Archive for January, 2011

Hunter Street Happenings – Week of January 16, 2011

Phew!  We had a busy week with a few extracurricular activities.  Enjoy!

Tuesday – Science Fair

On Tuesday night, Tyrek came over and finished up his report and backboard for the J.C. Sawyer Science Fair.

Tyrek Science Fair - Tyrek Gluing Items on Backboard
Tyrek Gluing Backboard

Tyrek Science Fair - Backboard, Plants and Report
Final Layout

I was feeling pretty good about Tyrek’s project. Then on Wednesday morning when Ryan and I dropped the project off at J.C. Sawyer Elementary, we got a glimpse of the handiwork of Tyrek’s classmates. Man, all of those kids worked really hard and some of them got super creative with decorating the backboards. Tyrek and the philodendrons have some stiff competition! : )

Thursday – Relay for Life Team Meeting
On Thursday, the Pasquotank/Camden Relay for Life had their Team Captain’s Meeting. Khalif and Terrance came with me. Khalif even got to spin the prize wheel and won a hat. Both boys were very helpful. Khalif got some people registered online, Terrance took some pictures for the recap and both helped the committee members pack up their cars. Since the meeting, Khalif and his grandmother have already raised $35 more dollars for Relay. Go Hunter Street Hope!

Relay for Life Team Captain Meeting - Prize Wheel
Prize Wheel in Action!

Saturday – National Blonde Brownie Day
The Year of Living Unofficially tipped us off that January 23rd was National Blonde Brownie Day. Early in the day, Ryan and I perused and picked out a Blonde Brownie recipe. That afternoon we made ourselves a special treat to enjoy after our supper of turkey chili.

National Blonde Brownie Day - Ryan Eats Brownie
Ryan Eats a Brownie

The brownies turned out to be quite serendiptious. At 3 AM, I had to get up for a support call. This exceedingly unappealing activity had a surprising silver lining. I may have had to get out of bed. BUT— I had leftover brownies to assist me!

National Blonde Brownie Day - They Are Even Better at 3 AM!
Blonde Brownies are Even Better at 3:31 AM EST

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January 23, 2011 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

Blog Recommendation: The Year of Living Unofficially

  • Ryan and I have friends, Brittany and Chris, who are going to celebrate a holiday every day in 2011.  They’ve researched and found quirky, off-the-beaten-path holidays, stuff like “National Drinking Straw Day” and “National Bubble Bath Day”.  Their blog, “The Year of Living Unofficially“, shows the upcoming holidays and each evening they recap the day’s celebration.  Although we are only 12 days into 2011, I’m pretty confident they are going to stick to it.  Last week the wife contracted the stomach flu, but they still managed to observe “National Bird Day”!

Ryan and I have been enjoying the blog.  When an “unofficial” holiday catches our eye, we’ve been celebrating it too.  Well, sort of.  Our “observances” so far:

  • January 2 – National Science Fiction Day
    We watched the recently restored version of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film masterpiece “Metropolis“.
  • January 3 – National Drinking Straw Day
    I made it a point to wish my boss a “Happy Drinking Straw Day”.  He despises what he calls “Sissy Sticks” and his reaction brought me much joy. : )
  • January 5 – National Bird Day
    I took a few moments to sit outside and enjoy the birds in our yard.  I also reflected on all the opreys Ryan and I saw kayaking this year.
  • January 6 – National Cudde Up Day
    YES!  Fleece pants, toe socks, a warm comforter (the dragon blanket) and Star Trek Voyager episodes on DVD made this unofficial especially relaxing.
  • January 7 – National Tempura Day
    Ryan was manning Earth 383 for Friday Night Magic.  I picked up Toyama’s and we feasted on tempura while watching the shop!
  • January 8 – National Bubble Bath Day
    I did a very thorough cleaning of our bath tub… to empower future bubble baths!  : )
  • January 10 – National Clean Off Your Desk Day
    I had cleaned my desk the week before, but Ryan went ahead cleaned off his that day.  Since a lot of the items on his desk turned out to be my stuff, I believe I’m going to have to clean off my desk again soon.  : )

Note: The holiday name is linked to Brittany and Chris’s celebration, which is more elaborate than ours!  🙂

Anyway, we’ve been having fun reading about all Brittany and Chris’s adventures and discovering holidays we never knew existed.  I definitely recommend the site!  You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

January 12, 2011 at 1:00 am 3 comments

Henry’s Valley Forge

A few years ago, my boss Larry and I were on a business trip in Pennsylvania with some extra time. We decided to stop by Valley Forge on our way to the airport. As we made our way to the National Park, Larry and I rambled on as we tend to do and we both talked about all the things we remembered about Valley Forge. When we arrived, we were dumbfounded at how consistently inaccurate our recollections were. For example, the men did not in fact leave Valley Forge to sail across the Delaware River to win the war.

But, one thing I DID remember correctly was the bloody footprints. During the winter to 1777-1778, the men were ill-clothed and if they had shoes, they weren’t up to the winter weather. Ice and snow were not kind to the soldier’s exposed feet. They cracked and bled and left souvenirs in the snow. In a letter to Congress, George Washington wrote, “marches might be tracked by the blood from their feet.”

