~taking notes in the nature journal~
Today Jack and I took a walk around town and reported on interesting things we could see in nature. I used this nature journal for him and we have enough sheets left for 4 more outings.
We saw animals, flowers, a mineral spring, an abandoned crumbling factory, a man fly fishing and what appeared to be lots of fur on the nature trail. That was a tad creepy because there was a lot of it and it was in several spots on the trail.
~the leaves on this plant feel like dog ears~
~next to an old tunnel~
We picked up lunch on the way home for the guys. They were busy putting in fence posts. They got a bunch of them in today.
I weeded the garden and planted some more romaine. The weeds were out of control since we’ve had such crazy rain.
Tonight we had a simple dinner of pasta with alfredo sauce. I used those 3 ingredients (pictured below) plus fresh ground pepper and some rosemary. It didn’t turn out as creamy as I’m used to, but it was still good.
While making dinner I made a double batch of Jillian’s chard veggie burgers. I also added kale and some garlic scapes. We’ll cook them up tomorrow after I get home from working the market.
All in all a good and busy day all around.
~Chris & Jason fill in a fence post hole~
~the ingredients for simple alfredo sauce~
Progress has been a bit slower around here lately. Jason went to Brooklyn Friday morning and came back last night. Last week before he left it was raining like crazy for 3 days straight.
They were able to get the post holes dug for the fence (and then they promptly filled most of the way with rainwater) ordered our supplies. Today they are going to fill the holes with concrete and posts.
I took Jack letterboxing again and got some cute pictures but somehow my computer ate them. Or that’s my theory, I really don’t know what happened.
We enjoyed the last derby bout of the season on Saturday. We won (YAY B Squad!!) and then we went to a bar called Mahar’s with about a billion different beers to choose from. Deelish!
I also got a lot done on my summertime picnic quilt. I may head down to Almost One of a Kind today to rent their huge quilting machine so I can assemble the whole thing. As soon as it’s done and ready to be picnic’d upon I’ll show it off.
~wild turtle visitor~
Tonight NY voted 33-29 to pass marriage equality in the state. I’m overwhelmed with so many emotions right now. I’m glad I lived to see this happen in the state where I live.
I’m so happy for everyone I know who can get married now. There are so many of you and I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like for those who have been together for years and years to hear this news tonight.
Thank you NY!
After I got Jack from school we went out to Saratoga Apple to get some more peaches. I wanted to get another market basket as well because my other one has now become my knitting basket.
While there, Jack wanted to get cherries, and I saw the asparagus so I got a bundle. They had tons of beautiful peonies so I got one and put it in the empty bottle from the mead our friend Tamara made last year.
Peonies are incredible. They look like they are made from tissue paper and they smell amazing.
I also got some donuts but cider donuts don’t stay around long enough to photograph! I grabbed a cup of coffee out there too and the lady working told me it was a “coffee and donuts day” and she was right because it was Day 2 of crazy thunderstorms.
We made grilled asparagus with homemade hollandaise sauce for dinner. I really need to enjoy some more asparagus before they are completely gone for the year.
Strawberries with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.
Lately I’ve been making proper meals. Meals that are different and really thought out, not just the usual go-to dinners. I’ve also been really good about not ordering food, even when I’m tired.
The summer makes this easy though. There’s so much to choose from! Plus winter veg are all so starchy and that can get real old, real fast. Even though there are still many summer foods that aren’t ready yet, I’ve already been enjoying a wide variety.
Planning also helps me avoid wasting food, which drives me bonkers. I have a small chalk board in the kitchen (idea inspired by Mama Jillian) where I write down all the produce we currently have. This really helps with planning.
It’s nice to have full-fledged salads again, as opposed to just greens with dressing, which I was eating all winter. I’ve been making all sorts of combinations in the past few weeks.
Tonight I started the process for making Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream. Tomorrow night we finish it up and I’m so incredibly excited to try it!
Vanilla bean cooking in milk, cream, and brown sugar for the ice cream.
Some recent meals we’ve enjoyed are:
- Rainbow Chard Quiche (made with this crust, but this time used vegan shortening instead of lard, since we don’t have a ton of lard left) with our maple bacon served alongside arugula with balsamic vinaigrette, radishes, apples, candied walnuts, and black pepper chevre
- Pulled pork cooked in a slow cooker with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que sauce and fresh peaches served alongside fresh lettuce, strawberries, maple vinaigrette, hydroponic tomatoes, and toasted pecans
- Chicken (cooked whole in a slow cooker) with homemade gravy and couscous served alongside cold beet salad with pecans and goat cheese
- Whole wheat linguine with butternut squash (frozen, in my CSA this week), fresh basil, dried sage, and cream topped with toasted pumpkin seeds served alongside red oak leaf lettuce, thinly sliced summer squash, and balsamic vinaigrette
So, what’s on your summer plate?
About a year ago I bought a Nikon D80 from my good friend Bland. She upgraded and since I had wanted a DSLR forever, I bought her old one. I knew it took great pictures because she used it (albeit with a slightly upgraded lens) to take our wedding photos. The problem was I could get it to take good photos but not great ones.
My issue was I kept getting slightly blurry photos. Many photos would look fine on the screen on the back, fine when I initially uploaded them, but as soon as I would start cropping, I’d realize they weren’t that crisp. I was annoyed and it meant I wasn’t using my camera as much as I should.
Potted chocolate mint from the recent food swap & my vintage bike.
I remember Bland telling me about Ken Rockwell’s website before. (I know his name makes him sound like an adult film star, but I promise he’s a photographer.) I even went to it once before but just felt a little overwhelmed by all the info. Out of sheer desperation I looked again the other day and realized I just needed to go through his setup for the D80 and figure out every setting and how I should set mine.
This was easy; so easy, in fact, that I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Ever since then I’ve been much, much happier with the camera. I still have to get used to it a bit more because there are so many more things to adjust than with my old, manual Canon FTB.
Someone clearly got sunburnt at the farm.
I have also been using Picnik for editing. I’ve used it for the KFF newsletter and a few other things before. I downloaded The Gimp and although I read good things about it, I was completely overwhelmed by it. HMF agreed which made me feel like less of a baby about not wanting to use it.
Hopefully going forward I can use fewer lackluster cell phone pics on here and more from my Nikon. I’m sure when I’m 50 there will be some new technology where you just take photos with your eyeballs and it’ll take me 20 months just to figure that all out.
Jack and I drove out Monday to Kilpatrick Family Farm for their U-Pick Strawberry Event for CSA members. If you ever get the chance to drive up the 40 on a nice day, you must do it! Just farms and rolling green hills with mountains in the distance.
We got there and picked strawberries then went over and took a farm tour. It was cool to see how the crops had been rotated since last year and see where the animals are now. There are a lot more pigs so they have a big area way out in the back now.
I saw a lot of familiar faces too! Several friends (both new and old) and Christine from From Scratch Club and Unspeakable Visions came all the way up from Albany for it.
We ate strawberry shortcake and got to pet all sorts of adorable animals. If it weren’t totally weird I’d just hold baby goats all day and tell them silly stories. Ridiculous…I realize this.
When I got home I was filthy and exhausted. Whenever I shower after going to the farm I’m astonished at the quantity of dirt around the drain. But it just reminds me how glad I am that in 2 weeks I’ll be out there working on Fridays.
I just can’t wait for the day when “farm work” will mean walking out into my own backyard and not driving an hour before I can start. Patience, patience.
Before dinner we went out for ice cream. Isn't summer awesome?!