Craftsbury Outdoor Center Blog

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Recipe of the Month- Excellent Squash Cake

We’ve been on a bit of a squash kick lately, but it’s hard not to when there is so much good winter squash from the garden just waiting to be used up. Adding in pumpkin or another variety of squash helps give this cake the perfect amount of moisture. Try it for a special occasion, or just for no reason at all!

For this recipe you may use cooked acorn, buttercup, butternut, delicate, hubbard, or whatever!

Oven 350°F
Serves 12

4 eggs, beaten
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ¾ cups mashed, cooked winter squash or pumpkin
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and squash. Sift together the dry ingredients and mix well into the squash mixture. Spread into a buttered 9” x 13” baking pan and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. This cake is wonderful with a white frosting sprinkled with chopped walnuts.

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Photo Tour of the New Activity Center and Lodge

In case you missed our Grand Opening of the new Activity Center back in October or haven’t visited the Center yet this fall, you might want to check out our digital tour of the new building. We’re really excited about what this building will bring to the Craftsbury community and the skiing/rowing communities at large. Since the opening, GRP athletes and Craftsbury members have already put the gym to good use for strength workouts, erg-ing, CrossFit, yoga, community fitness classes and more.

In keeping with the Craftsbury mission to practice sustainability and leave a minimal carbon footprint, the new building has a number of really cool environmentally friendly features. Check out a few in the photo tour, and look for full coverage soon on our website.

Porch and stairs of Touring Center

Alright, let’s start at the front of the building as you approach from Tamarack. The large central deck connects the two wings of the building. Here, the gym/fitness area is on the left, while the touring center and lodge is on the right.

 

2

Moving around to the south end of the building, this is looking towards the doors of the new touring center/lodge.

 

Air curtain above door

See the long white box over the door? It doesn’t look like much, but it’s actually an air curtain. It activates when the door is open and sends a rush of air down to keep warm or cool air from leaving the building and to keep bugs out. Energy-wise, it’s a good alternative to vestibules or entryways. If you’ve ever tried to open two sets of doors with multiple skis and poles, you’ll appreciate this feature!

 

4

Here is part of the main lodge space, adjacent to where the rentals will be. The tables and benches were hand-crafted on site from mostly local wood.

 

Trombe walls

That very first wall panel that you see in this picture is actually a Trombe wall, aka a passive solar heating device. On the outside of this panel is a sheet of glass with a dark wall behind it. The sun will warm the air between the glass and the wall, and then warm air will flow into the building via the top opening, while cool air will be sucked out through the bottom one.

 

6

The kitchen/café area, serving up hot drinks for cold skiers all winter long.

 

Classroom area in new lodge

Moving forward through the lodge side of the building we reach the classroom area, with fabric dividers that make the space versatile for a number of uses.

 

Looking out windows from the lodge

View from the classrooms out onto the deck.

 

Wooden deck of new lodge

This deck may be one of our favorite features of the new building. The perfect place to hang out in an Adirondack chair on a nice summer night.

 

Earth tube coming up from the deck

That funny looking piece of metal is the intake of our Earth Tube. Using the relatively stable temperature of the ground (it’s buried a minimum of 4 ft. deep) it helps heat the gym in the winter and cool it down in the summer.

 

Gym hallway

Now, entering the other wing of the building, we see the hallway into the gym. Bathrooms on the left, fitness space on the right.

 

Composting toilet

Normally we wouldn’t be posting photos of the toilets, but these are composting toilets! The toilets are connected to a composting unit in the basement, where solid waste is turned into compost.

 

Composting toilet

See that foam inside the toilet bowl? That’s a biodegradable soap, and because of the foam and the way the toilet is set up, each flush only requires 2-4 oz. of water. That’s OUNCES! Even a regular low-flow toilet uses at least 1.5 gallons per flush.

