On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

Mountaintop finally hit the jackpot with last weekend’s weather. Two days of glorious sunshine, moderate temperature and not a rain shower in sight. The dry air was good for my hair too.

I enjoyed two invigorating hikes up my mountain trail. The erosion from the three major storms the week before is shocking. So many new rocks were unearthed from the force of the rushing downhill water. The trail is all the more challenging. I started wearing my new hiking shoes early in July, as the worn down soles on my previous pair just couldn’t grip the slippery slope any more. You need safe shoes to enjoy the rugged terrain.

The other outdoorsy activity for me is garden maintenance. Wildlife has been chewing on my beets, beans, tomatoes and peppers. With the leaves compromised the fruit has a harder time maturing. I recycled some of my extra garden fencing placing it over the affected crops in the hopes of deterring whatever has been getting in there. I will be able to see if the netting is working within a week.

The zucchini and yellow summer squash are thriving and I’ve picked broccoli for our supper table too. My garden is just not as robust as previous years. I have the same preparation and have fertilized, weeded and mulched with newspapers and compost around the plants.

The hydrangeas on the other hand are robust and colorful after years of sparse bloom. Shades of pink, violet, magenta and deep blue brighten up my front and back yards. The only thing I can conclude is that the cool spring and summer and abundant rainfall has spiked them into health. My mother always had beautiful hydrangeas in her northwest Washington garden and this year’s show reminds me of them.

Summer Food

Charlie has been stopping by the Rotary Club’s Sunday Farmers Market at Crestwood High School for the past few weeks. Every week he finds something new to bring home. This week it was fresh corn, farm fresh eggs, and a nice cucumber.

Maggie Dicus and I made Blueberry Zucchini bread on Sunday. The zucchini was fresh from my garden and the family had picked the blueberries a couple of weeks ago on one of their Back Mountain outings to the Smith Blueberry Farm. When we couldn’t eat them fast enough I put them away in the freezer and we had what we needed for our recipe.

Maggie is 9 years old and she likes to research recipes, assemble the ingredients and carry though with her baking plans. The fresh from the oven mini loaves were enjoyed as soon as we could handle them. I can attest that a large family of hungry growing children can consume voluminous amounts of food.

2017 Steam Train Excursion

The Rotary Club of Mountaintop is holding their 2017 Steam Train Excursion on September 9, 2017. Tickets for the excursion are $70 and are on sale at Triangle Pharmacy and online through rotarytrainride.comat Eventbrite.com.The Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Steam Engine 425 will pull the train on the 33-mile trip from Mountaintop to Jim Thorpe. The Rotary hosted the initial Steam Train Excursion July 5, 2014 and repeated the popular excursion July 23, 2016. The train can hold 620 passengers on the train’s 10 passenger cars, built between 1917 and 1920 for a day that will be long remembered.

The Eagle will once again be the local club’s main information source. The Rotary description says “Your senses will tingle from the exhilarating whistle of the steam engine to the gentle rumble of the train as we traverse lush forests and quaint towns of northeastern Pennsylvania. Bring your camera to capture the view of not one, but two tunnels and a beautiful waterfall to be enjoyed both en route to Jim Thorpe and upon return to Mountain Top.”

I enjoyed the 2014 and 2016 Rail Excursions with the Dicus family and it was a lot of fun. The excursion begins at 8 a. m. at Mountaintop Hose Co. No. One with shuttle buses taking passengers to the nearby Penobscot rail yard for boarding. The train departs at 9:30 a. m. for Jim Thorpe. Return trip leaves Jim Thorpe at 3:30 p. m. in time to arrive back in Mountaintop by 6 p. m.

The four hours in Jim Thorpe offers time for lunch, shopping in the quaint shops, enjoying wine tasting or a delicious ice cream treat and a walk down to the river.

The scenery is breathtaking and you will experience travel from nearly 100 years ago. Steam Locomotive No. 425 is a 4-6-2 light Pacific built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1928 for the Gulf, Mobile, and Northern Railroad at a cost of $44,000. No. 425 weighs approximately 110 tons, and its tender weighs approximately 91 tons. It holds 18 tons of coal and 8500 gallons of water. Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad purchased Steam Locomotive No. 425 in August 1984, and restored it for the excursions.

The first two Steam Train Excursions were held in July. September’s possibly cooler weather will offer a slightly different experience. The train will leave the Penobscot station September 9. It is an excursion that will be long remembered.

St. Jude Church St. Jude’s new church building is

in its final construction phase. The parish hopes to have its first mass in the new building by Labor Day. The new church and the demolition of the old church have changed the view of the St. Jude’s complex dramatically. “If you build it, they will come” must be on the minds St. Jude’s faithful. I have always been more likely to appreciate old church buildings in the tradition of the European gothic cathedrals. New York City is full of classic churches that could never be built with the same materials and workmanship. Country churches are often small and rustic. I like those too. Every era has their own standard of the day.

The new St. Jude’s Church will open its doors to all Catholics and also those who may want to explore their religion. The major milestones of birth, life and death are in general part of a church’s ministry to baptize, marry and bury its faithful. There is so much more life in a parish community than the building. A beautiful respectful new house of worship is a Mountaintop community treasure.

Hobbie Carnival The Hobbie Carnival is this

weekend August 4, 5 and 6. Usually held at the end of July the event was bumped back a week last year and St. Jude’s Picnic will be August 11, 12 and 13.

The Hobbie Carnival is unique and a lot of fun. There are lots of games, great food, the best ice cream and classic events like the tractor pull. Diana Bloss and her committee have been delivering top-notch entertainment in support of the Hobbie Volunteer Fire Company for years. Hobbie is a located at the end of St. Mary’s Road a couple of miles past Helen & Ed’s Christmas Tree Farm. The ride is beautiful and the destination will be cherished for years.