Today, Stephen took Sally and I took Nick.  We need to make sure that we both get some time with our kids solo.  I took Nick to see my mom and dad.  We worked on his Halloween costume.  After we enjoyed dinner at their house, we went to check out their community garden.  Nick enjoyed the letters on their new sign.  We walked around the garden plots and checked out what was left.  Quite a few people were all cleaned up for the winter while others still had parsley, potatoes and more.


As we were leaving, Nick spotted the pile of leaves.  Can I climb the leave pile?  Sure.



Grandpa told him he was king of the mountain.



Then, he wanted to jump.


Action shot.


I’m glad that he didn’t get hurt.  He sure enjoyed the leaves.  It was a perfect fall evening.

 Posted by at 9:06 PM

Stephen and the kids went to our garden today to clean up for the winter.  I was in docent class, so they took care of it without me.  It sounds like everything went well.

We cleaned out the cucumber and pumpkin vines a while back.  Between the powdery mildew and some animals, we didn’t have any pumpkins.  We had picked our carrots and didn’t have much else grow except tomatoes.  Our tomatoes were crazy.  We had pint after pint after pint of cherry and grape tomatoes.  We also had a decent crop of Roma tomatoes.  The problem with Roma tomatoes is that they ripen a couple at a time.  That was a hard adjustment for me since I canned 120 pounds last year – in two days.  Most of our tomatoes went straight to the freezer and at the end of the season, I made some sauce.

So, for today’s clean up, we mostly had tomato plants and stakes to clean up.  I suggested that Stephen take a garbage can with him.  That turned out to be a good idea since the waste truck was a bit of a walk from our plot.  We didn’t think to take a rake, but someone lent them one.  That turned out to be useful for raking tomatoes that had split and fallen into the beds.  Our stakes were muddy, so Stephen and the kids went back for them later in the day when they could take towels to wrap them in so not to dirty the car interior.

We had used single green plant stakes.  They turned out to be rather useless for our huge tomato plants.  Next year, we need to invest in much beefier stakes.  We also need to plan on more room per tomato plant.  Our plants took off and shaded a good portion of other plants.  By the end of the season, we had a tomato garden.

The kids are still the highlight for many of the adults and couples at the garden.  They enjoyed all of the attention during the garden visits.

We plan to plant another garden next summer.  We’ll probably try to start some plants indoors and have an earlier start with a more comprehensive plan.  Hopefully, our weather will be a little more garden friendly next year as well.

 Posted by at 9:50 PM

Today, I had a rare pick up without the kids.  I had been at a doctor appointment and headed up to the high school from there.  It was strange.  I havemixed feelings about today’s bag.  I have “go to” uses for so many of our CSA items, but mustard greens, mixed greens (braising?) and Napa cabbage are not included.  But, there are many items like cider, beans, squash, cheese, apples, etc. that I am excited to see.


Here’s what we were expecting to receive:

  • 1 head Napa cabbage
  • 1 8 oz. chunk pepper Havarti
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 1 half lb. mixed greens
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 half gallon apple cider
  • 1 quarter peck Empire Red apples
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 ct. red peppers
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 1 package, 1.25 lb., Andouille sausage (Smokey, Spanish sausage)

I roasted lots of butternut squash this week.  I think I’ll save this one for a few days and then try the squash/bean burritos that I read about last week.


The local broccoli is always delicious.  I’ll use it for a side dish soon.  I love that we received purple cauliflower.  It is really bright and fun!


Pepper cheese is not usually my favorite, but this cheese is really good.  I’m probably going to have it with eggs.  The lettuce is very crisp looking and also a really small head.  It will make one individual salad.


I haven’t made my stuff acorn squash yet this season.  This might just be the week for it.  The peppers will get chopped for salads.


Apples tend to disappear without any work.  We put the sausage in the freezer.  I see some more of the sweet potato hash in our future.  The kids thought it was too spicy, but Stephen and I can eat it for lunches.


I’m too tired to think much about the greens.  I read up on mustard greens, so I am a little less afraid of them.  But, I still don’t know what my plan will be.  We get these bagged mixed greens often, so I need to figure out a way to use them.  I just think they are bitter.


I’ll probably chop the collards and cook them with taco meat.  I have no idea about the Napa cabbage, so I need to look at that one on line.


I’m surprised that the cider has been here for several hours and is still unopened.  Nick, Sally and Stephen will love it.  It’s too sweet for me.


Weeks like this leave me in awe with the huge variety of items that we can obtain locally.

I have a full day tomorrow and then Sunday will be “use the greens day”.


