After we learned about the reaper-binder equipment and process, our tour continue at the threshing.  We came upon the field and saw the men working.  They were tossing sheaves onto a belt.  The sheaves went into the machine.  Oats come out one shoot and straw came out the other.


When we first arrived, the thresher was being powered by this old steam tractor with really long belts.  It was very cool to see.


But, the steam engine wasn’t able to move the belt fast enough to make the thresher work correctly.


They cleaned out the machine a couple of times.



Eventually, they hooked up this 1930’s gas powered Huber tractor.


Our wait while they were fixing the thresher made Sally really tired. She relaxed with Stephen and eventually napped on my shoulder.  She was really sound asleep despite the noise from the threshing.  She was even snoring.


After sitting on the wagon for about an hour and a half, we headed into the barn for an awesome Amish style meal.  We were served family style.  The menu consisted of chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, pie and ice cream.  The meal was prepared by the Amish women and used many ingredients from the farm.  Our day continued with workshops.  I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about them.


Our Fresh Fork CSA had an event at Wholesome Valley Farm today.  It was the 1st Annual Threshing Day and was a family friendly event.  We left Mayfield Heights just after 8AM, stopped for gas,  and arrived at the farm right about 9:30AM.  The event was to start at 10AM sharp.


Trevor was all set up when we arrived.  He had his sign out and cold water available as we checked in and received a schedule.


First up was a tractor ride out to the fields.  We past bee hives, pastured Berkshire hogs, and soon arrived at the field of oats that was ready to be processed.


Joel was uncovering the reaper-binder and starting telling us about the process.  Trevor was asking lots of questions on our behalf.  It was quite informative.


Soon the equipment was up and running.  The reaping part of the machine is what cuts down the grain.  In this case, feed oats were being processed.  The binder uses twine to tie the cut stalks into sheaves.


We had nice seats in the wagons while we watched the horses go by a few times.


Once the sheaves are dropped out of the reaper-binder, they are stacked by hand into shocks to dry.


I’ll be back tomorrow with what happens next.


After the kids and I picked peaches on Sunday, we decided to stop and pick a few blackberries.  The blackberry patch was right off of 113 between the market and Wright Road.  We first arrived and found an empty table.  We left and went to pay for our peaches and checked on blackberries at the market and headed back over.  Apparently, the attendant had just taken a potty break.  I suggested a “back in 5 min” sign was in order.  She was very nice and the parking was close to the berries.


The attendant walked over to show us what we were looking for.  She wanted to make sure we knew there were good berries there if you look under the leaves and in the bushes.  Sally ate a red one and the attendant snapped at her because she didn’t want her to get sick.  Sally started crying.  She was mostly just very, very tired.


Nick found some black berries and Sally took a nap.  Don’t worry, we could see the car the whole time we were picking.  She was in the shade and the door was open.


We only picked a pound and a half.  It was $4.50 total.  It wasn’t really good picking.  When the field looks red upon arrival, that’s not a good sign.  I’m sure many people had picked on Saturday and probably earlier in the day on Sunday.


Even though we didn’t get many berries, it was fun to check out the crop.  I’m hoping to get some more closer to home next week since blackberries are great in jam and smoothies.


On Friday, the last hurrah with Nick, Sally and their cousins was a trip to to Brainard Spray Park.  The park is location on Brainard in Lyndhurst between Mayfield and 271.  There’s not really a sign or anything.  It’s just part of the big park facilities.  There’s a playground, skate park, ball fields and the spray park.


When we arrived, they were having some issues with the water, so it wasn’t on yet.  And, we were curious if the weather would hold out.  My nephew actually posed for this photo.  once the water was on and he figured out he could squirt people, he was off.


Everyone was having a great time!


In just a few minutes, everyone was drenched.  Then, the staff heard thunder and shut everything down.  It’s only 20 minutes unless there’s more thunder.  It was still sunny out so we didn’t think the park would be closed for long.


We dried off and headed behind the spray park to the playground.


I remember these merry-go-rounds from when I was little.  They still make me dizzy.


Sally took her time enjoying the swings.


Soon enough, the water was back on and we were getting wet again.


We didn’t stay long at the park since we had to get my niece and nephew ready to go home.


But, it was a nice outing close to home and everyone had a great time.

 Posted by at 8:26 PM

As you may recall, Nick recently received a knife at a cooking class.  He wanted to cut more and I had veggies to use up, so we decided to make tomato soup from our veggies.

After cutting up a few more tomatoes, Nick tried zucchini.  It was truly a winner.  It was really easy for him to cut and had a nice handle available most of the time.


Some cuts, he was so excited.  For the most part, I thought things well pretty well.


But then we tried the onion.  I don’t want him to get hurt and my patience meter was low after reviewing knife safety about 80 times.


So, this was his last cut.  I cut up the rest.


We ended up with some fabulous tomato soup.  I’m still not ready to teach him knife skills, but ready or not, it’s happening.

 Posted by at 10:07 PM

Since Nick wasn’t in camp this week and my niece and nephew are in town, we all headed out to Voytko to pick blueberries with some friends.  Picking will probably only last this week, but it was quite good and plentiful today.

