While we were out of town for the Labor Day holiday, we found a Farmers’ Market to visit.  This was the Fulton Street Market, the oldest and largest in Grand Rapids.  It came recommended by my cousins who live near there.  There’s a campaign going on to raise money for restrooms, but the port-a-jons are welcome whenever you are traveling with kids.


This pepper display was the most colorful stand at the whole market.


The kids enjoyed dancing.  Nick looks like a chicken.


Sally was glad that she talked Stephen into a ride on his shoulders.


Markets that are under cover tend to be pretty nice.  It’s a bit more community like since all of the stands are set up the same.  We didn’t buy much since we were traveling, but it was sure fun to stop by.


We ended up with a fabulous granola bar that I wish I could duplicate, some jerky and a loaf of bread.  It was a great way to start our Saturday.

 Posted by at 9:54 PM

While traveling last week, we ran across a “Little Free Library”  I had never seen or heard of them before.  Basically, any person or group can buy or build a box and make books available to others.  There are over 2000 of these around the world.  I was surprised to see one in the Cleveland area.  I’ll have to go visit it.

The mission of the libraries is to promote literacy.  We are very lucky in this area to have a great library system.  Not all areas in the world have these services available.

I think this would be a great project for a preschool or church group.  The possibilities are endless.

Here’s what the box we saw looked like.  It was near a few shops and a parking lot in Michigan.


When you register a box, you get an official sign and number.


I’ve just started reading about the organization, but I really like the concept.  I’m not sure my construction skills are up to the test.  I’m reminded of some not so square boxes that I built for an 8th grade science fair.  Maybe Nick will be better at making containers with Stephen.


We were back to our regular pick up this week at Mayfield High School.  It’s the time of the year where there’s a changing of the guard with the truck staff.  Today, we were greeted by Kirsten.  It was nice to see her, but it was busy and we didn’t have time to chat.  We can expect to see her at Mayfield for the rest of the season.  That will be very nice.

Here’s an overview of what we received (minus the watermelon):


Here’s what we were expecting:

  • 1 large watermelon
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • Approx. 2 eggplant
  • 1 bunch carrots with tops
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes or Approx. 1.5 lbs. heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 quart concord grapes
  • Approx. 1 lb. red slicing tomatoes
  • 1-2 onions depending on size
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 lb. beans
  • 1 lb. roasted red pepper linguini
  • Red peppers
  • 1 lb. bacon breakfast patties
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 3 lb. bag potatoes

The green beans are dark and rich in color.  I think I’ll pull a roast out of the freezer for Sunday and serve them as a side dish.  I’m tired of tomato season.  It’s nice that farmers are figuring out ways to grow them longer during the growing season using hoop houses and such, but I don’t really care for tomatoes and I’ve been spending my energy elsewhere, so I have tons of frozen tomatoes in the freezer for chili, soup and other dishes and I’m looking forward to the end of adding to it.


I froze the grapes from last week in hopes that we would get them again.  I’m going to make grape sorbet or jam with them.


Onion and garlic is status quo at this point.  They’ll end up in soup or fajitas this week.


I’ll probably use the carrot and leek in our tomato soup.  Nick had fun making it last time, so I thought I’d let him cut up veggies for it again.


I’m going to roast the peppers and add them into a white sauce to serve over the pasta.  It’s red pepper linguini, so that should mesh nicely.


I’ll be cooking the breakfast patties soon since we let them thaw when we were out this evening.  I’m always at a loss for egg plant.  I’ll probably roast it with onions, beets and other veggies tomorrow and see if something else inspires me.


The potatoes will go great with our roast.  The lettuce will make a couple of good salads.


I’m glad to see that melon season isn’t quite over.  This will be great to have around this weekend.  It’s on the larger size, but I suspect it will be gone by Monday.


I’m hoping to cook at home a lot this weekend.  We have lots of great looking stuff to use this week.


This is my final post about the Capitol Reef trip.  I thought I would talk about the field station and housing.


There were two dorm type buildings.  Each one had 4 bedrooms and each room could sleep 3 or 4 people.  Each bedroom had it’s own bathroom.  These rooms are fairly new since the station is about 4 years old.  Everything was in great shape and well-maintained.  I’ve stayed in plenty of hotel rooms that weren’t nearly as nice and certainly did not come with the amazing views.


The vehicles parked in a carport.  The roof of the carport consisted of solar panels.  Besides the two dorm buildings, there was also a multipurpose building that included a kitchen, office, sleeping quarters for the manager and a classroom.


Jane, the field station manager gave us a talk about the facility.  She also showed us the solar shades on the buildings.


There are two propane tanks and the facility does utilize some propane for heat in the winter.  The building on the right houses the batteries for power and the water treatment facility.


