A Canoe with a View

We squeezed in a stop at our mountain property over Labor Day weekend. Monday morning we slept late, had a very light breakfast, and then headed out in the canoe. The Shenandoah River flows north. It’s one of the few rivers in the world that does. We headed south—paddling against the flow—weaving our way between the rocks (this section of the river is called the maze) and leaving as little of our canoe’s “hide” behind as we possibly could while doing so. We paddled as far south as we could (we don’t portage for such outings) and then crossed the river and turned north, to float back to our property. Around each bend of the river was another postcard view … the river itself, mountains, wildlife, and many other sights–scenes that are always comfortingly familiar, yet always surprising us, too.


Sycamore in sepia …


One of a pair of great blue herons … always just far enough away to avoid a great photo …




There are caves at the top of this rock face … we love visiting them, especially with new folks. ;-)

Below, Mr. Green Heron on the hunt …


This smallmouth bass only “visited” for a minute or two (we “catch and release”) and then he was off after bigger fish—hopefully, ones with no hooks …


The turtles reappeared for the first time since spring …




 Shooting “our” rapid … 



And, then we enjoyed lunch … hash made from leftover ham and sweet corn from dinner the night before, and diced potatoes (skins on), to which I added a little olive oil, cayenne pepper, and onions. The burned bits are the onions. Clearly, I added them too early in the cooking process. I forgot how long the diced, but raw potatoes would take to cook. Usually, I use leftover potatoes that have already been baked in the campfire. Since we had a long trip from North Carolina and Mr. GFE’s college reunion the previous day, we had prepared a very simple meal the night before–grilled ham steaks and grilled corn on the cob; there had been no time to get an adequate bed of coals for baking potatoes. The burned onion bits weren’t bad (I often rather like that flavor–just a little beyond caramelized, if you will), but they weren’t exactly the most photoworthy. Hash like this is a great meal though … so easy to make. I don’t even use a pan. I just make mine on foil on the grill. How do you use your leftovers like these? Do you make ham hash, steak hash, or just great hash browns by themselves? Or maybe something else?


We’re headed to our property again this weekend. It should be a lovely camping weekend given the weather forecast—70s during the day and high 40s at night. Some friends of ours, a couple, will be joining us. Each has a kayak, so we’ll all be out in the water doing a mini float. This trip might be our last camping for the season at our property because next weekend I’ll be heading to the BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco (which I’m really looking forward to, because I’ll be meeting so many of my online buddies in person!) and October is pretty unpredictable for mountain weather. But, we have had Indian Summers that allowed us to camp through October before. One year we even enjoyed a balmy Halloween weekend there—complete with a spooky jack-o-lantern! ;-)

Fall officially begins on Tuesday. I’m definitely ready. It’s my favorite time of year … that edge of coolness and freshness in the air, long-sleeved comfort, chasing away the overnight chill in the house by baking, building the first fire in the woodstove … that all just sounds so good. That last one, building the first fire in the woodstove is far from here yet, but it’s part of fall to me. I know we’ll certainly have a big campfire blazing tomorrow night in the mountains. Mr. GFE is already talking about his special “hot fire” wood that he has stashed at our property. I trust him, but I’m still taking a hat and gloves and the makings for hot cocoa … oh, and gotta have my alternative S’mores. That, of course, leads me back to baking. I’m making flourless chocolate cookies to use as a base this time, so maybe I’ll just skip adding more chocolate in between. Two rich chocolate cookies with a perfectly-roasted marshmallow in the middle … that sounds like a lovely S’more to me.

Hope you all have a great weekend planned!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


24 Responses to “A Canoe with a View”

  1. Ali on September 18th, 2009 1:05 am

    Oh so lovely! I hear you on the onions, I have done that before too when I am not in the mood to steam the potatoes beforehand!

    See ya soon! :)

    • Shirley on September 20th, 2009 9:30 pm

      Thank you, Ali! We had another fabulous weekend there. I waited until we got home to make some steak hash. This time we had leftover baked potatoes, so the timing with the onions worked just fine. ;-)Potatoes, garlic, filet mignon, and black-eyed peas with some chipotle made a very quick and tasty dish. I had a smaller portion and also had my leftover sweet potato from the campfire. Yum!

      Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how soon we wil be seeing each other! Can’t wait! :-)


  2. Lauren on September 18th, 2009 7:37 pm

    Your property is gorgeous! I love the view on the river =D. The hash sounds lovely – some great flavours in there.

    • Shirley on September 20th, 2009 9:33 pm

      Hey there, Lauren!–Thanks. It’s a very special place to us, so it’s nice when others appreciate its beauty, too. As I was telling Ali, I made another hash from camping leftovers this evening. It was delicious. I haven’t met/made ;-) a bad hash yet!


  3. glutenfreeforgood on September 19th, 2009 11:20 am


    This was a lovely post. Wow, you’re not kidding about the view. Your property is gorgeous. Your potatoes look pretty darn good, too. I’m SO (SOOOO) bummed I’m not going to the conference. Grrrr! I can’t believe how fast it sold out. Next time I’ll jump on it immediately. Please keep us posted. I know you’ll have a great time with everyone.


    • Shirley on September 20th, 2009 10:23 pm

      Melissa–Thank you! I don’t want to be boring you guys with too many photos of our mtn property, so I’m really glad you enjoyed them. :-) The hash is a favorite of ours for leftovers. Very economical and tasty … an of course, a great way to get creative.

      I know! It is a bummer that you can’t be with us this time. :-( I can’t believe BlogHer Food is almost here! We will miss you greatly, but I think we’ll all be getting together at another event in the future. Seems like there are so many valuable ones these days. Thanks for the good thoughts … I’m sure I’ll have lots of wonderful things to report back on! :-)


  4. Alisa - Frugal Foodie on September 19th, 2009 3:18 pm

    Such lovely photos! How lucky to have such a beautiful place!

    • Shirley on September 20th, 2009 10:25 pm

      Hi Alisa–Thank you!! It’s always beautiful to us, but it’s nice to hear from others as well. We had some friends up this weekend. It was their first time camping with us and they just loved it. Because they went out in their kayaks, they were able to see these same special views. :-)

      We are very lucky to have our spot!

  5. Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free) on September 20th, 2009 5:02 am

    This reminds me of camping with my family when growing up. It’s so beautiful – no wonder you spend so much time there. :)

    • Shirley on September 20th, 2009 10:33 pm

      Hey, Amy–Yes, with its beauty and peace, our mtn spot is very restorative to the soul. It’s all really special, but any time we are out in the canoe is an especially wonderful time. This afternoon we were the only folks out on the river. Just us, the blue herons who like to tease me ;-) , a goose, some turtles, ducks, and, of course, many fish below. :-)

      I’m glad this post brought back good memories for you … thanks so much,

  6. Linda on September 20th, 2009 5:25 pm

    I didn’t know the Shenandoah flowed north. I love your pictures and the Shenandoah valley. It’s where my parents grew up and now live.

    • Shirley on September 20th, 2009 10:38 pm

      Hi, Linda–I didn’t know about your love of the Shenandoah Valley and your connection to it. It is a very special place area. So much beauty there. It’s wonderful that your parents returned there. When you’re visiting in the area again, maybe we can get together. It’s a 2-hour drive from our home, but one that I’m happy to make. :-)


  7. Cindi on September 21st, 2009 10:09 pm

    Shirley – great pictures! I would love for Don to see your property, but it’s kind of hard for him to get around in grass, rocks, etc. He has a power chair, but hasn’t had a lift installed on the truck yet – so no way to get it anywhere. The hash sounds yummy – reminds me of the days when Seth wouldn’t eat any kind of meat except ham (or what he thought was “ham,” e.g., smoked turkey, smoked pork chops, . . .). He would’ve loved the hash! (And still would.) Sorry I missed you recently at Janice’s get-together, but there’ll be other opportunities. See you soon!

