Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Pie

I'm no pastry chef, that's for sure. I know it's all in the crust and my crusts have tended to be heavy and dense, not light a flaky. But with the abundance of apples gathered from our day trip out to Yucaipa's Oak Glen Apple Orchards AND the November issue of Better Homes and Gardens' feature of Alan Carter with his pie pastry recipe AND an Apple-Cranberry Pie recipe to go with the pastry, well it was clear that I would be making a pie.

Of course I could have opted for a ready made crust, but with Mr. Carter's recipe, including his secrets for a perfect pastry, I had to give it a try.

With everything ready I began making the pie from its pastry bottom to pastry top.
Though certainly inexperienced hands rolled it, the pastry was indeed flaky. And the cranberries really added a nice tartness. It turned out to be an altogether yummy pie.Will's apple orchard set here.
Mine here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family Visit

Meeting my Mom in the middle between where she lives on the east coast of Myrtle Beach, SC and me on the west cost of Los Angeles, CA we made our way to the beautiful mountain town of Troy on the Kootenai River in northwest MT at the end of September.

Mom and I met up at the Denver airport and caught the twin engine prop to Kalispell, picked up a car and drove the 2 hours on the 2 highway passing rivers, lakes, meadows and mountains, arriving at Grandma and Jimmy's house by mid-afternoon. Neither Mom nor I had the street address but as long as you're on the right side of the main street and left of the railroad tracks, who needs an address.

With no agenda other that to visit with my family I settled in to the sofa and conversation. I see my family so seldom. We're few and scattered around a bit, and when my Mom told me she was planning a visit I told her to let me know when and I'd be there.

Through my entire adult life, and before, we would all get together at Grandma and Grandpa's house for Thanksgiving. Every year, year after year. My Mom used to pay for my flight when I was still a young adult and making my way on my own. I treasure those memories and still find myself trying to adapt to the new calendar of my life. And to my family that is less one important person in my life.

Lot's of things will make me think of my late Grandpa, and my thoughts of him are always, always, deep and calming and I brim with my memories of him. We all do.

So when I have the chance to see my family, even if only for a day or two, I'm there. I'm always there.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

New Destination #2 - The Getty Villa

For my Mom-in-law's birthday we made a day of it and went to the Getty Villa, had dinner at Moonshadows on the ocean, and went back to the Getty Villa amphitheater for the spectacular performance of Sophocles' Elektra.I especially enjoyed the herb garden at the Getty Villa. Plucking sprigs of rosemary, basil, and mint, I held them up to my nose breathing them in, oh, heaven.

What a wonderful museum. And an amazing collection of marble and bronze sculptures and artifacts from the Romans, Greeks and Etruscans.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

New Destination #1 - Sequoia Kings Canyon NP

It was a wonderful September filled with new destinations. The first was a trip to Sequoia Kings Canyon NP over the Labor Day weekend. We scored Cabin #9 in Grant Grove Village which was the perfect location for our first trip to the sprawling park. We finished each day on the porch of our cabin with a cold beer looking out on our own pretty meadow as the sun set.

There were so many amazing areas and such a diversity of landscape, from the depths of the marble caves to the towering sequoias. Spending our first day to the North in Kings Canyon we hardly saw another vehicle on the road and rarely passed a person on the trail. It was a tranquil and leisurely day that included Boyden Cave, Zumwalt Meadow, Roaring River Falls and Grizzly Falls, along with Hume Lake and many many canyon vistas.On Saturday, upon emerging from Crystal Cave we quickly became mired in the tourist onslaught in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia NP where the General Sherman Tree is located. After viewing it's magnificence we had planned on scaling Moro Rock and strolling around Crystal Meadow, but we quickly skedaddled to a quiet creek for a picnic lunch, kicked off our shoes, and got our toes wet.

We found that, like Yellowstone, there may be a bazillion people in the park but it's easy enough to get away from them just by getting out early in the day or getting on a trail. So, returning to Sequoia the next day early enough to avoid the incoming waves of people, we did scale Moro Rock and walked the trail from there to Crystal Meadow (where we saw two bears). Then we took our new Ford Escape off the beaten path to a steep and rutted dirt road leading to the base of Buck Rock. We climbed the switchback of about 200 metal steps to the working fire lookout perched on top of the rock.The cinnamon giants (aka sequoias) are so beautiful and the meadows are like a dream, the waterfalls take me back to a time when I was free-spirited teen, and it's all right within a few hours drive. We will be going back again.

More photos (with more to come) on flickr.