Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apple Picking Time!

Yesterday we took a trip to Lemieux's Apple Orchard here in Vassalboro. The girls picked a whole bag a piece, and I picked up some seconds for applesauce and pies.

We had a little wagon ride around the orchard and a nice walk through their corn maze.

The corn was so tall. I think about 8 feet high.

I think the way the corn looks coming out of the ground is funny looking. Sort of like some of those trees in the Bayou.

We also saw the geese flying south. Very pretty and so cool to hear them honking away.

Monday, September 29, 2014

An Autumn Day at the Lake

Much of Maine had some pretty warm (hot in my opinion) temperatures this past weekend. Sensing this may be one of our last weekends to go to the lake, that is just what we did.

The trees are just starting to turn. Some more than others. The lake was so crisp and cool. The sky so blue. It was a beautiful fall afternoon.

There were not very many people at the lake. Summer is over for most people. I suppose it is over for me too, but on Saturday we were soaking it all up again.

There is no denying it though. The proof is in the color of the leaves. The proof is also in the cool temperatures that we are suddenly left with today. As the winds blew and the clouds came in the temps dropped about 25 degrees. I am sitting in front of a nice warm fire as I type this.

Good bye summer. Hello autumn. The memories of the warm, balmy, sun filled days will sustain us through another fall and winter. I am so glad we spent the day together relaxing and having fun in the sun.

Thursday, September 25, 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 week.

Biscuits. I added some cornmeal because we were having chili. These turned out soft, and tasty. The chili.....

has been better. It has been a little challenging to cook for only four people. What a difference in how much gets eaten with two adults and two little girls compared to four, sometimes five adults and two children. I attempted to cook up a small chili in the crock pot. I didn't think about the cooking time would need to be less. It dried right up. Even adding water at serving didn't revive it very well. Oh well, these things happen I guess.

As we are still harvesting from the garden I made Stuffed Zucchini. I bake the zucchini, took out the seeds, stuff with cooked hamburg, rice, spices, and top with cheddar cheese. Broil it for a few minutes and serve. Such an easy meal. 

More garden goodness here. We broiled beets, carrots, beans, eggplant and sweet potatoes. (The sweet potatoes came from the store.) I love how the colors of these veggies look like the leaves that change color on the trees. 

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Best Thing about Yarn

The best thing about yarn is that it can be reused. Last year I made a shawl out of some super soft angora that I bought at the fair. I made lots of mistakes in the shawl. I didn't have enough to make it as long as I wanted. Over all I didn't like it and I only wore it once. So, what is a girl to do? Frog it and use the yarn for something different.

I got a bit frustrated with the frogging. I ended up breaking the yarn in two different spots. I think I can still use it. I have a project in mind. I have read it and think that it is something I can handle. I like the idea of a lace project with this yarn. It is so thin and soft.

I found this scarf in a book from the library. The book is called Sheer Spirit. It is a book about 10 different fiber farms. This scarf is called Luna Lace Scarf. I can't wait to get started. I am almost done with the girls' socks. I really should finish those before I start something new. Right? Maybe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monarch Tagging

A few weeks ago we went on a Monarch Tagging walk. It was a beautiful, warm day

We walked through some wood to a field of Milkweed. Right away we saw Monarch butterflies flitting about. Catching them was more of a challenge. I did catch a praying mantis.

These insects are so cool. He stayed right there for a long time. Just looking around with his big eyes.

These big yellow and black spiders were everywhere. Someone told me they were not biters and that they are harmless. They sure didn't look harmless.

The girls and I never did catch a Monarch, but some other people did. We were able to watch the tagging and release of the butterfly.

Tagging the butterfly does not hurt them in any way. They told us that the sticker is sort of the same weight as us wearing a T-shirt. Hopefully this Monarch will make it to Mexico. If it does we should hear back from another group that will be reading the tags.

While walking around looking for flying Monarchs we stumbled upon a Monarch chrysalis. How lucky! We brought him home and watched him transform. So cool.

They are beautiful. I love that gold beady band. I also find it fascinating that they hang on by a literal thread. They stay on even through the wind and rain.

She came out a couple of days later. (Click here  to find out how to sex a monarch.) She flew up the driveway and into the road. Hope she makes it to Mexico!!

Just found this. Strange Cloud over Missouri Turns out to be Butterflys. I am not sure the story is true, but if it is then it is good news for the Monarchs.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Common Ground Fair

Boy what a busy few days it has been. Busy, but happy and fun. Friday was the kick off for the annual Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. I am not sure what came over me, but I didn't really plan to go this year. It has been a full summer and I thought I would just take this year off. Really now, how silly of me.

We got started early on Friday. Soon as we crossed the gates there was a friend yelling our names. We made our way over to the children's area and the amphitheater or as I call it the 'hill'. We like to set up our blanket and have a 'station' to come back to. We are usually at the fair all day and it is nice to go sit for a while and listen to music and rest.

