I was sorting through a lot of stored photos today and came across the ones from our trip to the PA Farm Show last year. It’s held in Harrisburg every January in a huge, indoor complex that houses everything from livestock and rodeo events to tractors and solar panels. One of our favorite parts is the food court featuring foods produced in Pennsylvania. After a long day on your feet, you can’t beat a fresh baked potato dressed simply with real butter and salt & pepper and wash it down with a Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association milkshake!
This Case IH Farmall 55 was our favorite – Stephen looks pretty good on it, don’t you think?
This Challenger was a lot more tractor than we’d ever need!
We liked this Kubota RTV1100 4-wheeler, but not in cammo :)
Some friends at the Pennsylvania Alpaca Owners & Breeders Assn booth
Um, Hon? I think this is for kids… ;-)
Most of the cows were napping – I think they were bored from all the waiting around to be judged!
I don’t know the breed, but they remind me of the Rhodesian Ridgeback of the cow world!
I died of cute! She was sleeping all curled up <3
I’m not sure of most of these chicken breeds – next time I have to remember to shoot the label on the cage, too, so I can remember!
A Light Sussex?
A Rhode Island Red?
Definitely a Buff Plymouth Rock (I can just make out the label on the cage!)
This one was so excited, she left a present! I think she’s a Red Star.
An Andalusian? or maybe a Barred Plymouth Rock?
This might be a Welsummer.
A Sultan maybe?
I think this is a Buff Orpington
These little guys would clamber over each other up the steps…
… for a chance to jump down the slide on the other side!
Watching chicks hatch in the incubators
These sheep were sweet – the black & white one reminds me of a border collie
Always up for a nice ear scratch
This guy was curious about us, too!
everyone likes a nice chin scratch :)
Someone hand-knit little sweaters for these guys! It was January, after all :)
She’s so sweet!
These guys were so rambunctious!
My favorite Dairymen’s specialty…
… the milkshakes! It’s the only time of year I have one. (Okay, maybe this was the second one…)
Stephen had some mushroom soup from this stand.
We didn’t have room for the honey products this year, but they’re delicious!
I just counted and it’s already Day 49! I don’t even know where the time goes. I think this will be more of a catch-up post than a “here’s what’s happening today” post – I’ve taken photos here and there in the last two weeks, but never found the time to sit down and write.
Sitting on our balcony right now feels like being in the middle of a jungle! Most of the plants have really taken off, though a few have faltered. We had a minor disaster with the lettuce as hordes of what we think were aphids descended and ruined it practically overnight about two weeks ago. We were so disappointed! Not the “Most Photogenic Vegetable We Had!” Aside from the bugs, the plants themselves started to get very “leggy, ” for lack of a better word. We pulled the lettuce and bought lady bugs when we found the “aphids” on the cucumbers. Those cukes have been through enough already with the cold snap! The lady bugs did a great job and feasted for a few days before disappearing.
In far more exciting news… WE HAVE A TOMATO! It’s teeny and green, but still! And a JALAPENO! We’re almost ready to make salsa – LOL!
We’re hoping to head out to Great Country Farms in Bluemont, VA tomorrow or Monday to pick strawberries. I don’t think I’ll get much jam made, but definitely clean & prep for a jam session next weekend.
Well, I’ve spent the better part of this afternoon trying to figure out how to post photos singly and have them look the way I want them to, to no avail. I want to make the post more visually appealing, but at this point, I’m settling for a gallery. Grrr…
The lettuce on the bottom left was the first one to go. Here it was just beginning to show signs of damage and we hadn’t see the bugs yet.
Perhaps a day later, it was looking really bad and the others were following suit
Then we noticed we had new neighbors and had to evict!
This is what I mean by “leggy”
In just a couple of weeks, the struggling cucumbers went from this…
… to THIS! I’ve been persuading them to use the trellis by gently tying them up for support. I think they finally figured it out and are starting to wrap some anchors around it.
A close up of a cucumber in the making!
More strawberries! So far, most of our berries have been pretty small
More strawberries coming!
Sage has gone from this…
… to this!
I’ve had to do some creative tying to support the tomato plants – I can’t believe how tall they’re getting!
Here are a few tomato flowers
… and a few more…
… and a few more, for good measure :)
OUR FIRST TOMATO!!!
Our first radish! This one was actually pushing up through the ground, so I went ahead and pulled it, thinking it would be ready. Um, nope!
The pumpkin is ready to escape!
beautiful zucchini blossom!
another zucchini blossom
more zucchini blossoms on the way
the lady bugs liked the zucchini
we had a few peas last week – I pulled them off because the plant is still pretty small and I want it to get taller and stronger
a week later and they still look like they’re struggling – I used some string to help coax them on to the lattice, but I’m still kind of worried about them
The catnip has gone from this…
… to this! And, it’s cat-approved – Felix LOVES it!
