Thursday, January 3, 2013

Brown Family, We Love You

We've been spending more time lately visiting our local natural areas and have been very pleasantly surprised about how numerous, how well taken care-of and how wonderful they are.

Case in point: The Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College near Mount Vernon, Ohio.

This part of Ohio is in the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau and has rolling topography, beautiful scenery and mixed rural land use as illustrated  here:

We hiked nearly 4.5 miles through mature forest, rolling pastures and recovering old fields. It was COLD and therefore we didn't get a lot of pics but we HAD to document this old, BIG White Oak:

Here's Steve for scale:

Here's Jennifer, closer still, for scale:

We determined that it takes 3 people, arms outstretched, to span the circumference of this monster! We are very grateful to all of the people who could have cut this tree down, but chose not too. 

Hug your favorite local tree!


  1. Hi S&J...What a wonderful place very picturesque!! Lovely day too, but looks cold!! That's a great tree you plan on getting a picture of it in different season ???
    I need to get my snowshoes out!!

  2. I love that OAK...we have a very large oak maturing in our pasture...its actually the reason WHY I had to buy the old home place, I couldnt bear to let it belong to anyone else! Do you know how I can estimate the age of the oak?
    Im so glad the Browns are preserving the land.

  3. Jen (and Steve)--

    Hey Jen, it is Andy Goller from high school and grade school. I love the picture and your blog! The garden and nature pics as especially great. I saw that you are collecting maple syrup from your own trees (something that I want to do at some point in my life)and wanted to share a recipe for granola with you that I am sure would be great with your maple syrup. Here it is--

    This recipe, excerpted from "Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook"

    2 3/4 cups organic rolled oats
    1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
    1 cup shelled pistachios
    1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
    1 tablespoon salt
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    1/3 cup maple syrup
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3/4 cup dried sour cherries
    Cooking Directions
    Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the oats, coconut, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and salt. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil until the sugar is just dissolved. Fold into the oat mixture, coating all of the dry ingredients as evenly as possible. Spread out onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until dry and lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the granola often to allow for even baking and drying. Remove from the oven and fold in the dried sour cherries. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to individual jars.

    I love dried cherries and pumpkin seeds so this granola is a favorite of mine. Keep blogging Jen and Steve, perhaps our paths will cross one day soon and I can pick your brains on gardening and other miscellaneous topics.

    Andy Goller

  4. Awesome Steve!! I am always hugging my favorite trees up here : ) Glad to see that you guys are getting out and exploring in the snow too! I've been on some beautiful excursions myself...lotz of tracks to see in the snow. Have fun!!



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