Memorial Day is now a memory. Hopefully, a joyful one. Now it’s time to get serious about summer. That’s why I just made my first batch of ice cream. This past winter I treated myself to more scoops at Berthillon’s (Paris most famous glacier) than necessary and regretted not one lick. Missing that occasional flavor burst in a cone, I mixed together Lemon-Speculoos ice cream this week. It’s ridiculously creamy and delicious. Why not pull out your ice cream machine? Show some love to those you love.

I showed some love to the evening crew at The Gant’s front desk with Lemon-Speculoos Ice Cream Waffle Bowls.

This week’s Cook-the-Book-Fridays recipe choice is Porc Fumé Façon Barbecue. We Iowans translate that to Smoky Barbecue-Style Pulled Pork. Although I’ve made Pork chops, loin, shoulder, tenderloin, sausage and ham and bacon, I’ve never “pulled pork.”


Ten years ago I successfully relied on You Tube for a tutorial on How To Set a Mousetrap. Perhaps, I decided, this called for another You Tube adventure. Readers, if I had viewed all the available You Tube videos on “pulling pork,” I wouldn’t have had the time to “pull” this pork. I watched three videos. I conquered pulling pork which produced perfect sandwiches for Memorial Day.


We first moved to Aspen in 1988. Each morning when I can wake up in this beautiful place, I never forget or take for granted how fortunate I am to live here. My photos in this week’s post especially offer a glimpse into why this is so. I dusted off my gratitude journal last month and plan to express visually what I often express with words. Where does it say that a gratitude journal has to be loaded with lists?

Hopefully you feel that same joy living in your chosen homeplace. Imagine what photos you might take to represent the gratitude of that. “Life is like ice cream, enjoy it before it melts.”

On Memorial Day I always walk through Ute Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located a few minutes from my condo. Of the 175 people buried there, 39 are the Civil War veterans memorialized on this stone.

After the war, many Civil War veterans settled in the West. These 39 veterans are buried on the crest of a ridge in the cemetery, one row above another. Our local war veterans always place flags at their stones every Memorial Day. Honor. Respect. We never forget.

On Memorial Day Donna Grauer and I also visited Aspen Grove Cemetery where many of Aspen’s early community movers and shakers and 12 more Civil War veterans are buried. Donna spotted this broken, discarded statue leaning against a ponderosa pine.

Ever the volunteer Ranger whether in or out of uniform, Donna climbed down into the woods to check out the statue. She found the head and we managed to put it together so we can safely secure it later. St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecologists, rises again to watch over his flock.


Thanks to advice and assistance from my new Gant neighbor, Nancy Ferrillo, I now have a balcony filled with five flower boxes and four hummingbird feeders. First time ever. Six years and a very-determined-neighbor later, the hummers are deliriously happy and I have the balcony of my dreams.

Besides completing that project this week, I also began my USFS volunteer ranger duties. The highlight of my week, however, was a full-day Spring Migration Birding Trip led by Rebecca Weiss, the naturalist specializing in birds and botany at the Aspen Center of Environmental Studies and photographer Mark Fuller, newly retired after 37 years as director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority. Although I’ve been on countless day-long birding excursions, this was an unbelievable and beautiful day with 53 different species sightings. I’ve only honor and respect for these wondrous creatures.

We started our day e-a-r-l-y at Rock Bottom Ranch in Carbondale. Our leaders, Rebecca and Mark.

For the past two years Rebecca and Mark have collaborated on this long-anticipated book which will be published in mid-July.

We looked up and saw a raptor flying overhead. It turned out to be a Golden Eagle. Not one. Not two. But, three. Three majestic eagles flew slowly by and disappeared over the ridge. Amazing. Dale Armstrong Photo

Look carefully to find the three eagles flying over our Rockies. (Whoops, one eagle has “flown the coop,” and gone over the ridge. My bad. This is a correction.) Dale Armstrong Photo

Say, what?

A raccoon at rest…..in a Cottonwood tree.

A warbling vireo sits on the nest. Dale Armstrong photo.

A peacock. Chickens. Rock Bottom Ranch. What can I say?

LEMON-SPECULOOS ICE CREAM by David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop


3 large lemons
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups crumbled Speculoos or gingersnap cookies


1. Zest the lemons directly into a food processor or blender.  Add the sugar and blend until the lemon zest is very fine.  

2. Warm the milk with the lemon-scented sugar, 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, and the salt in a heavy saucepan.  Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for one hour. 

3. Rewarm the lemon-infused mixture. 

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour warm lemon-infused milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.  

5. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. 

6. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Discard the lemon zest and stir until cool over an ice bath. 

7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in your refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

8. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  As you remove it from the ice cream maker, stir in the cookie bits and put in a freezer container.

9. Put into freezer until ready to serve.

TIP: Speculoos is A biscuit-like cookie made popular in Belgium. It’s very similar in flavor to a gingersnap. If you cannot find Speculoos in your grocery store, gingersnaps are a fine substitute.