Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness." ~ Jane Austen

Last year at this time, I had wanted to post about Hollenbeck's Cider Mill, a fixture in my community for the past 80 years.  Something always seemed to come up that prevented me from getting out there.  Fortunately, I put the season-opening date on my calender this year and managed to go with my friend Billi for its opening day.  Unfortunately, the one thing that they did not do while we were there is press cider - so no pictures of that!  

Congratulations on your 80th year!

And a reminder that Half the Sky will air on PBS on Monday and Tuesday of this coming week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

~"There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet." ~ William Butler Yeats

My father, Irish literature scholar that he is, will appreciate my opening quote.  As a blogger for a bit over a year now, I find that this quote rings so true!  I have met, and become blogging friends with people from all over the world - and it has brought me immeasurable pleasure. I've been invited to tea in  more than a few countries, should I ever happen to find myself there - blogging has made the world a smaller and friendlier place for me.  I have recently participated in a couple of swaps, and am getting ready to do a third.  A "swap" involves being partnered with someone else (from another country - at least for the ones that I've done), and, while following a theme, sending a small package to your swapping partner.  What fun it has been!  First, following a "nature" theme, I was partnered with Nausika, in Belgium.  For my part, I sent on some maple syrup, a copy of Edible Finger Lakes magazine, some of my homemade soap with scents from nature, and some seashells collected in Florida.  Below you will see the lovelies that Nausika sent to me in return.

~I opened my envelope to find a delightful assortment of small, wrapped packages, containing things like tea and seeds from Nausika's garden and a wonderful letter written especially for me~ 
~ dried flowers and porcelain labels (made by her) and a bit of special white wool~ 
~ a small notebook and sticky notes~

Next, I made exchanges with Vibeke (who is also the brainchild behind these swaps), in Norway.  We agreed to an "open" swap - we exchanged whatever we wanted to.  I sent things very similar to what I sent to Nausika, but also included some yarn dyed by my friend Renee from Spun Right Round.  I know from Vibeke's blog that she too, is a knitter. Here are my goodies from her!

 ~a card with a painting by Norwegian artist Alice Pihl and some cloudberry soap from the north of Norway~

 ~traditional Norwegian candy and a beautiful bird kitchen towel~

~a wonderful letter with kind words and a package of organic Norwegian herbs that she is fond of~

My next exchange will take place with Joanne in England.  Our theme is "color" and I have already begun to put my mind as to what to include in her package.  I am learning, as I do this now, that I need to be a bit more mindful of the size and content of what I send.  Maple syrup necessitated a box rather than a large envelope. I'm intending on an envelope for this next exchange, so I need to keep that in mind as I hunt for my treasures!  
It's so much fun!!
Thank you, thank you my dear Nausika and Vibeke!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Women hold up half the sky." ~ Chinese Proverb

I purchased Half the Sky, when it first came out in 2009.  Three years later, I still have not read it.  This often happens with books that I actually own.  They don't have a library due date, and are therefore relegated to the pile of books that I have every intention of getting to "some day".  I have decided that today is that day. 

I recently discovered the trailer for a 2-part PBS special on Half the Sky.  After watching it, it took awhile, but I located my copy of the book.  I will read this, and I will watch the 2-part series airing worldwide on October 1st and 2nd.

"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide was filmed in 10 countries and follows Kristof, WuDunn, and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. The linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which needlessly claim one woman every 90 seconds — present to us the single most vital opportunity of our time: the opportunity to make a change. All over the world women are seizing this opportunity."

Please (please) watch the trailer below, and please (please) join me in tuning into PBS on October 1st and 2nd.  I will post a reminder here the Saturday before.

~thank you~

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

It's no mystery that I want to live by the sea.  Want to, long to, need to.  If I can't be by the sea though, being in Central New York in the fall is a pretty good place to be.  Our days have grown longer and cooler, and that hint of crispness in the air is a welcome relief from our long, dry, hot summer.  There are occasional bursts of color, and thicker autumn skies.  This is my favorite time of year - always has been - always will be.  Dry, hot summers; dry, cool summers; wet, warm summers; wet, cool summers - all are said to be predictors of how vibrantly colored an autumn we will have.  If the first peeks are any indication - I would say that the foliage will be beautiful this year.

~bursts of color~

~billowing skies~

~winter's preparations~

 ~ever shifting, shadowed landscape~

~colors that will soon be covered in frost~

~my favorite time of year~

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind." ~ Michael Pollan

When I selected this month's BITE theme as "local foods", I was unaware that in many circles, September is considered "Local Foods Month"!  I suppose that it makes sense though, considering that summer's bounty has just about reached its pinnacle in September.  If you have been following along with me, you know that I have been preparing for my main course of tomato sauce and pasta for quite some time.  You can refer back to my previous posts in order to find the local sources of my ingredients, but they all came together wonderfully.  I would have to say that the only thing I would have done differently would have been to make the pasta a bit thicker.  Even though the sauce was thin (which is how I prefer it), the pasta was a bit delicate.

We began with a selection of local beverages.  We live in the heart of Finger Lakes country, which is home to some amazing vineyards and wineries.  I chose two wines, and one grape-juice to accompany our meal.

~Sync, from Anyela's VineyardsDry Riesling, from Knapp Winery;
Seedless Concord Grape Juice, from Heron Hill Winery~
Ellen arrived with her appetizer of bruschetta and salsa, directly from her garden - a bit difficult to provide a recipe - just pick and chop!
A burst of  fresh summer flavor!

Chris provided our side-dishes, with ingredients also from her garden and the Homer Farmer's Market.  Please forgive me, Chris, for not getting a photo of your beautiful ratatouille!  I don't know how that happened! Here is the photo that accompanies Saveur's recipe, which is the one that Chris followed - absolutely delicious.
Next, her Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberries and Candied Pecans, was just wonderful - all so fresh and flavorful.  We are all in agreement that roasted vegetables are the new candy.

~ salad alongside my pasta and sauce~
And to close out our "local meal", Tierney presented us with a magazine-cover worthy treat - Red Wine and Ginger Poached Pears. (click on link to find out Tierney's local sources)

What can I say other than that while absolutely delicious,  this was probably the healthiest meal that we have prepared so far!  It just burst with fresh summer flavors from beginning to end!

Next month - Transylvania!