Saturday, June 13, 2009


We got our first box of produce from our CSA (Community supported Agriculture) farm. I was hoping for strawberries, but theirs aren't ready quite yet. Instead we got a batch of asparagus, swiss chard, a beautiful bunch of green onions, lettuce and spinach. Plus, a freshly killed chicken, which I'm glad to say was fully plucked and de-gutted.

Our own garden is still giving lettuce and spinach. I'm freezing some of the spinach right now, after a quick blanching. Trying not to let all this bounty just rot in the garden or in the fridge.

Now I've got to rework my menu for the week to take in account the CSA produce. I'd been depending heavily on Menus for Moms for the last few weeks to do my thinking for me, but I'll need to plan menus myself all summer to use up what I get from the Yoders.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Some pics of Nathan playing something that has a passing similarity to Lacrosse.

Chasing down an attacker

Learning to shoot

Playing a game against Canton's kindergartners. Nathan liked being a defender.

I would have had video, but the second game was rained out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Family Food

A couple of things I've wanted to write about and they tie together nicely.

Today we signed up for a farm share from a local Amish Farmer.
200 lbs of veggies from this list of what he's growing...
Lettuce, Radishes, Beets, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Broccoli, Squash, Carrots, Tomatoes, Cukes, Beans, Peppers, Sweet corn, Canning tomatoes, cabbage, pickles, cauliflower and garlic.
Plus strawberries and 15 lbs of chicken.

We stopped by today to pay $250.00 for the season. Mr. Yoder was fairly young, with 4 kids from infant to five years old. They showed Claire the baby chicks that will be food or egg producers in a few weeks. And the greenhouse is full of sets, we may get some tomato or pepper plants for the garden once the frost threat is past. He'll write me when the first produce is ready, maybe some asparagus, and then we'll go by weekly to pick up our share. Find a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) near you!

The next trick is actually figuring out how to cook all of it. Because I can't cook, or shop, or plan menus.

The problem is that I'm married to a man who is never home for dinner. I spent years working odd shifts where either I wasn't home for dinner, or dinner was really breakfast. And in the last years before the kids were needing to be cooked for, I had a free lunch at work so I lived on sandwiches at home. But I've had at least four years now where I should have been preparing full meals for me and Nathan, and there's no excuse for the amount of times the meal has been McDonalds, Mac & cheese or a PB&J.

A few weeks ago, I found Menus for Moms, and I've really loving it. I NEED someone to spell out exactly what should be served each day and what groceries I need, and this does it. The kids aren't eating everything on their plate, but just exposing them to the variety is a big deal, and will help in the long run. And a few things that I never would have thought they'd like have been big hits. (Couscous, enchiladas, pesto chicken) Some of the items are on the wrong side of the healthy/fattening scale, but there's always veg and fruit on the side. And a lot of the planning includes bulk cooking and freezing, so that the meal can be pulled together quickly when I get home from work.

I'm hoping that a few months of this will give the skill and confidence to do more on my own. And also help build up the pantry and freezer so when I don't want to go shopping, I'll be able to find something to make instead of calling Dominos.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

Easter usually pretty low key, but now that Claire is getting older we can get into it some more. They had fun coloring eggs yesterday, although three of the eggs landed on the floor and got cracked. Unfortunately, I wiped the card while uploading photos and deleted all but this one shot of Claire.

I got a little stressed as the evening wore on. I wanted to send the kids on a scavenger hunt for their baskets, and tape it so Dan could see it. But I couldn't bear to have the house looking like a disaster area for all to see, so I had to struggle to get everything tidy after they went to bed, even though my arthritis is not being kind to me this week. And then I still had to make the clues. Knowing that they were probably going to wake me up at 6:30 too. (Dan worked 10-9 yesterday, and was up at 2:00 am for brunch today!)

Claire's was easy. I planted a few eggs around the house and took pictures of them. Then I printed the photos and put them in other eggs to lead her from one to another For Nathan, I wanted him to be able to read his clues. He's getting much better at reading books at night, so I wanted to reinforce the fun of reading. Each of his clues also went in an egg. They were.....

Follow my clues
And you’ll see
The Easter Basket
Hidden by me

Where’s the first clue
Where is the place
Go get something
To wash your face

Clue number 2
Is so easy
Go get your favorite
Game for Wii

Find number 3
Don’t be a fool
Get your backpack
And go to school

The fourth clue
Is the best
You’ll find your basket
Under mommy’s desk!!

