Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Vegetable Harvest

Bowl full of heirloom yellow pear tomatoes

While Eric and I and the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures' sled dogs were away at our cabin in Maine for over a month, the veggies in the vegetable garden back home received lots of rain and have been producing one of the most bountiful harvests we've had since we began growing vegetables several years ago. The vines on the tomato and tomatillo plants were so lush and overgrown that Eric and I spent yesterday pruning back the plants to let more light into the peppers growing below. And it's not just the vegetables that have benefited from all of the rain. The flowers in the garden have flourished as well with all of the recent moisture resulting in lush and thick window boxes, gigantic hydrangeas, and pretty pots full of flowers.

A sampling of tomatillos, Italian frying peppers, Early Girl tomatoes, and a Purple Beauty bell pepper

A window box full of impatiens and petunias

The vegetable garden after pruning

Super chili peppers after picking all of the ripe peppers

Bowl full of ripe Super Chilis

While we did lose a few of the veggies that were a bit too ripe when we returned, we did manage to harvest tons of tomatoes (yellow pear and early girl), several giant cucumbers, a bowl full of tomatillos, one perfect large purple beauty pepper, several Italian frying peppers (sometimes called banana peppers), and another bowl full of chili peppers. We also have Trinidad peppers that are ready for harvesting. Just keeping up with the picking has been a chore.

Purple Beauty pepper ripening in the garden

Early Girl tomato ripening on the vine

To use up some of the abundance of cucumbers, we decided to try our hand at making pickles: one batch of curry ginger pickles and one batch of spicy dill pickles. In addition to the cucumbers in the spicy dill pickles, we also grew the chili peppers and Trinidad peppers used in that recipe.

Curry Ginger Peppers and Spicy Dill Peppers

Looks like Eric and I will be eating the fruits of our harvest for quite some time this season and enjoying our canned goods (crab apple jelly, crab apple butter, pickles and Maine blackberry jam) throughout cold winter months. We also picked and froze many containers of Maine blueberries and Maine blackberries while "up ta camp" that we've brought home with us to use in making blueberry pancakes, muffins, waffles, and blackberry syrup, sauces, cheesecake, and a variety of other goodies.

While we gone, our cat, Chloe, flourished at the "D.G. Cat Spa" (our friend Dorothy's house). As you can see, it was clearly an exhausting trip to the Spa.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Up North Adventures!

Waterfall at Gulf Hagas

Maine scenery (one of the few hazy days)

One of Maine's highest water falls: Moxie Falls

Maine heat wave!

Through the trees: Cabin in the woods

Eric, Acadia and Zoe at Moxie Falls

The Maryland Sled Dog Adventures sled dogs have a new seasonal Starks, Maine.

The sled dogs were tired of the heat and humidity that plagues Maryland in the summer and the lack of snow in the winter and purchased a cabin (a camp to all you Mainers out there) up north in Maine. After several whirlwind trips for home inspection, closing, etc., the sled dogs, and their two legged humans, Eric and Catherine, headed "up ta camp" for the month of August and were able to get down to some serious relaxation.

"Up ta Camp"

Okemo relaxes under the table at the cabin

Eric relaxes at Gulf Hagas

Sobo clearly finds the couch up north quite comfortable

Acadia enjoys resting in the bunk room

While up north, the sled dogs enjoyed swimming at the local swimming holes in Lemon Stream and at Clearwater Pond (that's a lake for all you non Mainers), visiting several of Maine's great water falls including Moxie Falls and Houston Brook Falls, running and playing, visiting fellow mushers at Critterwoods and Fort Illio Kennels, long daily walks, hiking Gulf Hagas, exploring new trails, picking (and eating) blueberries and blackberries, making blackberry jam, reading lots of books, sitting around the camp fire, and just plain relaxin'.

And while much of the time was spent relaxing and vacationing, there were things to be done at the cabin including working on the chain saw, preparing the cabin for winter, and cutting and chopping wood for winter fires in the wood stove.

Acadia and Eric swimming at Houston Brook Falls

Canicross hiking Gulf Hagas with Sobo

The iron works at Katahdin Iron Works

A quick dip in the cold waters of Gulf Hagas

Sobo chose not to swim at Gulf Hagas

Acadia and Eric visiting Houston Brook Falls

Houston Brook Falls

Maine blueberries

Okemo "helps" Eric sort and clean the blueberries

The sled dogs will be returning to Maine this winter to participate in their favorite activity, dog sledding.

Interested in dog sledding in Maine on miles of breathtaking trails? Check out our women's only Maine Winter Cabin Adventure and email to register. More information on our special women's dog sledding adventure is available on our blog and on our website.

To sign up for your very own sled dog adventure in Maryland, as always, visit our website.