Although viewing the night skies was proving to be challenging due to the clouds, we were able to get great views of the sun.

Jason, who manages the planetarium at the museum, brought along this telescope for us to use.  He put a filter on it to make it safe for viewing the sun.


It was the first time that I ever looked at the sun properly.


There was also a smaller scope set up for viewing.  It was really neat to see the edges of the sun and the spots.


Clyde from the museum sent along some welder’s glass.  Jason was instructed to give each of us one.  It can be used to view the sun safely.  It’s not safe to look directly at the sun without the glass or some other kind of filtered set up.  Next time there is neat sun oriented event, I’ll be all set with the proper tool for viewing.

 Posted by at 8:00 AM

After arriving late on Sunday, Monday was our first full day to see the park.  During breakfast, I took note of the dry erase board where the field station keeps track of the different species that are found in the area.  It was interesting to see all of the different ones listed.  I’m not good at any identification, but a few people on our trip were great.  Since viewing wasn’t so great the night before, many were up earlier than anticipated.  A group set off for an early hike.  My knee was giving me trouble the week before, so I didn’t want to overdo it.


I stayed at the field station and took in some beautiful scenery.


I really would love a view like this every morning.


Around 11:30AM, we had a short orientation about the field station from Jane and then set off on a group hike to see the Petroglyphs and Pictographs.  Along the way, we saw this can off the trail.  It’s historic trash.  I’m not kidding.  It’s being preserved there as part of the history.


It was really dark and cloudy during parts of our hike.  It’s hard to believe that we were in the desert.  We felt a few rain drops here and there, but didn’t get caught in a storm.


The area around the field station used to be a ranch.  Here are some remnants.


Soon we arrived at the Petroglyphs and Pictographs.  Petroglyphs are carvings and pictographs are painted on.  The detail doesn’t show up well in the photos.  We can learn a lot about different cultures by the symbols used.


To help preserve the park and discourage vandalism, the park has a tube where people can write in that they were there.  Martha field it in for us on behalf of the Cleveland Natural History Museum.


We headed back to camp and had lunch and a break.  Later in the day, we headed to the Hickman Bridge trail.  This involved everyone getting into the vans and driving to the trail head.  The Hickman Bridge trail was on our agenda.  It was a mile one way.  The trail was strenuous for me.  There was lots of rough terrain and elevation.  I didn’t stop for much in the way of photos.  At one point, I really felt like I was holding up the group.  I almost gave up.  Nathan was super encouraging and hiked back with me.  It was really appreciated.


And, I made it to the bridge.  Well, I didn’t go up under the bridge, but I earned this photo!  My face is really red.


After the hike, we headed back to the field station.  Nathan started on dinner.  We feasted on BBQ chicken, coleslaw and corn on the cob.  It was delish!


Lots of clouds meant an early bed time.  I was exhausted, so it was ok with me.

 Posted by at 10:27 AM

Due to some last minute travel plans for the weekend, we picked up our CSA share today.  It was our first time picking up on a Wednesday in Solon.  The pick up spot at a church was very nice.  The lot was shady and newly resurfaced.  With a busy evening that included preschool parent orientation, it was very dark when I attempted photos.  So, I’m just using one tonight.  Yes, I have nice lights, but I don’t have the energy for that tonight.

Dark overview photo:


I think the only thing the photo really shows is how big a large share is.  I’m continually impressed with a what we receive for our value each week.

Here’s what we received:

  • 1 bunch Cylindra beets
  • 1 quart whole milk yogurt
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 bag mixed peppers
  • 1 lb. red fortune plums
  • 2 lbs. Roma tomatoes
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 bunch collards
  • 6 ears sweet corn
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 frozen pizza dough balls
  • 1 pint heirloom tomato sauce
  • A handful hot Hungarian peppers
  • Approx. 1.5 lbs. heirloom tomatoes
  • concord grapes

Originally, we were going to get a spaghetti squash and not have grapes.  You can’t argue with mother nature.  We’ll see squash soon.

This is a crazy week for us as we are leaving town for a few days tomorrow.  So, all of our food needs to be cooked, eaten, froze, or packed so that we don’t lose any of our items.

I have some beets already in the fridge.  I’m going to make Harvard beets and freeze them.  I’ve never frozen that recipe before, but a quick Google search tells me that it’s possible.

We love the yogurt and are fully stocked.  I’m glad it has good dates.  I’ll be taking one container with us in our cooler.

I love winter squash season as much as melon season.  I’ll roast this acorn squash, make puree and freeze it.  It would probably last if I just waited until we got home from our trip, but I’d rather just take care of it now.

The plums and blackberries will come with us on our trip if they last that long.  I’m going to freeze the peppers, tomatoes, collards and corn.  I’ll blanch and chop as needed.  I’m hoping to make the grapes into a usable concentrate for sorbet.  Then, I’ll freeze it.

