September 22, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

Cooking in the Clouds... Day 3

I was up a little after four this morning in the slight hope that the sunrise might be visible. Ken had said that the hour before the actual sunrise is lovely, and with a 60-40 chance it'd be clear this morning, I wanted to check it out. Nope. Temps have risen and the cloud cover is thick here on the summit while a few hundred feet below us, it's clear and seasonably warm.

Spent some time in the weather room with Jim. We looked at the big storm in the country's mid-section, zeroed in on an area of possible tornado development, actually spotting a tiny spot that looks ominous. Jim called up yesterday's national damage report (who knew!) which showed some tornadic activity in that very area, including some in Nebraska, Shaun.

This is the BEST gig...all I have to do is cook! I've died and gone to heaven, or at least I'm a bit closer at 6288 feet! For lunch yesterday, I'd taken the last of the beef 'n' gravy from the night before and made a beef stew. Supper was thick ham slices with a honey mustard glaze, rice pilaf, broccoli spears and fresh out-of-the-oven bread with Italian butter. For dessert I'd made two pies. Some foks - if you can possibly imagine this - don't like chocolate! I made a vanilla cream and a chocolate fudge pie. With whipped cream of course. You wouldn't believe what just five people can do to two pies!

With the leftover ham I made a rich quiche for breakfast. Now, while I'm only actually responsible for putting supper on the table, that seems silly, AND this crew has been wonderfully appreciative of my offerings. (No great accolade for my cooking; they love to eat!) Supper tonight... simple stuff. Corn chowder thick with sausage, a spicy coffeecake, cole slaw and ice cream with mandarin oranges and kiwi pieces.

My friend Nancy asked if I'm cold up here... au contraire! In our living area I've been almost too toasty, most of the crew wearing short-sleeved t-shirts, etc. I can go through the weather room directly to the state park cafeteria and gift shop, inside viewing area, post office and observatory museum and gift shop, but I wouldn't think of stepping outside without my heavy wind-breaking jacket, hat, mittens...

We had a rescue incident here on the summit Wednesday night involving four Canadian hikers
one of whom remains in dangerous condition in a Manchester hospital. Ken's asked me to re-file the incident reports from previous...situations... and also to type up any handwritten reports.
The reports, going back years, are fascinating - hikers over-estimating their condition and abilities as often as they under-estimate the weather and hiking conditions. Makes for very sobering reading.

The afternoon weather was weird... sunshine above and below us, but only breaks in the blowing cloud cover right here at the summit. It's so strange to look down, over, and up at clouds! I did see a "snow dog," which Jim explained to me is where ice crystals (being prismatic) refract the sun's rays in rainbow-y ways. Very cool.

It's very easy to lose track of the days up here, but tomorrow Sharon will go down and Sunshine will come up to staff the Observatory museum and gift shop. Mike's mom is coming up for a visit, and we may well see others on a late September weekend...although the forecast up here is for deteriorating conditions from Saturday afternoon through Monday, with some serious wind and rain expected Sunday.

I'm not even going to think about looking for the sunrise tomorrow! Mary