Saturday, October 31, 2009

On This Last Day of October

A few reminders for you on this Last Day of October.

Be on the lookout tonight, if you're out and about.  There will be haunts, and ghouls, and trick-or-treaters in the streets.

Dickinson Farms, Sapowsky's Farm Stand, and King Creek Farm all close this weekend.  Dickinson's will reopen in November for the holidays and King Creek will reopen in December when their next batch of grass-fed beef comes in.

Don't forget to change your clocks tonight -- we end daylight savings time and "gain" an hour!

FYI -- if you have questions about the library project, there will be a public forum on Tuesday evening in the auditorium at Town Hall at 7pm.  The special town meeting and vote will be on Nov 10 at the high school.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Autumnal Sunset


Monday, October 26, 2009

Leaves in Late Autumn

Photos taken Sunday afternoon after a long walk down Shay Street in Amherst.
View from the Grass photo taken by my wonderful husband.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Visit to King Creek Farm

My new route to work takes me past Sapowsky's Farm Stand (become a fan on Facebook) and Dickinson Farms, and I enjoy popping in on my way home to pick up apples, squash, flowers, pastries, bread, tomatoes, and other such fresh & local items. And so it saddens me that this is the final week for them to be open (they both close Oct 31, though Dickinson Farms does reopen for the holiday season). However, it seems that there is one farm stand that will remain open for a bit longer (I'm hoping), and it is the newest farm stand of my local experience -- King Creek Farm.

King Creek Farm (also on Facebook) is located on Rt 9 in Ware on the Belchertown side and is open Friday through Sunday. Their featured product is their beef, which is 100% grass-fed -- not finished with corn. They also carry pastured pork, eggs, and a variety of seasonal vegetables, flowers, cider, cheeses, sauces, salsas, honey, syrup, Pierce Brothers coffee, and home-baked bread. My husband has been the go-to guy for that farm, stopping in on his way to work and picking up beef, squash, donuts, and even our holiday pumpkin; my first visit didn't happen until 2 weeks ago, on Columbus Day weekend.

The first striking thing about KCF is the setting. Located at the top of a hill, it overlooks fields, pastures, wooded areas, and more hills. A spectacular view -- especially in the autumn. The farm itself has been around since the 1800's, and was purchased by the current owners in 2004. Since then the farm has been completely renovated, and it is now clean, bright, and welcoming (be sure to check out the pictures at the farm stand about the renovations).

We went on a Saturday morning when the barn was also going to be open for their barn sale. Our first stop was at the farm stand itself to see the vegetables, meat, and other available products. They were colourful, bright, well-arranged, and plentiful -- I would have happily walked out with a car-ful.
The day was nice, so we took a few minutes to enjoy the rocking chairs on the farmer porch before heading off to check out the chickens.
After our chicken visit we went to the barn -- I'm a sucker for barn sales, antique sales, tag sales. The barn was stocked from floor to ceiling with everything imaginable -- coats, dishes, games, toys, antique stoves, armoires, kitchen gadgets, liniments, clothes, books, decorations, windows, buttons, milk bottles, pewter pieces, suitcases, jewelry -- and even a string bass.
We had a delightful visit, and I highly recommend the farm and its goods.

The King Creek Farm website offers information about the farm, current produce available, barn sale dates, info on raw milk, and even tips on how to cook grass-fed beef. If you get on their e-mailing list, you will be privy to updated food availabilities and recipes (see below for this week's recipe).

KCF is located at 337 Belchertown Rd, Route 9, Ware, Massachusetts 01082

**Pictures in this post are courtesy of our Columbus Day Arizona guest, who remembered her camera when I forgot mine.**

Sausage, Kale, and Bean Stew

1 pound bulk mild sausage

12 ounces kale

2 tablespoons water

1 cup mushroom caps, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 cups white beans

1 14 1/2-ounce can vegetable broth

Shape sausage into 1-inch balls. Arrange sausage balls in a single layer in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until brown on all sides. Remove sausage from skillet and drain. Remove any fat left in skillet.

Meanwhile, remove center stalks from kale; discard stalks. Coarsely chop kale (should have about 16 cups). Add kale and water to skillet; cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until kale is just tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes more. Add sausage, beans, and vegetable broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until kale is very tender.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

**Special Town Meeting**

The time has come!
November 10 is the date of the special town meeting for Clapp Memorial Library expansion project. This meeting that will help decide the future of the Clapp Library, so it is vitally important that Belchertown residents take the opportunity to participate in this meeting. The Library is a fundamental part of the Belchertown community -- its history and its future -- and this is a significant moment for both the Library and the town. The two main issues for the special town meeting are the transfer of ownership of the library to the town and the possibility of the town issuing bonds to help pay for the expansion. Come, listen, ask questions, learn about the project, and cast your vote.

Tuesday, November 10, 7:00pm
Belchertown High School
Baby-sitting available

For more information about the special town meeting or about the expansion project, visit Clapp for Community FAQs.

See also this article from the Republican on MassLive: Clapp Library Meeting Booked

The Red Red Oak


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Going on This Week

What's going on this week? Columbus Day Weekend is generally the final hurrah of the season in Western Massachusetts -- town fairs, art & craft fairs, leaf walks, and lots of visitors to the area for leaf-peeping. And now that all the excitement is seemingly over, you may wonder "What's going on this week?"

On the calendar for the week is the Belchertown Library Book Sale -- 50,000 books for sale, with videos, comics, and more -- with most items costing only a dollar. That $1!
This weekend there is the Fall Foliage Walk starting from the Amherst Town Common.
The farmers markets in Belchertown and Amherst are both still on this week.

If you're looking for more to do, check out some of the following links:
Five College Events Calendar:
Pioneer Valley Entertainment Links:
Valley Advocate Music Listings:

There's always a lot to do -- don't despair just because the majority of the fairs and festivals have been put away for another year. Find something fun -- and do it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn Visions

Western Massachusetts is truly in its glory in autumn.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Beauty of the Quabbin in Early Autumn

With thanks to our supporting photographer for the photo in the middle.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eagle Hill Cultural Center Season Opener

Last winter we discovered a great little cultural center in Hardwick at the Eagle Hill School and enjoyed there a lively presentation from Northern Lights. The Eagle Hill Cultural Center is about to open its new season with The Rivalry -- a drama of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. There appears to be a mess of tickets still available ($25 for adults) and the show runs this weekend. If you have an interest, take a look. (We recently had the audio version in the house, and it received rave reviews.)
"Direct from a triumphant off-Broadway run at the Irish Repertory Theater: don't miss this rare opportunity to see fine actors perform this riveting drama directed by Vincent Dowling, former Artistic Director of Ireland's National Theater, the Abbey Theatre of Dublin!" (from the EHSCC website)

Photographs and text copyrighted by Livin' In the Belch blog author, unless otherwise stated.