The Old Pine Tree

Blossom

Don’t even ask me what’s going on outside.

Morse’s Sauerkraut and European Deli

I’ve known about Morse’s for most of my life. I come from a long line of sauerkraut makers and my family has always had an appreciation for Morse’s kraut and pickles (their sour mustard pickles are out of this world). Luckily it’s fairly easy to come by around here.

Last Saturday I went to Morse’s for the first time. I decided it was a good place to take someone for their birthday, as a surprise. I was taking a chance because I’d never been there before, but I had a hunch it would be worth the trip to Waldoboro.

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Boy, was I right. Morse’s is tucked in the country among lines of old maples, fields for farming (I’ve heard that in the summer Morse’s fields are full of cabbages), and valleys that tease you with views of a lake. Walking through the door at Morse’s is like stepping through a portal. It’s like you’ve not just driven country roads but instead have stepped off of old European cobbled streets through a tiny storefront to find yourself in a European market. There’s a small German restaurant tucked into the side and a friendly waiter takes your name and hands you a menu. A glance at the menu and you’re sure you have in fact been transported over the pond.

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I expected Morse’s to be all sauerkraut and pickles but it was so much more. It is a complete deli, with samples of food around every corner to hold you over until you’re seated. There are mustards and pretzels for tasting, sliced pickles, spreads, baklava, and so on (yes, I definitely sampled them all).

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A waitress took our order before we were seated, so it was ten minutes or less before we were served once we’d been seated. On the tables, next to the various mustards and salt and pepper were small crocks of sliced pickles. You can snack to your hearts content. I had my fair share.

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We ordered too much food and we ate most of it. It was all equally good, and it was all very good. I think it is pretty special to get a meal where everything is equally good. I had pierogies filled with sauerkraut, mushrooms, and onions. They were cooked perfectly (I’m picky about them ever since I lived in Pittsburgh), topped with onions, and sitting on an oily plate. I devoured them.

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I also had spaetzle that had a really nice, rich cheddar shredded over it. Additionally we tried the pickled beets which were light and had a spice that we couldn’t identify but liked, and the mac and cheese, which we ended up taking home and enjoying the next day (it was very good and just how I want mac and cheese - dense and not runny!).

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For the past few days I’ve been telling everyone I know about Morse’s. I feel like I need to spread the gospel. If you’re ever headed up Route 1 to Rockland, Camden, or Acadia take the time to veer off course for ten minutes and check out this great place. Expect a wait if you’re going to sit and eat and enjoy the market in the meantime. Believe me, it’s worth the trip.

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Winter running and decisions

I have a lot of respect for people who train for marathons in the winter in New England, especially up here in Northern New England. I have done it before, and I did not enjoy it. I train for and run marathons because I enjoy running; it is that simple. I enjoy pushing my body, seeing what it can do and wondering how much farther/faster/harder it can go. I enjoy being in shape, the way it feels, and I enjoy being able to indulge more, knowing that the next day I will be hard at work again.

My body is sensitive to the cold. The difference between kind of cold (35 degrees) and very cold (25 or less) (we won’t even talk about frigid, which we have had all too much of this year) is noticeable. When it’s kind of cold I’m out and about, running more, eating lighter, feeling more energized. When it’s very cold I don’t really want to exercise, I want to eat a lot, and I want to sleep. A few mild days I run more, eat well, and lose a few pounds. Once the temp drops I’m cranky and hungry until I put those two pounds back on. I’m not joking, my body is that sensitive and that little change really does make a difference. I’m only willing to be uncomfortable for so long. I want to look forward to running (especially long runs!), and when it’s very cold every day I don’t want to subject myself to that discomfort over and over.

Whatever. Maybe I’m weak. If I lived in a more temperate climate you better believe I would be at fairly high mileage all year long, but I live in a windy coastal town in Maine and so I’ve got an intimate relationship with my YMCA membership.

This is a long way to say 1) if you train all winter in single to negative digit temps, snow, ice, sleet, and general blah, I envy your willpower 2) I am really looking forward to getting into the 40s soon, because the 40s bring airplane arms and happy running for me. And lastly, I have decided to go with the 10k for the trail race in May. It is not because I could not be ready for the 25k, but because it is going to be a cold spring and I don’t want to hate it anymore than I already do. I want to enjoy running and look forward to the race. I don’t want to worry that if we have a snowstorm on April 20th I will miss an important long run. I want to go into that race feeling positive.

Plus, I’m hoping to run my next marathon spring of 2015, which means slogging all through next winter. I like to think that next winter will be as warm as this year was cold. Who’s with me?!

Spring tulips

Faking it for a while until the snow melts away and the real deal pops up. Springtime brings simple pleasures.

Spring tulips

Faking it for a while until the snow melts away and the real deal pops up. Springtime brings simple pleasures.

Maybe rain on the first day of spring is a good thing

Today, as I look out my window at work, I see that it is honestly raining. The water has puddled up around the trunk of a leafless tree. There is six inches of water with kaleidoscoping circles on the surface where the drops of rain incessantly drop. Below the surface is milk-white snow and ice next to the rust red and brown of last season’s leaves and dirt from months of sanding sidewalks.