Yesterday, I roasted 9 winter squash.  Most of them were butternut squash.  I had received a few in recent CSA pick ups and was also gifted a couple.  I decided to make puree out of most of them.  We love to have it on hand for muffins and pancakes throughout the year.

After all of the roasting, I had two squash left and decided to make soup.


  • 2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • salt, pepper, thyme to taste
  • cream to taste

I love using my crock pot for soup.  I added all of the vegetables and broth and cooked it until tender.  I cooked it a few hours yesterday, left it on warm overnight and then heated on low most of today.  (It didn’t need that long, but it was a timing issue and I didn’t have room in the fridge for a crockpot full of hot soup overnight).   Then, I used an imersion blender to make it smooth.  I tested for spice and stirred in a 1/2 cup or so of cream.

I served it with French baguette.  It was so simple and delicious.  We have a few bowls to use as leftovers for lunch and I put a few in the freezer.

With both kids having swim lessons on Thursday, I need to make crockpot dinner a habit.


 Posted by at 10:27 PM

I’m taking the plunge to Google calendar.  I used an electronic calendar when I worked in an office full time.  It was strictly for business.  All of my personal items have always been tracked on paper.  I don’t have a smart phone and paper has always seemed faster and easier.

Unfortunately, it makes it impossible for Stephen to keep track of the kids and I.  I still don’t have a smart phone, but I do have a tablet that will have the calendar accessible whenever I have internet access.

We just went through and added all of my current obligations.  It was much simpler than the paper one for things like Nick’s preschool which is reoccurring.  I’m still not convinced that this is going to work, but I’m going to give it a try.  I can always go back to paper, but I have a feeling it’s going to be full steam ahead.

Now, I just have to remember to look at the calendar on line everyday.  This is going to be an adjustment.  I’ll keep you all posted.

 Posted by at 9:16 PM

Well, this is the last pick up of the season.  20 weeks sure flew by.  Our miss our weekly trips to Whole Foods, especially since the store is finally back together after their reorganization.

Here’s what we received today:


apples, acorn squash


sweet potatoes, carrots


garlic, green peppers




This is an easy week with lots of things that we love and use all of the time.  We were out of apples, so those will go into oatmeal and lunches for the next few days.  Acorn squash is one of my favorites.  This one is a little past its prime, so I am roasting it the next time I turn on the oven.

We ate some of the sweet potatoes for dinner tonight.  They are fabulous.  I’m going to add the carrots to butternut squash soup this week.  It was my missing ingredient and magically appeared in our box.

Garlic and pepper will both go into an “unstuffed cabbage” dish that I am going to make in the crock pot on Thursday.  It’s swim lesson night and we are all hungry when we get home, so I need a good plan.

The lettuce will go well in salads and wraps for our lunches the next few days.

It’s been a great summer.

 Posted by at 7:35 PM

A few weeks back, a saw a Facebook page about lambs for sale.  I pondered it.  A couple of weeks later, I ended up ordering 1/2 lamb from Blue Egg Farm.  I’ve eaten lamb a couple of times.  I’m not sure if I have ever cooked it, but I’ll be soon learning.

Here’s what our 1/2 lamb looked like after processing:


We have lamb for stew.


We have lamb loin chops.


We have ground lamb.


We have lamb leg steaks.


We have a lamb shoulder roast.


We have a lamb shank.


And, we have a mystery non-vacuumed packed bag.


I’ve contemplated buying a half of a hog many times before and never went through with it.  I’m never sure if we’ll have the freezer space.  A 1/2 lamb seemed like a manageable amount to spend and store at one time.

I’m excited to give a few lamb recipes a try.  I hope that the kids like it too!

If you have any ideas or favorites to share, let me know.



Wow, what a great event!  Today, Fresh Fork Market hosted a customer appreciation pig roast & pot luck.  It was quite the event.  It was held at Hill N Dale Club in Medina.  We arrived right at 2PM and there weren’t too many people there yet.  The kids headed straight for face painting.  Kirsten did a great job and the kids loved it.


We didn’t have a mirror, so we took photos of the kids and show them to them.  Worked like a charm.  Next up was pumpkin carving.  Our kids aren’t quite old enough to work the tools, so I talked them into coloring them with a marker instead.


There were 3 sets of corn hole set up.  Quite a few people enjoyed them.  We also had brought chairs for Nick and Sally.  For a while they carried them everywhere they went.


There was a registration table.  We could get our deposit back or donate it to the Innovative Farmers of Ohio.  Mary Holmes their president and Parker Bosley staffed the table.


Most of the attendees brought a dish to share.  The dishes were labeled and set out in the pavilion.  It was quite the spread.


