Saturday, July 23, 2016

Garden Goodies

The garden is thriving due to very warm weather we have been having.  This was the harvest yesterday, and included, peppers, turnips, beets, cukes, chard, broccoli and a purple cauliflower.  We have kale, beans and edamame on the way.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sheri's Dad, Jerry Shamblin

Jerry, Sheri's Dad, passed away last week after developing multiple pulmonary emobli.  Jerry had been suffering from dementia over the last several years, and refused the recommended treatment which was a complicated surgery.  He passed away while in Hopsice care at his home several days after the diagnosis. 

Sheri travleled to Colorado to be with her sister Kerry, brother-in-law Brandon, and brother MIcheal (who traveled from his home in Salt Lake City) so they could spend time remembering their Dad.  They shared funny stories and took a nice walk in one of Jerry's favorite places Rocky Mountain National Park.  As a tribute to Jerry and his love for Westerns they took a horseback ride at the historic Elkhorn Lodge and Guest Ranch in Estes Park.  Spending time together in the outdoors is exactly how Jerry would have wanted his kids to honor and remember his spirit.

Sheri had a visit with Jerry in May, and is very grateful for that time with him.  He was really happy to be living in Colorado with Kerry and Brandon.  We are grateful to Brandon and Kerry for the love and care they gave Jerry.

You can find the obituary for Jerry at this link.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday morning harvest

Up early today to re-stock the fridge from the garden. 

Kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, brocoli, turnips, blueberries, and purple potatoes. And a boat-load of cucmbers!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Flowers at Hangman Hill

We have been enjoying the flowers in our garden and especially the ones in the pots scattered around the house and deck.  The beautiful flowers are a testament to Bruno's efforts to install irrigation to each pot which seem to make the flowers much more vibrant and also frees up time for our veggie garden (plant, harvest, weed).  This also means the flowers are watered during our weekends in New Hampshire.

To compliment the flowers we have a very active butterfly and hummingbird thanks to DiAnn.  The butterfly and hummingbird are powered by the sun.  In the mornings they are zooming around the flowers and are surprisingly realistic in their flight patterns.

Fun With the Dehydrator

We have been trying out the new food dehydrator that Sheri received for her birthday.  We were inspired by the excellent dried fruits that we received as gift from Kerry for Christmas, so naturally we started there. We dried plums, apples, pears, grapes, pineapples, strawberries and kiwis.  We also dried tomatoes,  onions, peppers and mushrooms.  To our delight, the first attempt was successful and we especially like the apples, pears and plums.

Mangoes, Peaches, Figs and Kiwis before drying

Dried tomatoes

Dried kiwi and plums

Our next foray into drying food was with misirwot, an Ethiopian lentil stew.   We started with our standard stew recipe that we got from our friend Lynne,  The we dried it by spreading it thinly onto a tray with a liner.   After about 12 hours we had a dry crumbly stew and an amazing smell of curry in the basement.  We also dried some vegetables at the same time so that we could take them on the trail.

We tested out the misirwot and veggies on the trail during our recent trip to Kearsarge North for the 4th of July overnight trip. The stew and veggies hydrated nicely and were wonderful with bread from Vintage Bakery.  This will likely be a go-to backpacking/hut dinner in the future, but we are also eager to try other favorite recipes including chili and Thai green curry.

misirwot stew after drying

misirwot stew reheated on the summit of Kearsarge North

We are now drying some sweet Italian peppers from the garden and look forward to trying some herbs very soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fourth of July Celebration at Kearsarge North

In the late afternoon of the 4th of July we hiked to the summit of Kearsarge North, a small peak to the north of the Mt Washington Valley.   The plan was to watch fireworks in the valley and brush up on our backpacking skills. The forecast was for warm temperatures and clear skies.   We packed dinner, plenty of water, the bug tent and sleeping bags.  We walked the  3.1 mile sustained ascent, which felt strenous with our gear, with Kokee leading the way. This was also the another step towards getting Kokee her back on the trail with a more strenuous hike.  She did well. 

We arrive at the top to find the fire tower aglow in the evening light.  We were somewhat surprised to find we had the place to ourselves.  We pitched the bug tent in a dip below the fire tower for protection from a steady wind.  On a broad rock we set up for our dinner with a view to the setting sun and valley below.   We tested rehydration of the misirwot (Ethiopian lentil stew) and vegetables that we made and dried in the food dryer and it was great.  

