December 1, 2020

Red Butte Skyline Trail Hike (11/15/2020)

Our Utah family decided to take us for a hike in the nearby mountains. This was our first hike since moving to Salt Lake City on November 2, 2020. The day was overcast, but there was no threat of rain or snow. We parked near the Museum of Natural History and hiked the Red Butte Skyline Trail. We weren’t sure how far we would go, considering whether Pat and I had acclimatized to the new altitude (we now live above 4,500 feet – the previous 2 years we lived near sea level). The hike took us 3.45 miles in 2 …

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St. Simons Island, Titusville and Kansas City (February – March, 2020)

Saint Simons Island (February 25-28, 2020) We had not seen Woody and Susan Hunter since meeting them in Budapest in November, 2019. Woody grew up in this part of Georgia and it is always enjoyable to learn more about the area from a local and learning more about him and his family. One of the first things I wanted to know more about, since I had first seen it back in November, was the wreck of the Golden Ray (if you search on “golden ray” and look at the images, you should be amazed). It was raining but we went …

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Post Thanksgiving Holiday V2.0 & a Whole Lot More…

Patti Paolella and I have been planning our second version of a post Thanksgiving dinner party and my week long visit to Richfield, MN for the past two years. V1.0 was in 2017 and the 2018 version just never quite got off the ground (my fault entirely). I regret now not having posted the V1.0 visit on this blog. I would if my memory could handle the variety of activities that visit entailed. Suffice it to say V1.0 was worth a repeat. My Minnesota visit was from December 3rd through the 7th. Yes, to the cold and snowy MN. I …

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Nevada-Utah (July 2019)

We got the call – I’ve got to go! It’s kind of what we do. Jenny had an extra ticket for the Penn & Teller show at the Rio in Las Vegas and didn’t want to waste it (Tom had to leave because of filming in Chicago). Lucky me! I immediately booked a flight to Las Vegas for the next day. The plan was to stay in Las Vegas for a few days, then drive to Utah, with a destination east of Park City. Saturday, July 13 I arrived at the Luxor Las Vegas Hotel. After checking in, I met …

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Everglades National Park (23 March 2019)

We now live in South Florida and the Everglades National Park is only a couple of hours away (map). Although we had been to parts of the park that is accessible off the Tamiami Trail (the southern-most portion of US Route 41), back when my parents lived in Naples, we had never actually been to the park headquarters, near Miami. When we got to the Visitor Center, the first thing I noticed was a sign listing events happening that day. The event that stood out was an open house at a Nike Missile Base within the park boundaries. After picking …

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Western U.S.A (01-30 Sep 2017)

We’ve been traveling the world for the last several years (England, Singapore, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Denmark, Germany and France), so it was time to see more of the U.S.A. and some National Parks. Pat’s cousin Susan lives in La Conner, WA (an hour north of Seattle), we set out for there on the first day of September; but first a long, Labor Day weekend in Franklin, TN, visiting friends we had met in Singapore. When we moved to Singapore in 2014, Susan and Woody took us under their wings to introduce us to life out …

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Charlotte Foraging #3:- Bayberries (Myrica cerfera)

Gathering bayberry berries is not as easy as picking apples off of a tree. These berries really cling to their branches plus they are really tiny. Botanists refer to the bayberry berry as a “drupe” which in the botany world is a fruit in which the outer fleshy part surrounds a shell with a seed inside. Other types of drupes are peaches, plums, olives, etc. Enough of the botany talk, we were interested in experimenting with the wax properties of the drupes. So two large bayberry trees and 5+ cups of berries later we had sore hands and enough boiled …

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Charlotte Foraging #2 – American Persimmons (Diospyros virginiana)

I had a run in with an American persimmon a few years ago in late summer. Fool that I am I picked one off the tree, googled it on my iphone and discovered what it was. That’s not too foolish but the foolish part was tasting it BEFORE reading farther to find out that this fruit has to be almost mushy and pulpy before eating. Needless to say I had a huge mouthful of dry. Drinking water was not helpful, I just went “Mmmmhh” for quite awhile. Ray enjoyed himself immensely at my expense. We saw large Asian persimmons while in …

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Charlotte Foraging #1 – Part 2, still Chestnuts

I was hoping to try another batch of candied chestnuts or even Marty’s soup recipe but I left my last batch of chestnuts still in their spiky covering on our patio. We went out of town for a few days and came back to chestnut husks scattered all over. I don’t know how the squirrels or chipmunks can handle the spiky stuff but I figured “more power to them” if they really want them that badly. I still have a bowlful that I hope to keep until Thanksgiving. But in the mean time here is the soup recipe Marty made. …

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Charlotte Foraging #1: Chestnuts (Castanea dentata)

I’ve written posts about my shell and sea glass collecting, which I dearly love to do. Before we left for Singapore I was known to gather morels, bitter oranges, smooth river rocks, acorns, etc. Now that we are back in Charlotte, NC, and with my foraging buddy, Marty, we have been busy gathering for the winter, like all the squirrels around town. I thought I’d post a few of our adventures along with some recipes.  We are chestnut nuts, indeed. You have to be brave to gather chestnuts while still in their outer green spiky jackets. Nasty, nasty sharp – …

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