Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
She reads horse encyclopedias for enjoyment and can quote race horse statistics like some kids quote sports trivia. ♥
Last year, one of our stops on our spring adventure was in Saratoga Springs, New York, but racing season had not started yet when we visited the track.
This year she really wanted to visit Belmont Park, Elmont, New York, watch a horse race from the stands, and see where Ruffian was buried in the infield.
Did my husband and I share a small smile that we were going to drive our twelve-year old granddaughter through five states to see the burial site of a legendary race horse? Yes, we did.
But, I have to say we had the absolute best day ever because of her excitement, beautiful Belmont Park, the gorgeous horses, and the friendliness and knowledge of the Belmont staff.
We arrived at Belmont when the gates opened so we could walk around before post time and see as many horses as possible. We checked out all the historical photos and trophies, visited the gift shop, ate our lunch in the stands, and saw some great racing on both turf and dirt.
Ruffian, one of the best know three-year old fillies to ever run with the big boys, broke her leg at Belmont. When the leg broke, she kept on running on three legs. After finally coming to a stop, they performed surgery, but it was unsuccessful. Out of respect for her short but very successful racing career and her big heart, she is buried in the infield under the flag pole with her nose facing the finish line.
In 1997, Belmont started a new tradition in the paddock area where the horses are saddled and paraded by installing 4′ cast iron horses and jockeys. After the Belmont Stakes is won, the jockey is painted with the winning horse’s colors.
I know some may think taking a grandchild to a racetrack is an unusual destination, but in our case we plan our trips around what she wants to see and add in some history. And, Belmont Park certainly has history.
The Belmont Stakes first ran in 1867, is listed as one of the top three racetracks in the US, and is the third leg of the legendary Triple Crown.
There is also plenty of eye candy for a gardener including gorgeous flower beds, wonderful container gardens, beautiful ivy, and the giant white pine in the paddock, which is estimated to be around 300 years old.
Watching the Belmont Stakes last Saturday, seeing the thousands of beautiful people fill the stands, the riders mounting the many spectacular horses in the paddock, and seeing Palace Malace beat Orb and Oxbow, was a real thrill.
When Palace Malace won the 2013 Belmont Stakes, he received the winner’s blanket of 300-400 carnations. The large flowers to make this spectacular blanket were imported from either California or Bogata, Columbia. From this Belmont Stakes blanket of carnations comes the name, “The Run for the Carnations.”
In the paddock area, the statue of Secretariat recognizes his win at the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths competing against four other horses before a crowd of 67,605 on June 9, 1973. Secretariat became the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown.
It has now been 35 years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. Every year, we wait for that special horse to win all three races, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes again.
Adventures with our grandchildren are all fun, but this visit to Belmont Park and then seeing how excited our granddaughter was watching the Belmont Stakes was right up there on our list of best times ever. Do you have a fun trip planned?
If you have a child or grandchild who is into horses including Breyer model horses, they might enjoy my granddaughter’s blog, Horse Daydreamer.
Granddaughter says: I thought it was really cool seeing where so many famous horses had run.
Linked to Family Home and Life Say it Saturday
It’s camping season which means it is time to check out some new camping possibilities.
Cue a chuckle here because you cannot imagine what we have seen by doing this in person instead of online.
A week ago we set out for Milton, NH and found a campground on the water that will be on our list to try this year.
The Town of Milton located on the NH Maine border was incorporated in 1802 and has a current population of approximately 4,000.
During the 19th Century, Milton used water power to provide electricity for shoe factories, sawmills, woolen and felt mills, carriage shop and tannery.
Wool blankets manufactured in Milton were used by Admiral Robert E. Peary on his expedition to the North Pole and Admiral Richard E. Byrd at the Antarctic.
Today, Milton is a quaint little town with a chain of large ponds, boat launch and public beach.
On this last visit, what caught my eye was a small island with a home built on it. When we pulled over to take a photo of the island, I noticed the dam, picnic area and the small town feel to the whole area. Oh, we’re going to have to go back with a picnic lunch.
Many of the wonderful New England mill towns have converted their mills inside to now include residences, offices and businesses. There are wonderful tall ceilings, large beams, and creaky wood floors. The interiors are like a small village with open doors and people chatting with neighbors.
It is a good thing to bring life back into these wonderful buildings with such a strong connection to our past. Now, if only the walls could talk what a history lesson we could enjoy.
Patriots’ Day commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, which were the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, is celebrated every year in Boston.
