Sunday, October 8, 2017

Apple Picking.......and more!

One of my absolutely most favorite days of the year is Apple Picking Day!  When I had a preschool program, I took the kids Apple Picking on their first field trip every year.  And now, it's become a wonderful tradition to take our oldest grand daughter every year.   Our local apple farm closed a couple years ago, so we had to find a new one.   Cider Hill Farm was recommended to us, and I was quite pleased with the place.

Emily and I are ready to roll!



You begin with a wagon ride to bring you up a big hill to where the apples are located.   Since it's later in the season the apples were, as we suspected they would be, already picked at the bottoms of the trees.  So Emily had to use any means necessary to get the apples up high in the trees.






We picked mostly Cortlands because we love them both to eat and to make pies and apple crisp.
Munching on an apple while picking is permitted!



Thank goodness for the wagon ride back down because those apples were Heavy!!!


Emily said she already had a couple of  big pumpkins at home but she'd like to pick out a small one.   She chose one with a big stem, so she can paint it to look like her favorite animal.....a Narwhal!


I had to re-create the pumpkin picture that I try to do every year.  This year she was a bit too big to sit on any of the pumpkins!


As usual, I had to have some apple cider donuts.   While I was in the bakery, I picked up a whoopie pie for Hubby and and some chocolate chip cookies for Emily.  Add a jug of cold apple cider, and we were in business!  


When I asked Emily if she still wanted to come to our house to make some apple pie, I was very happy to hear her say, "Of course! That's the best part of the day!"

She really loves using the apple peeler/corer/slicer.   She took great delight in going as fast as she could to create as much juice as possible!


And when it came to rolling out the dough.....the more flour the better!!


Last year we tried to make a tie-dye pie but the colors all mixed together and it looked pretty bad.  This year, we decided to go a different way.


We made different colored dough, and Pepere taught her how to weave a pattern on the top crust.




Sometimes it takes four hands!


And.........ta da!


While the pies were baking, Hubby and Emily had a chance to play some music together.  Emily played Pepere's Ukulele while he played either guitar or piano.  She played her new favorite, "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You."  And Pepere took her upstairs to listen to an Elvis recording of that song.



Meanwhile, Memere volunteered to clean up the kitchen....not an easy task with these two messy bakers!!



Finally it was time for the pie to come out of the oven!
We were glad that the colors held even after the pie was baked.


And Emily enjoyed her first taste of apple pie!  She never wanted to try it before....but she loved it!


Such a great day and a great way to spend time with our beautiful grand daughter!












Saturday, October 7, 2017

Topsfield Fair!!


I must admit, after the debacle we had at the other fair-that-shall-not-be-named, I was a little worried about going to the Topsfield Fair.......even though we'd been there many times without a problem.

Hubby and I took the day off so we could go during the week.  Hubby has a buddy whose house is right behind the fairgrounds and creates a parking lot on his lawn at fair time every year.   We left the house to get to the fair just when it opened at 10am.   And it all went perfectly!   No traffic, and we were only the second ones to park in his buddy's lot.   A very short walk to the back entrance, and we were into the fair!


Hubby and I like just wandering around, seeing whatever we come upon. Then later in the day we check the map and go see whatever we missed.

We had some fun in the Pig House, although all the baby piggies were still snoozing.


In the cattle barn were a couple of giant steer.   This picture does not convey how massive he is.



We got to pat this little darling.


I loved this fuzzy faced sheep!


Hubby gives a little sheep some lovin'.


We also got over to see all the bunnies and poultry.  The Fair had these tags you could get by finding the "7 Wonders at the Topsfield Fair."   We visited the Beekeeping building as well and should have gotten a ribbon for finding the Queen in the hive!



The giant sand sculpture.  Despite the appearance of some black clouds, we never got more than a few drips of rain all day.


This stage was a lot of fun!  This performer had all the kids up on the stage to bang on drums.  Later in the day was another man playing all children's songs.   This is the stage our friends, The Kelly Girls, will be playing on this Sunday!


Of course, there were plenty of games to be played.   We didn't indulge, but Hubby had me take some photos of the colorful displays.


Then it was time for the pig race!  It's always a different name, but Hubby and I love this very corny part of the fair!   I couldn't resist these two little boys who got some pig snouts to join in the fun.


These were called "Swifty's Racing and Swimming Pigs".


The pig handler is holding a tiny 5 week old pig.  This little guy did not race, but he did swim!


It was pretty hard to get a photo because those pigs are fast!


