Yarn (and Food) Tasting

Thursday, June 9: Katie, from Bobolink Yarns, came to our Thursday Knit Night last week at 6 Loose Ladies in Chester, Vermont. Bobolink does breed specific yarns, often from farms that breed for meat, not spinning and knitting – wool that often has gone to waste. Every participant got a goodie bag (except the last thing I need is more yarn!) and could sample examples of several yarns. The shop was packed, and because it was a special event, more effort than usual was put into the food for the evening. I’d made cheesy cream puffs and deviled eggs, but my favorites were the tarts filled with brie and cranberry, made by another knitter.

And why am I a week late posting this, you ask? Because I left the next day for a week in Maine, where I didn’t have internet, and my cell signal was too weak to use as a hot spot!

We Eat Well!

Cranberry Roulade was one of the leftovers we had for dinner last night (12/30) – it was prettier the first time, as I did a fancier job plating it with the sauce under on the plate and then drizzled over. This is a not very sweet dessert, with flavor contrast between the not very sweet chocolate sponge cake, and the tart cranberry whipped cream filling.

Tonight – New Years Eve – it was my turn to make dinner – Mango Shrimp: 

with rice, and flat green beans. Then for dessert what has now become a family tradition – creampuffs:

Then the three of us drove around to admire holiday light displays, then went to a neighbor’s for an outdoor, physically distanced bonfire. Photos from that next post.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Florida

The reason for coming to Florida was to visit my youngest granddaughter, and her parents, for Thanksgiving. I rolled in the evening before, and stayed through the weekend. Their development is built around ponds, probably created from the surrounding swamp to build up the ground level for the houses. That means LOTS of wildlife – although the alligators that have moved into it have meant fewer birds.

NPR rear view

NPR crow

It was amusing to watch this little blue heron walk up to the sleeping ‘gator, give it wide berth – and scurry quickly past, then slow down again and resume fishing. The ‘gator woke up and yawned as soon as the heron was out of range.

NPR egret

NPR lizardI’d not met Florida soft shelled turtles before.

NPR crane gangI started to refer to this group of sandhill cranes as the “Crane Gang.” They are mooches – and the neighborhood feeds them, so they are very comfortable around humans. Not that I believe that’s a good thing, but it certainly made taking their photos easy!

Checking out the Roadtrek – NPR crane and RTAnd maybe if we knock on this door, they’ll feed us!  NPR crane gang comes calling

There were four of us for Thanksgiving; we ate well. NPR T'giving dinner

Quaker Knitting Goddess Retreat

October 25 – 27: Several times a year the Quaker Knitting Goddesses of New England gather for a weekend together. Mostly we sit and knit, and eat chocolate, and knit, and eat wonderful food. This gathering was in Worcester, Massachusetts; I think there were seven of us, coming from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The food was colorful, as well as delicious – this from the lunch buffet on Saturday. QKG lunch buffetQKG colorI should have a photo of the chocolate basket; I didn’t think of it!

Handwork happened – the sweater I was working on, the sewing together of squares for a blanket, hats and cowls – at least one of each completed during the weekend. We shared surplus yarn, which provided inspiration for a couple of projects. QKG pinsAnd there is still some color on leaves – QKG leaves

Roadtrek Roadtrip, on to the Outer Banks

Saturday, October 5: Leaving Sandy Point, we made a brief stop to say hi and thanks for the hospitality to Maria and Tim, and meet Honey, their new puppy. Then it was on the road, and over bridge after bridge after bridge, and to Avon, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Marilyn took lots of pictures – but I didn’t; too busy driving! We made it to Po House, a waterfront restaurant (www.pohouseobx.com) where Robin works. She’d ordered our dinners, starting with a delicious crab and shrimp bisque(?). Then they brought out three plates – Outer Banks dinnerFrom left to right: seared tuna with pickled fresh cucumber and perfectly cooked brussels sprouts/red pepper/sweet potato; crab cakes with the same vegetable mix and slaw; chip encrusted fillet with smashed potatoes and slaw. All of the food possible is sourced locally; they call this casual dining, but there’s nothing casual about the food! Robin joined us when not needed in the restaurant. Then we went to where she was living, got the Roadtrek in a level place in the level driveway, and darkened a couple of windows so the neighbor’s lights wouldn’t shine in. It could have been quieter – in this tourist catering community, most seem to work late, then visit, and it’s clearly mostly young people. Oh, well!