I’ll use the pizza dough, sauce and cheese to make some pizza for lunch tomorrow and maybe dinner on the road.  The dough was already thawing before I got to it, so I need to use it up.

Whew!  I need to get busy.  We’re leaving at 12:30pm tomorrow and I still need to pack too.


We picked up our share at Whole Foods today.  Turns out they are in the middle of a remodel of the whole store.  It was a mess.  Usually, I can easily pick up two or three things to round out our needs, but not today.  There were several things on my list that weren’t worth hunting down.  I’m hoping that we get fruit in our bags again soon.  I know apples were hit hard this year, but I still hope we see some soon.

Here’s a shot of what we received this week:


Mixed cherry tomatoes, onions


Lettuce, mixed bell peppers


Green beans, yummy orange snacking peppers


Slicing tomatoes, patty pan squash


Beets with lovely green tops


With the holiday weekend approaching and Nick starting preschool soon, we are taking a trip this weekend.  So, all of our food needs to be packed, preserved or eaten.  We used two peppers, one tomato and one onion in tonight’s dinner.  I sautéed them to go with some Italian sausages that I had thawed today.  The other pepper was rotten and needed to be pitched.  I haven’t received anything bad in a while, but it happens occasionally.

I’m going to just freeze the slicing tomatoes.  The cherry tomatoes will be good snacking for Stephen and Nick.  We’ll have salad using the lettuce for the next couple of days.  The snacking peppers probably will be eaten tomorrow.  They look delicious.  The green beans will make a nice side dish for lunch tomorrow.  I have some beets in the fridge already, and I’m expecting some more tomorrow.  I suspect they’ll all be made into Harvard beets tomorrow night.  Efficiency this week is especially important.  I’ll cook the greens with some eggs for breakfast or lunch tomorrow or Thursday.  I’ll probably just shred and freeze the squash.

I’m feeling lazy in the cooking department.  Some weeks, there is just too much going on to cook lots of recipes.  Lately, dinners have been quickly thrown together without much of a plan.  I am looking forward to more of a routine in upcoming weeks and the opportunity to spend a bit more quality time in the kitchen.


Back on August 12th, I set out on a journey to Capitol Reef National Park.  This was a Cleveland Museum of Natural History trip, and the main purpose was to see the Perseid Meteor Shower.  I took a 9AM direct flight out of Cleveland and landed in Las Vegas around 11AM.  I was on the first 737-800 that Southwest flew out of Cleveland.  The plane was only 2 months old.  Once I landed, I grabbed some lunch in the concourse.  I collected my luggage and after a bit, figured out that some of the people just hanging out in baggage claim were also on the trip.  It was fun to go up to someone and ask them if they were from Cleveland and if they were from the museum trip.  While we were waiting for everyone to gather, I put $5 in the slot machine.  I cashed out at $7.  That was short and fun!


Once we had our crew, we loaded up the vans and headed on our way.  Turns out, Capitol Reef National Park is in Utah, about 7 hours from Las Vegas.  You also have a brief stint in Arizona on the way.  The ride was fun and hot and beautiful.  During the trip I saw clouds, rain, a rainbow and Great White Pelican.


We made a few stops along the way.  We arrived at the visitor center and met up with the last of our group and headed deep into the park to the field station.  It was dark by the time we arrived around 8:30PM or later, we found our rooms and got settled.


Nathan cooked us dinner.  It was a simple, but fabulous pasta with salad and bread.  We also had a brief introduction from Jane, the field station manager.


After dinner, we saw lots of clouds.  I took a nap for a few hours and got up for sky viewing around 2AM.  Unfortunately, the stars were enjoying their time behind the clouds.  I managed to see a couple meteors, but the highlight was seeing Jupiter through the telescope with 3 of its moons.  Even without great sky viewing, we were in a great national park and the next couple of days were going to be great!  Exhausted, I slept well when I retired the second time.

 Posted by at 6:37 PM

Most summers, my friend Sherry and her husband host a summer party.  This year’s bash was yesterday.  Since Stephen was working on a project, I headed down to her house with the kids after nap time.  I wasn’t sure how long I’d last with the kids.  It’s hard to take two kids to a party solo.

But, everything changed once we arrived.  Sherry took the kids and I down to the bounce house and introduced us to two older girls.  She let us know that they were hired to help with kids and everyone should have fun.  I was so excited.  Not having to stand by the bounce house most of the evening was an awesome thought.


I enjoyed plenty of adult time on the deck, keeping an eye on the kids every once in a while.  Nick made up his own rules for corn hole.


Sally tried her hand at a hula hoop.


She was having a blast.  Nick’s in the background at the craft table.  There was plenty for the kids to do including art projects, sidewalk chalk, and of course the bounce house.


Later the kids played some games like Duck, Duck, Goose.


The party was complete with tents, tables, food and great company.  I was able to enjoy myself to the fullest, and chat with friends that I haven’t see in quite a while.


It was the perfect night for an end of summer party.  Thanks Sherry!


