Monday, August 23, 2010

-Vacation Recap from Thursday, Aug. 12th

This was finally the day for the ferry ride over to Washington Island. We grappled with whether to go or not since it was an expensive ride, but decided to go since Don had never been. Larr and I thought he needed to see the Stave Church, at least.

The docks are sort of iconic.

They are powerful boats. It was fun to watch for the others and imagine what it might look like when they are cutting their way through the ice in the winter.

Don had been on many ferrys, he still seemed to enjoy the ride.

The church was as beautiful and amazing as I had remembered it. Don remarked that he and Eleanor had visited the one it is model after during their trip to Norway some years ago.

The next stop was the tower. I loved the mossy rocks and dappled colors breaking through the leafy canapy.

This is just the climb to get to the tower.

But it was worth it to see such a view.

We had lunch on the School Yard Beach. It is covered with these lovely, oh-o-smooth stones that a bits of lime stone that break off of Boyd's Bluff and tumble their way to this area of the island. They are remarkable and soothing. There is a $200 fine if you are found removing one from the beach. They seem to be disappearing rapidly.

We also stopped by the Seiver's Fiber Arts School, a place I wanted to see last time. I loved the mittens made from upcycled wool sweaters. I located a good pattern and plan to make some soon.

This had been created by the father of a girl scout. Two girls would fit inside. They would take it to events and parades in an effort to raise money to pay the mortgage for their troop cabin on the island. It is now parked by the visitor's center.

This was simply too lovely not to share.

--Here's a commercial that the kids find amusing:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

On Vulnerability - A Thought Provoking Video

Here's a video that I found thought provoking. The speaker brings us some points that I have thought about, sort of, in the back of my brain. She also brings up other ideas that I had not considered. There are segments of my life just now where I had risked being vulnerable and ended up feeling kicked in the face. This makes me a feel a little less stupid and a little more glad that I took those risks, despite the price I have paid for them.
tedxkc on Broadcast Live Free

What's your response?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

OF Turkeys, Leafy Trees and Artistic Treats - Vacation Recap from Wedneday, August 11th

Vacation Recap from Wednesday, August 11th

We were a bit slow to wake this morning due to the cool evening. I awoke to the sound of rain pounding the rocks in the drive way instead of a chorus of birds. The rain seemed to have set a chill in the morning air that slowed us down and caused us to pull the cover up to our ears. But getting up and going paid off.

On the way to Penninsula State Park we spied a rafter of turkey hens bobbing and pecking their way through a juvenile cherry tree orchard on Water's End road. I was captivated and had Larr stop the car so that I could take it all in. They were efficient girls who kept on eye on their partners. Their economy meant that they were through the cherry trees and into the evergreens very quickly. I was thankful for that opportunity to make it self available on an almost fall like morning. I noticed whisps of fog that lingered as we drove past more young orchards.

We made our way to Penninsula State Park easily and quickly. Within a few minutes of being there it felt like we had been transported to a completely different place. The morning warmed off, but fog retreated and the sun peaked through the heady trees creating a light green, airy tapastry. Once again, gazing out of the window there were so many things I wanted to see more of. It seemed like we were stopping and getting out quite often. This scene, where nature picks up where a long story ceased, played out all over the forest. Not always with little ferns and tiny saplings, but with moss, mushrooms and fungi, too.

I wish I had a way to freeze moments like these. I wish I could have total recall of the magic of the light that caused to pine boughs to almost glow, the earthy scent of the soft forest floor, the feel of the gentle breeze and the smattering of rain droplets that skirted the edge.

Here, too, were more wild turkeys. I loved that we got to see a few more of those long legged girls.

We stopped to eat lunch and then ventured over to the 75" tower that overlooked Green Bay. Larr, Ethan and Ellie zipped to the top. I challenged my self to go, too, but only made it part of the way due to the way the tower vibrated with the movement of people above me. I figured I had a fine view of the water. The only thing I missed was a glimps of the Bald Eagle that was basking on the shore down below. It was a fine trade for a girl who is afraid of heights.

On the way home we stopped so I could visit a gallery or two I was thankful that my family indulged me since I was the only one who had interest in such adventures.

Shrimp Kristofer’s From The Inn at Kristofer’s
Sister Bay, Door County Wisconsin
Serves 8
32 Large Shrimp , tails intact, deveined and butterflied (8-10 count size, 3-4 per person serving size)

2 TBl Olive Oil
2 tea fresh Ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced

Sauce –1 TBL Olive Oil
½ pound Chorizo sausage, crumbled (remove from casting, if necessary)
28 oz Roma Tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 TBL Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
¾ cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBL Soy Sauce
¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Brown Sugar
1 TBL Worcestershire Sauce
2 TBL Fresh Cilantro, chopped – for garnish, optional

Shrimp –
Place the shrimp, 2 TBL olive oil , ginger and garlic in a large ceramic/glass bowl, covered, to marinate for at least 3-6 hours.