The pig was the main attraction.  Here, Trevor and Clark are checking the temperature.  It was a really big pig.


Kelly was our emcee for the day.  She did a fabulous job organizing the signage and activities.


Our family participated in and egg toss.


They were strong eggs.  I love this one with the egg mid-air.


Oh, and it rained!  But, Trevor put up and tent and the pig was fine.  We had tents to eat under and we didn’t let it ruin our festivities.


Nick and Sally didn’t even know what a 3 legged race was until today.  Sally fell a couple of times.


Nick didn’t want to stop, so Stephen swapped Sally and became his partner.


The kids went back for round two of face painting.


The played with (fought over) the umbrella.


We played awesome Fresh Fork bingo for bacon!  And then there was the pie eating contest.  No thanks, those folks were crazy.


We had a super excited winner too!  Before we headed home, Sally tried catching a few rain drops.


I never tried to count the number of people who came out, but I’m sure it was at least 200.  I can’t wait for next year!  Although, Nick has announced plans for us to have one in our living room tomorrow.  He wants to run the games and thinks Trevor should cook a pig everyday.


Yesterday, my week of learning continued with a water exercise instructor class for the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program.  The class was held at the JCC, so it was convenient for me to take the class.  Out of 13 participants, there were only 3 of us who had never taught an exercise class before.  I found the class to be very informative.  We learned a bit about the Arthritis Foundation, class set up, logistics, lesson plans, and most importantly the exercises.  The day was divided up with about 6 hours of classroom instruction and 2 hours of pool instruction.

During the pool instruction, we learned about recovery and rescue for a bit.  Then, we tried a few exercises with some of the permitted equipment.  We also had to swim 25 yards and tread water for a minute.  The bulk of the pool time consisted of us each teaching part of a sample class to the other participants.  It was fun!

After the pool time, we changed and headed back to the classroom for our test and wrap up.  I didn’t have any problems with the test and passed with flying colors.

To actually be certified as an instructor, I need to teach 6 classes in the next 6 months.  The JCC offers and Arthritis Foundation water exercise class three times a week. Even with our great staff of instructors, we always seem to be in the need for subs. I’m hoping to teach on a semi regular basis at some point.  The 6 classes shouldn’t be a problem for me to achieve.

Now, I’m considering getting the MS certification along with the regular water aerobics certification.  There is so much to learn and so little time.  Maybe I’ll write a bucket list soon.

 Posted by at 8:43 PM

Today was a perfect autumn day for a CSA pickup.  We had some logistical issues this week and at one point considered Solon, Mayfield, Beachwood, Hudson and Mentor as possible sites.  We ended up making it to our normal spot at Mayfield.  I was glad to visit with Kirsten and Robert for a bit during a slower time.


Here’s what we are expecting to receive:

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 3# sweet potatoes
  • 1 head cauliflower (some will be cheddar, purple, or green varieties)
  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 1 head baby Bok Choy
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 lb. chorizo sausage links
  • 2# cornmeal
  • 2 ct. red peppers
  • Red onion (s)
  • 2 ct. zucchini
  • Approx. 1.5 lbs. tomatoes
  • 2 ct. eggplant (or 1 if they are enormous)
  • 1 lb. pumpkin sage linguini
  • 1 quarter peck Cortland apples

They were out of slicing tomatoes.  I was happy since I was offered spinach as a replacement.  I have too many tomatoes in the freezer already.  Everything else on the list was dead on!

I’m behind on egg use a bit.  I see some hardboiled ones in our future.  Maybe I’ll make a small batch of deviled eggs for Sunday’s pig roast.  We’ll use the peppers in eggs and salads this week.


Last year, we found that either Andouille or Chorizo could be used in this recipe.  So, it’s definitely on the agenda for this week.  I remember it being extremely delicious.


I tossed the pumpkin sage linguini in the freezer since we have a busy few days ahead.  I’m sure it will be tasty.  I’ve never met an Ohio City pasta that I didn’t like.


I’m going to make a veggie lasagna this week.  I’ll use the squash and eggplant in that dish.


We haven’t picked any tomatoes from our garden lately.  I’m sure these will be welcome snacks.


I’ll sauté the Bok Choy for Stephen one day.  He likes the Asian flavors.  The apples will be great for our oatmeal.  We made all of our other apples into sauce.


The lettuce will go for salads.  The cauliflower will make a great side dish with some chicken we have ready to eat in the fridge.


To make make room for our 1/2 lamb, I’m making a pot of chili.  Some cornbread will make a nice side to go with it.


I’m glad it’s cooler out and love cooking this time of year.