Friday, September 25, 2009

Apple goodness

Apple goodness
Originally uploaded by the gladdings
Last weekend we made a tentative first step towards 'putting up food' for the winter. We've been steadily eating our way through the 50 pounds of apples we picked at Reed Valley Orchard on Labor Day - including a delicious spicy apple pie courtesy of Delia Smith, renowned British chef and owner of my home team, Norwich City Football Club.
So, we have apple butter and apple chutney to put in the freezer, and dehydrated apples for the pantry. We'll return to Reed Valley in October to pick Fuji, Gold Rush, Granny Smith and Arkansas Black varieties, and see what we can do with them.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roots & Heritage Festival

This weekend we're enjoying the nationally acclaimed Roots & Heritage Festival right here in our neighborhood. Things kicked off last night with live music on the main stage, just down the street from our friends the Maddock's home, and within easy listening distance of our bedroom, as we tried for an early night! This morning we sat in glorious sunshine for the parade, getting a feel for some of the community organizations in the East End as they marched, rode and drove by. We grilled hot dogs and burgers in the Maddock's drive, and gave them away as the crowds passed, collecting donations for the East End Fund - a community fund for home renovations, tree planting, street signs, and other ways to develop the local community. Two stages of live music tonight, lots of vendors, and joy on the streets of our new home - great stuff.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One month in...

Seth & 'Sugar' the chicken
Originally uploaded by the gladdings
Maggie and Seth started at the Co-operating School this week, and so we have had our first experience of a week with some kind of structure to it. Rebecca and I have spent two afternoons together, beginning to reflect on our first impressions of Communality as it is today. We sat in Shillito Park on a beautiful afternoon today, and dusted off our worship 'design' gifts to craft a (hopefully) meaningful communion service that explores the gift of meaningful work, the importance of rest, and justice issues that Labor Day gives us pause to reflect on. We are really looking forward to leading worship together again, and the opportunity to be creative in our worship of the Creator that a smaller community provides.

We are getting a feel for our neighborhood as we walk and bike around it. It has been many years since we've ridden, and we are re-acquainting ourselves with muscles we had lost touch with. The weather continues to be unseasonably cool, and we are relishing the brisk mornings that greet us. We are one step closer to raising chickens, beginning some hands-on learning that Seth in particular is really enjoying. Small seedlings are breaking through the rich soil in our plot in the community garden, and we continue to enjoy the bounty from the Maddocks' backyard. (See entry below.)

I got to spend my first afternoon with Seth's class yesterday, and became acutely aware of how far I still have to go with honing my communication skills with small children. If you have a specific response in mind, don't present it as an option, Sean. '"How about we stop splashing each other, ok?" may not be the best directive for 4 year olds at the water table. I am already in awe of Mrs Littrell's ability to speak with clarity consistently, and am really hoping some of it rubs off on me quickly. Seth and Maggie have certainly been presenting us with lots of opportunities to practice, as they continue to adjust to the huge transition we have undergone.

Seth and Maggie both got sick last week, and Seth had a febrile seizure - which we thought he had grown out of. We are going to talk to a paediatric neurologist next week to make sure there's nothing else going on. They're both full of beans again, bouncing off the walls at their first Chuck-E-Cheese party to celebrate Isaac's 6th birthday on Tuesday. Communality had its last picnic of the summer this past Sunday, and we were struck at just how many little kids there are in the community now - the most striking change we've observed. Maggie & Seth are navigating the waters of friendship with new peers, and seem to be going back and forth between paddling well with others, and knocking them out of the boat.

Local food

Pavlova treat
Originally uploaded by the gladdings
Rebecca, Maggie & Seth made pavlova this morning, for afternoon tea in the community garden with the Maddocks, who just returned from the Greenbelt Festival in England.
Meringue made with eggs from our friends the Brown's chickens, whipped cream skimmed off the milk from a local dairy farmer, and topped with raspberries from the Maddock's backyard - a delicious, local treat.