Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This year we went to Shelburne Orchards instead of Adams Apple Orchard, just for a change.

Most of what we picked were Macs, but we got some Honey Crisp and something I can't identify. The trees aren't marked at all, as far as I can see. But the apples are great.

They also have the best cider doughnuts we've tried so far. They're rolled in cinnamon sugar, and they are warm and perfect.

All the apple picking was done by the girls. I just sat and watched and took pictures.

They filled two of these.

Sophia's drop off at school is going marginally better. Sobo left Tuesday for Texas and we miss her. Triana comes today and will be here until Sunday morning! We're going to Hen of the Wood tonight, which she has not been to before. Obviously, this must be remedied.

The wasps are back. They are only in the attic right now. I was up there at the worst time--in the middle of a very sunny afternoon. Trying to seal up a window crawling with cluster flies and wasps is not my idea of a good time. There may have been screaming.

Monday, September 22, 2008



Post coming up soon about our apple picking, with pictures. I gotta get the playroom ready for the Kilted Carpenter to finish our windows. Did I mention their house is purple, too? Nearly the same purple.

Sophia's drop off at school has crashed into a double helping of drama every MWF morning. She doesn't want to go. There is screaming and crying. It's ugly. I don't know if she isn't ready for this or what. She did fine at drop off activities this summer. It really sucks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Food Blathering

I finally got my paws on CookWise, by Shirley Corriher, which I bought more as a reference book than for the recipes. I actually forgot it had recipes. Anyway, it explains how and why things happen in cooking. A great book in a similar vein is Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, but without recipes.

Lo and behold, she has my favorite waffle recipe in there. I've seen similar waffle recipes in other books, but the best is Marion Cunningham's (from The Breakfast Book). The waffles are the lightest I've ever had. The outside is crisp and the inside is soft. You can substitute whole grain flours in part for the all purpose flour (AP), but it loses some crispness. The flavor is still excellent.

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or instant)
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm whole milk
1/4 pound butter, melted
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups AP flour
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp baking soda

Sprinkle the yeast on warm water in a very large mixing bowl (you'll need it to be large so the batter can rise) and let bubble. Instant yeast does not need to be proofed (you don't have to wait for it to bubble). Add the milk, butter, sugar, salt, and flour and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature. If it's really hot where you are, refrigerate the batter.

In the morning, beat in the eggs and baking soda. Cook in your waffle iron. It's essential to serve this immediately, because it starts to lose perfection as it cools down.

I am not one to put maple syrup on my waffles (I'm strictly a salted butter on my pancakes and waffles kind of person...I want to taste waffle/pancake, not syrup), but warm maple syrup is a nice accompaniment. Fiona staunchly swears by fruit compote on hers.

Waffles are one thing I simply will not buy mix for. I have weakened to a few convenience foods since having kids (jarred tomato sauce, Annie's macaroni and cheese shells, even !egads! frozen pizza ...I'm sure there are more examples, but I am drawing a blank), but not waffle and pancake mix and not granola. (Pizza dough is so easy to make, so feel free to mock me. I do make pizza dough, but sometimes it's so nice to just take something out of the freezer.)

Granola is so easy. Both the girls love it (sometimes they even want it for lunch) and I can put all sorts of treasures in there. I like mine rich in nuts--and this is where I put my maple syrup. I use either that or honey for the sweetener. I love adding dried fruit (after baking) like cranberries, raisins, or blueberries, but I love the dried fruit from here the best, especially the strawberries and the raspberries. They need to be kept very dry, though, or they get chewy. I also love my granola heavy on coconut, preferably unsweetened. It's so easy to vary the flavors and it's so easy to make. I cannot imagine buying it.

Daily Drama

We have been going to Sarducci's often for lunch these days. One table is next to a mirror. Sophia loves to watch herself eat in the mirror. She makes hilarious faces. I'm sure by the time we leave, there are copious garlic oil handprints and lip marks on the mirror. Last week, she looked in the mirror, cried out and buried her face in my arm, declaring, "My freckles are hurting me!"


We went to the Tunbridge World's Fair Parking was crazy! The little VT highway was totally jammed! Well, it was a lot for here.

Sophia and I in front of the cow barn. We also saw some oxen, four of them Fiona's teacher's.

The carousel was a huge hit. They went on three times.

Fiona continues to read and continues to be very excited when she has homework. I've noticed her avidly reading It's Not the Stork which we bought for her a few years, ago, so I've upgraded her to It's So Amazing!

Fiona with It's So Amazing! This is a fabulously comprehensive sexual education book for ages 6 and up. So far, she thinks the funniest thing about it is the hair-do on the cartoon duck. I wonder when that will cease to be the funniest thing. This picture was actually taken at a restaurant; she insisted on bringing it inside to read. I love this book because not only does it present the basics in a matter of fact way (but with cute drawings), it also discusses contraception, different types of families, adoption, HIV/AIDS, and sexual preferences.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Random Pictures

Sobo brought the girls these Japanese rice paper umbrellas.

She oozes personality.

And today's moment of Zen.

We have lots of great cemeteries up here, due to the granite quarries around. This is from Hope Cemetery in Barre.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Violin Concerto for Mums in D Minor

We started renting a violin for Fiona. The bow is purple. Her lessons should start soon. There are free group lessons during school once a week, but I think we are going to look into private lessons as well. She also wants to learn piano, which is great, but I said let's take it one instrument at a time.

She's coming down with a cold or something. She came home from school today with a sore tummy and a runny nose with sneezing. She said she just wanted a box of tissues, a bag for used tissues, and her violin, so she could practice "outside in the fresh air next to the mums".

This violin is so small, it's like a pinky violin.

Oh, by the way, the carpenter did a fantastic job with our windows. We're definitely keeping his number for future projects. He's also very cool in that he wears kilts. I guess it is his trademark, because when you write out the check, you make it out to "The Kilted Carpenter". So if anyone needs a carpenter in central Vermont, give a shout out in the comments.

The Incredible, Edible Egg

So I did make a souffle with those sexy eggs. I got even more the other day. The sweet person who is always there and looks for eggs for me seems to know the secret places to find eggs. Normally, he just goes to the coop, but I saw him looking in bushes near the farm stand, too, for eggs. Free range, you know.

The above is a roux (the flour and butter cooked until light brown) with the egg yolks, milk, and seasonings (pepper, salt, a bit of cayenne--I'd put more in, but Sophia might eat it). It's very dark compared to when I use grocery store eggs. Normally, this would look very pale yellow.

I love egg whites. When we would make chocolate meringue at school, we had to use an enormous mixing bowl. The thing is, to fold in egg whites in that volume, you can't really use a whisk or a spatula. You have to use your whole arm. (Actually, it does work better to use your hand to fold in whites, but a whisk works well, too). Being covered with chocolate meringue is definitely not a bad thing. And if it makes you squeamish to think of someone's arm in your meringue or cake batter...you probably should eat your meals at home.

Before (I added cheddar--Cabot's Hunter's Cheddar--and Parmesan).

After. Great fun to eat.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Sound of Silence

Is really louder than you would think. Both girls are at school today. We have this great carpenter putting windows in (hallelujah!) and even that is so. quiet. Friday would have been the first day of the Loud Quiet, but I did volunteer work all morning.

I feel like I should be eating something like Fruity Pebbles and drinking Dr Pepper and watching Supernatural, but that would probably put me into some sort of coma.

When the windows are done, I'll get paint colour samples and start on my descent into Wallpaper Hell (which I'm sure is the 9th level of Hell).

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Maybe I could sacrifice my beans and sunflowers for this:

A couple of pudues, in the south of Chile, specifically in a city called Ensenada.
Pudu is the smallest deer in the world, its original of Chile and is in danger of extinction.

Thanks, Dad :)

Star Trek + Nine Inch Nails = Closer

= Brilliant!



Cosmos is now on iTunes.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Two Things

Sobo and Sophia were taking a walk near our house. Sophia bends down to pick up a leaf. She said, "Oh, a Japanese Maple leaf". She was right. I am not sure where she picked that up...

Fiona and Sophia are helping Doug at the grocery store in the self-checkout line. I, personally, go nowhere near the self-checkout line. A woman is chatting with them as they check out. They get to this sparkling Rose that we get: it's good with food and easy to drink. Fiona says, "Oh, this is that champagne that I like so much!"

Friday, September 05, 2008


This picture is actually from "Drop In" day to set up her cubbyhole and get used to the place a little more. Today was her actual first day of school, and she did very well. She played by herself at first and gradually played with the other kids. No surprises here. She helped make the soup, which they make every Friday with a vegetable from each family. I don't think she ate the soup, but they had apples to eat, too.

We actually have a day of summer today: a steamy 85F. Then it starts to plummet and we'll be in the low 60s for a high. I love this time of year.

One nice thing about this year is the food available locally. We often stop off at Dog River Farm for corn picked that morning, amazing tomatoes, etc ... but the best thing they have are their eggs. Far better than anything at the grocery store, even better than the eggs at the local co-op, these eggs have a dark orange yolk and are very perky. What is more disappointing than cracking open an egg to find a watery white and a yolk that can't even hold itself together? Okay, recent events not withstanding. Let's focus on the little things. The problem with the eggs is that they are sporadically available. Today, we hit the jackpot. I never see the eggs anymore, but if I see one of the farmers there, I ask about them. He recognizes me now. Sobo asked today, and instead of half a dozen here, 4 there, we got a whopping dozen and a half eggs. We will be having souffle tonight.

I made a roast chicken last night (I don't know if even the "hormone free/organic" chicken--from who knows where--is bigger these days, but lately, it seems to take longer to fully cook the meat around the thigh bone. I should probably go back to getting our chicken locally.) and amazingly, both the girls ate it and (!!!) the garlic green beans (from the Dog River Farm). Sophia ate some potatoes and Fiona, who did not like the potatoes--and never has liked potatoes unless they are in french fry form--actually tried the potatoes. I feel invincible. Dare I make a kale/Parmesan souffle? I think I'll stick to garlic and Parmesan tonight. It will be so cool, because the souffle will be orange. I'll try to get a picture in our dark kitchen.

And now, a la The Daily Show, here is your moment of Zen: