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Ballerina Chiots

October 31st, 2009

Lucy’s costume was finished today on the way over to my mom’s. She loved it of course since she likes the attention she gets while wearing costumes. Our nieces & nephew thought it was the greatest thing and had a blast playing with ballerina Lucy.
dog_in_tutu
Her ballerina costume was complete with ties around her feet, sans the shoes of course.
lucy_tutu_legs
Lucy doesn’t like to have her photo taken and always looks away, but I got this one that was pretty cute.
lucy_tutu_face
Happy Halloween from Chiot’s Run, we hope your autumn weekend was a wonderful affair filled with lots of candy and dog biscuits.

Head on over to my Flickr stream to see more photos.

Happy Halloween from Chiot’s Run

October 31st, 2009

I love towns that celebrate Halloween on the actual holiday, not the Sunday before on Wednesday afternoon. My mom’s town celebrates on Halloween and we always head over there to go trick-or-treating with our nieces & nephew. Lucy usually has a costume as well and she walks around with us. Last year she was Wendy from the Wendy’s restaurant. This year she has a costume as well, I’ll post a photo later today so check back.
cat_on_apple_crates
Until then here’s a photo that really shows the season, fresh apples and black cats. As someone commented on this photo over at Flickr: This photo is like everything I expect from an American Autumn and more!

How do you celebrate Halloween? any fun costumes this year?

Making Sauerkraut for New Year’s

October 30th, 2009

On Wednesday I started my sauerkraut for our New Year’s Day tradition. We’ve been eating sauerkraut for New Year’s in my family since I can remember. We used to go out to my grandma’s house and she would have a big roaster full of sauerkraut, sausage and dumplings. When my grandma died my dad took over. He developed his own special recipe, changing it each year to make it better. It’s not your typical kraut recipe, it includes carrots, apples, tomatoes and all kinds of delicious goodness. For a few photos of my dad cooking on New Year’s and the recipe see this post.
ingredients_for_sauerkraut
Sauerkraut that ferments at cooler temperatures – 65 or lower – has the best flavor, color and vitamin C content. The fermentation process takes longer at these temperatures, around 4-6 weeks. That’s probably why it’s traditionally made in the fall. Looks like I’m making mine at the right time, it should be ready by mid-December and waiting in the fridge for New Years!
slicing_cabbage_for_sauerkraut
Making sauerkraut is quite easy all you need is cabbage (red or green), salt, and time (generally 3T of salt for every 5 lbs of cabbage). First you slice up the cabbage as thinly as you’d like, I usually do some really thin and some thick for variety. Then you put some sliced cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle salt over it, then smash with a wooden spoon or potato masher and mix. Continue adding cabbage and salt and mixing and smashing until the bowl is half full.
Making_sauerkraut
When the bowl is about half full I let it sit for 10-15 minutes to take a break and to let the cabbage wilt a little. This makes it easier to stuff into the glass jar I’m using as a fermenting crock. Transfer the cabbage to the jar, smash it down and continue working until all the cabbage is salted, smashed and packed into the jar. Let the cabbage sit overnight, if the brine hasn’t covered the cabbage make some brine (1.5 T of salt to 1 quart of water) and pour over the cabbage. I use a canning jar to weigh down the cabbage because I’m not comfortable using plastic. Let it sit for 4-6 weeks until it stops bubbling and it tastes like sauerkraut. You really can’t get much simpler. I’m hoping to try a few of the recipes in my The Joy of Pickling, Revised Edition
fermenting_sauerkraut
When I was making this I thought about all the women in past generations of my family that spent time each fall making sauerkraut for New Year’s. Connecting with our food heritage is such a wonderful thing. Hopefully our nieces & nephew will grow up with fond memories of eating Grandpa’s Famous Sauerkraut on New Year’s and continue the tradition with their families.

Do you have a specific food or menu that has been passed down through the generations of your family?

A Trip to the Orchard

October 29th, 2009

Last Monday Mr Chiots and I stopped by a local orchard to buy some apples to make applesauce & apple butter. It’s a great little orchard that is as organic as you can get and still have apples. They use the bare minimum of treatments on their trees. They also try to keep their business small and do things the way they’ve always done it. It’s such a cute little place, when you drive up you’re greeted by 5 dogs that are very happy to see you.
Dogs_playing_with_stick
All the apples are stacked under a huge tree beside their house. The owner explained to us that he could buy a second cooler, but then he’d have higher electric bills and then he would have to work more. So he just stores his apples outside and sells what he can before they all go bad.
Stacked_apple_crates
They had cats patrolling the crates for mice and I’m sure the dogs kept the deer, opossums and raccoons away.
two_black_cats
I was up till the wee hours of the morning today making applesauce with the bushel of apples I purchased for $12. What kind did I get? I simply asked them for a bushel of good applesauce apples and they picked out a selection of 4-5 different kinds for me. If you are anywhere close to Orrville, Oh, head on over and visit Hochstetler Orchards, 13460 Church Rd, Orrville, OH 44667.

Do you have a favorite local place that you purchase specific items from?

A Trip to Cabela’s

October 28th, 2009

I come from a family of avid hunters. My grandpa had to hunt to survive since he was very poor and his dad died when he was young. He passed his skills and love of hunting down to his sons, one of which was my dad. My grandparents bought a big piece of land in rural Ohio and built a hunting cabin for the family. I got my hunting license when I was in 7th grade, although I never really got into hunting all that much.
log_cabin_plate
Mr Chiots didn’t come from a hunting family, so he was introduced to it when he joined our family. He’s really gotten interested in it this year and finally took the Ohio Hunter Safety Course and got his license.
Hunter_Safety_course_card
He’s planning to go deer hunting in November with my dad. Since Mr Chiots is a new hunter, he needs a few things. Yesterday we headed down to Cabela’s in West Virginia with my parents to look around and pick up a few hunting supplies.
cabellas_Store
It’s a fascinating store, even if you’re not into hunting. They have all kinds of sporting goods from camping and fishing, to grilling and home sausage making supplies. They have all kind of animal scenes from around the world and a huge walk-through aquarium. It’s a lot like going to a natural history museum. They also have a white-tail deer exhibit featuring many award winning deer. We ate in their cafe, which features a lot of different game (we had elk burgers for lunch).
Stuffed_mountain_ram
Mountain_scene_at_Cabellas
African_animal_scene_at_Cabellas
I know hunting is something that not everyone is in to and not everyone agrees with. In our area of the country it’s very popular and many people still enjoy it. Wild game supplies most of the meat we eat, except for the chicken we buy from our local farm and an occasional beef roast from the farm as well.
venison
I’ve eaten my fair share of interesting things in my lifetime, which can’t be avoided when your dad is an avid hunter and you grow up in another country. I have eaten; bison, ostrich, elk, wild boar, venison, squirrel, alligator, and various interesting cuts of beef that aren’t popular here in the U.S. The strangest thing I’ve eaten is fried ants, they’re very popular in Colombia. They kind of taste like popcorn.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten (fruit, vegetable, meat or insect)?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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