 had been, it was still slow and we needed to pick up the pace. So, we did what we were hoping to avoid and hit the big highway and took that to Du Bois, PA where we spent the night. The next morning we hit the highway and rode all the way to Sturgis. The whole ride was hot, hot, hot. I later heard on the news (at 7 PM) it was 100 at that time – so we were probably riding in 105 or so. We stopped a couple of times and I grabbed two drinks at each stop; one water and one slushy-type drink, and drank them simultaneously. At the second stop before Sturgis*, we stayed in the convenience store for about 20 minutes. It wasn’t all that cool in there, but better than outside. I finally got smart and went to the restroom, washed off all the sunscreen (which was keeping me from sweating very well) and ran cold water over my wrists, fore arms and inside the elbows. That cooled me down pretty well. Then we went to the Sturgis* Harley dealer about 2 miles from the convenience store and browsed for about 20 minutes. I now have a shirt from Sturgis*. When we left the Harley dealer, we turned back south and headed for our destination of North Manchester, IN (just south and west of Fort Wayne.
We had a great visit with Heather and Harry. They kicked one of the kids out of her room so we had a place to sleep (poor girl had to room with her sister). Saturday night, WS got to looking at a map of the states and decided that just adding PA, OH, MI and IN to my repertoire wasn’t enough; he was trying to figure out how to get some more southerly states into the mix. After explaining the route he was contemplating, it was determined that we needed about 6 more hours of ride time to be able to do it. So, we decided to get out of Harry and Heather’s hair early and leave noon Sunday instead of Monday morning.
H&H made us a great send-off breakfast (almost brunch) of biscuits and gravy with French toast after which we packed up and got on our way. Everything was great until somewhere in KY, where we ran into a storm. We could see it coming our way, but it was hard to tell if we were going to hit it as the direction of the road changed constantly. However, once the temp dropped about 20 degrees, and a few drops of rain fell, we stopped and put on our rain gear. We got back on the highway and the rain got progressively worse. It began pouring so hard that traffic slowed to 30-35 MPH and everyone turned on their emergency flashers. Then the wind started. After a while (with the rain still pouring and speed still at 30-35), the wind made it almost impossible to stay in one lane. Behind tree screens, we would regain control and get to the right side of the lane. Wherever the tree screen broke, we would be blown all the way to the center line even though we were prepared and leaning into it. We finally found an off ramp and followed it to an underpass. We were not the first there, just the driest. Two bikers were there without any gear at all. The wind howled and the rain continued to come down in sheets. Even cars were seeking shelter. Then, the wind shifted and came from the opposite direction. WS and I agreed that if we heard a train, it would be time to panic.
Fortunately, we never heard a train (tornado) and the wind and rain eventually died down enough for us to get back on our way. WS walked out from the underpass and found that there were train tracks about 50 yards behind our position. We would have freaked if a train had passed at that time! We had holed up for about 40 minutes but the rest of the trip to Lexington was uneventful.
After a good night’s sleep, it was back on the highway to go thru several more states; Tennessee (thru Knoxville), Virginia (thru Roanoke and Winchester – the Shenandoah Valley is very pretty!), and West Virginia before stopping for the night. We had hoped to spend the night in southern Pennsylvania, but a traffic jam that cost us an hour, then a stop to don rain suits, made that impractical. The last leg of the journey on Tuesday was a long one thru a bit of Maryland, thru Pennsylvania, then New York (on the Taconic), Massachusetts and Vermont before winding up home shortly after 8 PM.
The dogs and cats were happy to see us (and we, to see them). The neighbor kids had done a bang up job of taking care of both the animals and plant life, vegetable garden and potted plant, while we were gone (it doesn’t hurt that we pay them well). Wednesday we recovered from our whirlwind tour, doing laundry, putting things away, washing and waxing my bike (WS had waxed his the day before we left).
*Sturgis - the one in Michigan, not the one in South Dakota.
May 24, 2012
Rolling and Welding
We dropped off WS's truck for some work before he left (see next post). The guy who does his work built a house not too long ago. He did a lot of the work himself and told WS that he should stop by and see the deck railing that he built. So, since the guy lives just behind his shop, we did.
Obviously, he did a great job. To make it even more amazing, he did all the rolling of the steel by a hand roller. His whole deck, which is so large that it has a hot tub on it, has the rolled design around it (the bike design is just in the one spot). He paid so much attention to detail that he painted the areas that would be the tail light and side reflectors red.
Every time I look at the pictures, I see new detail; I just noticed the "flame" pattern in the tank area. WS and I were duly impressed. The mechanic was really happy with WS's opinion as he highly values the opinion of an experience welder and fabricator.
Jeezem it's pretty bad when even mechanics have more creative expresion than I do!
March 03, 2012
We went to visit friends Friday night, after dealing with the snow. The friend, who we visit once or twice a month, have a couple of Lab pups; a blonde female named Gemma, and a chocolate male named Tig (in case anyone is wondering, yes, SOA is involved - if you don't recognize the reference, then don't worry and don't bother asking).
Anyway, the pups are 6-7 months old and they spend their days playing with each other and wearing themselves out. I took a picture with my phone, to share the puppy cuteness.
Gemma is the alpha - as seems to be normal (at least in our howsehold experiences). Although they are the same age, she is a little taller and carries more weght than Tig. I'm sure at some point that Tig will outgrow Gemma, but it won't matter in the alpha matter.
They are both friendly - with Gemma being very outgoing and energetic and Tig being less outgoing (but not shy) and more of a lazy boy. He somewhat makes up for being lazy by not being piggish; in fact I am told he often doesn't finish his food.
Puppies, even at 6 months old, are always cute, and we enjoy watching them grow up.
January 29, 2012
We had a bit of excitement at the house last night. Karen was over and we had a late dinner. After dinner we started watching a show that we had taped last week. Shortly after that, I looked over at her, and she was leaning forward in her chair, looking very pae. I asked if she was alright, and she said she wasn't sure.
She started swaying, so I jumped up off the couch to hold her up and keep her from falling to the floor. A told WS that I needed him to help get her on the floor, but as he came over I reallized that she had totally blacked out and told WS to dial 9-1-1.
She was out for a minute or two, then came to enough to lay down on the floor. Once the Deering Rescue showed up, she was feeling a bit better, but still woozy. They checked her out and found nothing really wrong with her except her blood sugar was a bit on the low side. We gave her some juice and then told her in no-uncertain terms she was spending the night.
She has been under a lot of stress lately, so she figures between that, a couple of light drinks (she normally doesn't drink) and sitting next to the woodstove (pretty warm there), they all added up to too much for her to handle. She had bee thinking about leaving a couple of minutes before the episode occurred, so we were really happy she wasn't driving at the time.
She got up this morning feeling much better, and left a short time ago. Glad to see her recovered.
Thanks again to Deering Police and Rescue - about this time last year they were here for WS's asthma attack; no offence guys, but let's not make this a regular, yearly visit!