Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Not One Picture

What a whirl wind of activity it has been these last few days! It is a good feeling to go off and have fun and not bring a phone or a camera, but sadly I wish now that I had thought of it as I have no pictures to share of all the things I have done in the last few days.

Saturday was a party for four friends that are all turning 60. I had a great time at the party. I saw people I have not seen in a while. I always find it funny to live in a town for so long and know a bunch of people but it takes a party to happen to see them. Rural living at its best I guess. It is interesting how our lives are all weaved into one another's.

Sunday we were invited to dinner to an old friend that we have not seen much. She had tried to get me out on the lake in a canoe last year unsuccessfully. I am a bit nervous on the water. I don't like being in water where I cannot touch the bottom and I am also scared the canoe will flip over. Well, she got me out there on Sunday and it was so much fun. So peaceful, and beautiful. China Lake here in Vassalboro is part of the Kennebec Water district and  there are many rules and regulations. No buildings or structures can be near the lake. Another rule is there is no swimming allowed. That means that while we were out on the water it felt like we were in no mans land. No houses or camps or anything. Only Great Blue Heron, and Cormorants. There were some motor boats a far way off but I didn't hear them, only saw them. I was so happy that I was brave enough to go out. After rowing we picked blackberries out in her back yard and then had a big spaghetti dinner and blackberry-apple pie with vanilla ice cream. So nice.

Monday the girls and I got up very early to drive 2 hours down south so they could do a ropes course with a group of girls. It was a drop off situation, so I didn't get any pictures. They had a wonderful time though. None of the girls wanted to leave.

After the ropes course we drove to the farm my son works on. It is called Winslow Farm and Flower Shop. If you are in Maine you should drop in. Very nice family. The girls and I helped with the harvest. We picked and put up to dry over 700 pounds of onions. The next day the girls helped pick tomatoes, zucchini, blueberries, and melon. Monday night we had a big twelve person dinner. Everyone helped cook. Aside from some sausage, salt, pepper and the wine, everything we ate came right from the farm. It was nice to spend time with my son in his space. It was all so good.

Tuesday after helping with the harvest the girls and I headed to the ocean. I just cannot be down that close to the water and not go. It was a bit chilly but we walked and waded in the water. Greta swam, of course. Both girls played in the sand. I sat and knit and dozed a bit. It was a very peaceful end to a fun couple of days.

I regret not taking any pictures, but really it was so nice just to do, and not to keep saying, 'Oh, let me get a picture of this'. For now the memories are in my head and heart.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Finished It Friday

I know lots of blogs have this title for Friday's. Anyway, I finished my shawl that I have been working on. I am happy with it and excited to show it.

It was super simple. I purposely picked a very easy pattern so I could take it to the lake, ocean, on camping trips and such and not have to think about the stitches.

I finished it just in time too, as it is getting a bit cool here. It was in the low 60's all day!

This shawl was a super simple pattern. Knit one, Yarn over, Knit to the end. It is very soft and comfy. I want to make another one.

I really like having a simple project going as well as something a bit harder (like socks). I think for my next easy project I will knit up a few dishtowels. I know we do need them and I have some cotton yarn stashed away.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

This Week in My Kitchen

I love the blog Beauty That Moves and have been reading and enjoying her photos for a few years. I am joining Heather in her Kitchen Blog Hop.

Here is this past week.

Barbecue with home made sauce.

Shortcake with blueberries and raspberries from our bushes.

Blueberry Pie with an oatmeal topping. The bottom crust is also home made, a long living and much used recipe.

Zucchini, Summer squash, garlic and broccoli pasta sauce. So much is coming out of the garden right now!

For the first time, Grilled Pizza!

We made a bunch of these long pizza's. One just cheese, one with hamburg and chicken with garlic and onions, one had just olive oil, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and basil (from the garden). My crust is home made, from a mix of whole wheat, bread flour, and corn flour. 

