Today we traveled to Walnut Drive Gardens in Mogadore, Ohio.  Mogadore is southeast of Akron and it is about 55 minutes from our house in Mayfield Heights.  Usually, we keep our picking to 45 minutes or closer, but we were meeting friends to pick and I like to go to Duma Meats a couple of times a year.  They are only a couple of minutes further than the farm.

We arrived at the farm at exactly 9AM.  I thought we were going to be late between an empty fuel tank and a need for the ATM on our way to the highway, but the traffic was reasonable.  The kids loved the market building since there was a sand box at the entrance.  It kept them quite busy.


With Nick still in potty training mode, a restroom with running water is also a plus.  Soon, we were at the raspberry bushes.  The picking was plentiful and so were the mosquitos.  I was glad that I had the bug repellent with us, but the kids still had a few bites near their feet and necks.


We also wanted to pick peppers.  The pepper picking was at field two.  We paid for our raspberries and headed over the other field.  It was about 5 minutes down the road.  The fields were marked with the type of pepper.  I was interested in yellow sweet and some green peppers.


They give you a 5 gallon bucket to use to pick and then you transfer the peppers when you are done.  It was really quick picking!   Our friends Debbie and Sarah are pictured with their buckets.


I ended up picking 2 buckets’ worth.  They were $9 a bucket.  I think that is a great price, especially for gorgeous peppers.  The raspberries were $3.25 a pound and we paid $8.29.  So, we picked about two and a half pounds of berries.


All in all, it was quite a successful outing.  We had a great time.


Pick up #12 for the Geauga Family Farms CSA was today.  We pick up at our local Whole Foods.  Nick calls it the little Whole Foods because it’s so much smaller than the Cedar Location and doesn’t have a waterfall.

Today’s box was overflowing!

Here’s what we received:


Let’s take a closer look.

Green beans, watermelon (hmmm.. these photos are not to scale)


Lettuce, eggplant


Cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes


Peaches, bell peppers


Cantaloupe, dozen sweet corn


Hot peppers, patty pan squash



We got 3 fruits again this week.  In our house that is a good thing.  I actually used frozen peaches in today’s oatmeal, so I am excited for the peaches.  We have lots of melon since we got extras in our other CSA on Thursday, but we are eating it at a good clip so I don’t think we’ll have a problem.  Our biggest challenge is having to take the seeds out of the watermelon for our 22 month old daughter.

We ate 1/2 the corn for dinner tonight and we are getting another 1/2 dozen on Thursday.  I’ll probably cook and take the rest of this batch off of the cobs for a wheat berry, corn, bean salad of sorts.  We need to pack dinner for our Wednesday outing at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

I’m going to chop and freeze the peppers.  I’m assuming the non-bell peppers are hot.  They seem to always be hot and I’m not taking chances with them.  The bell peppers will go into tomato sauce.  I’ll save the hot ones for chili and salsa.

I just read a blog post about mini lasagnas that were made in muffin tins.  I may use the eggplant and squash for my own version of that.

The remaining few items will easily be eaten as part of our meals.  We need to stay on top of our game this week since we have several meals planned out over the holiday weekend.  Friday, I need to blanch/chop/freeze anything that we haven’t used so we don’t have waste.


After visiting the Lake Farmpark with our out of town relatives early last week, the kids and I decided to return on Thursday to spend more time at the Frozen Factory of Fun.  We called it the ice cream exhibit.  When we get close to the park, Nick always recognizes the silo.


Nick and Sally wanted their photo taken by this ice cream truck.  Sally enjoyed the dairy farm model.


There was a wall to measure your height in ice cream flavors.  Maybe we should call Sally “Cheesecake”.


She’s too young to drive, but she had fun pretending.  She must have taken the corner too fast as all of the ice cream scattered in the truck.


They enjoyed seeing the other stations of the factory.


I liked the sample freezer jacket.  Although my goal was just to see the ice cream exhibit, Nick talked me into a wagon ride to the tomato building (and back).  Conveniently, we got back just in time to make real ice cream before heading home.


Nick and Sally both too good naps that day, so I know they had a good time.


Today was a nice day.  We started out at a baptism.  My cousin’s baby was baptized today.  It was very special since the delivery was premature and had lots of complications for mom and baby.  She spent time in ICU and he spent time in the NICU.  It was so nice to meet the baby in person and see both of them doing well.


After lunch and naps, we headed to Blossom for the last time of the summer.  We met up with friends, enjoyed a picnic dinner and a nice concert.


