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Posts Tagged ‘farm’

We welcomed my sister and her two daughters for a visit this past long weekend. We had all sorts of fun activities lined up, got to catch up on their shenanigans, enjoy some summer fun and had a blast!

They arrived on Wednesday night and spent Thursday shopping in the neighborhood (I was working on Thursday). We went out for dinner at Paramount (local middle eastern food – so yummy) and watched the movie Splash. Flashbacks!!

On Friday, we had a whole day planned outside; since my husband was working, we stayed out of the house. Our first stop was a local farm we visit regularly called Andrew’s Scenic Acres to pick our own berries (we picked blueberries and raspberries), enjoy the scenery, pick up some treats at the market (can’t resist butter tarts), visit the farm animals and have some fresh berry ice cream (or frozen yogurt) – delicious! I tried the black currant this time and it was amazing.

My nieces Sienna and Maddie with their berry picking baskets:

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Maddie posing with the flowers 🙂

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Our second stop was at another local farm called Springridge Farm. We had lunch (LOVE the Ploughman’s Lunch which includes cheeses, cured meats, pickles, fruit bread with apple butter, cherry tomatoes and blueberries), then had fun in the kids’ area visiting the animals, took a wagon ride, watched the kids have a blast while we chatted. We popped into the market to shop and I ended up buying a few things (jars for the bathroom, a nice teacup, some salt water taffy and a smell-good sachet). We were not done yet! We headed over to Rattlesnake Point for a hike – we did the red trail and the yellow trail – about 4km in all. It was a gorgeous day for a hike and the girls did well on one of the more rugged trails they’ve done while visiting.

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Not quite sure where this little guy is going… 🙂 hihihi

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Pumpkin patch – will soon be teeming with pumpkins:

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On Saturday we had a group day trip planned with my sister in law and her family: We all headed up to Blue Mountain for lunch and had fun visiting the village. The kids did a scavenger hunt throughout the village and participated in a drum activity in the center square – that was fun – everyone got into it. We then headed up to the Scenic Caves (the kids were dying to go back) – it’s such a cool place. Highly recommended if you’re in the area – keep in mind a bit of agility is required to get in and out of the caves but everyone we ran into did just fine. We headed back to the village for dinner, watched the fireworks on our walk back to the car and headed home, waaay after bedtime. 🙂

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On Sunday we went to the Westfield Heritage Village in Rockton, a pioneer village with over 30 buildings and people in period dress explaining how they performed tasks in various jobs back in the day. What a great place! We took our time and visited each building, chatted with the staff who were super friendly and knowledgeable. The kids played old-fashioned games in the green space  in the centre of the village. The village was hosting their annual ice cream festival and we got to enjoy fresh pie and homemade ice cream as well. What a great day! We got back home and had a barbecue on the deck. Then we watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (as you know, the girls are huge Harry Potter fans and we hadn’t seen the last movies in the series together).

I really enjoyed learning about the different jobs and tasks around the village. My favorite parts at the village were the gardens, the cabinetmaker, the general store, the school and the outhouse. LOL

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Outhouse – the luxury of a 2-holer:

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The smokehouse:

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Since their return flight left in the afternoon on Monday (a stat holiday in Ontario), we did some shopping to pick up the new Harry Potter book at Chapters along with a few more items. We swung by Walmart as well, then back home to pick up the luggage then off to the airport!

We ate too much, walked too much, slept too little but we’ll see the gang again at Thanksgiving!

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We wanted to take advantage of the fall colours while they were still at their peak and headed to the Terra Cotta Conservation Area this morning. We got there just before 10am and the parking lot only had a few cars. We decided to follow the Terra Cotta Lane (about 3.5km around the lake) and took our time taking in the sights, listening to the rustling of the leaves, taking some photos and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the Fall. Best time of year.

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Hmm. which way do we go??  🙂

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Look at that reflection…wow

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Hardly anyone on the trails at this time of the morning…

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Chloe…enjoying a solitary stroll through the leaves 🙂

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Every colour of the rainbow in this one 🙂

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Holy moly… Always remember to look up – gorgeous.

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And down too… 🙂

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Chris and I – it almost looks like a fake background…lol

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Zach with his branch/sword 🙂

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Chloe taking a rest on a log

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Peekaboo!

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After the hike, we headed over to Downey’s Farm Market and had some lunch (grilled cheese, chili and warm apple cider), checked out the pumpkin patch and picked up some goodies at the market. We got fresh baked pumpkin doughnuts and two kinds of fudge: chocolate and maple bacon. Everything smelled and tasted great. It was cool today and we had some snowflakes – didn’t last very long though. 🙂

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Back at home sampling the goodies:

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This year we had family down for Thanksgiving. Since it was only a couple of days, we made the most of our time together. The fam (sister and her two daughters, plus my brother and his wife) arrived Saturday in time for Thanksgiving lunch. My sister-in-law, her husband and their two kids who live nearby also arrived for lunch. We were 11 in all: 7 adults and 4 kiddos. I had my first kiddy table (and none of the kids are mine lol).

