Sunday, May 26, 2013

BLACK RIDER! (And no, it's not Tom Waits.)

"Do Elves live in these woods," [Sam] asked.
"Not that I ever heard," said Pippin.

Photo credit: Alexander James -

The day started out fine. The road we're on isn't used much, as it's not fit for carts, and there's little traffic to the Woody End.

At this point the fellowship of Hobbits hears the distinct noise of a pony or horse behind them (some thought it might be Gandalf) and they leave the main road and hide. It was the Black Rider, sniffing for them, and fortunately Frodo didn't get a chance to slip on the Ring and turn invisible. And of course Sam only just then remembers the curious and queer fellow who was asking around about Frodo. (Really?)

So now we're off the road proper, and walking about a stone's throw to the left of the road. It's uneven ground, and at home all the rain has turned the dirt to mud, so we're moving slower than before.

Total Miles thus far:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Elevenses - Did you know this is real?

(Graphic by Jake at GhostGlide.

I swear I should have been born a Hobbit because I'm always looking for an excuse to eat. Wasn't I surprised that the Hobbit mean "Elevenses" is actually a real thing in England and Ireland! Gotta love you Brits!

Elevenses is kind of like Afternoon Tea, only it's eaten in the morning -- around 11:00 am, thus the name. This meal typically consists of something sweetish -- cookies or a pastry or coffeecake, with tea or coffee.

Now WHY exactly aren't we doing this in the US?

Today: More walking. The road rolls ever up and down ...

In other news, Baby and I went exploring since I found my old Magellan GPS and wanted to see if still worked. Actually I don't think I ever used it, so I guess I wanted to see if it worked at all. It was a good thing I had it with me because we got completely lost in one of the subdivisions behind our house. Pretty pathetic, getting lost in your own backyard, basically. The good news is the GPS works fine and now I know how to use the "Backtrack" feature.

We can JUST see across the Woody End to the River. For the next 3 miles or so, the road seems pretty straight and level. I suspect our next day's journey to be nothing terribly exciting. No adventure, danger, or anything of that sort ...

Total Distance thus far:
28.98 miles

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Breakfast! First or second, whichever.

Still trekking on the same path. Nothing much to see here.
'Cause it's dark.

Today's post is also inspired by LOTRO (which if you're a Tolkien fan and you're not playing, you should be. It is really one of the best MMORPGs out there, if only in terms of the beauty of the graphics and how faithful the game play and scenery is to the "real" Middle Earth.)

Another one of the first recipes cooks can learn is for the humble "Eggs and Onions" item, which gives you +3 might for 20 minutes. So I'm going to offer the real-life alternative for +200 calories for energy throughout the early morning. (Or whenever you need a quick snack!)

It's simple:
  1. Take 3 eggs and mix them together with 1/4 cup of onion and 1/4 cup of mushrooms. 
  2. Now scramble the mixture.
  3. Spice as desired (a little salt and pepper, tabasco, whatever)
  4. Enjoy. 

(I'd recommend making these eggs a little firmer than your typical runny scrambled eggs. When the mushrooms start to release their water, it thins out the mixture, so cook at a slightly higher heat to steam off the excess water.)

For the cholesterol-conscious, you can use any egg substitute. I personally don't see that it changes the taste much. And remember, breakfast foods don't "expire" after 11am. Scrambled eggs make a great teatime treat or midnight snack.

Now if you're still hungry after all this, it's probably getting close to Second Breakfast time! (Usually eaten between First Breakfast and Elevenses.) In the game, an interesting meal choice is called "Shire Porridge" which when eaten gives the player + 964 non-Combat Morale Regeeration and +1035 non-Combat Power Regeneration for 30 minutes. In non-gamer terms, this means you "fill up" faster.

Shire Porridge is described as a "simple porridge of oats and spices" but I noticed one of the ingredients is blueberries. Personally I've never eaten oatmeal with any fruit other than apple, but I found this recipe and I want to try it out:

Of course, a far easier version would be to make packaged oatmeal and just throw in some fresh blueberries, if you're feeling lazy.

Total Distance Thus Far:
25.78 miles

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mushroom Pie!

(Boring zigzag road continues. We logged 2.5 miles today.)

