Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tractors at the Orchard

{see Juliana in 2013, 2014}

{see Pieter in 2011, 2013, 2014}
Yesterday after picking sweet cherries at Shooks, we stopped at King Orchards, just down the road. Oh, we love coming here, too! The cute little tractor's wheel was broken, so it was up on a table, but I had to put the kids on it for our annual picture. Now the boys are moving on to the bigger tractors. We plan on coming back up in a few weeks to pick sour cherries to make some jam. We'll be back!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Picking Sweets

Photo by Ken Sytsma

Photo by Ken Sytsma

Photo by Ken Sytsma

Photo by Ken Sytsma
The beginning of the summer in Michigan was quite cool this year and I always wonder if we'll be able to pick cherries before leaving. Luckily, just like the last two years the farms opened for picking sweet cherries just before we left! I really enjoy going to Shooks Farm in Central Lake. It is a bit more old fashion and small than some of the farms around. I remember when Ben and I were working at Au Sable 17 years ago we picked here and the farmer drove us down to the orchard in this cute old truck. So many great memories! Today we went picking with a few other families that are at Au Sable right now and had a great time.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Baked Beans

Picnics at Grandma and Grandpa's home on the lake in the summer always included a bit pot of baked beans. Could it be any other way in New England? Here is Grandma's famous Baked Beans recipe.

Baked Beans, Gladys Tatem
1lb Yellow Eye Beans
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon powered mustard
salt & pepper to taste
small piece of salt pork

  • Soak beans overnight in water. Strain and fill pot with fresh water.
  • Bring to boiling for about 20 minutes or until the skins split and curl when gently blown.*
  • Place in bean pot with the rest of the ingredients. Top with salt pork.
  • Bake at 300 degrees 6 to 8 hours occasionally stirring and being careful to keep covered with water. Bake fluid down to desired consistency at the last half hour or so (remove lid if necessary). 
*My beans always turn out a bit too hard if I boil them for only 20 minutes. I usually cook them until soft and then add everything into the bean pot.

August 12, 1922 - January 18, 2006
Grandma, 79 years old
Photo Credit: David Tatem

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July

{crazy Daddy giving some oxygen to his torch}

July Fourth Celebrations are pretty big around here. We are fortunate to be at Au Sable on this date because there isn't much of a celebration in Puerto Rico on the fourth. Oh, I love picnic food! It reminds me of all the picnics while growing up at Crystal Pond with the Tatem family. Ben made fire torches again from red pine and they burned like crazy. We tried doing this in Puerto Rico for our Winter Solstice Celebration last year but the wood is just too wet there to do well. They make the best fires to start sparklers on and to roast marshmallows. And the fireworks! Every year the neighbors keep doing more and more.

Butterfly Day

Au Sable's Annual Butterfly Day is enjoyed by many from the surrounding community. After the 5K race around the lake there is a butterfly hunt for children, which our kids enjoy doing more and more every year as they get older. Pieter is really getting the hang of using the net and caught quite a few damselflies and dragonflies. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Strawberry Picking

June was quite cool this year, which I enjoyed very much! But it did slow down the strawberries. I don't think we've ever picked them in July before. Pieter is getting very good at helping with the picking. Shelter's is just down the road from the strawberry farm, so of course we had to stop in for some ice cream and sandbox playing.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Morning on the Lake

Some pictures from a morning rowboat ride across the lake. It is so great to find pockets of emergent vegetation around the lake!
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