O’ Christmas Tree

As I mentioned yesterday, we stopped by Bob’s Tree Farm in Galway to cut down a fresh tree for Christmas this year!  Just like supporting our “eat local” farms, we wanted to support a local tree farm (there are tons around here).  Terri at Farm Life had a post the other day about local tree farms, so we picked one that was discussed from there.

I don’t feel bad about cutting down trees at tree farms, because they are planted just like a regular crop at a regular farm – it’s just that they are “harvested” every year around Christmas time.  In fact, Terri addressed 3 myths about artificial trees on her blog that she got from the National Christmas Tree Association:

MYTH #1:  Real Christmas Trees are cut down from forests.
BUSTED
:  Only a tiny percentage of trees come from forests.  Most come from a farm where growers plant one to three seedlings for each tree harvested.

MYTH #2: You save a tree by using an artificial tree
BUSTED:
Trees are a crop.  They’re planted by farmers to be used specifically as Christmas trees.  Artificial trees come in a cardboard box.  Does that save a tree?

MYTH #3: It’s better to use an artificial tree because you can reuse it each year.
BUSTED
:
Research shows that most artificial trees are only used six to nine years before they end up in a landfill.  Real trees are biodegradable and recyclable.  They can be used for mulch and erosion control.

Bob’s Trees is a pretty cool place.

It was established in 1949 and has over 30 miles of trails, so how many acres does that translate to?

We started off looking at some Douglas firs…

…but headed off into the Fraser fir section.  Their needles are short and stubbly and pretty cool:

K wanted to find the perfect tree and took off through field after field to find it.

Even some fallow ones.

While we walked along, we saw there was a small airstrip right next to the section we were walking through.

And all of sudden, something appeared in the sky.

Was that about to go right over us?

Yes, yes it was.  My camera lens doesn’t capture how close this plane was.

It landed right there. Pretty cool.  But K and I had just found our tree.

It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t a Charlie Brown tree either. K got took work chopping it down and we dragged it off to get baled.

We set it up in the tree stand to let it suck down some water, but haven’t decorated it yet.  The living room smells so woodsy though! Can’t wait to get some time to string lights and decorate now!

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Sunday Funday

The farmer’s market was quite subdued this week, compared to last.  We got much of our usual, so I didn’t feel like taking a picture, although we did pick up a delicious sticky bun from Our Daily Bread.

I’m sick of turkey already. Ha! How am I going to make it through the week?

We picked up some stew beef (which is serious as tender as kebobs) to make beef curry this week to break up the turkey.  And some more cream to make some cream of leek soup, since we have some left over from making the winter squash chowder for Thanksgiving.

But today’s excitement (besides the Jets winning a game for once) was going to chop down a Christmas tree! Last year, we tried to support our local fire district, which sells already cut trees each year – and the $$ goes to support them – a great cause.  But the tree was just awful, dried out, and it barely lasted until Christmas. K and I swore we wouldn’t do it again, even for a good cause.

So this year, we found a local tree farm.  It was so much fun, but as I still have loads to clean up for tonight, it will have to wait till tomorrow.  Suffice it to say, our living room now smells of fir and the kitties are having a blast hiding under its boughs. 🙂

Thanksgiving 2009

Our first time hosting Thanksgiving was an amazing success!! We ended up with 10 people and our food came out great! Mi abuelo ended up surprising us by coming.

The turkey came out delicious. Although, I never realized before that the turkey is really the easiest part of the whole meal 🙂 It was huge and perfectly tender and moist…and we gave half of it to my parents to take home with them afterwards, lol.

The sweet potatoes were roasted in the oven, then mashed together with some eggs, brown sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and fresh black pepper.  A few pecans on top, and then some time baked in the oven made what turned out to be the most delicious dish of the night, in my opinion.

My buttery sage crescent rolls were a big hit too! They came out perfectly. In fact, people asked if they were Pillsbury, and I scoffed because, nope, they were made from scratch with yeast and everything! 🙂

We mixed our leftover Adirondack Red potatoes with our Red Chieftain ‘taters to make PINK mashed potatoes!

The brussel sprouts came out wonderfully! Cutting, peeling and blanching them the day before made them so easy to make on Thursday.  I just fried up pieces of bacon and then sauteed the brussel sprouts and it was delish.

I didn’t get any pics of the carrots, but everyone commented how good they were.  They were the only thing directly from OUR garden so I was very proud.  In fact, my MIL said that they reminded her of the carrots she used to eat back in Germany when she was growing up.

We also had stuffing that my MIL made that was absolutely delicious but I forgot to take a picture.

For dessert, we had the pumpkin pie, a chocolate/coffee cheesecake my MIL made, and berry tarts that my sister made.  Wow, I was very selfish with the camera and apparently only took pics of my stuff. Oops!

But it was a wonderful day, spent talking, laughing with family, and of course, watching football.

 

Great Flats Pic O’ the Week

Ugly, ugly November.

