I began this blog five years ago in July of 2016, before Trump and before Covid. I did it rather as a lark to get my writing muscles toned up again in preparation for longer, much postponed, writing projects. To my surprise, it turned into an activity totally unexpected. It became a vehicle for sharing, albeit cautiously, about Trump and Covid. Most importantly, especially during the enforced 15 month quarantine, it kept me connected to a world of other writers. Before I started writing I had no idea how rich in connections my life would become through the simple vehicle of a blog.
But recently, I took several weeks off, rather like an academic sabbatical, to question what plans I had for the future for my blog. I considered signing off all together, but that felt rather like severing a limb, so that idea died. Then I thought about a regular structure, such as once a week. But that didn’t fit with the way ideas actually come to me, in small bursts rather than in one long piece. So instead, I have come back.
What do I write about? Well it has always been quite eclectic, from childhood reminiscences, to book reviews, to observations on New England, to food I find on the road, to artists we collect on the travels we take when not locked down. So I expect the blog will continue in exactly the same vein. I have ignored all sorts of advice for a “successful blog,” whatever that means. I don’t focus on one theme. I don’t try to reach a huge audience. I don’t have a predictable schedule. But I do respond to all comments, not including spam of course, and I do comment on a wide assortment of other writers’ posts.
I will be seeing you again, as often as the mood strikes. And it seems to be striking pretty regularly once again!
We drove west along Route 4 in Vermont looking for the state park and the visitor’s center which would take us to the trail head for Quechee Gorge. It looked like an inspiring spot with a deep gorge and a flowing waterfall. I had seen a photo of people standing on a bridge admiring the view and assumed that the path would take us to that lookout spot. After a quick visit to the center to check out the trails, we set off on a trail into the gorge. A lovely walk through deep woods, we went down into a valley then back up to the rim of the gorge. However neither the river nor the gorge nor the waterfall were visible through the dense woods.
Finally we emerged at the dam pictured above which uses the falling water to produce electricity. It was lovely, the sound refreshing, the view pleasant enough, but not quite what I had been expecting. We set out to return to our car, me not looking forward to the return 45 minute hike.
On way back we looked up to see a group of people standing on a bridge. We found some stairs to get up with them and discovered we were on Route 4 with a bridge crossing the gorge. A large parking lot sat across the road. All these people had simply driven up, gotten out of their cars, and seen the gorge from the bridge. Unbelievably enough, our car was parked about a block and a half east on Route 4. We had merely to cross the highway to be on our way. We had definitely taken “the long way around!”
I do a lot of baking and have since I was a girl. My first oven was a burn risk toy electric stove. Then I met Mrs. Wade, leader of my Camp Fire Girls troop, and really learned the ropes. She taught me how to make muffins without the dreaded “tunnels.” Her kitchen was well equipped, very unusually so in the 1950’s, and she even had a marble slab to use to roll out pie dough.
Even before I moved to New England, I had begun using King Arthur Flour for my bread. But once we moved within range of their main store in Norwich, Vermont, I tried to stop in whenever our travels took us anywhere near. Of course we have gone nowhere since September of 1999. But recently, seeing that Vermont had as low covid rates as we did, we planned an overnight trip to Norwich. If we were younger, it might have been a day trip, but we aren’t. So tomorrow we drive the two and a half hours to Norwich, have lunch outside the store, and buy any new products that appeal to me. (And that would be a lot of things!)
We are staying over in an inn and then exploring Quechee Gorge, a Vermont State Park, in the morning. Depending on the rain, I may get a few photos worth posting.
In Connecticut the peach season and the blueberry season overlap for just enough time to make one pie each summer. However, since we had the abundance of South Carolina peaches and Charlie’s blueberries were also coming on like gangbusters, I had an opportunity to bake a pie just in time for the 4th of July. Here, in all its glory, is a red(pie plate), white(sugar dusting), and blue delight. Actually it was already half eaten by the time the holiday arrived!
If you have read me in past summers, you already know about the history of this luscious dessert. If you are new, however, the story is worth knowing. When Charlie and I were first dating I told him about an amazing peach/blueberry pie I had made in the summer of 1969 from a recipe torn from the local paper. I had, in the meantime(18 years) lost the clipping. A devoted pie eater, he got in touch with the newspaper’s food editor(back when they still had one) and set her on the hunt for the recipe. She found it, typed it out and sent it to him. It is that peach/blueberry stained paper I still use.
And since the blueberries continue to ripen and the local peaches will eventually be ready, he can look forward to an unprecedented second peach/blueberry pie this August.
Some time in the early spring I received an advertisement for the “Peach Truck.” It was a very cheerful message, painting the story of a young couple in Nashville, Tennessee who traveled the country stopping at various places to sell peaches. Knowing how much Charlie loves Southern peaches, I put in an order to pick up a crate in late June. I eagerly awaited the delivery and the produce.
We drove to the appointed meeting place and looked around for the pickup truck and the friendly young people vending sweetness to the North. Failing to see anything looking like the ad, I looked around further. Then I spotted
OK. I had fallen for the pitch. We picked up a crate of rock hard peaches from South Carolina, headed home, and spread 25 pounds of peaches out on a cloth in the basement to, as the young man who handed them over said, “get soft.” Well if I had wanted rock hard peaches, I would have bought them from the local grocery.
Since I had given the crate to Charlie for his birthday I was very disappointed. But the story has an excellent ending. The peaches did in fact ripen. And their flavor far surpassed any we had eaten in many years. Juicy, full of intense peach flavor, they finally lived up to Charlie’s standard for the “perfect peach.”
Now about having 25 pounds of ripe peaches at once….(stay tuned)