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six months

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Recipe: peach pie cinnamon rolls

Little Neva turned six months old today (the 27th) in Crested Butte. Despite what the vet instructed – no walks for 10-14 days – we’ve begun taking her on short easy walks after 5 days. She’s recovering well and quite active INSIDE the house, so we figured mellow activity would be good for her, especially since our neighborhood in Crested Butte has so many nice paths. We expected her to be completely stir-crazy and in turn, make US crazy, but she has been a really good pup this past week. Just three more days and I’ll be able to take her swimming. To celebrate her 6 months on this planet, we gave her a Scoop Dog (peanut butter, maple, bacon frozen yogurt pupsicle) from the local ice cream shop, Third Bowl.

the life of a colorado dog is rough

AND there was a total lunar eclipse of the supermoon this evening! We walked down the road from our house and stood upon a hilltop to watch (and shoot) the moon in eclipse as it rose above the mountains in the east. Pretty spectacular stuff. And I’m glad I was here in Crested Butte, because the radar showed clouds over Nederland. As the moon rose higher, we headed back to the house since we would be able to watch the rest of the ascent from our deck. When the moon entered totality we heard several neighborhoods erupt in howls across the valley – both people and their dogs. How does one NOT love Crested Butte?! Minutes later, a big cloud (like, the ONLY one in the entire sky!) sat directly in the path of the moon and blotted it out. “Damn,” I muttered and Neva wagged her tail in the darkness at the howlers calling across the night air. She seemed happy enough when I let her back into the warmth of the house.

partial lunar eclipse supermoon rising

there’s the navel (tycho crater)!

blood moon before the cloud broke up the party

We had a lovely weekend here in Crested Butte. Jeremy and I drove out in tandem because he had to get back to Boulder to teach this week, but I’m staying put with Neva girl because 1) she can recuperate more easily in Crested Butte 2) we can spare her the back and forth in the car 3) I’m prepping the house for winter and 4) I have to get my fall colors fix. The colors are pretty good. Not as good as last year, but exhilarating where they are vibrant and healthy. A fungal disease seems to have creamed some of the stands, which is unfortunate. Still, I just love being here during the peak colors. Once they’re done, I’m 100% ready for winter.

jeremy hoofs it up with my camera gear into the aspens

a beautiful pine grosbeak chilling in a cathedral of golden light

gothic mountain behind the flanks of crested butte

jeremy stand-up paddleboards on lake irwin

I’m gonna have to hit you today with yet another roll recipe because it’s the end of peach season, and if you can get your hands on some fresh peaches, YOU NEED TO MAKE THESE. Peach pie cinnamon rolls. You will not regret it (I hope). I love cinnamon rolls as much as, or more than, the next guy, but add peaches and I’m going to start throwing elbows. The last time I acquired my 25 pounds of San Marzano tomatoes for canning from the farm store, I snatched up some beautiful organic Colorado peaches as well. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but I’d figure something out. That’s how I roll with fruit: pick some up and if I can’t make anything with it, I eat the fruit. Either way, I win!

the dough: milk, sugar, vanilla, yeast, eggs, salt, butter, flour

sprinkle yeast over warm milk

add sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, and salt

stir in the flour

knead the dough by hook or hand

let the dough rise

**Jump for more butter**

advances in modern science

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Recipe: chicken fried steak biscuits with chanterelle gravy

We dropped Neva off at the vet’s Monday morning for her spaying appointment, leaving my mobile as the contact number. I got a call a few hours later reporting that her surgery went well and that we’d be able to pick her up that afternoon when the drugs wore off. When we walked into the office to get her, she was chilling out behind the front desk with Aspen, a gorgeous, giant white wolf-like dog who weighs about 100 pounds. Actually, I recall that Aspen is 1/4 wolf, but he is all sweetheart, playing ever so gently with Neva. They were super tight buddies.

Neva seemed practically normal, but Jeremy didn’t want her jumping and possibly tearing her stitches. So he put all manner of items on the couch to deter her from trying. I watched as Neva walked up to the plastic bins on the couch, stepped to the side, and nimbly jumped over the armrest, then curled up in her favorite corner of the couch. Oh little pup… We marveled at her incision, which was nary an inch long. Back in the day, Kaweah’s incision was supposed to be 4 inches long, but was more like 5 inches (we’re guessing because it was at the Vet School) and took forever to heal. But Neva is on a fast road to recovery and we’ll be hitting the trails again in no time.

rest and recovery is so boring for a puppy

pretty autumn sunsets

looking forward to seeing some fall colors like this (from september 2014 in crested butte)

Summer just can’t seem to let go over here. It gets downright hot in the afternoons, so I still give Neva a large ice cube around 3 o’clock to play with, roll on, and eventually eat. Thankfully it is getting chillier overnight, so we can cool the house enough to be comfortable. I like the crisp cold in the mornings. Not cold enough to be punishing like in winter, but cold enough to not mind letting Neva up on the bed to cuddle for another ten minutes before she starts licking my hair.

