The evening sky near home. Field of mustard in bloom. Visiting Elijah Cummings district office in Ellicot City, Maryland. Some views of Ellicot City and the old train station. Dorms at Delaware University.
Surprise! June started off with overcast skies and a touch of an early morning light rain. The forecast seems to be varying back and forth between a slight and moderate chance for rain. That makes for something of a tough call for what I have planned. While Liz is still in California I hoping to take the Mustang out for a longer spin. Well, more than just a spin and more like a short trip to visit some friends about an hour and a half away. It would be nice if the rain held off as I would like to make the trip with the top down although it will probably require a light jacket. Ah the things we must suffer for vanity.
Well I feel I got hornswoggled. By the time I was going to head out the weather apps showed a 30%+ chance of rain for late morning, bumping up to 40%+ in the afternoon along with highs in the low 60’s. So with a bit of frustration I opted for the Subaru instead of the Mustang. Well, it turned partly sunny and temperatures hit the high 70’s which would have been perfect for the Mustang. The predicted rain didn’t hit until after midnight. Oh well. No platitudes on this one, I just should have done it.
Sunday is something of a quiet day. My normal routine is to get the Sunday paper and a cup of espresso and spend about an hour just relaxing and reading. It would have been nice to do that on the deck as it is warm enough but things are still a bit wet from the major rain we got around 3 AM. I have few chores to take care of around the house but I need to think up an errand to run so I can get the Mustang out. Do I trust the forecast this time? Maybe time for a coin flip.
Over the next few days the weather zig zagged between a bit of rain and partly sunny skies. By Wednesday the forces of nature aligned for a perfect day for a ride around the countryside in the convertible. It wasn’t a long ride but was enough to blow the cobwebs out of both the Mustang and myself. On Thursday I needed to head over to White River Junction on the other side of the Green Mountains. That morning I was mostly in drone mode and it wasn’t until I was about half way along on the two hour trip that I realized it would have been another great opportunity for the Mustang. It was an enjoyable ride in any case as the trees are now in full leaf mode adding to the vibrant green of the grasses and bushes. Friday I was to be an even nicer day and I was determined to take advantage of it so I opted to take the Mustang as I headed for the gym. I had gotten an early start and there was still a bit of a morning chill but nothing to stop me from enjoying the ride. By 10:30 AM I was done working out and had an espresso at the newly reopened café. The day was fantastic which led me to taking a two hour spin through the countryside. After the long and, I have to say, bleak winter everything was so green. It was quite an enjoyable trip. Upon returning home it was still too beautiful out to waste the day indoors so out came the deck chairs. After about half an hour relaxing in the sun and reading I realized I was about to overdo my time in the sun. I was just starting to feel the edges of a sunburn so with a bit of reluctance I finally headed indoors. On a happy note, both Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be a repeat of wonderful weather.
As I mentioned in the above paragraph I had an espresso at the newly reopened café. It is nice to have a café close to the gym again to be able to have and after workout caffeine treat. As I have moved to having espresso over regular coffee I decided to give their espresso offering a try. It was good but I have to say while it was along the lines of very strong coffee it was not quite what I would say is espresso. The thing is the café is using a different coffee than the one I do so there is a possibility that is a normal espresso for that particular brand. At our favorite coffee shop they have a sign up that states “Brew It Strong”, and they do. Their strong coffee was on par with the new café espresso. I guess I am just spoiled.
Even though today is Saturday and I have no firm commitments I was again up early. My normal routine complete and it isn’t even 10 AM yet which is perfect because, as predicted, it is a beautiful day. Time for another spin around the countryside.
It was a fine ride through the countryside. I have to be careful as this could become quite a habit. Don’t want to conflict with other outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. Sunday was another beautiful day which worked out perfectly for our neighborhood picnic. The picnic was held at our local state park right by Lake Champlain. Over 40 neighbors showed up and being a potluck there was a lot and a wide array of food available. All in all, a very nice day.
I have been getting up early recently but for some reason Monday morning was an exception. It took a lot of energy to drag myself to the gym but I made it there though over an hour later than normal. While I didn’t do a full workout I did get through about 2/3rds of one so it wasn’t a bad morning. Rain is on the bill for today but it seems to be running a bit late. I could use a little downtime though so I guess all is well.
Our favorite coffee company holds classes on different aspects of all things coffee. This Wednesday the topic is coffee cupping (tasting that is) and I signed up for it. While I am pretty sure the extra dark roast is for me it will be nice to make sure. There are a couple of other roasts offered that I have been meaning to check out and this class will cover that. Sounds like a good day to me.
The coffee tasting went well but wasn’t what I had expected. The class was about noticing the subtle aroma and flavor of coffee. In this test a batch of single source beans were ground up and added to 5 ramekins. Then a second batch of single source beans were ground up and added to 5 different ramekins. The first batch of beans were from Peru and the second batch from Columbia. We then smelled each ramekin to see if we could tell the difference. My senses are not all that delicate but I seemed to be able to note a slight difference in a couple of them. Hot water was then added to the grounds and the sniffing process was repeated. Then it was on to taking a small soup spoon and getting a small taste of each. I am kind of the bull in the china shop type and this was more of a notice the delicate flavor test. I could tell the Colombian beans has something of a berry flavor, which is one of my least favorite flavors of coffee. As it cooled the berry flavor got a bit stronger which was not a plus in my book. The Peruvian leaned towards being a touch nutty which moved more to something like a peanut shell as it cooled off. Not bad but I was looking more for a rich, smoky flavor of an extra dark roast. In any case it was nice to see what the experts go through in selecting coffee for this company. There are several categories that are judged and while one can get better at it over time it still takes a discerning palate to be good at it. So, being a coffee taster is not something in my future but being a dark or extra dark roast coffee/espresso drinker is where I have landed and will stay.
