Friday, February 26, 2010

Welcome back Pond, Scoop of Guinness?

Above is a shot of the Nashawannuck Pond just this morning. I took a bunch of photos of the newly dredged pond recently (just before this weeklong onslaught of winter weather arrived), and was preparing to do a little blog entry on the final chapter of the big dredge the pond project. And wouldn't you know, roving photographer, blogging extraordinaire, now exclusives videographer for Easthampton, Patrick Brough, beat me to it. And in fine fashion I must say.

So rather than reinvent the wheel, I humbly defer to Pat's entry last week over at Bay Road Photo. Some great photos, lots of interesting pond trivia, and a couple cool interviews with the experts. But before I send you over there, might I mention the recently promised Guinness Ice Cream is done and sitting comfortably in the dipping cabinet, awaiting your next visit...

Sorry about the squirrel drinking Guinness photo, couldn't be stopped.

Here's the link to Pat's great pond piece:

Dredging Project Link

Image by Patrick Brough.

The quality of my little videos is pretty average by comparison, but in the interest of logging the completed state of the dredged pond into the Diaries, here are mine...

Hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter's Fashionably Late Arrival.

Well, I guess it was nearly inevitable that our luck would eventually run out (or our luck would return, depending on how you feel about snow), and a snowstorm would finally wander north enough to force us to fire up that under-appreciated snowblower in the back of the garage.

A few ticks up on the thermometer, and this morning's winter wonderland has quickly become a winter slush puppy, but I'm happy to report I was able to wander out with my camera this morning before the changeover. Thanks mostly to an early morning wake-up call that came in the form of an avalanche-like crash of snow falling off the slate room of my house.

Whoever borrowed Mt. Tom this morning, please return it. No questions asked.

Drive safe. Or nap safe. Looks like we're in for a good stretch of winter's wrath, enjoy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winter Photo Shoot. - Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. - John Boswell

Had the chance to escape to the coast for a brief post-Valentine's Day respite earlier this week. Not so much writing this time, but still managed to capture a few images. There's nothing quite like snow on the beach. Unnatural, yet beautiful nonetheless.

Hope you enjoy.

If you liked, here are a few more...

I hope you are enjoying this cold and nearly snowless winter so far. Pitchers and catchers arrived this week, so Spring must be around just a few more corners. Next week is looking to be a bit snowy, so perhaps not yet time to put away the snow shovel and boots. We New Englander's are a patient breed when it comes to the weather. Spring will get here when it feels like it. In the meantime, put a scoop of pellets on the fire and on your way to the couch, grab yourself warm (or cold) beverage and a comforter , flip on the Olympics, and savor the slower pace of life while it's still here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Latest from the Lactose Labs.

An interesting read on the topic of lactose intolerance.. Why do people become lactose intolerant?, in the health section of this week's on-line Wall Street Journal.

"For years, doctors thought that lactose intolerance primarily affected individuals from certain parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa. But newer evidence suggests the opposite is true. Most adults develop lactose intolerance. Only a minority—those descended from herding cultures in northern Europe and parts of Africa—have a mutation that allows them continue to break down lactose into adulthood. The misperception likely developed in part because so many Americans are of northern European descent and have the mutation."

I realize the lactose-intolerant are probably not a key demographic of Ice Cream Diaries readers and Mt. Tom's guests, but I sincerely believe that the lactose-intolerant are people too, and I couldn't, in good conscience, not pass along this interesting article.

For most individuals, lactose intolerance doesn't mean they should permanently cut out all dairy. Studies have shown that people who are lactose intolerant can drink one to two glasses of milk* a day without symptoms, says Dr. Grave, who encourages all people without allergies to drink this amount. Many people say their symptoms actually improve when they regularly drink milk, perhaps because the bacteria in the colon break down lactose more efficiently or the number of bacteria build up, he says.

* I'm no lactose scientist, but I'd say a small ice cream would be about the same as a couple glasses of milk.

And on the same topic albeit a much lighter note...

I realize it's too late for Valentine's Day, but if you're interested in a tee above for your dairy-dreading date, you can find them HERE.

And if all else fails, there's always sorbet or soy gelato (should be starting that up again in a month or two). And one last thing for you unfortunate latose-intolerant, if I come across any good spinach recipes, I'll be sure to pass them along.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Wanted to share a few images of Valentine's Day, Mt. Tom's candy store style. We're open 12 - 8 pm today (Thursday), Friday & Saturday 12 -9 pm and Sunday 12-8 pm. Why pay Northampton or mall prices when you can get it all here in downtown Easthampton. Home of the Valley's finest free parking.

Handmade gourmet chocolates...turtles, maple creams, cherries, buttercreams, and much more...

Making these kept us busy yesterday during the crazy snow (non)event...

Can't forget the cupid corn...

