Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lunch at Kate's Cafe

As part of Sheri's Christmas gift we are having lunch today at Kate's vegetation cafe in Mystic. Yum!

Hiking the local trails

Yesterday (Boxing Day) we took a short walk in the woods in North Stonington to blow away the excesses of Christmas. Kokee was very happy to revisit the Tipping Rock trail and get "back to nature".

Last night we went to a yoga class and came out to a blanket of snow. We still managed to make it to the Malted Barley in Westerly to sample a few winter ales and their famous pretzel sandwiches.

By this morning the snow had turned to rain and we are preparing to spend today in front of the fire with the newspaper and a few Christmas books.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas

Wishing you a very, merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Click here to see a short video of our Christmas celebrations together.

Monday, December 24, 2012

And finally, we made it to the fourteenth day

Happy Christmas Eve!  

We made it to the fourteenth day without any problem, although there were times when we wondered where the next blog posting was coming from.

To celebrate Christmas Eve we decided that we'd have a nice evening at home enjoying a home cooked and locally grown meal.  We began with a cocktail invented by Sheri called "Santa's Hat".  It consists of a glass of prosecco with a little pomegranate juice added.

Our menu was Shepherd's Pie made with lamb from Terra Firma Farm in Stonington (see also Day #12) and Brussels Sprouts harvested from our garden earlier today.  The meal was completed with a serving of Betty's Christmas Pudding (see Day #7) with cream.

And what did we have fourteen of you wonder?   Well, Brussels Sprouts of course.  Just enough to make a star for Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

13th day - unlucky for some......but not us!

On the 13th Day of Christmas my blog gave to me.....a Solstice Party at HHR

Tonight we celebrated the solstice with a lunar/solar themed dinner party.  Jen and Mark joined us to eat home-made pizza's adorned with thirteen different types of topping, and we carefully arranged the toppings according to the ways of the ancient druids.

List of favorite pizza toppings for the solstice

  1. Lots of cheese (Mozzarella and Romano of course)
  2. Tomato sauce (from our garden, and frozen for the last few months)
  3. Anchovies (to keep away the vampires)
  4. Black olives (to keep away the werewolves)
  5. Capers (to counteract the anchovies)
  6. Pepperoni (the best in Westerly)
  7. Mushrooms (no magic ones here)
  8. Fig compote (Sheri's special ingredient)
  9. Proscutio (finely sliced ham)
  10. Spinach (to keep things healthy and organic)
  11. Red onions (why not, eh?)
  12. Italian herbs
  13. Even more cheese (goat cheese this time)

 Each pizza looked like a mini stonehenge, or was it a full moon?  After a few glasses of red wine and some special winter homebrew it was hard to tell!

Mid morning latte at Dave's Coffee

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve days into Christmas our blog gave us twelve lamb ribs from Terra Firma Farm in Stonington, CT.  We marinated and roasted the ribs slowly, then served them with roast potatoes and red cabbage (both from our garden).  It is satisfying to be eating locally in December and makes us appreciate that we have access to Community Supported Agriculture and a productive garden at home.

On the twelfth day we officially started our Christmas vacation.  We began the day with a walk with Kokee.   We were tickled by  a few snow flakes, and walked by the Cool Breeze Farm just in time to witness a newly born calf getting to know her mother.  We also enjoyed bumping into some neighbors while stretching our legs after several days of rain.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A List of Eleven Things To Do

On the eleventh day of Christmas my blog reminded me of the eleven things to do before Christmas Day...

  1. Wrap late arriving mail-order gifts (thanks Amazon!)
  2. Fill Sheri's & Bruno's stockings
  3. Straighten the leaning Christmas tree (see photo below)
  4. Pick Brussels Sprouts in the garden
  5. Send the last of the Christmas cards
  6. Complete the NY Times crossword puzzle
  7. Enjoy a Haymaker by the fire (see yesterday's blog post)
  8. Re-stock the liquor cabinet
  9. Whip cream to serve with the Christmas pudding
  10. Shovel away 2-feet of snow (we can only hope!)
  11. Sit by the Christmas tree with someone you love sharing memories of Christmas past and dreams of Christmas future

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ten Favorite Christmas Cocktails

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my blog gave to me.....Ten Favorite Cocktails

It has become a tradition at this time of year for us to 'break open the liquor cabinet' and reacquaint ourselves with some favorite cocktail recipes.  In no-particular order, here is our all time top-ten list of cocktails.  If you haven't tried any of these we would highly recommend them.  To get you started we are including instructions for making the Haymaker (our most recent discovery) at the end of this blog posting.  Mmmm, enjoy!  

Top Ten Cocktails at Hangman Hill Road

  1. Mojito
  2. Caipirinha
  3. Pimms No.1 Cup
  4. Godfather
  5. Connecticut Bullfrog
  6. Happy Apple
  7. Old Fashioned
  8. Gin & Tonic
  9. Manhattan
  10. Haymaker
The Haymaker
A warming winter mix.

