Friday, September 28, 2012

Seize the Day

Sunday afternoons are great for relaxing--reading the paper or a good book, watching Nascar or football, playing with siblings--but in the fall, when the cold winter is just around the corner, we seize the day and enjoy the nice weather while it lasts.  We hadn't been to Gooseberry Falls State Park since the big flood back in June, so even though Barry was out of town, the kids and I drove down to do a little hiking.

There are signs throughout the park of the flooding--trees with the bark stripped off, debris in various places and even a large tree that had floated down the river.


For part of the hike, Jackson had the camera.  He photographed Gooseberry Galls from different views:



and people and interesting things along the way:

We had a good time hiking and getting fresh air, seizing the day!

Bald eagle soaring above the trees

Taken by Raina

Monday, September 24, 2012

Heirloom Tomatoes

This year I decided to grow Heirloom Tomatoes.  I ordered from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa.  They offer a six pack with a variety of tomatoes.  I planted the garden on Memorial Day, and the week after was cold and rainy.  I wasn't sure the tomatoes would survive, much less produce any tomatoes.  It took a good two or three weeks before they really started to grow. 
Finally, on August 23rd, the first tomatoes were ready to pick.  The Cherokee Purple, Amish Paste and Italian Heirloom ripened first.  German Pink was ready about a week later, and Brandywine a few days after that.  The Gold Medal tomatoes were the last to ripen--the first one was ready on September 5.

The darker tomatoes are Cherokee Purple, top middle is Brandywine, oval-shaped are Amish Paste, left hand side are German Pink

Amish Paste and Cherokee Purple produced the most tomatoes with 16 Cherokee Purple and 17 Amish Paste through the season.  I picked 9 Brandywines, 8 Gold Medals, 6 German Pinks and 5 Italian Heirlooms, for a total of 61 tomatoes.  I also picked about half a dozen green tomatoes when a freeze was predicted.  We'll see if they ripen in the next couple of weeks.

This bowl of tomatoes became . . . 

 . . . the base for this pot of chili

Besides eating the tomatoes fresh, I canned diced tomatoes and tomato juice, used a bunch in a batch of chili, and just today juiced the last six of the ripe ones into a quart of juice.  I like to warm it up in a mug, add a sprinkle of salt, and drink it plain.

Gold Medal tomatoes are yellow and pink inside, and taste sweet

Can't beat fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to School 2012

We made it through the first week of school!  While I like having the kids home in the summer, it's so nice to be back in a routine again.

All kids, ready to go for the day

The Angry Birds bunch (they planned to all wear their Angry Birds shirts)

Jackson started 8th grade this year (how is that possible?).  He has a new band teacher--hopefully she'll be as good as the teacher he previously had.  Besides the usual math, English, science and social studies, he's also in Phy. Ed., FACS (Family and Consumer Science--where they're learning to cook), and Industrial Arts this semester.  Next semester he'll take keyboarding, health and art besides the core classes.

Grade 8

Grade 7

Raina is in 3rd grade.  She's always had a small class of around 15 kids.  Two kids moved and one stayed in second grade, but three new students (all girls!) joined the class.  She got 20/20 on her first spelling test and is happy to be back at school.

Grade 3

Grade 2

Remy started kindergarten.  There's only one kindergarten class in the school, and they go all day every day.  He seems to like it and has come home with a big smile on his face every day.  The first day he took a lunch from home, he told me after school I forgot to give him a sandwich.  I did send him one, but I didn't explain that his lunch box had two compartments--the sandwich was in the bottom part!  We laughed, and he ate his sandwich after school instead.



Ollie is 3 1/2 and won't go to preschool until next year.  He gets to stay home with me, where we exercise together in the morning (it's pretty cute watching him try to follow along with my exercise DVD's!), play lots of Guess Who, his favorite game, and run errands together.  He was happy that I bought him a pencil box for him to put extra school supplies in, and gave him a notebook for him to draw in.

3 1/2 years old

2 1/2 years old

Waiting for the bus

Off they go!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Family Photography Challenge: From a Distance

Since we photographed things up close, we also photographed things from a distance.

 By Jackson

By me

By Raina

Family Photography Challenge: Close Up

We got close up with insects a few days ago, but we also found other things to photograph up close.

A German Pink heirloom tomato

Ollie is always a favorite photography subject

He's usually willing to play along

I Love These Kids

It's the last weekend of summer and the kids go back to school this week.  It sure will be quiet around here with just Ollie and I home during the day.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend by having a picnic by the marina, wading in the lake, and hiking in the school forest.