Back at it Then Nothin’ Today

Yesterday I busted out the Camelbak (I had to wash it first, since I hadn’t used it since early summer), figured out what to wear, stashed a Clif bar in my pocket, and ran eleven miles.  Now to some, that may seem like a lot.  To others it may seem like a walk in the park.  It felt just right for me yesterday.  It was not a hot day.  It was 36 degrees when I hit the road.  That made dressing right a challenge.  It wasn’t cold enough to warrant an insulated hat but it was windy.  Would I need a vest under my wind layer?  What about gloves?  I bagged the vest, went with the gloves, and had a great run.

There was a half marathon in Shelburne today. I had considered running that, but ended up bagging it.  The eleven yesterday was the substitute. Well, it wasn’t really a substitute. It was just a longish run on a fine day.  My wife ran the half marathon. I stayed home to bake bread and let my children sleep in. Today was the truly fine day. Can you say September day? My plan was to run a short one today, maybe three or four miles, just to get out there. But with the bread baking and putting the last of the garden beds to sleep and raking and clearing some crap out of the basement and storing the summer furniture and making and apple pie and the rest of it, I just plain forgot. I have been so used to running in the morning that afternoon came and I forgot all about it.

So I got in nothing today. The long run felt good, however. My plan is to do that again next weekend. Sorter runs during the week, then eleven again on Saturday. Maybe I will plan to take Sunday off this time. That means rising early Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I will take Thursday off since I have to head out to work way early. Then Sunday off. That sounds about right.  I am aiming for 30 miles per week for a while. I may just register for the marathon in Burlington this month, before it fills up. Six months ought to be enough time to train for it, for Mercury’s sake, so I should be fine with that.

Now that I am less nimble–I trained for my first marathon in 60 days–I need to take it easier. But I do not mean to plod along like an old man for the next several months.  Build up slowly so I don’t get injured (again), run the marathon in May, then the Vermont 50 in September.  Sounds like a plan to me.

From Groton to Gratin

Swimming in Groton

Swimming in Groton

Yesterday we were on the tail end of a trip to Ricker Pond State Park to camp overnight with friends.  It is part of Groton State Forest which, I learned a couple days ago, is the second largest state landholding.  I am guessing the first is Camel’s Hump State Forest.  That is a big one, too.  We swam lots and ate s’mores and slept on the bumpy lumpy campsite floor and listened to loons.  We had a fine time, squeezing one more tent adventure into our summer.

The summer is fading fast.  This evening, after dinner, feels a little like fall.  The light is swinging around and it is getting darker earlier.  The air has a bit of a chill.  But we are having none of it.  Tonight I crafted a summer gratin and I am, as I write, making the turns that will result in peach ice cream.  That is as summer as it gets.

This gratin is a dandy of a dinner.  Made with almost all local ingredients (hard to get local olive oil and parmesan round here) it is hot and crisp and juicy and just plain old delicious.  The basics:

1. Slowly saute a bunch of onions or leeks (I used both–bunching onions from our CSA and leeks from our garden) and add garlic at the end

2. Slice up tomatoes, potatoes par-boiled to get them nice and tender), zucchini and yellow squash and mix with oil and herbs

3. Arrange in layers with parmesan and cheddar in between, tossing in salt and pepper and fresh herbs (I used thyme and basil grown right here)

4. Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan and bake at 375 degrees for 70 minutes.

5.  Cool ten minutes and serve it up

6. You got yourself a gratin.

Gratin Just Prior to Consumption

Gratin Just Prior to Consumption

I’m telling you, it is tasty–fresh hot and delicious and the pizza box says.  Yesterday we were in Groton; today gratin was in us.

The sun fades on a perfect August day.  The clouds are tipped in pink and yellow.  Black eyed susans and day lilies bloom along the edge of the field.  Crickets chirp.  The smell of freshly cut hay drifts across the fields.  And peach ice cream on the way.  That’ll do.