3/4 oz Maker's Mark® bourbon whiskey3/4 oz triple sec3/4 oz dry vermouth3/4 oz lime juice

Shake, strain into an old-fashioned glass three-quarters filled with broken ice, and serve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On the Ninth Day, Nine Carols a' Singing

This evening we attended the Watch Hill Chapel "Christmas in Song".  The lovely wooden chapel was filled with the voices of Westerly residents singing songs of the season.  Following the event we strolled along the streets of Watch Hill by the light of a sliver of a moon and the enjoyed the sounds of the ocean waves crashing on the beach.  We ended the evening with a fantastic dinner at the  bar in the Ocean House.  There were only 2 courses but it felt like nine courses.  The Christmas season is in full swing now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Eight days and still going strong!

And on the eighth day of Christmas, my blog gave to me........ eight tree ornaments a-hanging

Today we are giving you a close up view of our Christmas tree and some of the ornaments that we have collected over the years.  And guess what?  We decided to highlight eight of our favorites to fit in with todays numerical theme.  Enjoy!

Outhouse & Disco Ball
Glass Octopus
Elvis' Guitar
Angel (handmade from beads)
Guardsman (from clothespin)
Cow from Wisconsin

Monday, December 17, 2012

Halfway to Christmas (when you count 14 days)

It was a very warm and rainy day for December, so the seventh day of Christmas we were prepared to find seven swans swimming when we arrived at home today.  Instead we were treated with two packages.  One was a traditional Christmas Pudding from Betty's, compliment of Bruno's parents Pam and Nick.  The second was the traditional chocolate apple made by DiAnn (Sheri's mom).  We look forward to enjoying both of these over the Christmas holiday.  We are counting... 7000 calories!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Cookies

On the sixth day of Christmas my blog gave to me six kinds Christmas cookies...

The weather the last week was well suited to baking so we made cookies to share with friends and neighbors, and maybe even to enjoy ourselves.  Some were old favorites like the Cantuccini (Biscotti) that we discovered in Tuscany (1 o'clock) and molasses (8 o'clock). The maple pecan, lemon sparkles, chocolate crinkles and chocolate dipped shortbread were new recipes.   Please stop by, you will certainly be offered a cookie or two and a cup of tea or coffee, or whatever your pleasure.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Five days and counting

On the fifth day of Christmas my blog gave to me.........five large packages

Over the past few days we have been wrapping gifts and looking for sturdy boxes to ship them in.  This has been followed by several visits to our local post office to fill out customs forms and buy stamps.  We were told by one post-office worker that they had instituted a brand new system for shipping international packages just three weeks before Christmas!  No wonder the US post office is unable to sustain itself financially.  We now have all of our cards written and in the mail, so if you've been nice you should receive something from us very soon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

And on the fourth day.....

On the fourth day of Christmas my blog gave to me......four solar photovoltaic (PV) panels

We have been generating some of our own electricity since the 1st of December.  The last few days have been sunny and you can see below that our production has been quite steady.  Not bad for the month with the shortest days and the least direct sunshine.  We haven't yet seen any impact on our electricity bill, but we hope to be paying less in the future. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And on the 3rd day.....

On the 3rd Day of Christmas my blog gave to me......three split boards (snowboards, that is)

In preparation for a trip to Colorado in February we have been slowly acquiring snowboarding equipment that will allow us to go in to the backcountry (away from the lifts and crowds).  We managed to find a three complete sets of boots, bindings, skins and split snowboards at the right price on eBay.  These are an early Christmas present to ourselves!

A split snowboard comes into 2 halves that are worn like skis for the uphill sections, and then clip together to create a snowboard for the downhill terrain.  See here for more information.

Having got our gear assembled we just need some snow to test it out.  Hopefully we will be able to take a trip up to Vermont over the Christmas break.  In any event, we have a trip to New Hampshire planned in January for avalanche training.  Wish us luck!

Cross-country skiing?

In the spirit of Christmas, please consider supporting a fund raising campaign by our favorite cross-country ski center (Viking Nordic center in Londonderry, VT).

More details can be found at


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On the second day of Christmas....

On the second day of Christmas my blog gave to me............two tickets for a Jake Shimabukuru concert.

We were recently lucky enough to get to see Jake again, live at the Jorgensen Center at the University of Connecticut.  It was another great evening of music like you've never heard before.  If you think the four-string ukelele is a simple instrument just listen to him play here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hiking the Metacomet Trail

NOTE:  This blog was created back in October but somehow it never got posted.  Better late than never!
The unseasonably warm temperatures and nearly peak color in Connecticut made for a perfect day for a  walk on Sunday.  Sheri met Joey just north and west of Hartford to hike one section of the Metacomet Trail which extends over a ridge that spans from the middle of Connecticut to the Massachusettes border.  The hike offered plenty of views of the Connecticut River valley and nearby hills.  The trail passes through some of the trap rock that is popular for climbers. There were some very nice looking single-pitch climbs on Gunk's-like rock with blocky handholds galore.  A return visit with some ropes and gear is a must.   Once off the trail, burgers and beer at a local tavern was a great way to conclude a fantastic day.

