Monday, May 17, 2010

May Ladies!

3 special birthdays this month!

Today the 17th:

Rosemary in her house on Martha's Vineyard.

Wednesday May 19th:

Mormor Anna Lisa, my mother's mother, whose age I will actually write because you'll never believe it: 94.

Sunday, May 23rd:

My moster, mom's brother's wife, AG.

I wish you happy days, Ladies!!!

In other fantastic May news: The Gunk Haus is opening Memorial Day weekend!!! Seeeeee yaaaa there!!!!

Mountains bridges boats

Friday. Finally some good good weather. A lovely morning to check Walkway over the Hudson off the long list of to-do's.

It first caught James' and my attention back in the fall on what turned out to be its opening day. 

A train bridge built in the 1870's that has recently been restored and turned into a walkway with an incredible view.

On the other side we restored ourselves with yummy BLAT's (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato wraps with chipotle mayo) at Lola's Café.

Saturday was set aside for mountains and nature and stuff. We drove up 44/55 in search of beautiful sh*t. Look out!

At the Mohonk Preserve visitors center we copped out and took the 10 minute nature hike where the parking lot is just out of view the whole time. But we saw some nice stuff AND caught some bonus points in the shape of this guy:

We kept driving up the mountain and stopped to watch some climbers. And I watched the people watching the climbers.

We got ourselves all the way to Ellenville for food. We had been recommended a restaurant which will remain unnamed. Maybe our expectations were too high or maybe the food was just crap, either way, Ellenville - been there - done that. 

Then we thought we would just swing by the Mohonk Mountain House, climb Skytop and go home. What - are you crazy? You can't do that! You have to pay $25/person to enter the grounds and besides - it's after 4.30pm so you can't even do that. No no and more no's. We just went home and enjoyed the reverse view with a fine box wine. Thank you. Thank you very much.


I've been keeping a sushi making kit in the house since we moved in and for some reason car-mountain-hiking brought out our Japanese sides and we got to making rolls.

Sunday. Brunch today was had at Bywater Bistro in Rosendale. Absolutely lovely, good prices and an impressive garden. 

Then on to Kingston and the harbor. We'd done enough sightseeing from the car and it was time to take a new approach and we boarded the Rip Van Winkle for a 2 hour cruise south on the Hudson. It turned out to be a refreshing afternoon with some history sprinkled in !

We took in our last meal on the patio - cheeses and breads and wine, checking out another spectacular sunset...

or what...

This is a bluebird in flight.

He's supposed to be our state bird but we all think he is doing a lousy job of representing. Yesterday was the first time we saw him and he was in a hurry to get away. We think he should be cutting more ribbons and shaking more hands.

We said goodbye this morning to the folks and although sad I'm glad we had such a great time and I feel like they went home with a piece of Clintondale in their hearts!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Black out BBQ and more!

It's been a while. Been juggling an exceptionally fun visit with my parents and a movie in the city and we've all been commuting together. We've also been juggling the weather, it's been unpredictable to say the least.

My friend Susanne and her Mats came on the train from New York on saturday the 8th, they were visiting for only a week from Sweden and I had mentioned that we would love to have them up to the house. The idea is always so appealing, get out of the city and see the surrounding areas, but when it comes down to it the train ride is long and the city pulls you in. SO - we were very honored when they made the decision to make the trek to Clintondale. IT IS a terrific train ride, chugging along with the Hudson river a mere 20 feet from your window. We picked them up in the Po-K and brought them to Maple Ave. We love it when we get to advertise the C-dale and maybe put a seedling in someone's brain that YOU CAN have the city and the country too. You'll be happy you did!

It had been raining a bit in the morning but the prognosis told us sun by noon, and they weren't lying. We drove in to New Paltz and I finally got to walk down Huguenot Street. A collection of 12 stone houses built in the 1600 and 1700 hundreds.

And after that - a fika at The Village Tearoom in New Paltz.

Mamma went for it and ordered the afternoon tea service. It's a fun thing but remember - it definitely serves 2!

Weather still being what it was, sunny and warm with a slight wind, we went ahead with our plans of having a neighborly backyard BBQ. It started smallish and became bigger by the minute - which is totally my favorite thing! No doubt about it. Love it! 

Except - when a 200 year old tree falls on the power line down the street and knocks all the electricity out. And with that also our water pump. 

But there was gas in the grill and beers in the cooler and we pulled through. Of course it was so windy that we couldn't be outside either, but our dear dear dear neighbors and friends brought lots of candles and we lit a fire and the party moved indoors. Thanks everyone for coming and for roughing it and for bringing friends and goodies! Please come back soon and help us drink all the leftovers and thanks for making Clintondale the awesomest place in the world!!!

We got power back around 5 am and life was back to normal. Aaaahhhhh...

Our destination on sunday was Tuthilltown Distillery. It is the first whiskey distillery in New York State since prohibition days. It's a great place to visit and you can do a tasting for $10 dollars and you get to try 3 of their products. Even though our indoor-candlelight-BBQ was a mellow affair we were still not in the mood to start drinking whiskey at noon and passed on the tasting but James and I will have to do that some day. 

The setting is beautiful and soon their will be a restaurant next door at the old Gristmill so all the more reason to come back and support our local entrepreneurs!

Of course we had to stop in at Hiho Market in Gardiner on the way, where we had missed the annual Cupcake festival by a day. But day old cupcakes don't scare us. My own sweet tooth can only be surpassed by my mother's which has been cultivated for 30 more years, making it extremely sophisticated.

Then on to the Adair Winery just up the road from us. 

It's located in a beautiful old barn and their wines were decent. 

The new bird of the weekend was the Northern mocking bird!

We're hoping to see a lot more of him! 

We said goodbye to Susanne and Mats in the afternoon and we went on home and passed out on the couch to Singing in the Rain!

That was last week and I will return shortly with more!

(Can't wait on this guy though... too cute! He and his buddies keep crossing South Street in a very unsafe manner. I am going to start lobbying for a turtle crossing!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The other night in Clintondale

My parents got back from their trip up north on friday afternoon. They covered a lot of ground in 3 days, driving up to Lake Placid, then over to Lake Champlain, VT and crossing it - first by ferry then by bridge. They spent one night outside of Burlington and the day after visited Ben & Jerry's and Stowe. After that, a slow drive through Vermont on the smaller roads. Sounds like a trip we will have to do some day.

I had an interesting week on my movie and worked till 5.30 friday morning after which I rudely awakened James and we got in the car and drove straight up. I fell asleep somewhere on the George Washington bridge and woke up  in Clintondale. We got a few more hours of sleep although I really wanted to get right out in the yard and water plants and fill up bird feeders. Just look at our grass!!!

This was a giant bald spot not too long ago. HAHA - triumph. And the dappled willows are liking their placement too.

Lots of happy new white and pink shoots.

I bought Andouille sausage last week with no plan in particular but we're getting adventurous with our cooking and I decided to make Jambalaya. 


1 red pepper
1 onion
2 celery stalks
1 garlic clove

Dice and fry.

When soft add 3 tablespoons of parsley and 4 diced Andouille sausages.

Continue to fry.

Add 2 cans (28 ounces) of diced tomatoes and 1 small can (8 ounces) of tomato sauce and let it simmer for 5 mins.

Then add 3/4 cup of rice and let it boil until the rice is soft.

Finally add 1 pound of raw, peeled shrimp. When they are pink the Jambalaya is done!

We like a little bit of heat as long as you can taste the food, and I added a little bit of cayenne somewhere in the middle of cooking, but the Andouille adds it's own heat as well.

It's been an interesting May so far weather wise. When I told my friend Susanne who is visiting from Sweden to pack everything between a bikini and a winter parka I wasn't kidding. But more about weather AND WIND in my next post. This is friday night, when it was still spring, and we sat outside and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finches and kinfolk

It's 8.25 on a sunday morning and I just got back inside after watering our flower beds in my PJ's. Up here we're early risers, wanna take advantage of every minute. Things are happening so fast right now, we got grass growing and bushes blooming and we have to keep up. Especially the knotweed - if we don't stay on top of it it will swallow the house soon.

James' aunt Ree-Ree said it would happen but I was starting to wonder. And this morning, literally out of the blue came this guy.

The American goldfinch. He first showed up with a lady friend but by the time I had gotten my camera together he was alone. We are all surprised that my shouts of joy and welcome didn't scare the little bugger away. 

My parents have been here for a week and we've had a great time so far. I picked them up from Newark in pretty cold and miserable weather. The first night in the blue room they needed extra blankets and the heater on. Now there's 2 fans going and we are all going to bed with slight heat stroke. We've been to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Poughkeepsie. They have 5 resturants and we ate a beautiful lunch at the Apple Pie Café. We stopped at Rossi's deli and got yummy Italian goodies to make a dinner buffet with.

We took the slow drive home along 9W, 9D and later 9 through Marlboro, Phillipsburg, Cold Spring, Sleepy Hollow and finally Tarrytown where we stopped for a sandwich at Mint.

We got a sick tour of the the Minard Apple Orchards. One of their facilities neighbors our house and 19 Maple Ave was once in the Minard family. They have been growing apples in the area for over 100 years. We were all amazed at the individual attention every single apple got. Yikes, we thought apple farming was a breeze. Hey! You plant a tree. You pick the fruit. You shippem. Done. Light your corn cob pipe and rock that rocking chair! 

But OH NO! It's year round for these guys. They are just now packing and shipping the last apples from last season. Meanwhile the trees are in full bloom and the prep work for this fall is in full gear. Right now bees rented from Florida are busy pollenating the flowers.

We tasted some apples from one of the last storage rooms to crack the oxygen seal and man was it a tasty piece of fruit. And I don't really like apples! We all agreed that this is the new trend. 

I'm borrowing some of my dad's (the apple connoisseur...) photos from the tour. 

The apples get a bath before they are waxed...

Then they travel on these bands where every single cup is a scale that weighs the apple and pops it in to the correct slot for shipping. 

Then we put the retirees to work. We picked up a picnic table at Lowes and Matts and Agneta put it together.

And here it is under grand daddy sugar maple where it belongs. It's a gorgeous spot.

This week coming up the folks are heading north. We have suggested, with the help and good tips from friends, Lake Placid, Burlington and Lake Champlain, VT.

Taking breaks between killen knotweed to read the Atlas with a big bowl of Minard apples on the table.

O man o man we are running out of time already. So much to do around our awesome little town. There's Lake Minnewaska and the Mohonk mountain house. There's the walkway over the Hudson. There's the Vanderbilt mansion and FDR's home. There's Ellenville, Rosendale and High Falls. There's Olana. There's, there's, there's....... there's a lot of hanging around our back patio drinking micheladas watching perfect spring sunset and smelling that country air. Nothing wrong with that.

And so a few back yard updates.



And aaaaaahhhhh....

In other bird news our red bellied friend has been hanging around a lot lately. Hey Woody.

And is this a (reeeeeaaaally bad) photo of a gray catbird???? Could be my fellow bird enthusiasts, could be. To be continued....

Cucumber dill yogurt soup

3 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1 cucumber (shredded)
1 cucumber diced
1 onion shredded
A splash of white vinegar
1 garlic clove
lotsa dill
fresh mint

Chill for a few hours.