Growing season, that is. We had our first frost last night, and it was an all-out heavy frost. No patchy stuff – this covered everything. Fortunately, I picked the rest of what needed to be picked the other day, but this closes the book on 2011. I do have to say though, it looked pretty with the pink and orange of the sunrise on the horizon behind. Forecast looks halfway decent for the next few days, so it looks like we’ll still squeeze some decent fall weather out of November; at least dry enough to finish raking the leaves, I hope.
A couple weekends ago, S and I took a few days and drove up to the Adirondacks in New York. We somehow tend to end up in the mountains in the fall, and lo and behold, here we were again. It was also the first time we’d been away from C for more than a night since he was born, which was definitely harder on S than him (he’s an independent little kid, and doesn’t display any signs of separation anxiety or the like – if he has food and something to do, he doesn’t care who he’s with). So we had a nice extended weekend of just the two of us. In the end, it wasn’t the best trip we’ve been on, but it was still nice to get away.. The weather was crummy, so we didn’t get to do much of what we had planned, and it definitely put a damper on things.
We left Thursday afternoon and spent the night in Utica, which is right outside the park. The drive was only about six hours from Cleveland, so not too bad. Friday morning we hit the road, and headed up Rt 30, which kind of bisects the park, and is one of the many scenic byways in the area. The weather wasn’t too bad on Friday, at least partially sunny, and probably around 60. We got to do a couple hikes, and were able to climb Bald Mtn. and Mt. Baker. As is always the case, I underestimated the time required to hike them (only 2 miles round trip? Shouldn’t be that bad…), so we ended up running a little behind. The views were nice though – it really is a beautiful area, and I wish we’d had some more time (and nicer weather) to be able to explore a bit more. We ended the day at the Lakeview Inn B&B in Schroon Lake, which was our home base for the trip.
Saturday we awoke to rain, in what was to be a common theme for the rest of the weekend. Because of that, we didn’t do any of the planned mountain hikes for the day. I enjoy climbing, but if we’re climbing into a cloud and can’t see anything, there’s not much point to that. So we checked out a waterfall and covered bridge, and drove some more scenic routes, though we couldn’t really see most of the scenic parts.
Sunday was also rainy, but not as consistent as Saturday. We saw a couple more waterfalls (at least the rain was good for something), some more scenic stuff, and walked around in Lake Placid for a while. It’s a cute little town – definitely the most touristy of the cute little towns that we saw, but it was still nice.
On Monday, as we were getting ready to head back home, it of course started to clear up, and we had a nice sunny drive through New York…
Final verdict: weather-wise, we picked the wrong weekend to go – the following weekend was 70s and sunny, but we worked with the timing we had, I suppose. It was a very pretty area; lots of lakes and streams, the trees were nice, and I always like mountains. I’d definitely go back, and probably for more than three days – it would be a good place to go camping. Much of it was rather secluded, so we didn’t have to deal with a lot of traffic or people. The highlight of the trip was the food – we found some great local restaurants, which I’ll try to review later. In spite of the weather, I’d recommend it.
Whew. That was a longer than anticipated hiatus. Sorry. It’s been a whirlwind though, trying to get everything done before the long chill starts. We had a beautiful stretch of about a week of sun and warm weather, and we packed as much into that as possible, hence, no time for blogging. It really was fantastic out, and I probably say this every year, but the leaves seemed especially vibrant in many areas. And with the deep blue sky as the backdrop… couldn’t have asked for nicer fall weather. So we were able to get the garden (mostly) cleaned up, leaves raked, got some things planted, wood split, the last part of the yard seeded, a barn started… why do something in July when you can wait until October and the pressure to get it done before the snow flies?
We got to play outside, went apple picking again, grabbed some pumpkins and mums, and just generally tried to enjoy that last bit of niceness. Because if you’re from around here, you know that it’s probably the nicest it’ll be (at least for that length of time; we’ll probably get another nice day or two) until about, oh… May. I didn’t exactly get to sit around and enjoy it, but at least I was outside.
Of course, there’s still a bit to do on the barn, and of course, since that nice stretch ended, it’s been cold and rainy, and looks to continue that trend this week. Nature is all about balance, it seems. Posts from our trip later this week (for real).
With all those beautiful grapes we picked at Eddy’s, we made jelly! I’ll tell you what, those grapes you get in the store have nothing on fresh-picked Concords. Now that is grape flavor.
Anyway, you go through the whole mashing and straining to get the juice – we ended up with about two quarts. We decided then to make a lower sugar, no-pectin recipe (it was in the Blue Book, so I still trusted it). This one used about three cups of sugar for every quart of juice, and because there’s no pectin, you have to boil it (and boil, and boil) down to a syrupy consistency. This took me the better part of two hours. It ended up tasting just as good, but involved a lot more effort. And it also made less than the normal recipe. Although, now that I think about it, the increase in output has to at least partially result from the fact that you’re putting more than twice as much sugar in.
Well, in any case, next time I’m going the full-sugar, full-pectin route, if for nothing else than to save me some time.
And I’m announcing a leave of absence. No, don’t be scared, it’s only until Tuesday. We’re taking a (four-month) late anniversary/get away trip. Not quite like the vacations we took pre-C, but I’ll be happy with a long weekend.
I took another day off to enjoy the nice fall weather (and get some stuff done), and we also made plans to visit an orchard with C. So that afternoon, we headed over to Eddy Fruit Farm, which is owned by some friends of the family. It did turn out to be a perfect fall day, which can be rare, as evidenced by the forecast for the rest of this week. But we all had fun, we picked grapes and apples, and C got to munch on some while we walked, so he was happy. It doesn’t get much more fall-ish than going out to pick apples 🙂