The most treacherous part for the humans on our snowy Kelly’s Knob hike was our drive back down icy VA-601. For Henry, it was the snow itself. All seemed well at first. Henry was having a good ole time and was as happy as I was to be reunited with the Appalachian Trail.

Kelly's Knob - Henry the Trailblazer
Happy Henry

Then suddenly, history in action. We started to notice blood in the snow. The footprints got bloodier and bloodier. We didn’t have a Martha Washington on hand to knit some socks for Henry. But we did have a Ryan Somma. Henry soldiered on for as long as he could. Finally, he acquiesced and let Ryan carry him the rest of the way.

Kelly's Knob - Henry's Paws (Cropped)
Bloody footed Henry is carried down by Ryan

In a few days, Henry’s paws were as good as new.

At least, that’s how I recall it now.

January 11, 2011 at 1:00 am 3 comments

Kelly’s Knob in the Snow

Greetings everyone! I hope you had a happy and healthy holiday season. The weekend before Christmas, Ryan Somma and I headed to my old stomping grounds in Blacksburg, Virginia for a five day visit. There I got one of the best early Christmas presents a girl could hope for– a reunion with the mountains! : )

On Sunday, December 19th, we got to hit the Appalachian Trail with the dogs and our friends Tony and Meredith. We went from the Rocky Gap/VA-601 trailhead up to Kelly’s Knob. It’s about a 3.8 mile round trip. It starts off steep with a roughly 500-600 foot ascent in the first half mile (Source: Elevation Map from weaselworks). Don’t let the beginning fool you though, once you make it up to the intersection of the John’s Creek Mountain Trail, it is all ridgeline and smooth sailing.

I’ve done Kelly’s Knob a number of times (see my other Kelly’s Knob posts), but this time was by far the snowiest. When we started our hike, there was a lone set of footprints already in the snow. Apparently that hiker was fooled by the steep beginning because surprisingly soon the footprints disappeared. That left us with fresh snow to hike in.

Kelly's Knob - Pristine Trail
Appalachian Trail En Route to Kelly’s Knob

The top was as gorgeous as usual. As I have written before, you can see the Virginia Tech campus from Kelly’s Knob. That particular day, we didn’t take advantage of it. None of us were courageous/foolish enough to climb out onto the snow-covered rocks. Luckily, what we could see from the security of the trail was quite striking.

Kelly's Knob - Blue Sky and Frosted Tree Tops
Frosted Tree Tops

Kelly's Knob - Snow Covered Rocks and View (Far)
Snow Covered Rocks at Kelly’s Knob

Kelly's Knob - Snow Covered Rocks and Ridges
Rocks and Ridges at Kelly’s Knob

Kelly's Knob - Tree Hole and Ridgeline
The Knotty Kelly’s Knob Tree and Ridges

I didn’t see any American chestnut trees as we hiked (there are a whole bunch of them south of Rocky Gap) but I did spy an American Chestnut leaf in the snow!

Kelly's Knob - Possible Chestnut Leaf in Snow
American Chestnut Leaf in the Snow

The most trecherous part of our journey (for the humans) was actually driving home. With intentions I’m certain were good, someone had attempted to plow the gravel VA-601. Unfortunately the efforts had produced a formidable sheet of ice. We had 1.5 miles back down to paved and cleared road. 1.5 miles of a steep icy road with particularly unnerving dropoffs in lieu of shoulders. Ryan, Meredith and I all agreed Tony would be the most qualified to get us off the mountain. He did not let us down! In 4WD low and in first gear, with occassional brake pumping and steering the vehicle onto exposed gravel or loose snow, he slowly but surely got us down.

My heater in my car was broken which proved to be advantageous to our trusted driver.

“It’s a good thing [the heat’s broken]” Tony pointed out. “Otherwise, I’d be sweating balls right now.” : )

Thanks to Tony’s patient driving, we all got to go home with untainted memories of another great adventure.

Kelly's Knob - Jimmie, Tony, Henry, Meredith, Vicky on Trail
Jimmie, Tony (The Hero!), Henry, Meredith and Vicky

Kelly's Knob - Henry, Jimmie and Ryan Descend
Ryan Descends with Henry and Jimmie

More pictures of our hike to Kelly’s Knob can be found on my Flickr site.

Rocky Gap to Kelly’s Knob
(Appalachian Trail from VA-601 to Kelly’s Knob and back)

Mileage: 3.8 miles round trip

Elevation Difference: Est. 800 feet

4WD Requirements: The last 1.5 miles of VA-601 is a gravel hill, but it is well maintained and I have seen non-4WD vehicles make it up in non-icy conditions.

Trailhead Parking: The VA-601 trailhead has a small parking area to the left. On busy days, cars park on the side of the gravel road.

Driving Directions:
(from Blacksburg, Virginia)
Take 460 West and turn right on VA-42.
Bear right to stay on VA-42
Shortly afterwards, turn left on VA-601
When VA-601 turns to gravel, you have about 1.5 miles to the top.
Once there, AT Southbound is to your left and AT Northbound is on your right.

Along the way, you’ll pass by Sinking Creek Bridge, a covered bridge built in 1916.

January 10, 2011 at 1:00 am 5 comments


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