Monday, February 28, 2011

first seeding!

I am very excited to announce that the first seeds of the season are started! I spent a couple of hours in the greenhouse today getting onions into soil.
Everything was timed well (I hope!): seeds came in early last week, potting soil was delivered last Friday (despite a wicked snow storm), the fridgerminator (more on that later) is up and running... let's seed 'em up, boys!

clockwise from top left: bags and bags of yummy organic soil (80, to be exact),
me watering my little baby seeds (backpack sprayers are awesome - self portraits are not!),
an envelope of teeny tiny onion seeds, the seeds in soil


I realized around 5pm this evening that I had to make dinner! DUH - I know, but I have been lucky enough to be fed via potluck for the past couple of days, so I kind of forgot. (Granted, potlucks still mean making food... but not a whole meal!)

Anyway, I walked home from the greenhouse and started exploring the kitchen. I came up with a funky 'kitchen sink' kind of meal (which I do a lot and rarely tell anyone about... but this one is actually good!)

I'm calling it a 'balsamic roast'. It is simple, hearty, and delicious... If you venture to try it yourself, I would LOVE to hear what you think!

balsamic roast

about 3 cu small potatoes (or cubed big potatoes)
1 small-med onion
1/8 cu (about 3 'glugs') olive oil
1/8 cu (about 6 'glugs' balsamic vinegar)
2 Tbl. honey
salt to taste

heat oven to 375
chop up fruit + veggies into chunks
throw chunks into deep glass roasting dish
pour olive oil, vinegar, honey + salt over chunks and stir

roast for about 40-50 minutes
(I got kind of impatient and took it out of the main oven and placed the dish into the broiler for about 10 minutes... this got things moving and gave the veggies some crunch)

This would make a great side dish to some baked chicken or some medium-rare cooked grass-fed beef?!?!
However, as stated above, I forgot about dinner today and had no such meats on hand. What about protein?! I cooked up some french lentils and mixed both dishes together... quite delicious!
I think I will be having the left-overs for breakfast - can't wait!

buckets of fun

Mrs. Buttersworth, Aunt Jemima, Bob Streeter.
What do these people have in common? Who is Bob Streeter? What's with the bird houses pictured below?
It is time for all of your local maple sugarers to start their season.
In the fall, maple trees store up starches in their roots. All winter, these starches sit in the roots and convert into sugar to be used in the spring for the formation of buds/leaves. As winter warms up, the sugars (sap) flow up the trunk of the tree towards the branches.
If you are skilled, and are seeking the deliciousness that is maple syrup, you can tap the tree and collect some of the sap, bring it home, boil it, and have a healthy helping on pancakes!

Timing is everything and with our winter days starting to warm up a bit, some local sugarers have started tapping trees. Bob Streeter, a local, is one such sugarer. Here are some photos of trees he tapped earlier this week...

I believe his goal this year is 250 trees!
These bucketed trees make me think of little woodland creatures, living amongst the trees, collecting sap, having a blast.

I plan to help Bob this season with the collection process that will come in a few weeks... so more info and photos to follow!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I want to ride my...

Bicycle, bicycle!
With the snow staring to melt up here (only to rebound tomorrow with a mess of a winter storm on the way), I have been yearning to get out and RIDE!

I guess I will have to just pacify this need with fun prints (already ordered one - it arrived today!) and portraits.

Here is a fun grab from our trip to New Orleans in December:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

little RED riding HILL

Pat came up for the weekend, a treat indeed!
I gave him a tour of the area, we gasped together about the beauty of the mountains and lakes, and continually reminded each other about how different life is going to be up here.

We also found some time to play outside. Wanting to avoid the holiday ski craze, we headed over to a small, member-run ski hill in Meredith. It was a beautiful sunny day - perfect to play outside. Unfortunately, there have been too many warm, beautiful days and freeze-thaw cycles have left many a hill of snow VERY ICY. So, much of my time "snowboarding" this hill was spent on my fanny... I am still sore... but we had fun, and I still want to try to get the hang of this "winter snowsport" idea...
I think Red Hill might be the place to do it: a tow rope instead of a scary big lift, no lines, friendly fellow skiiers, and plenty of kids on sleds (where being on your fanny is doing it right!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I've been racking my brain for a couple of weeks about, well, a lot of things, really... but storage has been a biggie: shoes, scarfs, books, sweaters, blankets, rolls of toilet paper, etcetera.
Then is hit me: TUBES!
So I posted a call out for tubes on my local freecycle site... and got a bunch in a couple of sizes.

Tube project #1: scarf storage:

cut 'em, glue em, hang 'em, stuff 'em!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I have about 4 or so posts written and photoed in my head... and not-a-one written and photoed in the internet. So, Sunday morning blog update time!

Yesterday one of the CSA members (and a member of the unofficial "let's all be great and welcome Kim into this awesome new place" crew) came over to help get some things going in the greenhouse. I am waiting for seeds and soil to come in (not to mention for some warmer nights and more sunshine) so greenhouse work hasn't really started yet...

