Life on the creative side

Places I’ve been or dream of going

The 4th of July from a Brooklyn roof top

The 4th of July from a Brooklyn roof top:

the 4th from a rooftop in brooklyn

 

This 4th of July I spent a week  in Brooklyn with my daughter (a soon to be mother) and her husband.  We  spent the first few days of my stay  making their lovely  apartment ready for the arrival of their baby boy.

 

The 4th from a Brooklyn roof top

 

Phase one of our efforts was to move the bed into the living room – loft style.  The apartment would be a true loft, with open living, dining and kitchen space, twelve-foot ceilings, wall of windows, and reclaimed wood floors except for the odd partition added to boost it into the one bedroom rental bracket.  We then divided the partitioned space with part of it being designated closet/dressing area and the rest set up for the baby.

 

The 4th from a Brooklyn roof top

4th from a brookly rooftop

 

Then we moved on to  completing the  little odds and end jobs that tend to get put off until such an occasion as a nesting  mother-to-be: hanging mirrors and pictures, re-potting plants, cleaning baseboard  and organizing storage.

 

The 4th from a Brooklyn roof top

4th from a brooklyn rooftop

the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop

 

Little Rocco pup knows something’s up.

 

4th from a brooklyn rooftop

DSCN1879

 

But not to worry, we  made room on our to-do list for  dining at amazing restaurants, shopping in Manhattan and visiting the Brooklyn flea, where I purchased this fabulous bag by Ryan Greer of flux productions, www.fluxproductions.net

 

the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop

 

and of course, fireworks over Manhattan – the 4th from a Brooklyn roof-top.

 

the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop

the 4th from a brooklyn rooftop

 

 

4th from a brookly rooftop

I’ve joined the party over at

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Wonderful, Lemony Limoncello to Make and Share

making limoncello, peeling the lemons

During my first trip to Italy I spent a short time on the stunning Amalfi Coast where I was introduced to a wonderful, lemony concoction – limoncello, an Italian digestivo.

me on the amalfi coast

In every village I visited along that breathtaking coast, I came across the lemony after dinner liquor. I was fortunate and had a contact in the area who arranged  a tour of a small limoncello producer.  The tour concluded with a tasting; as it turned out, nearly everyone  in the region brews their own version of the elixir so, fortunately for me,  my first tasting was not my last.

amalfi coast

All these years later,  I still enjoy an occasional after dinner sip of the Italian liquor; but now I also enjoy making my own version  and sharing it with family and friends.

The process for making limoncello is very simple…

Making limoncello with everclear

12-15 large lemons (you want the lemons to have bright yellow skins)
2 – 750ml bottles of Everclear (I have also used 100-proof vodka)
3-4  cups sugar
5 cups water

 

 

making limoncello, zesting the lemon peel

Carefully wash and gently grade, into long strips or strings, the peels of the lemons (You can use a veggie peeler, being careful to avoid the white pithy rind as it will make for a bitter batch) .

 

 

 

 

making limoncello, peels in everclearPut the peels and the alcohol  in a lidded glass jar (plastic wrap can be used instead of a lid) – place in a dark place for at least 7 days (I steep mine  for up to 3 months).

The alcohol will gradually take on a lovely yellow color

 

 

 

making limoncello, boiling simple syrupAfter steeping for the desired time –

Mix together sugar and water – bring to a gentle boil and boil for 5-7 minutes – making a simple syrup

Completely cool the simple syrup

Once cooled pour the simple syrup  into the lemon/alcohol mixture  – continue to steep for another 5-7 days

 

home made limoncello

Finally strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filters (dampen coffee filter first)

Store in tightly lidded glass bottles in the freezer

Finally, invite over friends and share the sweetness of your limoncello and some dolce vita – sweet life.

 


A Trip To The Orchard: one of our favorite fall activities

apples at reed valley orchard

With a new crispness in the air and leaves blushing hints of colors to come, it’s time for one of our favorite fall activities.

apples at reed valley orchard

This is the season of pumpkin patches, fall festivals and, for hubby and I, a trip to Reed Valley Orchard. The family run orchard is situated at the end of a gravel road that meanders along a lovely little creek and through gently rolling hills and pastures of bluegrass. On the scenic road to reed valley orchard, one of our favorite fall activities

Nestled between Paris and Cynthiana Kentucky in a particularly scenic region of the bluegrass state populated by magnificent horse farms and historic stone fences,  Reed Valley Orchard boasts 3000 trees of numerous varieties including apples, peaches, pears as well as various berries. Scenic drive along Kentucky's bluegrass region back-roads reed valley orchard one of our favorite fall activities

They sell their produce along with baked goods, canned goods and gifts in the country store. store at reed valley orchard

You can purchase bags of fruit…

large bag of mixed apples purchased at reed valley orchard

apples at reed valley orchard

or grab a wagon and wander through the groves picking the fruit yourself.

Apple picking wagons for you pick at Reed Valley Orchard fall activities picking apples at reed apple orchard one of our favorite fall activities

Hubby and I purchased apple cider, peach nectar and a bag of mixed apples we’ll be drying; minus of course the ones that ended up in yesterday’s apple pie. For more information about Reed Valley Orchard check out their website http://www.reedvalleyorchard.com/ or find an orchard, pumpkin patch or corn maze near you; it may just become one of your favorite fall activities.

more resources: http://www.pickyourown.org/index.htm#states  http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/index.php


Up North Maine

mount kineo moosehead lake maine

mount kineo moosehead lake maine

If you ever thought about visiting Up North Maine I have a special place to tell you about.  A scenic two and a half hour drive north of Bangor, on a small but dramatic island on Moosehead Lake, there is an old Arts and Craft style lodge sitting in the shadow of the impressive rock face of  Mount Kineo. The historic Oak Lodge is owned and operated by some good friends of ours whose welcoming and laid-back style has cultivated a loyal clientele.  Many of their seasonal bookings are returning guests who come to enjoy the company of the proprietors as much as the golf course,  hiking and nature viewing. Having known the Musser family for many years we can certainly understand why.

moose on a maine road

 

dock at the oak lodge

flowers of the oak lodge

Our last visit happened to be over the 4th of July, so we got to participate in the annual golf cart parade and island lobster boil and picnic.

kineo Island golf cart 4th of july parade

4th of July parade pup participant

4th of july picnic

lobster

We had a great time visiting, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and fishing.

hiking in maine

high hike in maine

repelling mount kineo

canoeing moosehead lake

So if you ever have the opportunity, take a trip up north to Maine, Moosehead Lake and the historic Oak Lodge. fishing in maine

the oak lodge maine

The Oak Lodge, Kineo Island, Moosehead Lake, Maine

historic marker oak lodge


Travel Dreaming

i'm in venice italy

A few years back (exactly how many will remain unspecified), I took an amazing sojourn in celebration of my fiftieth birthday. Lasting several weeks, the solo journey took me through France, Italy, Switzerland and personal transformation.
During the months of dreaming, researching and planning for the trip, I suppressed concerns and fears that could threaten my will to make such a journey. I had been to Europe only once before, to Italy with a group of friends.  I knew this trip would be different, what I couldn’t know was just how different; how the unexpected challenges and rewards I faced along the way would shape not only the experience, but me.

Check out the travel page where you can read the journal I kept during my travels and look at some amazing photos; then drop me a note if you have any questions about my travels  or have comments you would like to share on your own journey.