Ah,… summertime!

The meadows approaching Paul Smiths

John and Len solve the problems of the universe

Silas sends one for a ride

Tink goes long for a big one

The boys phone home to Mom

Pat experiences wild blueberry overload

Chet and Rob,… it’s a long story

MB proves once and for all there’s no sport she can’t excell at

Full moon in a buttermilk sky

Tip of the week:

The Cellar Restaurant

Long Lake, NY

Location: Just as you leave town headed for Tupper Lake at the intersection of Rt. 30 and Kickervill Rd.(the road to Cedarlands Boy Scout Camp) on your right.

REAL good food, a surprisingly large and diverse menu, beautifully presented and served with a smile!


Rating: ****

Posted in adirondack, Cooking, outdoors, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Important summertime information,… take a moment here

A repost from Capt. Mario Vittone’s blog.  Thank you, Captain!

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D.,  is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water.  And it does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.  To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this:  It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.  In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).  Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006)

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue.  They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are n the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.

So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. – don’t be too sure.  Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.  They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck.  One  way to be sure?  Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are.  If they return  a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.  And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.


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A day at the museum,…a photo essay

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The start of a new season,…

It’s a bit past this point today, but it’s still early on in the season.  Up north things aren’t as far along, in terms of the leaves, and that “summer look”, as they are down in the Hudson Valley.  That’s always the way though, my Grandfather used to say, “The woods are slow this year.”  That meant summer wasn’t coming as fast as Grandpa would have liked, when your livelihood depends on getting people up in the mountains for summer vacation, it never does.

There were some signs of it breaking out into summer though. A few blooms pushing hard to get out to an early start, and a few other telltale signs of what’s to come,…

Some old familiar friends seem to have come back for another visit.  Won’t be long before they’ll be followed around by a half dozen little fluff balls,…

And even when the relatives show up on their doorstep from the city, they can still find a place or two for some real peace and quiet,…

Sometimes, it’s just around the bend,…


The secret is, to take time to enjoy the “little things”!  Life can’t make you crazy if you don’t let it!!!!!!

Find someplace where you can breathe, put you feet up, and get ready for the summer of your life!

One of the things I look forward to the most about summer is getting back to my BBQ grill!  Everybody has their favorite grilled delight.  For some it’s just the noble tube steak, or a well grilled burger.  We go the whole gamete  here at the Shaw Ranch, from steaks, and ribs, to trout, and veggies!  This year I’m going to give some of my grilling recipes some “air time” here, along with whatever things I come across that I think might strike your fancy.  The first up will be a tip on seasoning that came from an old friend, Tom LaChapelle, and his son Marc, accomplished chefs, connoisseurs, and founders of the entrepeauneural spice company, Kitchen Kickin’!

I’ve been putting these spice mixes on everything except my coffee!  When I told Tom that earlier he said, “I’ve got Maple Sprinkles that would be good in your coffee!!!!”  You know what, I believe him!  Tom and I go back longer than either of us want’s to admit, back to the days I was just starting to play out in the taverns and pubs in the Capital District.  If we’d known he was going to come up with something this good, we’d have treated him with a little more respect,…aw, no we wouldn’t have!  ; >)

I’m not going to go into all the different varieties of spice mixes he has here, I’m just going to suggest that you go to http://www.kitchenkickn.com , and get grillin’!  I’m going to get him to give us a recipe or two here over the grilling season, so stay tuned!!  And remember guys, if you click on the pictures here, they get bigger!!!!!

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The Adirondack Folk School

There are very few times in life when we see something come to fruition that so many have said should happen, but no one seems to know where to start.  This obviously didn’t stop Jim Mandle and Sandy Sherman who have created the first school for Adirondack folk arts in Lake Luzerne, NY!  Above you see the building being renovated as the headquarters for a concept whose time has come!  Here’s an excerpt from their website at http://www.adirondackfolkschool.org

The Adirondack Folk School is the only school of its kind in the country dedicated to teaching the arts, crafts and culture of this unique Adirondack region. Located in Lake Luzerne, we are situated in the southern Adirondack Park, a park of over six million acres of “forever wild” protected land. The beauty and natural abundance of this environment influenced the skilled artisans that created the pack basket, twig furniture, birch bark containers, the Adirondack chair, the guide boat and the Adirondack lean-to. These are the home furnishings, boats, and decor still found in cabins, lodges and homes today throughout the region which have helped create the unique “Adirondack Style”.  Today, our region hosts these and numerous other creative forms of expression.

