Posts tagged ‘autumn’
The leaves hang on, their color in the late afternoon light is magnificent. Days remain fairly warm, and it feels as if there is no sign of winter.
We’ve spent some days camping, biking, and hiking close to home … enjoying the autumnn-ness before it all falls to the ground and the season of holiday frenzy begins. My boys – except for one spending a semester in Scotland – are all due home within the day. My kitchen is scented with apples, cranberries, cinnamon, and pumpkin. I am excited for the long weekend of catching up, and conversations around the dinner table … and hopefully few bike rides.
There are moments on my bike where I wish I could magically bring along a non-cyclist, put them in my pocket or carry them along somehow – just so they could experience the incredible feeling and the beauty of traveling home quietly by bike.
It is a glorious time of year to be on a bicycle. I love coming home in the late afternoon light with the trees glowing and the long golden shadows, there is a chill in the air, and I have that wonderful tired-but-fulfilled feeling that comes from a beautiful day spent riding from here to there. I know that a warm bowl of soup is waiting for me in my warm kitchen. Maybe some spiced tea and a good book later. I wish there were a way to share the feeling with someone who’s never experienced it.
Why would you want to travel any other way?
Spent last week in northwestern Pennsylvania, visiting my husband’s family. We took our bikes, hoping for some nice riding on the rural roads with leaves turning and crisp temperatures. Sadly, the weather did not want to cooperate. Gusting winds, rain and temps in the 40’s (F) held little enticement for cycling …
My in-laws live in a small community in rural PA; there are lots of Amish and Mennonite families in the area. It’s an odd feeling to pedal along and approach (or be passed by) a horse and buggy. Better than being passed by cars any day.
Toward the end of the week when the skies began to clear, we took a ride to the Conneaut Lake Park – an old amusement park that originated in the 1890’s that became a local area attraction in the mid-1900’s. In it’s steel boom hey-day, it was a big draw to families employed by the railroad, as well as a convenient vacation getaway for people from Pittsburgh. When my husband was growing up in the area, he and his brother and sister all had summer jobs at the Park. Sadly, it has become one of those places largely lost to the past … although it still opens in the summer, it is barely able to survive any more. It was kind of fascinating to walk around the largely deserted grounds, covered in falling leaves.
Even though we didn’t get to ride as much as we had hoped to, it was a good visit. Nice to see family, good to feel the chill of the North, and great to have a slice (or two) of my mother in-law’s always-amazing pies. 😀
A few of the other pictures ….
Getting to be that time of year again… The tangy, musty smell of leaves crunching underfoot – and under my wheels. The colors of pumpkins, gourds and chrysanthemums. Apples and cider and cinnamon-spiced pastries. The shrinking of daylight, wind rattling the tree branches, geese on the pond. Just some photos… 🙂
Put a beautiful afternoon, a beautiful bicycle, and very stupid girl together and what do you get? (Yeah … can I please get a do-over?)
The good news: appears to be no fracture, which should be confirmed today by the radiologist – just a scraped knee the size of a grapefruit and a heart-breaking abrasion on my beautiful Elisabetta. (Sniff…). Fortunately limited to the front carrier – basically no other scratches on her. But still, the bike injury weighs on me more than the knee. I have been assured, however, that she can be rehabilitated (both my husband and nephew are skilled in auto restoration, bodywork).
I don’t even have a spectacular story behind this; it was just a big dose of stupid. Riding on an empty and quiet neighborhood street, no traffic, nothing around, … a moment of inattention, a slip of the front wheel off the edge of the pavement, and an over-correcting cartwheel. All at the speed of about <2 mph. Yes, I am talented. (And yes, I always wear a helmet).
And I think I heard a couple of squirrels laughing.
For today, it is no riding for StupidGirl … just ice and some couch-time with a book and FoodNetwork. But here are a few of the pictures from the beautiful day it was (pre-crash).
*Note: No small animals (or camera equipment) were harmed during this mishap. Thankfully.
I love this time of year. And I don’t. The air is cool, dry and crisp … the leaves are falling … the mornings are edged with frost. And it gets dark much too early.