Rosemary, before her first haircut :)
Sage is just about ready for its second trim
Oregano is thriving
The spinach seems to have stalled out here…
… or, has this bolted?
the cabbage is huge, but no head has formed yet
water pooled on a cabbage leaf
the Ladies chillin’ on the potatoes
I had no idea bell pepper flowers were so pretty!
lots of bell pepper blossoms
we’re going to have a metric boatload of bell peppers!
Well, a few days later than I anticipated originally, but we’re back for Part 2! I’m still having some issues with the pictures from that last post – I didn’t want the photos in the body of the post to appear in the gallery at the end, but when I try to take them out, they also disappear from the body. *sigh* AAaany-way…
We got to Bruceton Mills pretty late in the evening, so we made a quick dinner and got ourselves settled in a bit. The next day was absolutely gorgeous and we went on a little hike to explore the property.
Along the way we saw lots of violets and I had just read this post on Healthy Green Kitchen about making Violet Jelly! I wanted to go back out and pick a gazillion of them, but we drove into Morgantown that afternoon and it rained much of the next day, so the violets ended up spared from my canner :)
On our last day, we got up very early and it was raining like crazy. We got all packed up and headed to Morgantown for the one thing we couldn’t leave without: breakfast at Tudor’s Biscuit World! I hadn’t eaten there in almost 10 years, so I had to introduce Stephen to biscuits as big as your head and the best sausage gravy I’ve ever had. After leaving Tudor’s, we stopped at the only Starbuck’s in Morgantown (that I know of) and got caffeine for the road. They had a drive-thru! Oh, and the friendliest baristas I’ve ever encountered :) Leaving WV and Western MD, we were driving out of the rain and I took a few pictures of the passing scenery (don’t worry, Stephen was driving!)
Right then, on to the photos:
Our cabin, the Shawnee, is on the left – the Bobcat cabin is on the right.
Our neighbors, the Bobcats.
This stump was just outside our front door.
Across from our cabin was this neat rock formation, perfect for a troll or gnome :)
This pretty little bridge leads to the hiking trails.
the creek next to the bridge
standing on the bridge
Every time we stepped outside we could smell some delicious flower – and this turned out to be it! Unfortunately, we’ve got no clue as to what it is!
Here’s a bit of a close up – any ideas?
Why didn’t I bring a zip-lock???
More violets – they were everywhere!
Ferns! There were lots of fiddleheads.
I think this is the Mountaineer cabin
We could hear this little waterfall from the back deck of our cabin – so relaxing!
This is the back of our cabin, the Shawnee – see how close the waterfall is?
Once we got back to our cabin, we took a few more pictures from the back deck. This is the view through the trees – a beautiful day!
Looking towards the Bobcat cabin – you can see how private the cabins are, even though they are pretty close together. This was the most we could see over there from our place.
Stopped along the side of the road coming back from Morgantown. If you look closely, you can see 5 windmills on top of the mountain in the distance – cool!
My breakfast at Tudor’s Biscuit World – The Joe platter! Two eggs over easy served on biscuits and gravy. That is only one biscuit, cut in half! Stephen got the same, but with scrambled eggs.
So last week we took a few extra days off work and headed out to Mountain Creek Cabins in Bruceton Mills, WV. It’s about 20 miles from Morgantown, home of WVU, and even closer to Cooper’s Rock State Forest and Cheat Lake. Our place in Springfield, WV is about 65 miles from here. We left from our home outside Washington, DC and detoured out to Purcellville, VA to drop our dog off at our friend Amanda’s place. Amanda and her son, Eddie, love to have Pixie “sleep over” and spoil her to pieces while we’re away! Because of the extra distance to her house, it took us a good 4 hours and change to get to Bruceton Mills.
We booked this trip with a Groupon I bought back in the fall, so our stay was about 40% off the regular rate. This is a super deal, but posed some real challenges when it came time to book the dates we wanted. We had planned to go with another couple, but more than two months ahead of when we wanted to go, every single weekend was booked solid. The owners pointed out that we could still use the paid value of our Groupon even after the expiration date, but then we wouldn’t have received the discount, which is why we bought it in the first place. Our friends couldn’t get leave from work during the week, so we ended up going by ourselves. While it was still a great trip, we missed having them with us!
Okay, enough about that – let’s get to the cabins! We stayed in the Shawnee Cabin, which is one of eight cabins on the property.
Each of the cabins backed right up to the creek and was surprisingly private, given that they were pretty much right next to each other. For a nice sense of the peacefulness there, take a listen to this little video I shot from the back deck of our cabin…
Here are some shots of the cabin and the amenities:
Stephen going in the front door. We were supplied with a numerical code for the door, instead of a key, which made it very easy because we got there around 7:30 PM – we didn’t have to check in anywhere, we just went straight to our cabin.
