Billy Goatin’ Around Great Falls

54090010Last month my friends and I took a trip out to Great Falls accompanied by my cheap little fisheye and wide angle film cameras. They ended up capturing the spirit of the hike rather well- it was a pretty grey and somber day, but the falls were still beautiful and we were all in very high spirits knowing this may be one of our last opportunities to hike before it really started feeling like winter.

The river was the lowest I had ever seen it, and we took full advantage of that. It seemed like we were doing more rock climbing than hiking- Cameron took us off the trail and out to the middle of the river where he had climbed to a few weeks prior to our trip. Normally when the river is high you cannot get there because of how strong the current is, but we made it, found an awesome bench and had some food before climbing back up to the main path. We ended up finishing the entire trail before dark and ended the day with a stop at this little french bakery not far from the falls.

It was a great day and the climbing kept us warm and energized… until we made it to the car and the sore muscles and tired arms and legs started to set in.

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– Seana

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What I’ve Been Up To

Hello!

Fall is overdrive time at the farm. The lack of posts recently has been from all the prep work we’ve been doing to get ready for festival time. I have not had a chance to make it to the garden in a while, but I have been doing tons of painting and walking around the grounds before opening weekend. So, I wanted to share some of my photos from the past few months to give a few snapshots of my day-to-day happenings.

Enjoy!

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– Seana

Cool Weather Camping at Bull Run

IMG_4011It is finally starting to feel like fall, so Brian and I decided to take advantage of the cooler weather and drive up the road to Bull Run.

It had been a long while since the last time I was there, and I was pleasantly surprised! The camp sites were placed far back in the woods – much farther than I remembered – so there was no trace of Northern Virginia development. There were tons of open spots to choose from, and paying only $4 more, we stayed at a site with outlets! Hurray for sleeping on blow-up mattresses!

IMG_4019IMG_4015The weather was beautiful the entire day and we had the perfect amount of wood to keep a fire going at dark. We were lulled to sleep by the sounds of cicadas and crickets and woke in the morning to squirrels munching on acorns outside our tent- all of the sounds of fall.

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The next time I feel the need for a quick camping trip, Bull Run will definitely be on my list of places to return to.

– Seana

Pumpkins are Best for Their Seeds

We have attempted many times to grow pumpkins in our garden, but the only two types that seem to do well are gourds and miniature pumpkins (the bigger ones get mushy way too fast).

That being said, we still get pumpkins each year from Cox Farms, or if we’re feeling lazy, from the supermarket. Brian and I got two after our visit to the farm this year, brought them back to school, and decided to carve them tonight. We have been wanting to cook pumpkin seeds for months now, and after getting a taste of Flo’s and Briana’s yummy seeds the other night, we decided the sooner the better.

We wanted to get a little creative with our cooking because the only seeds we have ever eaten had been plain and salted. I found that if you look online, there are tons of different recipes you can try! We made regular salted seeds, seeds covered in old bay, seasoned salt seeds, and cinnamon/brown sugar seeds. We loved them all, except we would probably do without the seasoned salt the next time we bake them. But they were delicious, especially when they were still warm.

Feel free to share any of your recipes, but here are a few of our favorites:

Drunken Pumpkin Seeds
Cinnasweet Pumpkin Seeds
Maryland Pumpkin Seeds (with Old Bay!)
Spiced Maple Pumpkin Seeds
Original Salty Pumpkin Seeds

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– Seana

Gardeners Have the Sunniest Smiles

Today was a great day! Rachel, Brian and I were up and at the farmers market by 9 a.m. this morning. We showed Rachel around the market for the first time and then charged up on breakfast sandwiches and homemade cider before our ride down to the property. She loved it, as did we.

We arrived a little before my mom and dad because they stopped off to get fresh apples and tomatoes, so we waited around and took in the nice weather.

It was the first time they had seen Rachel since she started at JMU this year so we caught up for a while once they got there, and then we headed out to the garden while my dad started on the grass seed. We are trying something different this year- garlic. My mom bought the seeds which look like miniature onion seeds, and we planted a row or two of them next to the onions we planted the previous week. We’ll see how they do.

My sunflowers, although huge, were a pathetic site with their brown leaves curling and their large flowers falling over upon themselves. I got the snips and chopped them down. We tried some of the seeds, but they tasted very bitter and either needed to go much longer, dry out, or have lots and lots of salt added to them. That’s something I really need to research by next spring.

We dug up my pepper plants that were now so top-heavy they were lying on the ground, and took the last few peppers off and put them in bags. We pulled a bunch of green beans and I think Rachel, Brian and I are going to make green bean casserole with them this week. My basil is still kicking, so I grabbed another bagful of that as well.

After the garden work, we started on the grass seed and then headed in for lunch. My aunt showed my mother these new things called “apple pears” from Costco, so she cut one of those up, and it was the strangest thing! It had the texture and consistency of a pear, but it tasted like an apple! I am still not sure whether I liked it or not.

The grass seed program consisted of our regular dirt/seed/hay procedure and we also dug out zoysia grass plugs and relocated them to the front yard. Mid-way through all of this, my mom yelled out and got everyone’s attention. She had found a little baby box turtle crawling through the grass at her feet. It was the cutest thing, and we couldn’t believe no one had stepped on it.

The last time we found a turtle that small had to have been when I was only 8-10 years old. We have a photo of my dad holding it up to his glasses to give it size perspective, so we had him recreate the picture. The baby turtle was such a rare site, we took a bunch of pictures, and I just didn’t want to let it go. It must have distracted us for a good hour or so.

That turtle was faster than it looked, and when it started sprinting away from us we decided it was time for us to stop keeping it from its journey to wherever it was going, and we put it on the edge of the woods where it would be out of the way of the mower and our big feet.

We finished up the day with more grass seed, said goodbye, and headed back to JMU. The three of us made the Shuchart’s yummy taco ring (sponsored by my dad) for dinner, and then we took Rachel to Kline’s for the first time! It was a nice relaxing day away from school, which I needed after such a busy/stressful week.

Until next weekend,

– Seana