Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CSA Box #1

Today we got our first CSA box.  What does CSA mean?  Community Supported Agriculture.  We've bought a 12-week share in the Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, which means that each week we'll get a box of whatever is being harvested in the local farmers' fields.  This week we got:
  • Ivory Lace Cheese (harvarti style), Hidden Hills Dairy
  • 2 bulbs garlic, Clubhouse Gardens, CF
  • 2# heirloom tomatoes, Nu Way Farm, CF
  • 1.5# prune plums, Dawson’s Orchards
  • 1# green tomatoes, Crighton’s Farm
  • leek bunch, Blue Goose Farm, CNG
  • 2# peaches, Dawson’s Orchard (for real this time!)
  • 2# russet potatoes, Weeping Willow Farm, CF
  • 1.5# eggplant, Matthew’s Farm or Sunny Meadow Farm, CF
Tonight we had a stir fry of the green tomatoes, leeks, garlic added to some red pepper and beet greens that I already had in the refrigerator.  Yum.

still summer

It's still looking very much like summer, even though the mornings can be in the upper 40s or 50s.  I don't see any signs of fall in the foliage.  Here are some photos from our walks in the park this week ...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

three rivers heritage trail bike ride

This is the bike ride that we did today.  Well, sort of.  
We started out at Millvale (up the Allegheny River), the worked our way down the the stadiums and the Carnegie Museum.
 Nice views of the Allegheny River.
 Some good wall art and graffiti.
 Then down through some city neighborhoods ...
 ... and then into the tourist loop.
 Some city views.
 Across a bridge to downtown PGH ...
 Then we lost the bike trail and wandered around under the highway ...
 John thought that he'd find his way back up to the trail this way, but only homeless people back here.
 Ah, a sign ...
 ... showing the way to the Eliza Furnace Trail (what a name!)
 Through downtown ...
 And across another wide and windy river to the South Side of PGH.  When we stopped I noticed the "tattoo" on my leg (John greased my bike up yesterday).
 We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe because we were hungry and couldn't find any other place.  Food was ok, but that's the last time I eat at a Hard Rock Cafe.  We've decided that we are NOT tourists around here any more and don't need to do the touristy things anymore!
Headed back the same way we came.  We were going to take another way, but decided we would save the south side for another day.
 Lots of people out today.  It was warmer than I expected, but with a pretty steady breeze.  Maybe some far reaching effects of the hurricane, Irene.
 We've decided to explore more the "quirky" neighborhoods of Pittsburgh and stay away from the popular spots.  But at least we know our way around on bikes a little better.  John says we went 14 miles today.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

North Park Bike Adventure

For our first bike adventure, we chose "North Park", a large sprawling park with a designated bike path all the way around a lake.  It's about 10 miles away.  John rigged the bikes on the back of my car with a rack he found in the dumpster.  It worked! (Having engineer husband is handy!)  We have a real bike rack ordered that should be here next week.

This is John all decked out in his new helmet before the ride.
This is me after the ride.  I opted not to buy a bike helmet because I maintain that I am not going to ride my bike in any scary situations (like in heavy traffic or over a cliff).  Besides, we have an extra helmet at home in Florida and what do we need with 3 helmets.  If I get really good and more daring on the bike, I'll get the helmet.
 Anyway, the ride was really fun!  We both say that we'll do this ride at least once every weekend.  There were just enough hills to make it somewhat of a challenging ride, but not enough to make it too difficult.

This is the lake that we went around.  I didn't take any photos riding around because I was too focused on my bike riding.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

walking meditation

I belong to a Contemplative Prayer group up here in Cranberry that meets every Tuesday - except for the summer.  The group won't resume meeting until September 20th.  Except that this Tuesday I was invited to one of the member's homes for some "walking meditation".

In addition to the walking meditation on their 72 mountain top acres, I got to enjoy the home that Bernice and her husband designed and built with their own hands.  Here are some photos.

They started building the house in 1996 (and are still working on it!)
 I thought this looked like a nice little guest house but Bob said that it was just a shed.
 This is the greenhouse.  They grow all their own food, even during the winter.  If the winter-type plants are 80% mature by November 10th, they can survive in this unheated greenhouse.  Winter type plants like chard and collards.  After November 10th there is less than 10 hours of sun a day, and that is more traumatic to growing plants than cold.
They've just started growing mushrooms up by the wood pile.  These were gathered just this morning.  They say that they melt in your mouth!
 Inside of the house was charming.  A lot of wonderful different kinds of wood, like wormy chester (or something like that).  Two of the floors were made directly from a tree.  Below, a swing that turns.
 Sixteen year old Daisy ...
 Wood burning stove.  I forget the particulars about the stove.
 Another view of the greenhouse.
Bernice is very interested in Buddhism so she set up the display below combining Christian and Buddhist symbols.
 Office loft ...
 View of the garden from the office loft ...
 Kitchen ...
And some mushrooms growing in the wood pile.  They have to be picked almost as soon as they appear.

Monday, August 22, 2011

John's new bicycle

We picked up John's brand new bicycle tonight - a Trek Marlin 29-er.  So we should have a good bike adventure coming this weekend.
A cool bicycle shop over in Wexford ...
 ... and an interesting looking August wildflower.  We took a walk down the old Harmony Trail on the way back from the bike shop.  Hadn't been there since last year.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


John couldn't resist trying one of the Cuban cigars that we ordered for Eric and Dawn's upcoming wedding!