Archive for May 6th, 2013

fid2Spring continues to slowly make its presence known here in New Hampshire. I came across some young ferns on my walk through the back grounds of the house the other day. Young ferns are fun to watch grow as they emerge from the ground all curled up and slowly unfurl into a full grown fern.

Because of the curl, these ferns are often referred to as “fiddleheads” for their likeness to the top of a violin. Believe it or not, fiddleheads, or young ferns, are something of a delicacy in the cuisine of areas like this where they are abundant and often the first harvestable crop of the season.

I have grown up around many people who are foragers – people who find food in the wild – and fiddleheads were often a favorite. My dear late Aunt Marge was notorious for clipping all the fiddleheads she could find every spring. However, not all ferns are edible and not all are technically fiddleheads despite their common appearance.

The University of Maine has a great primer on Fiddlehead Ferns including important information on food safety for the foragers out there.

Remind me to tell you about the time when a neighbor of mine served his whole family his special mushroom sauce made with mushrooms he found in our yard and they all ended up in the emergency room. True story.

Anyway, I don’t think the ferns I saw and feature here are the real fiddlehead kind, but I loved seeing the new life and they made me smile.

Find a recipe for Steamed Fiddleheads with Horseradish Scallion Sauce from Epicurious here.

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schwinnIf you have been following Lost Cowboy for any time, you will know that I love bicycles. There is nothing I like more than going for a nice long bike ride through the countryside near my New Hampshire home.

When it comes to my bike, I am quite loyal. My current bike is starting its seventh season and the bike I had before that lasted about 16 seasons. My current bike, which was quite an investment when I purchased it, is one of my most prized possessions. But I have to admit that sometimes I think she is too fancy.

What I mean is it has all sorts of bells and whistles (the former quite literally) and is made to withstand even the bumpiest of off road trails. For the past couple of years I have toyed with picking up a second bike for more casual rides. I kept an eye out for a second hand bike but never found anything worth buying.

It turns out that the best time of year to buy a bike is the middle of winter – after Christmas and before the first mild day of spring – when dealers want to move inventory to make room for the new season’s models. I had this in mind one cold day in January when I was browsing online and came across the Schwinn Men’s Southport Cruiser on sale from a discount website.

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On whim I purchased the Schwinn Men’s Southport Cruiser and it came within a week. The bike came delivered to my door in a big box which I promptly placed in the barn where it sat for the past few months. Well, with a couple of mild days last week my mind went straight to thinking about getting out on the roads and I opened the box.

The Schwinn Southport Cruiser, which has a gorgeous retro design and looks awesome, came pretty much assembled. I spent a few minutes putting on the front tire, seat, handlebars and pedals and it looked great. However. I am far from a bike mechanic and I know that a well-tuned bike is important, so I packed the new bike in the car and brought her to a bike shop, where she now sits.

Anyway, I can’t wait to get my new bike back and out on the road. In the meantime, this is my endorsement for the more simple and inexpensive bicycles that look good and are perfect for a cruise around town, just like my new Southport Cruiser from Schwinn.

About the Schwinn Men’s Southport cruiser: “Now you can enjoy rides around town or a bike path with this new 26″ Schwinn Men’s Southport cruiser bike. It features stylish Schwinn cruiser frame, large spring saddle for your comfort and easy to reach Schwinn cruiser handlebars with cruiser stem. It has Alloy Linear Pull Brakes for dependable stopping power and 7-Speed Shimano Rear Derailleur shifting system for responsive gear changes. 26″ Wheels with Rustproof 36 hole Alloy rims will conquer any terrain while making the ride even more enjoyable.”

It appears that the Schwinn Men’s Southport Cruiser has been discontinued by Schwinn. However, a few are still available from Pacific Cycle via Amazon.

Find your ride and learn more about Schwinn Bicycles here.