Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Christmas Retrospective

Last December we traveled to Ajo, Arizona to visit our parents. We drove through the Sonoran Desert and played pool under the stars. I baked soot covered bread in the outdoor wood oven that no one ate while my mother's cat practiced his St.Vitus dance to everone's delight.

We travelled to Mexico and learned to scream "Alto!" at my father. He would simply laugh and barrel through yet another intersection. It was fun and exciting.

Ah, Ajo.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"What you got there?" Well, clearly not a rental car...Our Vacation in Massachusetts.

If it were not for the generosity of our dear friends, Ross, Sarka, and Sam we would have spent our vacation criss-crossing Massachusetts on a greyhound bus. This is what happened: Upon our arrival at Logan Airport we came to the sudden realization that one should always reserve rental cars, especially on holiday weekends, and especially especially during leaf-peeping season in New England. After receiving no information and a good dose of Revere-style rudeness from the "information and welcome" desk, we called Ross to invite ourselves to his home in Ipswich. Luckily, our invitation was accepted.

Beer and nachos were consumed over a mini-nervous breakdown (gnashing of teeth included) as we theorized how we would get to a wedding the next day in Springfield and then to Kripalu the day after that without a car. But, by the end of our respective pints we were laughing and shrugging off this unplanned event, opting to go with the flow. We got ourselves to North Station, taking note of the missing elevated green line trellis. We then rode our old commuter rail train to beautiful Ipswich. Ross instantly allayed our transportation fears when he offered his car for the week.

The next day, we attended Patrick and Anne's lovely wedding. We both wept openly during the ceremony. It was wonderful to see old friends and many hugs and laughs were shared.

Then we drove through the Berkshires, staying at a hotel in Great Barrington. The next day, we ate breakfast at the historic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge (circa 1773!?).

Later that day we traveled to Kripalu in Lenox. There we relaxed and renewed with a 90 minute massage that left us like two piles of bliss, ate amazingly healthful meals and purposefully did not do any yoga. I did get a nice heart chakra meditation cd though! I didn't really have the energy for more.

We woke up early the next day and meandered up to North Adams where Mass MOCA was closed (its closed on tuesdays). We didn't really mind, considering the nice ride. So, we continued on the colorful back roads eventually arriving back in Ipswich.

The next day we walked to Russell Orchards and found some old friends. We ate the legendary apple cider donuts of our youth and visited the barnyard animals. Then Ross and Gregg played Whiffle ball, each blowing out his pitching arm.

The next day we went over to Rockport and Gloucester to find friends and visit family. Our 3 year old friend Sam came along and tried to help his father consume about four thousand calories worth of carrot cake pancakes, but he mostly stuck to the chocolate milk (known in Sam-speak as "chokit nilk"). We had some coffee on the deck of the Strudel Shop and admired the Autumn Atlantic.

We drove the Back Shore and stopped at the Ocean View and watched Ross save Sam from rogue waves.

From there we walked Appleton Farms where Sam grabbed the low voltage electric fence against the rules, twitched and said, "who just kicked me?". This was both funny and scary.

We finished the day with a date at Essex Seafood (fried clams and calamari!). Farnham's was way too crowded.

The next day began at the best breakfast place in the world, Stone Soup (did I mention that we ate while we were on vacation?).

We met up with our friend Jenn and did a little walking and talking through some antique shops in Essex.

We drank some wine, ate some cheese, talked and found ourselves at the Franklin later that night. Sam didn't quite appreciate the low light levels or the lack of chocolate milk. He fell asleep mid-sentence on the ride home. The sentence was probably "what you got there?" or "what are you doing there?". I was teaching him to say "squander money" and something quasiprofanic involving George Bush. I'm sure Ross has already picked up where I left off. Cymande taught him about Argyle socks. Someone had to do it.

Jenn treated us to a fantastic breakfast at a South End bistro the morning we left. Thanks JB! You rock. Love those socks! We're gonna have babies just so that you have to knit us something fabulous because you love us and you would be obligated to in such a situation. Just so you know. We loved meeting Daniel, finally. Someday, he will be forced back to the southern U.S., and he will like it.

Overall, it was a trip full of color and memories and cable tv and great food and Sam and friends and walking around Ipswich and more food and more Sam. In short: perfect.

Today, back in Florida I started back on the coop. I managed to avulse a goodly piece of flesh from my finger in the Lowes' parking lot, but a little masking tape and paper towel and all is well. The tin roof is nearly complete! My finger hurts.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

If I Eat This I Might Die: The Fungi of Old Wire Road

I have always thought mushrooms and lichen were worthy of interest, but who knew they were worthy of obsession?

Turns out, we have at least 50 different kinds of mushroom in our field and at its edges, so we thought we'd try to document and share them with you, you know, naturalist style. Right now, we only have 1 mushroom field guide, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, and, sadly, it is inadequate. We could only identify 3 out of 50 of our fungi with certainty using this text: the tiny Velvet-Cap Marasmius, the gelatinous Beefsteak Polypore and the freakish and very stinky Stinky Squid.

We will be ordering Mushrooms Demystified this week and hope it can help us better determine edibility. I mean, there's one called the Fried Chicken mushroom, and it looks like some we have growing near the future chicken coop, which would be, you know, funny as well as fun to eat...but, you know, not so funny if we ate it and died. For all we know these could be brand new Dirty Trichs masquerading as Fried Chickens and that would be a dirty trick indeed.

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