Friday, July 26, 2013

A New Workout!

     So, I do not like "working out". Not in the - go to the gym, lift some weights, go for a run type anyways. I also don't like to "watch what I eat" in terms of counting calories and searching out low fat foods. If I did I think I'd feel pretty guilty after devouring an entire bag of chips (really though, a bag of chips does not have near as many chips as it used to). However, I do like getting a workout from doing things for a purpose, like walking the dog, or carrying Penelope (seriously the best weight training for your arms), and I do find that the more real the food the tastier! Which means most of the foods I like are already lower in fat and healthier anyways. Add in my care for the environment and desire to search out sustainable and local foods and BAM! I'm making flour!    
    I have been fortunate enough to borrow a Country Living grain mill (a pricey piece of equipment that I'm not ready to pay for myself). It's a manual mill which I was warned took quite the effort to produce minimal results. Which is true; it does take time and can get you working up a sweat, but it was still faster and less effort than I thought it was going to be.

Country Living Grain Mill

     Next you need wheat berries. Tasty cooked up all on there own, we had never tried wheat berries until I got some for grinding into flour. There's this great place near Tavistock,  Oak Manor, that sources their products locally and organically. My sister Ashley stopped in on her way for a visit from their home in Waterloo and picked us up a giant bag to split.

Wheat Berries
     So then I needed to test out the tastiness of my own ground flour. I decided on regular chocolate chip cookies which turned out to be not so regular seeing as I also made bean flour to add to the mix and used honey and molasses instead of sugar, but they tasted like regular chocolate chip cookies, therefore, good! Then since the oven was already hot and I had some fresh zucchinis to use up, zucchini loaf and chocolate, chocolate chip zucchini muffins followed.

       So it was a workout with a purpose. Altogether it was a little over 5 cups of flour ground for these treats. Also a little healthier and environmentally friendly using organic, local, minimally processed flour (and eggs, and honey, and zucchini). It really didn't take too long either. I started grinding the flour when I put Penelope down for a nap and everything was done by the time she woke up.


How Quickly Things Change...

    One of my favourite places to go for a walk is Danceland road. As one of the highest points around, this gravel road has beautiful sunrises, breathtaking sunsets, and views over fields with rolling hills sloping down to the lake. There are no houses (not on the stretch that I like to walk anyways) and the edge is lined with fruit trees including many different types of apples, some pear, and some cherry. Seeing as it's the first side road out of town it's also convenient for taking the dog to run.
    Recently we've had a few good (and by good I mean bad) storms go through which quickly changed the scenery...

Isaac in the healthy corn
Cherries, growing wild
It was very overcast that day as it was about to rain. Still beautiful though! 

Two weeks later and this view is a little different... 

Corn destroyed in a storm by large hail and strong winds
 The fruit's still looking good but not quite ready for eating. 


It's a good place for a walk and some time spent together. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Into Summer

     Silly to think that my last blog post was way back in April and still has photos of that cold white stuff. Especially since we are already making it part way through summer! Well it's been a busy time since then, as this time of year always is. Fuzz is back to working long hours doing landscaping, while I had the pleasure of babysitting two super cute little girls for a few days a week. Farmer's markets have started up again and we spend many Saturday mornings serving up hot coffee and fresh roasted beans at the Goderich Farmers Market (if you haven't checked it out you really should! Local fruits and veggies, honey, soaps, breads, meats, and a chance to talk to the people who grow, raise and make it). Even in the busyness we've been able to get away for a couple days camping.

    Inverhuron is a Provincial Park on Lake Huron near Tiverton, Ontario. It's fairly small in comparison with some other parks but it's worth the visit.

Brother Isaac and Hunter walking out on the rocks.
Isaac and I thought that the water was deep here. He jumped in and discovered that it wasn't.
Little crevices along the rock.


Every so often you come across Inukshuks at Inverhuron. Isaac and Fuzz built this giant one. It took a while and the rocks were really heavy.
Inukshuk at Inverhuron

Ok so maybe they didn't build a giant one. Just a fun camera trick. Really it was just a small one and they didn't build it. But Fuzz did build this one.
Penelope liked camping too. 

There were lots of flowers blooming around the park as well. 


Then Dad took me took me on a bike ride to an old pioneer cemetery that's in the park. It was really neat to read all the names and see the dates marked on the headstones. Finding them is part of the fun too. They aren't lined in nice neat rows, but all over the place, some hidden deep behind over grown branches, others covered by sand over time. 
Pioneer cemetery at Inverhuron
Fence around the cemetery
Weathered headstone.
There is a very nice trail for walking or biking that surrounds the park.

Even though a thunderstorm went through over night and the fog rolled in, it was a good time camping.

Fog at Inverhuron

Lake Huron Sunset
     In all it was a fun weekend. A good way to start off the summer. I'm looking forward to more summertime adventures ahead, getting outdoors and enjoying the warm weather while it last!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Maple Syrup Time!

We sometimes help make maple syrup. I really like the stuff. I like to put it on everything. I like to drink it by itself. I like making it. 
Usually Fuzz isn't quite back to work around the maple syrup season which means we have the time to help out, and if you know anything about making this delectably sweet liquid you'll know that it takes a long time. So we spend a lot of time sitting in the sweet smelling shack, boiling sap down into maple syrup. The next few photos are from a couple years ago. 

It was a little less wintery this time around. The snow was pretty much gone when we were there this year. This year I took a walk around the farm and took some photos of a few other things other than syrup. The best eggs come from this place; free range organic chicken eggs, and now duck as well! 


(The wood stove for boiling sap. Keeps the shanty warm and toasty and smelling so sweet!) 

 One of the most peaceful places I know of! 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Looking for something...

A couple weeks ago we were out for a walk in the woods. Hunter was running around as he usually does, following his nose, most of the time staying within view but we'll often be walking along and realize that we don't see him anymore. When that happens we stop and listen to see if we can hear the snapping of twigs and branches, and if we don't hear him we give a whistle and a call and he usually comes bounding out through the trees. He's a pretty good dog.
 At one point on this walk we lost him for a few moments. We stopped to look around and see if we could see him. When we spotted him he was running at full speed through the bush beside us. 
He was chasing this deer. 

A couple days later we were out in the same area searching for sheds; the antlers that fall off deer after the rut is finished. We've been out searching for sheds before. Basically we follow along well used deer paths in hopes of finding something. Before this year we had been unsuccessful. This year however we found a few interesting pieces. 
 Fuzz found these antlers, but unfortunately they weren't from a deer shedding them. This one died some time ago judging by the discolouring from algea growth. I wonder if it was part of the same one we found near the same area last year?

  And what do we have here in the snow! 

Our first shed! And a nice one at that! 

We brought both home and hung the skull on the wall (after a little cleaning of course).

And if you were wondering where little Penelope was while we were walking, take a look at Fuzz's big coat. She fits nicely underneath in a carrier until she's big enough to hunt for sheds with us!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Winter Escape

For the last four or five years, my family has been making the trip up to Steenburg Lake in the summer for vacation. Over the years it's been getting harder to get everyone together at the same time. Summer is a busy time and for some and it's harder to get off work. This year, to be sure that everyone would be able to make it for the full week, we decided to go in the winter! 

 It was a beautiful week! We had pretty much every kind of weather while we were there. 
There was a thunderstorm the first night, then the temperature dropped for a few days down to around -30°C. We still all bundled up to enjoy the outdoors though. 
Here's just a few shots of the winter splendor we beheld there last week.

Now today it's supposed to reach 14°C and all our snow here at home has melted for now. I already can't wait until next year to head to our winter wonderland!