Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekend of running, fall weather, and tomatoes

Signs of fall from a Sunday morning run; a young maple tree changing colors

Saturday was the last "long" run until Fox Cities. I did 13 1/2 miles, working in a couple of loops around my local lake. The weather was overcast, cool (59 degrees), with occasional drizzle. Just a gray, gloomy, hazy, foggy day, great for running but not much else!

The drizzle did not keep the bunnies away, however. I encountered 10 on my journey (for a decent .74 BPM ratio). Given that it is now fairly dark at 6 AM, the bunnies are harder to see during the early part of my run. However, there is always the telltale sign of their little white cotton tail bouncing and zigzagging down the trail in front of me when I scare one up!

As for birds, there are lots of ducks and geese that are starting to flock together right now. I saw many waterbirds in the air and congregating on the lake. I also encountered several catbirds. These guys will be missed, as I have enjoyed seeing them on my runs. They are a sleek and social bird, and I also learned they are smart. If a dreaded brown-headed cowbird (the "deadbeat parent" of the bird kingdom) lays an egg in a catbird nest, the catbird is sharp enough to get rid of the cowbird egg! A cool bird. They have been fun this summer!

I went running this morning as well, just my normal 5 miler. I was fortunate that the sun was out, as clouds have since rolled in. The sights were extraordinary.

Another sunrise shot over my local lake. I have taken lots of pictures here in this same spot, yet they all look different!

A small pink flower along the trail, still blooming. I believe this is a swamp smartweed.

The sumac are really starting to turn. I noticed a patch of them along the trail that is turning a brilliant crimson. Several of the smaller maples are showing more and more yellow colors every day, and in some cases are turning red (as is evident in my photo at the top of the post). Minnesota is looking good right now.

I've been purchasing a ridiculous amount of locally grown grape, Roma, and beefsteak tomatoes because they are just so darned good right now. So today, I made tomato sauce!

I took two pints grape tomatoes and about a pound and a half of Roma and beefsteaks, halved (or if they were big, quartered) them, tossed with chopped garlic, fresh thyme, salt, pepper, and a good slug of olive oil and roasted them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes until slightly soft and caramelized. Then I blended the lot of them, making perhaps the sweetest, most delicious tomato sauce that has ever come out of my kitchen. This is the basis for my pasta sauce tonight.

I am deliriously excited to cook today! More to come...

Until next time,
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