Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spring Mill State Park (in Indiana)

Saturday morning we woke up to frost on the pumpkin as I'm sure many of you did. It was chilly for sure, but that did not stop us from packing up the car with a yummy picnic lunch and driving all the way to Indiana. (It's really not that far, just over the bridge) We had planned to hike at Spring Mill State Park with our friends Gordon and Kathy. They live in Indiana, so we drove to their house first and then we all drove together to the park. Even though it was cool, it was a beautiful day for a hike; pretty leaves, blue skies and no bugs. Just the way I like it.

It felt a little funny hiking in coat and gloves, but I was very glad to have them.

Here I am trying to do tricky things on an old fallen tree. How do you like my new "hiking hat"? I think it's pretty spiffy. Alan thinks it's pretty funny. I'm getting him one for Christmas. Shh

Speaking of Alan, here he is looking very serious among the ferns.

This was one super big tree. It took Alan, Gordon and Kathy to just barely reach all the way around it.

The last stop on the hike was Donaldson Cave. Kathy and I waited at the top of the hill while Gordon and Alan ventured down to the cave. A creek flows through the cave, so it's a pretty slippery trek.

If I understand thing right, George Donaldson came here from Scotland and bought the land in 1865. He did not allow cutting of timber or hunting on the land so some of the trees are over 300 years old.

Here is Gordon standing in the mouth of the cave to help provide a little perspective on it's size. Gordon does not enjoy having his picture taken, so I greatly appreciate his cooperation in this shot.

Our hike ended up being a little over 3 miles long. We walked Trail 3 which was ranked as "rugged" and described as a long loop trail that passes the Donaldson Cave overlook, then goes through dense woods past sink holes; past Bronson Cave and on to Twin Caves; through virgin timber of the Donaldson woods Nature Preserve.

After the hike we ate our picnic by a creek near an old pioneer village. The grist mill is still in operation and we were able to see corn being ground by this huge water powered mill. I wish I had taken more pictures of the village. It was so charming with log buildings representing businesses such as the Mercantile, apothecary shop, tavern and distillery. There was a very knowledgeable carpenter who gave us some informative background information, and a woman trying to bake bread but having a time with all of the "draft".

We had so much fun and before we knew it was time to head home. Kathy had planned to feed us a wonderful chili dinner back at their house, but since we had been gone from home for so long and had not made any arrangements for the animals, she was kind enough to pack our supper to go. What a treat!

Each week I keep saying "This is my last hike of the season" but we had so much fun yesterday, I might be persuaded to visit another park before it really gets too cold.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Don't Adjust Your Glasses

I apologize for the fuzzy pictures. Somehow my camera got off the auto setting and I just now figured that out. Oops.

I am happy to say that I survived Trader Joe's opening day in Louisville.

It was a mad house as expected. Too many people, not enough carts or baskets, but everyone was in such a great mood that none of that mattered.

What a fun little grocery store, filled with fun and unique stuff.

I met up with a friend from work there and that made the long wait in line even enjoyable.

I spent a grand total of $42.37 and that includes my 2 bottles of wine.
Most things seemed to be very reasonably priced. The most expensive thing that I bought was a marinated flank steak (middle front) for $12.00. Now you know what we are having dinner. I can't imagine buying all of your groceries there, but after the crowds die down I'll be making another trip for sure.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grand Opening

This is where I'm going to be tomorrow morning. It opens a 8:00 AM. I probably won't get there quite that early, but I'm so excited that it's finally here.

The good people of Louisville have been in pursuit of a Trader Joe's store for several years. I feel so lucky that the company decided on St. Matthews as it's location of choice. The new shop is just a couple of miles from my house. I could probably walk, but then I'd have to carry all of my goodies home. I think I'll drive.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Treats for my Peeps

With just a few easy to find materials, I was able to make the absolute cutest Halloween goodies for some of our friends and neighbors. I saw a similar idea on another Blog (I wish I could remember who's) and decided to make my own.

I probably should have started sooner, it was difficult to find any orange ribbon at my local craft stores this close to Halloween. I really was looking for an orange ribbon with black dots, but in a pinch white dots will do.

Yesterday I searched the basement for my rubber stamping supplies so that I could make some little tags.

It felt good getting my "craft on"

I think I might need to do more of it.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Fire of the Season

Don't you just love how cozy a fire in the fireplace makes a room feel? I stocked up on logs last time I was at Costco, and boy was I glad to be prepared for our little cold snap.

