Sunday, October 3, 2010

September 2010

Visit to Ithaca NY

McIntosh apples and goldenrod in bloom - must be upstate NY!

We had a fantastic, and long-overdue, visit to Ithaca where we got to spend time with lots of friends and family. First we spent time with Bill's family - here's Bill with his mom Helen and sister Carolyn, cooling off at Danny's pond.

The Carini-Sanford Clan (plus me): Bill, Helen, Daniel, Randie, Ariana, Carolyn (hey, where's Eric??)

We visited our friend Stephen, owner of Cummins Nursery and also u-pick fruit and veg farm.

Steve planted about 60 different varieties of unusual apples about 3 years ago, and a lot of them were fruiting for the first time. We got to walk around tasting apples like kids in a candy store, even wastefully dropping partially eaten apples in order to taste the next one (although I must admit to stuffing the ones I liked best into the pockets of my sweatshirt to save for later).

The guys weren't too crazy about the taste of this apple. (I think Stephen is actually spitting it out.)

How's this one?

A winner!

My daughter Monica and her boyfriend flew in from California in the middle of the week, and we spent some time walking around the Ithaca Commons.

New York pizza on the Commons!

We went up to Penn Yan to hang out with my brother Tom and his wife Martha and son Ian. We played some music on the porch and drew out a couple of old-timers who live two doors down.

My parents drove up for the weekend as well.

Tom and Martha took us on a beeeautiful walk in the High Tor Management Area, near their house in Penn Yan.

There was a huge canyon near the path, stunning but a bit nerve-wracking with a 7-year old along!

Tom and Martha on the High Tor trail.

Lake Keuka in the Finger Lakes

We were lucky to be in Ithaca the same weekend as Porchfest! This cool event has musicians playing on porches in the city neighborhoods, and you just walk around following a map to hear all kinds of live music. This is our friend Heather (left) playing in her group Sundown Sally.

Mom, Dad and Ian at Porchfest

Ian in a hollowed-out tree trunk

Thanks to Margot Pollikof for this lovely photo of Monica and I at Porchfest.

We stayed at our own house in Newfield with our friends Eileen and Heather, who are renting it while we're away. It was good to see our old house and do some repairs and maintenance.

In the garden - monarch butterfly on New England aster

Last night out with Sharon and Bubba

Our silly friends Heather and Eileen

Apple Day at Seed Savers

On the last weekend of the month Seed Savers held it's annual Apple Day - an opportunity for people to come and taste some of our 150 apple varieties, and purchase 1-year old grafted apple trees. We also had local food producers set up with their wares, talks on seed saving and the science of apple rootstocks, demonstrations of coppersmithing, spinning, weaving and basketry, horse ploughing demonstrations, and children's activities. Oh yeah, and a TV film crew filming a cooking demonstration by Irish chef Richard Corrigan.

Due to last year's huge turnout(before I started working there) the staff had decided to make it a 2 day event, with the Saturday primarily for the members of Irish Seed Savers, and the second day for the general public.

Saturday was bright and sunny, and about 300-400 people came out that day. This is the children's activity area, set up for kids to make nature crafts, get their faces painted and see a puppet show.

Me with Matteo, Seed Savers orchard coordinator, ready for apple tree customers.

Fresh apple-juicing demonstration

Pizza makers at the cob oven

The Fake McCoys

Richard Corrigan is travelling around Ireland and seeking out the local foods, and doing cooking demos with the local ingredients at regional events. The episode featuring Seed Savers will air on Wednesday November 10, and meanwhile you can check out some of the other episodes at Corrigan Cooks Naturally.

I think some of these local birds might have featured in the cooking demo, but that was more info than I needed.

The apple-tasting tent was busy on both days - people could taste dozens of apple varieties and take notes on which ones they like best, then proceed directly to the sales area to buy their favorites.

Coppersmithing demonstration

On Sunday it was gray but dry, and we had big crowds - over 1,000 people - but they were all spread out over the different areas of our 20 acre farm. We had a couple of dozen volunteers helping on each day - at the admission area, the pizza oven, the apple tasting tent, the juicing display, and pushing wheelbarrows with purchased trees to the holding area (here they call it a 'creche')at the front gate. Having a large number of volunteers really helped the event run smoothly and everybody left happy!

People waiting to buy apple trees.

Harry and his draught horses