Sunday, October 6: This was our day to explore! And for Robin to pack. Otis stayed with her, while we drove north to Outer Banks Pea Island WR signOuter Banks Pea Island WR viewOuter Banks sm birdand then on to the Bodie Island Light Visitor Center, toward the northern end of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.Outer Banks Bodie Is lightTop on my list was to put kayak on water, in a relatively protected area; Marilyn wanted to walk the beach. The Pea Island NWR had a place where I could put in among lots of grassy islands, on the eastern side of Pamlico Sound, and Marilyn could walk across to the dunes, and the Atlantic. The best of my couple of hours worth of photos: Outer Banks Pea Is. egretOuter Banks Pea Is. old bridge 1Outer Banks Pea Is. kingfisherOuter Banks Pea Is. grassy islandsOuter Banks Pea Is. gullOuter Banks Pea Is. heronOuter Banks Pea Is. view swOuter Banks Pea Is. old bridge birds 2Outer Banks Pea Is. old bridge birdsOuter Banks Pea Is. old bridge cormorantOuter Banks Pea Is. view nwOuter Banks Pea Is. RTThis was a wonderful place to kayak. With all those islands to wander among, and all the waterfowl, it was definitely the right choice for this moderately windy day. When I’d loaded up the kayak again, we walked back across the road and through the dunes to see the Atlantic, both there and further down at another beach access. Outer Banks dune flowersOuter Banks Pea Is. beach

Outer Banks thru dunesOuter Banks Atlantic surfOuter Banks M on beach

There was a clear reason for this sign – every time the wind blows, the dunes move. Right across the road – they don’t know any better! Outer Banks Pea Island thanksOuter Banks encroaching sandAnd pushing them back is a constant job.  Outer Banks push back dunesA little further south, we stopped at the Salvo sound-side access; I clearly had chosen well to have gone where there were all those islands! Not that there was too much wind here; it just wasn’t as interesting. Outer Banks Sound sideWe stopped and checked in with Robin and Otis, and because Po House was closed, had to consider where else we might eat. We thought we’d go to the southern tip – and made it to Frisco, south of Outer Banks Cape Hatteras light signOuter Banks Cape Hatteras lightbefore we turned around. It was getting dark, we were getting hungry! We ended up at Diamond Shoals Restaurant for an excellent meal; apparently the chef admires what Po House is doing. Not as classy, but I ate every bite of my crab cake stuffed grouper, leaving only the sweet potato to box for another meal. Back to Avon, parking this time in a neighbor’s driveway; darker, and this night, quieter.

Family

Mom celebrated her 97th birthday on July 23.  DSC00424And then I invited my nephew to join me for dinner in Maryland; we met half way between where I was staying, and where he lives. My crab pizza was delicious, but not particularly photogenic. His salmon, on the other hand, looked amazing –0729191820

Farmers’ Market and Kayaking

B'boro Farm market lettuce tubSaturday, May 18: Was this the first Brattleboro Farmers’ Market of the season? It was a glorious day, and Marilyn and I headed down to the market. In addition to the many interesting food stalls, where we had lunch, there were plants,

produce,

samples,  B'boro Farm market cheese samplesand products:

After seeing what there was to see, we went down to the West River; I put boat on water from a cove near where the West joins the Connecticut River at Brattleboro. West R. coveThere are lots of marshy islands covered in old cattails – and swarming with red-wing blackbirds, all calling, and warning all their cousins that I was coming. West R. blackbirdOut to the West River, where there are bridges to the west and east:

I passed merganser chicks,  West R. mergansersgeese,         West R. geeseand a wild blooming apple tree on the upstream edge of an islandWest R, appleas I paddled up and under the I-91 bridge to the west. It’s new, and very elegant. West R. BridgeTurning around for the return to the cove, God was blowing smoke rings! West R smoke ringWest R downstreamBack to the car, loading up while we watched the local eagle soar, and we took the back roads home.  One stop at Rte 5 Walker Farmwhere Marilyn bought plants for her garden, and I admired the scenery and flowers.

Rte 5 apple tree

Rte 5 phoneAs we continued, the apple orchards on the hill were just starting to bloom, with a pink haze: Rte 5 apple blossomsMount Ascutney was often visible ahead. my mt.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 18

Saturday, May 4: The day started with a trip to the Irvington Farmer’s Market. There were a lot more crafters and local non-profits there than farmers!   Irvington Farm Market chairsThis Windsor chair maker had at least 30 examples – all different forms, with some repetition of finish.  They were not cheap, ranging in price from $300 to $550. I picked up local strawberries and a pair of earrings before moving on down the road.

The town has done a project of multiples, painted by local artists, and choosing the theme of watermens’ boots.

Then it was on to get the boat on the water. I chose to launch at the base of the Norris bridge over the Rappahannock Going upriver, I was never out of earshot of the ospreys. They were nesting, calling, fishing, calling, sitting, calling –

The first obvious bit of human habitation is a very large RV park –

It includes a marina, boat ramp, beach, etc. Many of the sites are obviously permanent, with screen rooms, decks, and decorations. The vehicle of choice is a golf cart, even to carry your kayak down to the boat ramp: Rappahannock kayak on golf cartRappahannock open waterIt was my plan to explore every nook and cranny, but plans changed when I realized that the noise coming from this heavy machinery was not conducive to peaceful paddling! Rappahannock active machineryContinuing on, I went around this island. On some maps, it is still attached to the mainland; I wonder how long it will remain standing, given how small it has become, and the lack of support for those trees.

