Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hot Sauce History From Kinnelon's Ted Whittemore

Hot Sauce History From Kinnelon's Ted Whittemore
How much do you know about the history of hot peppers and hot sauce? This past December 8, 2010, Ted had the opportunity to do so at L'Ecole Museum [see Come to the Hot Sauce Talk at L'Ecole, Wed. Dec. 8th at 7pm] as part of the Kinnelon Community Garden lecture series about local resources. He focused on the history of hot peppers, the making of hot pepper sauce and then conducted a tasting of his very own SR Fresh Hot Sauces.

Present for the event was Ariana Cohn, editor of newly-launched Kinnelon-ButlerPatch, who wrote about Ted's event in Kinnelon Hot Sauce Maker Presents 'History of Hot Sauce'. It's a fun read and includes photos.

I found the history of hot peppers part of the presentation so fascinating that I'm calling your attention to a post that Ted wrote on the Fresh Hot Sauce blog titled A Brief History of Hot Peppers & Sauce with Observations!

I'm still digesting the implications of hot peppers being a New World discovery that wouldn't have been part of the cuisines that we currently associate with peppers - e.g., Chinese, Thai, Indian, even Italian, to name a few. Whether you like heat or not, the pepper fruit contributes marvelous flavor to all of our cuisines. The heat is a bonus for some, no?

Ted fielded questions about the different ways of making hot sauce as well as the role of salt in a hot pepper sauce.

If you'd like to learn more, feel free to leave comments or be on the lookout for a repeat performance at L'Ecole later in the year.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Local Kinnelon Weather Radar -- What Is It Really Going to Do in the Next 30 Minutes?

Local Kinnelon Weather Radar
Weather Underground Smallest Scale

North Jersey Weather Tells You What It Is Going to Do in the Next 30 Minutes in Kinnelon, NJ!

Wouldn't it be nice to have your own personal local weather radar that showed you when the storms, rain, snow, and clouds were going to be over your house, your town, and the immediate area you are going to be driving in, walking, playing baseball, or taking a hike? The answer is: Yes!

If you've ever looked at so-called local weather radar maps, you know they are not that local, and it's hard to distinguish the rain or snow from the clear spots and tell what is coming our way right here in Kinnelon in the very near future. Oh, you can tell from Accuweather or from their radar or satellite maps what will happen in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area, but that's about all.

With Weather Underground you can select an area of the radar map and hold-left-click-drag a box which will then resolve to a smaller area, but still a fairly large one at highest resolution. See the map above.

But I have discovered a small site based in Wood Ridge, NJ that micro-interpolates weather radar data and shows a Very Local radar map of our area, local enough to see what's happening right on top of us, and what's going to happen over the next hour or two. Very Cool.

It's called North Jersey Weather, and includes a lot of info beside the radar map, but I love that map. Sadly, the map is not always running -- it seems that it gets shut down late at night, and when there is no interesting weather to map -- but when there is a rain or snow maker coming through it can tell you what to expect in a much more personal way than the maps of the big services. And really, when do you actually need or want a Weather Radar Map? When there IS weather, right?

Just click on the "Current Local Doppler Radar" map in the upper right hand corner of the page, or click on the Radar selection at the left, and the local map will display if it's running.

Next time you want to know what's up for the next couple of hours, check it out!

Add it to your browser favorites, if you like. We've added it to this blog's local resources.


Photo Credit: Live Screen Capture of Weather Underground at Highest Magnification Possible

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Pond Hike, Smoke Rise Days 2010

As cold and snowy as it is now, we are headed back toward greener times. In case you don't believe me, here's a taste of it from the New Pond Hike I invited you to join us for in Smoke Rise Days July 3 Hike.

Now, this hike is marvelous regardless of the time of year and I encourage you to go and check it out. However, the lush greenery does seem particularly inviting, no?

In this photo above, you see the full Smoke Rise Days New Pond Hike group gathered together at New Pond on the dam.

Total distance:  2.9 miles [roundtrip]
Total time:  2 hours

I share with you the trail details in the map below.

New Pond hike, Smoke Rise

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near Newark, New Jersey

When we reached West Shore Drive, part of the group stayed with me and returned along Mountain Road and part decided to follow Ken Bitz to experience the trail that follows the west shore of Lake Kinnelon.

Here they are with St. Hubert's Chapel in the background.

New Pond Hike, Smoke Rise Days 2010 - Lake Kinnelon

Thank you, Bob Jonas, for sharing these two photos!

Regardless of the trail taken after New Pond, I think we all enjoyed  the hike.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Smoke Rise Houses Then & Now: 628 Mountain Road

The day I went by the Smoke Rise Tower to document its current state of... restoration [see The Smoke Rise Tower Restoration], I also took a picture of 628 Mountain Road, the house Herb Fisher grew up in.

I emailed it to him and he sent me back a few more pictures from those early days of Smoke Rise and Kinnelon.

