A day at the ‘beach’


After enjoying Labour day weekend we had a week or two of glorious sunshine. We realised this was unlikely to last and so set about researching which lakes or reservoirs were the nicest to visit aorund SLC. Because when its summer, (and you are Birtish) and its hot and sunny you go to the beach for the day!

Now seeing as Utah is essentially a large valley surrounding by mountains in the desert, there is no beach near by or anything like a beach. We missed visiting Lake Michigan that has several cute ‘coastal’ towns but thought we could find some reservoirs with some nice walks around them.

We previously visited Bear lake, which was lovely and had great water for swimming in, this however is a little far away so we set about looking for reservoirs or large bodies of water closer to home. The nearest would be either the Salt lake – which is a little smelly this time of year, or Utah lake in Provo, this is mostly a boating lake and although has lots of marinas doesn’t have many nice beaches.

Some of the popular reservoirs are in residential areas or high up in the mountains and so actually quite cold. We settled for visiting Pineview reservoir, as this is quite big, only has smaller boats, has a sandy beach and was lower in the mountains near some ski resorts we hadn’t driven past yet.

The surrounding drive was nice, and we realised fall was on it way as some of the leaves had started turning. The lake was bigger than we realised but its near the road and had more boats that we were expecting and so was quite busy. We had a little picnic on the sand and dipped our toes in the water- which was freezing!! So no swimming!




Scrumping and pickle


One thing I would usually look forward to this time of year is the imminent arrival of autumn, complete with beautiful leaves, crunching around parks and hunting for damsons , blackberries and any other hedgerow delights. Since moving to Utah I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled, when the Mormons first settled SLC the soil was either really fertile or they worked incredibly hard to make it so. Along many streets there are fruit trees, and remnants of old orchards. Mostly apples, some plums, and a few peach trees. I’ve seen a few apricots growing in peoples gardens but not too many available for picking.

Whilst consulting the googlewebs for possible fruit locations I first came across this amazing website, falling fruit, which lists free fruit foraging spots all over the world. Awesome! This lead me to find the green urban lunchbox. A local scheme that lists volunteer fruit picking events, often in community veg patches or orchards or peoples excess fruit trees. The idea is that you sign up for an event, go help for a few hours to pick fruit or whatever, then you keep a third – for free! give a third to food banks and a third to the owner. Win win win. I loved the idea of this and signed up for a few events. So far I’ve already picked pears, plums and apples, and am looking forward to some more fresh produce. The picking is interesting and I’ve now learnt some different types of apple trees and how to use an apple picker.

More excitingly I’ve been looking at what to do with my hoards of hard picked fruits. Since seeing a picture on fb the other day of a cheese and Branston pickle sandwich, I’ve wanted one sooooo badly! I am fortunate to have found an English imports shop down the road – twirls, scones, monster munch, clotted cream, proper tea and other awesome delights although the pickle is incredibly pricey. I thought I’d test out some of my chutney recipes and start research pickle ones to try my hand at making some. This weekend is set to be another scorcher but I’ll be spending some time in my kitchen pickling some apples. Any one have any good chutney recipes please do share!


The good bits #12


So far August is hurtling past, and amid the long hot and sunny days we have been exploring our new home.The kitties have settled well and are enjoying having more windows, and importantly large window sills to sprawl along. They seem to approve and already have several favourite spots.

First impressions of this city are that is is vibrant, so green, and has lots to do, especially outdoor activities. the weather has been glorious, for once I feel like I’ve had a proper summer, its consistently 30+ degrees, with a few instances nearer 40 – which has been a little too warm for my delicate rose skin. Aside from avoiding the mid afternoon, I have however been enjoying living in shorts and flip flops, and making the most of the local outdoor pool, ice cream and abundance of vitamin D. I created a summer wardrobe, although if I’m honest I’m really looking forward to ‘fall’ which is my favourite time of year. I cant wait to be cold enough to wrap up warm again!

Kiwi and I have begun exploring our new state, with a few trips south and west. Visiting one of the islands on the great salt lake, eating our body weight in ice cream shakes (almost) and hiking to some darling hot pools.

We also had a fantastic time in the UK, and reminisced about home (well for me anyway) complete with bbq’s, Pimms, camping and enjoying a few days around our old stomping ground. It’s hard to believe I landed in the US a whole year ago – it’s  a bit longer for Kiwi. In some ways it really doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone that long, but I guess we have crammed a lot into the last year.

As we approach Labour day – this is effectively like August bank holiday weekend, it’s officially the end of the summer but as Americans get less holidays its even bigger! we will be exploring more of the national parks whilst the weather is still good. We are looking into ski season passes for the approaching season and finding some local treasures.


Cartwheeling on the beach


As one of the last things we wanted to do before we waved goodbye to the Midwest was spend some time around Lake Michigan. This lake really is like a little coastal resort with towns on the lakeshore, and several beaches that feel and look so much like the sea. We travelled up to New Buffalo and spent some time watching the waves, people spotting and sun bathing. It was awesome. Continue reading

Its hot hot hot!

today reached 33 degrees! I melted, but figured I best make the most of it before it gets frrrreezing cold.

The university has amazing sports facilities, one of them is st Joe’s ‘beach’. There’s two large lakes that you can swim in and do lots of fun water sports. there were a few people chilling out of the pier and swimming – the water was lovely, I freaked out because there was squelchy mud on the bottom!!! – I hate wet things on my feet. But I did go paddle boarding. I tried paddle boarding for the first time in Wales with some friends a while ago, it was really good fun although with a few waves I was only made it to kneeling the first time. I did some more before I left down in Devon which was so tranquil and really good fun. So I rented a board and paddled around the lake. – I didn’t fall in which was good,  I couldn’t see anything in the lake either as it was green but lots of birds and various people running around the lake – why would you run in 30 degree heat?!?