Today was Willoughby’s annual Touch a Truck event.  Stephen was busy today, so I took the kids solo.  They were super excited.  The event was held from 10-2 at the Willoughby Hills City Hall and Fire Department near 91 and route 6.


First up was the bounce house.  We arrived just before 10AM, so there wasn’t any lines.


After a visit in a ambulance, we headed to the ladder truck.


Sally loved the trucks.  The first one is in the ladder truck, the second one is in a construction truck.


I don’t think she’s big enough to operate a mower yet.


Nick loved that the wheels turned for wheel if we worked hard enough on the steering wheel.


He made sure to buckle his seat belt in this one.


Both kids loved spraying the fire house.


The highlight of the event is when the Life Flight helicopter lands in the field.


Soon, we had seen all of the trucks and it was time to head home.


Thanks to Willoughby Hills for another great event!


We stopped by Mayfield to pick up our bag today.  It worked well in our schedule this week.  I love the flexibility of the different pick up locations.


It’s still tough to get a large in one photo.  This one is missing the cherry tomatoes, but they wouldn’t have fit anyway.

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

  • 1 bag of oats, 1.5 lbs.
  • 1 bunch red Russian kale
  • Either 1 bag (approx. 1 lb.) mixed sweet and hot baby peppers or 2 ct. zucchini/squash
  • 1 lb. beans
  • 1 bunch French Breakfast radishes
  • 1 pint blackberries or 1 cantaloupe
  • 1-2 Candy onions, depending on size
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package (1.25 lbs.) green onion bratwursts, made from Berkshire pork
  • 1 piece grass-fed Swiss cheese from Heritage Grass Farms (12 oz.)
  • 2.5 lbs. San Marzano Roma tomatoes
  • 1 bunch carrots with tops
  • 1-2 cucumbers depending on size

I’m probably going to make some sort of kale sausage ragout from the newsletter with the leek, brats, zucchini, garlic, kale and tomatoes.  Some of these ingredients we just picked up and others I have left in my fridge.  I have some beans ready to go in the freezer and will pull them out tonight.


Carrots and beans will make good side dishes to go with our brats.  I’ll probably pickle the radishes.


I’m going to chop and freeze some peppers and dehydrate some of the others.  The plums were a nice surprise, I’m sure they’ll disappear quickly.


The cherry tomatoes will be weekend snacking for Stephen and Nick.



I will probably use the cheese with a quiche.  I have some eggs to use soon.  We eat oats everyday for breakfast, so these will disappear quickly.


I’ll probably make a few more pickles with the cucumbers since we are short on lettuce.


The photo doesn’t do the cantaloupe justice.  It’s the size of a watermelon!


All in all, it’s another great week with Fresh Fork.  We love not going to the grocery store much.  Our list for our last trip to Heinen’s was yellow bananas, buns for brats and a cookie treat for the kids.  I can’t wait to see what’s in the bag next week!


We’re members of the Cleveland Zoo, but we just don’t make it there very often.  Yesterday, we decided to meet up with some friends.  Nick and Sally love riding on the Tram.


Check out Axton.  Could he possibly be any cuter?  It’s hard to believe that he’s standing and I just met him yesterday.


After we saw the elephants and the mole rats, we took the Tram up the hill to the primates and playground.  After some play time and lunch, we waited for the Tram to go back down.  We could have easily walked down, but the kids love the Tram and they were ready for naps.


The Tram took a while, so Alaina got our her IPad to help entertain Nick and Sally.


Soon enough, we were back to the starting point.  Sally spotted this elephant and Nick joined in for the photo.


It was such a nice day to catch up with a good friend.  I used to work with Alaina and she’s one of the sweetest people you could want to know.

After we got back home, the kids both took good naps and that was the perfect end to a perfect outing.


Back on July 13th, the kids and I picked up my mom and headed to Akron’s Derby Downs to watch local teams like Goodyear compete in a derby competition as a United Way fundraiser.

I was excited to go since Nick and Sally had never seen derby cars.  It was a beautiful day and my friend was in charge of selling cookies.

We picked up dinner and made our way to Derby Downs.  It’s near the Akron municipal airport.


In typical Goodyear fashion, the blimp was out to draw attention to the event.  The kids were thrilled.


Soon, we were enjoying our spot in the bleachers.  Nick and Sally were enjoying climbing up to the top.  Boy, were they making me nervous.  Luckily, we didn’t have any trips or falls.


After 45 minutes or so, we starting seeing some of the heats.  I’m not sure the names of the other teams racing, but Goodyear ended up not winning.


Sally entertained us with some dancing in between heats.  Both her and Nick enjoyed their grandma time.


I was happy to attend the event and spend a minute catching up with my good friend.  It was a fun way for Nick and Sally to check out the derby cars.


We’ve been friends for 20+ years and don’t get together often, but it’s always great when we do.

 Posted by at 10:47 AM