I cooked everything the day before (except the turkey). I started the turkey at 5am so it would be ready for lunchtime. I changed up the menu this year:

  • Ciabatta buns, butter
  • Wild mushroom medley (cremini, button, shitake mushrooms with shallots, garlic, parsley, sherry vinegar, olive oil)
  • Roasted red onions (olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme)
  • Red and yellow baby potatoes with butter, thyme, salt and pepper
  • Maple-glazed carrots and rutabaga (glaze: maple syrup, butter, brown sugar)
  • Green beans with gremolata (lemon zest, salt, pepper, shallots, garlic, pine nuts)
  • Turkey (stuffed with lemons, thyme, salt & pepper)
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Sweet gherkins
  • Pickled beets
  • Greek salad provided by sister-in-law/husband (thanks!)
  • Dessert: Lemon meringue pie, Apple pie, Cinnamon coffee cake
  • Wine: Thirty Bench 2010 Benchmark

Pics of the kiddy table and grown-up table:

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After lunch, we headed out to enjoy the fall colours and hiked from Webster Falls to Tews Falls and back in Hamilton (Ontario). The scenery was just beautiful. I was able to capture some great pics of fall foliage.

Gorgeous tree in the parking lot:

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Webster Falls:

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We got to enjoy all the colours of the fall rainbow including greens and yellows:

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Oranges:

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Reds:

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Even all of them together:

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Kiddos horsing around 🙂

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Lone red leaf

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The sun created a cool effect on this one at Tews Falls:

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Captured a couple at the top of the falls:

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Pretty trees:

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Surrounding area back at Websters Falls, reminds me of an English garden:

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Under a weeping willow:

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Sunday, we headed to Stonehaven Farm for farm goodies, picked our pumpkins and played in the hay maze. Uncle Mark and I played tag with the kids in the hay maze – fun! When we got home, we had leftover turkey and fixings for lunch then started decorating our pumpkins. We chose to do sugar skulls this year for a change – they turned out pretty good:

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Having fun at the pumpkin patch:

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We had the troops down to visit this weekend. My sister and her two girls as well as my brother and his wife all came down from Montreal for the weekend. We had a packed schedule of fall activities planned and thankfully the weather didn’t disappoint!

Saturday we headed out to Stonehaven Farm to visit the pumpkin patch, get lost in the corn maze (life list item crossed off!!) and pick up some farm fresh pies. Our next stop was Crawford Lake to visit the reconstructed Iroquois village (one of my nieces has a school project to build a longhouse so this was a perfect stop as she got to see one up close); we also hiked the trail around the lake (1.4km, easy boardwalk path). The views were really nice. Then we returned home to carve the pumpkins and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂

Sunday we walked around our neighborhood, stopped at some local parks, walked a local trail then back home for lunch. In the afternoon we went over to Springridge Farm for the Harvest Festival and the kids had fun on the Fun Farm. They played with the animals, ran around in the hay bales, slid down the slides, watched the puppet show, navigated the little corn path… A fun afternoon at the farm. 🙂 We picked up some kettle corn and other goodies at the market and headed back home for supper (and Maddie’s birthday cupcakes!) and to watch Harry Potter 2 (Chamber of Secrets). We couldn’t stay awake for the whole movie – we were all pooped – so we’ll watch the second half today. 🙂

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In the longhouse at Crawford Lake, listening to lore and watching a fire starting demonstration – which was pretty awesome!

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On the hike around the lake:

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Thanksgiving dinner!

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Animals at Springridge Farm:

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Maddie’s birthday ghoulie cupcakes:

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For the past couple of years, Chris and I have been learning about food and the importance of eating healthy, organic and/or food that was grown locally. It hadn’t really hit home until I started reading the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingslover. Barbara tells the story of how their family moved to a farm in Virginia and decided to grown their own food, raise their own livestock and support the local farming community. She also explained some of the issues with the food industry which really opened our eyes to real problems with the way things currently are.

As a result of learning about these issues and the consequences that come with them, Chris and I have decided to be much more proactive about where our food comes from. Some of our biggest concerns include:

  • Some of the food that you see in your supermarket’s produce section has travelled thousands of kilometers to get there. They’ve been treated with chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics to make them hearty enough for long distance travel, usually at the cost of taste and nutrients. Along with that are the transportation emissions produced to get food across the country to your table. (What for?? So you can have a pineapple in January? It’s just not worth it.)
  • Making and transporting the chemicals requires more energy and produces more greenhouse gases.
  • Growing livestock for food in some large production facilities are cause for concern. Things like stacks of cages crammed full of chickens with nowhere to go, sitting in their own feces – because that many chickens in such close quarters have to poop somewhere. Feeding livestock certain foods to fatten them up that their species were never meant to eat in the first place. Feeding them grain because it costs less but requires so much energy to produce.

