Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Happy Halloween.

From our graceful Butterfly Fairy and our prestigious "Doctor Veterinarian," we wish you a merry Halloween. May your weather hold, your goody bags be filled, and your costumes not be itchy.

Monday, October 30, 2017

This Year's 'Lanterns

We got 'em done, y'all, and this year no power tools were involved. They didn't want everything they had drawn on their pumpkins to be carved out, so I only had to do two faces (if I'm being honest, I was a little disappointed, but it made for some easy and quick finishes and an easier time on my wrist!).

They are quite pleased with themselves... and their Jack O' Lanterns.

Henry's 'Lantern, with a mouth designed from three H's in a row

Audrey's 'Lantern, with missing teeth because she still has missing teeth

See their previous designs: 20122013201420152016

Sunday, October 29, 2017


First fire of the season! Never mind that we'll have the air conditioners back on by Thursday. Live in the moment, right?


Happy weekending!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

I Bake Because I'm Cold

The "coldest air of the season (so far)" blew on through Friday, and I woke up that morning in our stuffy room excited to hear that gale blowing... I threw open a few strategic windows to get that fresh northern air chasing away the staleness of days upon days of air conditioning... but after the kids went to school, I found myself slowly closing them all back down! What a chill we've had! By mid-morning I was cold! So I preheated the oven and made us our first autumn apple pie. Because that's what I do. I bake when I get cold (what a lucky family I have).

There was a moment when we actually had some frozen precipitation, and as it fell, through my last remaining open window I heard another flock of geese fly by. The cold air, the graupel, the smell of pie... it was a zen moment.

While the oven was hot I also got in a batch of kraut broca, and with some hot potato soup we were all feelin' fine by the end of that first cold day! It's a good thing, too, because at sunset I realized we were under a freeze watch and had to rush out with old sheets and clothespins to try and cover my tomatoes (the ones I was bragging on the other day). I used two twin sheets, a queen sheet, and a king fitted sheet and was only able to cover one plant.

Here's hoping it worked, because I'm leavin' it be for today since we're going to have another potential below-freezing night again tonight (though we'll be back up to almost 90 by Thursday, ugh)!

Good thing we have pie now!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fall 'Maters

The fall tomatoes are coming in, y'all! I've never had this good of a tomato year, ever. There's always too harsh of a drought over the summer or too early of a freeze in the beginning of the fall... but not this year! I can't believe it, but I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth...

...and so with gratitude I processed a second generation of tomatoes this morning, and actually got to put up some jars of homemade salsa that I'd given up hope of having this year!

Our first yellow "Lemon Boy" tomato salsa, with homegrown tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. I know I'm gushing but I still can't believe it. And if the weather holds, there might be even more coming in soon, because there are just so many green ones still out there (although we did break the 30-something-degree seal last night, so this high could be short lived).

In the off-chance I am making this again soon, I'm making a note today of the recipe that seemed to work the best so far:

Fresh Tomato Salsa
made 4 1/2 pints

3lbs fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped (weight after seeding)
1 large onion
3 banana peppers (or 2 jalapenos)
 1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 TBS salt
1/4 cup (scant) sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
pinch of oregano
chopped cilantro (optional)

Dissolve sugar and salt into vinegar in non-reactive pot over low heat. Add chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers along with spices and bring to simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, add cilantro (if using), ladle into hot, sterilized jars, wipe rims, secure lids, and process via boiling water method for 15 minutes.

Aaaaaaand then, try not to eat it all immediately.

