19 October 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Autumn on the Prairie

Autumn, no matter where you are, involves certain things.  Pumpkins, falling leaves, apple harvest season, seasonal vegetables, animals preparing for winter...

Just north of me is Wisconsin.  Until I moved here, I didn't realize that Wisconsin and Illinois are the Pumpkin Capital of the USA.  This year was a tough year for growing pumpkins and I was unable to find the massive pumpkin fields this year stretching as far as the eye could see on the flat prairie covered with orange dots everywhere. 

Our older daughter's school gave out free pumpkins in the school parking lot. 

Did you know that pumpkins are not grown typically in Poland but that the trend is changing?  My Babcia until recently would grow pumpkins in her little garden in Wroclaw to make pumpkin butter with.  But she was always very progressive.  You can't help but love that woman.

Mr. Braveheart of Stiles Vegetable Farm and Greenhouse happily ate more corn from our hands this week.  We got glimpses of the baby ducks who had hatched a few short weeks ago.  They will be grown by the time winter hits.

Leaves keep sticking to our sweaters as the wind blows and as the children chase each other at school pickup every day attempting to toss leaves on one another.  Listening to their giggles, watching their smiles, that is why I get out of our car everyday for pickup instead of sitting in my car and not interact with other parents.

My latest haul from the local farm, Stiles.  Pictured are a Sunflower head to dry, carrots, an extra large zucchini (I baked a whole wheat zucchini chocolate chip bread with added flax seed and wheat germ for the class to enjoy for snack time), a head of cabbage, a butternut squash, a bag of apples, potatoes, a bunch of beets, radishes, a turnip and a rutabaga (they are two different vegetables).  All grown locally, 100% of the money I spent to buy them went to the local farmer and local economy.  There was less impact on the environment by trucking each item in from various places around the world.  The produce is fresher and, therefor, packed with more nutrients.  And I could see which fields each grew in.  That's why I buy local...

There are several types of squirrels here.  In Maryland, the black squirrel died off many years ago when there was a blight that devastated the local chestnut trees.  I learned this at Jerusalem Mill.  In Poland, the squirrels are red with cute little ear tufts or are the European ground squirrel which is coming back from the brink of extinction.

Here is a video of a Polish Red Squirrel just because squirrels are so darn cute...

I wold love to have this sign hanging in my house.  It is from a local apple orchard that sells apples and fresh unpasteurized apple cider in this small building on the side of the road.  You can literally walk in, meet the farmer's wife and see the man in the other room washing and pressing the apples.  100% of the money I spent on the apples and apple cider went to the farmer and, again, no trucking it in from various areas around the world.

What is going on in your area of the woods?

A side note:  Apple cider should be enjoyed right away.  Shake up the container, then pour.  Young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should not drink unpasteurized apple cider.  However, you can heat up the apple cider (with a stick of cinnamon in the pan, if you like for added flavor) before drinking as a great cold weather drink and to kill any pathogens you might be concerned about.

1 comment:

Maria Wen Adcock said...

Cute pictures! I didn't know Wisconsin and Illinois were pumpkin capitals, either! - Bicultural Mama