My niece and nephew took right to picking.  They had never picked blueberries before.  Sally enjoyed some time in the stroller (mostly eating berries).


But, she did get out and pick a bit too.


My nephew is trying to teach Nick how to whistle.  My niece is sure going to break hearts someday.


Here’s the best photo of all six kids that I could take.


We had a great time and will be sad when blueberry season ends.  We ended up with 8.5 pounds, but I forgot to take a photo of them before I stored them.  I don’t think we’ll make it out to pick again, but you never know.

 Posted by at 10:10 PM

We don’t have bagels very often in our house.  I picked up a few this week and fixed the kids butterfly bagels for breakfast yesterday.  It was a fluke.  I had cut a bagel in half and then they decided they wanted them toasted.  So, I “butterflied” it so it would fit in the toaster.  Some cream cheese, string cheese and a couple of blueberries later….


Both Nick and Sally love it!  Sometimes the best things just aren’t planned.


Today, we visited the Coit Road Farmers’ Market for the first time.  We really didn’t know what to expect.  I had heard that it was small, indoor and had a cooking class scheduled for 11AM today.

I followed my easy directions and before I knew it we were at the market.  It was hard to miss.  There were just a few produce stands.  This time of year, the produce stands for this market and just getting started.  We were happy to see Secor’s from Perry.  We really like to U-Pick there, so I was familiar with them.  There were some booths with baked goods and other odd ball items, too.  We ended up buying a watermelon, but I questioned to myself if that was grown locally since I think it’s a bit early and I haven’t seen any other watermelon yet.  But, when the kids want watermelon, I try not to turn them down.

Nick and Sally were enamored with the chicken coops.  I don’t think we are up for chickens at our house, but the kids would love it!


A new coop was delivered while we were there.  Here’s a photo of the kitchen area that was going to be the scene for the cooking class.


In addition to the coops, there were also hives.  All of the wood products were fascinating.  Once it was time for the cooking class, Nick and Sally were given aprons to wear.  I think they are adorable.


Miss Pat gave a demonstration on how to make pasta salad.  She used cucumber, garlic and tomato from the market.  She tossed them with pasta and some dressing.  We were a little disappointed in the class, since we had seen photos of the last class, we were expecting a hands on class.  Being a demo, it was hard to keep the attention of the kids.


Sally was also in a “mood” which didn’t help.  I think she was just hungry and tired.  After the demo, the kids were excited when they found out that they could keep the aprons.  And, Miss Pat gave Nick his own knife.  Once we finished at the class, we stopped to let Sally buy some corn.


She carefully picked out 5 ears and we were on our way.  Then, tonight at dinner, both kids really wanted to help cook.  We cook together at home often, but they really were extra inspired today.  I think it was the aprons.  Oh, and Nick could not wait to use this knife.


I decided that we could make some simple tomato soup in the morning and he could cut up the tomato.  I nervously helped and watched him.  He had such a great time.


I definitely need to brush up on my knife skills if I am going to teach my 4 year old to use one.


The first lesson was a success.  The tomato is chopped and no band aids were needed.  All in all, we had a nice day.  I think I’d stop by this market every now and then, but I don’t think it will become my favorite.


On Monday of the week we were at the beach house, I planned to go to the Farmers’ Market at Bethany Beach.  The only problem with that is that it had happened on Sunday – OOPS!  So, Stephen checked around and found this market for us.

It took us about 20 minutes to drive there from Rehoboth.  We were mostly hoping that we beat the storm that was coming.


Turns out this was a very small market.  I think there were about 12 vendors.


Parking was really close to the vendors.  It was actually kind of dangerous.  Cars and pedestrians don’t mix well.  It wasn’t crowded at all.


We picked up a few small things.  Nick picked out some pita chips and Stephen and I picked out croissants.  My favorite was Sally picking out cucumbers.  Both kids really like spending money at the markets.


I like that with each trip to a market, they get to practice naming all of the vegetables that we see.  It’s also interesting to see the seasonality of produce in the different climates.  We were in DE in June and peaches and corn were already in season.  Generally, they are 2-4 weeks ahead of Ohio.

 Posted by at 9:06 PM

Yep, after our visit to Wintergreen Tree Farm on Tuesday, Sally and I headed back to Mantua today.  Once we checked in, we headed to almost the last row of bushes.  Then, we headed to the back of the row.  At times, it was hard to get through the aisle.  I knew if we kept going, the picking was going to be great.  The berries did not let us down.  Even though Sally can walk on her own, I don’t know if I can go blueberry picking without a stroller.  It’s nice to have a place for all of our stuff.


Sally has been really enjoying my attention since Nick’s been at camp this week.  I kept catching her eating blueberries out of the big bucket.  My response was usually for her to pick her own if she was hungry.


Back at the shed, Hannah checked us out.  We picked almost 9 pounds!  I didn’t get a photo of our crop, but our buckets was just a couple of inches from the top.  Again, I put them in containers and they went straight to our freezer.


I talk to Hannah about the crop.  She guesses that there’s about 2 weeks of picking left.  I’m hoping to take my niece and nephew when they come to town.  It’s going to be tight.  My niece really wants to go blueberry picking.


Sally posed with Hannah.  It was a great day for picking!