The Adirondack Folk School teaches the joy of learning through hands-on experiences.  We’re a non-profit school made up of local artisans, crafts people and volunteers interested in promoting and teaching these skills in a non-competitive environment focused on the student.

Our instructors share their knowledge of crafts and trades and inspire you with their enthusiasm.  Our year-round classes range from half-day sessions to full week-long courses. We offer subjects as diverse as Adirondack chair building, twig and rustic furniture, caning, paddle making, birch bark and pine needle basketry, fly tying, snowshoeing, connecting people with nature, organic gardening, fiber arts, soap making, pottery, blacksmithing and more. During these classes you will explore your creativity through hands-on learning.

In addition to our hands-on courses, Adirondack storytellers and musicians share the culture of the Adirondacks through demonstrations, special programs and our fireside evening gatherings.

Come take a class, attend a special evening fireside program, or just stop by and visit.

Thanks for visiting and please stop back often as we continue to grow.

Adirondack Folk School
P. O. Box 2
Lake Luzerne, NY  12846

I’ll be there on Saturday July 31st singing and lyin’ for you.  Come early and check this place out,… I have the feeling this is the start of something big!

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Not quite there,… but getting closer

Lake George isn’t quite ready for the flip flop and bikini crowd yet, as is evidenced here.  Silas and I were up in Glens Falls watching the Lady Warriors of Averill Park beat the NYC champions for the State Championship, and decided to take a run up to the lake afterwards to see if it looked like “salmon time” yet.  Well,… unless they’re wearing long underwear, and carrying space heaters, I think the salmon aren’t quite ready.  Not at the lake anyway, but up in Warrensburg, it may be a different matter,…

Here’s the new and improved “Oscar’s Smokehouse”, and the smoked salmon here id definitely good to go! This place has emerged from the ashes of a devastating fire that completely destroyed the old building, to a bigger, better, version of this Adirondack classic!  I’d say the inside store area is at least 5 times the size of the original!

It also seems like they have a lot more products on display than they used to.  Silas and I “skated the compulsories”, buying extra thick  hickory smoked bacon, the store’s signature cheese, jerky, and some maple syrup.  Pass the word, Oscar’s is back, and they’re kickin’ pork butt again!

The lake was really rough with about a 30 to 40 knot wind blowing right in your face on the Beach Road as you looked up lake.  No boat traffic, no one fishing off the sand bar at the mouth of West Brook, as a matter of fact, there was no one in sight as Silas and I decided to take a little trip through the Ft. George Park, between Ft. William Henry and the Million Dollar Beach.

King Hendrick and Sir William Johnson statues stand in the park across from the statue of Father Issac Jougues, a Jesuit priest that discovered the lake in 1646.  It was Sir William and King Hendrick that gave the British the first significant victory in the French and Indian War right there on the grounds of what is today the park.  It would cost King Hendrick his life, and lodge a musketball in Sir William’s hip that would plague him for the rest of his days.  The earthen works of Ft. George itself, a fortress started by Lord Jeffery Amhearst when he came to avenge the massacre of Ft. William Henry a little over three years later, still stand today.  He will be remembered as the originator of biological warfare for sending smallpox infected blankets back to Canada with the French’s allies, the Abaniki.  It nearly wiped out all of the Abanaki nation, and French Canada as well.  Today the whole area is covered with picnic tables and is one of the nicest overlooked places at the Lake to have a family picnic.  The fishing in the little back water called Snug Harbor on the Eastern side is pretty good too, eh Kevin!!?!!?!?!?

