Farm life…

March 14, 2011

For those of you who also read Kurt’s blog (and have from the beginning) the dashing Irishman mentioned in the Harriman post and this next little bit may sound familiar.  Yes folks, that is our good ol’ buddy Hubert.  Hubert was a roommate of Kurt’s back in Oakland (by random chance) and then coincidently my neighbor (also by random chance, and the way Kurt and I met).  When Kurt initially left on this trip, him and Hubert left together and traveled as far as Wyoming together, where Kurt set off north for the Canadian border, and Hue continued east back to the Big Apple.  He’s been living and farming the land in New York State for well over a year now, growing the most delectable greens the people on the West Side of Manhattan have ever seen.

We spent a few days up with Hue at his farm and used it as a jumping off point to go visit another cousin of mine living in nearby New Paltz.  Again, the days were fantastic and filled with great rides, fresh air, family time and a lot of singing and dancing to Justin Beiber songs (my cousin’s kids Callie and Daphne, not Hubert… at least not while we were in his company).

 

No farm would be right without the farm fresh eggs...

The talk of the town greens...

 

One of the highlights of our home trip was meeting Hue's fantastic girlfriend, and deer butcher, Sarah...

 

Sarah shows me the ropes...

Focus and precision...

Draggin, one of the farm's resident cats. Draggin was the only one of five kittens to survive in a litter. They don't call her Draggin for nothing...

Daphne and Callie, getting together for the morning brush before heading out to school...

Another day of super riding. We ventured back from New Paltz, heading for Hue's farm. Hue and Sarah met us down the road a bit and we toured the nearby mountains. The cold fresh air was completely rejuvenating...

The 209 Diner, located on.... yup, the 209. THE best diner I have ever been to in my life. The ordering ran the normal diner gambit... eggplant parm sandwich, Ruben, eggs, bacon and pancakes, egg salad, and a whole lot of fries...

...but nowhere near as good as this meal we all sat down to at the farm. Venison, greens, cabbage and various root vegetables. (p.s.- tasted to good I didn't even put ketchup on it!)...

My cousin Toni and the man with the green thumb, Hubert...

 

Another highlight from home and one that was put on the top of Kurt’s “fun things done while being there for Kelly on the east coast” list was a day we spent riding around NYC with my cousin Mike.  The weekend began with an awesome dinner with Mike’s wife Christina, their most precious of a child, Franky Beans, Toni and Parker.  It wasn’t soon after we got a great night sleep and were spoiled again by a morning breakfast, leaving time for Kurt to fall absolutely headlong into a Lego project.  In the meantime, I got schooled in some photography knowledge thanks to Mike, an extremely skilled photographer.  Check out his work at Beneventophoto.com.

Around 11 or so Mike, Kurt and I set out to ride around the city.  Our route took us from Park Slope, Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge, through Redhook, along the water out to the George Washington Bridge for a quick visit to the Little Red Lighthouse.  Then we climbed up to the bridge and crossed it half way to get a view, before heading into  Harlem and Central Park.  We proceeded further into Midtown Manhattan, with all the jazz and blinking lights and show stopping traffic and commotion, then around St. Mark’s area and Thompson Square Park, before our final zip back over the Manhattan Bridge, round Prospect Park and a return to the house.  What a fantastic day of riding.  The smile on my face caught the wind and had me dragging at some points.  It was that big!  We stopped to marvel at the folks on fancy road bikes racing around the park, we stopped for amazing pizza, we stopped to carry our bikes up and down some stairs, seeking out a better commute route for Mike.

I’m not really a city person.  Especially New York.  I like it, and I appreciate it for all it has to offer with it’s history and  diversity, but given the option, I have for the most part kept my distance.  The day of riding a bike around rather than driving or navigating public transportation gave me a whole new appreciation for the city.  Or maybe it was just the nice time spent with Mike and the family.  Probably that.  Either way, I’m proud to say we zipped through one of the busiest cities in the world and came away with an awesome day had.

 

The view from Park Slope, Brooklyn...

I spent the morning learning about photography and the actual working of a camera and its lenses, something I had no previous knowledge of. My cousin Mike is a fantastic photographer (not to mention adventurer, husband, brother, father, etc.)...

Kurt and Mike as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge...

Midtown Manhattan. Believe it or not, a very fun place to ride through, keeping you on your toes at all times...

The architect and photographer at work...

The sub arctic science station comes to life, complete with a spiral staircase and connecting walkway (Photo: Mike Benevento)...

...and the excitement Beans woke up to when he got to see it in its finished glory (Photo: Mike Benevento)...

 

Harriman State Park…

March 14, 2011

About 30 miles north of my home town, just up a bit on the New York Thurway, is Harriman State Park.  This has been the outdoor stomping ground for the better part of my young life, and to me, it strongly rivals the beauty of all the spectacular places I have seen so far around the world.  Kurt and I drove up one Sunday with my Dad to visit his favorite market, Auntie El’s, and we took in a quick view as we passed along on the windy and picturesque road of Seven Lakes Drive.  Almost immediately we hatched a plan to get some winter camping in.

So, late one Saturday afternoon, accompanied by my cousin Morgan, we headed up into the snow and icicles.  The Appalachian Trail runs right through the most precious parts of the park, so huts are in place for all the thru hikers.  One of these cozy and well-built 3 walled structures was to serve as our spot for the night.  Though we arrived late in the day, our timing was perfect, with the sun was going down the glorious way I remember it being in those woods.  And the best part of all… our great friend Hubert came meandering through the snow, having taken the longer half-a-day hike in, just as Kurt was working his way into what would later become the wood for our not one, but two raging fires.  The night was awesome and merry, roasting pork and duck and donning our best beer jackets.

I was happy to add this experience to my list of fond memories of the times I have spent in Harriman State Park.

 

Heading up to the shelter...

 

And the beauty that resides in the park. I rest my case...

 

These woods are a home to me, this kind of moss on these trees more familiar than most things...

 

 

Morgan, Kurt and Hubert make their way through the dead wood. This process alone brings some good heat to the body...

New York state of mind. Kids sleeping in on a Sunday morning...

We spent the evening wrestling like 9 year olds and sliding down these snowy hills, and the night cozy and settled in the warm hut. Everything was about as perfect as it could be...