I do struggle with trying to come up with different meals to offer a variety. It is hard sometimes. Some nights I just want to say we are having cereal for supper. Ha! Wonder how that one would go down?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Garlic and Shallots

We harvested the garlic and shallots the other day. The girls and I that is. The garlic is German Extra Hardy. I am very happy with the way it turned out. The bulbs are large and healthy looking. We cut up a couple for dinner before they dried. Very good. I read somewhere that people think they are getting 'fresh' garlic at a farmers market or farm stand, but I agree, people are not getting 'fresh' garlic. It is only 'fresh' right out of the ground.

The girls are much like the garlic here. Hardy, healthy, and fresh!

They both had been asking to pick the garlic for a few weeks now.

Very proud girls I would say. They love helping in the garden and that makes me very happy!

We picked shallots too. I don't have a super big garden and I don't grow onions as a rule because they are pretty cheap at the store, but shallots are pricey so I do grow them. They are so flavorful.

Now all that garlic is sitting on a screen in the woodshed up in the rafters. Hopefully drying nicely so we can eat it up!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

But Summer Will Continue

What a weekend! The sky was so blue and the sun so bright. Then of course that moon! I had trouble sleeping it was so bright.

Most of us went to the lake for a BBQ picnic on Sunday. The only one missing was Cory but I will hopefully be seeing him very soon.

We arrived in the afternoon and stayed until almost everyone was gone.

This is pretty much where Greta stayed all day. She never tires of the water.

Aaron wants the camera. Finally there are some shots of him!

Colin, laughing. What a nice smile he has.

AnnMarie and Dean doing a crossword puzzle after just having a dip.

The sun was so bright and hot. An August sun for sure.

Yea! cook up that chicken Dean.

Getting ready to head out.

Ahh, summer. Yes it can stay a bit longer please.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Early Fall?

Lately I have seen and felt some signs of fall approaching. Hopefully an early fall does not equal an early winter. I don't mind winter but how I love fall. No one wants to hear my early fall predictions because of that fear of an early winter but I am feeling it and would love to share.

First of all we have had some pretty cool nights here in Maine. August is usually hot and humid and the nights are not very much relief. It has been a bit humid, not hot, and the nights are cool. More like September.

Second, we have all noticed acorns falling. Not unusual since we are surrounded by oak trees, but usually they don't start falling until September or October.

Third, many people in this family have been sneezing and have had itchy eyes usually associated with a ragweed or goldenrod allergy. Both usually start bothering people in September.

Fourth, I am starting to see come color changes in some leaves. The blueberry bushes are one of the first leaves to change, but usually not until the end of August. I also have started to see some sumac already changing red.

Always my favorite season I am not upset by these early signs. I will say though, I do hope we have many more warm and sunny days left in August and September, even October. We have so many more days at the lake and ocean to enjoy. We have a few more camping trips planned. So summer, you don't have to leave just yet. Stick around for a bit longer.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

This Week in My Kitchen

I love the blog Beauty That Moves and have been reading and enjoying her photos for a few years. I am joining Heather in her Kitchen Blog Hop.

Here is this past week.

Blueberries, Raspberries, and Cherry tomatoes!

Green beans and Wax beans are really coming on in the garden. That means blanching and freezing in the kitchen.

Both girls baked this week. Blueberry muffins for Greta,

and chocolate chip peanut cookies for AnnMarie.

Aaron made sauce again and was able to add garlic, shallots, and basil all fresh from the garden!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dishwasher Broke, and I Don't Care

I have been singing this line lately, to the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care. Our dishwasher of nine years old has stopped working. I have realized in only a week that I don't care to get it fixed. There are several reasons for this.

I will say that nine years ago I really, really wanted and thought I needed a dishwasher. I had just had my fourth child and things were busy. I was very happy to get one. It matched my other appliances and we felt we got a deal. How people and times change.