There’s no doubt Silas and my trip to the lake was a little premature to optimally enjoy the outdoors, but with the ice out of the lake, and scenes like the one below, we’re not far off friends,… we’re not far off!

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Oh boy,…it’s winter now!

It’s usually about this time that we look around and notice that there’s not much progress on this winter thing.  Now if there’s snow, and folks are frolicking on sleds, skis, and snowshoes it probably doesn’t seem too bad.  Otherwise it can seem pretty much like planting an acorn and waiting.  Down here in rural Rensselaer  County we had some snow, a thaw, a wicked cold snap, and a little more snow, but there’s a minimum of frolicking going on here.  One might say, “We’re freaking frolickingless here!”  (My advise is to say that slowly,…)  Soooooo,…

If it looks like this picture to the left, then maybe the “big picture” needs to give way to the here and now.   For instance I baked the boys a killer batch of Snickerdoodles yesterday afternoon.  I went up on All Recipes  ( http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mrs-Siggs-Snickerdoodles/Detail.aspx) and I’ve gotta tell you, I have no idea who this Mrs. Siggs is, but she should have her cookie sheet bronzed!  The website is like a gigantic recipe swap.  If you’re in a rut with the dinner part of life, jump up there for a bit and wander around!  Food Network  (www.foodnetwork.com) has some cool choices as well, and this cool aplication for you to plug in what meal you want to make, (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), what ingredients you want to use, and which food network celebrity you want to make it with!  Fun!

Then there are guys like Tink, here to the right, who seem to have a good time carrying their Mom’s theme of “Light a Light” to the next level.  You don’t like the dark,…light it up!  You don’t want it to be February,..pretend it’s the 4th of July!  Heck, I may dress up in a serape, put on my sombrero and play “Malaguena”!!!!  I always have a good time on Cinco de Mayo, why not?

Or maybe I’ll call up Melick and go face down into the hot chocolate!  Yeah,…that’s the ticket!  You can have the most normal day of your life, and if you want to throw that train off the tracks, just call Melick.  He’ll come over and start clinking on the glassware, beating the furniture, and stompin’ on the floor, before you know it, you’ve got a freakin’ fiesta in the dining room!

We just have to have a little faith, because if we look hard enough we can see signs that the pendulum is swinging.  Albeit slowly, but swinging nonetheless.  Maybe if we just go from macro to micro, we can see that it’s not a real long way from the scene to the right, to the scene underneath!

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Winter in the ‘Dacks,…and elsewhere

Winter is an interesting time in the Adirondacks, and the rest of upstate NY for that matter.  The stretch from right after the Holidays, to the first sprigs of green can be quite a long haul, but it really depends on your point of view.  For me, this has traditionally been my most productive time for writing.  I hardly think I’m alone in that, as writers in these parts can easily hunker down next to the fire, and give their imaginations free reign while the snow falls and the wind howls outside the front door.

Last year about this time I pointed out some family activities and both indoor and outdoor options you’ll find archived back there.  They still stand up this year, but there are a couple of things I’d like to add,…

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the stuff of legend!  Here’s this years’s schedule:

Saturday, February 6

  • 10:00 am: Ice Palace Fun Run (4 miles) (The Ice Palace)
  • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm: 17th Annual Business & Professional Women Chocolate Festival(Harrietstown Town Hall, $)
  • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Lutheran Church Women’s Craft Sale (Harrietstown Town Hall, $)
  • 11:00 am – 2:00 pm: Petrova Winter Carnival (fun for kids) (Petrova Elementary School Cafeteria, $)
  • 11:00 am: The Adirondack ARC Curling Exhibition (Near the State Boat Launch site on Lake Flower)
  • 11:00 am: Paul Smith’s College Woodsmen’s Exhibition (Riverside Park)
  • 12:20 pm: NBT Bank Ladies’ Fry Pan Toss (Riverside Park, $)
  • 2:30 pm: Gold Rush – follow the clues (Riverside Park, $) Sponsored by the Women’s Civic Chamber
  • 4:30 – 7:30 pm: 12th SL Figure Skating Spaghetti Dinner (Additional Information TBA, $)
  • 7:00 pm: Lighting of the Ice Palace, Guideboat Realty Fireworks (The Ice Palace)
  • 10:00 pm: Concert at the Waterhole, TBA