Here's the video of the search. Nathan's goes on for awhile as he tries to sound out words. And Claire's gets pretty dark, should have turned on more lights. ON my dark monitor it goes completely black, let me know if that's true for everyone else too. Oh well.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I’ve been planning to build a compost heap out of wooden pallets for the last year. I found this wonderful guide for doing it, and of course I love to do things cheaply. Here's another version that looks pretty high class.

The problem is that whenever I saw pallets by the side of the road, I had kids/carseats in the car. And on the few occasions I could go out without them, the pallets had already been snapped up. Same thing happened last night when the 8 that had been outside the appliance store at 5:00 were gone by 10:00 when Dan got home. But since I was out anyway, I swung by the Agway and found 3 there, that's good enough to get started.

Look, it already has yard waste in it. And the neighbors' horses keep dropping presents by the side of the road, so I'll add that once I get the wheelbarrow out. It's secured in place with four wire coathangers. Ideally, it would have another pallet on the ground to improve airflow. Also, a fourth wall to finish the enclosure, but that would have a hinge for opening to turn the pile. For now, I've just set it up so that the open area faces away from the prevailing wind. Although I may turn it 90 degrees so that it faces the garden instead. It's near the garden, kitchen door, and water hose, but put in so that it won't shade the garden plot. Hopefully that's the ideal spot.

Next to it is the beginning of the garden layout. I've turned over two 4 sq foot areas and dug out a couple of rocks. I still have two weeks before I plan to plant any seeds, so there's time to rake and work it some more. We're still debating if we want to do raised beds. It would certainly look neater, and be easier to maintain as the years go by, but I don't feel like spending money on wood for it. I'll also have to look at fencing. I honestly have never seen a rabbit or a deer anywhere in our yard, there are easier pickings for them in the neighboring woods and fields. But I'll bet that as soon as the carrot tops pop up, they'll find us.

In other news, we had a massive windstorm waaaaaaay back. A few days after Christmas. Because there was snow on the roof, we just got the insurance adjusters out here a few weeks ago, but the check for a new roof came yesterday. Yahoo!!! One estimate is in the works, a 2nd is hopefully coming soon too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Digging in the Dirt

I'm very psyched that the Obama's have decided to put a Fruit and Vegatable garden in at the White House. Dan and I joined the group Eat the View months ago, while the race was still on, to advocate for removing part of the lawn and replacing it with a useful, healthy garden. Here's the list of what they're planting. (With the help of the assistant chef, gardeners, and local schoolchildren)
Blue, rasp & Blackberries
Marigold, Nasturtium & zinnias

A lot of similarity to the seeds I've bought for this year. Except I'm planting beets, something the President hates.

Here's the start of our garden.

I may have planted the lettuce too soon, but they do like cold weather, and I reserved most of the seeds for later, successive planting. I have an ideal planting diary planned out, and am going for a Square foot garden lay-out that will hopefully be easier to maintain than what we tried last year. The peas will have to go in the ground first, around April 4th here. Then Onions and Radish, then Spinach, then beets and carrots at the beginning of May. Anything else we want, like cukes, tomatoes, peppers or eggplant, I'll buy as sets. I've also got seeds for Okra and pumpkin that we'll start inside after the lettuce seedlings get planted.

I'm also thinking of joining a CSA. (Community Supported Agriculture) At the start of the season, you buy a share of a local farm, and then each week you get a portion of the produce. An Amish farmer that I've bought from in the past seems to be offering it this year. Of course there is no website of phone to check on the prices, I'll have to write or stop by.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Now I need a stress test

Heard the phone ringing as I was putting the kids to bed, but decided to ignore it and let the machine pick it up. I hear a mumbley, kind of southern voice and think it's the insurance agent getting back to us. (Still waiting to finish a claim on damaged roof tiles from Christmas, but the roof just saw the light of day after two months under snow.)

Then I had to go downstairs because Claire needed to go potty, so I begin listening to the message and I just can't comprehend any of it. I keep waiting for a reference to snow or roof, but instead the only thing that stands out clearly is "stress test" before the message wraps up. So I hit replay, and this time I realize it's from Dan's doctor and he seems to be implying that he's just gotten test results from another doctor, that things look good, but he wants to do a stress test. WHAT? HUH? WTF?

I managed not to panic immediately, and instead begin a threatening dialogue in my head to yell at Dan for not telling me that he had some kind of medical emergency. (Chest pains? Stroke from Claire stressing him out?) I decide that waiting an hour for him to come home may kill me before I have a chance to kill him, so I called him at work even though it the dinner hour on a Friday night....and learn that he's just as confused as I am, he hasn't been to the doctor in months. But neither of us are as confused as the Doctor who dialed the wrong number on a Friday night.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our Garden, version 2.0

Our garden was pretty much a failure last year. We were overly ambitious, and poor planners. A bad combo. And then the weeds took over. We did get some good squashes for Dan to turn in soup, and one pumpkin that survived a late frost to fulfill it's purpose as a jack o'lantern. The other successes were the tomato plants that my mother-in-law gave us, although we practically had to use a machete to get through the weeds to get to it.

But, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. So I'm looking at a planting calendar to see what seeds need to get started this month. Lettuce, collard greens, cabbage. Brussel sprouts and Broccoli. We have limited space to grow seeds, so I'll have to be picky about what we plant.

I'd also like to spruce up a flower bed I started. The bulbs I planted two falls ago came up in a small, sporadic display in the spring. We need to add more perennials and some other plants that will bloom later in the summer.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Older kids are mean

Nathan's on vacation from Kindergarten this week. Yesterday he got a good break from daycare when a friend's mom picked him up for a few hours. But today, he fell under the thrall of one of the older kids who he only sees on vacation weeks. This child not only forced him to be in some kind of "stupid" club, but also talked so much about monster, vampires and ghosts that Nathan is now afraid of having nightmares tonight. Grrrrrrr.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My good deed for the day

Zeppo & Sprite's first home, the Potsdam Humane Society, is trying to win a contest to get a makeover. If you have pets and want to join ZooToo, please vote for them this month. It's much easier then sitting on a roof to raise money for them.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tentative Summer Vacation Plans

I officially have 10 days off from work, starting July 11 through July 20, to go to my High School Reunion. The question now becomes, how to divvy this time up between family, friends and fun and not be totally wiped out by the end.

Question 1 - Should I press for a family reunion the same weekend as the High School Reunion, even if that means everyone gets a bit short-changed on the visit? Or do I suggest a family get-together the first weekend, and spend the intervening week camping or in Vermont?

Question 2 - Who can watch the kids while I'm at the reunion?

Question 3 - Will Dan's friend's all find out he's a bachelor for the week and take him out drinking every night.

Question 4 - Are other friends going to be in town for the same week, or will we only see eachother at the reunion?

Question 5 - Do I finally meet Dave and Mark and Hadley and Aidric?

Thoughts. Comments. Advice.........

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pulling teeth

I've often said that getting Dan to communicate things is like pulling teeth. Today Nathan gave me a demonstration of the ways he might take after his Dad. It's amazing that he can talk non-stop, and then be so uncommunicative when I actually have questions for him.

Me: Hey, you lost a tooth. Did you lose it at Kindergarten or the Daycare.
Him: Kindergarten
Me: Where?
Him: The nurses office.
Me: The nurses office? Was it bleeding so they sent you there?
Him: No.
Me: Was it so wiggly that they sent you there for the nurse to pull it.
Him: No, I was already there.
Me: Huh?
Him: I was wiggling it while waiting in line.
Me: Waiting in line for what?
Him: To get my head checked.

So, to go along with the tooth I thought he pulled but that actually fell out on his pillow, and the tooth that Claire knocked out, we now have the tooth that he pulled out while waiting to get his head checked for Lice. Fun times.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Cards

Just so you know, I'm slashing my Christmas card list this year. I just don't have the time/money for my usual 40-50 cards to everyone. If you're tech savvy enough to be reading this, it means you probably aren't getting a card. But on the flip side, you know A LOT more about my life and have seen many, many more photos of the kids, so hopefully that's an even trade. I'll try to get a better e-mail card out in a few days. Sorry.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Concert

Nathan had his Christmas concert yesterday. Here's one song, the rest are up on Youtube.

I really must remember to get there early and bring the tripod next time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hockey Mania

Nathan started hockey a few weeks ago. It's been a learning experience for both of us. On the first day, I forgot his stick, so he starting crying when everyone else started practicing with the puck and we left instead. I also flubbed the uniform assembly, by putting his kneepads on outside of pants with nothing over them. But I'm learning. I even found a youtube video that showed how to wrap his stick in tape so that it'd be easy to pick up with gloves on. I had one awful moment when I had to be a mean, threatening mommy to get him on the ice because he was feeling shy. But I knew that once he got out there, he'd have fun.

He's learning too. From the first day they've been drilling kids on stopping, getting to their knees and back up, and parallel turns. We're a month into things and they're doing work on passing and controlling the puck. The kids are between five & seven, some are in their second year, but most just had basic skating skills. Nathan has been skating well, but he doesn't know how to hold the stick. We think that although he's finally settled into being righty for writing, that he may be a lefty for sports. So Dan keeps showing him how to hold his stick for a lefty, but then the coaches keep switching it around on the ice. The picture below has him holding it completely wrong, but he's about to score a goal, so that's cool.