What we want to do going forward:

  • Support local farms by buying local. The food is fresher, tastes better, contains fewer/no chemicals, generates fewer transportation emissions and supports the local economy.
  • Grow some of our own food. I’m already planning for next spring’s garden and will start learning how to preserve food to have local produce through the winter months (freezing, canning, drying).
  • Buy organic where possible.
  • Buy closest to home: For us, that’s Ontario. If that’s not possible, buy as close to home as possible; at a minimum, buy Canadian.

We know there will be some items that are just not available locally, like coffee. For those we’ll commit to educating ourselves and choosing a source that has ethical practices.

We had our first grocery trip this morning and we did pretty well! Most of the produce we purchased was from Ontario, the rest was Canadian. All local, some organic. We bought strawberries, pears, lettuce, red peppers, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes and basil.

Other items we purchased were also either from Ontario or Quebec: Yogurt, cheese, organic chicken, organic pork.

Some items that were difficult to find any Canadian source for were: beans/legumes and quinoa. We’ll have to do some research for those. 🙂

And the cool thing? We ended up spending the same amount as our usual weekly grocery trip.

We feel good about our choices and are excited about doing the right thing. The right thing for us, for our health, for our local farms and for our local economy. It’s a win-win all around.

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Yep, we went back. This time with my sister-in-law, her husband and their two kids. We ate lunch once we arrived, then we were off to explore the kids’ fun area where we learned that there was a new baby goat in their midst (gasp!) – could not wait.

There were tons of things to see and do and the kids (big and small) had a great time. There were lots of animals, beautiful scenery and growing crops (pumpkins are coming!), hay bales for the kids to play in, a spider web to climb, a nice lookout platform with great views over the escarpment (we actually saw the CN Tower – it was a clear day!), tractor “bikes” to roll around on, did I mention the goats?, an informative wagon ride that toured the farm and surrounding irrigation ponds, and more!  We had a great time – it was a gorgeous day, sunny and bright. We stopped by the market on the way out and home we went for a Hawaiian themed dinner party. 🙂

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These chickens were hilarious – you pressed a button and they would tell a joke.

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Lots of sunflowers made the view really “country cozy”.

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Pony rides!

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View of an irrigation pond from our wagon ride – complete with ducks and fountain:

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Bee hives that house one million bees:

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View of the newly built velodrome for the Pan Am games to be held in Toronto in July 2015:

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More pretty sunflowers:

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The pumpkins have started to grow:

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The wagon we rode 🙂 Farmer Don was a great guide!

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Old-fashioned tractor:

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Windmill above the hay bales:

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I couldn’t help myself…I hate spiders…except when they wear slippers and rollerblades. 🙂

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Grasshopper!

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Views from the lookout over the escarpment:

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This little guy was my favourite 🙂

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Oh my goodness…

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Goats…

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View of the Lookout platform from the bottom

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More goats…

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Goats goats goats

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More pumpkins 🙂 And more sunflowers.

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The sunflowers were so tall! Much taller than me!

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The entrance to the maze (more of a path but it was cute)

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Chloe leading me through the maze

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Turkey!

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Peacock!

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Bunnies are so cute

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They live in Bunnyville

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Chris, the goat whisperer 🙂

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A farm wouldn’t be complete without a rooster. 🙂

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Farmer Chloe

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Farmer Zach

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Being silly during our Hawaii-themed dinner 🙂

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My sister Sue and her girls arrived on Thursday night. After picking up some groceries we got back home and watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (first movie) in preparation for the party on Saturday. But before then, we had a full day on Friday.

In the morning we headed out to Andrew’s Scenic Acres, a local farm in Milton, Ontario. It was my first time going and we had an amazing time. We spent some time picking raspberries and blueberries, enough to fill 4 small baskets, then did some shopping in the shop (picked up fresh apple pie, butter tarts and homemade jams). We had hot dogs at the BBQ area and the girls played in the small playground and fed the goats. Before we headed to our next stop, we enjoyed a yummy fruit ice cream cone. A perfect summer day:

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After swinging by home to drop off our purchases, we headed to the train station to head downtown to Ripley’s Aquarium. Since we got there at around 6pm, there was no line to speak of (they closed at 11pm). I was so impressed with everything here  from the gorgeous displays to the interactive activities to the amazing Dangerous Lagoon. A must-see for anyone in the area – fabulous.

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My favourite things were the jelly fish, the anemones and the Dangerous Lagoon – it was so freaky to be on the slow-moving walkway going through a tunnel inside the tank and seeing sharks swimming above us. Awesome!!!

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