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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pretty Much Picture Perfect

Vermont is finally starting to look a little more like Vermont. Just in time too, because it really doesn't seem like Christmas to me without some snow. I've been spoiled with a white Christmas every year I've been up here.. so since 2003. According to Vermont folk-legend you have to spend at least six winters up here to not only drive in the snow, but also to convert from flatlander to implant. It apparently takes a lot of time to earn a Vermonter's trust. I'm lucky I slipped in under the radar and married in. Most people have a much harder time.

So a little-bitty winter storm came through our area. Even though we did not get a lot of snow its okay... I'll take what I can get. And of course I took pictures.



Driving around was a bit of a challenge the higher in elevation I went. Snow and slush covered the road and weighed down the trees. The poor little birch trees were bending over almost in half! Because it rained first, when it changed to snow it stuck to practically every surface. I absolutely love it when snow cakes every surface of everything.



Because I was on duty for the ambulance all day I had to stick close to home, but there seems to be no end of photo-fodder in Island Pond. As the sun began to set -- at some ridiculous time around 4pm-- I could tell it was going to be a colorful one so I headed back into town to set up to catch it.



If I could ever think of a town that belongs on a post card Island Pond would be it...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving at The Cabin

I have never had a greater appreciation for my mother in my life than I did after Thanksgiving dinner was over and everyone had left. --granted I have yet to birth children so I imagine that will change my perspective one day. But I had never been more exhausted in my life and I have no idea how my mother has prepared Thanksgiving dinner so faithfully (and happily) all these years!



It was 9am... I already look exhausted (down right disheveled actually...) as I shove my hand inside the rear end of a turkey. Ahh... the start of new traditions.



Shortly after the turkey was in the over I began cooking and didn't stop for about seven hours. I realized that pretty much every single dish I cooked was orange. Sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, roasted carrots, and a pumpkin spice dip were the orange items among a few other things...



I felt like a real housewife. The other day I had gone to L.L. Cote's, which is a variety store of types, and purchased nice little napkins and moose napkin rings even! Then I set the table in a way that made me reminisce to the days where I was a bus girl at a fancy little restaurant years ago. Forks on the left. Spoons and knives on the left. Don't forget to turn the knife so the edge is towards the plate. And make sure the glass is just above the knife. ...oh so unnecessarily technical.



The turkey did take about three hours longer than it should have. So much for the estimates on the turkey packaging. Thank goodness we had one with one of those little timers in it, which Shawn was all but convinced was defective two hours past estimated cooking time. Just as he was about to carve into the turkey to inspect the done-ness of the meat the timer popped. He set straight to carving it.



For the first time since we have owned our home we sat down and ate a meal at our kitchen table. It was nice. Family all crowded around, conversation, and good food. Of course there was a ton of left overs that I tried to pawn off on my in-laws. With only partial success I will now be experiencing tryptophan overload for the next week or two at least.

Even after all the exhaustion and painstaking experience of getting acquainted with my oven and mixer I enjoyed it. The accomplishing feeling of producing a whole meal, feeding everyone, and then having your kitchen clean at the end of it all like nothing happened. (so maybe that's why my mother does it?). It has all the feelings of a new tradition in the making...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Indian Summer? Seriously?

Today if I look outside I see spots of green grass. It was damn near 55 degrees today and we have yet to even have an inch of measurable snow! C'mon... this is Vermont! Northern Vermont at that. I've got sweaters and boots waiting to be worn. My car has snow tires that need to be put to use. And most importantly I have a brand new snowmobile with only 200 miles on it from last year that is begging to be driven all over the trails!

This is what Vermont should look like this time of year:



I took this video November 20th or so just two years ago!

Snow. Plenty of snow. Vermont is not subject to real seasons like the rest of the country. Our winter begins after Halloween and goes until Easter. Spring doesn't exist... we just have Mud season. And then two months of summer before Fall arrives.

But for some reason this year the seasons aren't cooperating. There is no snow. Winter has delayed its kickoff. We've been teased with these warm temperatures as soon as we've put our short sleeve shirts away and brought out the sweaters and fleece. The landscape is just plain brown... dead... and I can't wait for a fresh blanket of snow to cover it all up because its getting harder to find the beauty in this lingering fall.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Corn Chowder?!

Ok... first a pie... now corn chowder? I'm getting a little crazy here...

Cooking is WAY different than baking. If anyone tells you its not then they don't do much of either. I can bake pretty well (provided I pay attention to timers), but cooking is a completely different story. It was not so long ago that I finally mastered how to make scrambled eggs and for some reason today I decided to move on to something a little more challenging. Well actually... A LOT more challenging. Maybe it is the fact that Thanksgiving is coming up and I have been volunteered as the host for our family's feast. I needed to test the waters. A boost of confidence to get me ready for the "big game" that is this Thursday. (...lets ignore the fact that I am in over my head for now.)

So corn chowder was my choice. As Shawn headed out to hunt for the evening I headed to the kitchen. Nothing is more perfect than coming home to a meal of corn chowder after a long hunt in the woods.



