Tag Archives: Relaxing

A visit to Connecticut before the storm hits


Weekend of 31-Jan-15 through 01-Feb-15

Ben Hutt Jan 2015

As we’ve established, I enjoy visiting my Aunt.  Her house in Connecticut is amazing; she just creates this perfect atmosphere of warmth and serenity, no matter what season it is, or what’s happening in my life.  This winter has been rough for me, as most winters are… I dislike being trapped, and the longer commuting times due to the snow, combined with a lack of sunlight and general “you can’t do that, because it’s zero degrees out and there’s a billion feet of snow on the ground” makes me more than a bit blue.

So, I drove down to CT to visit and recharge my batteries.

The drive wasn’t too bad – it had snowed pretty hard earlier in the week, but there had been enough time and snow and plows to clear the roads out pretty nicely.  Of course there were a few spots that I had to slow down and be careful at the wheel, but for the most part the drive was the usual relaxing.  It did help that I’d stopped in Cambridge for a bite of breakfast before hitting the highway – that way I was able to just drive straight, and had a belly nicely full of pancakes and coffee to keep me going.

Once I got into Connecticut, there was a short bit of hanging out and catching up – chatting about my job, her writing, my lack of writing… the usual stuff that my Aunt and I chat about.  Eating kumquats, and playing with Einstein (pictured above, with me).

The main goals of the weekend were to eat delicious pizza, do a bit of shoveling, get grain for the goats, and get hay for the goats.  The pizza part we killed off that first night, along with picking up the grain (if I remember correctly).  However, the shoveling and hay had to wait for the next morning…

My Aunt, as we’ve established, is amazing.  So her goats are, obviously, amazing as well.  But that means that they need amazing food, and amazing hay can be hard to find.  So, we went to a small farm, with a large barn.  And an owner who scours the nearby farms (and some not so nearby farms) for bales of hay, and then organizes them all up into the huge barn.

And from the huge barn?  Tetris skills man.  Tetris skills to get six huge bales of hay into one small Volvo.  I mean, not a tiny car by any means, but definitely not a monster van or anything… or even the usual pickup that you’d expect.  But it can be done, and it was be done, because it done got done.  Yes.

And then – we belted up to do battle.  See, the path down to the goat’s barn was all well and good for walking, but not for trucking bales of hay down from the car.  So we shoveled it out.  Nice and light and fluffy snow, and the job was made easier by the fact that somehow Boston’s been a magnet for snow this season – meaning that there was only ~8 inches of snow on the ground, vs. Boston’s 16-30 inches.

So it was a simple job.  Moving the hay was a bit tougher, but definitely fun due to the wicked hook that we used to haul it from the car into the wheelbarrow… Seriously, that thing reminded me of Captain Hook…. but scarier.  I loved it.

Once the hay loft was stocked, we played a bit with Violet and SweetPea, helped them do their nails (Trimming their hooves, really only Violet, since SweetPea was too big for me to hold onto), and ran around the pen like crazy people.  Sometimes I chased the goaties, sometimes they chased me.  Usually we just ran around crazy, enjoying the outdoors and the winter as only Swiss goats can.



Blog Link for my Aunt!


How to make a bad day… not so bad.




I had a rough day.

In all honesty, I couldn’t pinpoint any single bit that made it worse than a normal day… I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I guess.  And then had the bed explode, and stab me with a knife made of doom.  It wasn’t pleasant.

The workday didn’t make it any better, especially when I had a last-minute project dropped on my lap, which kept me at work just long enough to have to bail on a date.  Seriously – one of my biggest frustrations is how everything is always timed just close enough that it reminds you how it could have been… instead of definitely being absolutely too late to keep my plans, instead I was only 15min late… so that little voice in the back of my head kept reminding me that, maybe, I could have made it.  That this other option was still just close enough that I could maybe rush and make it only a little late…

But no – Instead, I cut my losses, canceled plans, and drove home.

I knew how to make it a better night though – delicious dinners, with delicious drinks, and delicious relaxation.


An alternative title to this could be: “the night I practiced shucking oysters”

Because that is exactly what I did – I stopped in at the butchers shop to get a pair of steaks.  One for dinner, and one for lunch tomorrow.

