Monday, December 20, 2010

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike at Lake Windwing on Tues. and Thurs., Dec. 21st and 23rd.
Lake Windwing is located on South Shore Drive across from Ridgebury Elementary School.
Take Bennetts Farm Rd. to South Shore Dr.
The entrance and parking will be on the left.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse

Not since 1638 has a total lunar eclipse coincided with the Winter Solstice. Tuesday Dec. 21 is our shortest day of the year – the beginning of winter. Between Monday night and Tuesday morning the earth’s shadow will totally engulf the Moon from 2:41AM to 3:53AM EST. Unlike a solar eclipse, it is safe to view a lunar eclipse with the naked eye or binoculars, both work well. All it takes is a good alarm clock and a clear sky. For the 72 minutes of totality, you will notice a second deeper night. Stars that were hidden by moonshine will appear. The moon may take on a reddish glow. This is the result of the reflection onto the moon from the ring of Earth’s sunrises and sunset. The Earth’s atmospheric conditions really are the key to the eclipse’s color. Only on rare occasions will the Moon go black. The next total lunar eclipse to appear in our area is not until April 14-15 2014. If you want more information about this event, go to Sky and Telescope’s website at Picture credit Science NASA News.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No hike Tues., Dec. 14th due to Ridgefield school 2 hr. delay.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike at Seth Low Pierrepont State Park on Dec. 14th and 16th at 9:30am.
Entrance to park and parking is off Barlow Mountain Rd.
Near Scotland and Barlow Mountain Elementary Schools.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues. and Thurs., Dec. 7th and 9th at Limekiln Natural Area in Redding, CT.
Directions: From Rt. 7 take Great Pond Rd. (Martin Park) which turns into Picketts Ridge Rd.. Follow to the end.
At end turn left and follow Rd. around curve then bear left to go through Redding.
Go straight through Redding by the railroad station to Side Cut Rd.
At the end of Side Cut Rd. turn left onto Rt. 53.
Make first right onto Limekiln Rd.
Turn left onto John Todd Way and park at end of Rd.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gingerbread - A short history

Our Gingerbread House Workshop carries on a long European tradition. In 992 the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis started teaching French priests the art of baking with the exotic spice ginger. At first it was used for easing indigestion and religious ceremonies. As the spice became more available, it was discovered ginger had a preservative quality for pastries and cakes. An early European recipe created a paste which was pressed into carved wooden molds. Originally these were like story boards which told through pictures the news of the day. Or they may have reflected the likeness of the ruling royals or been religious symbols (like the one above). Then the finished hard “cookie” might have been iced to bring out the details in the relief. In the 1500s, the English altered the recipe and created a lighter product. Crumbled, it was added to meat to cover up the decaying smell. Queen Elizabeth I is credited with creating the first gingerbread man when she presented some visiting dignitaries with gingerbread biscuits in their likeness.
Gingerbread soon became a popular treat at fairs where "biscuits" were sold in all shapes and sizes.

In the 1600s Germany became famous for its softer & puffier Lebkuchen gingerbread. Nuremburg produced such a high quality product that it was used as currency for paying taxes. The Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel, inspired the Germans to take large slabs of lebkuchen decorated with sweets and create hexenhaeusle, “witch’s house” or Knusperhaeuschen, “houses for nibbling at”. These houses were often built over the Christmas holidays and eaten at New Year. Immigrantes brought gingerbread and its building tradition to America. Today, the USA has the largest variety of gingerbread recipes in the world. And the Gingerbread house continues on being a Christmas tradition. Enjoy!