While the squirrels hide away nuts and acorns, I’m filled with the urge to cook and bake. Pumpkin and spice muffins, soups, squashes. Warm and fragrant comfort foods – the things I crave after being outside and riding in the cool weather.
The #330daysofbiking count: have ridden 203 of the past 223 days; 144 days remaining. Ride on. 😀
Finally … nothing Italian. 😉
#330daysofbiking has continued – missing the gelato stops and getting lost within small villages, but with beautiful Tennessee autumn weather, cooler temperatures, boys home for Fall Break(s), cruising the Riverwalk in Chattanooga, and on the road with the “fast” boys. Riding for fun, and riding to get the job done (errands, groceries, library, bike shop).
And some important news from coming via our friend Jeff … If you live and ride in TN, or plan to visit and ride, please take a moment to participate in a quick 9-question survey from the folks at TDOT on the state’s bicycle and pedestrian program. TDOT wants to hear from you! (And by October 30th please … my apologies for getting this posted so late.)
Although a couple of days were lost in transit (Italy), #330daysofbiking count is still on target. As of today, have ridden 189 of the past 208 days,with 159 days remaining. And so it goes.
(Coming soon … tales of a new city bike, “Elisabetta”. 🙂 Photos and details to come; stay tuned.)
A few of the random pictures from the recent days of #330daysofbiking. (And I am on a mission to try and stay on top of things from here on, not letting this stuff pile up into one big post. Apologies.)
The weather has been pretty spectacular; dry and not so hot. Lovely and cool in the mornings and evening. Fall is around the corner, and the prospect of autumn riding stirs my heart.
The official count: As of today, have ridden 147 of the past 160 days. Sometimes nice long road rides, sometimes just a grocery haul or errand run. On my own, or with “my boys” or friends, it is the daily elixir – it is happiness in motion.
Note: Returning Dillon to school, had some time to check out more amazing architecture on the Berry campus. This is part of the Winshape Retreat located within the Berry property. Story behind it: college founder Martha Berry traveled to France and upon return, decided to build a dairy farm resembling the architecture of Normandy. It was part of the college’s Ag pgm for over 75 years. Eventually, the Cathy family (Chick-fil-A chain) was given the opportunity take it over when the dairy operation changed location, and they converted it into a retreat for church & marriage encounters, a youth summer camp, as well as corporate gatherings, etc. They also offer a variety of scholarship opportunities and special residence halls for Berry students up in this area, known as Berry’s “Mountain Campus” … several miles removed from the main academic center. The students living at the Mountain Campus have the option of taking a shuttle bus (humorously referred to as the “chicken wagon”) to classes, or cycling/walking on the Viking Trail – which is a great paved path between the two locations. It was a beautiful ride (below).
It’s getting to be that time of year. Turning leaves, sunny crisp weather, pumpkins, and happy bike days. The picture above was from last fall … still waiting for this year’s fall color.
Made first batch of pumpkin muffins yesterday, and thought I’d share the recipe – a favorite. I kind of took a couple of different recipes and tweaked them into my own creation. Orange glaze is optional, but I love the mingling of the citrus and spice flavors.
October Harvest Muffins
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup white sugar
1/2 Cup canola (or veg) oil
3 eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 Cups cooked pumpkin (canned will do)
1/2 Cup water
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup raisins
1/4 Cup quick-cooking oats*
1/4 Cup ground flax seed*
(* 1/2 Cup of walnut pieces would be a nice alternative, but my family is not big on nuts in baked goods)
Place raisins in small microwave-friendly bowl with 1 tsp water, cover, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Let sit and rest while preparing muffin batter.
In large mixing bowl, beat sugars, oil, eggs, pumpkin and water. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, soda, spices, salt, oats, flax seed. Add to pumpkin mixture and blend well. Fold in raisins. Spoon into greased muffin tins (or paper-lined tins), filling 3/4 full. Bake at 375’F for 15 minutes, rotating tray halfway through baking time, until toothpick or tester comes out clean. Remove to rack and brush orange glaze (below, optional) over tops of warm muffins.
1 Cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
2 T (?) orange juice
Combine sugar and zest with orange juice, mixing well, until desired glazing consistency.
Bake some muffins, put some tea or coffee in a thermos, and head out on your bike …