These logs say that they will burn for 3 hours. I'm going to actually time them next time we have a fire, because I'm thinking it might even be a little longer.

I wish the fire would generate a little more heat, but it sure is pretty to look at.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend with Barb and Jorge

Our good friends and backyard neighbors from Iowa, Barb and Jorge came to visit us this past weekend. As you can see, we took them to walk at the zoo Saturday morning. They were such good sports. I can't believe that these are the only 2 pictures that I took all weekend. We must have been just having too much fun!

After the zoo we had breakfast at Wild Eggs, my most favorite breakfast place ever. Then, Barb and I shopped while Jorge and Alan hiked.

Barb and Jorge were our weekly bridge night buddies back in Iowa, so Saturday night we broke out the cards. You might think that playing bridge is similar to riding a bike, in that once you learn how to play you never forget. Well I'm here to tell you that that is not the case. I was very rusty and after a couple of glasses of wine I knew in my heart that it was just not meant to be my night. I lost big time. Jorge had the most points which I'm sure is because he was studying up during the 8 hour drive here. He won't admit it, but Barb and Alan are usually the lucky ones when we play, so I know something was up.

I hope they had as much fun as we did and that they come back for another visit very soon.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn~ Easy Come, Easy Go

I don't know what the weather is doing where you live, but we had to turn on the heater yesterday. It was 80 degrees on Sunday and we are anticipating a high of 45 degrees today. That's a big change no matter how you look at it. The good news is that this little cold snap is only temporary. We should be back up in the 60's tomorrow. At least it's nice and cozy in the house. I'm considering having a fire in the fireplace tonight, just to up the cozy factor. I guess I should get to the store and stock up on hot chocolate and those cute little mini marshmallows.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple Butter 2011

Yesterday I decided to use some of my 2 pecks of apples to make this years batch of Apple Butter. 2 pecks is a lot of apples. I used about half of each bag, so I guess I'll be making some more apple stuff as the week goes on. I'm thinking an apple crisp would be nice.

I used my apple, peeler, corer, slicer to do the dirty work.

Filled my big red pot all the way to the top
and after about an hour or so..... Apple Butter

If I loaned you my giant canning pot, would you please leave me a comment to let me know. I searched for too long for the dumb thing today and came up with nothing. Of course I'd already started the apple butter, so I had to improvise.

This is actually my pasta pot, but in a pinch it works pretty well as a canning pot

I ended up with 10 8oz jars and 6 4 oz jars with a not quite full jar for us to enjoy now.

I really enjoy making apple butter. I especially enjoy cleaning up the "almost" empty pot.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Rest Of Our Weekend

I almost hate to write this because I don't want to bring on a bought of bad luck, but we have had 4 absolutely beautiful weekends in a row here in Louisville. This past weekend was probably as close to perfect as you can get. We walked at the zoo Saturday morning with friends Kathy and Gordon and then we drove over to Indiana
for lunch at Huber's Farm. I bought 2 Pecks of apples which is actually half a bushel, but I have no idea how many pounds. It's a lot of apples though, that's for sure.

Sunday morning Alan and I hiked in the Bernheim Forest
We had been told that this was a beautiful and well maintained forest and we were not disappointed. I'm sure the weather helped a lot, but we will definitely go back there again. We did the Iron Ore Hill Loop Trail and the Jackson-Yoe Loop. I liked the first trail better, not quite as much ups and downs, and attached to the trail was this beautiful bridge overlook called the Canopy Tree Walk. The view from up there was something.

Since it had warmed up a bit by the time we got to the second trail there were some bugs to deal with. I don't do bugs buzzing in my ears well and that with some pretty steep uphill climbs had me in a pretty foul mood. Poor Alan tried to be positive, but I wasn't having any of it. 1.5 miles later things improved greatly. We found the perfect spot for our picnic lunch

Keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds and next weekend is just as pretty.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Never A Dull Moment

Look at those scary Halloween eyes. Speaking of scary, Maggie gave us a huge scare last Friday afternoon. Everything seemed fine until it wasn't. I noticed after letting her in from the backyard around 2:30 that she was acting "funny" and then she started throwing up blood. Not just a little blood, but lots and lots of it. Alan was presenting at a meeting an hour away so I just called our vet (in a panic I'm sure). They told me to bring her right in. The next two hours were very long. No one could really figure out what was going on with her. They took X-rays and did blood work and finally decided that it would be best if she stayed the night in the clinic. During this time Alan had gotten home and "collected" a sample of the blood so that the doctor could get a better idea of what had come up. The good news was that she had not thrown up again, the bad news was that she was still acting very strange.

