This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"It's here!" With that exclaimation, my wife brought the mail up and with it the cardboard box containing my long awaited copy of the final installment of the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! I read the page following the table of contents with the poem by Aeschylus and quote from William Penn. Pretty intense! What exactly is it foreshadowing?

So guess what I will be doing for the next few days? I have avoided reading any of those horrible sites where the outcome of the story was revealed. So excuse me, I have to go read!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What a Pickle!

Picked up about 10 pounds of pickling cuccumbers at the outdoor market a couple of days ago. I spent some money on a gadget that lets me get the jars out of the water bath without dropping them and a funnel so I can get the ingredients where I want them in the jar. Oh, and a rack that lets me lower 7 jars at once down into the water bath or raise them all up. Cool!
I finished 13 quarts of whole dill and dill spears. It feels good to have something accomplished that you can look at and say, "I made that." In a couple of weeks they will be cured enough to begin eating. I kinda got into this annual event after receiving a jar of pickles from a friend of our family who is a sort of gentleman farmer here in town. He had put up some jars of pickles and brought one by our house a couple of years back. Oh my gosh! I have never had a better tasting dill pickle in my life. Fortunately for me, David was willing to give me his recipe. Unfortunately for me, I have not been able to duplicate them exactly like David makes them. Still, they are pretty darn good. Here is the recipe though I have seen it or something very close to it many times on the Internet.
David's Pickling Recipe

Pickling cucumbers (also works well pickling beets)
Place 1” of chopped onion into the bottom of a one quart mason jar
1-4 cloves of garlic
2-3 shoots of dill

2 c of water
1 c 5-7% acidity apple cider vinegar
2-3 T salt

Boil solution 10 minutes.
Place pickling cucumbers into jars which have been sterilized with boiling water and are hot, packing tightly. Use either small whole cucumbers or slice cucumbers as desired. Pour hot apple cider vinegar solution over the cucumbers leaving about ½” of space at the top. Place lid tightly onto jar and boil filled jars in water bath 5-10 minutes. Store in refrigerator at least 2 weeks before use.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The End!

Well, that's my story. If you want to read it as it happened you'l have to scroll down to the bottom of this page. But you'll figure that out. Hey, have a good time reading it and stay tuned for more adventures. I'll be going to England at Christmas and next summer I plan to get the southern states I am missing including, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. Oh wow, oh, wow, what an adventure!

Day 12 and 13: July 9-10, 2007--Columbus, Ohio

The final day of our trip arrived and we were still 2 hours away from Columbus in Wheeling, West Virginia. We got up early and headed back towards Columbus. Along the way we stopped in Zanesville, Ohio at a pottery store. This part of Ohio was well-known for pottery. We didn't buy anything, too difficult to get it home, but we did see some pretty cool things that might have been nice to buy.

On to Columbus, Ohio. Before we knew it we had arrived. We drove through the heart of town and stopped at a few places we read might be interesting.

We drove passed the state capitol building, stopped at a topiary garden that turned out to be not so great. Then we drove right around the corner and stopped by the home of James Thurber, poet, playwright, author. The home was furnished as it was when he lived there and it also had lots of photos of famous authors who had been there. It also contained a lot of memorabilia from his life. Several of his cartoons were there along with letters and some of his manuscripts.

We were pretty tired after all the traveling we had been doing these passed almost two weeks. We decided to head on over to our hotel and just relax the final evening. We had an early flight the next morning and nowdays you need to be at the airport almost 2 hours before your flight so we needed to get up about 4:30 in the morning.

We awoke Tuesday morning, showered and started out to the car. We thought we'd miss the free breakfast that morning since it didn't actually start until 6 am. But when we went into the lobby to check out they were setting out the breakfast food so we got to have a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal and a banana on our way out the door. Our drive to the airport was uneventful. We dropped off our little red rental car and walked into the airport where we checked in and headed for our gate. The Skybus flight left and arrived on time and the friend we had arranged to pick us up arrived to whisk us home. We arrived in Bellingham at 8:45 am which might seem like an awfully fast light but remember that we had a time change so even though the flight did take about 3 hours we still arrived home in time to have the whole day ahead of us which was great. Got in the house, started some laundry and laid down for a long nap, finally back in my own comfy bed! What a great trip it has been. We saw parts of 9 states--Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. And while we didn't see anywhere near everyhting these states had to offer, we can at least say we've been there. 38 states down, 12 to go! Whoa, can't wait!