Naturally, eating the amazing food is a big part of going to the fair.  Hubby always loves some Polish food.....stuffed grapeleaves, potato pancake, etc.   It's a good thing Hubby didn't take photos of everything I had at the fair!  That would have been a lot of pictures!  I consider Fair Day to be Eat Anything You Want Day, so I had an Apple Cider Donut and cold Apple Cider, Fried Dough, a Quarter Rack of Ribs, Homemade French Fries, and an Ice Cream Cone.   We also bought some Kettle Corn to take home.


We saw some really good musicians.



I always love the Craft Barn.  Beautiful quilts and lots of other art including paintings, photos, sewing, knitting, stained glass, rug hooking, etc.


These are some of Hubby's favorite guys.  They are called Boots and Britches and they have an Old-Time "RV" they bring around to the fairs, then they sing some of the old standard songs.   They have some great stories and are very entertaining!



Finally, it was time to go.  Hubby and I don't go on any of the rides, but the gate we leave through goes through the Midway.  It was actually kind of cool to see all the colorful rides with the lights flashing and hear the people screaming!



Thankfully, it was a wonderful day at the fair.  With this successful outing, I'll be looking forward to going to the fair for many years to come!


Monday, October 2, 2017

TheTerrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Birthday Adventure.

SUBTITLE - THE TOP TWELVE WAYS THE DEERFIELD FAIR STUNK!

Our grandson Noah turned 9 this month.   As per our usual, we wanted to take him out for a birthday adventure instead of buying a gift.   Hubby thought he'd absolutely love a demolition derby.  So we checked out what might be in our area.   It seemed that all the derbies were at the Fall Fairs, so we checked around to see what might work for us.

The Spencer Fair, which is in central MA, had one.  We planned on going, and Hurricane Harvey put the cabosh on that.    Topsfield Fair had one (this is the fair Hubby and I usually go to) but we had a birthday party we had to attend on that day.  So that left the Deerfield Fair, which we'd never been to.

So we made plans to go pick up Noah and his little sister Elsie (age 5) around 10 am, figuring we could enjoy the fair for a few hours and then see the demolition derby at 4pm.   We left our house at 9am, as the kids are an hour away from us.  We left the kids' house at 10:30, anticipating getting to the fair around 11:30.

1.   When we were almost to the exit on Route 101, the traffic was backed up onto the highway.  At this point I said to Hubby, "This is going to be a nightmare."   And it was. We sat on that road, the only road leading into the fair, for THREE HOURS.   

2.   Along that route I had to pee so badly, I actually got out of the car and went and pee'd in the woods!  I haven't done that for at least 15 years. (and hope to never have to do it again.)

3.  We got to the fair at A QUARTER TO THREE!  and of course, had to park a 1/2 mile from the gate.  

When we entered the park I asked if we had to buy extra tickets for the demolition derby, as I hadn't seen anything on the website.   I was told no, we didn't.  I asked  how early we should get there to get a seat and she said, "About a 1/2 hour".   

We quickly whisked the kids through a couple of things (some sheep and a big pumpkin, and luckily, some construction trucks you could climb on.)  We grabbed some "Fried Dough Blobs"  ($7) to share and went down to the grandstands.   (3:15).

4.  They had ONE grandstand one ONE side of the demo derby area, and it was already filled with people!   You could see empty spots, but every time you went near one we were told the seats were being "saved".

We stood in front of the fence but knew that when the derby started we'd have to move or the people in the seats would crucify us. Hubby noticed a couple of  people standing around the other side and went to scout it out.  He called my phone and said there was a small area where we could see the derby, so I grabbed the kids and hiked over there.

5.  When I got there, I realized we were OUTSIDE the gate, but it would have to do. We stationed ourselves in front of the fence with a few other people to wait the 15 minutes for the derby to start. (3:45)

6.  Surprise!  They announced that the KIDS derby would start at 4:30 and the real derby would start at 5!!   WTF?  The derby is starting an hour later than it was supposed to?   By this time, my patience was wearing very thin  (I really have NO patience at all!).  The kids were hungry so Hubby sent me to get a pizza.

7.  I hiked over to the pizza wagon, and had to wait 15 minutes for a whole pizza which cost $25.  (to be fair, I expected outrageous food prices.)   I did NOT expect to be feeding my grand-babies pizza while standing in our spot in the parking lot against a fence waiting for the derby to start!

8.  Finally, the kids derby started.  Little kids in electric jeeps smacking into each other......as the guy said, "The future of our derby contestants."    I felt bad because the parents of one of the kids was standing outside the fence with us because they couldn't get in to sit in the grandstand!

