As I suspected, I’m already falling behind in updating this now that my “vacation” is over. I’ve done a little baking, but between being sick (stupid summer colds!) working two jobs, running – or helping to run – a few worship services, and trying to gear up for a summer intensive class I haven’t had the time to really experiment or try anything awesome. I did make some brownies the other day, using Bob’s Red Mill Brownie mix, and adding some butterscotch chips (I must use them!!) and some strawberry juice (directly pressed out of some strawberries). They turned out pretty yummy I think. But there is one issue I keep encountering – I put the brownies in the pan as directed (even got the correct size pan in hopes that it would make them turn out correctly!), I cook them in a preheated oven, at the prescribed temperature, for the prescribed time… and they remain liquid in the center. I cook them longer and still, liquid. Even longer and I managed to get them less liquid, but they are still very gooey. Suggestions?
I hope to actually do some creative baking this weekend (still really want to try my stuffed pasta!) but for now, I leave you with some random pictures I’ve taken:
It was my roomies birthday, so we, of course, had to have some cake. Since I’m Gluten-Free, I wanted something I could enjoy as well… and I happened to have some Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Cake Mix kicking about in the pantry, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
We’ve had a few hot days in Maine this summer. Not as hot as some places in the country, but still, hotter (and more humid) than I care for!
I found myself really wanting some strawberry lemonade, something refreshing, cool, and a bit sweet. And I have all these strawberries, that I’ve only used a little of, which still need to be put to use. They’ve been taking up too much space in my freezer.
On the way up to Baxter, we stop in the Ranger Station, located outside of the park. They have a bunch of maps, a slide show about the park, and some books for sale. This year I picked up a book, turned it over and read the back and said, “Hmm…I think I’d like this book.” To which my friend, Erica, replied, “I think you’ve said that the past two years.” I probably had… so I decided it was a sign for me to go ahead and get the book. I haven’t gotten the chance to read very far in it yet, but in the Introduction, the author said something that struck a chord in me:
“In Katahdin many encounter the mystical. Some consider the mountain sacred because its presence and its overpowering grandness guide them toward inner contemplation of the vital center of all being. They are like pilgrims seeking the elemental heartbeat or pulse of the spirit. This is the most awesome aspect to the Katahdin experience. Native Americans call it the pulse of the great spirit.” (Katahdin: An Historic Journey. by John W. Neff, Introduction, xxiv.)
From the first year that I went up to Baxter, I felt a deep connection to the land. Though I have never climbed Katahdin, there is something about the land around it that calls to me, that stirs up something deeper within me. It feels mythical and magical to me. Being in seminary, and needing to do a lot more reflection and thinking about my own beliefs, this park seemed like the right place for me to explore some of these thoughts. I still haven’t found the right words, or decided just what I want to say – so those thoughts are going to stay in my paper-journal for the time being, but here are some of the pictures of the natural beauty around my campsite and on the trails 🙂
One of the things that Josh shared in our “interview” was what occurred on a hike he and his mom took to Sandy Stream Pond (an easy hike from our campground). One of the things he learned as a Junior Ranger was that you should stay at least 20 feet away from the moose (and other animals) and shoo them away if they’re in your path. This news got put to use on his hike with his mom… they had to shoo away two deer, and then they saw a moose up close… in Josh’s words “I heard a moose peeing – which not a lot of people hear. And I saw a moose with flies tornado-ing his butt, and they’re big… and even more big.”
I had my own moose encounter on the Sandy Stream Trail. I decided to go out for a walk on my own during our second day, wanting to take some time to sit out on the Big Rock viewpoint and do some thinking and writing. I stopped at the first viewpoint to see if there were any moose out in the pond – they love the water there and it’s a popular place to see moose. On our first night we saw a bull moose out across the water and so I had hope that I could see another one.
I just got back from a camping trip up at Baxter State park here in Maine. It’s beautiful there, Katahdin is a gorgeous mountain, rising up from the area around it, and I always love my visits here. This is my third summer spending a long weekend at the park, going up with some friends who have been camping at Baxter for years.
We were only there for two nights, but I have a lot to say – so prepare for a few entries (hopefully more than one a week) while I get it all out! I have a lot of reflecting to do, plus, I have lots of pictures to share!
I’m exhausted, and the heat is conspiring to make it difficult for me to concentrate, or even get my brain to work really. I promise, soon, to regale you with stories about my recent adventures in Baxter State Park… but for now, enjoy this teaser picture – know that a story will soon follow! I’m off to put more anti-itch stuff on my bug-bites (of doom!)