Rain can be depressing when it’s early August and it’s all you’ve had for weeks on end. Believe me, I’ve been there. But on the first day of spring it is a reminder that change, no matter how seemingly impossible, will come. The temperatures don’t bite quite so hard. The snow recedes just a little from the edges of lawns. City streets are cleaned of their salty winter whitewash. The new daylight is at just the right angle to awaken nostalgic memories of a time when it wasn’t winter, but the light was similar. Spring is damp; a morning of rain must mean that something is changing.

I can’t stop starring at that puddle and those circles on the surface. They are a welcomed reminder.

So, you say it’s Spring?

Spring is due to arrive this afternoon, March 20, at 12:57 p.m., though it is barely evident this year, save for the yellow crocus that came up last week beside the Camden Public Library, and the little snowdrops near a Rockport Village home. But, spring it will be, and astronomers are reassuring us that the vernal equinox is under way. 

I, for one, haven’t seen any crocuses yet, but the thought that there is one out there somewhere is reassuring nonetheless. This is a nice article about spring and the coming* warmer months.

*supposedly. 

Asian slaw
Told you I’ve been drawn to cabbage slaws/salads lately.

Asian slaw

Told you I’ve been drawn to cabbage slaws/salads lately.

Cocoa powder 
I like to put cocoa powder in my post-run recovery smoothies. This stuff is great for your health, and makes everything taste chocolaty. It supplies you with healthy minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Flavonoids reduce inflammation (which is great when you’re hard on your muscles). Additionally, it has been found to possibly be an antidepressant and help regulate mood. It may also boost endorphins and serotonin (which is great for you ladies, when you’re PMSing and feeling blue).
This stuff is not sweet, despite how it looks and smells, so I always add bananas (among other things) to help sweeten it up. They of course have their own health benefits, and they eliminate the need to add sweeteners. 

Cocoa powder 

I like to put cocoa powder in my post-run recovery smoothies. This stuff is great for your health, and makes everything taste chocolaty. It supplies you with healthy minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Flavonoids reduce inflammation (which is great when you’re hard on your muscles). Additionally, it has been found to possibly be an antidepressant and help regulate mood. It may also boost endorphins and serotonin (which is great for you ladies, when you’re PMSing and feeling blue).

This stuff is not sweet, despite how it looks and smells, so I always add bananas (among other things) to help sweeten it up. They of course have their own health benefits, and they eliminate the need to add sweeteners. 

neurotic-rob said: You wrote the other day about being close to 30. When you think about the future what thoughts cross your mind when planning financially?

I’ve always been pretty good with money and I think it is because my parents were really good role models. They also made me put part of my paycheck in the bank when I started working part time in high school which was super annoying but practical. I try to set reasonable goals and always live within my means. I budget and save for any trips or fun stuff I want to buy, and I don’t take on too much at once. Looking into the future I’d like to continue to budget well and work towards financial goals in a reasonable way.

neurotic-rob said: When you feel restless or anxious about something what do you do to find peace and calm?

Oh man this is a hard one. I’m not always good about this. I think really just having some time to myself, going for a walk, or taking some calming breaths away from anything that is stressful. And sometimes it just takes a few rounds of Candy Crush :) Mostly I find that if I give myself some mental space from whatever makes me anxious I’m able to think more clearly later.

cupofchi said: What are some of your favorite spring meals/ingredients? I love transitioning my staple recipes with the seasons, but I always find it tricky on the produce front right about now...

This time of year I’m torn between wanting winter foods (like pizza every day) and lighter, springtime foods. I’ve been making more smoothies (my current fave is spinach, banana, frozen strawberries, peaches, and apple cider). I also like pea shoots. Asparagus is a good spring vegetable and are pretty versatile, and on your side of the Country it’s almost artichoke season! I think spring is a great time to start grilling and making meals with fewer ingredients. I’m drawn to cabbage salads/slaws right now. I think because it is still so very much winter here in Maine, I need another month to answer this question more meaningfully :) Anyone else have any great springtime meals?

3rdcoastfieldnotes said: Tell me about your favorite runs in Maine. Favorite adventures that don't involve running sneaks?

One of my favorite adventures is a secret swimming hole my high school friends and I always hit up. It’s a beautiful spot with waterfalls and warm rocks to hang out on, off a dirt road in the woods. 

When I lived in Portland I used to love running to the Fore River Sanctuary on early mornings on hot days, before it got too hot. It was always so quiet and I had the place to myself. Mackworth Island has always been a favorite too. The best trails though are behind my parents’ house - it doesn’t get more private, and I can go for miles.

My family has a camp in the Adirondacks and my parents have a camp in logging country in Eastern Maine. Lots of great adventures to have there. The deeper in the woods the better. 

Remembering warmer weather gets me excited to run/adventure, but I’ve always had trouble wanting to run in cold weather. 

Thanks for asking :)

blanketcoveredlover said: Hi - I just followed you. May I ask what you need inspiration for?

Everything. Winter has just sucked the inspiration from me. Inspiration for interesting blog posts, writing, music, just anything to get my creative juices flowing! I feel creatively stale lately.

I need some inspiration.

So go ahead and ask. Or tell me something good.

Afternoon tea

Some simple advice, courtesy of my cup of tea.

Afternoon tea

Some simple advice, courtesy of my cup of tea.