Sunday, November 29, 2009

Berry Pond - Lake George

I came across an article today in the online edition of the PostStar about the Lake George Land Conservancy receiving a grant to continue its efforts at the Berry Pond Preserve, which was acquired by the LGLC in 2008, and towards the Last Great Shoreline Protection Project of 2009.

This article reminded me about my quest to find Berry Pond this summer. I had heard of the recent acquisition by the LGLC and wanted to check out the pond. I explored the trails at the recreation park in Lake George with a coworker who had somewhat of an idea as to where the trail would start. With our cameras, and her grand-dog, map and compass, we went on our search. The wooded trail eventually ended at a dirt road which we continued to follow, wondering if we were even on track the whole time.

We finally conceded to the fact that we were not going to find the pond, but were content with checking out the wild flowers and playing fetch with the dog. At the sight of a possible clearing, we decided to take a side road off the road that we were on, and we came to what we figured must be Berry Pond.

At the pond was a great blue heron and a beaver dam, surrounded by swampy soft ground and plenty of evidence of beaver activity. I hope I can remember how we got there so I can find it again!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday Through Cyber Monday Sale!

☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★: HOLIDAY SALE :★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆

Handmade pendants on sale: BOGO! Buy one full priced pendant, get another for HALF OFF!
See my Handmade Pendants Section for all the pendants (both holiday and non-seasonal) included in this offer!

Discount applied to the lesser priced items, you MAY mix and match, you will receive a complimentary ball chain with each pendant unless specified otherwise. Limit to three half off pendants per customer. Your refund will be sent via PayPal after payment is received.

Sale runs Black Friday through Cyber Monday (11/27/09-11/30/09)

There are so many other great deals going on from knit and crochet items to handbags, children items to stuff for your pets. Click on the ad below to be taken to the Etsy Bloggers Team website for a complete list of participants!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Dessert: Pumpkin Cake

This year we are driving about an hour south to my cousin's house for Thanksgiving dinner. It will be the largest Thanksgiving celebration that I've attended in years - the good old extended family dinner with aunts, uncles and grandparents!

I don't have a token "dish" that I bring to people's houses for dinner; I'm more of a baker than a cook. I think I'll bring a pumpkin cake, and if I get ambitious, decorate it like this pumpkin shaped one I made last month.

I got the recipe from and since it you make it in a bundt pan, it isn't too hard to convert into a pumpkin shape.

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned (I used canned)
1/2 cup applesauce (all I had was pomegranate applesauce and the cake tasted fine)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cooking spray
3 tablespoons dark or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon skim milk
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Cake Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first 6 ingredients; set flour mixture aside. Combine pumpkin and applesauce; set aside. Beat granulated sugar and margarine in a large bowl at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg whites and vanilla, beating well.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with pumpkin mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan.

Icing Directions:
Combine brown sugar, rum, and milk in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until brown sugar dissolves. Remove sugar mixture from heat, and add powdered sugar, stirring with a whisk. Spoon glaze over warm cake.

Instead of using their icing directions, I used store-bought cream cheese frosting and dyed it orange. The pumpkin stem was made with green Twizzlers. They actually packages of multicolored Twizzlers (I got mine at Walmart). I added some vines with green piping gel.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge

Back in October, a friend from grade school, whom I've recently reconnected with, accompanied me on a hike up Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge. This was my fourth time on Giant Mountain, but my first time to the summit. My husband and I went once to the base of the Roaring Brook Falls and once again on the Zander Scott trail to Giant's Washbowl. Sister and I went to the top of the Roaring Brook Falls and over to the Washbowl on the Roaring Brook Falls trail.

Giant's Wasbowl from Zander Scott Trail

We began on the Zander Scott trail and followed that to the Washbowl. Going to the right of the Washbowl, we continued up to some of the bare rock ridge of the mountain. The views along the ridge are attributed to a forest fire in 1913 that took out much of the forest there and on Rocky Peak Ridge. It wasn't long before we encountered some ice on the ridge where the Washbowl and Chapel pond are visible. We heard some grouse, and found some needle ice along the way. At the junction of the East Trail, which we'd later take over to Rocky Peak Ridge, we were excited to see that we had only 0.2 miles remaining. The summit of Giant was awesome, with views of the Ausable club, the Great Range, Whiteface, and many more high peaks.