Sauce –
Place 1 TBL of olive oil in a medium hot skillet. Add the chorizo sausage and tomatoes. Cook until the sausage is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain off the excess grease. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until the sauce is syrupy and thick – about 10-15 minutes. Place this in a food processor and puree until smooth. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
In a clean skillet that is heated to medium high, add the shrimp, cut side down. No olive oil is needed since it is in the marinade. Cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque throughout, about 4-5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp.

To serve, place the shrimp on a plate and drizzle with the sauce. Feel free to add the cilantro as a garnish. It is great with mashed potatoes or rice. You can make it “hotter” by adding a jalapeno to the sauce.

Chef’s Tip –
Shrimp come from different areas. The best shrimp are from Central America and are called white shrimp or Panama whites. They are firm and have a sweet flavor. Tiger shrimp are the next , followed by the brown shrimp. Brown shrimp then to be softer and do not hold up well when sautéed.

Of Pirates, Pretty Food and Printed Materials - Vacation Recap from Tuesday, Aug. 10th

Tuesday was a stark contrast to the day before. Gone were the lovely sounds of bird chatter and waves hitting the shore. They were replaced with distant, rumbling thunder and hard rain striking the glass in the windows. It was an odd sensation to have low hung clouds and fog mixed with high heat. Stepping out of my air conditioned car was akin to stepping out of the shower. I would have to stand there for a few moments to wait for my glasses to unfog.

We shifted our plans accordingly and visited places indoors.

I visited some great galleries including Fine Line Designs.If I had the funds to buy a piece of serious art while in Door County, this is where I would have purchased it. It was a lovely experience and they were gracious.

Larr was thrilled to find hardback editions of his favorite translations of his favorite Greek plays. The funny thing is that the were bound upside down. He could have spent many more hours in W.M. Caxton's It is your iconic wonderful bookstore where a person can get easily lost amongst the bookshelves that are tightly packed to the ceiling and stacked nearly like sardines in a can. I think Larr could have spent all day there.

As much as I love bookstores, too. I was drawn over to The Savory Spoon, a place where one can by artisan cheeses, fun cooking gadgets and fresh, handmade chocolates.

We simply had to have some. We snacked on a turtle boat, a cashew caramel, a cherry caramel and a salted caramel. Yum!

Here's Kathy McCarthy, the chocolatier extraordinaire standing next to the list of cheese makers represented in their cases.

From their we visited the Gill's Rock Museum that featured lots of interesting maritime items and information. I spent a good bit of time looking over a book that chronicled the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. (This caused me to have that song stuck in my head the rest of the day.) They had recently added a fun box of costumes and were encouraging people to try them on. We struck up a conversation with the museum curator as we pet her dog, Christy. She needed to have some sample photos so we talked Ellie into playing along. Christy decided she would play along, too, if it earned her some treats. She was such a sweet little pup.

We finished up the evening with grilled salmon. Ethan put to use the lessons that Kevin (from Algoma) had given him. The meal was wonderful!

The final cap for the evening was a visit to The Ice Cream Factory. It was a fitting end to a hot, humid day.

Orange Herb Salmon

1-2 TBL Olive Oil
6 eight oz. Salmon, Red Snapper or Swordfish Fillets
¾ cup Orange Juice
¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 TBL Olive Oil
2 TBL Fresh Basil, chopped or 1 tea Dried Basil
2 TBL Fresh Parsley, chopped or 1 tea Dried Parsley
2 TBL Fresh Mint, chopped or 1 tea Dried Mint
2 TBL Onions or Shallots, chopped
Springs of Fresh Parsley

Coat a 9”x13” pan with 1-2 TBL of olive oil. Heat to 400 degrees. Arrange the fish fillets in a single layer in the hot oil.
Combine orange juice, vinegar,2 TBL olive oil, basil, chopped parsley, mint and onion in a bowl and mix well. Pour over the fillets.
(Grill over hot coals until the fish flakes with a fork.)Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and crusty. Garnish with sprigs of parsley. Grill the fillets, if desired.

Serves 6

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Chapel, A Lighthouse and a Beautiful Day - Vacation Recap from Monday, August 9th

We decided to have a casual start to our day. We ate breakfast in a leisurely fashion. The kids went in the lake for a short while. The water was so warm that it was almost like being in a bath.

Then we headed off in search of a little adventure. We first found the Boynton Chapel in Bjorklunden as part of our search for the Stave church that we so admired during out last trip. This was not it, but it had its own grace and petite beauty to admire

We then visited the Ridges Natural Sanctuary. Larr and Ethan went off in search of cool rock formations. Ellie wanted to play on the beach and I stayed with her. Don read his book in the car as he did not want to risk getting sunburned and there was no shade to be found anywhere near the beach.