The past several days have been either mostly sunny or at least partly sunny and warm which meant it was convertible time. With the leafing out of the trees a ride around the countryside was a treasure trove of greenery. By Thursday I had already taken three loops of about an hour each and decided today would be a longer time out. Planning on heading out right after being at the gym I took the convertible in. There was only one other person there, a guy I have known for a couple of years. He also got the sunny day bug and rode his Harley in. We headed our separate ways and after motoring around for over an hour we passed each other on one of the back roads. Yup, I wasn’t the only one to have been bitten by the beautiful day bug.
Friday brought a different sort of routine. Liz, who had been visiting friends out on the west coast, was flying back into Burlington on a late flight. Even though we are just over an hour away from the airport I decided to get a room in Burlington for then night. The flight came in a touch early but it was still a late night. We had intended on wandering around the Church Street area before heading home but I forgot we were going to do that and headed out. Oh well, not a big deal but it would have been fun to just stroll around. Saturday started off with early clouds and a touch of rain before becoming partly sunny. It was time for another backcountry ride to show Liz how things have greened up. There was a very light sprinkle as we returned home but nothing of consequence. It is now Sunday and we are settled in thinking about getting back to our normal routine tomorrow morning. We will see how well we do with that.
We fell back into our normal routine fairly easily. It was almost as if there hadn’t been a break at all. On top of that the café in the same building as our gym has now reopened so we have been stopping for coffee a couple of times a week. We were chatting with the owner, a very friendly person, on how things were going. She will have the formal opening in a couple of weeks and was doing what she called a soft opening for now to get the feel of the place. The former café was open from 8 – 2 with light breakfast and lunch fare but the new café will soon go to longer hours and serve dinner as well. While the coffee is no longer from the Vermont Coffee Company, our favorite, they are using a fair trade, organic coffee that has a good flavor. Anyway, yea for the new café!
We have had several days with great weather. Partly or mostly sunny with highs in the 70’s. Thursday was a bit of a one off though as a pretty monster storm came through that brought a deluge of rain with it. Flood warnings went up all over and some of the towns near us did get hit with flood damage but our town was fine. Kind of a funny way to welcome the first day of summer. By late morning on Friday the beautiful weather was back and we were again out and about. The first Sunday of summer lived up to its Babylonian namesake with a lot of sun. There was only a slight breeze which would have made a morning paddle on the lake a treat. The thing is the kayaks are still in the rafters in our garage and since we are heading out on Monday for around a fortnight to poke around Maryland and Delaware we figured we would wait until we came back to get them out. With this past winter being colder and longer than the last three we are doing our best to ‘make hay while the sun is shining’ to use an agricultural saying since we live in a rural state.
It was time for a road trip and to go somewhere a bit different we are headed to have a poke around Maryland and Delaware. A while ago we decided we would like to keep our driving time down to around 4 hours a day and this trip is no different. It is about an 8 hour total drive to the area we are headed to so we have picked out a place about half way there that fits the bill of a 4 hour drive. By not pushing it we get to explore during our trips and are not worn out when we get there. We did take a look at the train schedules just in case and it is a possibility but we would have to rent a car on the other side so maybe next time.
With the weather getting more summer like, when we get back from our trip it will be time to get the kayaks out. The water has warmed up enough to make it OK to get out there. The one thing we do have to watch though is the wind if we head out on Lake Champlain. It can come up pretty quickly and get a bit choppy. There are always the smaller lakes or other waterways but we have been to most of the ones in our area a couple of times. Going on a repeat paddle would be fine but we need to get out on the lake a few more times. In any case, just getting out on a nice day is a winner even if we have paddled the area before.
We have been getting up early as it gets light around 4:30 AM which makes it tough to sleep in. Well, I should say we have been waking up early as we don’t quite leap out of bed at 4:30. It is more like 5:30 or more likely 6. We are also staying up later as it stays light until after 9 PM. That makes for nice long days as it is light out for more than 17 hours and we are enjoying the longer days. The thing is, now that the Summer Solstice has come and gone the daylight hours will start to shrink to just under 9 hours a day when we hit late December. That is a whopping 8 hour difference in the amount of daylight.
The 4 hour trip turned into about 5 and a half hours but that was our choice. We chose to take the backroads rather than the freeway. Even though it was longer, the drive was a lot more relaxed and scenic. We stopped in Troy, NY for lunch and to stretch our legs. It was the largest of the towns we went through. Most of the towns had seen better days but still had something of a decent core in them. We also got some nice views of the Hudson River and Champlain canal.
The weather has been somewhat cooperative in that it only rained a slight bit in the early morning but it was hot. Even leaving the windows slightly open in the car did not really help. At first the humidity was in a decent range but that soon changed so we were treated to both heat and humidity. Just stepping outside one would get hit with a blast instantly. Blue jeans are a definitely a wrong choice.