Leaving My Shoes Behind

If I had to choose my most favorite thing about summer, it would probably be the ability to go barefoot. It seems silly, because there are so many wonderful things about summer, but this is one that can happen every day. I wait for sunflowers to grow in summer, but they aren’t blooming everyday. I wait for garden fresh tomato sandwiches, but the wait seems long. I wait for vacations that happen in summer, but vacations are a blip in time. I love the summer breeze blowing in the windows, but lately that hasn’t happened at all because it is so hot and the AC is on! So, something that I can do virtually every day in summer is go barefoot. Being barefoot takes me back to the days when I was a teenager and walked to the pool in my bare feet or back to when I was a lifeguard in college and was barefoot at work all day long! There is just something that feels wonderful to me about walking around in my bare feet outside and I’ve always felt that way.

I recently happened upon a video about grounding or “earthing” – you know when you go down a rabbit hole and have no idea how you got there, nor how to get back again? Yes, that kind of “happened upon”. I had never heard about grounding in this way before. In the video, the gentleman described grounding or earthing as connecting your bare feet – or skin – to the earth so that we absorb negative ions from the earth and neutralize our positively charged ions and allow us to soak up electrons from the earth’s surface. He also said that our immune system and our body in general works best when we have an abundance of electrons in our body. Honestly, I haven’t done any scientific reading on the subject, I think I’ll just go with it. Maybe this is why I love walking barefoot.

When I smell bleach, I remember a time when I would spend weeks in the summer at my grandmother’s house running around barefoot. My feet would be black at the end of the day. At night she would sit me on the side of the bathtub and make me wash my feet with a perfectly white washcloth. White was the only color washcloths she had. Bleach was how they stayed so white after washing our black feet. Bleach and scrubbing on the washboard. I could smell the bleach when I washed my feet. She didn’t want me to get dirt on the clean sheets, those perfectly crisp sheets that also smelled slightly of bleach mixed with sunshine. A week ago, I was pulling weeds and walking in the garden in my bare feet. When I came in, my feet were black. That night, I sat on the side of the tub, thought of my grandmother and washed my feet before getting into bed in my clean sheets. Yes, walking around outside barefoot is my favorite thing about summer…..though, the tomatoes aren’t ripe yet…I wonder if I will change my mind in a few weeks.

Harvest Day 2 : Corn

Day 2 of Harvesting : Corn! I wasn’t sure if I should just freeze all of the corn fresh or if I should make something and then I realized, the whole family loves my corn chowder recipe! So, I made and froze cream of corn for future corn chowder – when the days turn cold and soup is what’s for dinner!  I used this recipe for the cream style corn, minus the flour (my daughter has Celiac’s disease) and bacon grease.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/southern-creamed-corn-recipe.html

My Corn Chowder Recipe (I learned how to make this a long time ago when we lived in Maine)

8 Medium size potatoes – diced

2 medium onions -diced

4 tbs butter

4 cups water (or you can use 2 cups water and 2 cups chicken/vegetable broth)

4 cups milk

4 cups cream style corn

Melt butter in skillet, cook onions until transparent, add raw diced potatoes and cover with water/broth. Cook until potatoes are tender. Add milk which has been heated in separate pan. Add 4 cups cream style corn and salt and pepper to taste.


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Harvest Time

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so I would say I was raised a “city” girl. When I was young, I dreamed of what it would be like to live life in the country with animals and gardens and especially a horse. This dream came true a few years ago when we made a big move to Upstate New York to a home with a small piece of land. I have since been learning about the farming “lifestyle” in small ways. One of the things that I noticed is how many phrases we all use that must have come from our farming roots, these phrases make so much more sense when the origin is understood! For example, we are raising hens and during the winter they hate when they can’t go outside in the grass because the ground is snow-covered and they get very cranky because they have to stay in their coop. They are “all cooped up”!  A dream of mine came true when we bought a horse. I took riding lessons when I was younger, and have been taking lessons as an adult. I fell off once and had to “get back in the saddle”. In horse training we use a whip, and if he doesn’t pay attention, I “crack the whip”. Before winter starts, we need to get ready in lots of ways, but especially with “squirreling away” wood pellets for winter heating. This leads me to harvest time or when we are squirreling away for winter. It’s a time when the tomatoes we plant and the corn, pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers all need harvested and cooked down for canning or freezing. I love this time it feels so productive and to know that the food was grown from seed in your own garden is so rewarding. Since we like it to be organic, we may lose some along the way. We lost some tomatoes this year to blight and maybe some spaghetti squash, but our food is clean and healthy. Today was the beginning of fall cooking; roasted tomatoes, saucing tomatoes, tomatoes cooked down for soup and tomatoes dehydrating. We can’t bottle that wonderful aroma, but we will be tasting the “fruits of our labor” all through the winter. 10678622_10152663693627674_7596557120421716579_n 10672369_10152663693377674_6062259209660173128_n 10639732_10152663693682674_6086813403781896663_n 10628037_10152663693472674_8485435709955237869_n 10624560_10152663693582674_4296620918972498284_n 10610902_10152663465312674_4363565416251203595_n 10593015_10152663693742674_6768438586675939842_n 10522573_10152663693322674_5833825380399301334_n 10394074_10152663693262674_4058603693441126283_n 10678748_10152663693537674_8571395630179155201_n



