Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a Little Fun in the Backyard

The trees in our yard are late season turners.  They have finally changed their color though and are falling. 
Since we had such nice weather this weekend, we did a first raking. 
Not much really, but enough for LittleJ to play in.

Everyone else eventually made it outside too.

All our leaves should be down in the next 2 weeks. 
Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fellows Riverside Gardens

On Sunday afternoon we visited the Fellows Riverside Gardens, part of Mill Creek MetroParks. 
It was a gorgeous fall day, and the gardens were decorated for the annual pumpkin walk.
Of course, as you might have guessed, the decorations involved pumpkins-- LOTS of pumpkins!

There were 100's of pumpkins set out on the paths and lawn areas.  Each one was carved and ready for the twilight walk that evening.  They light each and every pumpkin at dusk, and you can stroll the gardens by candlelight-- or should I say pumpkin light.

They also have two large gazebos on the grounds.

LittleJ and I enjoyed the gazebo.  And the view was beautiful as well.

After a lot of roaming around, we ended up here.
 And what can you see from this viewpoint?
I wish I could have captured the colors better.  The peak autumn colors probably were about a week ago, but they are still very nice.  We've had a great fall season this year.
Next year we will have to go in the evening when the pumpkins are lit.
Now, I'm looking forward to the Christmas walk they have in December.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Algonquin Mill Festival

 I like a good fall festival, and this year we decided to go to the Algonquin Mill Fest in Carrollton. 
It was a beautiful 75 degree day as well, so their were a lot of people out and enjoying the exhibits.

They had the grounds set up like an early pioneer village. 
Here are a few pictures of just some of the many things they had going last Saturday.

Here is a steam-powered sawmill.  You can see the steam engine at work here.

Here is the very large saw blade. 

Here they are "squeezing" sorghum cane.  It's obviously horse-powered, with the man feeding the canes in.
Here you can see the "juice" being extracted.

Here is the flour and corn meal mill; also steam-powered.

Inside they had three machines going.  One for whole wheat flour, one for buckwheat flour, and one for corn meal.

Here is the cookie house and the cheese house.  They also had apple dumplings.  I'm having one of those next year.

Of course, what pioneer village doesn't have a school house.  LittleJ decided to relax and enjoy his cookie.

They also had cider, homemade bread, soup, chicken bbq, a two-story log home with spinners and weavers, and many craft booths as well.  And no large "fair food" wagons.  Nope.  Not here.  Everything was homemade.  There was a fudge lady, and one tent with some wonderful looking pumpkin rolls. 

I can't wait to attend this festival again next year.  I definitely consider this one a favorite OH field trip.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Strange....but true.

How did we let the whole summer go by without making homemade ice cream??

So, in order to remedy the situation, we made some last weekend. 

Mix it up.
Pour it in the cylinder.
Put in the paddle.
Pop on the motor.
Plug it in.
Dump the ice around.
Add the salt.
Add some more ice... and wait.

Finally!!  Mmmm.  Doesn't that look good?

 LittleJ accepted the job of being the official taste-tester. 
After all, you just can't waste what's hanging on to the paddle.

How does it taste, LittleJ?  MMmmmm.  YUMMY.

Here's what goes into our "Oh So Yummy" Ice Cream:

6-7 eggs, beaten well
3 quarts whole milk
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 pint whipping cream

Mix together well, and freeze.  I also added a teaspoon of almond extract... perfect. 
Simple and delicious.
And, believe it or not, there's still some left in the freezer for this weekend.  YAY!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Anyone For LEGO Checkers?

     Last year I started using Beyond Five in a Row with BigJ.  It is a literature-based unit study program, and we have enjoyed it very much.  We are continuing this year, and finished the book Homer Price last week.  While reading through this book, we had a chance to learn about the Lincoln Hwy., which goes right through our town, reviewed simple machines and made two types of pulley systems, and made a checkerboard.
Why a checkerboard? 
Because some of the characters in the story like to sit at the local barber shop and play checkers..... so, a checkboard was suggested as an art activity.
 We decided to make a LEGO Star Wars Checkerboard.  We had many old LEGO magazines from which to cut out pictures, but in the end BigJ decided to use some stickers of LEGO mini-figures that he has.

We reused an art canvas that was just hanging around,
 painted over it, then measured and painted on the squares.
 BigJ then put the stickers onto the white squares, and we were ready to play.

He had to fill in with a few LEGO Indy stickers, but all in all, I thought it turned out great!
Of course, we had to use LEGO pieces as our "checkers".
Since we used an art canvas, the board is very light and we can hang it on the wall when not in use. 
 It looks good hanging in the playroom.
Good job, BigJ!!