Sunday, February 7

  • 10:00 am: White Stag Downhill Ski Races (Mt. Pisgah Ski Center, $)
  • 11:30 am – 2:30 pm: Arctic Bar-B-Que (Mt. Pisgah Ski Center, $) Presented by the Friends of Mt. Pisgah
  • 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Ultimate Frisbee Tournament (Petrova Athletic Fields) Call 637-2067 for more information
  • 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm: 9-Pin No-Tap Bowling Tournament (Romano’s Saranac Lanes, Additional Information TBA, $)
  • 2:00 – 6:00 pm: Northern Lights School Super Bowl Pizza Sale (Pickup at Presbyterian Church; $15/pizza; call Amy @ 891-4751 to order or for information)
  • 7:30 pm: Concert: Sandra Bargman, “The High Way of Life” (Saranac Village at Will Rogers, $5.00 donation)

Monday, February 8

  • 7:00 pm: Classic Film – “High Noon” and a short, “My Little Duckaroo” (Saranac Laboratory, Church St., $6 adults/$5 senior citizens/under 12 free) Sponsored by the Saranac Lake Classic Film Festival
  • 7:00 pm: Interfaith Service in Celebration (St. Luke’s Church)
  • 7:00 pm: Bingo (Saranac Lake Adult Center)
  • 7:45 – 9:45 pm: Firemen’s Broomball (Saranac Lake Civic Center)

Tuesday, February 9

  • 3:30 pm: Scavenger Hunt for Middle School Students (Saranac Lake Youth Center)
  • 5:30 pm: Grand Marshal Reception (Lake Clear Lodge and Retreat, $)
  • 6:30 pm: Royalty Dinner (Lake Clear Lodge and Retreat, $)

Wednesday, February 10

  • 6:00 pm: Snowshoe Races (all ages) (Dewey Mountain, TBA, $)

Thursday, February 11

  • 7:30 pm: 23rd Annual Figure Skating Show (TBA, $)

Friday, February 12

  • 10:00 am: Adirondack Bank Innertube Races (Mt. Pisgah, TBA, $)
  • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Winter Carnival Books Sale (Saranac Lake Free Library)
  • 12:30 pm: NBT Bank Children’s Skating Races (Saranac Lake Civic Center, TBA, $)
  • 7:30 – 9:30 pm: Firemen’s Broomball (Saranac Lake Civic Center)
  • 7:30 pm: Rotary Club Variety Show (Harrietstown Town Hall, TBA, $)

Saturday, February 13

  • 8:30 – 9:30 am: Breakfast at McDonalds with Grimace and Carnival Characters (McDonalds, $)
  • 8:30 – 11:00 am: Mason’s Pancake Breakfast (Saranac Lake Adult Center, 136 Broadway, $) Sponsored by Whiteface Mt. Lodge 789 Masonic Temple
  • 10:00 – 11:00 am: Meet the Carnival Characters (The Ice Palace)
  • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm: Annual Winter Carnival Book Sale (Saranac Lake Free Library)
  • 10:30 am – 3:30 pm: Lion’s Club Chili Sale (Harrietstown Town Hall)
  • 11:00 am: Paul Smith’s College Woodsmen’s Exhibition (Riverside Park)
  • 12:00 – 4:00 pm: Paul Smith’s College Alumni Reunion (Hotel Saranac, no charge, cash bar)
  • 12:00 pm: Parade Line-up (Lake Colby Drive)
  • 1:00 pm: Gala Parade (On Broadway & Main Street from Ampersand Ave. to Lapan Hwy.)
  • After the Parade: Band Concert (Harrietstown Town Hall)
  • 7:30 pm: Pendragon Theatre, “Moby Dick: Rehearsal” (Call 891-9052 for reservations, $)
  • 9:00 pm: Dance with Double Axel (Hotel Saranac, $9 at the door) ages 21 & over

