Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Malabar Farm State Park: A Thanksgiving Hike

Thanksgiving day found us at Malabar Farm State Park, an interesting visit if you are in the area.  We visited with family the weekend after Thanksgiving so we enjoyed our free time outdoors.  An excited spirit and a picnic lunch always make for a fun adventure!  We started the day hiking the Butternut Nature Trail.  A nice little trail passing by....

big boulders and big hemlocks,

a whimsical, inviting cave (yes we went in!),

and some very interesting tree falls that create important micro-ecosystems.

Malabar Farm is steeped in history, as many farms are, and staff work to educate folks on the history and importance of farming in the area.  The sugar shack is a fantastic building that we plan to visit again in March for the annual maple syrup festival!

The Pugh cabin (in the background) is available to rent for special occasions.  A family celebrated their holiday at this cabin during our visit.  How fun!

Good for the spirit scenes...

Do you see it? 

Look closer!  Yes, it's skunk cabbage up in November!  WOW.

Ohio is a beautiful place...

We felt mighty grateful to be here, in so many ways, on this day of thanks.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Potting Shed Progress

Obviously our potting shed needed an appropriate roof and we were shooting for metal. Luckily, a neighbor was tearing down a barn and had some free metal for us!

Using a circular saw and a metal-cutting composite blade I cut the metal to length....

...and started screwing it down:

Some cross-cutting was needed for the ends to come out right...

...and it's looking pretty good:

Some final screws and... a difference a little scrap metal can make!

But what about the peak?

That's why they make pre-fab peak cap (white strip on top). We had to buy the cap and some screws but, so far, we've only spent 70 bucks on this little gem. Stay tuned for paint colors!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Potting Shed After All

Previously we'd been calling our little shed a chicken coop:

Now that we've had time to think about it and determine our most pressing space needs, we've decided to make it a potting shed and a place to store most of our gardening tools:

Next: metal roofing installation:

Friday, November 4, 2011

For the love of parsnips

We are just starting to harvest our parsnips now that we've had a couple of freezes.  The freezing helps create more sugars so the parsnips are deliciously sweet.  I harvested a bucketful this morning and used them in Mollie Katzen's gypsy soup, one of our most favorite soup recipes.  I replaced the called for sweet potato/winter squash with the parsnips since they are equally sweet and very like a sweet potato in texture.  The parnsips put out some seriously long roots so hand pulling proved a bit challenging this morning, but as long as I pulled very close to the root, it eventually came out.  I peeled the parsnips just like carrots and voila - a perfectly sweet delicious root vegetable that's loaded with vitamin C, fiber, folic acid and many other healthful vitamins and minerals.

We still have a few bowl fulls of fresh tomatoes that made a perfect addition to the soup.  I used up the last of our fresh sweet peppers so we will now start using our frozen.  It's lovely here today and more garden cleanup is on the agenda with a nice hot bowl of soup to follow.  Perfect.