Monday, April 30, 2012

NJ Folk Festival 2012

 We had another busy weekend that started Saturday morning at the NJ Folk Arts Festival. This is the kids' 4th year at the festival. The first year Haley played there, she was 5 years old. The Next Gen group of young Irish musicians play there every year then the ones who stay join the Irish Music Session and this year they had another performance later in the afternoon.

A couple brothers who Dylan had met at the session we went to a couple weeks ago came from PA to play with Dylan. One of the brothers is a talented flute player (among other instruments...Irish and not so Irish). The other is learning tunes on button accordion and when he doesn't know a tune on that, he plays along on bodhran. The guys found a tent where they could sit and jam together. Haley joined them here and there when she felt like it. The sounded really good together.

This is a photo of the final Next Gen performance. They had a good number of kids stay around to play.

Dylan went home from the festival with Daddy while Haley and I drove the extra hour to NY. We spent the night at her teacher's home....practicing violin and watching a movie. Sunday morning, Haley had a fiddle lesson then she practiced a bit. We then drove into the Bronx for her teacher's concert...mostly O'Carolan tunes at a pub. Haley joined him for a couple tunes and played a solo set.

Afterward, we went to the park with her friend from CT then went back to the pub for their Irish music session. The musicians there did not seem the most welcoming except for one accordion player...I think it was more a performance of musicians who know each other rather than an open Irish session. The girls played a bit then we went home.

Friendship Bread Continued....

Well, our experiment with Amish Friendship bread starter is going well. Our starter spells so good and yeasty. We stirred it daily for 10 days, feeding it on Day 5 and feeding then cooking with it on Day 10.

Since I had a hard time finding anyone who wanted to mess with the starter and baking, I used two servings to bake. Haley and I made a cinnamon, walnut variety and a chocolate variety.

Today, our wonderful neighbor behind us took a cup of starter and some recipes. We are still growing the last cup of starter and are looking for a more "bread-like" recipe rather than the sweet bread recipes we have.

Here's the bit I put in my blog post a little over 10 days ago when we started our Friendship Bread....

Haley and I also started some Amish Friendship Bread Starter today. I haven't had much luck making a starter in the past but I am sure it was because I used something metal's been awhile since I tried. So, here it goes....Day #1. Wish us luck!

We may be making a ton of bread when it's ready to go because I don't think I know too many people in real life who would want to take a share. We may be freezing it for later in the year or something. Ha!

Monday, April 23, 2012

New York

Haley, Dylan, and I took a quick weekend trip to NY. We had to deliver nine chicks to our friends from CT who were nice enough to take the extra chicks we couldn't keep from our 25 chick order. We met them in the city then Dylan and the guys went to watch a lacrosse game...yes, my son now wants to play lacrosse because what could be better than being able to hit people with sticks. Ha! We girls went into the city for a nice scooter/walk through Central Park then a concert at Juilliard. Here is a photo montage of our day.

Yum! Waiting for our pizza.

Me, too!

Rocks to climb.

...and run down!

Meeting of the minds.

Quick stop at Shakespeare's Garden.

I someday go to Juilliard...or Curtis.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Chicks and Cookin'

I got some better chick pictures. The kids have been bringing them inside and taking them outside in the grass. Many are getting really tame. This first little cutie is Buffy, Haley's favorite chick and the one who loves to be held the most. She always comes running and just peeps really quietly then jumps onto a hand. She's the Buff Orpington from my last post.

Here's Newt working on his history research project with an Americauna sitting on his arm like a hawk. The Americauna are much bigger than the others and fly a little around the brooder. We can't wait for their colorful Easter eggs.

Here's a little Partidge Rock chick. I love their brownish red heads and pretty wing feathers. The kids spent a bit of time with the two of them today because they tend to be the most skittish of our chicks.

This pretty little chick is Cleo, notice her Cleopatra-like eyes. She's a Phoenix. She's getting quite tame as well.

 Haley snuggling Buffy while sitting on her new beanbag chair. I've never seen a kid so happy to get a
                                                             beanbag chair.

Here's Daddy getting to know a Barred Rock chick. She feel asleep on his chest then work up and perched on his fingers. We think she looks a bit like a baby penguin. I think this one is named Stella.

I also promised a little cookin'. Haley has taken it upon herself to keep the family desert pans full. She's been baking Ghirardelli brownies about once a week. This week it was caramel turtle brownies. They are sinfully rich and delicious! Yum!!