Sunday, February 14

  • 10:00 am: Adult X-C Skiing (Dewey Mountain., TBA, $)
  • 11:00 am: Snowflake Volleyball Tournament (Saranac Lake Civic Center Rotary Field, TBA, $)
  • 11:00 am: Showshoe Softball (Elks Field, John Munn Road, TBA)
  • 12:00 pm: Kids X-C Ski Races (Dewey Mountain, TBA, $)
  • 12:30 – 3:00 pm: Snowy Owl Face Painting for children (Harrietstown Town Hall)
  • 2:00 pm: Kiddie Parade (From the Saranac Lake Free Library to the Town Hall) Sponsored by the Adirondack ARC and Keeseville Pepsi-Cola
  • 3:00 pm: Fifteenth Annual Winter Carnival Baroque Concert (Methodist Church, Donation) Sponsored by the S.L.Y.A.A
  • 5:00 – 7:00 pm: Pendragon Theatre 30th Year Open House. Celebrate Carnival and the community with music & light refreshments
  • 5:30 pm: Lasagna Dinner (Methodist Church, TBA, $) Sponsored by the Methodist Youth Group
  • 7:30 pm: Carnival Slide Show (The Ice Palace)
  • 8:00 pm: Gala Fireworks Display (The Ice Palace)

Of course there are ongoing events as well, here are just a few your family might enjoy trying this season!

Ongoing Winter Activities

Downhill Skiing at Whiteface Mountain
in Wilmington 518-946-2223;
for ski conditions call 518-946-7171

High Falls Gorge Adventure Center in Wilmington
including SnowShoeing 518-946-2278

Toboggan Chute on Mirror Lake,
Lake Placid 518-523-2591

Dog Sled Rides on Mirror Lake, Lake Placid

Bobsled and Luge Rides at Mt. Van Hoevenberg,
Lake Placid 518-523-4436

X-country skiiing on the Jackrabbit Trail
from Keene to Paul Smiths 518-523-1365

Cascade Cross Country Ski Center 518-523-9605

Outdoor Ice Skating and Sledding
Ballard Park, Westport 518-962-8383

Get out there and give it a go!  Then curl up in front of the fire and dream of ,…you can take it from there.

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Mountain Snow and Mistletoe is comin’…

We’re going to take a detour from the woods to something you wouldn’t want to miss,…Mountain Snow and Mistletoe our annual Christmas show, presented for the first time this year at The Egg, Albany’s crown jewel theater in the heart of downtown!  This is the 17th year that John Kirk and Brian Melick join Bridget and I for the show, and it’s nearly that many for our buddy Kevin McKrell!

John Kirk is a musician’s musician.  You name it, this guy can play it, and at a virtuoso level.  Add to that a stunning tenor voice, (and a pretty outstanding roll cast), and you get my buddy who’s fiddled, picked, and fished with me for a long, long time.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Women want him, fish fear him”!  John, and his lovely wife Trish, have played and danced their way into Adirondack hearts for years.

Every year John brings something fresh and exciting to the show, and some great jokes to the Green Room!  Check out John and Trish at http://www.johnandtrish.com!

Brian Melick is a humble man, and a humbling player.  His chops as a percussionist are second to none.  Some guys get out there and bang away, Brian elevates musical pieces with a sense of color and melody seldom heard in the world of percussion.  And he’s nuts.  That’s right,… the boy is nuts!  It’s bad enough when it’s just Brian and I, but there’s a unique insanity that comes to the fore when you add Kevin McKrell to the mix.  How these guys toured together for as long as they did and never wound up calling me up in the middle of the night to get them out of an asylum somewhere, or at the very least post bail, is beyond me.  Check Brian out at http://www.uduboy.com.



Then there’s this man, Kevin McKrell.  A legend on the Celtic circuit, and a main stay of the greater Capital District music scene , Kevin has been enchanting audiences for decades.  The thing about getting on stage with Kevin McKrell is, you never know what’s going to happen.  No, I mean it, I get on stage with this guy and have no idea what’s going to happen next!!!?!?!?  You think I’m kidding,…check out THESE shots,…and check out Kevin at http://www.kmckrell.com

Try to get up there and do a concert when the rest of the band dresses up like elves and doesn't tell you they're gonna do it. Go ahead, try it,...

