Welcome October 2017

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Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, celestial events, and our farmers’ fields.
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Looking Up & Around

Happy October, friends. Autumn is here and so is the full harvest moon! Set aside some time today to gaze up at that big astronomical body. If you’re familiar with monthly moon names, you may be wondering why it’s the harvest moon instead of the hunter moon, which normally falls in October. The harvest moon isn’t confined to September. It is actually the full moon that falls after the autumn equinox, which we celebrated on September 22. The harvest moon fell in October in 2009 and will land there again in 2020, so it’s rare, but definitely not unheard of.

What else is happening this month? As always, but possibly more apparent this month, are all the changes taking place in the woods. I always think of October outdoors as a month of transition. We experience the leaves, nuts, and seeds falling from trees and traveling in the breeze. Mushrooms are springing up after the first fall rains, while flowers are both blooming and going to seed. Bees are still buzzing (and stinging me), while squirrels and chipmunks scurry around securing their own harvest.

This is quite possibly the most comfortable month to be out and about in the woods. Sunshine, cool breezes and barely any bugs make every hike a great one. I’m spending the week working in Asheville, North Carolina, an area that absolutely explodes with leaf peepers, especially on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Tens of thousands of people flock to western North Carolina during October and November to watch the autumn colors slowly emerge starting with higher elevations and trickling down the mountainsides. The elevation range in the Great Smokey Mountains basically ensures that fall color will stick around for at least three weeks each year. There are websites dedicated to tracking the changing fall foliage and it’s impossible to miss the influx of visitors as traffic can be bumper to bumper on the blue ridge and hotel rooms impossible to find.

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Fields and Festivals

It’s that time of year when farmer’s markets in my area transition from two days per week to one. I know, I’m spoiled, but sometimes it’s hard to wake up on a Saturday and when that’s the case, what’s a girl to do? I had to make a quiche this week with store-bought mushrooms, WTF. Joking aside though, I love the market at this time of year. The weather is sunny, but the air is cool. I can sip on cider or tea while strolling by each vendor as I slowly make recipe plans and ingredient decisions. In contrast, during the summer, I’m gulping down iced coffee and wanting to put down my bags, take off my tank top, and pass out from heat exhaustion. No chill.

This is the time of year when those crops that require the full summer growing season are finally ready for harvest. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I’m still seeing watermelon and tomatoes along with elderberries, grapes, peppers, and eggplants. Apples, okra, corn, potatoes, pumpkin, and other winter squash are abound as well.

The coolest thing at my market right now though? Soup subscriptions. How freaking neat. Short Winter Soups, a company established by Tova Boehm in 2010, provides each subscriber with a quart of soup every week for eight weeks. The soup ingredients are sourced locally from over a dozen farms. I love this idea and the thought of Tova pouring stirring her heart and soul into delicious soup recipes each week. Growing up, our mom made a lot of soup. Momma Schu’s soups were a staple during family gatherings, soccer games, snowstorms and weekends on the farm. Soccer concession stand fans would actually refer to her as the soup queen. All hail the soup queens among us.

If you’re not feeling the farmer’s market, October is the month to head straight to the fields. Hayrides and pick-your-own patches are some of my fondest fall memories, not just as a kid, but up until a few years ago too. I feel like I’ve traveled the past few falls because I can’t remember the last time I carved a pumpkin or balanced an apple on my head (holy shit that was seven years ago), what a shame! If you need any inspiration for your fall harvest, we have a full pumpkin archive, with a few main dish recipes as well as an apple archive that includes more alcoholic drinks than you could make all weekend. I dare ya.

  • I mentioned watching the leaves change in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ready for your mind to be blown? It’s the most popular national park with over eleven million visitors last year. In.sane.
  • Vermont is also a popular destination for leaf chasers, but really, any forest is bursting with color this month so where ever you are, you don’t have to drive far, tie up your boots and hit the trail.
  • There’s more than just colorful leaves floating around, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta runs from the 7th-15th. It’s always been a dream of mine to attend and one day I’ll remember to make plans more than forty-eight hours in advance. I believe in me.
  • The Earth Harmony Festival is this weekend (October 7-8). The Earth Harmony Festival celebrates eco-living & sustainability.  It’s held on the country’s largest EcoVillage located in Arizona. Did I mention that it’s practically free?! You gotta go.
  • While September was packed with environmental holidays, October has only a couple official ones, including World Habitat Day, which just passed on Monday. We kinda missed the boat on that one, but it’s not too late to stop and reflect on our basic human right to adequate shelter. Maybe you’d like to do some volunteer work this month in conjunction with homeless shelters as a way to commemorate the day?

