The Windsor Jambs

We almost missed this little known gem. We were on our way back home from a hike in Western Massachusetts. I had a jingle formulating in my head that I wanted to try out- for those new to my blog, I have been playing short improvisations on my recorder, Native American flute and oboe on woodland trails, mountain tops and other inspiring locations. We did a quick search for interesting sites in the area and found Windsor Jambs; a beautiful waterfall with a strange name and unusual rock formations.

The rocks were stacked sideways and as the local folklore goes, the original settlers in Windsor, Massachusetts named the spot Windsor Jambs because the rock formation in the falls reminded them of the jambs of a fireplace or a doorway. We followed a path along the falls and I was able to find a lovely spot to play the tune that was percolating in my head! As I started to play, I heard a group of people chattering through the woods-my first thought was one of trepidation -“I hope they don’t get too close to me” and “should I stop playing”? As the group rounded the bend in the path, I saw that this was an extended African American family that included grandparents, parents and a few children; one young girl was carrying a guitar case. They were all wearing masks and as they saw me, they stopped at a respectful distance and as they heard me play, a look of surprise and happiness came over their faces. It was almost as if they had come across a magical wood sprite, albeit a very mature one! I heard the group make a collective sigh of delight. It felt wonderful to play for my small but appreciative audience, and in these times of the pandemic, this was all I needed- I was performing! As I watched the family continue on their walk, I imagined that the young girl carrying the guitar case was also going to find a beautiful spot to take out her guitar and play a piece of celebration for a family member’s birthday or milestone achievement!

The last few days have been quite chilly and the leaves are starting to turn. I love this time of year when I can once again make soups and stews that simmer on the stove for hours in my trusty and well worn cast iron pot!

Our talented gardener friend Jerry, brought us the surplus from his garden: onion, leeks, carrots, cabbage, parsnip and kale; so I was inspired to make “End of Summer Friend’s Vegetable Garden Soup! From my fridge, I added celery, chicken chorizo sausage, a can each of white cannellini beans, diced fire roasted tomatoes, and some Italian farro- a delicious grain that is a nice substitute for barley.

“End of Summer Friend’s Vegetable Garden Soup”

Ingredients:

1 onion finely chopped

1 large leek rinsed well and finely chopped

1/2 small cabbage sliced

1 parsnip chopped

1 carrot chopped

a few pieces of kale- tough stems removed and chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

2 or 3 chicken chorizo sausages diced

1- 8 ounce can cannellini beans

1/2 cup Italian farro

1- 8 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare Soup:

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in heavy large pot

Saute onion and leeks until softened

Add vegetables and rest of other ingredients

Cover with water and bring to a boil

Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about 1 1/2 hours.

I served this with sour dough bread slices that I rubbed with garlic, poured on a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled the bread with grated parmesan cheese.

I broiled them until the bread was crisp and toasty!

Enjoy! And we will get through this time- VOTE!!!!!

AND, we made our first fire in our woodstove the other night!

Author: Judith Dansker

Professional oboist and chamber musician- member of Hevreh Ensemble and Winds in the Wilderness, Professor of Oboe Hofstra University; observer of people, art and nature; passionate food and travel explorer.

3 thoughts on “The Windsor Jambs”

  1. Lovely hike and how interesting the rocks are piled sideways. And how magical to have a family appreciate your beautiful music which sounded like sprites dancing in the woods. Your soup sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing!!

    Like

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