November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in the Country

Old friends, new friends, good food, great time. Need I say more?
Baby greens, Pepitas, Parmesan Shavings with Balsamic Vinegarette
Susie Lindstrom's Homemade Rye Bread
Bright Farm Pasture Raised Turkey
Minick Farm Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Omega Lane Farm Potato Gratin
Minick Farm Puree of Butternut Squash
Lindstrom's Garden Green Beans
Omega Lane Farm Yellow Squash
Suzie Marie's Bread Stuffing
Dessertby by Suzie Marie
Carrot Cake
Chocolate Pumpkin Torte
Cranberry, Apple, Pineapple Cobbler
Gingerbread with Whipped Cream

November 21, 2007

Visiting in the mountains of southern Virginia....

A few weeks back we thought about where we might end up for Thanksgiving. We had planned on visiting Jan and Linda since the very beginning of our adventure. Being full time RVers traveling in the past, they had set up a permanent camp in the mountains near Glade Springs. We pulled in yesterday afternoon to a mountain top campground next to fields, dairy cows and a golf course. The views around us are like a painting. The purpose of this posting is to show you what we can see from here.

We're celebrating Thanksgiving at an organic farm not too far from here. Friends of Jan and Linda invited us all to their farm for free range turkey and organic vegetables. All I can say is "I can't wait!" Look for a post on that in a few days.

I apologize for my fascination with the herd of dairy cows next door. I find despite the smell they are a lot of fun to watch.

November 16, 2007


From the moment I read Margaurite Henry's "Misty" back in elementary school, I've wanted to see the ponies from Chincoteague Island along the Maryland/VA coast. As with most things I've learned on this trip - not all that I knew was correct. The ponies don't live on Chincoteague - they live on Assateagues which is a much bigger island.

We ended up staying for only one night. The weather was supposed to get pretty bad so we saw the ponies and left. I would like to come back at some point for the round up in July. I wouldn't mind owning one of those ponies. They have beautiful heads and good looking bodies. I've heard they are hardy animals. They have to be - living on the island. I also expected all of them to be pinto in color. Again, another false belief. Most of the horses we saw were of solid color. Most all of them were friendly despite warning that you were not to touch or feed them. Of course, I couldn't stop myself from touching several of them.

Besides seeing the ponies, we saw many imported Sika deer and the history of past happenings.

November 15, 2007

LA friends in D.C.

Barb, Dave and their daughter Kiah have been friends for many years. When I met them they were living in a small farm house not too far from my house in Covington. We shared a common interest in a love of the outdoors among other things. Just before Katrina, they moved to a house in the uptown area of the city. You all know the story. After Katrina hit they spent several months traveling and staying with friends and family in different parts of the country. After much contemplation, they found work and a place to live in the Washington, D.C. area. I couldn't wait to see them. We hadn't seen them since the storm.

We found a wonderful place to camp in a National Park (Greenbelt) not too far from their house. It was hard to believe that a National Park in a major metroplitan area could feel so much like the country. The woods were full of deer and other mammals. We took the Metro into the city for every visit from a stop not too far from the campground.

We visited the C and O Canal ( the Potomac River west of the city. We had a wonderful day riding our bikes along the path on the side of the historic canal. We were amazed at the falls along this river. Despite the crowded path that was sometimes hard to ride in and out of the all the people, we had a great time and enjoyed some spectacular scenery.

On another day we visited a natural area along a river that lead to the Chesapeake Bay. We had hoped to paddle in the marsh but low tide and cold temperatures prevented it. As we were walking the trails in the area, we met a guy who had gone to school at LSU to get his masters in wildlife biology. We enjoyed talking with him about many different subjects.

November 14, 2007

Washington DC

Neither Kim or I had ever visited Washington, so we spent a full week near the heart of the city seeing everything we could fit into those seven interesting days. We were both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by our Nation's Capital. Most fascinating is that Washington is a city of contrasts.....

the old and the new....

the tall and the short ...

signs of money; signs of poverty...

tons of concrete & marble and acres of water...
Wright Flyer's and rocket power....

gasoline racers against human powered gliders....

an endless skyline behind endless fall color...

the roar of the subway and the quiet steps of the deer...

dancing warriors and silent warriors....

preserving history and making history...

the house of the President and the house of God ....

and most interestingly,
within a few miles this jungle of crowded buildings and millions of people lies a beautiful national park....

