Archive for October, 2011

Comic Epitaphs from the Very Best Old Graveyards

This is a sweet, old slim volume from Peter Pauper Press.  Here are a few selections:

For a dentist:

Stranger tread
This ground with gravity
Dentist Brown is filling
His last cavity

On a music teacher:

Stephen and Time
Are both now even
Stephen beat time
Now Time beat Stephen

A Bedford Tombstone

Here lies my wife
In earthy mould
Who when she lived
Did naught but scold

Good friends go softly
In your walking
Lest she should wake
And rise up talking

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Cheese Fondue

A full cheese fondue set in Switzerland. Apart...

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Aren’t the apples amazing this year?  Have you ever dunked Gala apple wedges into cheese fondue?  The combination is fantastic.

Here’s an easy recipe for cheese fondue that I’ve made successfully and really enjoyed.  I found it in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine a few Halloween’s ago.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I have also tried apple juice)
  • Nutmeg (if desired)

Directions

Toss the shredded cheeses with flour to coat.  Bring the wine (or apple juice) to a simmer in a  sauce pan or fondue pot over medium heat.  Add cheese 1 handful at a time, whisking gently until melted.  Bring cheese fondue to a simmer but do not allow to boil.  Mix in a pinch of nutmeg (if desired) and serve.

You can substitute apple juice for the white wine in this recipe, if you like.  The resulting fondue is a bit sweeter, but still wonderful, and my son adored it.  I split the recipe and made half of it with wine and half of it with apple juice.  If you’re serving to kids, you might want to dish out a small ramekin of sauce for them on their individual plates so they can dunk — it’s a little safer for them than the fondue pot and the cheese will stay hot in small amounts.

I like dipping french baguette slices and apple chunks, but you could also try pretzel rods or sesame bread sticks, maybe a firm pear, or use a whole wheat baguette.

Have you made fondue?  What dippers do you like to use?

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Macabre and Fun: Twisted Disney Princesses

If you think ghoulish is kind of cool, you have to check out Jeffrey Thomas’s freaky riff on the Disney Princesses.  Here are just two — visit his blog to see them all.

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Arlington Walkabouts: Take a Fall Walk

If you haven’t tried an Arlington Walkabout, you should give it a try.  The leaves are beautiful right now, it’s great exercise, and Arlington was just made (literally) for walking.  It’s a fun way to discover parts of Arlington you might not notice by car, such as park trails.  Arlington has some fine examples of residential architecture, and many homes have fun Halloween decorations right now.

My son and I plan to complete all 16 Arlington Walkabouts in the brochure, which you can download from their website or pick up at some locations in Arlington.  Each walkabout features a different neighborhood.  The associated maps provide landmarks of interest, distance, and walking difficulty level.

I walk 3 miles every day but it seemed like the first walkabout was a lot longer than 2.3 miles.  But it was fun.  Not only did it include sidewalk walking through neighborhoods but also detours to the W&OD trail and over a hiking trail near Lubber Run.   A little of everything.  You may need to budget in extra time to figure out the maps and directions, as the walkabout maps can be a little confusing.

Tips:

  • Budget extra time.  It’s easy to get a little lost, and then you will have to backtrack.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. There are places to stop and rest, though.
  • Definitely bring water (also cash if you want to stop somewhere).
  • A supplementary Arlington street map is a good idea.  The walkabout map is cute but not all the streets are marked.

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Green your Halloween with Goodwill

When I was growing up, we didn’t buy our Halloween costumes — we made them from clothes and accessories we found in our Mom’s closet.  We bought the occasional witch hat or mask, of course, but mostly our costumes were creative creations.  I still remember putting together my gypsy costumes.

This year, Goodwill Industries International and Green Halloween are partnering to encourage Halloween celebrators to create unique costumes for themselves and their children by shopping at one of the 2600 Goodwill stores nationwide.

“Shopping at Goodwill for Halloween is a simple step toward living a more sustainable lifestyle,” says Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Reusing and repurposing items from Goodwill stores are a fun way to make a unique Halloween costume for not a lot of money.”

According to a press release issued by Goodwill, “Shopping at Goodwill is not just good for the planet. It also benefits people in local communities. Revenue from Goodwill stores fund job training programs and career and community-based services for people with disabilities, those who lack education or work experience, and others facing challenges to finding employment. Your purchase helps people learn the skills they need to work in Goodwill stores and in growing fields outside of Goodwill such as healthcare, green industries and financial services.”