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Capturing the Beauty

How do we hang on to enchanting autumn as long as possible? Take some photos! The time lapse of our apple antics is still one of my favorite photo sessions with the Schu sisters. I can still remember how much we giggled when those were taken seven years ago! I like to balance out the silly with the serious though. I think the film portrait of our sister Kristin, shown above, captures her spirit perfectly. Add that it’s taken on the road that leads to our family farm and you have an iconic photo that will surely be shared for generations. As each season passes, I find it more and more important to take photos of family and friends and what better backdrop than a carpet of freshly fallen leaves? Here’s a tutorial on photographing fall and photographing landscapes in general. Even if you fail to preserve fall on film, I hope you capture it in your heart. Cheesy?! IDGAF.

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Welcome July

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Sarah wasn’t lying when she mentioned that July’s her favorite month. And mine too, for all of the same reasons!

In my mind, July is everything summer. It’s cannon balls in swimming pools, muggy nights filled with the sounds of cicadas and the glow of lightning bugs. It’s tomato and mayo sandwiches for lunch, followed by California burgers and corn on the cob (fresh from the garden!) for dinner.

Those are the memories seared into my brain, and I’m hoping to create some of the same for the boys. And on that front I think we’re off to a great start. Right now the boys are coated in sand, sunscreen, and lake water. If that’s not July, then I don’t know what is.

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Welcome June

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Hello, Summer!

Are you feeling the heat? Based upon our Instagram feed, I sense that most of the country had a nice spring and then transitioned into hot weather sometime last month. Not us, we had an unseasonably large snowstorm in late May, which confuses our minds and the garden. Remember last month’s welcome when I was already talking about the crazy weather BEFORE that storm? But anyway, our hot days have arrived, and we’re loving it!

We’re transitioning to more dinners on the deck, more long evenings playing in the dirt, and (of course), more fresh seasonal eats.

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The image above is from the Library of Congress’ online prints and photos collection. I love these old prints. The designs are awesome, and they tell a story about the times. I also love the idea that the government was trying to get us to work together, a particularly common theme for the posters made during WWII, and even outside of war times there were others about taking care of yourself (eating healthy, exercising, etc.) and some about celebrating American heritage. If you’re looking to waste time online the LOC is a great place to do it.

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Welcome May {2017}

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *Somehow we took a year-long hiatus from posting our monthly welcomes. Anyway, we’re hopping back on the train, and you can find our archive of previous welcomes here.*

This is our third spring living in Colorado, and I think I’ve finally adjusted to the weather patterns. For example, I now understand that spring is just another word for limbo (defined as : “an intermediate state or condition”). One day provides the most beautiful summer weather you could imagine, the next day you’re clearing the snow from your car.  That weather may drive some people crazy, but I’ve grown to love it. It creates more of a slow, gently slide from winter into summer, making the spring seem like it lasts forever, and completely wiping any sense of what month it is from my brain. I’m pretty sure that April lasted 50 days this year, yet I thought June was starting tomorrow. “WHAT IS GOING ON?”, says the well-adjusted Coloradan. 😉

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Welcome March

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.  We’ll highlight some nature and environmental news, give you a bit of inspiration, and ask you to partake in a monthly sustainability initiative with us.

I think Sarah and I are both suffering from a case of seasonal identity crisis, for lack of a better term. We excitedly anticipate spring on every warm day, and yet, aren’t quite ready for winter to end. I think it’s mainly because the year just seems to be passing so quickly and we have so much we want to accomplish, all while snuggling with these little boys that are growing right before our eyes. Are you in the same boat? Do you feel like the year has pulled the rug out from under you? Or are you just ready for spring to arrive in all of its blossoming glory?

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Welcome February

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.  We’ll highlight some nature and environmental news, give you a bit of inspiration, and ask you to partake in a monthly sustainability initiative with us.

