241: Sunday Signage

The above photo was taken near the county dog warden’s building while M and I were out and about dropping donations off to various places.  We stopped by the local animal protection league to give them some kitty litter.  I switched my cats over to a different brand, and had a full 40 lb. container of the old brand.  They were happy to get it.  I’m sure they go through plenty of kitty litter.

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157: Sunday signage, a snowman and some tapping

(Sign for s sign store in Mantua, Ohio.)

First things first:  Thank you all for your well wishes.  It must have worked.  After the best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks, I woke up this morning pain-free and feeling great.  Thank you, thank you, and thank you.  And you too.  🙂

M and I did go skiing today.  We have to drive through the town of Mantua to get to the place where we most like to ski (Chapin Forest Reservation).  Not everyone appreciates driving through Mantua, mostly because you have to slow down to 25 mph to go through town and the local cops are usually ready, willing, and able to give you a ticket for speeding.  (Frankly, it’s a speed trap, especially in the summer months.)  One of the reasons I enjoy going through Mantua is because it was (well, still is) the home of one of my favorite signs (pictured above).  I love the play on words.  The place is for sale now.  I don’t know if that means they moved or if they went out of business.

(The promised snowman.)

This blown-up doll of a snowman was not the only snowman we saw today.  The snow has finally acquired a texture good enough for making snowballs, snowmen/women, snow penguins, and snow forts.  It’s been a strange season in that regard, with snow so fluffy and dry that making a snowball (much less a snowperson) was almost impossible.  Kids of all ages must have been out having a good time yesterday and today, building snowpeople in their front yards.  We passed quite a few of them on our way to the ski trails.

We had a great time skiing.  I almost didn’t want to stop.  We went further than we have before, which is par for our skiing course.  Each time out we go a little further, a little longer.  This will probably be out last chance to ski this season.  Rain will be arriving tonight and it will be warm tomorrow.  It will cool down a bit after that, but it won’t be a major winter-type cool down.  Upper 30’s, low 40’s.

(Do you know what this is?)

I was thinking of leaving that caption hanging out there without an answer but that hardly seems fair.  One of the other things you would see right now if you were to drive through Mantua are collecting buckets hanging from the maple trees.  Any idea what they might be collecting?

I wrote this post a couple of year ago, describing the annual tradition that involves maple trees, taps, and collecting.  I didn’t have many visitors to this blog at that time.  Perhaps it’ll get a few more readers now.  Just in case you don’t feel like visiting an old post, I will tell you that the bucket represents a sign of spring in these parts.  The maple trees are being tapped for their sap which will be turned into some of the tastiest maple syrup you’ve ever had.  I know most folks think of Vermont or Canada or other places up that way when it comes to maple syrup.  But Ohio has some really tasty maple syrup, too.  If you want to read more about it, go see that old post I linked to a few sentences ago.

We capped off our day with margaritas on the porch.  The sun was shining, it was warm and lovely out there, and it seemed a good day to do a little celebrating.  M is firing up the grill for our black bean burgers as I type, reminding me that I should get upstairs and get to work on the rest of our dinner.

The only slightly sour note to the day is that I seem to have lost a year’s worth of photos from my external hard drive.  C’est la vie.  We’ll either figure it out and find them or we won’t.  I’ve been having a series of problems with the computer lately, things working off and on, and M did some maintenance on it today.  It may be time to look into getting a new one.  In the meantime, I will continue to sing love songs to my current computer as it seems to me electronic equipment (and cars) work better for me when I tell it how wonderful it is and give thanks every time it works.

It is a custom that began with my first car, a 1960 VW beetle.  The car was only 15 years old when I started driving it, and it lasted a few years after that.  M and I gave it up when the front end fell off on our way to a picnic.  The guy at the shop said you can only weld so much before there is nothing left to weld on to.  We replaced the VW with a 1963  Ford Ranchero.  But that’s a whole other story…

81: Sunday signage

(So it is… )

M and I are back in Sabbaticalville (West Chester, PA).  It’s been warm (in the 50’s) and raining all day.  Weather-wise, we’re doing well here.  It’s the ride home tomorrow that may cause some problems.  The Lake Erie snow machine is churning out the snow and we have apparently had somewhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow at home so far and it’s expected to continue until Tuesday.

(Snowflake doll.)

I’m still on track with my outdoor commitment.  M and I took a 30 minute hike in The Narrows of Pennsylvania on an unimproved hiking trail along the Juniata River.  It was cold with snow and ice on the ground so we didn’t get far.  We took our time in order to avoid slipping and falling.

(Today’s temperature.)

Today I hung out in my sister-in-law’s backyard, watching the birds at the feeders, listening to the rain and the wind.  I can’t believe how warm it was!  It felt nice but will make the cold a little harder to take when we get back to the frozen tundra that is the Bogs.

(A doll looking for a home.)

We paid a visit to an interesting store yesterday.  I’ll tell you more about it after I’m settled back at home.  I need to wrap this up, check my email, and then it’s off to bed.  The plan is to get an early start to our day tomorrow.  Hopefully we’ll be able to make it home, but we’ll err on the side of caution and stop somewhere if we have to and continue home on Tuesday when, we hope, the weather will improve.

