Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A morning spent on the farm...

Gavin and I spent the morning at Indian Ladder Farms picking blueberries. There are lots of U-pick farms around here so I decided it would be a fun thing for me and the little man to go do. I definitely consider myself a city girl, through and through. Yet, there is something very compelling about farm life. The quiet in the air, the simplicity of the lifestyle, working the land to produce a bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits- I can definitely see the appeal.
We started our morning at the little market where they have an assortment of gifts and specialty food items. Gavin picked out some little stuffed farm animals- he wanted them all but eventually settled on a pig and a pony. I just can't help myself- he looked so cute holding them in the store. Here he is with his little guys - I couldn't convince him to leave them in the car while we picked berries so they eventually wound up a little wet and muddy.
Nothing like a tacky, plastic deer to amuse a toddler...
The farm is absolutely beautiful- lots of gardens and ponds. We had a nice walk through the field, making our way to the blueberry bushes. Gavin enjoyed hearing the farm animals in the background- roosters, sheep, etc. He thought the sheep were particularly funny.

Here are the blueberry bushes- such a pretty thing!
The pickings were a little slim today- as you can see many of the berries are not quite ripe yet. We were able to find enough ripe ones to fill a quart- just took us a little longer than it would on a good harvest day. I had a hard time explaining to Gavin that he could only pick the blue ones...
This was just too funny- the fields were really soaking wet from a big rainstorm so it made walking pretty difficult for Gavin- he was not amused and eventually made me carry him the rest of the way and back to the car.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Drizzle, Soup, and Examiner.com

I understand that Seattle has gone over a month without rain. Albany, on the other hand, has more than made up for your loss. The difference with our rain, though, is that we end up with 2-3 inches of rain in just an hour or two. Torrential downpours, is how they are forecasted. I enjoy thunderstorms and how dark the sky gets suddenly. You'll be watching t.v. and the bottom of the screen will have an announcement regarding imminent thunderstorms, "Go inside immediately, being struck by lightening is one of the largest causes of death by natural disaster." Thanks for the warning, but if I'm reading this on my t.v., wouldn't that imply that I'm already inside? Kidding aside, the storms are pretty impressive and flash floods are extremely dangerous. Our street floods pretty quickly so I have to really plan my day accordingly.

The other difference with Albany rain is that we have such high humidity here. It's always muggy. It doesn't make much difference if it's 75 or 90 degrees- it's just always sticky. Such a contrast from the dry winters.

Today is extremely wet so I'm going to make Tuscan Bean Soup- I've adapted this from a Silverdale Waterfront Bakery recipe. It's a great soup for summer because it's hearty enough for a meal but not too heavy.

Tuscan Bean Soup

2 T Olive Oil
1 lb Italian Sausage cut into 1/4 in thick slices (I use half hot and half sweet)
1 1/4 cup chopped fennel bulb
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped leeks
1 clove chopped garlic
8 Cups Chicken Broth
1 14-1/2 oz Italian Style Diced Tomatoes
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/4 t oregano
1 19 oz can cannellini beans (rinsed)
1 19 oz can chickpeas(rinsed)

In a 6-quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and saute the sausage over medium heat. Cook sausage until heated through. Remove sausage and drain drippings. Add remaining olive oil, as well as the fennel, onion, and leeks. Saute until softened- about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, pepper, oregano. Cook for 10 minutes longer. Add the beans and bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

As a side note, I also recently started writing for examiner.com. It's a website that gives insider info on all things local. I can't decide if it's hokey or not but I'm an "Albany Day Trips Examiner." I have to write a few articles a week about things to do in the area. I get paid when people read my articles or go to my site. Glorified blog? I'm not sure, but it's a fun hobby at the very least. I have such a good time exploring the area and it's been fun writing about it on this blog. It's got me thinking that writing for a travel or food magazine just might be my dream job. So- you have to start somewhere, right? Here is my website- if you are interested in checking it out.

Of course, it's all about Albany - so you might want to check out the Seattle section. It's actually a fairly informative website.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Day at Historic Congress Park, Saratoga Springs

Tuesday was Adam's last day as an intern and we celebrated by spending the day up in Saratoga Springs. As you know, this is one of our very favorite places to go. We shopped for a little while on Broadway, had lunch and then headed over to Historic Congress Park. The park is the oldest in New York State. It's absolutely beautiful and is filled with historic memorials and mineral springs. And, of course, could anything be cuter than baby ducklings?
Gavin is such an animal lover, as most children are. He was mesmerized by the baby ducks. He had a lot of fun watching them swim around.

This kid could not be anymore of a daddy's boy. It's adorable, yes, but I can't help but be a little jealous! Gavin thought being up on Adam's shoulders was awesome and he giggled the whole way back to the car.