weekending :: getting out in it

this weekend was one of those crisp, clear, cold-in-the-morning-hot-in-the-afternoon, brilliantly blue fall weekends that remind you you've gotta get out in it now because soon it'll be cold, cold, cold.  and get out in it we did, filling it up with goodness way beyond our typical mostly-stay-at-home kind of weekends.  (which I quite love)

while she was in ballet class Saturday morning, papa and I walked over to the library book sale and picked up a few things.  afterwards, the market.  our last of the year as we'll be gone to the beach camping next weekend when the market season closes.  we had our pastries from the wood-fired bread guy, bought a big bag of onions since we've got approximately one or two left of our own, a box of the season's last tomatoes (we need to make more of Heather's amazing salsa because we're going through it fast), and a pork belly that papa plans to turn into bacon with his homemade cold-smoker.  we also came away with a bag full of 4T/5T sized dress-up clothes that the kind Molly thought Claire might enjoy. (yes, the answer is YES)

Claire and I took a quick ride on the bike to visit some friends for a little while so we mamas could chat and the girls could play and watch the Curious George halloween special about a headless scarecrow.  they love it.  while we were gone papa went into the back bee hive to close it up for the year.  we didn't have a second honey extraction like we thought we might this year, but they are looking good and we've got fingers and toes crossed the winter will be good to them.  and then we were back home to help bottle the pumpkin ale.  one of us in our new dress-up, of course.  we've worked out a nice assembly line for bottling, we three.

a late afternoon birthday party for a little buddy turning six.  Claire joined in and made a light saber out of a thick wooden dowel and colorful duct tape.  most of her tape faces out so it's quite sticky but it's pretty cute and probably still just as good at harnessing the force and all.  there was popcorn and roasted veggies to munch on, beer to drink, and good people to catch up with.  and cake.

and then, later afternoon, we headed up and over the mountain to farm school to glean apples for cider and for eating however we see fit.  we came away with lots of apples.  LOTS.  papa is working on rigging up a homemade press right now (it involves a car jack, a frame, a big box...) and we're going to see about refilling that 5 gallon carboy with some cider.  dried apples, a pie or six...... yumyumyum.

as we gathered apples in the cold wind that night (as it does this time of year, it turned from late afternoon to evening rather quickly) I thought how very well-suited we are for one another.  much as we drive each other nuts sometimes, I'm sure there are a lot of folks out there for whom gleaning dirty apples for a couple hours in the cold raw wind would not be their first choice for how to spend a saturday night.  but it made us giddy.

and then Sunday we spent the day at LEAF (the Lake Eden Arts Festival).  our kids at art class were performing again so we found ourselves with free day passes, just like this Spring.  if some of the photos look familiar, that's probably because the herb conference takes place at the same location.  there was again kettle corn and delicious food, bouncing on the big bungee bouncer thing (she flipped this time! fearless!), a run through the hamster ball thing, a gorgeous lake reflecting fall leaves, dancing.  general fun and merriment.  we got to see Robert Randolph and Bela Fleck play.  so, so good.  we listened to them both a lot in college (and still) and went to see them each a couple times in college.  we did leave about a half hour into Bela Fleck's set so we could get over to the farmer-owned meat shop (where papa worked briefly) for their anniversary block party- I enjoyed Bela's music a lot but the addition of his (I'm sure very lovely) wife and musical partner tweaked the sound a bit into something I felt I could leave after a half hour, whereas were he with the Flecktones I'd have to have been dragged away.

and so on to the meat shop, for lots of good food (mostly variations of meat on crackers, also amazing french fries and local cheeses), a local brewery's Butcher Babe Smoked Porter to taste, a local distillery's whisky to sample (they let me take their empties for maple syrup bottles!), and more good folks to chat with.

and then, finally, home.  where I collapsed on the couch while they read stories and then promptly fell asleep with the little one because holy cow, what a weekend!

*weekending with Karen


into fall :: the garden

last week I picked the majority of the peppers left out there.  maybe there are about a dozen small ones hanging on.  most of the tomatoes were all long since pulled, with the exception of a few volunteers.  things are definitely a lot calmer and quieter out in the garden beds these days.  we've got kale, chard, collards, lettuce, leeks, parsnips, beets, carrots, and a smattering of herbs still growing.  oh, and radishes.  which I must admit I sowed more for the instant gratification than for any real love of radishes.  because, really?  they're not my favorite.  not even close.  we're hoping the greens go well into the winter with the added protection of plastic covering over the hoops, which we'll add soon.  there are also still some tomatillo and okra plants, but it's cool enough that they can't really do much.  though we'll likely be able to make one more small batch of tomatillo salsa.

