Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9, 2014 - Belle Chevre Cheese Shop And Tasting Room (also hiking and geocaching)

Hey, I used to blog and stuff! What happened?!?! Well... all sorts of stuff happened. Birthdays, bonfires, high fashion photo-shoots, and various walks in the woods.

What's been happening the most around here is lumberjackery (word?) at it's finest. Sometime in November the heat pump took a nap and never woke up. Fortunately, we have a wood-burning stove in the living room that keeps us nice and snug on all but the coldest nights- which we've had no shortage of this winter. We started taking down some of the smaller walnuts from the brushy borders of the yard with hand saws. When it became clear that the small bundle of logs that we could gather in an afternoon from that exercise was not going to cut it (yeah, I did that) we ordered a rick of wood delivered to the house. A couple of weeks later we inherited Mom's 20-year-old Poulan chainsaw and after a quick $70 repair and tune-up we've been spending almost every weekend sawing into the fringes of our woods for firewood. 

I'd like to complain about the extra work, but honestly I kind of love it. Hard work for the purpose of literally keeping your family and pets warm at night. Rarely do I have the opportunity to see such tangible results from a day's labor. Plus, it's been a big help in the weight-loss department. Boring weight-lifting? No thanks. I'd rather spend an hour hefting logs and splitting them to stack on the porch. Plus... chainsaw. It's like hitting things to make music, right?

This was our first weekend in a long time that we didn't spend cutting down trees and stacking wood. We worked extra hard last week in order to have some time to get out and hike and do that geocaching thing that I haven't done with any real frequency since our vacation last October.

Today's hike is a familiar one; the south half of Richard-Martin in Elkmont. However, a new business has opened in Elkmont since our last visit and this is really the whole reason for writing this post anyway...

We had planned on stopping at the gas station in the middle of town at the halfway point before turning back to finish the hike but I noticed that one of the shops had made way for a new business. We recognized the name from the sign hanging outside and walked over to check things out. Belle Chevre is a local fromagerie that has seen its fair share of positive press via a wide range of sources, including the Today Show. The Cheese Shop and Tasting Room has been open for only about nine months.

Here's our lunch, a plate of four 2 oz cheese servings and four sides for $8! Well worth it. We had orginal Chevre, fig, Tuscan, and Belle and the Bees cheeses with almonds, beets, pepper jelly and Summer sausage. Thin crackers give you something to slather the cheese on. Incredible. I don't think it was just because of the walk we made to get there; this was an extremely enjoyable meal. 

Highly recommended

Samples of the breakfast and artisan cheeses
Check out Belle Chevre Cheese Shop and Tasting Room at the link I've posted above or via their Facebook page. This is one local business that's well worth your time and money.

We also did a fair bit of geocaching on the trail today. A big chunk of the southern half of the greenway has been taken over by a power trail of caches. We don't normally get into the mass-find-count-bumping-fest that is a power trail, but it's been a while and I did make quite a few more finds than usual. Found a new container type comprised of two soda bottle ends fused together and sealed with caps. The results were somewhat mixed in the waterproof category, but overall they seem to be holding up okay. If we found them on the ground it was about a 50% chance of the log sheet being a soggy mess; off the ground much, much better. 

My list of finds so I wouldn't forget
Random opossum sighting

More pictures of the day can be found here.