My freshman year in college I worked as a litter critter picking up trash and doing odd jobs at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.
Every park has a hook - something that brings tourists in the gate. It may be a beautiful lake or steaming geyser, but there's something that makes that park stand out. At Dinosaur Valley State Park, that hook is...wait for it...DINOSAURS.
Not actual real, live dinosaurs. Dinosaur Valley isn't a wealthy Texas oilman's version of Jurassic Park. Its main attraction is dinosaur tracks deposited in the soft limestone 113 million years ago by Tyrannosaurus Rex and his pals.
So, that summer I spent my time picking up 50-gallon steel trash cans filled with watermelon rinds and dirty diapers in the 100-degree Texas heat. And when we weren't hauling trash, mowing grass or scouring bathrooms until they sparkled like the Hope Diamond, we cleaned dinosaur tracks.
At Dinosaur Valley, most of the tracks are in the shallow Paluxy River. In late summer when the river stops running the tracks fill with algae and take on a jade green/brown color. It makes them look and smell like a bus station toilet.
With summer in full swing, Bob and I have been scoring plenty of fresh peaches at our local Farmer's Market. They're great on their own and even better in this to-die-for cobbler. Adapted from recipe guru Southern Living, our favorite fresh peach medley is packed with fruit, juice and two layers of crust.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "Sounds yummy but peeling peaches can be a lot of work." But I've got a wonderful trick for you. After rinsing your peaches, dunk them in a pot of boiling water for 30 or 40 seconds. Afterwards, move them to a plate to cool for a few minutes and the skin will slide right off with a little help from a paring knife. Peeling peaches just got a whole lot easier and, even better, you won't waste any of that precious fruit.
Combine peaches, sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large pot. Let mixture sit five minutes then bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 15 minutes until peaches are tender. Turn off heat, add vanilla and margarine, and stir until margarine melts.