I share them with you here as well as a few notes that Herb sent me.

Here you see the house very early on.

Smoke Rise Houses Then: 628 Mountain Road

This next picture has Herb's Mom with his first dog, named Happy. [Note: my first dog was named Zippy.]

As Herb states, from 1955 through 1995 there weren't too many changes other than vegetation.

Lushness at 628 Mountain Road, Smoke Rise

He does wonder, though, what the later owners might have done with the basement which Herb remembers as being "huge besides the large tub type sinks for hand washing clothing (yes, there was also a washer and dryer there), it had a bathroom with potty, sink and shower.  Easily put two or three large rooms down there."

Isn't it fascinating to see how houses evolve and keep the magic of 'home' going?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Best Holiday Lights in Kinnelon?

Emma's Kinnelon Santa

Which do you consider to be the best Holiday lights in Kinnelon?

Ted, Emma 'n I thoroughly admire Holiday enthusiasm - particularly as it relates to lights and outdoor decorations.  Although we appreciate tasteful white lights, we particularly celebrate color and exuberance.

We like the jovial larger-than-life Santa with Rudolph standing in the front yard of the house at the southwest corner of Kinnelon and Ricker Roads. We can hear Santa shouting "Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!"

Several houses along Kiel Avenue in Kinnelon do a marvelous job with illuminations.

The house immediately next to the Smoke Rise Inn has delighted us for the past three years with its over-the-top Christmas and New Year decorations.

There are plenty more. [I remember hearing Dawn Winkler saying how competitive her street in Butler was about Christmas decorations....]

Emma & Santas
As Emma and I have discussed the enthusiasm, commitment and creativity of those who share with us their Holiday exuberance, we've wondered how we might say 'Thank You' for delighting us.

Perhaps a letter in the mailbox, signed 'Santa's Elves'?

This weekend, it dawned on me: we should celebrate those Kinnelon Holiday Lights here on this blog!

Do you agree?

Sadly, I realize that I should have had this brilliant thought a week or two ago as the lights are swiftly coming down.

Nonetheless, I throw down the proverbial mitten and invite you all to help me identify the best Holiday lights in Kinnelon this year, next year or even from years past.

Take photos; let me know which displays you find best. If there's a story behind the display, even better!

Happy New Year 2011!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Smoke Rise Snow, Now & Then

It sure looks like deep winter in Smoke Rise lately with all the snow around. Don't you think? Yesterday's snow storm wasn't too bad - luckily - although Emma and I witnessed the police escorting a car on a flatbed as we walked to the bus stop at 8:31am.  It must have happened a little after 8am or so. From the tire tracks we noticed in the snow, the car looked to have slid down Fox Ledge, which is very steep and was very slick...

She and I missed the 12/27/10 blizzard by a few hours. We were headed to DC to visit my parents and made it out Sunday morning.  Ted experienced it firsthand, but successfully shoveled the driveway snow in time to pick us up at Meadtown the following day.

News of our intense Smoke Rise blizzard traveled far - all the way to Texas - inspiring Herb Fisher to send these photos of a Smoke Rise snowstorm he remembers from March 1960.

Herb Fisher Jr., Smoke Rise Snow, March 1960

Thanks, Herb! It sure looks like you were having a blast in the snow back then.

For those of you closer by in Smoke Rise and Kinnelon, how 'bout now? How are you enjoying the snow? Have you built snowmen? Gone snowshoeing? Created amazing sled runs? Gone skating? Held snowball fights?

Send me pictures of your snow adventures and I'll share them here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kinnelon, Rhode Island & Smoke Rise

Francis Kinney's Narragansett Lodge

This is my New Year's present, courtesy of Patty Kabis Hopkinson: a magnificent postcard of Francis Kinney's Narragansett, Rhode Island Lodge and details about Smoke Rise and Kinnelon.


Christine....  Here is a photo of a postcard I bought recently.  It's a picture of the so called "lodge" that Kinney built when he summered in Narragansett RI.  I now live in Barrington, Rhode Island and thought you'd find it interesting.

I grew up in the split level at 239 North Road [in Smoke Rise], which was built in the early 50s and designed by my uncle, Leo Kabis.  It was one of the first lots bought from John Talbot.  My parents, Charlie and Muriel Kabis, saw his estate in the late 40s when they inadvertently picnicked on the property and found that lots were for sale. I moved out when I left for college in 1962, then married in 1967 (my reception was at the Smoke Rise Inn) and went to Washington DC.

I have a many photos of the old days in Smoke Rise which are buried in the boxes of family memorabilia in my closets. My memories and those of my 6 brothers and sisters (one of the smaller Catholic families there at the time --we used to go to church at [Our Lady of the] Magnificat when it was still a tiny chapel in the woods) are very vivid because we were all so active in everything.

