Cool Start Warm Finish
Last weekend we thought perhaps that fall had arrived. We had fires going in the evening and found it chilly sitting on the porch. This week we are right back into summer with temperatures warm enough to seriously consider putting the air conditioners back on. The week was spent watching the weather channel and the progress of Hurricane Florence as she wove a path to the Carolinas. Our home is quite far south in South Carolina and was not affected by the hurricane. Others were not so lucky. Memories of Hurricane Matthew surfaced as I watched the battering that places in North Carolina were experiencing. The debris left behind by the wind, the rain and the storm surge took many months to clean up. I described it at the time as similar to a blizzard in Canada but the piles were not snow but debris. They were so high that we couldn’t find our street. Florence hasn’t given up yet as I write this. She is heading in-land and bringing serious flooding along with her. I feel deeply for all in Florence’s path.
After having company for five days, I set out for a major walk, alone with Bean through the hills to the East of the lake. It was gray and cool with a fine mist landing on us as we walked. Bean didn’t mind it at all and frankly, neither did I. I had been stressing quite a bit about the sale of my mother’s house in Montreal and the activity surrounding the bidding that was happening. It is an emotional time for me and the best way for me to handle it is through walking. I came back from this walk a new person. I was calm, relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world after that 2 1/2 hour hike with my happy little dog. You can actually see a smile on her face in this shot.
I am retiring my wonderful Brooks shoes after six months of walking in them. You may recall that right after I bought the Brooks shoes my little Bean decided to eat the heel off one of the shoes and Brooks replaced them, without charge. They have earned my loyalty! The shoes have served me well but they no longer are up to the task. It is actually rather sudden when they wear out. I notice that my back is sore after I walk and that my stride is not as good as it once was. The support is just gone. Plus, I wear out the top of the shoe over my toes. So, it is time. I also had a pair of Saucony shoes that I had left here and discovered that they are not a good replacement as they too are worn out. So goodbye shoes and on to the next adventure. More than 600 miles on them, it is time!
The Fishermen Returned – No Fish but Happy
Bean was happy to welcome back Wyke and Sunny along with the fishermen when they returned after their five days somewhere up there. No fish but did they eat well and they returned happy and pleased with how everything went. The consensus is that the lake may actually not have any fish in it anymore. I really don’t think it matters to them at all it is more the total package that matters and just getting away from it all. We all need to take a break every once in awhile. No tv, no radio, no internet and only the briefest chance for a text message at the end of the dock, maybe! As the weather warmed up again, we added back the swimming holes to our walks. We are extremely lucky that there is a good supply of streams and watering spots along pretty much any of our walks. And here we don’t worry about alligators!!!! We managed quite a few hill hikes this week along with a couple of road walks. Ran into lots of deer and turkeys again but the dogs didn’t chase them. So well behaved.
Surprise, surprise, Bean is in heat. She is seven months old and I was really hoping to make it until we returned to South Carolina. However, it was not to be. I have never had a female dog that has done this so it is a new experience. I called the vet and was told I needed to wait until about three weeks after to have her spayed. This is fine because we will be back down south then and since I have prepaid to have her spayed there it will work out. So far, so good but that has taught me a lesson. Mother Nature wins!
A Quick Trip to New Hampshire
Bonus trip of the week. We still head to New London to see our dentist there and our appointment was this week. We ended up making a stop on our way and getting a chance to see our granddaughter play soccer. She reminds me so much of her aunt when she was this age and played soccer in middle and high school. It really brought back some great memories for us both. We are rarely in New Hampshire during the middle of the week so this was a special bonus. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with her and her mother at their house on the mountain and watched a gorgeous sunset. Both Lib and her brother are going through similar processes this fall. Lib is looking at schools for next year and her brother is looking at colleges. They both are thrilled to be getting emails and information from their respective admissions departments. It is all very exciting for them both. I have no doubt they will find the spot that is perfect for each of them for the next four years.
Time for Autumn Menus Again
Do you have a favorite food that you look forward to eating when the weather changes. For me it was Chili and Gingerbread and Applesauce. Over the last few years I have made some changes in the way I make Chili as I reduce my consumption of meat and add more vegetables into my meals. My favorite chili recipe is made with sweet potatoes as the base now and occasionally I will add some ground turkey. Vegetarian chili is a wonderful dish and it is easy to freeze and warm up when you need a quick meal. Here is one idea for a recipe. Apples are coming in now up in Canada and they are so good. There is nothing quite like a fresh picked apple. You just can’t get them in the store like we can here. So applesauce will be back on the menu. I’m working on the gingerbread as the version I used to make has a lot of honey, molasses and sugar in it. Haven’t found a recipe I like yet but I will.
Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potato
(from Cookie & kate)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juices*
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
2 cups vegetable broth
Suggested garnishes: sour cream, grated cheese, thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped cilantro
In a 4-to-6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start turning translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and another dash of salt and pepper) and liquid ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has reduced to a heartier consistency, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.