9.  This one is the biggy, folks.   Just as the regular derby was going to start, some A**HOLES came and stood right in front of us, inside the fence.   So I started. " Excuse me, could you please move."   Nothing.   "EXCUSE ME, we can't see."   Nothing.   "HEY!   Would you guys move?  We've been standing here two hours and we want to see the derby!"  One guy turns around, looks at us insolently, holds up his arm so we can see an orange bracelet, and says, "I paid to get in here."   I.  LOST. IT.
I went absolutely crazy.   "MOVE!  MOVE NOW!  HEY GUY IN THE BLUE HAT! PLEASE MOVE!  WE HAVE LITTLE KIDS HERE!  HEY GUY IN THE RED COAT!  PLEASE MOVE!  HEY GIRL WITH THE BLACK JACKET! PLEASE MOVE!  WE HAVE LITTLE KIDS! WE'VE BEEN WAITING TWO HOURS!    And I just kept on and on and on.  When Noah started screaming at them to move, and then started crying, I really felt bad, but it just spurred me on.   Finally, I heard, "M'am,  you need to stop."  And behind me was a cop.  So I unleashed on HIM.   "WE WAITED THREE HOURS ON THE ROAD TO GET IN HERE, AND NOW WAITED TWO HOURS OUT HERE TO SEE THIS DERBY!"   And on and on and on.  But I finally shut up because I was afraid he'd drag me out of there in front of my grandkids!

10.  Needless to say we saw a tiny bit of the derby.  After the first "heat" we left.   The joy had certainly gone out of the day, and we were all tired, discouraged, and just done with the whole thing.

11.   And then, as Noah predicted, we could not find our car in the parking lot.  In my zeal to get the kids into the fair after such a long ride, I hadn't checked to see the signpost that would tell us what row we parked in.  We wandered around and around, ( remember the Seindfeld episode?) and finally split up.  I walked all the way back to the fair, found the gate we came in, and tried to re-trace the way we'd come in and I finally found the car.  I called Hubby and instructed him to go back up to the fair and pick a gate, call me back with the gate letter, and I would pick him up.

12.  At this point, everyone was coming out as I was trying to get back in.   I finally found Hubby and the kids.   And then...........leaving the fair was twice as bad as coming in!  We literally sat INSIDE the fairgrounds parking lot for AN HOUR AND A HALF  inching our way bit by bit.  We were on a main aisle and we watched as hundreds of cars poured out of the side aisles and cut in to get into the main aisle. 

We drove the kids the hour to their home (9:30pm), then headed back to ours.   I had been so furious that I hadn't eaten a thing all day.  Hubby graciously stopped at McDonald's at my request where I ordered a quarter-pounder, large fries and chocolate shake.  (I can count on one hand the times I've eaten McDonalds in the past ten years!)  

Hubby and I should have known better.   We avoid these things like the plague, and try to do all our sight-seeing, traveling and visiting in the off-season.   I have no idea why we didn't see all the bright red flags saying "DON'T GO!"   We were so intent on giving our grandson something fun to do on his birthday we ignored all the signs.  Common sense would say that the Deerfield Fair should work harder at the traffic problems, and possibly pre-sell Derby tickets so there is a limit to the people who go to see it.   But that's their problem.....I'll never go near that fair again!

We've offered our grandson another birthday adventure to make up for this very horrible day.  I hope he takes us up on it, because the birthday adventure is supposed to give him, (and us!) fun memories of good times together.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tag's Birthday Adventure


For Hubby's birthday next month, I got him tickets at Ogunquit Playhouse to see "Heartbreak Hotel".   This play followed the story of Elvis beginning with when he was discovered by Sun Records.    The Producer of this play was the same one who did "Million Dollar Quartet" which we saw last year at the same theater.  Both shows were outstanding!   Live Music, unbelievable singing and beautiful sets and story.


Any visit to the coast of Maine has to involve a trip to the Marginal Way.  We have been there many times over the years, although this year we've had such a busy summer...this was our first visit!

Ogunquit Beach viewed from the Marginal Way


It was an extremely hot day but that didn't stop us from walking along the Marginal Way from Ogunquit Beach to Perkins Cove and back.


Being along the ocean is so relaxing and satisfying.   



Plus there were some absolutely gorgeous flowers along the way.




When we reached Perkins Cove we stopped for an ice cream and then headed right back to be sure to be at the theater on time for the show!


We had a wonderful time at the show!!


And then, again, a trip to Maine would not be complete without some seafood!
We went to the Fisherman's Catch last year and really loved it!   The Captain's Seafood Platter for two was more than enough for Hubby and me!


And finally, we lucked out because our good friend Elizabeth was playing her amazing music out on the deck of Misto in Kittery, which just happened to be on the way home!


A perfect end to a fantastic day with the love of my life!