23. make fresh lemonade

Turns out, making fresh lemonade is super easy if you have an easy way to squeeze the lemons. I do, in the form of an orange juice press that Amy and I got for our wedding 9 years ago. We use it regularly in the winter when oranges are in season, and today I pulled it out to see how it works with lemons. Answer: great!

I used this recipe from Real Simple.  Photos of making syrup are boring, so you only get lemon photos.

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Bag o’ lemons
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Waiting to be squished
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Eight lemons later, I had a cup of juice.
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Juice mixed with cooled syrup and cold water, hard to tell it’s lemonade because the pitcher is white. Oh well.

Now I just need to wait for the lemonade to get really cold in the fridge and then to drink it. I think that’ll be tomorrow, when it’s supposed to be sunnier and warmer than today, and when I’ll mow the lawn.

Related: what is UP, June? I think you’re drunk and need to go home. These temperatures are ridiculous.

37. mail 45 postcards to 45 different people.

Last time I did this, I sent postcards via Postcrossing. It was fun and cool and I enjoyed getting postcards from other people all over the world, but this time I wanted to be able to send more personalized postcards. I also wanted people to be able to opt into it, so maybe I’d get to send postcards to people who I wasn’t related to and didn’t send Christmas cards to. I created a Google form that asked for a name and a mailing address. Then I sent the form out via Facebook. And the names rolled in! The first day I sent it out, 23 people signed up. The next day, another 12 signed up!

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First 35 postcards ready to send.

The last 10 came in on days 3 and 4.

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Final 10 postcards ready for the mailbox.

The first postcard was mailed to a librarian friend in Holyoke, MA, and the last one to a librarian friend in Laramie, WY. Go librarians!

States:

  • CA – 2
  • IA – 1
  • IL – 2 (one headed to Qatar after a pit stop in IL)
  • MA – 23
  • MD – 1
  • ME – 3
  • MN – 5
  • NJ – 2
  • NY – 1
  • PA – 3
  • WA – 1
  • WY – 1

Other fun facts about the postcards, where they’re going, and who they’re going to:

  • The farthest postcard is (likely) going to Doha, Qatar by way of Illinois.
  • The farthest postcard by zip code distance is going to Belmont, CA (3116 miles, just beating out Poulsbo WA at 3094 miles).
  • The closest postcards are going 2.5 blocks away.
  • Total distance traveled by the postcards I’m sending out based on zip code distance from my house is 24,744 miles – just about once around the equator!
  • If I include the postcard going to Doha, the total distance will be 31,258 miles.
  • One little boy is getting two postcards because both his moms signed him up without knowing the other had already done it.
  • I’m related to 4 of the postcard recipients.
  • I’ve lived with 4 of them.
  • I’ve known 6 of them since I was 18.
  • There is not full overlap between any of those three groups of people.
  • I’ve never met 4 of the recipients in real life.
  • I share a full birthday (day, month, year) with one person
  • Seven people are librarians.
  • Thirteen of them play hockey.
  • I met 4 of them through Crossfit.
  • Another 3 I met through playing indoor soccer.
  • There are (at least) 4 knitters in the crew.

This was such a fun way to get connected with friends! I highly recommend sending postcards to people in your life, just to let them know you’re thinking about them.

38. send $20 to 4 people and ask them to send me a return note telling me how they spent it

This was one of my favorite things on the list I did when I turned 40, so I decided to do it again! This time I picked 4 different people, but all having a few things in common, and am sending them $20, a note, and a pre-addressed, pre-stamped postcard. When they spend the money – on whatever they want or need – they just drop me a note back letting me know how they spent it.

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Last time, I selected 4 Kristins and Kristens from various points in my life. This time I selected people with a common name, but all from the same time in my life. I can’t wait to hear back from them all and to share their postcards with you.

Trip to a New Mexico Dude Ranch

Earlier this spring, I traveled with Amy, her parents, her brother, and her sister + family to New Mexico to spend a week at a dude ranch. We stayed at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in Winston, NM. Well, technically it was in Winston, but in reality it’s about 50 miles away.

The ranch is one of the few privately-owned tracts of land in the Gila National Forest. We were truly in the middle of nowhere; cell phones stopped working 2 hours before we arrived. It was glorious to be completely off the grid!

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The whole crew, from left to right: Megan on Smoky, Clark on Rooster, Cam on Strawberry Shortcake, Hannah on Lightning, Karl on Blue, Mady on Casper, Holly on Buck, Linda on Lips, Dirk on Casey, and Amy on Comanche.

As it turns out, there is a pecking order between horses, and my Smoky was the sensitive soul in the bunch. Once we figured out he wanted to be as close to the front of the pack as he could, and only wanted horses that live in his paddock behind him, we were good.

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Me, in front of the pack, on Smoky.

We rode for 5 days; 2 days were full-day trips (ride 2 hours out, lunch and hike for 2 hours, ride 2 hours back) and the other days were ride for 2-2.5 hours, back for lunch, then ride for another 2-2.5 hours. Since we were the only people at the ranch, we got to pretty much determine what we wanted to do and when. Fortunately, Meris, the head wrangler, had lots of great places to take us.

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View of the Gila National Forest between the ears of Sunny, Meris’s horse.

We rode up onto ridges, down into canyons, through streams, through cattle grazing pastures, and everywhere in between.

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Across a field used for cattle grazing.
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Crossing the creek one of 30+ times in Taylor Creek Canyon.

The national forest is simply gorgeous. We saw eagles, heard canyon wrens, saw elk (and found a baby elk skeleton), were surprised by small lizards, and generally enjoyed the natural beauty of the Gila National Forest in mid-April.I can only imagine what it looks like when the rains come and everything turns green!

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Those are some cool mountains off the in distance. I didn’t really pay attention because my horse was getting ticked off at Amy’s horse and there may have been a small kerfuffle so I had to go to the other side of the top of the ridge so Smoky would settle down.
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Crossing Upper Taylor Creek

There were many ancient Mimbres pit houses and cliff dwellings in the area which we got to see, complete with petroglyphs and pottery shards. (We took only photos, left not even footprints…)

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Petroglyph in a Mimbres cliff dwelling
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Petroglyph in a Mimbres cliff dwelling
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Shard of Mimbres pottery on the ground near a pithouse site

The modern Pueblo are some of the descendants of the Mimbres people. This issue of Archaeology Southwest magazine offers a lot more information about the Mimbres people.

This juvenile eagle was the largest predator we saw because despite our best efforts, we didn’t see any mountain lions.  We did spend a lot of time saying, “Here kitty kitty kiiiiitttyyyyy….”

 

 

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Juvenile bald eagle, looking for lunch in Wall Lake

A blog by Megan A. Brooks