 

Electric hand dryer

Electric hand dryers are pretty standard eco-friendly features, but this one is especially cool considering that the airspeed at the aperture of the dryer is 420 mph! This one uses filtered, unheated air to dry hands in under 12 seconds.

 

Gym with cardio machines

Okay, back to the exciting stuff in the gym. Cardio area with rowing ergs, spin bikes, and SkiErgs.

 

SkiErg machines

A fresh set of 2.0 SkiErgs, which allow skiers to practice both double poling and striding arm motions.

 

Weight lifting cages

Two out of the three cages for squats, bench press, pullups, and more.

 

Weight and core supplies

Strength accessories.

 

Fitness class in session

One of our first CrossFit sessions in the new gym.

 

Wooden porch with Adirondack chair

Back out on the porch during a beautiful fall afternoon…

 

Solar panel monitors

A quick trip into the basement to see the inner workings. Here’s the line-up of the solar panel monitors (more on that later).

 

Composting toilet tank

“What lies beneath” the composting toilets, the tank! Sawdust and stirring make it happen. Surprisingly no smell either.

 

Outside lodge view and solar panels

Back outside! Here’s the entire building from the upper field. From this picture you can only see a few of the roof solar panels. However, almost the entirety of the roof is covered in panels, over 3,000 sq. ft.

 

Lodge view from far away

A far-off view, with the Center’s pre-existing solar panels in the field to the right.

Thanks for reading, and we hope that you’ll come visit us and the new building in person soon!

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Recipe of the Month- Pumpkin Bean Soup

Winter squash curing in the new Activity Center basement

Winter squash curing in the new Activity Center basement. Delicata squash in the front, butternut in the back, and pumpkins underneath!

The news from the Craftsbury Outdoor Center garden/kitchen: we just harvested over 1,300 squash and pumpkins! You read that correctly, that is over one thousand little orange, green, and yellow balls of fall goodness. Let the winter squash cooking frenzy begin. Of course, we love all manner of pumpkin desserts, but sometimes you have to think outside the box and go the savory route. We think you’ll love warming up with a bowl of this pumpkin and bean soup on a cool fall day.

Serves 8
2 cups cooked white beans or chickpeas
6 cups pumpkin purée
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
6-8 cups water

In a soup pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion, celery, ginger, and garlic, stirring occasionally. When tender and beginning to brown, add beans, salt, pepper, parsley, and pumpkin purée. Add 6 cups of water and simmer 15 to 25 minutes, uncovered. Add more water as necessary until the right consistency is achieved.

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Eye-Popping Colors and Buttery Sunshine: Final Running Camp

End of September. Jewel colored leaves. Sunshine pouring down like honey. 15 happy runners. Our final running camp of 2014. It seemed none of us could recall an autumn display as drop dead gorgeous as this weekend. Everything we did was tinged with vibrant reds, oranges and yellows surrounding us. The kitchen knocked us out with superb food. We had a clutch of new faces, 4 rollicking Canadian women, 4 returning runners, 3 college buddies 2 old pals and 1 sculler who defected to running camp: a terrific group for the weekend.

Scenes from the non-stop beauty of Foliage and Running weekend camp:

The Ridge the way all Craftsbury runners think of it – misty and beautiful

Lane, Alex and Dan were college teammates who got together for running camp

Irene shows the Matterhorn who’s the boss

Old friends Bill and Mike bend to Coach Melissa’s stretching instruction

Heather is bendy

Mt. Pisgah peak baggers

Elena and Coach Mike savored the hike together

It was so warm we went for a swim after this photo

Returning athlete Patsy runs in from the Ridge Run with Coach Laurie

Coach Melissa with Dave and Ashley after the Ridge Run. This was Dave’s longest run since the Nixon Administration!

Heather, Marcie and Lin are all chirked up after the Ridge Run

Elena takes no prisoners during running camp and she challenged the leaves with her vibrant running kit

Thank you to all the runners who made this summer’s camps so terrific. Lots in store for 2015 – see you then!