Color My World




We all know how time flies, so, before long, this world of mine, of ours, here in Upstate NY, is going to turn to white and grey. If we are honest, and don’t like to ski, those two colors will last longer than we would really like them to. There is something about color, even if there isn’t any sunshine, that just makes my heart sing. It is well studied that colors effect our mood and even our physical reactions. For example, red increases heart rate and blue decreases heart rate. So, for now, until the colors of late summer and fall turn into white and grey, I’m going to soak up all of the color I possibly can. If I can help it, I will never let another year go by without planting a cutting garden. The colors are just spectacular. IMG_2320.JPG




Winter Waterfall Beauty and Solitude

If you read my last post, you will see that I said that I was worried when fall ended that I wouldn’t have much to photograph outside in the winter. Not only is it cold, but sometimes it’s just white…. white…. white… and white…. and I LOVE color, so I thought I wouldn’t find much to inspire my outdoor photography.  I have been wrong. Today I left the only footprints at this park that I frequently go to in the summer and fall. I was the ONLY person there, enjoying the quiet stillness found after a newly fallen snow.  The temperature was below zero, but there was no wind and the snowstorm yesterday created a beautiful landscape.  Although this is just around the corner from my house, I have never gone to see the waterfall in winter. Shame on me.  It was gorgeous. Not only was the snow from yesterday beautiful, but so was the ice all over the trees and rocks from the freezing mist of the waterfall. The photos do not do this justice. I think the only way to do that would be to get to the bottom, but the trail is closed off in winter. Also, the clouds were moving in and the sun was going down behind the hills, so the color really started to wash out on the falls/ice. I will go back the next time I see the sun peek out in the morning and if the sun is shining off of the ice, I am determined to capture it!  No, I was not barefoot today, yes I was in blue jeans, and yes, my toes were very cold at the end of my hike, even in my warm boots with wool socks, but it was worth it! I hope you enjoy! Beauty is everywhere!

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Icy Inspiration

After the fall I was worried that the long white winter, white being the key word, wouldn’t give me much to be inspired to photograph – I was wrong. Yes, photos in the snow are pretty and the colors of hats and gloves and scarves can add to the photos. Horses playing in the snow are fun to photograph – but today when I woke up, it truly was a winter wonderland outside and I bundled up and walked around looking at the amazing ice covered world and found my inspiration. Enjoy!


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Top Ten Favorite Things About Autumn in Photos (no particular order)


#1 Amber waves of grain…..


#2 Pumpkins


#3 The sights and sounds of the geese flying south


#4 Fresh delicious apples


#5 The white puffy clouds on dry cool days against the blue blue sky


#6 Bright yellow leaves


#7 Orange leaves


#8 The cool morning mist that lays in the fields


#9 The smell of the leaves on the ground


#10 The cool evening sunsets on the lake

My absolutely favorite time of the year is Autumn, especially in Upstate New York or in New England. It’s harvest time. The earth has provided us with an abundance of fruit and grain and vegetables to “squirrel away” for winter. It’s time to go apple picking and cook up the apples. Time to pick the pumpkins and bake pumpkin bread. In the morning, the grass is dewy and the air chilly and the mist lays in the fields and valleys and rises over the lakes, while the geese are heard and seen flying overhead. The trees change from green to golden yellow and orange and red. The leaves eventually fall to the ground and the smell of the kicked up leaves brings back early childhood memories. The air is cool and crisp and the sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous because there is little, if any, haze in the atmosphere.  The mornings and evenings are cool and the days are warm with the sun.  Soon after fall the time for hibernation will come, but during fall, every sense; sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch are working overtime to soak in all of the colors, smells, sounds, tastes and feelings of autumn.