Fourteen days of Christmas starts here!

Over dinner tonight we discussed a special Christmas blog based loosely on the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas".  We are always up for a challenge, so here is the first installment.   Stay tuned to see if we can keep this up for the next 14 days!

On the first day of Christmas, my blog gave to me.....a real-life Christmas tree.

In these photos you can see us picking out our tree this past weekend at our favorite farm (less than 2 miles from home), setting it up in our living room, and finally the ultimate decorated 'masterpiece'.  As has become a tradition for us, we picked out the tree on one of the wettest and coldest days of the season so far!

If you have any requests for the next 13 days, please let us know!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sheri's Visit with Jerry

Sheri took advantage of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas to travel to Tidioute, PA to visit her dad, Jerry.   Sheri and Jerry enjoyed catching up, seeing some of the local sites and traveled to Erie, PA for a day where they toured Presque Isle by car.  It was a visit that was long overdue and they are both looking forward to another father-daugher visit again soon.

Dinner out in Warren, PA
 Sheri and Jerry on Presque Isle
 Jerry on Presque Isle

A walk on the State Game Lands; "hunting" with a camera

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sandy's Aftermath

If you want to understand what hurricane Sandy did to the north-east region of the US, follow the link below to see some amazing photos.  It is hard to believe that some of these scenes are so close to our home.
(Thanks to DiAnn B. for putting us onto this link).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Early season snow

Waking up to our first snowfall of the season. Just a dusting.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Apples

We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day today and we were able to do normal activities that needed electricity (laundry, internet, etc).  This afternoon we hiked at a favorite local venue (Barn Island) and only encountered a few downed trees.  Sunset over the ocean was spectacular!  Now we are at home enjoying a real fire and drinking "Happy Apples" to celebrate.  The recipe for this perfect autumn cocktail is given below if you'd like to try it.

Happy Apple recipe
1.5 oz gold rum
3 oz apple juice (unfiltered)
1.2 oz lemon juice
Twist of lime/lemon
A little ice

Mix well, and drink slowly.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Power is back!

After 5 days the power came back on tonight. Yeah!!

Beautiful morning in North Stonington. Who needs electricity?

Friday, November 2, 2012

A lucky mailbox

Here is a very lucky mailbox on our street. The tree was about 50-ft tall!

PS: still no power at home :-(

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Day - CL&P: 'Substantial restoration' expected by early next week | News from southeastern Connecticut

Looks like we will be without power for a while.  We are so thankful for Gennie (our Generator) for now.  Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement!

The Day - CL&P: 'Substantial restoration' expected by early next week | News from southeastern Connecticut

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 3 - still no power

Another evening listening to the hum of the generator and reading our books. Not much new to report. Halloween was quiet except for Kokee barking at the full moon. Weather is forecast to be colder in the coming days so we may need to fire up the wood stove soon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The morning after.....

Sunny and warm day after yesterday's storm. We are enjoying coffee and a hot shower thanks to our new generator. Today it seems like money well spent!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Outage Map by Candlelight

42mph winds

Work was cancelled today, so we have been riding out the storm at home. It has been getting wetter and windier as the day progresses. The strongest wind gust so far has been 42mph. At about 4.30pm we lost power - we were probably one of the last homes in the area to see it go. We will be firing up the generator very soon! All is well otherwise. We have plenty of beer/wine and a warm house to help us through.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Singing songs while waiting for hurricane Sandy....

Any requests?

Brewing beer while waiting for the hurricane

What better way to prepare for hurricane Sandy?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Hike to Lantern Hill

Unseasonably warm weather drew us to Lantern Hill for a hike to enjoy the last of the fall colors.  Heavy rains the night before brought down the reds, but there was still plenty of color to enjoy.  

Lantern Hill is so named for its milky quartz cliffs that are visible from the Atlantic Ocean.  With clear skies we had a view of the Atlantic from Lantern Hill to the south.

 West facing cliffs at Lantern Hill

Thin sliver of the Atlantic at the top of the horizon

Bruno and Kokk

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Here Comes the Sun

In March we started a project with a local solar company make the most of location which is well suited to generating solar power.  It has been a slow and complex process, but finally the solar panels are in place and we are waiting for the final connections to be made.   Let the sun shine in!

Visit from Eric and Jo

We had a nice visit with Eric and Jo Eisenhart who were back on the  east coast for a brief visit.  We had a nice fall weekend and enjoyed just spending time together.  We gathered at Daniel Packer Inn  on Friday with some friends for a relaxing dinner. We had a nice hike to Mount Tom on Saturday followed by a roast chicken dinner and game night on Saturday.  We miss having them here, they were always game to try anything, go anywhere.  So nice they could come for a visit!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pimms' on the deck with Eric

Eric and Jo are visiting, and we are having a sunny weekend in Connecticut.