Hooray for Friday!!!

I have been feeling a little down in the dumps lately and I need something to shout Hooray about!!

I want to make "Hooray for Friday!!!" a weekly party, just because we all should shout hooray for the simple little blessings in our lives!!  So join me, if you have a blog join along, if not post a comment about what it is you are thankful for!

I love Fridays!  They are so much fun!  The beginning of the weekend and normally the end of a very hectic week.

So where should we start?  Oh I know!

My sweet babies.....

They just melt my heart......

I am ever so thankful for them.....

We are off to Kelder's Farm this evening for the Jennie Bell Pie Festival!  Mmmmmmm PIE!  Can't wait to tell you all about it!  

It's Friday!  What do you want to shout hooray for?


Kindergardens and giving up chickens........

Well here we are, next week is the last week of Kindergardens, harvesting is almost done and I am down to two chickens.  

Like many gardeners this is the time of year is when you start to reflect on how to make next years garden better than this years. I have a few ideas I have been kicking around.  I am hoping to get some of it done (and share with you guys, of course!) before the real cold weather sets in.  This was our first year having a big garden. Not everything went according to plan, which can be disappointing and frustrating to say the least. But you learn from your mistakes. 

Here are some things I learned this season:
  • Many hands make light work
  • Patience
  • Little hands always make work fun
  • Patience
  • Never bite off more than you can chew
  • Patience
  • Plan ahead
  • Patience
  • Sometimes you plan ahead and it just doesn't work out
  • Patience
  • Keep trying
  • Patience
  • Gardening is a lot of work that is well worth the effort. 
  • Patience
  • The internet is a great tool but I find 9 out of 10 times you cannot find a direct answer and everyone is an expert.  It helps to invest in a good book, or several.  I like Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.  I also bought this book called Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land.  I have referenced back to these books many, many, many times this past year.  I know there are other really great book out there, these are just the two I use quite a bit.  The Country Wisdom book has much more than gardening. It is a good all around book if you are interested in homesteading. This book has recipes on how to make cheese, breads, jams, etc.  I find I use it for more than gardening. 
  • Patience (notice the theme?)
Patience has always been something I have needed to work on and this year I was forced to be patient.  Nature hurries for no one, I learned this first hand.

One of my favorite pictures, picking strawberries at the farm

As for the garden.....I was happy to find the peppers started to grow, yeah just a tad bit too late. The frost will be here soon enough.  I harvested all of my basil and froze it.  I am going to try my hand as drying some rosemary, I have a little more research to do before I start that adventure.  I have tomatoes a plenty and a ton more out in the garden. I attempted to make homemade sauerkraut, let's just say it didn't turn out edible by any stretch of the imagination. (I didn't know mold could be those colors!) I will try again, hopefully this weekend.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it is a success this time!  I am also saving some of my basil and garlic chive seeds.  I'll let you know how this turns out as well! 

We are not giving up on chickens completely, just until next spring.  I may look at some hens that are already laying for over the winter and then get some chicks in the spring.  I am not sure yet, I think it depends on if the last two of our six original hens survive.  I am now trying to locate a local hatchery which sells chicks for the spring.  This way I know where they came from and the breed is more accurate.  The garden center I bought them from sold me mostly Rhode Island Reds and a few Golden Comets but told me they were all Golden Comets.  The worst part about this whole thing is that we haven't gotten a single egg.  Errr....Maybe next year. 

How is your garden doing?  Do you feel like a big success or a mini failure this year?  What will you do differently next year? 

 And because I like pictures, here are some oldies but goodies!


Malus domestica and a recipe

Autumn is my favorite time of the year!  The air gets cooler and the leaves start to turn brilliant hues of red, yellow and orange and it is the start of apple season here in the Hudson Valley.  When I was younger I lived down the road from an apple orchard and I remember every fall smelling the ripe apples ready to be picked as I walked home from the bus.  And as I drive around now, I smell these delicious sweet treats and brings me right back to my childhood.

Did you know apples, Malus domestica, originated from Kazakhstan and are now cultivated all over the world?  And that apples are full of dietary fiber, vitamin-C, beta carotene and are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). They are also rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrients flavonoids and polyphenols.  Apples are also low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide only 50 calories.  Maybe an apple a day is good for you.....