As you go into the building, you notice the weather station outside.  All of the data is recorded and displayed in the classroom.  Once inside, it’s hard not to be impressed by the batteries that are storing the solar power.


It was so fun to see.  It reminded me of a plant tour.  The facility is truly off grid.  They produce all of their power.


Next up was the water treatment room.  This is a photo of a used filter.  It’s gross to think about all of the crud that starts out in the water.  On the right, a photo of some of the filters and pipes that the water travels through.


We were challenged to conserve water as much as possible.  It’s expensive and a long process to pump and treat the water.


I had an awesome time (even with the clouds).  The trip leaders were great.


Thanks to Jane, Michelle, Jason and Nathan.

 Posted by at 8:46 PM

Sometimes Nick and Sally fight like cats and dogs.  Most of the time, they truly enjoy each other.  The other day at breakfast, they decided to share a chair.  I don’t even remember why.  I remember Nick saying, “It’s better than getting kicked!”  Apparently when Sally sits next to him, he gets kicked a lot.


Yesterday, they asked us to come in and see their TV.  They were sitting on the couch watching their crazy looking, creative TV.


They had a toy tool box lid up on a box.  The blue thing is a music player that was on.  There were test tubes in the container next to the box.  The creativity the kids display is amazing.


On a typical day, our living room is filled with cardboard, boxes, craft sticks, tape and much more.  It’s so much better for them than TV.

 Posted by at 10:29 PM

We picked up on share in the rain today.  It was pouring as we went into Whole Foods.  Luckily, it had calmed down a bit when we were leaving.  The store was in much better shape than last week, but they still have some work to be done.  I picked up some blue cheese, grass fed beef and sandwich buns.  I wasn’t sure what we’d have with the burgers until we picked up our share.

Here’s what we received:


sweet snacking peppers, lettuce


corn, green beans


zucchini, bell peppers


cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes




So, we ended up having the corn and green beans with dinner.  They were easy to fix and are bulky in the fridge.

I’ll be making chili this week.  The peppers and slicing tomatoes will go into it.  The lettuce and snacking peppers will make a nice salad.  My husband and son will eat the cherry tomatoes. I have a recipe for pancakes that uses zucchini, so I’m going try it out with the squash.

It really comes down to the eggplant.  Last time I had eggplant, I cooked it with onion, olive oil and some garlic until it was mushy and made a dip.  I intend to use it as a layer in lasagna, but that hasn’t happened yet.  It’s currently frozen in my freezer.

I’m ready for tomato season to end and I’m missing fruit.  I’m happy with our share, but I am excited for winter squash and apple seasons to begin.


During our second full day at Capitol Reef National Park, the group divided into two.  One group headed out for a long, more strenuous hike.   The rest of us set out to check out the non-hiking part of the park.  We stopped at the Gifford Farmhouse and the blacksmith shop.  At some point we also heard a ranger talk.  That was fun since the ranger was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio.


We visited the visitor center and watched the film about the park.  Our main purpose at the center was to find out about U-Pick fruit.  Fruita, Utah is known for historic orchards that are located within the national park.


We got directions and headed to the orchards.  We were met by classic U-Pick signs.  We were also met with the most beautiful backdrop for any picking that I have ever done.  The photo on the right is an apple orchard.


Any fruit consumed while in the orchard is free.  Any fruit picked to take with you is $1.00 a pound.  Everything is done on the honor system.  There is a box with bags, a scale and a money drop at each orchard.  We heard that the peaches are a bit more protected when they are in their peak, but we weren’t there during that time.


The apples were most delicious.


After the apples, we headed to find pears.  This orchard also had a few peach trees.  We may have picked a few of them as well.


After a wonderful experience picking, we headed back to the field station where some sort of cobbler making was on the menu for dessert.


We had a great time exploring the park and the dessert turned out great.  The rest of the group had a great hike and everyone was happy with the day.

 Posted by at 10:07 PM

We were out of town for the weekend, but made it back to the Cleveland area in time to head to my Grandma’s birthday party.  I have an awesome family and love to make it to as many family events as possible.  We arrived just in time to have dinner before the music started.

Once we had eaten, the kids got busy making new friends and playing hide-n-seek.  Sally hid by covering her eyes so no one could see her.  The boys had no trouble finding her.


Soon enough, it was time for the Blue Ribbon Bluegrass Band.  The band is great and it’s fun to watch my brother, uncle and cousin having so much fun.  It was also fun to hear the kids screaming as they counted for hide-n-seen over the music. IMG_4880

There was dancing.


Toward the end of the band’s set, Grandma was serenaded by two professional world class piano players.  It was her highlight of the evening for sure.


We ended with birthday cake for both Grandma and her son Matt.


It was a fun evening and a great end to the weekend.  We’re glad to have tomorrow at home to catch up on laundry and meal planning for the week ahead.

 Posted by at 9:11 PM