    • Shirley on September 23rd, 2009 10:47 am

      Hi, Cindi–Great to see you here at gfe as always! Thanks regarding the pics. You know they are the real deal. It’s such a beautiful place … the Shenandoah River and Valley nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maybe by next year when we start going back to the mtns to camp, you guys will have Don’s truck outfitted so you can visit. I hope so! :-)

      I’m a huge fan of hash … so easy to make with leftovers. You should make Seth some hash!

      Yes, I was sorry I missed that luncheon very much. Until next time :-) … xo,

  8. Pam on September 22nd, 2009 10:25 am

    Beautiful pic’s!

    Congrats on the Foodie Blogroll!

    • Shirley on September 23rd, 2009 11:35 am

      Hi, Pam–Good to see you as always! :-) Thanks for your kind words on my photos (the setting makes it easy for me!) and the Foodie Blogroll! The Foodie Blogroll is a great gathering of some amazing blogs, so I’m honored to be a part of it.


  9. Kathy on September 22nd, 2009 8:45 pm

    You have some wonderful pictures. I love the catch with the bass. Have fun camping. Thanks Kathy

    • Shirley on September 23rd, 2009 11:59 am

      Hi, Kathy!–Welcome to gfe! The scenes and critters make it easy, but I did have to do a tiny bit of “work” to get that bass. ;-) I was glad to let him swim away … he was a handsome one. We always love camping. Are you a camper yourself? I’m thinking you must like to fish at least …

      I didn’t get time to comment yet, but I saw that jerk chicken on your site and have been thinking about it ever since! Hard to beat jerk chicken! :-)

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

  10. Heather on October 5th, 2009 10:54 am

    Beautiful nature pictures!

    • Shirley on October 5th, 2009 7:04 pm

      Thanks so much, Heather! It’s such a special spot. We were up at our property yesterday and I couldn’t help but take some more photos. You can tell that fall has arrived though. We didn’t see a lot of creature activity … no fish jumping for sure. We did see our Canadian ambassadors—as Mr. GFE calls them—Canada geese, shooting the rapids. :-)


  11. Therese on October 6th, 2009 7:20 pm

    Shirley, these pictures are gorgeous! Your mountain property is a true refuge, isn’t it? No wonder you love it so, it’s very special.
    The ham, potato, corn & onion skillet looks wonderful, too! I have some corn in the freezer that I blanched and cut off the cob so we could enjoy it this winter. We will definitely make your delicious hash later on.


    • Shirley on October 6th, 2009 9:21 pm

      Hi, Therese–Thank you! Yes, it is quite the refuge … away from the maddening world. Life is best appreciated at canoe speed sometimes. :-)

      I make so many variations of that skillet hash dish over the summer, just using whatever we have left from dinner, perhaps adding an onion, etc. Leftover artichoke butter with small chunks of artichoke goodness always makes for a nice addition, too. Smart of you to stash that corn. That will be great added to other dishes throughout the winter. It will be like bringing back a little bit of summer.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. One day we’ll get you two up to our mtn property!


  12. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios on October 8th, 2009 9:58 am

    I love the photos. The sky in your river views is so beautiful, and I love the shot of the turtle. What a great time and a great weekend!

    • Shirley on October 8th, 2009 8:12 pm

      Hey, V!–Thank you so much! We did cram a lot of fun into that weekend for sure. It’s always nice when the weather cooperates for a long holiday weekend. :-) Regarding the photos, it’s actually almost difficult to take a bad picture when we’re out on the river—so many postcard views. I know how lovely the skies are when I am viewing them, but I’m always surprised at the variations when I actually download my shots. And, turtles are just good karma I think. I’m triumphant when I can get turtle pictures. They usually slip off the log right before I snap the photo. LOL


Leave a reply

Related Posts with Thumbnails