Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Saturday Stroll

It is an absolutely beautiful Saturday in Newcastle! The delta breezes gave us a cool start to the morning and a pleasant afternoon. We should end up in the mid 80’s temp-wise, and that’s a GOOD thing!

My daughter & I were sitting at the kitchen island having lunch and decided we should take a walk along our canal to see what we could find that was interesting. (Isn’t it nice when you have an afternoon that allows you to do fun stuff like this?)

I should explain that this canal is a man-made irrigation ditch. Our property is zoned agricultural, and we have livestock, orchards and vineyard all around us. The source for this canal is a reservoir in the Sierra Nevada Mts. We are lucky that our portion has been left in a natural state. There are places along the many miles of the canal that have concrete sides and it isn’t so pretty. The road along the canal is an easement so that the Irrigation District personnel can maintain the canal. It is a fun place to walk and for the neighbor kids to 3-wheel.

So as we walked along the road, I took photos of anything that caught my eye. Now I realize, this may bore you to tears. I hope not.

I’ve put it all in a photo show for your viewing pleasure!

Thank God I’m a country girl! Chris

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dining by Rail

My husband and I are train nuts!

We especially love steam trains. Many a vacation, anywhere in the country, has been arranged to include a ride on a restored steam train. But the fact is, we love all trains!

A few years ago, I was lucky to travel from Sacramento to Salt Lake City on Amtrak. It was one of my favorite life experiences! I was with about 24 Tupperware consultants who were all going to Jubilee (convention), and we just had the most fun 18 hours ever!

Out of this love of trains has grown a passion for railroad art. That will be the subject of a later post. But the other thing that has happened, is that I have started a collection of Railroad China. My sets are replicas, since the real stuff, if you can find it is very expensive! Since I love to use it, that's a better solution for me, since I probably wouldn't want to use the "historic" stuff. I also have two dining car cookbooks. (Keeping my eyes open for more...) They contain great old pictures and information about the glory days of train travel, as well as menus and recipes from the various railroad dining cars.

I discovered just recently that my girlfriend is also a train nut! Her birthday is on Labor Day. So guess what? I am setting out my railroad china and cooking her an authentic dining car dinner! She knows she is coming for dinner, but has no idea about the theme. I hope it is a happy surprise for her!

Now all I have to do is decide on a menu. Should it be a menu from "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train"?

Kentucky Beer Cheese
Tomato Basil Bisque
Soft Lettuce Salad with Champagne and Roasted Beets
Crown Roast of Pork au Lait
Booker's Creme Brulee

Or maybe we should choose a menu from the "Great Smoky Mountain Railroad"?

Portobello Mushroom Napoleon
Apple Blue Cheese Salad with Raspberry Viniagrette
Roasted Cornish Hens with Cajun Cornbread Stuffing
Grand Marnier Flan

What's your vote? I'm leaning toward Menu 1, since hubs doesn't really love cornish hens...but I DO! Which ever menu I decide on, I'll be sure to report back on my Dining Car Dinner!
Chuga, Chuga, Choo, Choo! Chris