Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Maple Hill Hop 53

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)

This past weekend we made it to the 
Lake Mirror Classic Car Show in Lakeland, 
which is about 30 minutes from where we live.
Every year, this automotive spectacle allows us a peek
at vintage automobiles we could only dream of owning.
Some folks are seen dressed in period costumes,
which adds to the fun and frivolity.
Just look at these gems.

I'm drawn to the quirky cars.
This three-seater would be perfect for our family!

Simple, clean interiors really appeal to me.

Talk about the perfect delivery roadster!

This Isetta is one of the most fantastic vehicles I've ever seen and a family favorite.
What a treat to motor around town in this cutie.

One of the best parts of the show
is hearing about how the owners came upon acquiring their treasures.

Many displays brought back feelings of a simpler time.

Mirror Lake is home to many birds,
including the symbol for the city of Lakeland, the swan.

Lil' Guy (who isn't so little anymore),
enjoyed communing with the birds.

And a good time was had by all...

Whatcha been up to where you live?
Hop To It!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rural Renaissance Book Review

Rural Renaissance 
by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist

"Blending inspiration with practical how-to's, Rural Renaissance captures the American dream 
of country living for contemporary times.  Journey with the authors and experience their lessons, 
laughter and love for the land as they trade the urban concrete maze for a five-acre organic farm 
and bed and breakfast in southwestern Wisconsin.  
Among the many topics explored in Rural Renaissance are:

*"right livelihood" and the good life
*organic gardening and permaculture
*renewable energy and energy conservation
*simplicity, frugality and freedom
*green design and recycled materials
*independence and interdependence 

An authentic tale of a couple whose pioneering spirit and connection to the land 
reaches out to both the local and global community to make their dream come true,  
Rural Renaissance will appeal to a wide range of free agents, conservation entrepreneurs 
and both arm-chair and real-life homesteaders, regardless of where they live."

What struck me most when reading this book was the absolute awakening concerning creating a life that feels right.  By following one's heart, good things will happen.  The authors explain how they forged a unique trail 
for their bed & breakfast, unlike any other.  Rather than following conventional standards, they fashioned their inn after their own heartfelt desires.  

Some of the differences you'll find at their getaway are:

1)  Reused and repurposed furnishings
2)  The use of homemade, natural cleaners
3)   Homegrown, organic food
4)  An emphasis  on creating an environmentally
and socially responsible haven for guests. 

It's no wonder that those who flock to their establishment
are of like minds.  What a great way to not only enjoy a needed vacation, 
but to support a business that believes in doing the right thing.  That's a winning combination.
This book was an interesting read and it made me want to book a reservation.
It's definitely worth your time.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Water Kefir

Water kefir is a refreshing drink that is loaded with health benefits.
Including fermented foods to our diet is another way to
help our son with his digestive issues,
which is common with kids on the spectrum.
He has many food sensitivities which somewhat limit his diet.
The good yeast and bacteria in this concoction
allow the digestive system to work at peak performance.
And when it tastes this good, it's so much easier than 
trying to get him to take supplements.
(Although these are called kefir grains,
there are no grains in them,
so they are safe for those on a grain-free or gluten-free diet.)

We're both enjoying this sweet treat.
I make a batch almost every day and we both drink 1-2 glasses a day.

It couldn't be easier to make.
A bit of distilled water is warmed on the stovetop.
Meanwhile, 1/4 cup of organic sugar is added to a quart-sized mason jar.
When the water is hot, it gets added to the jar.
The water is swirled or stirred to dissolve the sugar
(this takes only about 10 seconds).

Then the jar is filled to the top with room temperature or cold water,
mostly to bring the temperature down.
(Kefir grains won't survive in very hot water.)
After the water in the jar is cool to the touch,
the kefir grains are added.
A paper towel (or coffee filter) is placed on top of the jar 
and secured with a rubber band.
It stays on the kitchen counter from 24-48 hours.
I indicate the date and time on the jar,
so I remember when it is ready.

Pop it in the fridge and you're on your way to enjoying this wonderful drink!
Our son likes to add a bit of grape juice or lemonade to it,
but I enjoy it straight up or with a bit of lime juice.

Here's a great tutorial on making water kefir,
as well as a resource for the kefir grains. 
The folks at Cultures for Health have been so helpful
for this newbie 
and answered all of my questions via the chat feature on their website. 
(I'm not compensated for sharing their site,
I just like to pass along the good stuff.)