Day 11: Sunday, July 8, 2007--Ohio to West Virginia

Today we left our hotel in Marion, Ohio and drove the final hour to Columbus where we took the bypass freeway around the city and veered off to the east towards West Virginia. Our original plans changed and we decided to get the state of West Virginia for my wife since she had never been there and it was so close.

As we headed further east towards West Virginia the terrain began to change from the flat or, at best, rolling hills of the midwest region to the hillier country that approaches the Appalachian country of West Virginia. All of a sudden our little car was climbing much steeper hills and the countryside became greener and more forested.

Our first stop along the way was in New Concord where we stopped by the childhood home of John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth. He and his wife Annie had both grown up here in this small town in eastern Ohio and gone to college here as well at tiny Muskingum College. Unfortunately it was Sunday and so not much was open on our ride out to West Virginia so we had to settle for a snapshot of the home. Then back in the car and on to our next stop only a few miles down the road.
We had the opportunity to travel a lot on this trip along what is know as the National Road. When automobiles were first invented there were no real roads to drive on, only the same rutty roads wagons and horses had traveled for centuries. As our country grew it became apparent that we needed a good road to be able to get from the east coast to the west coast. So the first road was planned and built. Eventually the highway, known as Highway 40, was completed all the way to San Francisco. The map shows the route from Baltimore to St. Louis. We drove along a part of that old highway now as we went from New Concord to Cambridge, Ohio.

We stopped here because it is the birthplace of one of my childhood heros, Hopalong Cassidy. His real name was William Boyd but as a kid I only ever knew him as Hoppy. He had his own television western show on every week and we watched Hoppy go after the bad guys. He never used his gun to kill anybody. He would always shoot only to wound them or knock the gun out of their hand and he always had a lesson to teach his young fans at the end of each show. Growing up in central California we also saw him on the carton of our favorite milk--Producers Milk, Hoppy's favorite! I can still sing the Producers milk jingle sung at the end of every Producers television commercial. Here in Cambridge we found a small museum (closed because it was Sunday) and sitting in the parking lot was an old milk delivery truck exactly as I had seen then growing up in the 1960's. It was the funniest thing, right there on the side of that truck were the words, Fresno, California, which is where Producers milk is made. How in the world did it get all the way out here in eastern Ohio? What memories. Oh, I also found out that Hoppy went to Lincoln Elementary School, only the one in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I got to see Hopalong once when he came to my hometown and rode his horse, Topper down our Main Street in the 4th of July parade. My father also told me the story once of getting to play golf with Hoppy when Hoppy was needing an extra person in his foursome. He asked my dad if he wanted to join his group. Wow!

We drove on to our next stop, which was the Mehlman Cafteria, for lunch. This place in St. Clairesville, Ohio, was absolutely amazing! The parking lot was packed, the line went out the door. We got in line and it moved right along. First, we saw a sign board with prices and what was available to buy. Only the prices just didn't look right. They were so cheap. I figured this was an old sign showing what the prices were like back when the restaurant first opened. Nope! The prices, though they looked like something out of the 60's, were the real prices. And the food was outstanding. Just like mom made or grandma. We loved it so much we came back later in the day for dinner. The best thing we had--the apple dumpling are to die for! But it was all great! You gotta stop here if you are ever in eastern Ohio.

We drove on to our destination which was Wheeling, West Virginia where we stayed the night before returning to Columbus. While in Wheeling we drove around town, a pretty town nestled down in a valley with the Ohio River flowing right through. A lovely place. We also visited Cabela's Outfitters which is the biggest sporting goods store I have ever seen. Mostly hunting and fishing stuff but the exhibits inside were worth the trip. There is a mountain inside the store with an airplane flying over it. There are all kinds of wild animals which had been stuffed, that were on display. There was even an aquarium. Just look at some of these photos. That's a real elephant!
We also discovered that the part of West Virginia we were in was a narrow panhandle sticking up between Ohio and Pennsylvania that is only about 15 miles across. So we decided to drive the couple of miles further passed our hotel to enter the state of Pennsylvania. As soon as we did, we turned around and drove back to the hotel. That's 9 states in 11 days. Wow! We have already been to Pennsylvania before but it was fun to be able to say we actually visited 9 states! A good night's sleep awaited us before our final drive back to Columbus and our last day of the trip. We still had a few things we wanted to see in Columbus.