Thanks, fall 'maters!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...chilly! We're having Real Fall weather around these parts (right now anyway), and it's finally justified us bringing out long-sleeved t-shirts, soup recipes, and warmer blankets. We've just started planning Halloween costumes, and this year they may need to be long-sleeved!
...noticing how much more cuddly Rory gets when the warmer blankets come out.
...having to explain- multiple times- why we can't have a house pig, thanks to the little potbellies the kids got to meet at their school fall festival.
...craving kettle corn! I bought a bag of "caramel corn" at the fall festival, but have since lost my appetite for it after reading the ingredients (imitation butter-flavored popping oil, soy...?) and am thinking I may have to have a go at making it myself (eyeballing this recipe).
...laughing at a little song I found in the playroom written by my Littles at their finest.
...loving the regular fly-overs we're seeing of migrating Canadian geese! Most of the time they're actually pretty low, too, and their honks can be heard from quite a ways off. Fall magic.

Right now, I'm doin' my usual beginning-of-the-week thang, except wearing a fleece pullover with the windows wide open. I'm working apple pie and kraut broca into our menu for the week, planning our pumpkin carving for this weekend, and in general feeling very much like it's Fall.


Monday, October 23, 2017


Sharing a moment from our weekend, and wondering what we're going to do with the brownies left over from the real birthday, the pieces of giant chocolate chip cookie left over from the friend party, and the birthday cake left over from the family celebration... yikes.

Hope everyone had a sweet weekend!

Friday, October 20, 2017

In the Fall Garden

I made my way out to the garden yesterday to check in with the summer survivors and the baby fall things, and I came away with a happy heart and a full basket!

My marigolds are exploding everywhere we intentionally- and accidentally- planted seeds, and my bees have taken notice. There were multiple bees on each plant, and sometimes multiple bees on each flower! I love how focused they are when they're foraging... I was able to be within inches of them with my camera and they didn't take any notice.

Amazingly, I have one watermelon vine that's still trying to produce, and there's a baseball-sized baby out there now. I'm not sure if it'll be ripe before we get a frost, but no matter it's status my chicken girls will be glad it tried! There's a lemon cucumber attempting the same feat, but those babies are grape-sized, so who knows?

My new fall stars are currently French breakfast radishes, elephant garlic, and cabbage. They're all poking their fresh leafy faces out of their mulched beds with vigor, and we've even been able to harvest a few things already!

Oh, and did I mention my gnarly, summer-worn tomato plants...?

Along with a few peppers, my tomatoes have definitely won the prize for Best Summer Survivors, and we're hauling them in again, too (though much smaller ones compared to the summer generation). I'm having to pick them right at the first sign of blush, though, because the (curse word curse word) mocking birds are pecking at them as soon as they get any color.

The only bummer out there right now is the infested eggplants, which might just have to be cut out to rid us of the plague of leaf-footed stink bugs they're housing.

I get the heebie-jeebies every time I walk by. They're just awful right now.

I did one more check-in yesterday while I was out- Penny Hen is still sitting on those eggs! Look at that stink-eye she gave me when I peeked in at her:

The poor girl is looking so pale and dry, I hope something hatches from those eggs soon. She is one dedicated mama. She let me rub her face a little and she ate a few bites of baby cabbage leaves before she remembered she was supposed to be growling and displeased.

Aaaaaand that's the status of things around these parts.

Hatch, little ones, hatch!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Being Nine

Yesterday we paused our usual late afternoon goings-on to have a little birthday photo shoot. I told Audrey I wanted to capture her being nine for the first time. She got her shoes on, picked a spot to take a few photos... and then spent nearly the entire time trying to run away from my camera.

I guess this is what being nine is going to look like for us, no?

I did get a few good ones though... that is when brother wasn't photo-bombing us (wishing I would have put away the bag chairs before we got started).

Aaaaaaaaaand that about sums up Birthday Evening...

...didn't she coordinate nicely with her wrapping paper?

Happy birthday, Audrey Grace.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Happiest of birthdays to our nine-year-old gal, who woke up in a good mood for the first time evah (she's not much of a morning person), let me fix her hair half-up, half-down, and voluntarily shared some of her goodies with her Bubba, straight out of her Birthday Bag.

That's a pretty good start to the last single-digit year, if I may say so myself.