The Cana Island was last on our list of places to visit. It was humid, hot and pretty high up. The humidity was getting to us.

What I found interesting was the list of provisions each light house operator was allotted per year. I wish I had thought to take a photograph of the list. It included something like 50 pounds of beef, 30 pounds of pork, 4 gallons of vinegar (to can veggies) and so on.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Arriving in Wisconsin - Manitowac, Two Rivers and Algoma, Plus a Cookie Recipe

After rising at about 4:30 in the morning we were off the airport where checking in went smoothly. Don checked his bag, but we intended to carry our bags onto the plane. However, AirTrans knew that they would run out of overhead space so they offered ten people the chance to check their bags and board early for free. We jumped at that and had a great start to our trip.

Driving up from Milwaukee to Algoma, we find the beauty and the impact of the economy. The old weather beaten bars dot the landscape, beckoning a lingering look. Curiously, there are very few cows when you consider that this is America's Dairyland. Milwaukee has lots of interesting looking buildings that we would like to explore.

Just between Manitowoc and Two Rivers we found a humble display of old farming equpment including a shovel (albeit diesel) that reminded up of Ethan's old book, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel MaryAnn. We had to check them out, of course.

Just up the road in Two Rivers we found the ancient Hamilton Factory worth taking a look. It has been mostly closed for nearly twenty years, but still operates in a very scaled back capacity. I was delighted to find the Hamilton Wood Type Museum. If you are a person who enjoys the Letter Arts, this is a place to check out.

They had some really lovely posters that they printed by hand, but the price was too steep to bring one home.

Our place in Algoma is great. We are renting a three bedroom condo from River's Edge Condos. It is right on the lake where many of the boats are docked. Our host, Kevin Naze, is welcoming, gracious and interesting. He gifted us with delicious smoked and spiced Salmon that he caught on the lake.

Before figuring out dinner we went for a walk along the pier. A sudden storm blew up and drentched the area. We found shelter in the fish cleaning station. Ethan and Larr ran through the rain back to the condo to get the car so that we would not all get soaked. By the time he arrived the rain had stopped.

Kevin cooked us dinner on the grill. It was better than any we would have had in a restaurant. It was grilled Salmon he caught on the lake that had been marinated in citrus, dotted with a small bit of seasoning and decorated with red peppers. That was followed by grilled corn and red potatoes. We sat by the water and traded stories. The meal was capped off with Kevin's amazing and semihealthy cookies. They were so good that Larr asked for the recipe - both unusual and a huge compliment to Kevin.

Kevin has three lovely children and an interesting wife who is a Harpist. She has three CDs out, one of which I will purchase as a momento of the trip. They are based on colors, with Blue having sounds of the waters of Algoma. I also liked the upbeat tempo of the Yellow CD. It will be hard to pick which one to get, though I am leaning towards Blue at the moment. You can check them out at WaterColor Harps.

The night's storm was ruckus and loud, followed by a drizzely, windy morning. Larr and I tried to take in the sunrise but the cloud cover made it a low key experience.

Kevin's Amazing Cookies

1 1/4 cup Whole Wheat
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tea Vanilla Extract
1 tea Salt
3 Eggs
1 tea Baking Soda
3/4 cup Brown Sugar, dark
1/2-3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1 cup Flax
1-2 cups Oatmeal, instant
1 small tub of Smart Balance
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips, Dark
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips, SemiSweet
1 cup Craisins or Dried Cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the wheat, vanilla, salt, and the eggs. Next, add in the baking soda, sugars, wheat germ, flax and oatmeal. Soften the Smart Balance in the microwave then combine with the dough. Finally, gently add in the chocolate chips and the fruit. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

How My Men Folk Spend Some of Their Days - Jeffco Open Space

Larr has been the supervisor for the Jeffco Open Space Youth Works Program for about 3 summers.

This year there were about 500 applications for about 25 jobs. Ethan, an ever lucky boy, was drawn fifth. There are actually about 100 youth on the crews, but this year many kids returned. If you have a successful first year you have guaranteed job for the next summer, if you want it.

It is touch work building and/or maintaining hiking trails. They often hike in carrying tools and a heavy backpack. I image that it is about 30 pounds of extra gear.

It is not a job for whimps. I am proud to say that one of the most amazing trail workers is a young lady. The girls can hold their own in this job.

Larr and Charlie supervise the ten crews which are led by crew leaders.

They work in all kinds of weather - blazing hot, rainy and down right cold.

Today they are having an end of the season party. There is a coveted "Golden McLeod" which is offered to the top boy and top girl trail workers. There are also second and third place awards. Ethan respects they boys he is competing with.

Ethan is in the running with 9 other boys to compete with. There is stiff competition. We'll see this evening how it all came down.

He's proud of his work and feels good about how it improves people's outdoor enjoyment.