Haley and I also started some Amish Friendship Bread Starter today. I haven't had much luck making a starter in the past but I am sure it was because I used something metal's been awhile since I tried. So, here it goes....Day #1. Wish us luck!

We may be making a ton of bread when it's ready to go because I don't think I know too many people in real life who would want to take a share. We may be freezing it for later in the year or something. Ha!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One Week Later...

We've only had our chicks for a week. They have grown so much in just 7 days. The Americaunas are the biggest. They seem to be growing exponentially faster than some of the others. All of them have grown their wing feathers and are beginning to get tail feathers. A few can fly up a few inches to the top of the piece of siding I put into the brooder in the morning to separate them so I can check each one to be sure it's healthy. Here are some pictures...can I tell you just how difficult it is to get clear pictures of little critters that move so much and so quickly?

Here they all are in the brooder.

This is the sweetest chick. She comes running to us when we go to the brooder and talk. She loves to be held. The flash made the photo a little too bright. She's a Buff Orpington. There is a Black Australorp who also likes to be held.

The weather is so beautiful this week. Haley did her math outside yesterday. You can tell by her attire how warm it is. Unfortunately it is my turn with the virus that has been plaguing our home. I've had a fever for 5 days! Ugh! The only good thing is that everyone else has had it so I can't infect anyone.

Here are our lettuces and peas growing!

Tinks enjoying the sun...acting like a "real dog."

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter...Chicks Have Arrived!!!

We had a nice Easter today. On our way home from church I got a call from the mail distribution site saying our chicks were there and we could come pick them up rather than wait until they got to the local post office early tomorrow morning. I was a little surprised because when I asked the local post office about this, they said it couldn't be done...we couldn't pick up the chicks at the distribution center. Ritch went and picked them up and we set up the brooder. When they got home we took them out of the crate and beaked each of them and set them loose in the brooder. Haley quickly called her friend Sofia, who is taking 10 of the chicks because we only wanted 16 and you have to order 25 so they keep each other warm during shipping. Sofia and Haley Skyped a little so they could see the chicks but the sound wasn't working very well.

Here are some pics of the new babies...
In the shipping crate when we took off the lid.

Newt beaking a chick

I love this do!

Haley beaking a chick

Finding water themselves

Happy in the brooder!

Just wandering around.

Home Sweet Brooder!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Here are a couple videos of Haley performing in a concert she did with her fiddle teacher and some of his other students weekend before last. Took me awhile to upload them. Throughout the month of March he does concerts at libraries near his home. He always welcomes his students to come perform to give them practice playing their competition tunes in front of an audience.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Spring Is Here!

Spring has definitely arrived here in NJ. Here are the signs...

A finished chicken coop. Our chicks arrive in exactly one week! The Easter arrival date was just because that is when McMurray Hatchery would have all the chicks we wanted available but it does make for a nice Easter gift. The brooder is ready and waiting. We can't wait for the babies to get here.

Haley on the trampoline. She's perfected her flip and can land on her feet. Here's her jumping split.

The raised beds are planted with lettuces, greens, peas, small carrots, herbs, and I don't know what else. I only took a photo of one bed. The chives have been up since the warm weather a couple weeks ago but in the next photo you can see the salad sprouting...

I have some of the strawberries cleaned out and still working on the rest...what a job!

Raspberries and blackberries have been trimmed back and are sprouting leaves and growing.

Disco dancing, dreadlock sporting scarecrow is standing guard in the garden!

                                               The very first blooms on the apple trees.

Sessions and Ceili

 Saturday we drove down to the Delaware Bay for an Irish session/party. There was a large bunch of local musicians and some from the city. We enjoyed a corned beef and cabbage dinner with lots of yummy desserts. Haley and Dylan played along with their friends and made some new friends. I tried to capture a picture of all the musicians and didn't do too badly.

Sunday Haley and I went to a fundraiser ceili (Gaelic for "dance") held every year to raise money to help send inner city kids to the local Catholic high school. It is a lovely event. We saw lots of friends and danced the dances we know. We are getting pretty good at a few of them. Haley dances way more than I do. There was a Chinese auction. We didn't win anything but it was fun watching other people winning. Haley took her fiddle and was asked to join the band but she preferred dancing and having fun. Afterward we went to a local pub, had dinner, listened to live music, and Haley joined the musicians there for a few tunes. Here are some pictures of the ceili fun...