Eventually were were joined by a few other people, including a family of 6 who later would hike down after the fireworks, and a couple who stayed the night in the tower.  After this sun set we gathered in the fire tower to watch the fireworks. The North Conway show was excellent views from above.  Looking east into Maine we saw displays across the farmlands and into distant mountains. We could even see what appeared to be a big finale in Portland, ME.  

After the show we settled into the bug tent under the blanket of a stars and a light breeze. We woke to a glorious morning, singing birds and a beautiful sunrise.

You can see more photos of our trip at the lin below

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Hike to Lafayette and Lincoln

July 4th weekend is probably one of the busiest weekends of the year in the White Mountains, and for some unknown reason we decided to attempt one of the most popular hikes in the area.  The hike starts at the Lafayette Campground, ascends the Falling Waters Trail to Little Haystack, and then follows the open ridge to the summits of Mts Lincoln and Lafayette.  From there it is a steep descent back to the start via the AMC Greenleaf cabin.

We got off to a late start and when we arrived at the parking lot at 8.45am there were cars parked all over the place, and it felt like being in New York City with crowds everywhere.  About a mile up the trail we passed a dozen Japanese tourists with their cameras and shiney new hiking poles who were attempting the first of many stream crossings without getting their boots wet.  It continued like this for about two miles, and most of the hikers had no clue about where they were going, what to take with them, or how to dress for a day n the mountains,  Fortunately the multiple stream crossings and the steep eroded path slowed many of the less experienced hikers down and very soon we were away from the madding crowds and simply hiking along the trail with about a hundred or so kindred spirits.

We arrived at Little Haystack just in time for a mid-morning snack ("elevenses").  We then enjoyed the rolling ridge hike with fine views of the surrounding >4000-ft peaks and stopped for a picnic on the summit of Mt Lincoln.   The hiking was straightforward and the views kept getting better all the way until the summit of Mt Lafayette.  From there we strolled down for an afternoon coffee break at the hut, and we were back to the car by 4pm.  We enjoyed sunshine, light winds, and no bugs for the whole day so we considered it to be a five-star hike overall.

The ridge that we hiked.

Sheri on the ridge.

A well marked trail.

Falling waters on the way up.

Elevenses on Little Haystack.

Fun in the woods during our descent.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Tripyramids Hike

On Saturday morning we awoke to low cloud and mist.  We had expected a sunny day and had plans to hike Mts Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette. With a forecast of clouds in the high summits and winds gusting to 60-90 mph, we changed plans and made for  the Tripyramids (north, middle south) in the Sandwich region.  These three peaks are just over 4,000. While they have limited views, we hoped they would be in the clear and a little less windy.

It turns out our change in plans was a good decision as we were enjoying sun and clear skies in the valley.  The clear skies persisted as we traveled to the Sandwich Wilderness of the White Mountains and for the rest of the day.  We parked at Sabbaday falls, and walked a mile down the road to the Pine Bend Brook trail which took us to the summit of North Tripyramid Mountain. This winding trail followed a lovely brook and was well designed.  

About half-way to the summit we met Karen, a forest ranger for the White Mountain National Forest who let us know we were a little off trail, which we were.  We ended up hiking to the summit with Karen and learned quite a bit about forest protection, flora and fauna, and trail maintainance.  We also were entertained by her stories.  We had a quick snack at the top of North Tripyramid which had limited views to the south and proceeded to Middle Triyramid Mountain for lunch.  Here the views were much more extensive and we could see the entire Samdwich Wilderness below us.

To descend we stepped onto the Sabbaday Falls Trail at the Tripyramid col, and we joined up with Karen again and enjoyed walking the trail back to the falls with her.   One highlight of the day was seeing a young bear cross the trail and run into the woods about 150 yards ahead of us.   We enjoyed an "A.P." (Arnold Palmer) and a sticky bun from the Vintage bakery at Sabbaday Falls and rejoined the company of MANY visitors enjoying the long holiday weekend with a visit to the falls.

A friendly Sandwich resident

For our friends in Sandwich, UK

Karen and Sheri on the Sabbady Falls Trail

Chicken of the woods?