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Autumn Running

A monarch butterfly at Lake Willoughby was in torpor, she needed warmer temps to fly

Laura and Nancy are fast friends and came to running camp for a shared holiday

Long time pals, Leon and Sue returned to Craftsbury for the first time in 4 years. Sure was good to see them!

Sweaters and jackets were necessary for coaches Jennings and Larsen-Strecker on Pisgah

Smiling runners on Pisgah

The protected sliver of a beach at the south end of Lake Willoughby was the perfect out of the wind spot for our lunch post-hike

Leon composes a haiku while contemplating the red boat on Willoughby

We had a gorgeous morning for the Ridge Run and Sarah and Anya charged to the finish line

Bernd and Sean stop the Sunday morning traffic on Lost Nation Road after the Ridge Run while Towhee keeps an eye on them

Sandy and Sue are glowing after the Ridge Run 10 miler

Marty and Coach Mike roll in after a sunny 10 miles

Our first autumn weekend running camp had a bunch of new faces, some old friends who returned and Dr. Bernd Heinrich who read to us from “Why We Run,” his classic book on running and evolution.

We felt like primal creatures as we departed from Cedar Lounge in near darkness just a bit after 6:00am for our Ridge Run sojourn. To ascend the Ridge as the sun was rising, to run amidst the mists, to toil up King Farm hill with the sun glinting on our backs was an exercise in simplicity and devotion.  The water stop was self-service this morning – we all ran the loop and Hugo added on another 5 miles for a total of 15.

In classic autumn fashion, we needed tights, hats and mittens on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday morning we were in shorts and t-shirts.

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Videos from our favorite Bulgarian Cinematographer

PM vidsPepa has passed along some of the footage from the Glacier trip. Get a bit of sense of what the GRPers were up to the past month.

Skate Day
Classic Day

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Deconstructing Wilbur’s

A shell of its former self – a partially deconstructed Wilbur’s on August 27th, 2014

If you’ve been around the Outdoor Center much this summer you may have noticed the slow disappearance of Wilbur’s, the building near the hoop houses at the end of Lemon’s Haunt. Wilbur’s is being deconstructed by ReSource and some of the salvaged material will be used by the Center while the remaining material will be sold to the ReSource Store, which provides families and individuals in crisis with building materials and reduces the amount of waste placed in landfills.

The Center purchased the building three years ago and reviewed options for its future. Ultimately, it was decided the building had issues that were hard to remediate: an outdated and energy inefficient construction style, it would have been difficult, and not cost-effective to upgrade to meet our needs.

The Wilbur’s site will not be vacant for long as the Center plans to start building cluster of 6 cabins there next spring. These cabins will be built to replace the accommodations currently offered by Tamarack. The cabins will be simple and energy-efficient and will support a variety of guest needs with single, double, and triple units currently planned for construction.

So what about Tamarack? With a bad foundation, inefficient heating system, and poor insulation, Tamarack is not in good condition. While Tamarack could be renovated, this very expensive proposition would still not address its location in the natural drainage path of the skating pond and the swamp feeding the pond. Thus, once the cabins are finished, Tamarack will also be deconstructed.

When you’re at the Center please feel free to stop by the Wilbur’s site and check out the changes taking place!

Wilbur’s one week later from the opening picture – just the foundation remains!

 

Some salvaged windows.

 

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Recipe of the Month- Almond Orchard Apple Crisp

That nip in the morning (and afternoon, and evening) air can only mean only thing:  fall is coming! Luckily fall brings some of our favorite things: foliage, pumpkins and squash, cozy sweaters, and most importantly, apples. The trees around the Center are loaded with them, so it’s the perfect opportunity to make a classic dessert dish, apple crisp. This version gets a slight twist with almonds in the crisp layer, but retains all the crunchy sweet goodness of the original.