What is the best way to eat an apple?  Well I like them picked right from the tree but there is nothing like apple crisp with homemade vanilla ice cream on top!  Yum!!  But if you don't like apple crisp you may love apple pie, applesauce, apple fritters, apple doughnuts, I could go on all day long!  I like slicing up apples and using them in sausage stuffing. I also love stuffing them in poultry, along with my celery, carrots and herbs, to add flavor! 

So here is my recipe, it's not fancy but it is oh-so-good!!  P.S. I always double the crisp part.  In my opinion more is better! 

Apple Crisp

  • 10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    Place the sliced apples in a 9x13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples.

    Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Use a pastry cutter (or your fingers) to incorporate the butter. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.

    Bake at 350 degrees  for about 45 minutes

    Taste test 15 or 20 times just make sure it tastes okay!!  Serve plain or with homemade vanilla ice cream!  Your family will love you forever! 


    A survivor? I feel more like a struggler, thank you....

    The other day someone compared having infertility issues with being a survivor.  To me a survivor is someone who has come close to death, not someone who has non life threatening issue. Someone who beat cancer is a survivor, a crash victim is a survivor.  Death knocked on their doorstep. 

    I don't feel that because I had children I "survived" infertility.  I feel more like a struggler (if that's even a word, if not I just made it up), I struggle with infertility, and will even when I can no longer have children. 

    What do you think? I am interested in know how you guys feel about this.  Post anonymously, if you want. Would you consider yourself a survivor or a struggler? 


    Never forgotten

    We will never forget 9/11/01....The day our lives were changed forever.  And even ten years later, despite the economic and government turmoil, I am still extremely proud to be an American!

    So hug your family a little tighter and be thankful for all that you have every single day!

    Please fly a flag, attend a memorial service, thank a solider, police officer, firefighter or first responder for all they have done, have a conversation with your children about heroism and what it means to them, have a moment of silence, or just pray......Whatever you do, please just remember.  We made a promise to all that gave their lives on that September day....We will never forget.


    I have time.......

    School started today.  Little Bird started Kindergarten.  Yes, I cried.  I cried the night before as I read her a book about going to Kindergarten, I cried as I tucked her in and told her how happy she makes me, I cried as I got her dressed in the morning and I cried as I watched my baby get on that bus and magically turn into a little big girl.  It was heartbreaking!

    My mom said to me yesterday that I should treasure these moments because before I know it she will graduate and go off to college.  I have time I thought to myself.....

    Hours old sweet little baby Grace
    No, I don't have time.  I remember five years ago adoring this brand new little life and thinking to myself five years is such a long time from now. We have time....We witnessed first smiles, giggles and teeth.  We watched as she crawled then walked then ran.  We were amazed as she cooed then babbled then spoke.  We have time I thought.....We were blown away as she recognized letters, numbers, colors and animals.  As she wrote her name over and over with great precision, as if she knew how to do it from day one. As she read short stories to us from memory.  We are absolutely stunned by how fast five years went.  And now she is off to start a new adventure called school, without her Mama there to help her.  It's one of the many things I will have to let her go and do, by herself.  It's hard for me to let her grow up, I think it is a hard thing for any Mama to do.
    Little Bird's first day of Kindergarten!
    Time just goes so fast that before I know it five years turns into ten, fifteen, twenty....Then she will be all grown up, starting new adventures and leaving my "nest" to test the waters on her own.  I have time.....No, I really don't.  But I promise to treasure her achievements as they happen and make sure she knows that her Mama is there for her, no matter what.

    She couldn't wait to get on the bus!  She is dragging me!
    I know that someday, a long time from now, my children will come to appreciate what I am going through.  I will be there to remind them to treasure the moments because they do not last forever.  And they will think "We have time".....Silly girls.

    So I hope that Peanut, Little Bird and Little Bug have a great first day of school/preschool and I hope they always remember......I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, a hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap, a barrel and a heap and I am talking in my sleep about yooooou, yes about you, my hearts a leaping, having trouble sleeping, cause I love you a bushel and a peck, you bet your pretty neck I do!

    P.S. This is the best song ever!  I have sung it to my sweet little girls for a long time!  