November 7, 2007

Pennsylvania - Ohiopyle & Frank Lloyd Wright

We continue to be surprised by areas of the country that we thought of as very crowded or comercial, or industrial that turn out to be an example of pristene beauty. Well yes, as you suspect, this quiet corner of southwest Pennsylvania was no exception. The moment we pulled into our campsite the Ohiopyle State Park, our eyes were treated to a beautiful wooded surrounding, filled with fall colors, and only a couple of other campers in sight.

The park is situated within an area dotted with steep hills and beautiful hardwoods. Our campsite overlooks a huge wooded ravine and has a bike/foot trail leading down to the Yough River Trail.

We did a 22 mile bike ride our second day on the Youghohiogheny River Trail. It runs along the Yough R and Kim & I both agreed it's the prettiest and most interesting bike trail we have ever been on. It even beat the Virginia Creeper.

After a rather steep decline from the campground to the trail, we immediately encountered a high, long bridge over the Yough, a bit spooky on a bike, but a beautiful view of the River. The Trail runs right alongside the River, which is just an incredible view. The mountains along the River are fairly steep and were drenched in late fall colors.

We saw a couple of kayakers running it. This section, the MiddleYough, is mostly Class 1&2 rapids and can be canoed. If the weather holds out, I plan to do the 10-mile stretch today, wish you were here to join me, Kim was scared just looking at it and won't go.

Kim wanted to bake some banana bread, so I went for gasoline on a back road, and to my surprise, stumbled upon Kentuck Knob, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian designs. We were able to get on the last tour of the day, and it was just us and the tourguide, really interesting. We both liked the house and agreed we could live in it.

Our wonderful and informative tourguide releaseed us at about 4:30 to wander the grounds. Kim was surprised to find a coupkle of art pieces by Andy Goldsworthy, one of her favorites. And of course she just couldn't resist a ride on the bronze turtle!

With the sun angle low, and the fall colors, I found this shot was taken just behind the house to show that Nature can make its own beautiful art. Imagine having this view for your back yard!
The neat thing about the house is that you or I could build everything in it pretty easily, except for doing the stone work. If you ever are in this area, you simply must see this home!

Yesterday, Tuesday, we went to see Fallingwater, FLW's most famous house. We did the extended tour, which I would highly recommend to anyone visiting this fabulous landmark of Mr. Wright's career. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has taken on the task of restoring and preserving this site, and must be commended for maintaining this treasure for us all to see. The cantileavered decks were severely underdesigned by Mr Wright, and thanks to these folks efforts, and the investment of over $13 million, the house still stands and is tourable today!

I guess the most fascinating thing about this house is the fact that FLW appeared to have done nothing on paper or with his "student team" towards the design of the house for almost a year after contracting it. To everyones amazement, he sat down at a drafting table and within 3 hours of a surprise visit of the Kaufmann's drew the design including scale floor plans & elevations, knowing the location of every rock & tree, all from his head! Without a doubt, this was an enormous project. When compared to the two houses I have built, the scale and level of structural detail is huge!
Whether you are a nature lover or not, one can't help but to fall in love with this splendid setting, way up the mountain, molded in with the rocks & boulders, and literally hanging over Bear Run Falls. Oh course, this very integration with nature presented many challenges to FLW, the builder and the Kaufmann's.
Considering the complexity of the external detail, design & construction, Kim & I were pleasantly surprised as we moved inside at the clean, uncluttered simplicity of each and every room in the home. The detail that is there being unique, well thought out and tasteful, as evidenced here in the spacious living-dinning room.

As I move forward here, I realize that no amount of pictures can begin to tell the story of this creation. So, I'll put a few more detail hots in, and simply say that you must come and see this design. AND, of course, Kentuck Knob while you are in the area.

In summary, this was a wonderful tour, given by a knowledgable and dedicated staff. But as we left, Kim & I had to agree that Kentuck Knob had more of a warm, cozy, lived in feeling and was much more along the lines of what we might consider in a home.