About Me

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This blog chronicles the adventures I share with my husband, daughter and son. It is also a place to share what I am learning as a homemaker, gardener, book lover and homeschooling mother. Welcome.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

second week of october

chicken tortilla soup
with a pureed roasted tomato base

fresh salsa

last of the zinnias

a delightful distraction during math review

mashed potatoes 

last of the cilantro and peppers

volleyball rockstar

cypress vine seed pods

roma tomatoes - awaiting the turn from green to red

The last of the tomatoes, peppers and cilantro have been gathered. The garden has been cleared. Brush has been hauled away.

This is the season of tidying up, preparations finalized knowing the harsh, cold weather months are ahead.

Although a little early to clear the garden, it was the best time for us to do so with a hiking trip planned, hunting season on the horizon and children's events filling the calendar. I've learned that "everything" really does have the potential to be accomplished if I consider 1) what needs to be done 2) what energy and time needs to be devoted and 3) where in the calendar it can fit. I used to be overwhelmed by "all" there was to do as a homeschooling mom and homemaker; then I realized the power of the calendar to assign a specific day(s) for activities, responsibilities. Then, with a specific time designated for a specific task, it was almost like it was already half accomplished. 

So the garden is clear, the freezers are full - a good trade. We need to amend our soil and decide on the "perfect" place to transplant our raspberry canes, but other than that it's time to enjoy the season with the heavy lifting yard jobs complete.

Monday, October 9, 2017

18 of 40 - smoke and davey trails

Saturday found us in the woods, and of course, I couldn't have been happier. Jesse too. The kids endure our love of the woods and are good sports. They both actually really enjoy hiking. Roone would use the word "love" and although Ella would say she'd rather be reading or writing she gets plenty of time do those things so a bit of fresh air doesn't hurt her. We are very thankful both kids have grown strong, both mentally and physically, because we hiked 7.5 miles over the course of five hours and no one complained. We didn't intentionally set out to hike so many miles, but did start out early in the day, around 9am, so that we could have the entire day to enjoy ourselves. Seven and one half miles is a good workout, however, and we were all feeling it later in the day. 

We began at the Smoke and Davey trail head at Smithville Lake which provides both a paved trail and single track mountain biking/hiking options. We, of course, wanting the challenging, rocky, scenic trail opted for the mountain biking trails. These were a connected group of trails including: Old Grandad, Happy Jack's, TNT, Neal's, Possen Trot, Lower Lakeside, Paradise Alley, Thirty-Four and WTT. The most enjoyable trails to me were Neal's and Lower Lakeside. We hiked these at the beginning of the day (before I was tired, maybe?) and they provided the most consistent views of the lake. Jesse has been fishing here and brought the kids to view Snowy Owls some years ago, but I had never been so it was a treat to be in a new place. The trails were well marked and cared for, always a plus, and it was great that a paved trail was provided for road bikes, runners and casual walkers. All the trails ended at Sailboat Cove providing a pretty view of an area with, of course, sailboats, and then looped back to the trail head.

After having a very long break from hiking due to the hot, humid season of Summer, it's very sweet to have the option of being back in the woods for a family hike. I'm not sure we'll make it to 40 for the year, time IS running out, but the number really isn't important. Hiking has become a consistent activity for our family that is healthy and fun and bonds us together ~ the number of hikes doesn't matter, but strengthening our relationships does. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

the first week of october

 da vinci trebuchet set

 egg noodle prep

 blackberry cucumber smoothies

 roasted potatoes and carrots

 carrot soup

 homity pie

potato soup

September never feels like Autumn in the Midwest. We always have consecutive days in the upper 80's with humidity to complement. We pull out our sweaters and quilts, begin making pumpkin bread and other treats, but really, I've found it is better to wait until the wonderful month of October!

October consistently brings authentic Autumn. Cool temperatures, falling leaves, gentle rains. This weather coerces us outdoors and beckons comfort foods ~ this is truly soup season! That carrot soup, oh my, was wonderful and the perfect complement to a serving of beef roast and corn bread. 

Although I mostly take photos of the garden, hiking and children, I've made the goal to photograph what I actually make with the garden goodness. Anything made by hand, made by oneself, takes time, effort and care. 

Purchasing, growing, planning and then making our meals does take a good amount of my hours, although I'm not consumed by it. I actually have a very good system now, to where I enjoy it and always seem to have homemade food on hand for my ever hungry people. So, acknowledging the effort and work of the meals in picture form is really a way of encouraging myself to continue learning and creating. It truly is a way of loving on myself and my family to provide these nourishing meals. The greatest encouragement, of course, is when my children say "I love this meal!" or "May I have seconds?" The goal is to have those responses on repeat, and, hopefully, this is teaching them by example to eat healthy.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

fleece, flannel, woods

It seemed fitting that our first autumn walk be documented. 


It was a coolish, sweet smelling, overcast, perfectly autumnal evening. 

We actually began walking this 4 mile trail after Jesse arrived home from work and were out until dusk. The path is near our home, and I hope to make this a recurring experience, walking (or biking) this path and then having a late dinner. It was just too nice a moment not to put on repeat.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

the september garden

pennsylvania crook neck squash

chantenay carrots

crepe myrtle



kale and cilantro

roma tomato

sweet pepper

morning glory

romas ready for roasting

parisienne carrots

Harvest Total thru September ~  537 lbs.

Herbs ~ 3 lbs.
Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Basil and Chives

Fruit ~ 95 lbs.
Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries

Vegetables ~ 439 lbs.
Kale, Lettuce, Endive, Spinach (9 lbs.), Cosmic Purple, Chantenay and Parisienne Carrots and  (57 lbs.), Sweet Peppers (19 lbs.), Japanese Long and Dutch Yellow Cucumbers (45 lbs.), Bush Beans (26 lbs.), Forum Onions (23 lbs.), Caribou Russet Potatoes (100 lbs.), Garlic (4 lbs.),  Beefsteak Tomatoes (3 lbs.), Roma Tomatoes (113 lbs.), Cherry Tomatoes (7 lbs.), Kohlrabi (6 lbs.), Golden Beets (4 lbs.) and Squash (23 lbs.)


The gardening season is winding down for us. We harvested the final potato bed and rounded out our total to 100 pounds. We have a number of potatoes awaiting use in the basement and I assume this supply will see us through the end of October. We are still gathering tomatoes and peppers, mostly, and fresh herbs as needed. We are currently about 30 pounds over our total pounds from last year, and I wouldn't be surprised if we break 550 pounds since we will harvest tomatoes and peppers well into October. 

The Pennsylvania Dutch squash finally began producing and each one weighted between 2-3 pounds. It has been nice to have fresh squash with our meals since they have been few and far between this year. The main issue is always squash bugs, and I admit we were not diligent to search for them this year. Like I mentioned before we didn't have as much time to tend to the plants, but hopefully next year we'll have more of a system in place to do so. We fared quite well without being hyper-diligent.

We enjoy ornamentals as much as food from the garden and each time I look outside I'm so thankful for all the color that continues to frame the yard. Rose of Sharon, Cypress vine, Honeysuckle vine, Cosmos, Zinnia, Butterfly bush, Crape Myrtle. Every color within view is a gift this time of year. 

The leaves are beginning to blanket the ground and there is that wonderful autumnal crispness to the air once again. It is a welcome feeling to replace the heat of summer. October will find us cleaning up the garden beds, amending the soil with  manure, leaves and compost, hopefully thinning strawberries and transplanting raspberries and then letting it all rest for the cold weather months.