Pretty adirondack chairs on the front porch. Also, about the only place I could get phone reception!
Our view from the front door.
Hope no one’s allergic to wasps or hornets!
This is the main room of the cabin with a nice table and chairs in the center. Just behind them is the spiral stairs to the loft area, which included a full-sized bed and a nightstand. While we did go up to explore, I neglected to get any pictures while I was up there!
Here’s the kitchen set up, which is along one side of the main room. The kitchen was pretty fully stocked with whatever basics you’d need to prepare meals: dishes, pots & pans, basic spices, coffee, sugar, creamer, etc. There’s also an apartment-sized fridge, a 4-burner range with oven, and the world’s tiniest dishwasher!
Here’s the seating area with a couch. The gas fireplace is to the left and the side door to the deck is on the right.
Above the fireplace was a flat screen TV and a DVD player. There’s no cable TV there, and we brought some DVDs, but didn’t end up watching them.
This is the bedroom on the main floor. It’s small, but has a full-sized bed and a dresser. The bed was way too soft, and by the third night, we were looking forward to our bed at home!
I guess I got the short straw and had to sleep by the wall. I bumped in to it a few times while sleeping! Also, not great if you have to go to the bathroom in the night :) The pillows were terrible. I mean, REALLY bad. So flat. We even took the (also flat) pillows from upstairs and each used two – still made us wish we had brought our own.
Nice stand-up shower in the bathroom. The best part was the “on demand” water heater – never run out of hot water! W00T! Glad we got to check one out in use because we want to put on in our dream house on our land.
Other side of the bathroom. They supplied towels and linens. If you go, bring your own TP. They had some, but it was the thin scratchy stuff – we picked up the good stuff on a run into Morgantown!
One side of the deck, looking towards our neighbors. We cooked out on the grill two of our three nights. Very nice, and they supply the propane tanks!
Pretty much our favorite part of the whole cabin, right here! Two sides of the deck had lattice and the third side was the cabin’s back wall, so it felt very private. We spent a large portion of the weekend in the spa :)
Here’s the view from the spa! So relaxing to sit and listen to the birds singing and the creek behind us. It rained a lot one day and it was really nice sitting in the nice warm water listening to the rain :)
I think I’m going to stop here for now, as the photos are taking a really long time to load and I’ve got a lot more to post! Perhaps tomorrow I’ll get the rest of our trip photos up and a garden update, too!
I seem to be a little behind on the posts here, but I’ve got a few planned for today! I actually started writing this one before we went out of town last weekend, but I wasn’t able to finish it because I was having issues with my photos.
The weather finally cooperated a few days this week and I was able to get some good pictures of how things are coming along. While we didn’t have a freeze this past week, the cucumbers sure didn’t like the cool temps – I think we’ll be lucky if they make it. One looks like it’s recovering, but the other is in bad shape. Everything else seemed to fare pretty well, and I think the peas actually sort of liked it!
Okay, on to the pictures!
We’re still not sure which are the morning glories and which are the moon flowers, but we’re definitely working on both now!
Teeny, tiny catnip!
It was cool to see the chives push their way through the soil bent, but then straighten up once they’re out.
Both mints are thriving – I cut a few sprigs of the apple mint (towards the center of the pot) – it smells SO good!
All of the strawberry plants have new growth coming – YAY, more strawberries!
We’ve got several small green berries started
A strawberry in the making!
Only one of the garlic we planted has sprouted, but it’s doing really well and has several new shoots
Tomatoes are doing really well, and they’re starting to get top-heavy – time to tie them up soon!
Bell peppers are much taller, but don’t seem like they need extra support… yet!
The radishes have lots of new leaves developing!
Potatoes! They’re growing like crazy and have such pretty leaves!
Potato close-up… so pretty!
The pumpkin’s got a new set of leaf sprouting – only one of our pumpkins came up, too
The corn seems pretty much the same as last week to me.
The peas are really enjoying this weather and have a few flowers on them – they definitely need to be tied out soon!
The red cabbage leaves are turning green!
The lettuce looks great – Stephen keeps stealing leaves from it and eating them!
In this shot, you can see the cucumbers in the top left look pretty bad. Their stems are rubbery and they barely support themselves. I’m hoping they’ll get better, but I’m not that confident. The celery is really taking over! It’s starting to form stalks, but still mostly leaves. Over along the left side is the spinach, which is growing slowly, but looks pretty good.
Here’s the other bed. The sunflowers and beets are still pretty small, but they seem to be doing okay. The zucchini in the top right corner fared much better than the cucumbers in the cool weather. I’m thinking we have the space to try another pumpkin where the second original one never came up – maybe next week :)