we are quite literally scraping the bottom of the barrel (basket) of the onions.  we started harvesting and eating them in late July and haven't had to buy any since then, but it looks like they'll be on the next grocery list.  I'm pleased to have grown roughly three months worth of onions, but thinking next year we'll double (or more) the amount we plant in hopes that we'll get further into the year on what we grew ourselves.

we didn't grow the corn in the picture up there~ bought it at the market from a kid in art class who grew a bunch of gourds and corn.  I think I'd like to grow popcorn next year though.

acorns.  wow.  there are four huge white oaks in the front of our house and the house next door and it doesn't take nearly as long as one might suspect to gather this many of the poky little orbs.  and the pigs at farm school were quite pleased with the treat.

a little list in the garden journal of things preserved and such this year.  it could be a lot longer, but it could be a lot shorter as well.  there was also a small batch of tomatoes from a friend's farm canned whole - maybe 6 or 7 quarts.  above is the list of stuff made just from our own garden (with the exception of the blueberry jam made from our blueberry picking venture, which also yielded some quart bags for the freezer).  well, and the sugar maples in our neighborhood.

the garlic will go in any day now, and we'll keep tidying things up and adding mulch and compost to the beds for the winter as we can.


weekending :: the herb conference

it was good to get back.

This weekend marked the tenth anniversary of the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference, an event I attended the first five years, ending with the year I was about 6 months pregnant with Claire.  There were plenty of women at the conference with their babies, toddlers, children.... but I knew enough about myself that I knew I didn't want to wear both hats at once, you know?  I knew.  So I didn't go for a handful of years.  It was, as always, wonderful.  Having grown to over a thousand women (and only women), I'm quite sure this annual fall event is here to stay.  I took several classes, rose early each morning for yoga, walked all over, camped with friends that drove down from Illinois to attend, ate incredible food (seriously, look at this menu!) and was inspired again and again.  My mind is swirling with all of the information shared in the classes, particularly the ones about nutrition, stress response, and integrative pediatrics.  I listened to women I've heard speak in years past, was excited to hear new ones that have long inspired me through their books and messages, and learned quite a lot.

So now I'm back home with renewed motivation and inspiration to commit to getting more sleep and exercise, and to look even more closely at the foods I put into my body and the way my body reacts to them.  I am inspired to make some medicine, and feeling good about choices I've made regarding Claire's health, diet, medical care, etc.   Good times, good people, amazing and empowering information.

weekending with Karen~



leftover birthday cheesecake, yumyumyum.

breakfast and a good book, The Moon Sisters.

a new undertaking for papa, perhaps literally if he proves successful

the sauerkraut turned out quite well

birthday orchids from my pop

another batch of granola,

and quite of bit of popcorn popping these days.

there have been other things happening, too, of course.  garden tending, parties with friends, another hike in the woods back to that same christmas-themed tree, a visit with my mom, the first fire in the wood stove! (followed by 70 degree days) and so on.  Claire was invited by neighbors to go help them put up their Halloween decorations and eat themed snacks (brooms made out of pretzel sticks, shredded cheese and chive greens, for example).  the thing that made the invitation so great, I thought, was that the neighbors are a female couple in their 60s, and that they invited three little girls.  very sweet.  she had a blast.  there is a crow costume being made, farm school fun, plans for the Women's Herb Conference this weekend (papa is subbing for me at art class!), adventures in beekeeping (battening the hatches for the season, volume 3 (4?): and still so much to learn!) and tons of acorns falling from the sky.

but these little photos are a bit of what's happening in between


early October, in the woods

we headed to the woods for a hike with friends this beautiful fall morning.  or, perhaps more accurately, for the idea of a hike thrown a bit (and expectedly) askew by the addition of a pair of three-year-old feet and a pair of four-year-old feet.  so truthfully, we moseyed, we mamas, while the kiddos explored off the beaten path, stabbed at things with sticks, threw sticks, jumped off of rocks and boulders, searched for critters and fairies, checked out the creek, and other such things.

and then there was this~

"Please add to Gary's tree",  reads a hand-painted rock at the base of a hemlock along the trail.

I don't know anything about Gary, except that this tree of his never fails to surprise me and always brings me a smile.  Claire asked if perhaps it was the doing of her great-uncle Gary, but I told her I was pretty sure if he had a hemlock tree in the woods around here (roughly 700+ miles away from his home) that he decorated in a Christmas theme we'd probably know about it.  We added her little orange hair clip after looking at all of the interesting things adorning the branches.  She is already talking about what we can bring along to add next time.

The woods had that wonderful fall smell.  The at times pungent, earthy, sweetly-rotting-leaves smell.  I breathed it in deeply, it's good stuff.  We saw golden leaves, red leaves, lots of mushrooms and a few crawling critters.

I am going to right now make the commitment to getting into the woods as often as I can this month.  Oh, glorious October.  yes, yes, yes.