In the Lord of the Rings Online game, (LOTRO), one of the crafts that characters can learn is cooking, and one of the first recipes that apprentice cooks learn is for Mushroom Pie.

In the game, when you character eats the Mushroom Pie, he or she is awarded the following buff:
  • Removes up to 1 Disease, Fear effect with maximum strength of 10 from the target.
    +30 in-Combat Power Regen
    +30.7 in-Combat Morale Regen
    +404 non-Combat Morale Regen
    +450 non-Combat Power Regen

In reality, a real Mushroom Pie is a reasonably healthy choice for people (and hobbits) who are tired of roast chicken. This following recipe comes highly recommended and the eater is awarded the following nutritional benefits, per 1/8 pie serving:
  • 166 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 18 grams carbohydrates
  • 2 grams dietary fiber
  • 5 grams protein

Total Distance Thus Far:
21.74 miles

Monday, May 20, 2013

Of Foxes and Hobbitses...

We've just passed the campsite where Frodo, Sam, and Pippin rested after their first day's journey. Yes, you read that right. We've come one Hobbit's day journey in a week. Of course Frodo didn't have a day job, so we have nothing to be ashamed of :)

The original company encountered a fox about this time. We saw a squirrel. I guess that counts.

There won't be much to blog about for the next ten miles or so, as the road just zigzags to the stop of a steep hill. I'll try to find out some interesting details to keep things entertaining.

Total Distance this far:
19.24 miles

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Song For the Dark

We've come a decent way already, and today we passed the Road which takes you to Woodhall, Stock, and the Bucklebury Ferry. (That used to be a ferry (well, really just a small boat) that would take travelers across the water, but somewhere along the line the boat itself went missing. You can fish off the landings, but you'll only ever catch dace.)

Stock is pretty much a swamp, and since we weren't carrying bug-spray, I had no desire for a detour. Press on we must, on to the cloven track in the darkness of tall trees. And of course the road is uphill...

Total distance:
16.16 miles

Saturday, May 18, 2013

We're not "Proper" fellows, now are we?

So, it's been raining off and on for a couple of days, and Baby and I chose to opt out of walking. I know, I know: we can hardly call ourselves fellowship members when we let a little rain keep us home.

In any case, we haven't made much progress lately. When the Fellowship got this far, they ate a frugal supper in a birch grove. Baby and I split a banana in honor of them.

Total Distance So Far:
12.79 miles

Friday, May 17, 2013

Goodbye Hobbiton :(

Farewell Hobbiton!  (Photo credit
We've reached that point now in our journey where we can no longer see Hobbiton behind us, thanks to the hilly landscape. We got our last glimpse of the lights from Hobbiton when we entered the Green Hill Country (the hills of which are unsurprisingly green.) It was an emotional moment.

This is such a beautiful place. It's quite hard to leave. 

Total Distance So Far:
9.6 miles

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Welcome to Tookland!

Today's journey was long and picturesque. Following the hedgerows south and crossing the water on a plank bridge (oh my!) led us to the Great Road. This road was built by the elves ages and ages ago and connects the Shire to Rivendell, if the old maps can be trusted. Let's hope so, because that's where we're headed.

We crossed the Brandywine Bridge, originally called the Bridge of Stonebows, which is a massive bit of stone construction that's impressive even to this city girl. The hobbits have taken really good care of it over the years, and it shows. (To be accurate, that slow-moving river is really called the River Baranduin, but pretty much everybody in this area calls it the "Brandywine.")

And on to Tookland!

The green hills of Tookland. (Photo credit LOTRO Wiki)

It's a pretty place, but rather devoid of anything to do. We checked out Tuckborough, which was your typical small town. Personally I wish the Great Smials would have a Parade of Homes because I would really like to see inside those amazing holes.

I can't get over the smell of bears here. It's unnerving.

Total Distance So Far:
5.12 miles

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Road Goes Ever On and On...

Or at least it seems like it.

So we set out from the Shire today for the first leg of our journey: Bag End to Rivendell, a distance of 458 miles.

We logged 1.95 miles after jumping the hedge and going through the gate. It's going to be a long journey, but we're up for it!