Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Vacation Full of Physical Challenges

Here are some special moments from one of the best vacations we've ever taken. It was a "deluxe" camping trip with Backroads. "Deluxe" means that after we hiked, biked or walked up the Narrows at Zion National Park, we would come to our campground to cold drinks and appetizers. The tents would be set up and dinner would be cooking. All the preparation, shopping and lugging was done for us. In addition, the wonderful group leaders guided us to wonderful experiences, encouraged us to try new things, and were supportive as we challenged ourselves.

Heading out on a beautiful hike through the "hoodoos" at Bryce.    

On the bike trail though Red Canyon.

Canyoneering near Zion National Park

This was taken about half way up a 1500 ft elevating 4 mile hike. Up and up the switchbacks.

Kicking back on Mexican Fiesta night in camp.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sharing the Share

I'm making an effort to describe how we use the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share we get each week. I showed pictures of the farm during our end of season party last year in this post. This CSA and others work by having a farmer paid early and up front to buy his seeds and employ his workers with the promise that shareholder will receive a portion of the crop each week. What you receive is based on what is growing well. Shareholders benefit in wonderful years and take the risks with the farmer in times of drought or blight.

 This is our 5th year of doing a CSA with 2 different farmers and we've never been disappointed. It has really expanded the kinds of vegetables we eat. I had to do quite a bit of cookbook and recipe searching the first time I got fennel and turnips and so many greens. But now I can whip up so many different things no matter what arrives. I've become very experimental and capable.

Here is a photo of last week's box unpacked. It includes fava beans, turnips, lettuces, cucumbers, beets, carrots, chard, summer squashes, fennel, cilantro, fresh garlic and some other herbs. This is a typical early summer box. But it will be very different in a few weeks in full summer with tomato and eggplant. Fall brings other root crops and winter squashes. The produce changes week by week throughout the season.

My lunches for much of the week looked like this perhaps with a cheese or egg sandwich added if I was very hungry. There are veggies from the share, peas from our own garden, blue cheese crumbles. I dress it lightly with balsamic vinegar.

One of the first nights I made veggie pancakes with squashes, carrots, garlic, cilantro with potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper added from the pantry.

Ingredients are shredded by hand with a box shredder.


Frying about 5 minutes per side in vegetable oil. I drain them on paper towels and they are great served with apple sauce, salsa or sour cream.


Another night was greens with pasta and sausage. Sadly, I was too anxious to eat, and forgot to take a photo of the completed dish. But here are the chopped ingredients: turnip greens, beet greens and chard. In the glass pot are onions and fennel sliced. I saute 1/2 lb sausage from the farm across the street, add the onions and fennel when there is no pink left in the sausage. When those are soft I add the greens and steam for just a few minutes. While all that's going on, I boil a pound of pasta. It gets added to the veggie/sausage mix along with romano cheese. YUM! This is a common and flexible recipe for us. This feeds our family of 4.

Here's a salad night finishing up what's left before today's share comes. Three salads plus eggs with cheese.  There's shredded carrot salad with raisins soaked with a little orange juice and honey. Squash sauteed with a few peas and green beans from our garden, and green mix with roasted beets.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

City Outing (Fleet Week)

The last post showed one of our recent outings to natural places. We often go to local beaches, woods, and gardens. Soon, we'll be off to our summer vacation in some of the most striking landscapes in the United States  But we live near one of the greatest cities, Boston. As a transplant to the area, I've fallen in love with the history, the charm, the Atheneaum, old bookstores, Beacon Hill, the Harbor, and more. July 4th celebrations here are living history.

This year the July 4th celebrations coincided with Fleet Week and the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812. The war was won largely because of the USS Constitution, a Navy frigate built in Boston that defeated 5 British ships. The Constitution is now a Boston museum. It makes a yearly trip from Charlestown to Castle Island, where it explodes its cannons, and sails back (it doesn't really go by sail now).

USS Constitution closeup

Those sailors on the sidearms give you an idea of the size of this ship.

 The photos that follow are from both Saturday June 30th when a number of international ships came into the Harbor and Wednesday July 4th when there were flyovers and water parades. Thanks D, I used some of your photos.

The Coast Guard Eagle
I love seeing the sailors on the yardarms.
The sailors on the top yardarms are women.

Tug boats helped the boats park along a wharf.

Boston's World Trade Center is not very tall or showy.
A Blue Angel flyover

What's a flyover without parachutists jumping out of planes?

Colorful Flags were everywhere

A fireboat welcomes the tall ships.

The kids no longer like getting their picture taken, especially in the hot sun.

R found a shady spot.
These guys were on their way to set up a recruiting tent. The ICA's shady bleachers are in the backround.

Here's the view from the windows of the ICA above those bleachers. Awesome!

We headed into the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) to see a new exhibit and cool off. We primarily wanted to see the art of Josiah McElheny. His favorite medium is glass. He explores the properties of mirrors, art and the universe with his sparkling, reflective works.

one of McElheny's universes

Another wonderful day in the city. Such days can alter your perspective.