Saturday, February 9, 2013

Soups and Sledding

Neither Tim nor I have a winter hobby.  We don't ski, we don't snowmobile and we don't often enjoy the weather.  We hibernate, pray for mild winters and count the days until Spring.  But now and then you have to get out there and enjoy it.  So when our nearby friends Gary and Myra invited us to come sledding we did not refuse.

Black Bean Stoup
The sledding party was an intro to their normal wine racking get together. Gary and Myra, and neighbors Mike and Shelly, and a whole bunch of other people, make their own wine.  It's quite a production.  Mike and Shelly keep us stocked with home made wine for most of the year.  You see, the Lake Erie Shore and Finger Lake regions of New York are second only to California in wine production.  Vineyards and Wineries are all over.  This group has been making delicious wine for many seasons.  Some times we tag along to enjoy the fruits of their labors, and this was one of three main work bees, the racking and testing prior to the final bottling.  When I asked what I could bring, Myra said "Soup.  Everyone is bringing Soup".  Sounds like a perfect idea.

My Black Turtle Beans from Johnny's Seeds
I like Bean Soup.  It only took me a few minutes to decide the logical thing would be to use my home grown Black Beans from last season.  Sharing them with friends is the best way to enjoy them.  I consulted Rachel Ray and chose her Black Bean Stoup.  The dried black beans have to be soaked over night and boiled for about an hour before being added to this recipe. I also used my own onions (the last of them) garlic and canned tomatoes.  I made it in the crock pot and served it with a topping choice of shredded Pepper jack Cheese or Sour Cream.  Most people added both.  There were no leftovers.

 Gary and Myra live on a hill, back by the woods, at the end of a long driveway... and they have a Big Sled.
This sled spends the rest of the year mounted on a rack on the wall of the house on the wrap around porch doing double duty as a sideboard.

 When you get older, you learn how to set up a sledding party properly.  This isn't a bunch of kids with plastic toboggans, soggy snowsuits and frozen bottoms. First you choose a beautiful bright blue day with several inches of fresh diamond powder.  Then you pack a cooler full of beer and light a bonfire with woodshop scraps.

Then you all get on The Big Sled.  Here we have Gary pushing Boots, myself and Myra.

 If you get too many people on The Big Sled, you will need a second pusher.
Myra and Boots push Tim, Gary and a bunch of kids from Gary's brother-in-law's down the hill.

Then you sled away to the horizon.  Midway down that hill there is quite a dip which you can't see in the picture.  You can work up quite a bit of speed there, especially if you've waxed your runners.  The hill levels off at the bottom giving you just enough space to stop the sled before crossing the county highway into the swamp.

If you get tired of waiting your turn for The Big Sled, there are several old fashioned runner sleds around to pass the time on.  Even Myra's 80 year old mother "Boots" seen above in the blue pants pushing the sled, will do a belly flopper on the runner sleds.  I don't recall runner sleds being this much fun!

Now comes the best part of Geriatric Sledding.

Someone will go down in the ATV to tow your butt back up the hill!

 When hunger sets in its back to the house for soup and bread.  Besides the Black Bean Stoup there was a wonderful creamy chicken wing soup and chile con carne.  There was also tossed salad and plenty of home made wine.

Ultimate Coconut Cake (aka Cardiac Cake)
As a grand finale, Myra had made the super heavy, super rich Ultimate Coconut cake.  It was incredible and there were no leftovers of that either.


  1. That's awesome ! The only differences I remember were that the adults supped on whiskey vs beer and we used snowmobiles vs ATV's to tow the aged and infirm back to the top of the hill.

  2. Sledding *would* be a lot more fun with a tow back up :)

  3. A very cool adventure.. My favorite part of this adventure is setting up a bonfire in the middle of a snow..