And certainly not least, we've got a big stack of fresh strawberries ready and waiting to be hand-dipped in chocolate. Those will be available starting tomorrow (Friday) thru the weekend (or as long as they last).

Hope to see you soon, and Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.

We now return to your normally scheduled commercial-free blog banter.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Thanks again for your vote.

Just a quick note from your friendly, neighborhood homemade ice cream & candy shop to say thanks for your vote in the Valley Advocate's Best Of contest.

In case you haven't had a chance, here's the link (just click on the logo below)..

And if you need some helpful hints, check out my original blog entry.
Thanks again. You're the best.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What I did on my winter vacation, Part 2

The dipping cabinets are restocked. The chocolate display case is overflowing with fresh gourmet chocolate delights. The candy jars are reloaded. Fresh coffee beans are in the house. Cups, napkins, ingredients, and all the other ice cream shop necessities are on the way. The Mt. Tom's supply chain is back on line and ready for 2010. The Valentine's Day display displays proudly in the front window, and a good batch of Valentine's candy is up, ready to help satisfy the candy cravings of your one special someone. In short, I'm pretty much all caught up and finally have a chance to start blogging again.

In the interest of likely more interesting photos (if you're outside my extended family anyway), I've opted to brief you on the second part of my January of leisure first. The first ten days were spent in sunny (but chilly) Florida with the family. We threw a 50th wedding anniversary party for the folks so this year, instead of just me, my brother's family, and the folks, it was a vacation overflowing with uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Very cool, but probably not as interesting to you as vacation adventure part 2. Colorado & Utah...

I'll let the photos do most of the talking. Above is me next to the elk statue in downtown Boulder, Colorado. Many thanks to longtime friend Beth,her husband Pete, and wicked cool daughter Gretchen for the hospitality. In case you've never been there. here's a shot of downtown Boulder, Colorado, one of my favorite towns in the U.S. It was definitely on my short list of places to open an ice cream shop back six or seven years ago. Part college, part hippie, part artsy, very cool, if you ever find yourself in that area, well worth an afternoon walkabout.

Here's an interesting find in a gallery there...

Janna Ugone lamps. Her studio is right here at 1 Cottage Street in Easthampton. Nice.

After a couple relaxing days in the Denver burbs, it was off to Park City, Utah, by way of Salt Lake. Another local artist sighting while walking through the SLC airport, Mark Brown clocks being sold in a terminal gift shop. Easthampton artists rule.

Park City, Utah is the great little ski town about 40 minutes outside Salt Lake. There are only 3000 permanent residents, but swells to 45,000 during the ski season. And well beyond that for the 10 days of the uber-hip Sundance Film Festival.

As luck would have it, my visit with buddy Mark, his wife Marissa, and their 2 little princesses falls right in the middle of the Sundance festivities. The town is overflowing with L.A. types, (locals call them PIB's - 'people in black'), with their fancy fur coats, high heels, and Iphones. It's quite a spectacle. The rich and famous are all around. Paparazzi mill about. Locals and tourists wander the streets, anxious to catch a glimpse of a 'star'. We tried to just act cool as we did our usual little pub crawl through town, but it's hard not to be on the lookout for someone famous. Most were well-hidden in their fancy private backroom parties, but we did see a few. Here's my brush with fame...

The movie we got to check out was the premiere of 'Get Low'. It stars Bill Murray, Robert Duval, and Sissy Spacek. Wouldn't you know, they were all there. They got introduced, and even did a Q&A afterwards....

One of the questions from the audience was to Bill Murray - 'Is it true that you snuck up behind someone downtown and put your hands over their eyes, and they said 'who is that?' And you said, 'You wouldn't believe me if I told you.' And then you snuck away.' Wouldn't put it past him, he was genuinely funny during the unscripted after-movie banter with the audience.

Here's one more, my buddy Mark's daughter, hanging with the Snoop Dog...

I showed all these photos to one of my 17 year old scoopers. She barely knew Ben. Had no idea who Bill Murray or Robert Duval were, but she knew the Snoop right away!

On to the other main attraction of Park City in the winter - Skiing! They were having a terrible ski season, hardly any snow, until just before I got there. It snowed for 5 days straight, nearly six feet! Needless to say, the skiing was tremendous...

We even got to check out the half-pipe Olympic qualifier competition. All I can say is, Shawn White = amazing. In a class by himself.

Here's one more of the awesomeness of the Utah mountains.

My friend Mark's walk to work at SkullCandy, speaking of hip... and I thought I had a pretty sweet commute...

Many thanks to Beth, Pete, Mark, & Marissa for the fine hospitality. Good fun, great skiing (came back in one piece, which is good), and a nice break from the rigors of ice cream making. Feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to go. Well, at least as recharged as one can be after a month of sleeping on pullout couches, trundle beds, inflatible mattresses, and subsisting on a diet of chicken sandwiches and nachos.

See you soon.