Schools are closed, the Redsox play, and the renown Boston Marathon is run and celebrated by Massachusetts residents and visitors.
In many cases, running the Boston Marathon requires raising thousands of dollars for charity while the runner works for months or years to get into shape to run the 26 miles.
All along the race route, residents line the road and encourage the runners on while families gather at the finish line to cheer their loved one on as they complete the race.
My family has gathered there twice in the past to cheer my son-in-law on as he crossed that line.
Yesterday as families and friends gathered at the finish line, terrorism struck.
Those of us who live in the Northeast and love Boston are still wondering why. When the investigation is complete, there probably won’t be a logical reason because this type of cowardly attack is not logical.
As adults, we watched the tragedy of 9/11 unfold and lost what was left of our innocence that day. Yesterday, I watched my grandchildren lose theirs.
It always amazes me when the calendar says it is spring, and the reality is it is still winter.
I heard laughter this morning, looked outside and there was my granddaughter sledding on our family made hill. She was getting quite the ride because the snow was crusty.
And, on the other side of the hill my grandson was shooting baskets in the driveway. This was a perfect example of spring and winter doing their yearly dance to see who was leading. At this point, winter-1, spring-0.
While we wait for the snow to melt, the sap is flowing, and we’ll still need to go through mud season to get to gardening season. That sure seems like a long time until I see something green again.
In the meantime, the shop lights will come down from the attic, the rolling shelf will be moved into place, the cover wrapped around it, and the seeds will start their journey to life.
Planting seeds is good for the garden as well as the soul. Let’s face it, there is nothing more fun than watching seeds grow into seedlings then mature into plants that produce a harvest of fresh vegetables or beautiful flowers.
Regardless of the season, I’m a gardener.
I love the smell of soil and compost, dirt under my nails, wet spots on my knees, cap on my head, and gardening shoes that are a disgrace but comfortable. Ah, gardening season – I can hardly wait.
I love Connie and her blog so “yes,” I’d be thrilled.
Connie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, has five children, nine grandchildren, and enjoys a lot of family indoor and outdoor activities.
She also has a couple of unique aspects to her blog that I really like.
Connie maintains a Grandparent Blogger Directory currently listing 52 blogs where you can find a wide variety of interests and skills. There is something there for everyone.
Every Saturday, Connie also hosts Grandparents Say it Saturday where you can link a family post and see what your fellow bloggers are up to.
With Easter a couple of weeks away, finding a basket for our farm kids is easy because we make coiled fabric baskets, and they make beautiful Easter baskets.
Filling them with candy is a challenge though because my grandson is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. There is some candy like Peeps, Gimbals, and Tootsie Roll products we can buy because they have good allergen warnings detailing what they contain.
If you read the back of most Easter candy, you will likely find they contain a generic allergen warning stating it ‘may’ contain or ‘may’ have been manufactured in a facility that ‘may’ have handled peanuts, nuts, etc. It lists everything but the kitchen sink and means we don’t buy it.
Finding chocolate items to include in our baskets is the biggest challenge, and we consider ourselves fortunate that we can buy delicious Sun Cups from Seth Ellis Chocolates which are produced in their nut-free and gluten-free facility in Boulder, Colorado.
They come in three flavors: caramel, mint, and sunbutter with either milk or dark chocolate covering. They can be ordered on-line or picked up at some grocery stores in single or double cup packages. We love them because they are produced in a nut-free environment, taste delicious, and are low in carbohydrates (7-10 carbs per cup).
If you want a beautiful Easter basket for your children or grandchildren that you can use from year to year, take a peek at our line of baskets at 1840 Farm’s Mercantile.
For some high quality chocolate cups to put in your basket, check out Seth Ellis Chocolates. Maybe next year Seth Ellis Chocolates will produce a chocolate Easter Bunny – now that would be something to shout about!
Until there is a chocolate Easter Bunny produced in a peanut-free environment, my daughter will continue to make her beautiful Easter Bunny creations. We especially love the one that drives a tractor.
Farm made, home made or store bought, we hope you have fun filling your Easter baskets.
Linked to Family Home and Life Grandparents Say it Saturday.
Linked to My Turn for Us Freedom Fridays.
If you have a moment in your busy day today, we’d certainly appreciate your vote for Favorite Grandparenting Blog.
We make maple syrup. Why? Well, it is a fun learning experience for the grandkids, and our family is very concerned about the source of our food supply.