Rappahannock roots

Three cormorants and a seagull –

Rappahannock birds

It became more and more sunny while I was out, and the sheen on the bridge caught my eye. Rappahannock sun on bridgeRappahannock sun on bridge close-upAnd back to my waiting Roadtrek, Rappahannock RoadtrekRappahannock pine coneand to Maria and Tim’s. Maria and I drove up to Richmond; on the way home we stopped for dinner at            Dredge signThe chef has created some of the most imaginative food combinations I’ve met. Maria’s soft-shelled crab tacos were topped with slaw with mango dressing; there was not even a crumb on the plate when she was done. Dredge soft crab tacosI had excellent crab quesadillas, and the only thing that could possibly have made them better would have been the addition of avocado! They weren’t as photogenic, though.

Sunday, May 5: This was a day of rain, rain, and more rain. Sometimes it was only damp, and I’d think it was going to dry up – and then it would pour! For a while it was raining hard enough to leave only an inch of the top of the sump in the middle of Cay’s pool cover showing! Not a day for kayaking.

 

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 17

Thursday, May 2: It was time to move on – but only after staying as long as I could to help with staging the house for sale. I didn’t leave until about 3PM, so didn’t stop at any of my favorite places to kayak. But I was headed to the Northern Neck area of Virginia, and there’s lots of water around! It being very late by the time I got to the Sandy Point cottage, I didn’t do much more than wash up and check e-mail. But in the morning…..

Friday, May 3: It dawned a glorious day. Looking out the window from my bed in the Roadtrek as the sun rose, this azalea was glowing in the morning light.SP azaleasI wasted no time loading one kayak back in the Roadtrek and heading the short distance down the road (passing the neighborhood little library)SP Free Librarydown to the local public access on the Potomac River:  SP launchAnd out on the water, after putting my shoes (which had instantly filled with sand) in a shoe locker, of sorts:

SP shoe locker

There were plenty of osprey.

Down and around the “Sandy Point”  SP point

The eagles were more shy than usual – I did see a pair off in the distance, but not until I was coming back did I see one sitting. Usually they are more visible; this one was hiding. SP EagleGoing upriver, I had had my sensibilities offended by a bright orange piece of trash. I stopped on the way back to pick it up.  SP beachSP trashOther than that piece of a child’s toy, it was very clean along the beach.  I walked most of the uninhabited length of it, peering over the sand dune to a marshy pond area, as far as we can tell, unnamed. SP marshThe Roadtrek is a very patient beast, and puts up with sitting at a lot of launches for us to return from paddling!SP RoadtrekBack to the cottage, for some food and a shower and a check of e-mail before heading down to visit with Maria and Tim, and their daughter Cay. We headed out to dinner that evening to merroirApparently the restaurant is part of an oyster raising company, so the oysters are definitely not only fresh, but local! Above our table:merroir sign above tableView from the table:  merroir view from tablemerroirNow you know where it is, if you are in the area and want really good, really fresh seafood!

Northern Vermont

Jericho soufleSoufflé by Bill – Friday night dinner

Friday, March 15: After lunch with friends, I headed up to the Burlington area in northern Vermont, particularly to go to a concert that night. It was Québecfest – a combination of two Québecois traditional groups, Le Vent du Nord and De Temps Antan. Between the eight musicians, they played 10 different kinds of instruments – three fiddles, a couple of bouzouki, a few guitars, a piano, a hurdy-gurdy (first time I’ve seen one in real life!), a couple of button accordions, mandolin, harmonica, jaw harps, and sound boards to amplify the foot tapping rhythms. To say nothing of vocals – they all sang, individually and in combination. There were two pairs of brothers. But they all acted like brothers – egging each other on, playing what seemed like word games – although I don’t have French, so who knows?!? The energy of this group was non-stop, and while the noise level was a little louder than any of our group found ideal, I really enjoyed the performance.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the camera. Usually one cannot take photos of performers at the Flynn, but it was OK that night as long as you weren’t using flash. And the Flynn is a gorgeous refurbished art deco theater, built in 1930. I wish I had a couple of photos of the interior. Next time…

Saturday I spent knitting and catching up on e-mail and blogging. Sister and brother-in-law went out to another concert, classical this time; I stayed home and went to bed early.

St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday March 17: We awoke to a couple of inches of light fluffy snow on the ground. It was off to Quaker meeting with Burlington Friends, for a discussion followed by worship, with fellowship before, after, and in between. The guys went out and pushed the light snow out of the way.

BFM Quakers shovel

Then grocery shopping, and home again. On the way we stopped so I could get photos of the mostly frozen Winooski River – my usual launch is just to the right of the bridge from which the first photo was taken. Winooski R bridge

Camel’s Hump is the mountain sticking up in the left photo. And below is the stretch I most frequently paddle:Winooski R open waterSo no. No paddling yet! There are a few patches of open water between the solid icy spots, and spring is coming –