“In 2010, Goodwill Industries® diverted more than 2 billion pounds of used goods from landfills,” said Gibbons. “Look no further than your nearest Goodwill store to find what you need to celebrate a green Halloween.”

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Harvest Moon Tonight – time to get a moon cake!

Tonight is the full moon for October.  This moon is known as the Harvest Moon.  Traditions across many cultures are associated with the rise of this large and beautiful moon.

In this area, you can purchase moon cakes in celebration of the mid-Autumn festival, which is celebrated by some Chinese and Vietnamese communities.  The Chinese moon cakes tend to be round and the Vietnamese ones tend to be square.  They are often decorated with lotus motifs and come in a variety of flavors.

Locally, you can purchase moon cakes at Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia, where I purchased the one in the picture.

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Fall Market Fair at Claude Moore Colonial Farm Oct 14 – 15

Enjoy a fun day outside surrounded by costumed interpreters (1771 historical period), entertainers, demonstrations, children’s activities, and lots of delicious foods.

You can purchase a variety of items, from handcrafted soaps to plants.

Food for sale includes savory meat pies, roast chicken on the spit, cooked over an open fire, bread and cheese, pie, and mulled wine and ciders.

Learn to dip candles, make potpourri, or turn a piece of wood on the carpenter’s lathe.  The farm is also open during the Market Fair.

This is a great, low-key, non-crowded event for kids and adults.

Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under and seniors. Use your AAA card to get a discount on admission.

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Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain

Saturday, William and I went to the Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain in Syria, Virginia.  It’s happening October 15-16 and 22-23, as well.  Admission is free, and parking is also free.  There was a big crowd, and people seemed happy with the event.

This man is making apple butter over a hot fire. It takes 12 hours to cook.

Graves Mountain is less than 2 hours drive from the Washington, DC area.  The festival is not really my favorite time to go there, because of the crowds, and the staff is so busy.  I like to go when the pace is more relaxed.  Still, it’s a nice way to spend a Saturday or Sunday.  The festival is a popular event and features live bluegrass music, food for sale, apples (pick your own or  buy there), apple butter, and a collection of vendors.  We also saw a small Civil War “re-enactment” area that was interesting.

I didn’t find the vendors all that interesting — it was pretty much the same stuff you see at every fair and outdoor festival.  However, the bluegrass music was fantastic and worth the trip.

Wagon rides are $2, there are pony rides, and visits to the educational farm is $1 (worth it).  The line for the wagon rides was pretty long, as were the lines to get food (brunswick stew) or drinks.  We wanted to sample the apple fritters but the lines were really long.

Fortunately, we had made reservations at the Lodge for a barbecue lunch.  I’ve been to Graves Mountain a lot, so I knew what to expect.  The cold salads on the buffet included a green salad, a very good mustard vinaigrette,  cole slaw, three bean salad, that jello fluffy salad I am always afraid to try.  The hot items included a wonderful minced pork barbecue in a spicy sweet sauce, chicken casserole (I didn’t have that), lima beans, and macaroni and cheese, as well as a few other items.  Everything was good except for the macaroni and cheese.  My son was happy with the wonderful home made rolls, apple butter, and barbecue.  Dessert was a dry but tasty apple cake topped with vanilla ice cream.  For $11.95 (half price for kids under 17), I was happy, and very glad I didn’t have to stand in a long line for food at the festival.

It's fun to rock for a bit after a big meal and look at the mountains

If you go, be prepared to wait a bit in the queue to park, and I would advise that you bring cold water or drinks with you, as the lines are long for drinks.

It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  I don’t think this is an “all-day” event.  The drive is very pretty.  Oh, a quick reminder: cell phones don’t work there, and your GPS probably won’t work, either.  It’s a good idea to print directions before you go.

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Spooky Gardens Seminar at Merrifield Garden Center

Time
Saturday, October 15 · 10:00am – 11:30am

Location

Gainesville (Inside our Greenhouse)

6895 Wellington Road
Gainesville, Virginia

Created By

More Info
Karen Rexrode, Plant Specialist, and Regina Lanctot,
Tropical Plant Specialist, Merrifield Garden CenterIf you love Halloween, this seminar is for you. Have a great time learning how to decorate your garden with black foliage, unique plants and unusual containers and terrariums. Be ready for accolades from family and friends.

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