Squire’s Castle is located in the North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks.  It’s less than a 15 minute drive from our house in Mayfield Heights.  Squire was a pioneer in the oil business.


This is what the gutted castle looks like today.


One extra nice thing about a picnic with friends is that Chaya always offers to take a photo of us.  This one turned out especially well.


Here are a couple of more castle shots.



Sally was in a photogenic mood today.


Days like this, really remind of my touring in Europe on our honeymoon.  Squire’s castle is fun, but doesn’t compare to places like the Tower of London.  I hope the kids like to travel as they get older.



On Thursday, after we finished up at Secor Nursery, we headed up the road to meet some more friends at Rainbow Farms.  Turns out, this farm is only 1.4 miles further.  Since they don’t open until 10 AM, we had plenty of time for the raspberries first.  When we arrived, they had just opened the market.  Rainbow was on my list for strawberry picking, but we never made it while they were in season.  My friend was glad to see that they had currants.  The picking wasn’t so great since it was the last week for them.  It was also very hot by the time we started picking around 10:30 AM.


I ended up buying a dozen sweet corn for $5.00 that was just picked that morning.  We’ve already had it for 2 meals and it’s outstanding.  I also picked up 2 of these squash for .75 each.  I think they are called pear squash.  They are a summer squash similar to zucchini and yellow squash.


Currants were $2.25 a pound and I ended up with .71 pounds paying $1.60 for them.  This is a rather small bowl.  Since I didn’t have any concrete planned uses and the thought of taking the kids for slushes seems better than the hot field, I was fine with a small amount.  I am planning to cook them in a roast recipe in place of cranberries.


We liked Rainbow Farms and will go back in a couple of week for thorn less blackberries.

Rainbow Farms is located at 2464 Townline Rd., Madison, OH 44057  440-259-4924

kodiak pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup
Morning Snack
veggie lasagna
Afternoon Snack
toast with local cream cheese
Swiss chard w/sausage, onions
Late Snack
blueberry muffin
homemade real pudding
 Posted by at 8:50 PM

Yesterday, we returned to Secor Nursery to pick blueberries.  We first visited Secor back on June 21st to pick strawberries.  Now that we are getting more familiar with farms and their locations, I have realized that there are at least 3 U-pick farms within 5 miles of each other in the Perry area.


Nick, Sally and I had made plans to meet up with our new friends Paula and her daughter.  They are also in the Fresh Fork CSA and I met Paula through my CSA blogging.  I quickly figured out that we had a lot in common (couponer, 3 year old and CSA) and we decided to meet up for picking.


Here’s a photo of me with all 3 kids.  It was a really hot day, but the sky was extremely blue.


When we arrived about 8:15 AM, we found out that U-pick was closed for blueberries.  I know we should always call ahead, but I was surprised that they were closed to allow for more ripening so soon after opening this week.  We like to get to the farms when they open, so I should get in the habit of calling the day before the check on crops.  They were going to let us pick anyway, but we opted for raspberries.

We got lost trying to find the raspberries and called the market from the field.  I’m pretty good with directions, but had no idea where east was from where we were standing.  One of the farmers came out in a truck and pointed us in the right direction.


I had never picked raspberries before.  They have prickles, but it wasn’t too bad.  They are pretty easy to pick, but they are also highly perishable and pretty expensive.  Some we just ate plain and the rest I put in the freezer for ice cream, raspberry lemonade or other treats later.  When later season berries come into season, we’ll probably splurge and pick for jam.

I ended up spending $8.52 on these raspberries.  They were $3.89 per pound, so I ended up with 2.19 pounds.  I was debating cucumbers from the market and Paula was buying some, so we split a basket of them.  I think they were seconds and 10 were $2.  Paula gave me half and told me my money wasn’t any good with her.  Thanks Paula!


It was a great, hot outing with new friends and I have a feeling we’ll be meeting up with them again soon.


Today was a pretty good day.  I did 15 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the E Spinner and got a nap ater being up 1/2 the night with Sally.

1/2 c oats, 3/4 c milk, 1T peanut butter, 1 banana, 1/2 c raisins, cinnamon
Morning Snack
blueberry muffin
veggie lasagna
Afternoon Snack
blueberry/banana smoothis
2 ears of corn
Late Snack
banana with peanut butter, chocolate, honey, nuts
 Posted by at 9:06 PM

Today was the 8th pick up for the Fresh Fork CSA.  There was a line at the truck today.  Usually, it just takes a couple of minutes to pick up our goods.  It was so hot, but the kids were troopers.  We missed Robert at the truck today.  Usually, we check in with him.  Apparently, he got hurt as they were getting ready to come to the stop.  We sure hope he’s ok and hopefully, we’ll see him next week.  It’s always much smoother with the regular crew in their spots.

Usually, we get a list of what to expect at our pick up on Tuesday.  This week it came on Wednesday.  This was due to changes that had to occur due to the storms.  I live in Mayfield Heights and we didn’t really have much in the way of rain Monday, but south of here was hit really hard.  It is devastating to farmers to have too much or too little rain.

Here’s what we were expecting today.

Small CSA:

  • 1 bunch multi-color Swiss chard
  • 1 pint maple syrup
  • 1 package boneless pork chops, approximately 1 lb. each package
  • 1 quarter peck Lodi apples (5-6 apples)
  • Approx. 1.5 lbs. cling peaches
  • 1 candy onion
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 pound beans, either green, purple, dragon tongue, or yellow
  • 2 slicing cucumbers

Here’s what we received:

The Lodi apples look great.  They are the first apples of the season in our area.  The maple syrup leaked and created a sticky mess.