Oven 375°
Yield- 9”x13”

3 lbs. sliced apples (with our without skin)
½ cup flour
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 lemon (juice)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

Almond Topping
1 ½ cup rolled oats
2 ¼ cup flour
2 ¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup chopped almonds
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 lb. butter + 2 Tbsp

Butter hotel pan. In pan, mix drained apples, flour, and cinnamon. Toss to coat. Then add sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Toss to coat.

Mix topping in a large bowl and mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Melt butter, pour over top and mix well until mixture becomes coarse crumbs.

Put mixture on top of apples, gently press topping down. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes -1 hour.

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Garden Harvests

The previous garden post focused on the garden plants and layout, in pictures, but intentionally omitted an important part of the garden – the harvesters!  As mentioned in that post, the garden workers are a crucial part of the gardening operation.  Tending plants and harvesting vegetables takes no small amount of work – here is a series of photos of garden workers around the Outdoor Center this summer. And a few photos of particularly nice flowers too!

Skier Liz Guiney with a beautiful bin of tomatoes

Skier Liz Guiney with a beautiful bin of tomatoes

Pam, Amy and Liz survey the tomatoes earlier in the summer.  By now the vines reach the roof.

Pam, Amy and Liz survey the tomatoes earlier in the summer. By now the vines reach the roof.

Liz in the tomato jungle

Liz in the tomato jungle

Weeding and pulling out old scallions. From left: Mary (SBTC rower), Pam (garden guru), Maggie (GRP rower)

Weeding and pulling out old scallions. From left: Mary (SBTC rower), Pam (garden guru), Maggie (GRP rower)

Kaitlynn (GRP skier) and Mary (SBTC rower) weed beyond the onion patch

Kaitlynn (GRP skier) and Mary (SBTC rower) weed beyond the onion patch

Rowers Mary and Maggie clean vegetables at the sink

Rowers Mary and Maggie clean vegetables at the sink

Picking kale

Picking kale

Onions!

Onions!

Beautiful colors of swiss chard

Beautiful colors of swiss chard

Green and yellow zucchini and summer squash, boxed and heading towards the kitchen

Green and yellow zucchini and summer squash, boxed and heading towards the kitchen

GRP skier Ida with a big bunch of parsley and garlic scapes

GRP skier Ida with a big bunch of parsley and garlic scapes

We have a large patch of flowers for making arrangements and decorations

We have a large patch of flowers for making arrangements and decorations

Brilliant red flowers

Brilliant red flowers

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

Echinacea flowers

Echinacea flowers

Posing with our flowers. GRP skier Caitlin (author), on left, GRP rower Jamie on the right, on a particularly hot and humid day in the garden

Posing with our flowers. Myself, Caitlin, on left, GRP rower Jamie on the right

Flower arrangements! Pam and Amy gave most of us gardening girls lessons in flower arranging, which is a fun way to keep the COC looking great!

Flower arrangements! Pam and Amy gave most of us gardening girls lessons in flower arranging, which is fun!

 

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Recipe of the Month- Garden Fresh Caprese Salad

There is technically still one day left in the month of August, so we figure it’s not too late to post our Recipe of the Month. It’s especially not too late to post a recipe this good; it’s all about simple, quality ingredients here. The greenhouses here at the Center are bursting with vine-ripened tomatoes, and the basil is flourishing behind the garden fence, so what better than to combine those two fresh ingredients with a little mozzarella, and create the perfect summer salad? Caprese makes an ideal light lunch or a delicious appetizer and the visual appeal can’t be beat. It’s also so easy that it won’t take longer than 10 minutes to make, and probably even less time to eat!

Yield- however much you want!

Local vine-ripened tomatoes (preferably from a farmer’s market or a nearby garden)
Fresh cow’s milk or buffalo mozzarella
Fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes ¼ inch thick, repeat with the mozzarella. Wash and dry the fresh basil. On a platter, arrange the tomato slices, top with mozzarella and garnish with basil. Optional: Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Buon appetito!

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