This week, for me, has been one of those lucky-to-be-alive times to grab and hold tightly. In our family we accept Life as it comes, with its peaks —quite often, with its valleys. That’s why I’ve made a pact to not waste a moment of “peakness”. This week has been a whoop-de-doo, hoop and hollering cause for celebration. Nothing’s more delicious than Happy.
My week is best told in pictures.
First, please try this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Goat Cheese and Strawberry Tartine. Although this little bit of yummy is best served at cocktail time with a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc, I made this for a simple, quick and tasty lunch.
Slice a baguette. Spread with goat cheese. (I used goat cheese with honey.) Place sliced strawberries on top and sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper. Finish with balsamic vinegar, if you wish. I chose to drip a balsamic vinegar glaze over the strawberries. The glaze disappeared quickly, seeping into the berries and, when eaten, creating a sensational burst of flavor in the mouth. After you slice your bread, leave it fresh or toast it. I did both. Which is better? It’s a draw.
Second, the construction and cleanup chores on my condo were finally completed so I could begin to move boxes from my storage unit to D-203. By the time you read this, I will have my kitchen in order. Unpacking old friends to hang on walls or put on tables and in cupboards turns a condominium into a home. I’m surrounded by the familiar and it’s a wonderful feeling.
Lastly, after an absence of nine years, I am now back in uniform. It’s official as of this week. Being a volunteer US Forest Ranger carries with it the responsibility of knowing and interacting safely not only with tourists but also with the natural world – the plants, birds and critters. To that end, this week I’ve participated in wildflower and birding field trips, a botany class and an evening river float. It’s tough duty but somebody’s got to do it. All part of Life back in the mountains.
A round of applause to the Forest Conservancy, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Roaring Fork Conservancy, Roaring Fork Audubon Society, the City of Aspen’s Open Space & Trails Program and Mother Nature for providing these inexpensive/or complimentary opportunities to its members. As a volunteer Ranger and participant in the Master Naturalist Program, these programs are free. Mother Nature provides the classroom.