Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I love seasonal cookbooks that use fresh, local produce. In making supper tonight, I was leafing through a few to get ideas. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Vegetarian Suppers by Deborah Madison

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Baking Illustrated - Cook's Illustrated

The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John

Edible Earth by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko

Dinner ended up being:

Baking Powder biscuits from Baking Illustrated. No milk on hand so I thinned some of my raw milk yogurt.

Browned Brussel Sprouts in Parmesan Crust from The Real Dirt on Veggies.

Quinoa with Carrot and Garlic. I found this recipe somewhere online but I can't find it so I made from memory.
1 C of cooked quinoa
1 large carrot, diced
Some ginger - I used about 3 T
~3 T of flour
Salt & pepper to taste

While the quinoa is simmering, warm and slightly soften the carrot and garlic. Pull from the heat. Cool quinoa in a bowl until it is comfortable enough to handle. Stir in the carrot mixture. Sprinkle with flour and mix well until the mixture sticks together. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Form the quinoa mixture into little patties (approx 2") and fry in the olive oil. Serve warm, room temp or cold. I drizzle with some yogurt with fresh herbs. They are delicious the next day for lunch too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Handmade hula hoe

This is a paw print of our dog that we had to put to sleep two years ago. Bill recently mounted it in a piece of old timber that he found in the belltower of our church. We have two of them - one in the Wisc church and one in our Chicago house.

This is a handmade hula hoe that Bill made me for me for my 4oth birthday. It is a white oak sapling.

This is the handle. He left part of the bark on the end. The silver band is a piece of metal from a can of dog food from our dog. He turned under the sharp ends with a metal bender and had carved out a section of the handle where the metal fits. Also, he hand punched a message on the band - it says 3 Flat Acres.

This is the top of the handle. It is hard to see but he carved a silhouette of our dog. When he gave it to me he said, "I know you miss her when you garden, so I carved her image so that she can still be with you."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weekend accomplishments

I woke up on Saturday not feeling well, so I went back to bed and slept until 2:30. I must have been tired!

I made up for it on Sunday by:
  • Doing three loads of laundry and drying them outside
  • Baking 2 loaves of whole wheat bread
  • Turning the compost pile
  • Pulling up the Chicago garden and putting in the aforementioned compost pile
  • Spreading leaves over the Chicago garden and covering with moldy hay
  • Harvesting lots of mint and drying it in the food dehydrator for mint tea
  • Cleaning out the garage
  • (we did get the homebrew bottled on Friday night)

It was a lovely day.

We start Farm Beginnings this weekend.

Friday, October 16, 2009


This will be the first weekend that I won't have to work in over a month. Two days off in 28 days is not good for one's well-being.

I am going celebrate by:
bottle some homebrew
Chicago yard clean up
bake bread
husk the black walnuts if they are dry

Friday, October 9, 2009

Montana photos

Some photos from my Montana adventure on the market farm.
This area of Montana averages 12" of rain per year. Essentially this is a desert. As such, they have to irrigate. Each of these irrigation pipes are 40' of aluminum piping with sprinklers on the end. They fit together the length of the field. They are moved every day or so to a new spot.

Solar panels. The farmers are able to generate enough electricity to offset their usage in the home. They are grid tied. Their walk in coolers and other farm needs are pulled from the grid.

Root vegetable washer. This was pretty neat. Attach the hose and fill up the reservoir with water. Put the crop (we did beets) in on the left and plug it in. It rotates and cleans the beets and they plop out on a screen on the other side to drain and for packing.


Peacock. I loved this guy and would follow him around. The feeling was not mutual. He has lost his tail feathers.

Sunflowers with the mountains in the background.

Chard that we had just thinned.

Wow - what kale!

Beautiful fields of vegetables.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Typing with dirty hands

I collected two large buckets of black walnuts on Saturday afternoon while we were at the farm. Some of them already had the outer husk turning black so upon returning to the church, I rolled them around with my foot on the road to get some of the rotting material off. During all of the handling, my hands got quite dirty. Now I knew that you can use black walnut husk as a natural dye - but let's just say now I really know it! My hands got quite stained during the process and it is slooooow to wear off. Yesterday while at work, I was pointing to an item on a report and I could see my co-worker's eyes widen in surprise at the state of my hands. I explained that I was working with dyes - sometimes it is better to not go into the food gleaning endeavors with co-workers.

I read this on the train this morning.
The Rural Life by Verlyn Klinkenborg
The end of the chapter on September

The weight of the afternoon sun already falls more lightly on my back than it did a few weeks ago. The days seem not only shorter but also somehow thinner too, and every morning that dawns above freezing feels like a morning won back from the inevitable. Nothing is dry yet, of course, but the promise of eventual dryness is in the air. A day will come when every crown of seeds will rattle on the weeds in ditches and fields, when leaves will crunch obligingly underfoot again.