We worried about her most of the night and then the next morning we got the news that she seemed to be feeling better. We were able to bring her home Saturday afternoon with a bunch of medications and special food. We were supposed to keep her calm, but if you know Maggie, you know that that was not easy. She was so glad to be home. She was also exhausted. The poor thing couldn't keep her eyes open. We have no idea what happened to her. Maybe she ate something bad. We may never know. As for now she is sporting this cute little poodle leg where her IV was and she seems to be almost back to normal. I'm not even going to tell you how much the whole thing cost, but it was enough to make me think twice about pet insurance.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Bathroom Paint Job

Here is a picture of our tiny little downstairs bathroom last year, right after we moved in. It was OK, but in need of a fresh coat of paint. You can't tell from the picture, you will just have to trust me. It was kind of gross.

So a week or so ago I bought some paint. What a difficult decision. I had a couple of samples taped to the wall. One lighter than the original and one darker. I liked the blue color so I knew I wanted to stick with that, but man are there a lot of blues to choose from. I chose the darker blue, hoping that it wouldn't make the room feel like a cave. It's called Smokey Blue from the Home Depot.

Alan took down all of the stuff hanging on the walls and last Sunday I spent a couple hours painting.

Here is the finished room. What do you think? I know it's hard to tell, but in real life there is a BIG difference. I'm just glad that it's fresh and clean. Just the way a bathroom is supposed to be.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Beer

Have I gone too far? I don't think so. Alan loves the Oktoberfest, but I'm sticking with the Pumpkin. It really is pretty good and the cute little pumpkin is on the bottles as well. Cute beer: that's the kind for me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Autumn Leaves......

It's a constant battle. Me vs the the leaves and acorns. I wish I could tell you that I am winning, but that is just not the case.

No matter how hard I try to keep the deck clean, the leaves just keep on falling. You might think that they are "pretty", and I would agree, except for the fact that all of the half eaten acorn pieces can really do a number on your bare feet.

My weapon of choice is this gorgeous red Turbo leaf blower. In less than 5 minutes I can have the whole deck spotless and back to normal.

Just the way I like it. Not a leaf in sight...

Well, maybe one leaf.

If I'm lucky it will stay like this for about 10 minutes, and then the battle starts all over.

I have to remind myself not to look up. If I do I see that there are still thousands of leaves left to fall and that can be a little discouraging.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekend In Review

It was a beautiful weekend here in Louisville. Summer seems to be putting up a little last stand effort. It looks like October, but it feels like August with temperatures in the 80's. We tried our best to take full advantage of the weather.

The zoo is almost ready for Halloween. Millions of pumpkins line the walkways and the crazy mist machines are working. We were excited to finally see the grizzly bears again. The two cubs and mother were rescued from Missouri I think last spring and we have only seen them once before.

Remember this scary place form last year? Waverly Hills Manor is one of the most haunted places in Louisville. It's an old deserted hospital, where many people died of tuberculosis back in the day.

Pretty scary looking isn't it? Well this just happens to be "close" to the location of this weeks hike.

We decided to try out Waverly Hills Park. Mainly because the trails were the right distance and again it's not that far from home.

It was pretty enough I guess. The leaves here have begun to change, and this tiny white flowered plant called White Snakeroot lined most of the trails. We did have to share the road with mountain bikers which was interesting. I had a few issues just walking on these paths and they were just zipping up and down the hills like crazy people.
The bikers were all very polite, giving us plenty of notice to get out of the way and always greeting us and thanking us for moving off the trail. We also noticed that they tended to wear very brightly colored clothes and most of them had long hair blowing in the breeze. They were not exactly quiet, so the idea of being out in the woods, one with nature and all did not really apply to this hike.

We saw some interesting molds and mosses. With all of the leaves and acorns falling out of the trees at times it sounded like it was raining. I thought there were a lot of ups and downs on this hike, but Alan says that we didn't climb as high as last week. We walked about 3.6 miles and then I needed to go to the little girls room.

Thank goodness there was a porta- potty near the lake. Not my first choice, but what was I to do?

We were going to try and do another short mile loop, but it was already 11:30 and so we decided to call it a day.

Hopefully the weather will hold because we have plans to hike in Indiana next weekends with some friends. I'm thinking that a picnic might be a good idea.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend.