Today, we picked up week 18 of our Geauga Family Farms CSA.  That means there are 2 weeks left.  Everyone is a bit off since the season started late due to all of the early rain.  Andrew was back and seemed surprised that everyone missed him.

Here’s a group shot of what we received today.


Garlic, tomatoes


Apples, green beans


Turnips (mostly greens), lettuce


Broccoli, green pepper


Parsley, butternut squash


Sweet potatoes


This will be a very easy week for us to use up our items.  My husband like tabouli, so we will be making a batch of that using mint from our garden along with the parsley and tomatoes from today’s pick up.

The sweet potatoes will combine with a couple we have left from previous weeks for a batch of baked sweet potato slices.  We like to peel and slice the potato, drizzle with olive oil and use Ozark seasoning and cinnamon.  Nick and Sally like to eat them with ketchup.

We already ate the broccoli for dinner tonight.  The green beans will be an easy side dish for lunch tomorrow or dinner on Thursday.  I plan to make soup with the turnips and greens along with some potatoes and kohlrabi that we already have on hand.  We’ve accumulated some garlic lately and I think I’m going to chop and freeze it.  The apples have been going great in my oatmeal.

I haven’t decided on a specific dish for the butternut squash.  But it’s second only to acorn in my book, so we’ll have no problem eating it.

I love this time of year.  The hearty dishes make for excellent comfort food.


While the kids and I were in Delaware, Jeff Gordon #24 NASCAR driver was expected to make a public appearance at the local mall.  Apparently, he doesn’t ever make appearances.  My brother in law Derek loves racing, especially Jeff Gordon.

We arrived expecting the event to be inside the mall at the food court.  We instead were greeted by an outside event, pending rain and Jeff’s #24 car.


Nick and Sally were very interested in the car also.


The trailer that transports the car was also on display.


Derek was able to have Jeff sign his hat.  He was thrilled.


But, that is all thanks to strangers.


Derek and his dad got in the autograph/photo line only to find out that you had to come at 4PM with canned food to receive one of 65 wrist bands to have the opportunity to meet Jeff Gordon during his public appearance.  Derek was heart broken and didn’t really understand.  Then, the gentleman in the above picture came up to him and said that he had a wrist band and Derek could get in line with him.  The race people could tell what had happened and didn’t give Derek a hard time when they double and triple checked for wrist bands.  It was an awesome random act of kindness.  Thanks!

 Posted by at 8:33 PM

Last week, we visited my sister Holly in Maryland.  We arrived on Wednesday the 29th, just in time to meet my niece and nephew at the bus.


They were glad to be home.


On Thursday, the kids had off school.  We hung out at the house.  The kids enjoyed some morning cartoons.  Nick had a hard time with live PBS, since we always have Dinosaur Train and The Cat in the Hat on demand at our house.


We left Thursday evening to travel to Delaware and then met back up with the cousins at Port Discovery on Saturday.  We had bought them a membership as a gift and it was nice to see it in person.


I don’t have too many photos because the kids were very active!


Nick especially enjoyed the tinker toys and wind tunnel experiment area.


Back at Holly’s we made individual pizzas.  The dough didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, but everyone had a good time.  The apple dessert on the other hand was a huge success.


Uncle Frank is living about a hour and a half from Holly’s house, so he came to visit.  Sally enjoyed some snuggle time.  Frank enjoyed a beer.  He just turned 21 in August and I couldn’t believe that he’s old enough to enjoy a brew.


We spent all weekend playing, but Uncle Dan slaved over his wood pile.


We had a great time and the kids did so well on the trip that we’ll plan to do it again in the spring.


Last week when we were apple picking at Eddy’s Fruit Farm, I ordered 2 bushels of pears.  This equates to about 96 pounds of pears or two large boxes.  They were kind enough to store them for me until we returned from our Maryland/Delaware trip.

This week, I spent many hours processing pears.  The result was 19 quarts of sauce and 5 quarts of chunks to store in our can cupboard.  In addition, we have 2 quarts of sauce in the fridge, have consumed a quart of sauce and a quart of chunks and have eaten 2 dozen pears.  I also have about 6 quarts of pear juice that I plan to make into jelly.  I froze it for a rainy day project.


Here’s a closer look.


This was my first year processing pears.  I definitely learned a lot.  Two bushels of canning pears is a huge amount of pears.  Canning pears could also be called seconds.  There’s nothing wrong with the pears.  I thought these were really nice pears.  They are however more varied in size and have odd dimples and blemishes that you probably wouldn’t normally see.

I really like canned pears.  I set out to make as much chunks as possible.  We only ended up with 5 quarts of them.  There are several reasons for this.  Chunks take much more time for processing than sauce.  The pears need to be ripe, but not too ripe to make chunks.  I was not expecting to have to wait several days for the pears to be ripe enough to can. I’m a lazy canner.

Stephen helped me sort/test pears for ripeness every day.  Every day but Thursday, I canned at least one load.  I loosely pealed the pear with a paring knife, used a round measuring spoon to core them, and chopped the chunks.  The chunks went into lemon water and the rest went into a crock pot.  The skins, core, and other parts of the pears were cooked until soft and then were put through the food mill to become sauce.  The  chunks were canned in a light honey syrup.  This method worked well since there is minimal waste.

Many pears went from not ripe enough to too ripe for chunks, most of the pears were made into sauce.

Nick and Sally LOVE the sauce.  It will be a hit this winter and spring.  I’d probably do two bushels again, but I would only buy one bushel at a time.  For 3 days this week, we ate in the dining room and the kids had picnic breakfast.


After we went apple and pumpkin picking at Fifer Orchards, we enjoyed the Fall Fest and the Market.


Sally LOVED the big slides.  She went down them at least 6 times.


Sally enjoyed walking through the high corn stalks while Nick enjoyed riding the tractor tricycle.


The rubber duck races with water were a HUGE hit.


There were swings and there was a tall corn stalk for photographing the height of people.


My mother in law and Derek enjoyed the pumpkin checker board.  It was really neat.  Nick and Sally can’t turn down a play box.  This one was filled with corn.


We were at the Fall Fest on a Friday and it wasn’t crowded at all.  Nick and Sally didn’t really have to wait in line for anything.

After the fest, we looked around the market.  There’s a huge apple operation here.  Crates of apples going out on trucks throughout our visit.  There were also big crates of pumpkins for sale.


While I walked around the market, some ice cream was enjoyed.  I never saw green snake like pumpkins before.


Derek loves Superman, so we took his photo with the logo pumpkins. The market displays were pristine.


You could tell that it was apple season.  Right before we left, we saw this praying mantis.  The kids were really interested in it.


It was a perfect way to spend a nice fall day.  Hopefully, we’ll go to Fifer Orchards on another trip to Delaware.


Today, we picked up week 19 of our Fresh Fork CSA.  It was our worst pickup of the season.  Nick, Sally and I had spent a good chunk of the day in Akron.  Both kids feel asleep on our way from Akron to Beachwood High School.  Sally woke up about 15 minutes from the pick up and would not stop crying.  Nick was fast asleep even through the crying and was still sleeping when we arrived at the school.  He would have been very upset if he couldn’t say Hi to Mr. Robert at the truck, so I woke him up.  (Last time I didn’t wake him up for something, he cried for 2 hours).  He was fine when I first woke him up, but then he started crying.  Sally cried the whole time we were there too.  Robert brought out bag over to the car to help us out, but I still took the time to get the kids out because they wanted to say hi and I wanted to buy extras with our vacation credits.  We ended up cutting out losses at one bag of corn chips for $3.50 and decided to settle up next week.


Here’s the list of what we were expecting:

Small CSA:

  • 1 half gallon apple cider
  • 1/2 lb. leaf spinach
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 4 oz. piece brie
  • 1 head kohlrabi
  • 2 ct. winter squash
  • Quarter peck pears (4-5 depending on size)

Here’s a group shot:


I love winter squash.  Spaghetti squash is not my favorite, but we’ll cook it and eat it with pasta sauce this week.  My husband already opened the cider.  I’m sure it will disappear easily.


This is the biggest kohlrabi that I ever saw.  The leaves are edible and in great shape, so I’ll probably make a au gratin dish with it.  The broccoli looks tasty and will make an easy side dish in the next day or two.


My friend Chaya mentioned honey mustard roasted leeks.  We didn’t get very many, but I still might try fixing them roasted style.  We have Swiss chard from both CSAs this week, so I’ll cook it together with some sausage for a meal this weekend.


I’m still working through the 2 bushels of pears that I picked up this week.  This won’t be ready to eat for a few days and I’m ok with that.  We’ll enjoy them early next week.  The spinach and brie cheese will go into a tasty pasta dish.



Dare I say that I think I’m starting to get the hang of these CSAs.  It’s a good thing because I just signed us up for both winter ones.


Last Friday, the kids and I were in Delaware to visit my in-laws. Nick and Sally were especially happy to see grandma, grandpa and uncle Derek.  Our plans included a trip to go apple picking at Fifer Orchards.  The picking began with a wagon ride to the orchard.


This orchard has one type of apple available for u-pick at a time.  Friday, it was Stayman apples.  Apparently, this is a popular Virginian apple.  I was surprised because I never realized that apples would be regional, but I’ve never heard of them before.  Uncle Derek picked 18 apples.  Nick helped Grandma pick out some apples.


Sally and Grandpa really got into the trees.


Of course, Sally and Nick each sampled an apple.  Grandma and Grandpa said they don’t have many photos of them together, so we took this opportunity to take a shot.


We ended up with 48 pounds of apples.  They were $1.59 a pound.  The East Coast prices were definitely higher than the $.90 a pound that I paid at Eddy’s last week.  After our apple picking, we noticed this sign.


Derek and Nick grabbed a wagon and we were off to pick a couple of pumpkins.


It was fun for me to show Nick and Sally the pumpkin vines and explain that they grow like watermelon and squash.  Sally eyed this one.


Nick found one he liked too.  Derek and Sally took the wagon back for us.  I think the pumpkins were $5 each.


I was glad to see another farm this summer.  My mother in law gave us 2 of the bags of apples.  They are a tarter apple and we are going to make a couple of desserts and some apple sauce with them.  We’re hoping that Nick and Sally enjoy carving the pumpkins.


We picked up week 17 of our Geauga Family Farms CSA today.  Andrew was on vacation, so we were greeted by Sarah.  The set up was a little different, but the pick up was smooth.  We have a nice routine.  We go into the store, get a cart, stop by for a sample of pineapple, buy anything we need (usually yogurt, cheese, bananas or the like), use a reusable bag, get two wooden nickels, let the kids color, get our veggies, and then leave.  It works for us and both Nick and Sally look forward to our CSA pickup at “The Little Whole Foods”.

Today’s box was lighter than the last few.  We didn’t have any melon or squash.  Here’s a group shot:


You might be wondering about the dark wooden background.  We didn’t get a new table.  But, our kitchen table where I usually take the photos looks like this.


I picked up 2 bushels of pears from Eddy’s on Monday. They aren’t quite ripe enough to can. So, our table was out of commission. Nick and Sally had a picnic breakfast today. Nick wants to have one everyday. I don’t think that will happen. They ate raisins, graham crackers and pears. By lunch time, I had put away enough stuff from our vacations that they used the dining room table.  Since that space was clean, I used it to take the CSA photos today also.

Let’s take a closer look at the veggies.

Collards, leaf lettuce


Romaine, bell peppers


Tomatoes, garlic


Poblano peppers, onions


Apples, green beans


Sweet potatoes


I was in Hawaii two weeks ago and I was also out of town most of this past week.  I’m feeling a bit out of the loop on the CSA.  I am glad that this is an easier week.  I’m going to make some stuffed collard wraps with the collards.  The lettuce, bell peppers and probably tomatoes will go in salads.  If we don’t use the tomatoes up, I’ll freeze them.  I have some others frozen and will make sauce or chili with them soon.   I have Stayman (tart) apples from Delaware to use up and will mix these apples with them for sauce.  The green beans will be an easy side dish.  I’ll probably freeze the onions, other peppers and garlic.  For the sweet potatoes, I’ll probably slice them for sweet potato fries.  Everyone in my house likes them and with the cooler temperatures, the oven sounds more appealing these days.

It’s hard to believe that it’s October already!  I’m excited for the upcoming winter CSA season.


Last Tuesday, the kids and I had a date with friends to pick apples in the morning.  The friends had to cancel due to illness.  We made a date with other friends in the afternoon.  They also had to cancel.  Since I had promised the kids that we would go picking.  We went picking at Eddy Fruit Farm.


When you arrive and check in, there is a map on the table that shows what apples are ready, the type of apple and where they are located.  You decide what you want and drive to the correct place.  We were leaving for vacation on Wednesday, so I knew we had to take the apples with us. I planned to make applesauce at my sister’s house and we picked accordingly.  We ended up with early Jonathan, Macoun, and Golden Delicious.



When you are done picking, you put the apples on the scale and they tell you how much you owe.  We picked about 23 pounds.  We paid $20.70.


Then, I saw this sign!


At $20 per bushel, I was very tempted.  But, I couldn’t take pears home since I was leaving on vacation the next morning.  They offered to keep them in their cooler for me.  Sold!  Two bushels of pears were picked up this morning and I’m now working on canning them.


I’m home and plan to stay in Ohio for a while.  Two days after I returned from Hawaii, I packed up the kids and headed on a 4 night adventure to Maryland and Delaware.  I have lots to tell you about in the days to come.

In case you are wondering, that’s about 20 hours of driving with stops.  I now know many episodes of Curious George, Sesame Street and Clifford by memory.  All in all, the kids did great with all of the traveling.

We got a good rest stop routine down early.  It including potty break, diaper changing, running around and dancing.  We packed drinks and food so we wouldn’t have to wait in any lines.  Many of the rest stops had family restrooms and they were ideal for one adult with two kids.

On the way home, I had a driver trying to get my attention.  I couldn’t tell if he was ticked off at me or this red truck that was close by.  When I pulled up to the toll booth, he was in the lane next to me.  He yelled and I rolled down the window thinking that maybe something was awry with the car.  He screamed at me to stop texting while driving.

I yelled back that I didn’t even have a phone.  That wasn’t totally true as I had a phone in the car, but I certainly was not texting while I was driving with two kids in the car in the rain, etc.  I like to see where I am going.

A few things got me thinking about texting as we drove.  In Pennsylvania, there are signs at every rest area to stop texting while driving.  In Maryland, it’s against the law to text while driving or use a hand held cell phone.

A few communities around us are enacting different ordiances.  Many states have varying laws.

Baltimore’s new law went into effect yesterday.

I don’t have a problem with the laws, but I don’t think they really stop people.  Soon, we are going to need no make up, food, singing, talking, etc. laws.  I’m not sure where you draw the line.




 Posted by at 8:42 PM  Tagged with: