Sunday, March 30, 2014

Marienburg Castle

Also known as Malbork Castle...adding this to my list of cool castles :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Masterpiec-za!

Had sausage I defrosted over the weekend, and a bag full of peppers and onions I chopped up when I made the Sunday night tonight was Pizza Night :)

Came out phenomenal! And easily I'll get three meals out of this. For some reason I find pizzas I make either fill me up sooner, or something about the ingredients don't tempt me to over eat like take-out and frozen pies tend to do.

Finns on Jimmy Kimmel...

I've had phone conversations with mom that went like this. With mom playing the role of Jimmy Kimmel...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Firewood...and walking on my pond...

First day in two months I could really go to town on the pile, since it's been under snow for two months!!!

And just because...I went out and took a selfie on the swim pond -- March 23rd! Low tonight is predicted to be 11. This winter will not end...usually by mid-February the ice is no longer safe.

Phenomenal Sausage & Peppers

Sweet sausage from Campbell's farm in Griswold.

Onions, peppers, and garlic.

Sauteed in red wine (after browning the sausage, and browning the onions & peppers).

Either I got the Maillard reaction to sweeten the peppers just right...or the wine did it. But it was REALLY perfectly phenomenally sweet!

Bit of Red Pepper for a nice contrast with the would not have liked it :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Baked Salmon

Didn't use my usual mayonnaise and bread crumbs...think this will be the new recipe!

Olive oil, basil, parsley (my own), pepper. 15 minutes, but that was a bit too long, should try like 13 minutes next time. A bit dry and over cooked without the mayonnaise, but just by a smidge.

Basmati rice, with a bay leaf and butter put in the rice cooker prior to cooking.

And my own green beans :)

And yes, those are paint brushes in the background...painted the kitchen walls today finally after owning the place for the better part of fifteen years :D. Spent time both Saturday and Sunday making repairs and washing the walls, I'm going to bet I never washed those walls.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Phillip Ackerman-Leist on Hardwork

For some, equating pleasure with physical labor is a hard sell and may even seem romanticized. Yet for more than two decades I have observed firsthand the transformation of young people's attitudes towards physical labor as many of them experience it for the first time. I've watched young people come to work on the farms at Brunnenburg Castle, Green Mountain College, and my own homestead, and many of them leave with a newfound respect and enthusiasm for hearty labor. They seem to revel in the playfulness and satisfaction of demanding tasks that yield tangible results.

Unfortunately, our urban and suburban environments are constructed on the premise of a trading toils for ease, at least in life at home between the demands of job, school, and civic activities. Our skyrocketing obesity rates, the rise of energy-intensive modern conveniences, and a galaxy of sedentary entertainment options must have some correlation with how infrequently our young people encounter real physical labor. Yet I refuse to concede cynicism about any generation's lack of understanding or appreciation for hard work. It's simply difficult to appreciate anything that one has seldom or never encountered -- especially if the rewards haven't been made clear.

From Up Tunket Road.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Oliver Watkins, Last Public Execution in Connecticut

One August 2, 1831 around nine o'clock in the morning Oliver Watkins was hung a few hundred feet east of the entrance to my driveway. This was the last public execution in Connecticut, as just after his first trial concluded the General Assembly changed the law to require future hangings to take place behind prison walls.

I knew a bit of this from reading in the past, and I even met an elderly woman (who I can picture clear as day but can't remember her name right now) when I worked at the library whose grandfather had been one of the Constables assisting in the events -- most of which was it was man from Sterling, who murdered his wife, and commented looking at from his jail cell window the morning of the execution that he didn't see why everyone was hurrying, as nothing would happen till he got there.

I found a couple interesting sources on this story that fills in much more detail last month:

A Sketch of the Life, Trial, and Execution of Oliver Watkins"
The Solemn Sentence of Death: Capital Punishment in Connecticut

It seems that Watkins had been carrying out an affair with widower, Waity Burgess, and was under considerable stress from financially supporting not only his own family but hers, compounded by the neglect of his own business by the time spent visiting his mistress. It was an open and notorious relationship -- he was known to start his automatic sawmill in motion in the morning, and while it slowly cut a board (no doubt an up-and-down saw powered by a small brook) he would go visit Burgess rather than attend to affairs around his farm. Waity herself had found herself several times "warned" out of local towns for her affairs with married men in those communities (and indeed before she was ever married had a reputation for chasing men), settling at this time in a house her father helped her rent near his home. (She would be chased out of Sterling, and several more times from other towns, after this incident). Watkins was also known to have a temper -- one story told of him having driven a team of oxen hauling a load of boards so hard on a summer day that while neighbors stopped him before the oxen died, they were broken animals never again fit for draft work. Though professing his innocence, he was found guilty of having strangled or choked his wife to death in her sleep -- with their two youngest children asleep in the same room, and the rest of their children and his wife's parents asleep in the house.

The rise of Prince Hill away from Route 6 forms a bit of a natural amphitheater, and a crowd estimated between six and ten thousand attended the hanging -- the Sheriff left the jail (then located where the Episcopal Church is today) with the prisoner at eight o'clock escorted by four foot companies of militia and part of a horse company. At the gallows, several ministers provided a religious service before a lawyer read a statement where Watkins maintained his innocence, a final invocation of grace was given, and the drop fell.

When science freaks me out...

Partly from spring fever, I've been getting up to the town walking track behind my house three times a week for the last three weeks.

My "natural" pace over that time is 20 minutes for one mile (four laps), never faster, as slow as 21 minutes.

Today I used to grab a play list for a 17 minute pace and put it in my phone and dug through my drawers till I found my ear buds .

I clocked in over the mile at 16:50 seconds. And I know from my heart rate and muscle feel I didn't just miscount how many laps I took! I know in theory that's how it's supposed to work, but it amazes me it was that dead nuts accurate and it was really the only variable that dropped me from 20 minutes on Monday to 17 minutes on Wednesday.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Wine List...

With my highly sophisticated reviews so I can try and remember...

Blackstone...very nice, and priced a smidge less than Bogle.
Estancia 2011...between the Bogle & Blackstone, priced a smidge higher than Bogle
Bogle 2011...quite nice (actually first wine I ever tasted that I said "This could be dangerous...")
Reguengos ...not bad
Troublemaker ... not bad
Rex Goliath ... uff dah

Friday, March 7, 2014

My first Roast Chicken!

I don't remember much poultry growing up other than the Turkey or Capon at Thanksgiving that my dad would cook, and almost as rarely some KFC (with the nearest one in Willimantic). Pam mentioned back at Christmas time she used to make these regularly when her kids were small, which probably put the idea in my head.

Dang, that was easy! And good! They'll be more!

Basically followed this recipe, including salting it overnight, and used my own parsley and sage from the herb garden! Must make sure I dry more next year!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ormie the Pig


And the first version I saw, with a different sound track:

The to happen to Ornie just cracks me up each time I see it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pan Seared Steak...

Made my first, using a pretty conventional recipe of searing first then into the oven.

Lots of smoke and a bit burnt on the outside...but reminded my of Ruth Chris just not as nicely done. They had a very bright red center and quite tasty!

I want to try this recipe next time:

Oven first pan seared steaks

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I'm awkard, you're gorgeous!

Has turned into a Movie Sunday here with Saving Mr. Banks, Frozen, and American Hustle. Watching Frozen right now: