Through my Lens: The Essence of Fall Camping

The photographs below are from our recent (and last for the year) camping trip to Old Forge, NY. This quaint little town is a base camp for many Adirondack activities such as paddling, hiking, and scenic train rides. We love it because it’s only a 2 hour drive from our house. The crisp, damp air is always wonderfully refreshing. See you in the spring ADK!

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Pumpkin Picking

We came home with 8 pumpkins after our weekend visit to a local pumpkin farm called Katie’s Pumpkin Patch. How much did that cost us, you ask? Only $16!! We live in farm country, peeps! Anyway, Xander had a blast tripping around the pumpkin patch though he was a little confused as to why all the pumpkins were on the ground… he kept saying “why did they fall off?” as if they fell from a pumpkin tree! We also did a true corn maze… it was quite large and tricky and even Nick and I began to wonder if we’d ever escape! Any trip to a farm isn’t complete without a hayride so we did that too. Our 8 pumpkins now litter our front yard, making our house feel very “fall-ish.”

Daddy & son

He found one just his size!

Our loot

Checking out the corn maze

We kinda got lost in the maze

at least it was a pretty day to get lost!

last but not least, the hay ride

Peak!

The leaves are 2 weeks behind schedule this year for whatever reason. But they are peaking right now and they’re beautiful! A month and a half ago, Nick bought a little stick tree on clearance at Home Depot and planted it in our backyard. I’m astonished it’s still alive because the directions said to water it daily for a year and we’ve only watered it like 5 times! In addition, it blew over during a wind storm last month and Nick can to tie it down with rope. Alas, it has survived and is now displaying beautiful orange leaves. See a picture I took this morning of a leaf I picked from one of its branches. I think I’ll use it as the picture for this blog! It’s marvelous!

Leaf from our tree, Nov. 2nd, 2008.

Leaf from our tree, Nov. 2nd, 2008.

A Fall Day

Mommy & Xander at Eckert Farm

Mommy & Xander at Eckert Farm

Saturday we went to a Eckert farm in Illinois to pick out a Xander-sized pumpkin and  to enjoy the farm activities, like the petting zoo, pig race, funnel cakes, and pumpkin picking. We actually didn’t go out to the pumpkin or apple orchards (which depart via John Deere wagon every 15 minutes) but we did enjoy everything else at the fun farm. This year, Xander was able to partake in more activities than last year. And he didn’t cry during the pumpkin canon! He liked playing with the gravel rocks and petting the sheep (which he talked to by saying “BAAAA!”). He giggled when they ate food from his hand, and loved petting their heads quite hard (like he does to our dog Kali). We took our wagon to the farm and Xander loved pushing it around (a fellow farm-goer loved the “2 Fast for You” license plate that hangs from the back). He sat comfortably during the corn field maze and wanted to chase the loose doggie that roamed the farm. Xander’s favorite word is still ‘doggie.’ He calls for our dog constantly. If I put her out back to run around our back yard, he’ll yell at the back door .. ‘doggie, doggie!!!’ Anyway… our early October weekend was a fun-filled and adventurous family-affair.

feeding the sheep

feeding the sheep

exploring the corn maze

exploring the corn maze

Where did summer go?

Right now at 2:30pm it is only 61 degrees here in in Saint Louis. The weatherman says the hottest day in the next 5 days will be when the temperature maybe gets to 80 degrees. What?! Where did summer go? Normally September is when the weather takes a turn and begins to cool off but not this significantly! It’s been a bizarre summer, weather-wise. We had maybe 2 days of 100 degree temps whereas last summer we had 2 months of 100 degree temperatures. The weatherman forcasts a harsh winter in our future. Grrreat. Yea, I know we survived 2 New Hampshire winters but it’s been 3 years since then and I’m not a New Englander. Deep down, I’m a Floridian true and through.  I love Fall so I’m definitely not complaining, but Xander is. He was confused and unhappy wearing long sleeves and socks today. He doesn’t own sneakers or any sort of closed-toe shoe so he sported socks and sandals this morning on our daily morning run. He kept tugging at his socks and sleeves, whining. City workers are outside our house right now trimming tree branches near powerlines… another omen? The city of Saint Louis got a lot of heat after the 2006 ice storm that knocked out power to most residents in the middle of winter. Overgrown trees and branches were to blame. They broke under the weight of the ice and took down the powerlines with them. We, luckily, only had to live without heat and electricity for 1 day. Others were not so lucky and had to suffer for weeks.

Anyway, to get to the point of this blog… usually on the first day when I can open my windows to let the cool, pre-Fall breeze into my house, I bake. Baking and Fall go hand in hand. Last year I posted my Pumpkin Bread recipe (my fav Fall recipe which you can look at by clicking HERE) so this year I’m sharing my favorite Banana Bread recipe. Sorry Yankee Candle, you don’t duplicate the smell of this baking in my kitchen! Anyway, it’s the best banana bread recipe I’ve come across. Be sure to use very ripe bananas- my local Farmers Market sell the brown bananas for like 25 cents a pound so this is a very affordable bread to make.

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.  

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.