All the ingredients lined up. Even bacon... gasp!... I have never ever cooked bacon in my life and it seemed daunting. But I took a moment to reflect in the monumental task ahead of me. Oh, and where did I find myself a corn chowder recipe? This site call Tasty Kitchen, which I am also using as a resource for Thanksgiving. You can type in a single ingredient and then retrieve a plethora of different recipes you can then choose from.



Cooking the bacon actually went really well. Not a piece was burned. And for those skeptical about the pot used to cook bacon rather than a skillet... well that's what the recipe called for. All the bacon grease was to be saved and the soup to be made in that pot. See... there was a madness to my method... er.. you know what I mean.



The recipe said it only took an hour to cook, but I completely disagree. It took three hours to put everything together and allow it to simmer the appropriate length of time, but the end result actually resembled corn chowders I had seen elsewhere. That was a good sign.



Finally the chowder was poured out into bowls and ready for Shawn and I to test. Shawn was a willing test subject for the chowder, but not so willing to have the testing process photographed. He did however say off the record that the chowder was "extremely good.". "Awesome." and he even wanted seconds.

Success.

Now bring on Thanksgiving! Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Don't Have to Look at My Food Anymore!!

...and I mean that in the most literal translation possible.

Since we've owned our home we've done relatively little to improve it. I think its because we are young and think our house is quite nice anyway. Plus, we don't have a huge expendable income. We are, after all.... just starting out. So when we decided to finally get doors for our cabinets it was kind of a big deal.

One of the great things about a small town is that there is always SOMEONE you know that does SOMETHING you need done. Need your roof fixed... there's a neighbor for that. Need your lawn mowed? Well there are about half a dozen people that'll do that. So when we needed cabinet doors of course there was a friend of ours that could make them and put them in for us! ...and they even gave us the "friend and fireman" discount. How handy?!




So our friends not only built the cabinet doors, but also came over and installed them. They are pine doors so the fit right in with the whole cabin interior. And the fact that they are very light colored makes the kitchen look bigger and brighter!


...pardon my dirty kitchen counter.

The best part... I don't have to look at my food anymore! Its going to wonders to my appetite. Snack now requires effort rather than me just turning around and glancing across the house at what's in the cabinets. No more snacks and cereal (my weakness... ) staring at me in the face making my belly growl. So perhaps this will help avoid putting on the "winter weight" this year that is such a common occurance when the Vermont snows force you to barricade yourself inside your house and hibernate.

Now onto another project... hmmm... what's next?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Officially Online!

So all day today... and well for much of the last week or two I have been feverishly working on my photography website. After carpal-tunnel spasms and glare induced headaches from my laptop my "professional" web page is officially and legitimately up and running. See for yourself!





That right there is hours of work... the website I mean. Literally hours of sweat, anger, frustrations, and excitement. Really web designing is such a roller coaster of emotions. The moment you get the source code just right is so exciting, but the frustration of having one comma or period of of place in the code that causes it not to function is the absolute worst. Give me a sick or dying person any day... I'd rather handle that.

Right now the website is not in Google, which I find to be highly disadvantageous. So if you search for my site via Google you won't find it. It seems to be a challenge to get the word out about my site so if anyone would like to link to my photo page on their website feel free. I'd actually appreciate it! Maybe I will learn patience in this whole process. That is a definite weakness of mine, but I will have to have patience when it comes to my photography
and my website. Nothing happens over night...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Real Deal.... Almost.

Another week without a post...

What can I say? If I say I've been busy I wouldn't be lying, but that is such a lame excuse. There has been plenty going on. School, which I have been doing extremely well in, is great. I am wondering if I have found what I am meant to do... it kind of feels like it. Work, is... well... work. I feel I would rather being doing stuff related to school than in the back of the ambulance and that makes me sad. I also haven't had a challenging call or patient in a very long time.

But I'll get to the most exciting point of the last several days... My photography! Not only have I sold a few prints, but I have had numerous compliments and...get ready for this... created my own web page!! That's right. You can find my photos on the world wide web, other than this blog. It has been what has been consuming my free time these last few days (along with a minor computer glitch that caused me to have to reformat and to now use Windows 7 OS). I've also been processing, taking, and editing several photos. And two stores have agreed to sell my photos! They are right here in town, so if you ever visit Island Pond you will be able to purchase professional framed, original photos. Or you could visit my website! (Can you sense my extreme excitement at all of this?!)

So my website... Its very rudimentary, but I will share it anyway. www.nekphotography.com Its in it's infancy so bear with the bareness of it. I've been adding photos and tweaking it as often as I can (which isn't really that often). And if you have any suggestions or the format appears messed up on your computer let me know! I can't tell how it will appear on other computers so if you have an issue please share. That would be ever so helpful.

Oh... and that new type of photography I mentioned before --- High Dynamic Range--- HDR

I absolutely love it....


Like this old Dodge truck at sunset. How reminiscent.



And these horses out in a field near Jay Peak. Enchanting.



Or this magnificent monstrosity of a barn



And this ridiculously luminous sunset.

No there is no weird color tweaking or over saturation going on. It is just the nature of the photography. I am in love. Besides nursing school, this is my second love. I'm definitely polyamourous when it comes to endeavors in life, but perhaps that is the way to live life.