Oct 29, 2012

Awaiting Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy is barreling closer to the shore, we are all prepared with bottled water, batteries, flash lights, gas etc. Children are off from school today and tomorrow; we are working remotely - as long as power stays on.

Our town, situated in the northern mountains of the State is at 1020 feet above the sea level and has the largest fresh water lake named Lake Hopatcong, spreading about 4 square miles which accounts for 10% of the town's area.

Gov. Chris Christie - Governor of NJ has declared a State of Emergency, lowering the reservoir of Lake Hopatcong and other water bodies to be able to sustain the onpouring rain. Coastal towns such as Barrier Islands, Altantic City, Ocean City, Sandy Hook and few other low lying areas have been ordered evacuation. For others who haven't been ordered to evacuate, we are to stay off the roads and stock up on food, water, medicine and other supplies needed for survival.

Sandy is a serious storm - about 500 miles in diameter affecting the entire East Coast - from the Carolinas all the way to New England; making a land fall in New Jersey. It is 10:30 AM EST right now; 2:00 PM is when it is expected to land.

As of now we have heavy winds and mild rain; that's all. However, it could very well be the calm before the storm...

Thanks to all of you who have reached out via emails and phone calls. We are fine; will keep you posted as Sandy passes.

Oct 25, 2012

Heaven on Earth!

Is this heaven on earth? Absolutely! It is Carter Mountain Orchard!

Apple picking isn't new to us; but apple picking in Carter Mountain Orchard was a unique experience!

Carter Mountain Orchard is located in Charlottesville, Virginia on a huge mountain. As you drive up the mountain you would wonder how is it even possible to grow apples in such a mountain. The roads are almost perpendicular to the sky(!) and it sure feels like you are driving up to heaven!

Once up there, you would forget you are on a mountain top as the ground is leveled flat. Yet the view of the rest of the Virgnia down below is amazing! There is also a huge vineyard where you can pluck your own wine grapes and press it into wine. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to visit there.

Last weekend when we visited they had Winesap and Fuji variety of apples for picking. Both were delicious. Upon entry you are handed a plastic bag for picking your own apples. You are allowed to eat as much as you want, for no cost. For the ones you decide to take home with you, you pay a reasonable price of $1.99 per lb.

The hay ride is $3.00 per person and they take you all the way around the apple trees. It was a fun experience traveling with my cousin and aunt & family.

They also sell apple cider donuts which are made right in front of your eyes and you can eat it fresh & still warm. It is absolutely delicious and we finished two dozenn donuts in a few minutes! Cousin Bibin was so kind to get us black coffee which went so well with the donuts.

If you ever happen upon Virginia, I strongly recommend you visit Carter Mountain Orchard. If you are far away to "ever happen upon Virginia" no worries; I will take you along the hay ride. Hop on in and hold on tight! Here we go...

Heaven on earth indeed - is it not?!

Oct 19, 2012

Fall so far...

The weather is crisp. Like an apple. Fresh. Juicy. Inviting. It is Fall!

Here's to share some technical information I had read in the Farmers Almanac:

September 22nd was the official first day of Fall this year. It was also the Autumnal Equinox when day and night were each about 12 hours long; the Sun crossing the celestial equator going southward; rising exactly due east and setting exactly due west.

From then on the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter than the nights. Winter begins with Winter Solstice on December 21 at 6:12 AM. EST this year marking the shortest day of the year, when the Sun reaches it's most southern point in the sky at local noon. After this date, the days start getting longer.

With a month of Fall behind us and Winter looming forever closer, people have started talking about Christmas already! Even businesses have started piling up on Christmas decor! This is quite different from most years as we won't normally have a sight of it all until after or closer to Thanksgiving. Mums are in full bloom. Even chestnuts are in stores! It's like everyone has fast forwarded their clocks by two whole months! OR could it be that I am far behind?! Possible.

I am - or rather my taste is - changing by the day. Uggs have become my latest fancy. Till last season I shunned it like anything; but now I "must have" it! I can't even wear it to work as jeans are off the list. I am better off with a tall black leather boots which can be worn with almost anything; but ask me which one I would rather buy I will say, "Uggs!". What's wrong with me?! I myself can't understand. So I have put off buying till I can fully figure out my state of mind.

Children can't wait to wrap up on Soccer season and begin with Basketball. They love Basketball over Soccer by many folds. I think it is because the Soccer fields are unnecessarily big and too tiring on the kids. Worst part is having to sit in the cold outside to watch the game compared to the cozy interiors of a basketball court.

Israel is experimenting with his moustache. Last weekend he shocked us by going without it and these days it has morphed into a French beard. Interestingly I like it all!

There are plenty of babies to visit over the next couple of weeks amongst friends and family. Hearty "Welcome Aboard" to Baby Jeyashree, Baby Vanitha & Baby Samuel! More than anyone our children are excited as they are of the age where they love love love all babies.

So, life moves on. Hope all is well at your end too.

Somehow my thoughts these days only flow in the form of letter writing, so I am thinking of a brand new series called "You've got Mail!" in which I will randomly pick on you to write to. Hope that is okay with you.

Stay tuned...

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