This weekend, the kids got to do a little show at the period break of the Clarkson U Men's game. We went on Friday with Papa and Clair in tow. Unfortunately, Clarkson's method for revving up the crowd before the game is to blow a giant train-like whistle as they introduce the starting line-up, with a noise assist by the pep band. Claire immediately went into hysterics, and her wail "I want my blankie" could be heard across the stadium in the silence before Au Canada started. I managed to get her into the lobby and calmed down, and cajoled her back into the stadium a few minutes before Nathan's show started, when Clarkson had the temerity to score and that fricken-fracken whistle blew again. She was able to calm down enough to watch Nathan, but as further proof of my bad luck, I discovered the camera had gotten too cold in the car during dinner, and wouldn't work to film the event. Oh well.
We had a second chance on Saturday. This time I left Claire with the grandparents, and we had fun watching the game for awhile too. I could even explain most of the rules to Nathan, and he loved it when the puck skimmed the glass right in front of us. He's decided Clarkson is his favorite team, which could be a problem with Dan who's been a St. Lawrence fan all his life. And here's the video of him skating around the arena and not coming anywhere near the puck for two minutes. He's #14. (There is a second #14 with striped socks who I started to follow, Nathan just has blue pants on)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Eighties are back

Can't believe that it's almost time for my 20 year high school reunion. The planners have started a facebook page and people have been posting old photos. The girls all have big hair and the boys have mullets and feathered bangs. I know that we're supposed to look worse as we age, but I'd bet that everyone's profile pictures look much better then the yearbook photos.

For now, I'm just struggling to remember anyone beyond the six friends I've kept in contact with over the years. There should be at least 40 people that I had regular contact with in band, class or drama club. And a slightly large group that my friends knew from other classes or teams. But out of a class of 240, that still leaves a lot of unknowns. Help!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yes we carve

Dan made this from a template at Yes we Carve!!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On with the snow

It's October. Not December.

The power was out from 9:30 pm yesterday to 6:00 pm today. And our lilac tree is probably unsalvageable. There's really nothing else to say. Except it's only OCTOBER!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Into the Leaves

Sorry the ending is so abrupt, the steadicam didn't like being thrust into the pile.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall day

I let myself get buried too. What a treat for the senses to be surrounded by the feel and smell of dry leaves. Plus, it was in the seventies today, so that's an even better treat.

Got the other tooth out finally. I'm teaching him "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, because he sounds funny with his new lisp. The new teeth have already broken through, so he should be all set soon.

i think the kids were playing a bit of CSI. Claire stuffed her doll in the branches, then covered it with leaves. Nathan had stolen my camera away, and he took the crime scene photos as they recovered the body. This is why we needed to add parental controls to the Tivo.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Claire's got a mean left hook

Nathan was energetically showing us his stop, drop and roll skills when he rolled right into Claire. Somehow in the tangle of limbs, she hit him in the face and knocked out his loose tooth. What a fun story to share.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Dora the Explorer

After this haircut, it seemed obvious that Claire should be Dora for Halloween. Would you believe I was able to find Orange shorts at this time of year. All praise Wal-Mart!!! And they were only a buck. Somewhere in the house is a bracelet we made to complete the outfit. And I love that almost everything will be used again, except for the orange shorts. They're a bit much.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Photo dump

September is about new schedules and new schools and no time for blogging. So here's some pics instead.

Family hike on Labor Day weekend to a waterfall in the 'Daks.

Waiting for the bus the first day of Kindergarten.

On the bus.....

Stuffing scarecrows at the Harvest Festival.

Birthday party for Brittany the pig. (the candles are carrots)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dream a little dream for me

If someone had asked me during the long job hunt last year:
"Amy, what would be your dream job?"
I would have responded:
"I'd like to work in Payroll/HR for a big company. Not doing the hiring and counseling stuff, but managing benefits, keeping the paychecks accurate, maintaining the payroll records. I liked doing that in D.C., although the three unions and weekly payroll was sometimes stressful. But where, oh where, is there a job like that in the sparsely populated North Country?"

This week, there is an opening at my bank with a job description that pretty much matches everything I want to do. Every single thing listed in the "Major Responsibilities" is something that I already have experience in.

