Quote: Autumn is in full blast!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
George Eliot 

Paris, Ontario

Savory Saturday – Welcome Fall!

I’m in autumn mode, and I’m craving a nice fall dish that will help me celebrate my favorite season. And I sure love me a good chili in the fall…

Welcome to pumpkin AND chili heaven!

Pumpkin Chili:


4 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup uncooked bulgur
1 cup chopped Serrano chili pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt


Place all ingredients in a large saucepan, stir well to combine, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low and simmer, covered, 35 minutes. Serve warm.

Fantasy Friday: Vibrant Vermont

It’s officially fall, and has been for a few weeks now. The leaves are changing colour, of course, and this year I am finding the colours particularly vibrant. And this leaves me to wonder how gorgeous Vermont is as it is famous for it’s autumn landscapes.

Here’s my daydream for the day, with a little help from Fodors:

Vermont Fall Foliage Drive

Eighty percent of Vermont is forested, and since cities are few and far between, the interior of Vermont is a rural playground for leaf peepers and widely considered to have the most intense range of foliage colors anywhere on the continent. The few distractions from the dark reds and yellow, oranges and russets—the tiny towns and hamlets—are as pristine as nature itself.

Manchester Villiage

Begin this drive in Manchester Village, along the old-fashioned, well-to-do homes lining Main Street, and drive south to Arlington, North Bennington, and Old Bennington. Stop first just a mile south along 7A at Hildene, the Lincoln family home. The 412 acres of explorable grounds here are ablaze with color, and the views over the Battenkill Valley are as good as any you can find anywhere. Continue south another mile along 7A to Equinox Nursery, where you can pick your own pumpkin from a huge patch, try delicious apple cider and cider doughnuts, and take in the stunning countryside. A few more miles south along 7A is the small town of Arlington.

Best Time to Go

Late September and early October are the times to go, with the southern area peaking about a week later than the north. Remember to book hotels in advance. The state has a Fall Foliage Hotline and an online interactive map (800/VERMONTwww.foliage-vermont.com).

From 7A in Arlington, you can take two adventurous and stunning detours. One is pure foliage: follow 313 west a few miles to the New York state border for more beautiful views. Or head east a mile to East Arlington where delightful shops await you, including Grist Mill Antiques, which is set right above a wonderfully cascading brook. (You can continue even farther east from this spot to Kelly Stand Road leading into the Green Mountains; this is a little-known route that can’t be beat.) Back on 7A South in Arlington, stop at the Cheese House, the delightfully cheesy roadside attraction.

Clearbrook Farm

Farther south into Shaftsbury is Clearbrook Farm, a brilliant place for cider and fresh produce and pumpkins. Robert Frost spent much of his life in South Shaftsbury, and you can learn about his life at his former home, the Stone House. From South Shaftsbury take Route 67 through North Bennington and continue on to Route 67A in Old Bennington. Go up the 306-foot-high Bennington Battle Monument to survey the seasonal views across four states. Back down from the clouds, walk a few serene blocks to the cemetery of the Old First Church, where Robert Frost is buried, and contemplate his autumnal poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

Planning Your Time

The drive from Manchester to Bennington outlined here is just 30 minutes, but a relaxed day is best to take in all the sights. You’ll want to allot one to two hours for Hildene, and less than an hour for each of the other stops.

Need a Break?

Equinox Valley Nursery. This nursery carries fresh produce, seasonal snacks, and is full of family-friendly fall activities—a corn maze, pumpkin golf (mini golf played with small pumpkins and croquet mallets), hay rides, and pumpkin carving. 1158 Main St., (7A), Manchester, VT, 05254. 802/362-2610.www.equinoxvalleynursery.com. Free. Apr.-Dec., Mon.-Sat. 8:30-5, Sun. 9-4.

Clear Brook Farm. Set on more than 20 acres, Clear Brook Farm sells their own organic produce, in addition to baked goods and other seasonal treats. 47 Hidden Valley Rd.,Manchester, VT, 05262. 802/442-4273.www.clearbrookfarm.com. May-Aug., daily 9-6; Sept.-Oct., daily 10-6.

The Cheese House. Get your Vermont cheddar fix at the The Cheese House, which also sells maple syrup and other local products and gifts. 5187 Vermont Rte. 7A, Arlington, VT, 05250.802/375-9033. www.thevermontcheesehouse.com. Free. Wed.-Mon. 10-5. Closed Tues.

Quote for a Sunday – It’s a comin!

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

I feel it coming today, the clouds have that darker look to them, the air seems a tiny bit crisper and less humid, and I have a sore throat. All signs that fall is a comin!


Hawaii Five-O…Part II

I haven’t talked very much about my trip to Hawaii that I traveled to 3 summers ago. It was absolutely spectacular, amazing, breath-taking, awe inspiring…

Lava slipping onto the road...

Maybe I don’t talk about it much because I secretly want to pick everything up, and move there and then never leave.

Anyway……the tv reminded me about my trip from August 2009. Why?

Well, CSI used to be my favorite show, back in the day when I actually watched tv.

A few things made me switch on my television, after a long summer hiatus:

1. Now that it’s fall again, there are new shows that seem interesting.

2. I don’t want to constantly be outside as much, when its so cold and constantly raining.

3.  I discovered the ‘on demand’ option with my cable, and it is easy to access most tv shows when I want to!

4. I was bored.

And as a result, I have been watching several pretty awesome tv programs.

For some reason, my ‘on demand’ program promoted the new tv series (I guess it’s in it’s second season), the NEW Hawaii Five-O.

So I watched the first episode….then the second. It is goooood.


#1 the scenery – sigh, I miss Hawaii. Even though it is mostly filmed in O’ahu, one island that was just great, (but not spectacular*), the scene is set.

*pssst – Honolulu is actually a quite amazing city, but I am talking about Hawaii in a geoscience, natural point of view. Honolulu was such a great city to visit, can’t wait to go back there, but other islands (Maui, Kauai, and most importantly, the Big Island), have more appeal to my interests.

#2 the story – CSI. Should I say more? It’s the same thing. Why isn’t it CSI Honolulu? Ok, maybe not fair, since I have only seen 2 episodes.

#3 the actors/actresses – one from ‘Lost’, one from teen movies (forget his name, but he is entertaining), one from a secret show I used to occasionally watch (don’t laugh): Battlestar Galactica.

#4 I teach about Hawaii every year in my class. I have to talk about it all the time, and daydream about how fascinating creation process led to a series of islands slowly popping above sea-level from a hot-spot beneath the earth. Want the lesson? I’ll gladly teach you.

Me thinks it’s time for me to stop watching this show. The desire to pick up everything and run to Hawaii is too great. Can’t-stop-no-resistance-10-hour-flight-volcanoes-hiking-seafood-mountains…..sigh.

Observatories on the Big Island