We keep hens so we know where our eggs come from, we have dairy goats for a fresh supply of milk, and our vegetable gardens increase every year.
Which would you like your family to enjoy on their pancakes?
Pure maple syrup or
Store brands containing some combination of high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, liquid sugar, water, salt, cellulose gum, salt, molasses, sorbic acid, sodium benzoate, sodium hexametaphosphate, phosphoric acid, potasium sorbate, citric acid, carmel coloring, natural flavors, natural butter flavor, natural maple flavor, artificial maple flavor, or other artificial flavors
We try to adhere to Michael Pollan‘s theory ”Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
And, what is more natural than getting food from a tree in your yard? Sugaring is a wonderful family experience if you want your children or grandchildren to be closer to their food supply and understand the value and cost of the meals prepared for your table.
Collecting sap from maple trees and making maple syrup dates back to the 1600s when the Native American Indians traded maple syrup and maple sugar with the early European settlers.
We are lucky enough to have two very special friends who have a sugarhouse and with their advice and help, this is our second year of tapping our maple trees.
Sugaring season usually starts in late February or early March when the nights are still below freezing but the days are mild.
In order to tap a maple tree, it must be in good health and at least 10-12 inches in diameter. The larger the tree, the more taps it can support.
A 7/16-inch diameter hole, about 3 inches deep is usually drilled about waist-high on the tree. A spile is tapped into the hole and either a bucket with a lid is attached to the spile or plastic tubing is attached and runs through a line system to a central collection site.
Each tap hole can potentially yield up to ten gallons of sap.
Maple sap coming directly from the tree is clear and contains approximately 98% water and 2% sugar.
The water needs to be evaporated so the sap is boiled until it reaches seven and a half degrees above boiling point.
At this point it has become maple syrup and contains approximately 33% water and 67% sugar.
It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup making pure maple syrup fairly expensive in comparison to varieties found at the grocery store.
Sugaring season generally lasts from four to six weeks. When new leaves begin to bud on the trees, it is time to shut down for the year, clean the equipment, plan for the next season, and enjoy your maple syrup harvest.
If you want to try it yourself, and I’d highly recommend it, check out Tap My Trees, where you can find practical information and other families commenting about their sugaring adventures.
For more information about the interesting history of maple syrup, there is the New Hampshire Maple Producers or the Maple Museum, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello has a historical account of how and why he promoted the use of maple sugar over cane sugar.
Grandson (7): It’s fun, and I like eating sugar on snow.
Granddaughter (12): It is interesting but making maple syrup takes a lot longer than you think.
Linked to My Turn For Us Freedom Friday
I remember the fun I had spending a large part of my youth at my grandparents’ New Hampshire farm, Brookside Farm. They had dairy cows, chickens, sometimes a pig or two for meat or a couple of ducks, a huge vegetable garden, and a winding brook running right next to their property.
Now I live on a small, three-generation New Hampshire farm, 1840 Farm. We have Heritage Breed Hens, both regular and bantams, Dwarf Nigerian Goats, a handsome French Angora Rabbit, and our property borders a wetlands area.
I was very proud that my grandparents were farmers. I now feel that same sense of family pride as my daughter follows in their footsteps. My grandfather would have never guessed that we would all live and work at 1840 Farm only about 125 miles directly south from his Brookside Farm.
Besides being a wife, mother, daughter, farmer, and gardener, my daughter is a wonderful writer and was recently published in a new magazine, Popular Farming: Chickens! from the publishers of Hobby Farms Magazine.
She wrote a lead in article for the magazine on Family Farms, and her other article was a detailed story about how we constructed our chicken coop.
I don’t think pride can be measured because to see a picture of my grandfather in a modern magazine while reading her very personal 1840 Farm farming story brought me to tears.
I guess the bottom line is that it is a wonderful thing to feel pride for your loved ones whether past or present.
And, to celebrate all things chickens, I am giving away a tote bag that I embellished with trim from a recycled sheet that we use for our Coiled Fabric Egg Baskets, stitching, and a large pieced chicken pocket.
To enter the drawing, leave a comment below – you can tell me if you have chickens. If you want two entries, leave me a comment on our Facebook Page as well. I’ll pick a random lucky winner on Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Think chickens, fresh eggs and have a great day!
Linked to Katherine’s Corner, Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
If you have a moment in your busy day today, we’d also certainly appreciate your vote for Favorite Grandparenting Blog.