Seeing as the weekend is coming up, I need to share this recipe for fans of the savory weekend breakfast – chicken fried steak biscuits with chanterelle cream gravy. Feel free to use other mushrooms if you can’t get chanterelles or don’t want to get too spendy. However, if you CAN get chanterelles, please do. They transform the basic cream gravy into the realm of transcendence.

biscuits, chanterelles, flour, black pepper, eggs, salt, cayenne, butter, more salt, more flour, steak, milk, buttermilk

chop the mushrooms into a small dice

tenderize the steak

**Jump for more butter**

how sweet it is

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Recipe: huckleberry lemon sweet rolls

Does everyone love their birth month or did I just luck out with September? While the flats remain relatively warm by my standards, the overnight temperatures dipped below freezing over the weekend here in the mountains. Morning walks with Neva have been pleasantly chilly for the past few days and the gold aspens light up like torches in the autumn sun. Jeremy noted that fall is our shortest season. I reminded him that technically all of the seasons are about the same length, but I knew what he meant. Winter is the longest season for us – basically from October to May – as long as there is snow. Summer is the next longest from June or July to September (when there isn’t much snow). Spring in the mountains is just plain weird because it’s all melty and muddy, usually from May to June or June to July. It’s the season of trashing your gear. True fall is cooler weather, golden aspen, and clear ground. As soon as there is enough snow to ski, it’s “winter”. Sometimes fall is as short as 3 weeks if summer and winter get a little greedy on each end. But I love it, because it’s so perfect for high country hikes, long trail runs, and mountain bike rides without the crowds. I think of autumn as that sweet spot.

Neva is getting spayed this week, just before she turns 6 months old. I was told to restrict her activities, as in – very short walks – for the two weeks after the surgery. I’m just a little nervous because after Kaweah was spayed, the Cornell Veterinary Hospital instructed us not to let her jump and of course, the first thing she did when we picked her up was to try jumping into the car. She cried, then tried to jump into the car again. Mainly, I don’t want Neva to be scared or to hate Doc Newton after the procedure is done. In anticipation of her upcoming convalescence period, we decided to take her up our favorite local trail in the Indian Peaks this weekend – to Pawnee Pass. We both had headaches thanks to lack of sleep and chilly gusts of wind slapping us around. Summer makes you soft because winds like that are considered “breezy” around these parts in winter. But Neva was happy and so we forged ahead. The winds were particularly nasty and cold at the pass (this happened a year ago on our backpack, too), so we took a quick snap for posterity and booked it on outta there.

on the way up

at the pass with our little hiker pup

almost to the trailhead it was warm enough for a swim

The good news is that Neva has taken two 30-minute car rides on windy roads with dramamine and hasn’t puked! She wasn’t happy about the rides, but we suspect once she’s had enough car rides without puking, she’ll start to associate the car with happier times. Also, she was VERY good on the hike wearing her chest harness despite wanting to chase after ALL of the marmots and pikas above treeline (60% of the hike is above treeline). Neva is still very much a puppy, but I think she just might become a good dog some day.

colorful sunset over our local mountains

mammata lit just before sunrise

This seasonal cool down means I’m able to turn the oven on to bake, roast, and feel normal again. Of course, all I could think about for the past several weeks were ways to use huckleberries and many of those recipes involved baking. While there are a handful of huckleberry recipes out there on the interwebs, you’ll find a hundred blueberry recipes for every huckleberry recipe. Something that had been on my radar for a while was blueberry lemon sweet rolls, but then I thought – HUCKLEBERRY lemon sweet rolls is where it’s at. First, start by making the dough.

for the dough: milk, water, egg, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, flour, butter, more butter, yeast

warm the milk and water to 115°f (close enough)

sprinkle the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar over the liquid

mix the sugar, salt, and flour

mix the egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter into the liquid

combine the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients

knead until smooth

cover in an oiled bowl and let rise

**Jump for more butter**