November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

Prepare for a picture blitz the next few days. 🙂

Pics from tonight:

Messy kitchen

Roasted acorn squash

Brussel sprouts stalk

Trimmed and rinsed brussel sprouts

Local cranberries

Cranberry sauce

Homemade pie crust

Cooked pumpkin

Pouring in the pumpkin pie filling

Beautiful pumpkin pie

T-8 Hours Til Thanksgiving!

And the craziness is about to start! 

Luckily, we have a separate electric oven for the turkey, so it’ll free up some room in the oven for other things, although, now that I think about it, there’s not too much we actually need to make in the oven. It’s the stove top that will be a-bubbling all day long!

An example of an electric oven

The sweet potato casserole and the buttery sage crescent rolls are the only things I can think of, atually. Oh, and the pie.  But that’ll be made tonight.  Hm…can I make the dough for the rolls tonight and let it rise overnight? Or is that something that can only be done the day of?  There’s so much I don’t know about baking.

We’ve already cubed up the squashes for the soup, and tonight I’ll make the cranberry sauce as well.  The carrots, brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes will all be done on the stovetop tomorrow.  And the salad will be just about the last thing I do.  And really, that’s it.  Doesn’t sound that complicated. We can do this!!

We have one more person coming than the number of place settings for our fancy china – too bad.  So I will break out the Fiestaware and have a colorful Thanksgiving instead of overly fancy.  It would have been nice to finally use it, but we will, one day!

Tonight I have to run to the store and get a replace Pur water filter for our faucet – of course ours is “used up” RIGHT before T-day!

Wish us luck that we pull off hosting our first Thanksgiving ever. 🙂

Any big plans for Thanksgiving? Anything you’re really excited about cooking?

Farmer’s Market Sunday: Thanksgiving Edition

Today was the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, and we had a whole lot of stuff to buy for our mostly local Thanksgiving dinner we’re preparing for our families this Thursday!  It’s our first time ever hosting Thanksgiving, and we’re super excited to show our parents how we “live locally.”

So in addition to our normal Sunday shopping, we had a ton more stuff to buy this week, all of it from our farmer friends.  Here’s the shopping we did today!

From Barber Farm:

  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch red lettuce
  • 1 stalk of brussels sprouts
  • 1 bunch of leeks
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 1 HUGE acorn squash
  • 2 small butternut squashes

From Battenkill Creamery:

  • 2 half-gallons reduced-fat milk
  • 1 quart cream
  • 1 quart EGGNOG!!!!!
  • 1 pint chocolate milk

From Maynard Farm:

  • 2 Gala apples
  • 1/2 gallon of apple cider

From Buhrmaster Farm:

  • 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes

From Sweet Tree Farm:

  • 1lb maple bacon
  • 1lb stew beef
  • 1 quart dark amber maple syrup

Holy cow! It was a ton of stuff!  And EGG NOG??? Are you freaking kidding me? That was not on our shopping list, but when we saw that Battenkill had some for the first time ever, we had to get some. We love their milk, their chocolate milk, their cream, their ice cream, their egg nog has got to be fantastic!

Oh, we also got these:

Our local Thanksgiving meal is shaping up to look like this:

THE MENU

23lb free range turkey, courtesy of Coopers Ark Farm

Homemade Cranberry Sauce, with local cranberries from the co-op

Apple Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

  • Apples courtesy of Maynard Farm
  • Walnuts from the backyard of our local deli owner
  • Local cranberries (MA) from the co-op
  • Romaine and red lettuce from Barber Farm
  • Non-local vegetable oil and balsamic vinegar

Winter Squash Soup

  • Bacon from Sweet Tree Farm
  • Leeks, acorn squash, butternut squash, Red Chieftain potatoes from Barber Farm
  • Parsley from our garden
  • Sage that we had to buy from the supermarket because we didn’t grow any this year
  • Cream from Battenkill Creamery

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Sweet Potatoes from Buhrmaster Farm
  • Eggs from Coopers Ark Farm
  • Spices that are definitely NOT local
  • Pecans that are definitely NOT local
  • Butter made from my Battenkill Creamery cream
  • Either non-local brown sugar or local honey from Lloyd Spear

Buttery Sage Crescent Rolls

  • Local unbleached flour from the co-op
  • Eggs from Coopers Ark
  • My butter
  • Store-bought sage
  • Local Honey from Lloyd Spear

Mashed Potatoes

  • My butter
  • Battenkill cream
  • Barber Farm Red Chieftain Potatoes

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta Bacon

  • Brussel Sprouts from Barber Farm
  • Bacon from Sweet Tree Farm
  • Fresh rosemary (also from the store)
  • Pine nuts (that we bought)

Balsamic-Honey Carrots

  • Carrots from our garden!
  • Honey from Lloyd Spear
  • Balsamic vinegar (not local)

100-mile Pumpkin Pie

  • Local flour from the Co-op
  • Eggs from Coopers Ark
  • Honey from Lloyd Spear
  • Local maple syrup
  • Pie pumpkin
  • Milk and cream from Battenkill

We also have local hard cider to drink!

My parents and inlaws will be bringing appetizers and more desserts (and MIL is making stuffing), so not everything will be local (not even everything we’re making), but I think it’s a great effort on our part!!