These are the mustard greens.  I don’t think I ever had them before.



Dragon beans – another new item for us!



So, our list was dead on this week and our only surprise was that we didn’t get to see Mr. Robert (that’s what Nick calls the guy at the truck).  We also didn’t pay for the cream cheese yet, but I’ll get a price this week.  This is our first week without squash or tomatoes.  It’s fine by us as we enjoy the variety.

Most of these items will be easy for us to use.  I’ll probably start with the Swiss chard since we got it in both of our CSAs this week, so it’s taking up room in our fridge!  Friday and Saturday are about using up the perishables and bulk so we can be more organized the rest of the week.


I haven’t posted a food log in a while.  I’d like to say that I’ve been eating great, but that’s not the case.  I gained 3.5 pounds over the last 2 weeks and that was my first gain in some time.  So, through the heat, I am determined to get back my mojo.  I begin with today’s food!

oats, banana, raisins, peanut butter, cinnamon, milk
(need to measure tomorrow!)
Morning Snack
few raspberries from picking
2 wedges of Laughing cow on a Dakota bread sandwich
Afternoon Snack
Lots of water
bowl of applesauce
Cafe 56 for Mom's Night Out!
whole wheat wrap with blue cheese, flank steak, greens, shrooms, mozzeralla
fries with mustard
lots of iced tea with a bit of honey
 Posted by at 10:08 PM

I had a trainer appointment with Chelsea today.  I hadn’t had one in two weeks and she definitely had a plan for me when we started our session.  First, I warmed up with 40 minutes on the E Spinner and some stretching and PT exercises.

For the most part, my knee is doing fine, but it’s not strong and I am extra careful.  Chelsea agrees that we should push things with the lower body, so upper body and abs were in store today!

Here’s the workout:

  • Bench Press: 7-7-7  – I used just the weight of the bar, there were 3 sets of 3 grips of 7 reps each (narrow, middle and wide).  The rest period was after 21 and involved the abs fold
  • Abs fold and extend (flat bench) – 2 sets inbetween above
  • Abs: incline bench squeeze ball and extend – these still need practice, but I managed to do 15 or so in total
  • Abs: core ball alternating leg – 20 total
  • Pec Fly: 12 lbs – 2 sets of 15 with a bit of help on the second set
  • Chest Press: 12 lbs – 1 set of 15 with 12lbs and the second set with 8 lbs
  • Squat and Press: 8 lbs – only about 15
  • Lateral walk w/ resistance band: back and forth in the personal training room 3 or 4 times
  • Stability ball hamstring curl: maybe 15, boy these are hard!

I had a great workout.  I’m already sore.  My weight is up a bit due to some crazy schedules and eating, but I’m ready to get back on track.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a food log, another U-Pick experience and a Fresh Fork pick up.


Today we had another pick up for the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  It’s week 6 already.  The amount of produce has really picked up the last couple of weeks.

Here’s what we received in our family share:


Let’s take a closer look.

Black cherry tomatoes, cucumber


Pickling cucumbers, potatoes


Blueberries, green onions


Onions, peppers (probably hot!)


Cabbage, red raspberries


Lettuce, Swiss chard


Tomatoes, zucchini


Yellow squash


Personally, I’m not much of a tomato fan (unless they are in BBQ sauce, ketchup or pasta sauce), but the black cherry tomatoes were my husband’s favorite last year, so I was happy to see them today.  The pickles we made a couple of weeks back should be ready, so we’ll eat them this week and make some more with today’s share.  I bought some whole wheat lasagna noodles at the beginning of the season.  I think this is the week for veggie lasagna with squash as the highlight.

Some of our raspberries were moldy,  I sorted them and used the good ones in raspberry lemonade this evening.  It’s so refreshing on a hot day like today.  The blueberries probably won’t make it past breakfast in the morning.

I’m going to assume the peppers are hot.  Last year, almost all of the peppers that we received were hot.  I had a tough time using them since my kids and I don’t really like HOT.  For the most part, I ended up chopping and freezing them and then putting them in crockpot recipes like chili a bit at a time.

Have a great week!


Today, we went back to Wintergreen Tree Farm for more blueberries.  We don’t usually pick on Monday, but I had friends that wanted to meet and Monday was the best day.

Nick and Sally are quite at home in the blueberry patch.  They enjoyed seeing Julie (the attendant) again.  It’s fun that Nick talks about her all the way to the farm.  They are also getting better at entertaining themselves while I pick.

Today wasn’t the best picking day.  The patch was a bit picked over from the weekend.  It was very hot and humid (even though we got there at 8:30 AM.  Sally has decided that she hates bugs.  Every time she sees a fly, mosquito, ant or any other creepy crawly, she screams at the top of her lungs and sometimes yells BUG!  She was happiest when I was holding her.  It was really hard to hold a 28 pound squirmy girl and pick blueberries with one hand.

Not to worry, Sally was happy to sit in the stroller when Nick announced that he had pooped.  Sometimes potty training is going better than others.  Today, I was thankful for the port-a-jon and that I had restocked the wipes.  Let’s just say that I was glad that the new pack of 40 was enough.


Our friend Debbie met us to pick today.  She had not picked blueberries before.  Check out her loot for the day.  I think she had about 7.5 pounds.  I managed to pick 4.6 pounds.  I thought that was good with the above distractions.


Picking should be better later in the week with the pending hot weather.  There are still tons of unripe berries on the bushes.  I think we are going to pick currants in Madison on Thursday, but we’ll probably be at Wintergreen one more time before the season ends.