With all of the snow that’s falling, there’s no doubt that we’re definitely deep in the middle winter, yet the slowly growing days are making it all bearable. Did you join us during January in trying to reduce your salt/chemical use when clearing the snow? Katie spent a boat-load of time shoveling her Colorado driveway. All of that exercise was fueled by her afternoon milkshake habit!

This month we’re excited to share our new challenge as well as a bit of inspiration and some stories that caught our eye in the news.

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Welcome January

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A new year! Ugg/yay. I’m feeling so many feelings about the flipping the calendar from 2015 to 2016. Excitement about all to come while wanting to slow down time because I don’t want to miss a moment and there’s so much to do, but I’m sure many of you feel the same way. I’m assuming that this is a sign of old age? blah.

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Welcome November!

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, celestial events, and our farmers’ fields.

liveseasoned fall15 welcome november hiking-1-5liveseasoned fall15 welcome november hiking-1-2Happy fall y’all.  I’m positive that’s not the first time I’ve used that phrase here this year, but whatevs it’s fall and I live in the south, I can say type y’all all I want!  Autumn is way up there on my list of favorite seasons, they’re pretty much all my favorites, except winter, winter is the middle child bratty step child, but we’re working on our relationship.  For me, Autumn is a time of no excuses, I try to get outside as much as possible even in the rain.

I truly love hiking all year round, but there’s something spectacular about walking through the woods during fall.  The air is cool, crisp and clean and the colors can keep my camera and I occupied for hours.  The summer humidity and bugs are almost nonexistent and there seems to be activity in the thick of the woods.  Animals are bulking up before hunkering down to wait out the winter. Just like the woodland creatures, humans are stocking up on food and hunting as well.  If you are going to hiking during the fall, and you really should, besides extra camera batteries, here are some things to keep in mind:

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Welcome September

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, celestial events, and our farmers’ fields.

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September is a great time to take a hike.  The extreme heat disappears, rain moves in and cooler temperatures arrive.  The damp woods are bursting with fungus. You could even think about joining a mushroom club or going along on a foray this month.  If you’re trotting along you’re sure to see squirrels and chipmunks gathering nuts and seeds for the winter months.  Overhead you’ll hear birds migrating, check out this post to see how to properly prepare for those on the move.  If you’re interested in following along with this season’s migrations, the Cornel Lab of Ornithology produces a bird migration forecast.  You’ll learn what species you should expect to see traveling in different regions of the United States.  Migrations are heavily dependent upon weather conditions.  The best times to see large flocks are directly after a cold front passes and very early in the morning.  That’s why birdwatching groups always meet at the crack of dawn, if you wake up early, head to the nearest native habitats with lots of water.

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Bats are also on the move this month.  As fall approaches big brown bats are looking for a place to hibernate.  Cool nights with fewer insects are the primary force that starts the migration to hibernation.  Some of these migrations may be very short, only a few miles from their summer homes.  At this time of year, big brown bats are plump, healthy and ready for a long sleep.  Unheated attics are actually ideal hibernation places for bats so keep an eye out in case some make their way into your home.  You’ll want to have them removed before they hibernate or else you shouldn’t disturb them until spring!

 

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Welcome August!

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.

Just like last August, we’re fighting the melancholy feeling we get knowing that summer is more than half over. Although, we’ve planned accordingly this year and are ending summer with a bang. Sarah’s getting ready for a photo exhibit, followed immediately by the annual Schufest that she and our other siblings put on at the farm in PA. All of that comes after she flies out to Colorado for a quick visit and to help me wrangle these two boys on our trip east where we’ll spend a month at the beach (hoping to avoid Mary Lee!). It’s going to be a fun month!

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In anticipation of our beach trip, this post is filled with photos from past visits. If these photos having you craving more, you can check out the posts from last summer. There are some photos from life on the island. Many of the men on the island work in the seafood industry, either hauling in oysters or hatching softshell crabs. The island itself is surrounded by miles (and miles!) of tidal saltwater marsh, we love it so much that we put together a little profile of our favorite ecosystem. This year we’re so excited to see the island, the beaches, and the water through the eyes of two-year-old Alex!

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