I am probably remembering wrong but it seems to me that it didn't keep the dishes as clean as I had imagined a dishwasher to. Also it advertised that we wouldn't need to rinse (pre-wash) the dishes before loading them. That was wrong. There are certain things like rice, egg yolk, and very greasy dishes that did need to be rinsed. Also, right away, I noticed that the dishwasher seemed to be the cause of very silly arguments between my husband and I. I felt that if I worked hard loading the thing that having him come and reorganize it so he could fit 'one more thing' was insulting. I threatened to stop loading it if he did it again. He of course did and this argument continued and other people loading it also felt entitled to the same argument. It sort of feels the same as having cleaned a house for someone and having them come redo parts of it.

Other little annoying things to do with the dishwasher was that I hated the bleachy smell it gave off while washing. We tried using non-bleach type detergents but then the dishes came out dirty and grimy. I hated having water collect on all the tops of the cups and glasses, so I practically had to wipe the dishes before putting them away, that or wait all day for them to dry.

Now that it isn't working I am noticing quite a lot of advantages to not having a dishwasher. Here are a few.

- Cupboards are usually full of dishes when you need them. Silverware drawer is full too.
- My kitchen and sink area is clean almost all day. Keeping up on the dishes is actually less work than loading and unloading dishes from a whole day. While the dishwasher is full and running more dishes pile up in the sink. Who wants to wash dishes by hand when the dishwasher will do it? Therefor the sink is always full and a full dishwasher is so daunting to me at the end of a day.
- The dishes, particularly the glasses, are clean. Really clean. Scrubbed by hand clean. Not rinsed with bleach water clean.
- People are washing as they go. Each child is responsible for their own plate, silverware and cup. It is actually less work for me!
- This one is hard to explain, but there is just a pleasure in washing dishes, putting them in the strainer and cleaning out the sink. If feels cleaner in my whole kitchen. I feel ahead the game so to speak.
- Added space. I am thinking a trash/recycling caddie would fit very nicely there. Or maybe some shelves with a cute curtain over it. I do need more counter space. So if I put some of the smaller appliances under there I would have that increased counter space.

So, bottom line, I really don't care that the dishwasher broke. We could probably save up the money pretty quickly to pay for a new one, or a repair, but I would rather that money went towards spending time with my family camping or a mini vacation to ... a balloon festival, or to Bay of Fundy, or.....

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A View From Above

It is always a treat to go into the camera and find pictures that other people have taken. Sometimes the pictures are silly or blurry or what I want to say but can't because it is a memory card, a waste of film. Every so often I go in to the camera and 'weed' the pictures. A lot of the pictures there are very nice. Today the ones I found are going on the blog.

Aaron took them I think. I keep saying this but I think he has a knack for photography and I hope he takes a class or two while he is in school.

These pictures are taken from up in a tree. Little shots of our space in the world.

The garden.

The girls by the mint.

Side of the house, and the flower garden.

Garage and drive.

Front deck. With Dean getting the grill cleaned up.

Another shot of the side and front.

Looking down at Greta checking her flower garden.

Shot of Aaron's shoe. Careful now!

It is nice seeing things from a different point of view, without having to actually go up that high.

Monday, August 4, 2014

In the Wilds of 'Hobbit Land'

There is this place, tucked away in tiny Hallowell, Maine, that the locals call 'Hobbit Land'. It is really called Vaughan Homestead. On 197 acres it has numerous hiking trails. There is wood, fields, streams, and a pond. There are many arched bridges made out of stone to walk over. Many parts of the trail have stairs made out of stone or wood. There are waterfalls all up and down the stream that are created from a pond slowly draining from the top.

Dean and I took the girls on Sunday. We walked, sat, waded, and some of us swam. It was a delightful day out.

We were finding these black and blue dragonfly's everywhere. There must have been lots to eat by the water.

The pictures are a bit blurry, since I forgot my camera and we were using Deans phone.

This is a purple mushroom that Greta noticed. Doesn't it look deadly?

Greta found the current pretty strong.

Ready, set,



Poor dragonfly. He met his end by a hungry spider.

If you find yourself in Maine, you really should stop in Hallowell. Go to 'Hobbit Land'. You will not regret it.