Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hiker's high

Over Memorial Day weekend Steve and I dropped Finn off with Pap and went on a mini-date to McConnell's Mill. Somehow in the nearly four years we've been together I'd failed to take him to our biggest local tourist spot. Clearly this had to be fixed. We had an excellent time, hiked more than we planned, and vowed to do it again. I haven't been hiking in years, and I got such a buzz from just our short little hike that day. It felt so amazing.
So this past Sunday we went back again, with our friend Jeb in tow, to hike the entire 7 mile Slippery Rock Gorge trail. The previous time we'd hiked a bit of the Hell's Hollow portion at one end and the Kildoo Pass loop that hooks onto the other end, so we had no idea what was in store for us in between. This is what was what we found:

We interrupted a lanky blue heron's breakfast.
We pondered whether or not this was the spot a hiker died last month.
The boys decided to investigate. (and finding bits of crime scene tape on the way up did not deter their climbing)
Finally at the top and deciding that, yes, indeed someone died here.
After 3 miles we stopped for lunch and to clean ourselves of the layer of mud encrusting us from the knees down.
And I looked sweaty and happy.

I wish I had pictures from the last half of the hike. I really do. But that trail kicked my ass so much that my hands would not have functioned properly. Which is a pity, because we had great fun pretending we were on  a Goonies-style adventure (with all the mud, ravines and waterfalls it wasn't hard). And we took a most excellent side trip into Hell's Basin for some wading and splashing. It all ended at Hell's Hollow Falls where I could have happily spent the rest of the day, splashing in the cold knee-deep water (which worked wonders towards numbing my feet.) 
Definitely a trip to be repeated.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Update: Part the second.

So we returned safely from our Canadian adventures to a garden that desperately needed some planting. Steve had tilled it up before we left, but that's about as far as we had gotten. I planted a mesclun mix near the back door for easy salad pickins and those shot right up:
But the actual garden needed a bit more work. We expanded on last years plot and threw in some new crops as well. Our lovely raised beds now include: Bibb lettuce, Bright Lights swiss chard (which is gorgeous), Deep Purple and Nantes carrots, Amish Paste, Jet Star, Summer Taste, Big Boy , Sun Gold 100 and Brandywine tomatoes, Sweet Chocolate and Wisconsin Bay Sweet peppers, Cyclops (because how could we refuse a pepper called Cyclops), Hungarian Wax, and Tequila Sunrise hot peppers, some jalapenos, Walla Walla and some random red sweet onions, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, green beans, one zucchini (that will still produce more squash than any family can eat) and four rows of corn. Plus a separate bed of nasturtium, dill, parsley, and cilantro.
I should note that the plant pictures are now a month old and oh, how they've grown. The corn which was just starting to sprout in the above picture is now nearly knee high. And the swiss chard is now lovely and crunchy. Seeing the bright shoots of color in a salad is fantastic.

And what has our darling son been up to? Funny you should ask.
He's helped in the garden and met some new friends.

He's been really excited about bathing.
He attempted to hone his hockey skills. (He has none yet.)
He did his best to look innocent.

He finally got his new bed/fort. Sleeping is much improved for everyone.
He fell in love with the park.
And he's spent a lot of time not wearing pants.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The longer I put off updating this darn thing, the harder it gets to do so.  So much has happened in the past few months. I swear we did more in the past two months than we did in the whole of last year. I'm gonna hit the highlights here in an attempt to catch up.

Firstly, in mid-April we ventured sans toddler to the suburbs of Buffalo, NY to see our amazing friends Kent and Paula tie the knot. I had the privilege of being the photographer for the big day and let me just say, it was a blast to shoot. So many awesome shots from that day. I had so much fun and I know Steve did too.
The day after the wedding we migrated north to Niagara:

before heading to our final destination of Toronto. Steve and I share an enormous love of Toronto. And judging by how most of our trip was spent, we also share a large love of food.
We started our first evening there with dinner at Sneaky D's where we met up with some yummy nachos and my favorite little lady in the world, Martini.

The next day Steve and I wandered through Chinatown and grabbed some grub at a Szechuan place that we'd heard great things about. I was a bit disappointed in my dish, but Steve's chicken with garlic and chilies was delectable and I could have drank a gallon of their hot and sour soup.

We did some more wandering around after I bought more pastry tips and chopsticks than I will ever use and ended up in Kensington market. After a couple of hours there we were hungry again. How, I'm not sure. And it just so happened that Steve's food nirvana was on the next block. Jumbo Empanadas.

I restrained myself and just had a mini chicken empanada and a cheese one.  Steve, as you can see did not.
Later on, Kent and Paula arrived to join us in our food adventure.
We ended up at some crazy Japanese tapas place for dinner and then after a disappointing attempt at late night entertainment, we had drinks and snacks at Sneaky D's before crashing back at the hotel.
The next day was my birthday! Hooray! We spent it shopping, sightseeing and of course, took Kent and Paula to Jumbo Empanadas. Steve consumed more food than I have ever seen a human eat in one sitting. Later on we all got gussied up and headed out to Trimurti for my birthday celebration. We were joined by aforementioned favorite little lady, Martini, and a close second in the race for favorite Canadian, Karen.
The night ended way too soon. I miss those gals so much already. With any luck, Martini will be spending a bit of time at our place this summer, so I'm looking forward to that.
The next day, we packed up early and headed home. The looooong drive home. While it had been pretty darn nice to spend some adults-only time, I missed Finn like crazy. Next time we head north, he'll definitely be coming with us.

This entry has ran long enough. More in the next update!