Then, I salted them, and left them to sit while I walked down the street to whole foods, while listening to an amazing album.  At whole foods, bread and oysters (along with sauce, and an oyster knife) were bought.

Then I walked home… taking just long enough for the album to finish playing all the way through.

Oysters were shucked while the oven was heating up – then eaten while I was cooking the steak and cutting up the tomatoes to go with it.  The bread was tossed into the oven to warm up right before the steaks were ready, and it was done by the time they had sit and rested after being cooked.

Scotch, of course, was sipped liberally throughout the process.


By the time I was done eating?  Well, nothing had really changed in the real world.  But my outlook on it was markedly improved.

A spur-of-the-moment trip to the Loj


What to do on a Friday night, when I don’t have any plans until Sunday… why not go to the Loj?

Friday through Sunday, 18-Apr-2014 through 20-Apr-14

Friday, 18-Apr-14

My favorite part about being on the Loj committee is that I can always escape the city if I want to, and go up to the Loj.

So when I found myself bored on a Friday evening, with no plans to meet people or do anything until Sunday afternoon… well, it doesn’t take long to pack a quick overnight pack, put my tent and sleeping bag in the car, and start out onto 93 Northbound.

First stop on the road to adventure was Chilis, for some delicious baby back ribs.  Since it’s passover, burgers were right out… same with Nachos, I’m afraid.  unfortunately the chef was a little mistake, and didn’t put any of the delicious into the ribs when I showed up; fortunately, I had Farenheight 451 with me to read, so that distracted me from the fact that the ribs were horridly dry.  I think I’m going to start cooking my own ribs, from now on…

(Ed note: look forward to Ben posting a babyback rib recipe soon!)

From there, the highway called.  So tunes were cranked up, the top was put down, and I roared off toward Gorham.

Saturday, 19-Apr-14

The night before I had set up my tent out back, in my usual little spot, and spent a bit of time chatting and catching up with the folks who’d showed up to the Loj.  From there, and after a bit of breakfast, I started walking out toward Shelbourne-Moriah…

  • I’d found a pair of snowshoes near the Loj, evidently just now thawing out from the winter.  Nice.  Took them along, because I heard rumor that the snowpack was pretty deep up near the top of the trail.
  • Getting across connor brook was… interesting.  The snowmelt had raised the river, so I had to do a bit of dramatic rock-hopping to make it across.
  • Honestly, the rest of the hike blends itself together.  I stopped by the river for an early lunch, and then followed the trail up into the woods as far as I could go.  Snowshoes became necessary when I went above the melt-line, but aside from that it was just a standard-issue relaxing hike.
  • Read some more of Fahrenheit 451; it’s a good book, once you get pack the excessive prose.
  • Didn’t get all the way up, thanks to losing the trail in the snow, but it was still a quite successful day of walking and relaxing and eating.
  • headed back to the Loj, arriving with a few hours to spare before sundown, and relaxed around the fire until it got dark, finishing up 451 and moving onto my next book – a Warhammer novel that my step-dad lent me.
  • Dinner consisted of a variant stir-fry; apples, chicken, onions, pinapple, and some other extras thrown in on top.  Quite delicious.
  • Evening spent relaxing before bed, then heading back to the tent.
  • Sleep was… difficult.  The pad was comfortable enough, but unfortunately I was leaving early in the morning to meet a friend… which meant sleeping early.  But I was the only one aiming for that – I’m pretty sure there was some full “ritual of spring” going on at the Loj that evening.  Whatever it was, it required large fires, lots of pots and pans, and definitely kept on into the night…


**continued below**


Sunday, 20-Apr-14

  •  Woke up early, and made myself a nice light breakfast for the road.  The goal was to be leaving before 8:30, and I was walking down the trail by 8:35. Not bad.
  • Took a few things of trash – the advantage to a convertible is that it’s really easy to haul stuff like that, as long as it doesn’t leak.  Thankfully, none of them did… but I made sure to put a small blanket down first, just in case.
  • The drive back to Boston was ideal – relaxing, warm, and sunny.  I enjoyed myself immensely.
  • Once home, relaxing and working in the garden.  Crysee was supposed to meet me around 14:00, but unfortunately she got sidetracked meeting up with some friends… which was actually nice, since it gave me some more time to work through the front yard, getting it ready for the coming summer…