One of the reason's Friday is one of the days to go is that is the day the YEZ tent is open. It stands for Youth Enterprise Zone. Lots of kids have worked on their crafts all year and come here to sell them. There is jewelry, food, artwork, needlework, you name it. I remember the boys doing this when they were 12. They made granola. They made a nice chunk of change. AnnMarie will be old enough to do it next year, but she is not sure about doing it yet. Part of the reason is she doesn't want to be under a tent working the whole day when she can be running around the fair with her friends. I see her point, but, her friends may be in the YEZ tent next year too. We will see how it plays out.

For the third year in a row Greta visited the face painting tent in the children's area. This is something she really looks forward to.

Because we went for two days this year she got three face paints. Yes, three. There was an incident. There had to be a third painting.

Friday was sunny but cool. It was a beautiful day. Saturday it was overcast and windy but warmer than Friday. The rain held off which was wonderful.

Hot cider helps when it gets a bit cool.

The amphitheater area has a big hill that every kid at the fair has seen at least once. You cannot avoid it. They all slide down the hill on used cardboard boxes. It is a blast, to watch.

I visited the fiber arts tent, of course. Such talent and beauty. I bought some soft, pretty, alpaca/wool blended yarn. What should I do with it? I would love to see if I can make a sweater. That may be beyond my expertise right now though.

The best part about the fair, I think, is seeing friends. I am not sure there is any other place that one can meet up by chance with friends from one end of the state to the other. Where ever we turned we bumped into someone we knew. This year our whole family went to the fair, as the boys all came home for the weekend. Like I said it was busy, but fun. Today is for resting and knitting and catching up on laundry and bread making.

Thursday, September 18, 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 week.

Fun with yogurt and berry juice.

Watermelon out of the garden!!

Lots of food preservation. GMO free corn that my son brought me. Beans, beans, and beans from our garden.

A fresh, home made Ratatouille. It came out so good. I will share the recipe next week.

It is a busy time in the kitchen here. So many things still coming out of the garden. I still have so many things to put up. Pickled beets, more beans, zucchini, and we still have to make salsa and tomato sauce and applesauce. I am telling myself not to panic. It will all get done, and if it doesn't, it is ok.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Before the Freeze

We have a couple of wood fires under our belt. Now the forecasters are calling for a wide spread frost for tonight into tomorrow morning.

I cover a lot in my garden. We eat greens starting in March and continue eating healthy all summer and into the late fall. The only way to do this here in Maine is with the hoop houses Dean has made. Tonight they will be going back on. As I said, I do cover a lot but I cannot cover everything. I wouldn't want to. Today I went out tho the garden and collected all the veggies that would be in danger of frost damage.

I am not really concerned with beets and carrots getting a freeze. They are actually better after a freeze. I have some in my bowl because they were just sitting on top of the beds. Conveniently we have had a deer visit us for the last couple of days. I say conveniently because he/she ate all the leaves off the beans but left the beans behind. It was much easier to pick them without having to move all the leaves around. They have been feasting on the carrots and beets also, but again not eating the veggie part of it. They picked them for me and left them behind. Unfortunately the deer also ate a bit of the kale. It will grow back, but still, it is a disappointment. The kale will be covered tonight since it is in the same bed as some eggplant and tomatoes.

I took some shots of the tomatoes and peppers that have been under cover for most of the summer. Only in the really hot month did we take off the plastic. The peppers are my biggest disappointment this summer. They are lagging so far behind. I may not get enough. I have bags of tomatoes in the freezer waiting for peppers so I can make sauce and salsa for the winter months.

I brought into the house some potted peppers and my big geranium plant. That added a bit of beauty to the house.

So fall is here, even if the calendar doesn't say so. I am happy about it though, it is my favorite season.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Little Tie Dye

One day a few weeks ago the girls and I did some Tie Dying. We needed to do it outside to avoid any tie dyed rugs. I found some plastic and laid it out on some grass.

We used a kit we bought at JoAnn Fabrics. It had six colors in it and enough dye for two fills of the bottles. We bought cammies and T-shirts and some socks.

First we had to wet the fabric.

Then we decide on a pattern and start wrapping rubber bands (if the project calls for them) and dying!

Not sure why I am standing like a crane. Probably trying to keep the mosquitoes off.

AnnMarie decided to do an Ombre style of dying. She started at the bottom with very dark dye then used the brush to move up the color little by little.

Greta went with a swirl style. Which means swirling the shirt up and wrapping the bands in a criss -cross fashion with 6 different parts.

Then you squeeze the dye into each part.

You have to really soak it. Otherwise the color won't take.

Afterwards you have to rinse all the excess dye out of the fabric.

It was all just too exciting for Padfoot.

I wanted to try one too. I used a stained white shirt I had. Re-purpose!!

Look how those colors move.


Each girl did a T-shirt and a cammie. They also did a pair of socks. The socks didn't work as well, since the fabric was polyester. You must use 100% cotton if you want bright vibrant colors.

After the rinsing the shirts were hung up to dry a bit. Then as recommended we put them in a dryer to finish drying.

This was a very fun project and we can't wait to do some more.