Sunday, October 31, 2010

"You're Kinda a Homemade, Mommy, aren't you?"

Today, I had to smile.  My almost 8 year old  Maestro asked me to make lunch for him.  I was fishing in the fridge for the cheese to make a quesadilla for him.  As I've got my head in the cold box, he says to me, out of the blue, "You're kinda a homemade Mommy, aren't you?".

I wasn't quite sure what he meant, so I said "well, that depends on what you mean, I guess".  His understanding of that went like this:

"I mean, you make most stuff from homemade, don't you?"

It didn't take me long to answer that with a resounding, "yes, that's very true". 

"Because it's healthier" came his reply. 

By God, I really think some of this is getting through. Just when you think your message isn't making it through the car racing, music drumming, sports obsessions in his head, he comes out with something like that.

I leaned over, gave him a big kiss on the head, and simply said, "That's right, you've got it."  Meanwhile, my internal grin could not have been bigger.  Sometimes it's the seemingly simple things that can just make your whole month.

Wishing you the knowledge that your guidance gets through the static sometimes, ~Peacemom

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October Camping

I can not believe it's been 20 days since I posted on here last.  Wow, and what the heck?  I have no idea where the time has flown to, just crazy.

Last week we took the kids out of school for one of our famous "homeschool days".  We went camping up at Recompence Shores Campground, our very favorite campground in the world.  It's located in Freeport, Maine, the home of LL Bean mothership as I like to call it.  It's the headquarters, largest retail store and outdoor adventure school all rolled into one HUGE campus.  We didn't buy anything, but did have a great time roaming around the store dreaming about all the stuff we'd love to have.  The boys are infatuated with the huge fish wall there which has a little dome where they can stand and actually be up inside the tank.  It's quite fun.
When we arrrived at the campground, the annual fall festival was happening at the farm.  This campground is located surrounding a free range cattle farm.  The kids has a great time feeding sheep and goats...

Seeing the HUGE Belgian workhorses pull...

and watching some live music played by Squash N' Gourds, a little family bluegrass band, really quite good.  Music doesn't get better then when listened to perched on some straw bales...

We had a marvelous time and got to see a gigantic pig bale, no really, it was just that, a pig bale...

 And among all the animals there, this handsome young man was watching over his ladies...

The sheep seemed to take it all in stride...

And the world's cutest calf.  We used to call them Oreo Cows (though their real name is Belted Galloway), but Little Red renamed them Whoopie Pie Cows in honor of our treats from Wicked Whoopie in Freeport...

We had so much fun, and I will write more in another post, but it was great time that included lots of outdoor time, games of cards, a resurgence of a beloved kayak, lots of fishing and a much needed break from the stress of our lives here. 

Wishing you a fun autumn tradition of your own,  Peacemom

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Cemetery Visit

Yesterday I went to the Village Cemetery here in town again to get some more pictures.  I was trying to come up with some photos of the artwork on the tombstones for a lecture I attended last evening on Gravestones of New England.  The clouds provided for some great shadows in the photos, it was fun to wander around "The Yard", which is what the cemetery was called in days of 'or.    I enjoyed myself, spending some time checking out all the different symbols. 
This shows some of the Acanthus leaves that were common in the 1700's.  They were common and stood for peace in the Garden of Eden.  I found out from the lecturer, Ken Knoblock, that this carver's name is Wight and he did many of the oldest stones in the Chester Cemetery. 

Lots of skulls, which were a sign of mortality...

Likenesses of the person buried beneath....and "Memento Mori" which means "remember death"...just in case you were inclined to forget that death is inevitable...

Wings were added to the likenesses and skulls to signify rising to heaven...and urns became common.  Though they did not cremate people back then, this was what the carvers has seen on Egyptian relics, so urns became popular in the 1700 New England and were a symbol of mourning...
And willow trees became popular then as well.  I learned they can symbolize sorrow, and they were added by the carvers due to their popularity....

And a sheaf of wheat, which signifies long life and passing, harvest of life if you will.  Another meaning I found in research is resurrection and fertility...

I also saw the tombstones of two civil war soldiers, one was a bugler in Company G, First NH cavalry, Mr. Edward J Robie, who was a bugler in his young 17th year....
I found it interesting that he lived 60 years beyond the end of the civil war to the age of 81, and they put on his stone that he was a bugler at 17.  I thought he must have been proud of his service....

And the other one I found was a General in the Civil War, General Louis Bell.  The Bells are part of the founding families of Chester and a member of that family built a beautiful home owned by friends of mine...General Bell had quite an impressive stone which he shared with his wife, who died a mere 5 months after he did. His stone states, "Gen Louis Bell...Fell at Fort Tish (?) on Jan 15, 1865, Killed in battle fighting for the Union of his Country"  and below that is his wife's short and to the point, " Mary Ann P Bouton"  when she was born (Dec 15, 1834) and that she died here in Chester on May 4, 1865.  They were both so young, only 28.  I understand he died in battle, but I wonder why she died so young?  Was it of a broken heart?  Or tuberculosis (which they called consumption back then)?  I wonder about that sort of thing when I see these types of death dates so close together.  Interesting...

The broken sword is a symbol of life ended too short...and in both of their cases, that's quite true...and the harp is a symbol of St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians...

I truly enjoyed the lecture last evening and learning many new things I never knew about New England tombstones and graveyards history and artwork.  Some of the carvers of old were truly master artists, and when you consider that they used hammers and chisels to create such exact carvings and writing, it's even more machinery then, just good old fashioned skill.  Pretty neat.

And my little pumpkin accompanied me and set up a nice autumn, Halloween-y type feel.

Wishing you a new passion to learn about, ~Peacemom

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Apple Harvest!

Today was apple picking on our tree!  We had a great time harvesting the apples from our trees right here where we live.  First time I've ever done that!   We usually go to the local orchard to pick apples, which is also very fun...but this was better! 

Little Red on the ladder reaching for the big ones...

Maestro not forgetting what trees are really good for....

Music Man peering down from great heights...

and everyone enjoying the ride back to the barn post-apple picking.

and pretty, well, they're not, but really sweet and delicious.  They don't need to be pretty to make applesauce and that's where these are headed, my friends!

One step closer to self sufficient,  ~Peacemom

Yah! Autumn! Have Some French Toast!

In honor of a cooler temperature today, I'm posting my recipe for an autumn favorite.  It's from my maybe-never-to-be-published-cookbook.  It's a wonderful Sunday morning breakfast, or if you're lucky enough to be able to sleep in a bit, brunch. If you make it let me know what you think, I'd love the feedback!

Sweater Weather French Toast
               Makes 4 generous servings

8 slices of bread, preferably the thick "Texas Toast" variety, or choose your favorite (mine is whole wheat)
3 large eggs
1/4-1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 c chunky style applesauce (homemade is best!)
butter and pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a small saucepan, place applesauce on low heat and simmer until warmed through.  Place maple syrup in microwave proof dish or pan on the stove and heat to warmed.

In a large bowl, using a wire whisk, beat eggs with cream until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and beat until well incorporated.  Pour into a pie plate, dip bread slice in each mixture, coating both sides evenly .  Be careful not to immerse it for too long, as it will become soggy, dip quickly covering all portions of the slice.

Drop coated slice into a warmed, buttered skillet, cook, over medium heat until golden, turning once.  Remove from plan, place on an oven proof plate, wrap in tin foil with several small holes punched in the top to release the steam.  Place in the preheated oven until all 8 slices are cooked.  Remove from oven, butter each piece liberally, cut diagonally and fan into plate.  Scoop about 1/4-1/3 cup warmed applesauce into the center of each plate, drizzle with warmed maple syrup.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Watching the Radar...

Wind is whipping here at our casa.  It's the tail end of some hurricane or other and bringing along with it some very badly needed rain here in southern NH.  I am a bit concerned, to be perfectly honest with you, about the reasons why my kids were able to go to school this morning in tee shirts and shorts....on October NH.  Yep, more then a little concerned.

As a child in northern NH, we were in long sleeves, flannel and jackets by now.  I grew up above the White Mountain National Forest, so NORTH folks.  It was cold by now, the dream of tee shirts and shorts a distant memory.  My friends who still live up there notice a big change in the timing of taking the coats out of winter storage.  So weird to be having hurricanes up here in February this year and now this.  I know this is hurricane season elsewhere, but for us we might get a bit of wind and some rain in an average season.  February's storm was surreal, completely surreal.  In the 32 years that I've lived here, I've never seen anything like that, especially not in February.  Ice storms common place, February hurricanes, drought filled summers-very disturbing to me.

I know, there are the naysayers that tell me that it's just the cycle of the earth, that it's in a warming phase....whatever.  But why is it warming faster now then ever in recorded history?  Could it possibly be that humans are affecting it with our car exhaust, farmed cattle, planes, chemical laden factory farming, clear cutting of oxygen-giving forests, plastic, plastic, plastic that never goes away and poisons our water, transporting food across the globe so we in NH can have "fresh" fruit from New Zealand (!) in January?  Basically our selfish beliefs that we are not causing any of this, that our actions have no consequences?  That this earth is our plaything...instead of the other way around.  Too much of this selfishness and I see the earth putting us right back in our place.  Nature finds a way.  Naysayers, could it just be possible, just a possibility, that we DON'T have all the answers?

Just something to think about on this rainy, windy, hot October day in New Hampshire.

Holding on to my hat, ~Peacemom