a walk in the woods

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During a brief summer respite in SW VA, Lowell and I explored Rocky Knob Gorge, an 11 mile hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The hike was beautiful, hot, sticky, long, hilly, and lovely.  It was amazing to be in complete wooded isolation for an entire day.    We packed these beet&carrot burgers that were absolutely delicious:

1 shredded carrot, 1 shredded beet, 1 Tbl shredded ginger, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1 beaten egg, 3/4 c breadcrumbs, 2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin.  Mix everything, form patties, and cook in some oil.

blackberry patch

The unexpected treat was the overwhelming blackberry patch bursting w/ ripe berries atop the final ascent.  We picked until we bled and then came directly home and made cobbler.
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“Home” for the Holidays

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My mom is the best cook in the world, obviously.  Nothing is spared when the kids come home, and we really eat like kings, especially for breakfast (love!).  On Christmas morning there was grapefruit, cinnamon rolls, cheese, sausage, smoked salmon (from my last trip to Bellingham, WA), crackers, quiche, pear pie, and of course, bottomless coffee.

Christmas day also brought a huge ice storm to southwestern VA, which meant that directly after breakfast we lost power.  This left us without water, stove, or lights.  Mom barely blinked.  She hooked up our generator to provide some power (not enough for the stove) to the toaster oven and cooked the roast in that.  She covered potatoes in tinfoil and threw them in the woodstove we all huddled around in the living room.  And she pulled out some frozen turkey soup she’d previously made and put it in a big pot on top of the woodstove.  We feasted, argued, drank, and laughed like nothing had changed.

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cornbread and butterbeans (and pie)

For my mom’s birthday, it was imperative that the weekend was filled with food my mom loves and rarely eats. This basically meant a lot of salty southern food. Thanks to the Surry House Restaurant in Surry, VA (who received a frantic phone call from me asking for a large pick up order at exactly 3pm) we feasted on fantastic southern fried chicken, stewed tomatoes, collard greens, hush puppies, salad, and peanut pie.