Welcome Home Jack
What a week it has been. Grandson Jack returned from Spain after eight weeks living and going to school over there. I had planned to come home on Monday after my visit to Montreal but decided, of course, that I couldn’t leave just before he got home and that I needed to stay and go with his mum and sister to meet him. As it turned out, I was able to drive my nephew’s car from Montreal, take it all the way to Boston and leave it at the Park, Shuttle and Fly outside of the airport where he successfully picked up the car on Saturday night. Indeed, some plans do come together.
The reunion with Jack was wonderful. I am so glad that I stayed to see him. As always, I am completely surprised at how grownup he is and this time was no exception. He seemed taller, bigger, happier and truly delighted to be home. There certainly is no better way to get to know a country and its language than to go there and be totally immersed in the culture for an extended period of time. Living with a host family was a terrific experience and only served to enforce the language skills that he now enjoys.
Walking While Away
I was lucky enough to have good weather before I had to leave New Hampshire and head back to South Carolina. When I went north I arrived the day before the “big one” that came in and caused all kinds of problems in the Northeast, the one that was called a bombogenesis storm. It didn’t drop a lot of snow but it did make travel difficult and came with very strong winds. When I left the weather guys were calling for another big storm but this one was going to drop a lot of snow. This was wonderful travel luck as the storm didn’t come in until the next day and I was able to enjoy sunshine and a beautiful walk before I left. I love to see the melting snow and some tiny little shoots of the first green things of spring showing through the earth. There is a very special smell to the earth in springtime that you really can’t appreciate until you’ve lived through a winter like we get up on north. It made my heart sing as I walked around the ponds and streams and discovered that I had one of my best times in quite awhile.
Flying Home Before the Next Storm
I guess you might say that the storm was moving up the coast as we certainly flew over a heavy layer of clouds. I love these pictures of the sunset from the plane window. In the second picture you can see the sunset that was below the clouds as well as the fading light above. This is a good reason to get a window seat. Even the flight attendants said it was gorgeous and were glad that I had noticed. Me too. The follow-up on this storm was that Katie measured about 20 inches of snow in her yard. Wasn’t it lucky I got out when I did?
Trouble in the Kitchen
A couple of weeks ago I made a big batch of wonderful vegetable broth using all the vegetable peelings that I had frozen over the past few weeks. The broth came out absolutely perfectly. Since I try to avoid plastic as much as possible, I stored the broth in multiple quart glass mason jars and put them in the freezer. Guess what – they cracked. Am guessing I overfilled them. What I ended up doing is slow melting the broth and then straining it two times. The pieces were all large and came apart quite easily so I don’t think there were any little pieces but just to be sure I made sure to strain it thorough in a very fine strainer. I’m pretty sure that it is fine and have since used it to make a big batch of my favorite vegetable soup. However, I will not be freezing it in jars again or certainly not overfilling them if I do. Will look for something else to use like ice cube trays.
Back on the Training Track
After a couple of days of being a couch potato, I am back on the training walks again. This particular trip wore me out. It was a lot of traveling in a short few days going from Savannah to Manchester by plane, Manchester to Montreal by car, Montreal to North Hatley for a quick visit with a good friend for lunch then on to New Hampshire and Boston. After that back on an airplane again from Manchester back to Savannah and finally home. There was only one day that we didn’t actually go in a car or anywhere but for a walk. So after all it wasn’t a surprise that I was just pooped. So happy to finally be out for a big 6.3 mile walk with my racing pals as we continue getting ready for the Charleston Bridge race in April. It’s only a few weeks away so we are doing our best to get some good walks in and at a decent pace. Always looking for new routes to try but also to include going over the one bridge we have here that has any height to it. We struggle for hills here but I did get a good walk in while I was in Montreal and those hills are a challenge. It is the one thing I miss when I am down here because I love my hill walks. It won’t be long and I will be back up north and back in the hills again but until then there are always the bridges.
Lena and Cleo are indoor cats except when they are not. They are getting used to their harnesses and recently enjoyed an hour outside with us exploring the back garden. They watch the birds at the feeders from inside the house which provides many hours of amusement. If the windows are open it is even more fun and more interesting. We love to hear them talk to each other, the birds not the cats. However it is fun for them to get outside and check out the smells that are out there. So far they seem to be curious and enjoy going under the bushes and climbing on the tables. This is so different for us as we have always had indoor/outdoor cats. These guys are so friendly they have no defense mechanism if they encounter an unfriendly beast so they can’t be outside. I am sure that they would follow us when we take Wyke for his walk each day but I don’t trust the alligators!
Right now we have the Taylor Made Collegiate College golf tournament here and Wyke has been outside watching the players. A few of the boys remember him from last year when he was still a little puppy. So far he has been very good and not gone running out to investigate. He just waits to see if anyone will come and talk to him.
We are hosting two young women who are on the Ohio-Wesleyan team so will have a dinner here for the team. Therefore I am making an old favorite dish. I have shared the recipe before but it is so good I will share it again. I got this recipe from my late friend Di Ferrabee. We will enjoy it and drink a toast to her and rename the dish No Name Chicken by Di.
No Name Chicken by Di Ferrabee
8-12 boneless chicken thighs or drumsticks, if thighs are large cut them in half
4 tbsp. of good quality olive oil
1/3 cup pure Canadian maple syrup
1/3 cup cider vinegar, sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup of white wine or chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup green olives whole, pitted
1/2 cup dried apricots cut up
salt & pepper
Trim surplus fat from chicken. Combine oil, maple syrup, vinegar, chicken stock or wine, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, olives, apricots and salt/pepper. Put chicken in a Ziploc bag or container of your choice for marinating and pour the liquid over it. Marinate it for at least 2 hours or overnight is preferred. Bake it at 375 for 50 – 60 minutes in a deep baking pan. Baste occasionally. Serve with rice and great big salad. Bon Appetit!