There are some obstacles though. It's a good paygrade, which means that everyone who's been putting in time as Tellers or in Data Entry will be interested. And technically, they're only looking for one year of experience in accounting/HR. So many people will meet the minimum qualifications. I would be very doubtful if there's anyone with as much Payroll experience as me, but someone with a little experience who's been with the company longer may get a chance to ahead of me. So I'm trying to relax about it and not start cleaning out my cubicle yet. But I really, really, really want it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Political links

I'm trying to take the high road and not spend much time on the Uber-liberal Daily Kos, but I have to thank them for pointing out this poster.

Other sites I can't stop visiting are:
538 -An excellent site on polls. Even better now that I can look at the electoral map without cringing.
Mudflats -a political blog from someone who follows Alaska politics
Comics Curmudgeon on Wonkette -fun with Editorial cartoons!
TPM and Huffington Post - also ultra-liberal, but I can't resist.
Wake-up -Dan's spot for ranting
I was also sucked into a massive post on Metafilter with 5000 comments and hundreds of links that went up the day of Palin's selection. I won't link to it, just cause it's taking a few minutes to load at this point. But it was an incredible time waster for about two weeks.

Plus, I'm tuned into XM's POTUS channel every day. Although they have a Republican strategist on every morning, and I sometimes have to attack the radio to turn it off. I try to hear their side, but there always comes a point when I can't stomach the lies/smears/contempt for my intelligence any longer.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Donovan's review

The review of Dan's new restaurant was in the paper today. They haven't posted it online yet, but here's my favorite snippet.
"Upscale" doesn't have to mean "intimidating". The restaurant has a relaxed look and feel, a professional yet personable wait staff and a chef who definately knows what he's doing.

Applewood bacon-wrapped filet of pork was exceptional, with a smooth, smoked flavor, moistened with a sauce of caramelized onions. It was served with fried mac and cheese, an updated preparation of an old favorite, absolutely complementing the dish.

New York Strip - It was a generous portion of top-quality meat, cooked perfectly and topped with brandy mushroom sauce. An interesting and yummy side, a piece of potato pie made with bacon, cheddar and scallion, was a nice touch.

I need to congratulate Donovan and Dana for getting everything right. Dan's been so much happier since he started working there, but he's really going to be flying high after getting this public praise. 4 1/2 forks out of five. Great job!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Imagine you're a jury in a John Grisham novel. The Prosecutor has just unleashed a tirade that seems to damn the defendant, only to have the judge rule that it's all inadmissible. And of course, you, as a juror, are told to forget everything you've just heard. Yeah, right.

That's how this Palin thing feels for me now. Since Friday night I've been caught up in reading every detail or rumor that's been dredged up. But today, I gave myself a big slap on the head to remind me that "Hello, I'm a liberal feminist. What Palin CHOOSES to do during her pregancy is none of my business. How she decides to balance her family responsibilies and her job are none of my business. If I'm going to laud Biden for not quitting his job over increased family responsibilities, then I can't expect Palin to turn down a once in a lifetime opportunity just because of a messy family life."

That's my public opinion. How I feel in private is another matter. And I probably won't be able to stop trying to work out if the Religious Right's public statements of support may be different from the private thoughts they'll have in the voter's booth. They tend to not be as enlightened about feminist issues as me.

That said, here is a long list of reasons that Palin is bad for women, bad for our country and just a horrible, horrible choice.

Wants to have schools teach abstinence only.
Wants schools to teach creationism.
Tried to fire a librarian for not banning books.
Supported the bridge to Nowhere.
Supported indicted Senator Ted Stevens.
She continually injects God into Government.
She doesn't believe that human activity causes global warming.

You know there's more than that. I can't even imagine how much more will come out in the next few days. But I'm going to try very, very, very hard to NOT make this a big election about small things.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Were you in it just for me?

Very distracted during Palin's speech. All I could think about was how much she looked and sounded like Tina Fey.

She had me for a few minutes with her baby, and her "Hockey Mom" line. But I'd be really bummed if the first female president was a Republican. And I'd be furious if it was a woman who was anti-choice, pro-creationism, anti-gay and a lifetime NRA member.

I'm also a bit disgusted about the media playing up the fact that she has a down syndrome child as "proof" of her Pro-life credentials. I'm not sure where to direct my anger about that, because I don't know if it's really her promoting the connection or just the media.

Just tell me that the men and women of this country who were excited about Hillary's run aren't gullible enough to think that Palin's a good second choice. She and McCain are against everything that Hillary stands for.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Frozen River

I don't get to the movies much. But I'm intrigued by the fact that the Sundance Grand Jury winner for drama was set near where I live. So if anyone does decide to see Frozen River, you'll get a pretty good glimpse of the snow and cold that's waiting for me this winter.