Dear Husband, Elegante Mother and I made a long weekend trip to visit my youngest sis and her family, in Indiana, this weekend. I wasn't sure at first that we would get to go. D.H. called me at mid-day to warn me that the job he was on was not moving forward well, and he might have to work on Friday. I was capable of driving E. M. and myself to Nan's but I really didn't want to go without him. We are only two weeks into the non-boating season, too early to be apart. Besides, I enjoy these trips with D.H.
At any rate, he was able to move things through, but we didn't leave for Indiana until sometime past 5:30. We make a stop halfway through this trip, so it takes us easily five hours to get there. We could make it in three and a half, if we took the tollways, and if we risked flying low part of the way, but that's not what this trip was about. It felt rather like being in a cocoon, as we drove through the dark fields. It took us an hour to get out of the suburban area that surrounds Chicago. At that point, we saw the lights on harvesters where farmers were out combining the corn in the dark, and there were lights on the farmhouses that were scattered through the fields. Otherwise, the dark closed in around the car. I used my brights to illuminate the sides of the road, so that I'd be aware of any deer getting ready to cross the roads.
The trip went smoothly, We arrived a little earlier than I expected, but we crossed a time zone line, so we got in about 11:30 Indiana time. Normally, I would have slept in my own bed on Thursday night, and made the trip on Friday morning, but we really wanted to have as many hours as possible to share with family. I was surprised that E.M. was awake a great deal of the way.
Gas......when we left the far west suburbs of Chicago, gas was in a range of $2.69 to $2.79. When we left central Indiana, we purchased gas for $2.11 a gallon, and that was the rock bottom price for the trip. By the time we got home, gas had dropped to $2.55. I want to know WHY I have to pay $.44 a gallon more? I know...the answer is "because they can charge it, and get away with it." Not a good answer!
The color.....was STUNNING! We had missed the peak by a few days, but there were sharp reds, and oranges and yellows, and more muted golds and apricots and greens. There were trees that hadn't begun to change, and trees that had no leaves! Everywhere you looked, it was just beautiful.
Nan and I gathered Osage oranges to use in our homes to deter the insects which want to take up housekeeping. She has made the acquaintance of a farmer who has a line of Osage orange trees along his field. She swaps him a home made apple crisp for the chance to pick up the windfalls. Dear Husband and I helped in the endeavor. Nan and her hubby have an apple tree just past their deck that is heavy with apples. DH pared, and I cored and sliced enough apples to make two pies and the apple crisp. IT was well worth the effort!
Nan enjoys cooking, especially when there is someone to share the bounty. She and her family eat more simply, as we do, during the week, but it's fun to try recipes that you don't normally have time to try. The first night they stuffed us with steak, baked potatoes (or sweet potatoes), sourdough bread, and a stir-fry of onions, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. The contrast of the green and purple was eye candy!
Nan had intended to do cioppino for lunch, but we got a late start. We went antiquing and shopping and were on our way home when hunger hit. We stopped at the "Apple Dumpling Inn." I had a tuna salad sandwich that had small chunks of apple and walnuts that was incredibly good. Unfortunately, we were too full to have the baked apple dumplings for dessert. Duh! We could have brought some home with us! Too bad. We'll just have to go back! *G*
Nan cooked the cioppino for dinner, and it was just right, with more of the sourdough bread. I've only cooked cioppino once, and that was after our trip to Alaska. I'd enjoyed it so much on the cruise that they gave me the recipe....for 60! As a Midwesterner, ciopinno is something new and fresh to experience. For those of you who live on or near the coasts, it's old hat, something taken for granted. We really enjoyed it, and you can bet that should I ever get to travel through the coast areas of the US, I'll be looking for more chances to sample it.
We were busy all day long Friday and Saturday. Saturday evening we all ended up in the sun-room, with the dog. My brother-in-law popped popcorn for us. I had the chance to work on a binding while we watched Mike Rowe, and his Dirty Jobs program, which is an odd way to end a day, but interesting. (More on that another day.)
Sunday, we ATE AGAIN!!! And sat and chatted for a little bit, before heading home. I hate to leave Nan's home. We are always so comfortable there, and it's nice to have the chance to catch up on each other's lives.
So, it's back to our regular chores. I need to have the car looked at (a mysterious clanging sound when we corner....swaybars, maybe), and I need to stock up on birdseed, return some items we bought for EM that don't fit, work on Thanksgiving, and VOTE!!! I hope you're all registered, and have been able to make up your minds. Go Vote! And have a great week!