Camping photos (finally!)

I finally got around to getting our camera out and uploading the photos to Flickr (ps – our account was about to expire, which reminded me that it’s been almost a year since Ryan and I got married. CRAZY!). Here are some of my favorites. The rest can be seen on our Flickr site here. The campgrounds at Scenic State Park sit along Coon Lake, which connects to Sandwick Lake by a little straight, I guess you would call it. We rented canoes for 4 hours while we were there and were able to canoe around both of the lakes most of the way. We also stopped a couple times to check out some of the canoe or hike-in sites that are on the other side of the lakes.  There’s a map of the area here (PDF document), so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about. There’s a point that goes out in between the two lakes, and there’s a hiking trail out to the end of it. I think it’s about a mile out to the end. You can get some really nice views of both lakes from there, and there are a bunch of informational signs about the kinds of trees and stuff.

The straight between the lakes from the point hiking trail.


Red pines (aka Norway pines) cover the entire point, along with cedar, birch, aspen, spruce and other trees. But the red pines are the most numerous.

Fish along the shore in Coon Lake.


Sandwick Lake from the point.

As you can see, we didn’t get many pictures of the actual people camping – Ryan took all of the photos, and he likes the nature ones. I’ll have to work on that with him. ;-)

Quickie

Camping was awesome. I will try to post pictures later (I need to get all my photos moved to my laptop so I can do that kind of thing). The weather was gorgeous during the day Saturday and Sunday, and we got to go canoeing and hiking through the red and white pines, birch, spruce and aspen trees. The first night was cold (I think it got down into the 30s), but the second night was cool but comfortable. And it didn’t rain before we got everything packed up, even though the forecast said 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms today. So that was awesome.

The loons were crazy, yelling at each other at night, and diving in one place and coming up in a totally different one during the day. Loons are really interesting birds – they have a hard time taking off flying, and aren’t at all good on land. Read more here. After hearing them at night, I can understand why people are creeped out by their calls or think they make a lonely sound. I totally agree. We didn’t see much other wildlife, though – just the loons, some crows and bunnies and LOTS of squirrels. Very friendly (or aggressive, depending on your point of view) – they were running around in our camp all weekend, picking up crumbs and seeds and stuff and chattering at each other.

We put our Pie Irons to really good use this weekend too. We made apple and cherry pies, breakfast sandwiches with eggs, bacon and cheese, and Elvis sandwiches (I hadn’t heard of them before, but everyone else was familiar with the name) with peanut butter, bananas and honey. And we made potatoes and carrots in them the first night, to go with the brandy-marinated arm roast (which was a HUGE hit – thanks, Aunt Janice!). We have decided that we want to try camping for a weekend and doing something with the pie irons for every meal for the weekend. Like dutch oven chili and pie iron corn bread one day, and hot ham and cheese, or sloppy joes or something for lunch. And they are the best kind of cooking utensils – you just wipe them out with a dry paper towel. In fact, you AREN’T SUPPOSED to get them wet/wash them. Awesome.

Anyway, Ryan and I are super-sore from all the canoeing and hiking (and eating), so I think I’m going to call it a night and head to bed.

My favorite quote ever

Ryan Seacrest to Katrina aka “Bikini Girl”: “I was going to ask you what’s new, but I think I know,” (after seeing her obviously bigger boobs compared to when she was on the show previously).

*Idol Spoiler ahead!*

Why can’t I figure
out how to make
more space in here?
The HTML tags aren’t working.
Gah!

First of all, I totally want the soundtrack to tonight’s show. Do you think they’ll put it out that way? I wouldn’t be so lucky, would I? Also, seriously? KISS, Carlos Santana, Queen??? AWESOME. Especially because Ryan’s been talking all season about how Adam reminds him of Freddie Mercury. hahaha. I’m not disappointed that Kris won, because I know that Adam will be signed immediately.

Anyway, yah. Totally awesome. We are saving the recorded show so we can watch it again later because we are awesome like that.

Two Things

1) Adam Lambert is THE AWESOME. But I won’t be disappointed no matter who wins because I like them both and I know they will both end up with albums out. But if I had to choose a concert to go to it would totally be Adam’s. Serious fun.