    Hope all the kids enjoy their first day of school and the parents remember to slow down and treasure every little moment!   


    What did we get ourselves into? Week 1 Locavore Challenge

    Could you eat locally for one day?  One week?  One month?  One year?  My family and I have taken the NOFA-NY Locavore Challenge.  Our goal is one month. We already eat somewhat local because of the vast variety of farms in the valley.  But we want to take this one step further by trying to find not only vegetables and fruits but meats, honey, cheese, maple syrup, etc. The guidelines are to eat within a 250 mile radius and sustainably.  A 250 radius means most of New England and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  I want to keep it a little more local so we are staying within a 100 mile radius.

    We were very excited and could not wait to start the Locavore Challenge!  We were all ready to go then Irene struck.  We were without power for 3 days. Because there was a shortage of dry ice (and in my opinion, poor planning by the local and state emergency management boards), my area didn't get a drop off until Tuesday, right around the same time we got our power back. So we lost all of our perishable food.  Loosing the food though was a blessing in disguise. As we make the switch over to all things natural and organic, one of the guidelines for the switch was that we eat everything we already have.  No throwing out food, as it is very wasteful.  So I felt like in this instance I was not being wasteful, the food went bad on its own. It was a perfect time to start anew!

    But we fizzled right from the start.....The first four days we ate out. We ate local but I am quite certain the food itself was not local. There is now an agreement that we will not be eating out anymore for quite a while. This challenge may have gotten off to a bad start and I am not going to let that stop us from doing this! 

    This weekend we set out to get some groceries in the house.  Lots of things are in season right now and the farmers markets/stands are full of local goodies!  Fall squash is starting to come into season here and I got three acorn squashes that I plan on making some into soup to store for the winter and maybe baking one with butter and brown sugar.  Yum!  I got some double duty beets, you can eat the tops as well as the beet.  Beet tops are OH SO YUM! They taste just like spinach!  I bought double the veggies needed and froze some of the veggies for meals later in the week/month.

    On a side note, I just wish that the farmers market in Ellenville would have a few more artisan vendors like Kingston does. Kingston is a half hour or so ride, Ellenville is about a ten minute ride. The Ellenville market has a beef farm from Rhinebeck come down about once or twice a month (if that) and no vendors that make artisan cheeses or anything like that.  There is one farm and a bakery who are there every Sunday but other than that it's kind of hit or miss. This past Sunday was the farm, the bakery, a local restaurant, a winery, some place that makes avocado smoothies and the local information booth.  It just would be nice to have more variety since we have so many wonderful farms around us!

    We also have been looking into where to get pastured beef, chicken and pork. Right now we buy our beef from a farm stand in Stone Ridge. I found a few farms I can buy pastured beef from directly so it is coming down to comparing quality and price. I have a market where I get whole chickens from in Gardiner and the farm that supplies the market is also in Gardiner.  I have not been able to find a decent place to get pork.  If anyone, who lives in the Hudson Valley, knows of a reputable farm, let me know!

    Photo courtesy of Moo!

    Have you taken the challenge?  How have you done so far?  Have you succeeded or failed?  


    Kindergardens Week 18

    I missed linking up to The Inadvertant Farmer last week due to no power.  So if you want to check out last weeks post and see my beautiful garden at night click here...

    Saturday we went out to pick the stuff that was likely to be destroyed, I had an eggplant that was ready, some tomatoes and not much else.

    My corn didn't fair very well in this storm.  In fact I lost pretty much all of it. I was really upset when I got up on Sunday to see my corn laying on it side like a bad comb over.

    Bad comb over corn

    I have a few more eggplants growing. Lots of strawberries for frozen yogurt pops!

    Three pumpkins, I wonder if I throw them over the deck if I will get more next year!

    I have been planning a new garden up front, I want to get rid of a a lot the grass.  It has been a fight between the Hubs and I for a few months! The Hubs loves his grass!  I hate the monoculture that is my front yard! I like to look outside to a vast variety of things, not just grass.  I want to start planning this now so I can start it next spring. I was thinking something like giant pumpkins, bean poles, etc.  But I am getting ahead of myself......

    First I need to go pull some corn......

    Stay tuned, I started the NOFA-NY Locavore Challenge.  I cannot wait to share all the details with you on Monday!!!