February 20, 2011
Saturday morning at the cabin before hittin' Sheltowee Trace towards Cloud Splitter.
On Presidents Day weeked, about 12 of us headed to the gorge for some cold camping. Planned, well in advance, everyone expected to be camping in the snow. But on the weekend of Feb. 19, our cold spell broke and we were given a sunny weekend for some awesome fun and awsome sights.
Some of us, including myself were a little disappointed we weren't able to do it in the snow, but after the time we had, and a few photos later, we're pretty sure we got our first glimpse of Spring. We had a great group of people ready for some trails, some camping and some good forest food.
On Friday, everyone met at the cabin to plan, talk some smack, eat and drink. After a good nights' rest, we packed up Saturday morning and headed for Cloud Splitter.
We're pretty sure if it had snowed, we may not have been able to hike on some of the trails we did, nor camp in the place we chose. Camp was made at about 1-200 feet from the peak of cloud splitter. There, we had the last rays of sun on Saturday and the first rays in the morning on Sunday.
Cloud splitter features a pretty laborius climb and some serious shimmying to get through a narrow crack and out to the over look. But once you're looking out the face of Cloud Splitter over the whole valley, you think it was worth the effort.
November 09, 2010
That's about 1000 pounds of Petite Sirah right there. I wanted to jump in it, but it was cold out.
I hope to make wine from my own grapes one year, but until I do, I have to buy them. I've been growing grapes, planting a new row and variety each year, for about 5 years now. I battle with the deer, the black rot... you name it, about everything that has prevented me from bringing in the bounty. This year, however, I brought in my first lot of Concord grapes, but there wasn't enough worth making wine with, so we made pies and jams and froze the rest.
Speaking of buying grapes, I brought home the last bounty on Saturday. 300 pounds of Petite Sirah and I am very excited about this one. It feels almost like--ok, time to stop messing around and make some good, red grape wine. So, this Petite Sirah has been somewhat of a project for me delving back into books, picking brains and talking to people.
I really appreciated the help from my friend Dave whose been a student of winemaking lately as well. Dave makes excellent wine and so I wanted to really get a up-close look at his process. When I was in Art School, we were told to "copy the masters". Doing so may not make complete sense at the time, in fact it seemed like plagiarism, but looking back, I found that it brought me up to a plateau where I could look back down to where I really was to see where I did good, or bad. For me, I'm a quick study in most things, mainly because I have no problem admiting that I don't know it all and then asking someone to tell me everything they know.
Ultimately, I choose to stay on that higher plateau because afterall, it's the place to be, right? Knowing what i know now... is better then what I never knew. You heard that here first.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pics of the fine people I get to mingle with when we take off on a cold morning to smash grapes, eat pizza and drink wine! Cheers.
October 25, 2010
Nothing means more to me than quality... and I mean *truly* quality time with friends and family. Click here to view the whole gallery.
The head count of the 2nd annual smash grew tremendously and along with many new families, we saw most of the Muddy Portage crew in attendance. It was great to see faces we haven't seen in a while as well as several new friends we've met over the summer.
There were enough people who pitched in to make the process go. As you can see, there are parts to fill with such an operation and without diligent help, it can go slow. Those apples didn't stand a chance.
I had mentioned we try to put together a video so that we can look back at how our families grow over the years. People took the "dressing for the part" quite seriously so I think we'll have some good you-tube fodder real soon. I have to say that my hat looked rather dumb compared to all the straw and cowboy hats correctly sported by others.
The apples "smashed" more difficult than last year. They were pulpy and it took more effort to extract all the juice. We have a rough estimate of about 28 gallons compared to the 47 gallons last year. While we're sure the dry weather had an effect, I felt the apples were a little too ripe (along with the fact that we had only a Gala, Winesap and Winter Banana mix - Not completely ideal for cider) Still, everyone had cider to take home and Glenn and I had plenty left over to make sure our other loves ones got some.
Thanks so much to Glenn and Mary Burris for not only providing a great venue, but going above and beyond to make this look like an event coordinated by a committee. The hay rides were an exceptionally nice touch and the kids loved it. A little background... the smash wasn't going to happen this year just due to how busy everyone has been. Glenn and Mary stepped up and said they were planning a fall party of some sort anyway and this was just the thing.
The apple smash means a lot to me because as a kid, I attended a number of these with my dad, along with steam-engine shows, berry picks, you get the picture. My dad refurbished this press and made all the wood parts, painted it and got it all ready to use. But, he never got to use it before a stroke in 2001. So, last year was its maiden smash... and this year was its second run. I hope to keep this going so that our kids can remember such things. I truly believe that by instilling the spirit of our fathers in them will make them remember, and even aspire to push it further... ultimately to become better contributors to society. I can still see and remember my first apple smash, and my dad heading it up, all to only be sure there was enough cider for everyone to take home. So, my heartfelt thanks go to Glenn and Mary for making this happen.
We'll be shooting for the first or second week of October next year. If you liked it, you might mark your calendar. The food this year was stellar. Thanks to all who brought something. That really made the food easy! We'll be thinking of ideas to completely eliminate the monetary apple overhead for the next time. It might be nice to get everyone to bring a sack or two of apples so that the apple purchase doesn't lie on one or two people. Bring apples, take cider! We're open to ideas. I hope you enjoy these pictures and watch for the video soon.
Love Susan, Jason and family
November 24, 2009
A great group of friends went on an excursion down the Ohio River on a beautiful fall day. I might note, there was some pretty good food too.
On a beautiful Sunday in November, a bunch of us grabbed some boats and put in at the Triple Whipple bridge in Rising Sun, IN and canoed down to the Ohio River. First, the Triple Whipple bridge in worth noting...
It is among the most important historic bridges in the country. The Triple Whipple Bridge was built in 1878, and on that alone it is significant, but it is actually the only remaining example utilizing a triple intersection Pratt system.
Not only is this bridge old, it is large! Any 300 foot span dating to before 1900 is very noteworthy. It is not known how many were built in the United States, but the total cannot have been large. The Laughery Creek bridge, therefore, is not only a rare survivor, it is a rare type to begin with.
We canoed from the bridge, down to the Ohio... then across to explore "Split Rock." We took a lunch break and realized that among us, we had some Pinot Noir and another white wine, several cheeses, pineapple/mango chutney on triscuits, crackers with chocolate and chunky peanut butter, hummus and sesame seaweed crackers, fine-assed coffee... and all this before the famed Rabbit Hash BBQ. It was a total river culinary experience. Thanks to Melissa, who made a recent trip to Finlay Market, for providing the most interesting stuff to eat :)
We jumped back in the boats and did a final 7 miles or so into the wind down to Rabbit Hash, KY. The blazing sun and wind in my face got me some chapped lips for the day. At Rabbit Hash, we heard some good music in the General Store, ate some BBQ and headed back across the river. Thank you God... for another great day on earth, with friends!
October 27, 2009
Check out Jimmy... just soakin' up the essence of the fall in the serene calm of Laughry Creek.
Got a lot of great shots on my birthday day trip starting with the early morning drive over to Darian's. The morning sunrise lit the sky in a dramatic display that I could best describe as beautiful pollution :)
We put into Laughry and did 16 awesome miles of some rapid moving water. I think it was running about 1.5 and it was definitely some fun water all the way down with two very small portage points from some fallen trees.
I was home by 5:30 or so to change the oil in the truck, meet the inlaws and have cake with the family. Another year down and I still believe less is more. No gifts or anything complicated, just a quick outing to air out the brain, then back to roll around with the kids and eat some wonderful wife food. Aside from thinking about an eminent vasectomy, life is good.
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