Patty Kabis Hopkinson


Thank you, Patty! I love the image of your parents inadvertently picnicking in Kinnelon and discovering Smoke Rise. I'll have to drive by 239 North Road and take a photo of your house.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kinnelon's CLL End-of-Semester Lunch 2010

Click on image for larger view.
Ron Leavesley extended to me an incredible invitation to attend the Kinnelon CLL [Center for Lifelong Learning - see Kinnelon's Center for Lifelong Learning - CLL and Friends of the Kinnelon Library] end of semester luncheon taking place on November 17, 2010 in the Kinnelon Firehouse on Kiel Avenue.

Talk about an honor!  I found myself in the same room with the dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers who make Kinnelon's CLL program successful - an impressive group, captured in the panoramic shot above [photo courtesy of Jack Davies, via Ron Leavesley].

Kinnelon's CLL - Highlights

Ron shared highlights about the CLL program during this end-of-semester lunch which celebrates the program's 33rd semester, after 17 years:

  • Since 1993, 9000 students have experienced 'adventures in learning'. 
  • 50% are non Kinnelon residents.
  • Feedback from program evaluations allow the program to evolve and better serve the needs of those participating.
  • Each semester includes a mix of basic courses that are repeated and completely new classes to keep the program fresh.
  • The CLL started contributing to the Kinnelon Library in 2005. Since then, it has contributed ~$48K.
According to Ron, CLL's success is a function of the dedication of those involved, stable boards, consistent rules, focused strategy, and - most importantly - exceptional people who achieve exceptional things and create exceptional programs! Some of those exceptional people include: Bob Frank, Charlie Lawyer, Ken Stride, Evelyn Duvall, Jackie Hempstead, Lois Wolfer and George Cox.

[Definitely check out Look What CLL Has Done for So Many!]

Kinnelon's CLL - 2010 Highlights

During 2010, CLL included two courses that extended over two semesters - George Cox's Supreme Court Program (45 students) and Ken Stride's Music Appreciation/American Song Book Program (83 participants) - which both had record attendance! Tell Me Something I Don't Know attracted 104 students.  
  • Approximately 700 students took part in the 2010 programs. 
  • 65 instructors (vs. 50 in past years) taught.
  • 29 other communities participated with students coming from Bloomingdales, Butler, Pompton Lakes & Plains, Wayne, Wanaque and beyond.

Kinnelon's CLL - 2011 Spring Semester Program

CLL's next semester starts February 21st and lasts through April 29th [i.e., 10 weeks]. The course brochure will be available at the end of January.  15 classes will be offered including:
  • Classic films/Hitchock
  • Great American Song Book will take place twice a week with 35 students per class
  • Tom McCluskey re: Islam
  • Art Adventures with Bob and Laurie Frank
  • Humor with Michael Studnick
Something tells me the 2011 CLL Spring Semester Program will be the best one yet!

Be on the lookout for Spring Semester CLL course brochure and seriously consider taking part in a program unlike any other offered in Northern New Jersey!

Thanks for including me, Ron, and thanks to all those I met who made me feel so welcome!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lake Sonoma Orange Trail Hike, Ringwood, NJ

Lookout Point, Lake Sonoma Orange Trail, Ringwood, NJ
On May 16th, 2010, Ken Bitz organized a terrific hike along the Lake Sonoma Orange Trail in Ringwood, NJ. You can read my original post, titled Orange Trail Hike, Ringwood NJ On 5/16/10, which includes directions and trail description.

In this post, I share with you details on the actual Ringwood, NJ, Lake Sonoma Orange Trail hike we took. This photo above was taken from a magnificent overlook point with our trail guide, standing in the middle....

The 3.4 mile trail [which took us approximatley three hours] included fantastic vistas, several creeks, a waterfall, a submerged mine, a bat cave that the kids checked out, and our first ever geocaching quest for cache sites.

The kids particularly enjoyed exploring the cave below.  Note: if you decide to do this hike, be sure to have in your pack a flashlight or two! Per a sign posted by the cave's mouth, exploring is discouraged during the winter months when the bats hibernate. The bat population, though, has been significantly affected by white-nose syndrome [see USA Today's Biologists head to bunkers to fight bat disease].

Inside the cave, Lake Sonoma Orange Trail, Ringwood, NJ
Inside the cave!

The hikers, Lake Sonoma Orange Trail, Ringwood, NJ
The Ringwood, NJ, Lake Sonoma Orange Trail Hikers!
Thank you, Kim Parkins, for sharing such marvelous photos! Here is the link to Kim Parkins' Ringwood Hike photo album on Picasa.

To see my photos of Lake Sonoma Orange Trail in Ringwood, NJ, click on this link.

Finally, here is the trail we followed along the Lake Sonoma Orange Trail in Ringwood, NJ!

Lake Sonoma Orange Trail, Ringwood NJ

Map your trip with EveryTrail

Thanks, Ken, for organizing this hike!
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