I remember the year they said, "We've got something a little different,...don't worry Chris, you'll like it." "Can I see it in rehearsal?" "No,...it's better as a surprize,..."

Surprize dosen't really cover it,...




















You don’t really watch Mountain Snow,…you have to kind of live it.  Ca’mon down and check it out, tickets at http://www.theegg.com.

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Fall goodies,…


I thought it might be fun to post a couple of simple recipes we’ve enjoyed here at Chez Shaw as this glorious Fall continues to unfold!  One of my favorite things about cooking is finding new treatments for ingredients that we’ve treated traditionally for SO long!  Growing up in the Adirondacks, pumpkin was solely the stuff of pies, pies that my Grandma Shaw baked to the delight of the entire town of Lake George!  Grandma was a Pie Goddess, and used to make a regular sized pie for dinner and a “snitching pie” for us kids.  What’s a “snitching pie” you ask?  Easy,…a small, kid sized pie that would magically appear in the window of the laundry for “cooling”, a window just high enough that 10 year old boys needed to get on one another’s shoulders to reach said pie.  Once absconded with, the pie would be wolfed down quickly while cries of “Pie thieves!!! Pie thieves!!!  Call the police!!!” would echo through the pines amidst the chuckles from Grandpa who found our foray into the world of crime pretty damned amusing.  This would happen at least twice a week through the fall to the utter delight of all participants!

So what we’re going to do here today is pretty simple, I’m going to serve up two recipes, one traditional and one not so traditional so you can savor a taste of our kind of Fall wherever you may be.  As good as her pumpkin pie was, her “piesta resistance” was Grandma Shaw’s Apple Pie so we’ll include that one here along with a whole new way to treat pumpkins!


Pumpkin Chipotle Soup

This is a wonderful, quick soup that works as a main dish with a compliment of cornbread, or as a great accent dish with your Mexican favorites! Even my kids gobble this one down!

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can of pumpkin 29 ounces
2 canned chipotle peppers
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons sofrito
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
Garnish: shredded Monterey Jack cheese and fresh chopped cilantro
  1. Cut flour into butter with a fork and cook over medium heat until light brown and bubbly
  2. Add vegetable stock and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened
  3. Whisk in pumpkin until smooth
  4. Fine chop the chipotle peppers and stir in
  5. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes
  6. Garnish and serve
  7. Note: Holds well in low crock pot!


Grandma Shaw’s Apple Pie

A sure fire favorite, first time, every time.

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 ” thick slices

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 TBS cinnamon

2 TBS nutmeg

1 TSP ground cloves

1 shot Canadian whiskey

1 TSP vanilla extract

Pie crust:

2 cups all purpose flour plus a titch for dusting the work surface

3 TBS sugar

1/4 TSP kosher salt

1/2 lb. (two sticks) of cold butter cut into cubes

1 large egg yolk

3 or 4 TBS cold milk

Stir flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl

Add butter and cut mixture together with two knives until crumbly “corn meal” consistency is achieved

Whisk milk and egg yolk together and mix with flour mixture until a ball of dough is formed, add 1TSP more milk if necessary

Place in refrigerator for 1 Hr. then divide in two and roll out 2 pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a paper bag

2. Mix apples and dry ingredients in paper bag

3. Arrange apple slices in bottom pie crust and pour remaining dry ingredients over the apples

4. Mix whiskey and vanilla extract and drizzle over apple mixture

5. Crimp top crust in place and cut vent slices for steam to escape

Place a 2″ tin foil guard over the edge of the pie crust and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, remove foil guard for the last ten minutes. Serve warm with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, preferably from Oscar’s Smokehouse in Warrensburg NY.  (Although a fire closed Oscar’s they’re rebuilding even as you read this!)

Get eatin’!

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