2) Glee. I can’t even talk about it I’m so excited. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Journey music (AWESOME), cool dancing and group numbers, crazy characters…I love it all. I think Emma’s my favorite so far. I’m so sad that I’ll have to wait until this fall to see it. I think Ryan is relieved. He looked a little concerned when I started singing along and cheering. I wish we had Glee Club when I was in high school. Although God knows it wouldn’t have been nearly as good as the ones on the show. But still. I love singing and dancing in groups. I was in The Music Man when they did it down at the Depot a few (5?) years ago. That was fun. Too bad it takes so much extra time to even be in the chorus, or I would do more theater. Because that is TOTALLY THE SAME as the Glee Club on the show. Or probably not.

Oh, and I hear that if you missed Glee and want to check it out you can do so on Fox.com all summer. I’ll be going there at least once, I’m sure. hehehe.

Ahh…summer

It is gorgeous outside today. And it was gorgeous yesterday. Let’s hope this trend continues, because we are planning on going camping this weekend up at Scenic State Park. We went there last year for Labor Day weekend, and it was gorgeous, and they have lots of hiking trails and you can rent canoes and stuff, so we thought it would be fun to go back. Now we just have to pray for fabulous weather.

I feel that to be fair in my updating I should let you all know that I DID make the guacamole and stuffed chicken breasts I was talking about the other night, but in the process I almost cut off the tip of my thumb. It is still pretty gross looking, but at least it didn’t fall off. And I was able to finish making dinner because I’m hardcore like that! Tonight I’m staying simple with a garlic pasta. But I’m going to use the elk-shaped pasta we got at Ikea because it’s fun. Which means I should probably get off my ass and go cook.

What are your favorite camping recipes? We are going at least 3 times this summer (plus maybe 1 backpacking trip), so we’ll have lots of chances to try different things! One thing we are going to try for sure is making our own “pasta bar.” They have a pasta bar at a deli downtown every week, and Ryan and I (and a group of his coworkers) are huge fans. But the chef cooks everything over little butane stoves; the same stove that Ryan has. So all we need is some precooked pasta, precooked meat, minced garlic, olive oil and whatever veggies we want. And some sauce, which we can also make in advance. It’ll be yummy, although it’s definitely a “lazy camping” (ie. drive up camping) dinner. Not so much a backpacking one.

Anyway, I’m off to go try not to mangle my thumb again. Happy Monday!

Aging Gracefully

I know I’m not old. I don’t even feel old most of the time (when people I’m hanging out with were born in the 90s it changes a bit). But this summer is my 10-year high school class reunion, and it has me thinking about aging, and how quickly time has gone by since I was in high school.

It’s interesting, because the older I get the more I realize that the hangups and self-consciousness I felt in high school haven’t changed much. Especially when I’m hanging out with people from high school. I still worry that people won’t like me, or that I’m not cool enough. It causes me to say really dumb stuff. Case in point: a guy I knew and was friends with in high school asked me how I had changed since then (this was last summer). What did I say? “I drink now.” Way to go, alcoholic Becky. Great impression. With people I meet in Duluth, I am outgoing and fun (at least I think so). But with people from high school I am still shy at some points and loud at others (usually the wrong ones).

I don’t know why this is, and I’m hoping to get over it at the reunion this summer. I want to go and have fun, and hang out with people I haven’t seen in ages. And I think that I will. I hope I will. And if not, I’ll just drink more beer. ;-)

Domestic

Ryan’s mom made this really great rhubarb custard desert with a meringue topping while we were down there last weekend, and it got me really craving rhubarb. Of course when I said that, she sent me home with the recipe and a bag of rhubarb from their garden. I made the stuff last night, but it didn’t get done until about 10pm (I made 2 pies so we could give one to our neighbors that are always bringing desserts over here). I really wanted to have some for breakfast, but I’m holding back.

Tonight, I plan on making these Florentine stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon that I saw on Rachel Ray the other day (she wrapped them in prociutto (?sp), but I’m not that cool). I haven’t cooked this much in a while…Ryan’s been grilling a lot lately, and he cooks a lot of the time anyway. But once in a while I get a bug that makes me want to bake and cook a lot, and apparently this is one of those times. I don’t even mind doing the dishes when the mood strikes. It’s CRAZY! I think I might even branch out and try to make a strawberry-rhubarb sauce with some of the leftover rhubarb. WITHOUT A RECIPE! *GASP*

Hopefully Ryan enjoys this streak while it lasts.

I have connections. And they rock.

Having a husband that works for a tech company definitely has its perks. Like the laptop I am currently typing this on, which is now mine. For the awesome price of $150. YES! So what if you have to kind of press on the front part to get it to start up initially sometimes? As long as it doesn’t shut down on me while I’m reading blogs I don’t care. ;-)