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Sunday, August 20, 2017

I Bid You Adieu

As our children return to school this week and another summer is about to end, a new season of life is on the horizon for my husband and me.  And I believe this blog has run its course.  I've shared the way our family and farm celebrate the four seasons with you twice, and sometimes thrice.  While each year brings some new activities, recipes, decorations, and events, much of our life follows a rhythm of traditions and rituals that will seem repetitive to others.  These traditions are what my family loves and counts on; they create the fond memories we all have of our life together on our little mountain farm.  But they are bound to be boring to the rest of you.  How many years in a row do you really want to see my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, fall leaves and gourds on my front porch, and Catholic school children in their Land's End uniforms?

But not everything remains the same.  The feeling at our house this summer is different from Augusts past.  It is evident that we are no longer in the same season of life that we were when we moved here.  My children are growing up.  Four of our youngest five are in middle school and high school.  We're about to have three in braces.  One just got his driver's permit.  We're going on college campus tours, and my teens are taking PSAT's.  Our adult children are starting their own families, returning to graduate school, and living abroad.  My husband is finishing an advanced degree and my days are filled with volunteering and coordinating schedules and managing our increasingly busy life.  Less time and energy is devoted to animal husbandry and the gardens.  This summer our only farm products are brown eggs and a few tomatoes every other day.  And when I do have some down time, I am choosing to spend it in other artistic/creative/reflective pursuits.  I cherish our family time more than ever as I see how fleeting these years actually are.  And I find myself wanting to guard our privacy as our adolescent children don't want to see themselves show up in Internet images when their friends and classmates do a google search.  I want to keep their birthdays and our holidays within our home in framed pictures on the bookshelves or in our digital family photo albums.  It's too hard for me to separate the celebrating/decorating/cooking aspects of my life from the personal family moments that intertwine with everything I do.  So I am writing this final post of the Preppy Mountain Farmhouse blog.

I have immensely enjoyed the past 2.33 years of blogging and sharing our life with all of you.  I appreciate all of your follows, likes, and comments.  I want to thank those of you who have subscribed and read my blog regularly, and I am especially grateful to those of you who left comments or included me in your blog roll.  This blog will remain live until the domain name expires next April, but this will be my last day to write.  I'll continue loading some less personal pictures to my Instagram gallery since photography is one of those creative past times I mentioned above. You can find my public page on IG at preppy_mountain_farmhouse. 

So I bid you all a final adieu.  And God bless!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

More to Do Around Erie

Last summer I wrote several posts on things to do in Erie, PA.  We visited some additional sites this summer that are worth mentioning.

The Erie Art Museum in downtown Erie is the place to be on Wednesdays in the summer.  Admission is free on that day, and at noon there are concerts just outside the main entrance.

 The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park is definitely a hidden gem.  The paths meander through both wooded and cleared areas, beside a creek, and past gardens.

Even though we live in the middle of the woods on the side of a mountain, we got closer to a doe and her spotted fawn at the arboretum than we do at home.  An added treat is Romolo Chocolates which is just across the street from Frontier Park.  This family owned artisan chocolate store is well-known for its sponge candy, something words can't describe.  

I know I mentioned the amazing sunsets over Lake Erie before, but they are worth mentioning again because they are truly spectacular.

You see what I mean?

My children always like hunting for beach glass at the Walnut Creek Marina, but this summer our youngest son also collected flat rocks to create a walkway and a border for his hand-dug "hot tub."  These didn't come home with us.

Fishing at one of the piers at Presque Isle is always fun for our teen son.

There are a number of universities in and around Erie, and we try to walk around the campus of a college or two each summer.  Mercyhurst is of interest to our high school sophomore, and it is a beautiful campus.

Just a twenty minute drive from Erie is Edinboro University, which has the attention of our high school junior.

Finally, if you do venture to Erie any time soon, be on the lookout for these cute painted rocks.  They're hiding all over the place, and apparently, you're to take your picture with them and post to Facebook, then hide them somewhere else in the city.  Our children found five during the week we were there.  Our youngest daughter thought this was especially exciting, and she gave a lot of consideration to where she would place them.  

For more information on Erie, PA, go to

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Scenes from Lake Erie

Photos of Lake Erie at the Walnut Creek Marina two weeks ago.  It was windy, 66 degrees, and COLD!

But flocks of seagulls were everywhere bracing themselves against the strong winds.

That is, until our loud family showed up and the kids started running into the midst of them.

They temporarily took flight, but returned moments later.

Our main purpose for braving the misty winds was to look for beach glass, but there was barely any beach left as the waves came crashing in.

We had to settle for watching the seagulls and the lake instead.

In my opinion, the waves and cloudy skies provided enough interest and photo ops anyway.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Farm-to-Table Community Dinner

As a belated anniversary gift to each other, my husband and I purchased tickets to a fun farm-to-table dinner in Bedford, PA.  One of the main streets in town was closed so this event could occur, and it couldn't have happened on a more perfect evening.

This was a bring your own bottle of wine affair, but there was plenty of mango iced tea provided by a local shop owner and tables of delicious local goat cheeses, chutneys, herb butter, crackers, and homemade bread.  We helped ourselves to these as we waited for dinner to officially begin, and a kind lady seated across from us generously let us borrow her corkscrew since I didn't think to bring ours.

The four-course meal was catered by Horn O' Plenty Farm to Table Restaurant, and local celebrities and non-celebrities alike volunteered to serve around a hundred people seated down the center of South Juliana Street.

Organic ingredients from local farms are used by Chef Mandy at this restaurant, and all of the food was amazing!  These wooden chargers were handsawn from cherry trees locally.

The tables were rustic, yet elegant, with white linens, the wooden service plates, burlap table runners, and Mason jars filled with fresh flowers that a number of local guests got to take home at the end of the night.

A couple of talented local musicians performed throughout dinner and created the perfect background sounds.  No traffic from surrounding streets could be heard, yet the music wasn't so loud that we all couldn't comfortably chat with one another throughout the evening.

It was a full "house" and every seat was taken.   Not only did this event promote local businesses, but the proceeds benefited Downtown Bedford Inc., which is revitalizing this charming small town.

Not only was it a large crowd, but each course of dinner was large too, and I was stuffed by the end of the night.  And I definitely threw the low-carb diet out for the evening as well.  Everything was just too fresh and too good to pass up or feel guilty about consuming.  It was a lovely evening with interesting people and so inspiring for me to see people come together to support a community, good food, and each other.   It gives me hope for other struggling small towns that have been abandoned and overlooked.  Bedford has made an incredible comeback in a way I never would have dreamed twenty or thirty years ago.  For me, this dinner was a symbol of what is possible if people are willing to think outside the box, try something new and different, and commit to a vision for the future.

Needless to say, we look forward to attending this inaugural event next year, and I hope to see more of its kind nearer to where we live.