The weekend went by quickly and it’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Monday already.


A week or so ago, we noticed a sign about the Willoughby Hills “Touch a Truck”.  The sign stated “this Saturday” and since we saw the sign on Sat or Sun, we weren’t sure if it was over or coming up.  A few days ago, I figured out that it was in fact August 27th, so we made plans.  Stephen, Sally, Nick and I rode our bikes from our house in Mayfield Heights up to Willoughby Hills.  We ended up riding through part of the North Chagrin Reservation.  The rode was a little bumpy for our tastes, but the shade was nice.  Upon arrival at the event just after 10AM, we found bike parking.


On our way over the trucks, Nick said, “I Love It Mommy”.  It made me melt.  We were not sure what to expect and had only told him that we were going to ride our bikes to see a fire truck.  There was so many different trucks and vehicles that we didn’t even have time to see them all.


Here’s a view from the community center across the street.  At one point, we took a restroom break there.  One of the highlights of the day was watching a life flight helicopter land.  It was really close!


Let’s hope Nick and Sally don’t make a habit of sitting in the back of police cars.


I was particularly impressed with the Bomb Unit.  They even had the robot out on display.


Here’s the back of the bomb unit.  Check out that container for transporting the bombs.  It’s kind of scary to think about it.  Nick found a fire safety dog and wanted a photo.  He’s standing in front of the airport fire truck.


Nick and Sally both had a great time looking at all of the trucks.  We were so impressed with all of the vehicles.  Although we didn’t partake, there was also some food and drink for sale.


We ended up staying much later than we thought and ended up stopping at Heinen’s for lunch.  Sally fell asleep in the trailer and Nick was very tired.  I had a rough ride back home since he didn’t peddle much.  All in all we had a great day and feel like we are prepared for the 10 mile family ride at STOMP next week since we did 12 miles today.


Tuesday was our last full day with Stephen’s brother and his family.  We started the day early by making some farmer’s cheese and peanut butter.  There was also more reading time.


Then, we headed to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  Nick and my niece enjoyed the new Balto exhibit.  We paused for some photos at the bear outside.  Sally had it to herself for starters.


Then, we finally got a great shot of the 3 cousins.  Here’s a family photo of Jen, Nate and our niece.


The Cool Globes exhibit and the otters were the favorites of this trip.


Later in the day, we ended our time with a trip to California Pizza Kitchen at Legacy Village.  Here’s Stephen with his brother, Nate.  There was also a few last rounds of “London Bridge is falling down” on the green.


We said out goodbyes at the parking lot.  NIck and Sally loved spending time with their cousin and everyone had a great trip!  It was the closest thing we ever had to a staycation.



We picked up our Fresh Fork CSA today.  In addition to our regular “small”, we also picked up the items from our vacation credit.  We were off week 10.

Here’s what we were expecting to receive this week:

Small CSA:

  • 1 yellow doll watermelon
  • 2 ct. eggplant, some mixed colors may be included
  • 1 quart hot Hungarian peppers
  • 1 lb. clover honey
  • 1 medium cantaloupe
  • Approx. 1 lb. heirloom tomatoes (about 1 large or 2 small)
  • 2 summer squash
  • 1 pint mixed baby sweet peppers
  • Quarter Peck Golden Supreme apples (about 5 to 6 apples, very crisp, yellow apple)
  • Approx. 1 lb. slicing tomatoes

Here’s a group shot:


I’m going to make my favorite cole slaw recipe and it uses a couple of apples.  The rest will probably go into my oatmeal and/or be made into a quick applesauce for the kids.  We also got eggplant on Tuesday, so I think I’ll be making a veggie lasagna tomorrow.


I’m not sure about the squash.  If it doesn’t end up in the lasagna, we’ll probably grill it.  All of the tomatoes are going into sauce since I have a stock of them from Tuesday’s CSA as well.


The sweet peppers will get added to my sauce.  I’m never sure what to do with the hot ones.  I don’t like to make things that aren’t kid friendly (and Lyn friendly).


I don’t cook with refined sugar, so we use lots of honey.  I’m excited to try the clover honey that we received.


Yum!  We are certainly enjoying our local melon this year.  I’m curious to try the watermelon since it’s “yellow” and I’m not sure what to expect.


In addition to our share above, we had $25 to spend on items from the on-line store since we were on a planned vacation a couple of weeks back.  I decided on lettuce ($2.75), 2 cantaloupes ($3.60 ea.), 2 packages of Chorizo sausage ($12.40) and 2 quarts of yogurt ($9.90).  The total was $28.65, so I paid Robert $3.65 at the truck.


It was fun to stock up on Chorizo and yogurt since we were out of both.  Neither of my CSAs received lettuce this week, so I was glad to have it as well.  I love the vacation flexibility with Fresh Fork!


On Monday, we decided to go to Lake Farmpark.  We are members there courtesy of a gift membership that we received.  We sometimes forget about it.  Monday had perfect weather and we had a great time.

Once we arrived and checked in, we felt like we had the place to ourselves.  We arrived just after 9AM and there were just a couple of cars in the parking lot.  We quickly realized that there was an ice cream exhibit.  It was basically a play room with stations about the ice cream making process.  There was a mock freezer, a wooden ice cream truck (big enough for kids to sit in and load/unload), flavor station, mixing station etc.  There was even a model of a dairy farm.  It was great and the kids could have stayed there and played all day.  Lucky for us, the exhibit is there through September 5th so we can go back and see it again.


Nick got to take his first pony ride.  It was $4, but we were on “staycation” and thought it was worth the splurge.  Thanks, Uncle Nate!  Sally got on the pony and wasn’t so sure about it. She didn’t take a ride.


We took a trip up to the plant science building on the wagon.  Any time a tractor is involved, everyone has a great time.  Nick was fascinated by a garden train.  It was the first time we noticed it.  It was outside the café and dairy building in the courtyard area.


I think the highlight for our niece and her mom Jen was milking the cow.  Sally and Nick tried it too.  The milk from the cows goes to a local creamery for cheese.


We had also never been to The Grain Place.  Since I am thinking about getting a grinder, I was especially interested in the process.  Since our group of 7 was the whole audience, we had a choice between the grain talk or The Big Red Hen story.  We chose the story since we had three kids with us.


It was lots of fun and everyone got to take turns adding parts to the story board.  Bethany did a great job with the story and the kids.  Here’s our niece trying her hand at grinding wheat.  We also stopped a the cheese making demo.  Here’s Sally pressing the cheese with Nick watching patiently.


Nick enjoyed time with his cousin, aunt and uncle.  We really like the Tomato Works building.  I enjoyed this giant garden tool.


Everyone enjoyed the animals and the weather.  We finished up our morning with a packed lunch at the pavilion near where we parked.  Except for a hole in my shorts from a nail in the picnic table, we enjoyed a great lunch before heading home.


Wow, we had pick up #11 today for the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  We had 14 different items!

Here’s what we received:


Let’s take a closer look.

Green bell peppers, onions


Hot pepper, yellow squash


Pickling cucumbers, peaches


Yellow beans, basil


Beets, watermelon


Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes


Eggplant, cabbage


We didn’t do too badly last week, but we had company this weekend and I feel a little bit behind.  It’s really because of peach and tomato picking, not the CSA items.  I finally canned the tomatoes yesterday and I’m finishing the peaches now.

With this week’s CSA items, I see some coleslaw in our future since we got cabbage today and we are getting apples on Thursday.  I’ll make some pasta sauce with the tomatoes, basil, eggplant and squash and we’ll have that with pasta for a meal.  I’ll probably add that hot pepper too.

I’ll also be making some more pickles.  I think we ate all of the ones from the last batch, so that’s timely.

I think this week is easy, especially since we don’t have any meals out planned.


My brother and sister in law and niece came into town Saturday evening.  We met up with them for dinner at Red Robin since it was near their hotel and kid friendly.  Yesterday, we decided to go to the Rock Hall. We took the RTA from Green Road down to the lake and it worked out really well.


We were only allowed photos in the lobby.  The security was definitely watching and telling people to put cameras away.  So, we don’t have any photos from inside.  We were surprised with the size of the museum.  We were also impressed with the number of interactive musical exhibits and costume displays.  I thought the kids might get bored, but they loved the music and spent lots of time with headphones on listening and dancing.  We packed a lunch and ate in the café area.  We stayed from 10AM when they opened until just after 1PM.  If your are a resident of the area, you get a $4 discount per ID.


After our visit to the museum, we headed back to catch the train.  While we waited, a commercial train passed.  It was loaded with Humvees.  An entire train of them.  They kept coming and coming and coming.  It was a once in a lifetime sighting!


By the time we boarded, Nick was really tired.  He fell asleep using Aunt Jen’s purse as a pillow.


Sally fell asleep too.


It was a quiet train ride back to Green Road after a stimulating Rock Hall visit.  I call it a successful outing.