Sunday signage: Leave No Trace

Found on one of the trails at the Bedford Reservation when M and I went for a hike there last Sunday.  It seemed a little… ironic.  Yet appropriate.

(The long view.  It was a mighty big tree.)

Please visit the Leave No Trace website and check out the Bigfoot Challenge while you’re there.  You might even want to particpate.

Sunday signage

(169:  Caution.  Time change.)

I took this photo at the Ash Cave Gorge trailhead.  What caught my eye was the small sign at the bottom cautioning us about the time change.

Since the sign is probably difficult to read, here is the zoomed-in, cropped version:

I’ve always thought it was a good idea to pay attention to the time and/or the position of the sun while hiking, unless you don’t mind wandering around in the woods after dark.

Anna and Preston at Surface & Surface Photography are taking a look at signs in Kansas.  Head on over and see them for yourself.

It’s been a nice weekend here in the Bogs.  Busy, but nice.  We hit a couple of the farm markets yesterday to find some good deals at the end of the season.  I made a huge pot of vegetable soup yesterday.  Today I’ve been prepping, blanching, bagging, and freezing cauliflower.

The weather has been amazing.  In the 70’s and sunny today!  I’m glad M left a few screens in some of the windows when he put in the storm windows.  I opened up the house as much as possible to let in the fresh, wonderful, warm air.

I was listening to The Splendid Table on the radio yesterday while making the soup (seems appropriate, doesn’t it?).  I have been thinking that I’d like to make more curries and I reckon Lynne Rosetto Kasper, the host of the show, agrees because she featured Raghavan Iyer and his book 660 Curries.  I rushed right to Amazon.com and put it on my wish list.  Since the recipe for Slow-Roasted Bell Pepper with Red Lentils is online, I’m going to jump in and give it a try sometime this week.

Sunday signage

(124:  Good advice.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

It’s another beautiful day here in the Bogs.  I can’t remember the last time it rained.  The nights have been cool and the days have been warm.  Typical, lovely September weather.

The gazpacho I made for dinner last night was delicious.  The recipe is a keeper.  It’s from Fitness Magazine and you can find it here if you’re interested.  This morning I made a scramble for breakfast.  I am the Queen of Scrambles around here, sometimes using unusual (for breakfast) ingredients.  Today’s scramble was pretty simple with typical breakfast ingredients — potatoes, peppers, onions, veggie sausages, and Cajun seasoning for a kick.  Oh, and the eggs of course.

I’m getting lost in cooking.  Not so much for the eating part (although I don’t mind that) but for the comfort of it.  It keeps me busy and in the moment for the most part, although it certainly brings up memories and thoughts of Mom from time to time.

For dinner tonight I’m going to make vegetarian stuffed peppers (a curried kind of thing with potatoes) and that eggplant dish I stumbled upon yesterday.  Should be yummy.

Sunday signage

(073:  Feels like cotton.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I’ve seen all sorts of things sold at the various summer festivals held around here and most of those things sort of fit in with the festival somehow.  I haven’t yet figured out how sheets (even if they feel like Egyptian cotton) fit in at an Italian Festival.  It seemed more flea market than festival to me.  But hey, a guy’s gotta earn a living somehow.  With the high unemployment rate here in Ohio, and the loss of all those manufacturing jobs, sales isn’t a bad way to go.

I wonder if he sold any sheets that day?

M and I went to Blossom last night.  We had hoped some of our friends might go with us, but they wimped out.  That might be unfair.  I’m sure they had other things they needed to do since in some cases they’re just in town for the weekend.  Still, I’m sorry they didn’t make it.  The weather, which had been stormy throughout most of the day, turned out to be lovely.  We hit a few rain squalls on our way to Blossom but once there it pretty much cleared up.  I can prove it:

There were not the usual large number of people there.  Saturday nights at Blossom are  pretty well attended, especially on the lawn.  I’m sure the off and on rain storms throughout the day played a role in that.

M and I had a lovely time.  We set up our blankets (we layered since the ground was wet) and picnicked on the lawn.  By the time we finished eating our dinner the music had started so we sat back and just enjoyed the music and what turned out to be a beautiful evening.

(The Blossom cup holder.)

Last night’s concert included George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  In a letter to a friend, Gershwin wrote about it:

I heard it as a musical kaleidoscope of America, and of our vast melting pot, of our national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness.

I’ve never been a fan of Rhapsody in Blue.  I didn’t expect to enjoy it much.  Perhaps I never really listened to it before.  Or perhaps it was the way the Cleveland Orchestra performed it, playing the original jazz band version.  Whatever the case, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The pianist, Inon Barnatan, was fantastic.  Bravo!

Some of the other music the orchestra performed included Richard Rodgers Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Lady, Cole Porter’s Night and Day, and Gershwin’s Final Ballet Sequence from Shall We Dance.

Because the night was so nice we rode home with the top down on the convertible, going through town(s) rather than taking the highway.  (Riding in the convertible at high speeds is brutal.)  I especially like the back roads at night and looking up at the stars as we speed along.

All in all, it was a great evening.