Attempted Tilt Shift Simulation of the Ausable Club from Giant Summit

Giant Mountain's full name is Giant of the Valley,named by the residents of Pleasant Valley to the mountain's east. Charles Brodhead, a surveyor, was the first to climb Giant Mountain. Actually, he was the first to climb any mountain over 4000 feet. He was surveying the boundaries of the Old Military Tract, which would later be divided up for compensation to Revolutionary War soldiers. In 1797 Brodhead went up the east face and directly back down the west face, most likely a route that was never done again. In 1866, the first trail was made, via Hopkins Mountain, and in 1873 the Roaring Brook trail was made. The Zander Scott trail, which we took, was formerly known as the Ridge Trail when created in 1954, but was renamed in 1992 after a summer resident of Keene, an active member of the ATIS hiking program, who was killed in a plane crash. The Zander Scott trail is the shorter trail with the easiest access to the Nubble and the Washbowl. The three mile trail brings you up an elevation gain of 3050 feet, a total elevation of 4627 feet, making Giant the 12th highest peak in the Adirondacks.

From Giant Summit

After conquering Giant Mountain, we decended 0.2 miles to the East Trail and over to Rocky Peak Ridge. It was a steep decent into the col between the two mountains. We encountered large amounts of ice that my Stablicers could not handle, making the mere 1.1 mile hike over to Rocky Ridge Peak quite difficult, and I really felt bad for my buddy in hiking boots! We survived, and made it to the top of Rocky Peak Ridge. It was well worth it. The large summit is marked by a large cairn and is open, providing 360 degree views of the high peaks, Giant Mt, the Green Mountains, and Lake Champlain. Rocky Ridge Peak ranks 20th in height, at 4420 feet. We were pleasantly surprised at how it was not that windy on the summit.

View from Rocky Peak Ridge Summit Seemed Endless

These were my fourth and fifth high peaks, respectively, and Becky's second and third. I had done the up, up, down, up, down, down routine when climbing Cascade and Porter in the same day earlier this year, I forgot what a wear it is on the knees! We followed the same path back up to the near summit of Giant before decending all the way back down to Rt 73. A total of 8.2 miles. The struggle with the ice and my slowed knee pain pace on the way down Giant extended the trip about an hour longer than we had planned (which was an overestimate to begin with), but still had allowed plenty of time for us to make the trip down before dark.

Me on my Fifth High Peak In Front of My Fourth

Mountain and trail information obtained from the 13th edition of the Adirondack Mountain Club's book Adirondack Trails: High Peaks Region.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Best Halloween Costume EVER

You don't have to know much about me to know that Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year. I love dressing up in a costume, making fun of myself, eating candy, watching scary movies, and going to a good Halloween party. The costume I wore this year has actually been an idea of mine for about three years, but between my husband having to work last year and no party to attend the year before... I had plenty of time to perfect it.

Perhaps you watch Family Guy and have seen one of the few scenes where Peter gets in a random fist fight with the giant yellow chicken? It all began when the chicken outside gave him an expired coupon... If you are not familiar, here is a clip. Keep in mind it could probably rated somewhere between PG and PG-13.

That's right. Most people with a Peter Griffin mask would have gone as Peter and Lois, but not us. We were Peter and the Chicken. Well, of course I needed a chicken mask. But not just any chicken mask - one with some cuts and bruises, so naturally I turned to Etsy. In my search I stumbled upon Roses7184 who makes hats and stuffed animal plushies. I sent her a picture the Family Guy bird and a write up on what I was interested in and she was happy to help!

The hat came out better than expected, and I had high expectations! Some cuts, some blood.... a beak, comb, and mouth big enough to eat and drink out of... I got so many compliments and I proudly stated, "I had it custom made for me."

So, if you need a good custom Halloween costume hat made for you next year, I highly recommend Roses 7184!

Best. Costume. Ever.

Made by Melissa

After looking through MadeByMelissa's Etsy Shop you may be left wondering if there is anything that she can't make! From toys to jewelry, dishcloths to afghans, she can do it all! Although she may make similar stuff sometimes, its never exactly the same as anything else that she's created - everything is unique. After reading her profile, I see we have quite a bit in common. We are the same age and both have full time jobs in a scientific field (hers being engineering) where our creativity is suppressed. Luckily she has found the perfect creative outlets!

This Larry the Monster Chasing Ladybug toy looks much like the ones my house was inundated with earlier this fall. It's kid and baby safe.

Her beautiful Let it Snow Glass and Crystal Snowflake bracelet would be lovely in this upcoming winter season.
The Camo Baby/Todler Blanket would be perfect for a cool little boy.

As you can see, she is a lady of many talents and active in the Etsy community. Not only is she a member of the Etsy Bloggers team, but also of the EtsyKids, EtsyMoms, and EtsyNJ teams. Don't forget to check out her blog!