Friday, September 30, 2011

Apple Picking

Earlier this week, we headed out to Birtch Farms to do some apple picking. We went last year (to a different farm) and had a great time so tried again this year. Luckily, Scott was off work on Monday so we were able to go when the crowds were a bit smaller.

As much as fall is sad because is brings winter, it is certainly pretty.

I love all the little pumpkins, squashes and gourds!

Heading out into the orchard. Jacob insisted on bringing his own wagon.

Logan doesn't mind letting someone else do the pulling.

Jacob got tired fast so he hitched a ride.

Checking out his pickin'.

Getting right in there.

From this angle, it looks like the trees reach right up to the sky.

Scott picked a bunch too to speed up the process a bit.

Jacob bends down to get his apple...

Gives it a tug...

It's free!

Checking it out before throwing it in the basket.

Logan was proud to be picking TWO at a time.

Apparently he was having fun too. :)

I like all the colours in this shot.

Farmer's field.

The "windfall" apples as they were called at this orchard.

Jacob just wanted to pick them all up off the ground.

Rows and rows of trees.

See, fall can look nice.

The branches of apple trees are very strong they hold so many apples!

They can also create a nice frame for a picture. :)

Trying to fit a few more in.

Our full basket.

I offered both of them an apple to eat on the way back but Jacob insisted on pulling this (very heavy) wagon.
He was actually able to do it.

Working really hard.

Logan enjoying his apple and the free ride. This is actually quite accurate to how life is around here. Jacob much prefers to walk while Logan will ride whenever given the chance. It's quite normal for me to push around the stroller with an almost 4 year old passenger while the 2 year old walks beside.

Two happy guys.

A wooly bear caterpillar that we met on our travels.

It looks here like Jacob is telling Logan a secret.

Happily riding along.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Out for a Walk

We've been spending as much time as possible outside lately trying to soak up what's left of this nice weather. Winter is a LONG season here and without a car we tend to get going a bit stir crazy here. With that in mind, I try to get outside with the kids as much as possible these days!

Off we go!

First pet Oscar, the friendly neighbourhood dog. (True story...Scott and I used to call this dog's owner "the crazy dog walker" because we thought she walked her dog SO many times a day. She'd go past our house, up to the path, turn around and then came right back again. Turns out she has 2 dogs that look exactly the same but don't like to be walked together. So she does walk them often but it seems like double since we didn't know she had 2 dogs! The dog pictured, Oscar, is very friendly and loves for the kids to pet him. Her other dog, whose name I don't know is not friendly and she doesn't let the kids pet it.)

Continuing on our way.

Up to the corner...

"Mom, are you coming?"

Logan rides his bike quite fast and Jacob is a very slow walker so Logan waits patiently...a lot!

With his streamers blowing in the wind. (My mom looked REALLY hard for those streamers and we traveled to Stratford one week to get them. Logan loves them and they are always a hit at the park!)

This is the sign at the park near our house. Every time we go past it, Logan says "That sign says...If a dog goes poop, pick it up. If a dog goes pee, just leave it on the grass!

It's stops like this that let Logan get so far ahead!

I rarely take the stroller out anymore when we're just going for a walk. Jacob doesn't really like the stroller and prefers to walk and seems to be able to walk for a long time! I do take the stroller if we're actually going somewhere like the mall or to catch the bus. Sometimes I use it if he's too slow and sometimes if he's just not listening. Logan however prefers to ride in the stroller still. It's common for me to be pushing him home in the stroller while Jacob walks beside me. Quite a sight, I'm sure!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bowling on TV! (Well kinda...)

Scott found out that CBC would be airing a bowling game on Saturday as part of their celebration of Sports Day in Canada. Since bowling (especially 5 pin) is rarely on TV this generated a little bit of excitement in our house.

Saturday came, they turned on the TV and the bowling wasn't being shown since the rugby was still on. CBC announced that it could be viewed online; so Scot and the boys tuned in and watched it that way.

They were pretty into it.

Logan cheered whenever a bowler got a strike!

The CBC did join the bowling game in progress eventually but I thought it was pretty cute to see them gathered around the computer to watch.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Yesterday, Andrea (the wife of my cousin, Michael) came over fully loaded to spend the day making pickles with me! She's a seasoned veteran of canning all sorts of things after growing up on a farm and spending years learning about veggies but it was my first time. (All of the useful information in this post was provided by Andrea. Andrea, if you read this and I've gotten something wrong, tell me and I'll fix it!) I was hoping that canning was something that I would enjoy as it can be another way to save money and get more local food in our diets year round.

So the plan for yesterday was dill pickles. The recipe we used was as follows...

4 litres of cucumbers
fresh dill
fresh garlic
100mL pickling salt (for some reason I wrote down pickling "cheese" rather than salt...)
500mL vinegar
1.5L water

Wash cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise (we opted to slice some of ours to create "sandwich" pickles)

Some were small enough that they didn't need to be cut at all.

Slicing them this way took less time that we thought it would.

Peel garlic and separate cloves. Cut dill to fit in jars.

We also put some jalapeno peppers in some of the jars to make hot and spicy pickles.

Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. (Sorry no picture).

Place jar seals in a pot of hot (not boiling water).

Place the jars (just the jar not the lid and seal) on a cookie sheet in the oven to warm them. The key to canning is to put HOT liquid into a HOT jar, this is what creates the seal.

Andrea warned that we should make them too hot or the jars can crack when putting the liquid in. I forget what she heated the oven to...

Place a sprig of dill and a clove of garlic in each HEATED jar.

Put cucumbers into the jars, as many as you can.

Fill each jar with brine and top the jars with hot seals.

Screw the ring on and place the jars to sit for a while (I'm not sure how long, ours sat overnight) to give them time to seal before moving them.

We did about 40 jars of pickles, some big jars and some smaller. It took us about 4 hours or so. It wasn't hard at all, but it was long and time consuming. I was very tired at the end of the day!

When the brine is first poured over the pickles, they turn bright green (like the jar on the right) and then begin quite quickly to turn brown like the jar on the left.

I'll definitely can again next year! I'll try something different and probably rope Andrea in to help me out!