Friday, October 16, 2015


By some weird freak of nature I ended up with a couple of butternut squash plants in a part of my garden where nothing had been planted.  Winter squash needs a longer growing season than we have here on the east side of Idaho so I let it grow more as a ground cover.  Still, the unusually warm fall allowed my squash to mature.

 I really like baked butternut squash, but I was looking for another way to use my bounty of big orange vegetables so when I saw Matt Lauer and his guest stirring up the ingredients for Butternut Squash Soup, I decided to give it a try.

 The method of cutting the squash vertical before peeling was a good idea.  This squash hadn’t had time to form a really hard skin so the first step was easy.

 I liked the colors of all the vegetable ingredients and it was an interesting and fine idea to include chunks of a granny smith apple to add a bit of tartness.

 I put the apple, squash and other vegetables in my big, deep sauce pan, added the olive oil and sautéed them as instructed in the recipe I found on the website.

 When the vegetables were caramelized and turning a golden color I added the chili powder.  I didn’t have any low sodium vegetable broth so I stirred up some onion soup mix, then sprinkled in the sage.

I brought the mixture to a boil and then simmered it until the squash was soft.

Since there was the option of having chunky soup or pureed, I saved some out and sent the rest through my blender.

 Before I served it, I stirred in the cream.  Then I tasted it.  
Well….it was better than the orange squash glop I hid in my milk carton at my grade school cafeteria, but it came pretty close to the canned baby food I poked down my kids when they were too little to know better.  Even when we added picante sauce to overcome some of the blandness, it wasn’t real appetizing.  I told DH he didn’t have to pretend to like it.  He declared, “Not my favorite,” and had another grilled cheese sandwich.  This may be one soup we will sacrifice to the sink gods.  Now that I think about it, Al Roker’s verdict was pretty noncommittal, “Perfect butternut soup weather.”

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Although the campers are all gone for the summer, things have not been quiet at camp. A new bathroom is under construction on the south end of the property.

 The building began to take shape with the installation of brick walls.

 There has been a rush to get the job completed before winter weather hits.

 On September 21, Vern Johnson slid the last brick into place.

 The next day a truck arrived with concrete grout to pour into the brick openings to reinforce the walls.

The guy managing the pouring was directing the grout flow with a remote and a joy stick.

 See, Mom, all those hours playing video games may be useful after all.

 DH got involved in preparing the building for its roof.

 The next step was to raise the roof.  A crane arrived to lift the pre-fab trusses into place.

 DH got the job of keeping the pieces steady as they went up.

 Up on the scaffolding were more workers ready to set the trusses into position.

 By September 23 the guys were finishing the framing of the roof.

 Work continued under blue skies and unusually warm weather.

 Plywood went down over the roof frame.

 Meanwhile the backhoe operators were busy digging a hole nearby to hold the septic tanks.

This was a BIG hole.  No one wanted to deal with a backed up sewer system in the middle of a summer camp full of hundreds of campers.

 The septic tanks arrived right on time.

Three big tanks were set in to handle sewage.

 At the same time the construction workers were getting the metal roofing on so the project would be ready for the winter snows.

 Metal roofs are very efficient in shedding heavy snowfall.

 Then work started on the drain field on the hill above camp.

 The plan was to pump the sludge up to a system of pipes where it would eventually filter down into the soil.

 Huge pipes and small pipes went into the ground which were designed to invisibly and efficiently dispose of hundreds of flushes a day.

 Back inside the new restroom, the plumbing and electrical system was going into place. 

Now the sheet rock has been installed, the walls have been prepped and readied for paint, and the doors are painted and ready to be hung.