My plan of for this impromptu Satur-work-day was just to rake out dead weeds, organize benches, get a feel for the place - before long we were breathing in dust, covered in dead plant matter, and inspired!

We talked about the best place to set up a work bench (for seeding, potting, storing tools, etc) and quickly realized that what I needed more than the right place for a work bench was a work bench!

Armed with a pile of tools, some creative energy, and a germination chamber that I didn't intend to use (more on that in a few days), we got to work building a bench... I love it!

* noticing a trend on turning pumpkins into carriages?

swedish snow candles

Last night I headed out to a gathering of friends for fun in the snow, food, drinks, and more fun in the snow... sled races at 10pm? check!
It was a blast. I have been meeting more and more people everyday and couldn't feel more welcome to this new place (someone told me that soon I will have met everyone in town and will start seeing repeats... sounds good to me!)
Anyway, at this snow-fun-food gathering one of the attendees made Swedish snow candles along the path up to the house, they were beautiful and glowed all night long!

The image doesn't quite do them justice (with no tripod, shivering hands, and only a 1/2 moon's worth of light, I struggled to capture these guys on camera). But if you've got snow and want to make them yourself, Apartment Therapy has the how-to's...

squash 'n beans

I was looking for something a little sweet, a lot hearty, a means to eat up some yummy winter squash and kale and use up some of the beans I've got on the shelf.

I looked though one of my favorite recipe websites for some inspiration and found this use of beans and kale. I really liked the idea of pan frying the beans, especially with sea salt and nutmeg! But I wanted more.

I had a couple of apples in the fruit bowl and a big winter squash beside it, so I chopped up both apples and about 1/2 of the squash and roasted them with some butter and salt (375 oven temp for about 40 minutes or until soft).
I actually tossed the kale into the oven with the fruit roast to cook it instead of pan frying it with the beans, but I think that either way will work.
If you oven-cook it, add it in at the end (at about minute 35, otherwise the kale will over roast and get super crispy and brownish).

I can't say I really followed a recipe on this one (more like bastardized a couple of 'em) but I will attempt to get this into recipe format for anyone wanting to replicate without 'winging it'.

for the roasted stuffs:

2 med apples
1 small butternut squash (or 1/2 of a big one!)
3-4 pads of butter
1/4 tsp. seal salt
1/2 bunch of kale, washed, chopped

preheat oven to 375
chop up apples and squash, place in deep glass roasting dish
* I like to leave squash skin on, but not everyone does, so whatever feels right is right
evenly distribute butter pads
sprinkle salt over everything
roast for 20 min.
take out pan, mix everything up (the butter has melted and needs to work through some things)
back into oven for about 15 min.
take it out again and mix in the chopped kale
back in for 5 (or until squash is soft)

meanwhile for the beans:

about 1 cu. dried whit beans -soak'em, cook'em- (not sure about canned equiv., 1 14oz.?)
* you can also use chickpeas for this, I think they would work well
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

in skillet, heat olive oil and garlic
add beans
sprinkle on salt and nutmeg
fry until golden

Once it's all ready, introduce the beans to the roasted mix of goodness, scoop it all into a bowl (or three is serving others) and enjoy!

chocolate. cookies. yum.

I wanted to make cookies last night, but I didn't have enough butter (okay, so I had enough, I just didn't want to dump it all into a batch of cookies). Also, I bought a jar of Blackstrap molasses last week and I really wanted to put it to good use... so I searched the vast interweb and found these.
I tweaked the recipe a bit, based on what I had in the kitchen and how much sugar I was really willing to invest, so I will break it down for you my way here:

2 1/4 cu. of flour (I used 1 cu. whole wheat, 1 1/4 cu. unbleached white)

2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp of sea salt
1/2 cu. of raw sugar
2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cu. of maple syrup
1/3 cu. of black strap molasses
1/3 cu. of coconut oil
2/3 cu. of semi-sweet chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350

mix dry ingredients in a big bowl

mix wet ingredients in a smaller bowl... whisk

pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff bowl... mix!

form into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet with at least 1" between each ball

bake 11 minutes and take out to cool

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Since I spend most of my evenings with the cat in a cozy, snow-surrounded home, I have been catching up on movies lately.
Last night, I watched Coco Before Chanel, about... you guess it... Coco Chanel.

I have to say the movie was beautiful. Inspiring, actually. not too far in, I found myself pausing the laptop and reaching for my sketchbook.

At the end I watched some of the 'dvd extras', and after some clips of the NYC premier with the director and some of the actors, Audrey Tautou - in a beautiful frahnsch at-scent - closed with this:

"It is important to create your life instead of being passive or, you know, instead of waiting for something to happen."

I thought I loved Mlle. Tautou before I saw this movie, now I know I do!

image from:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Pat is headed south today for a business trip.
Ironically, he's headed 'home' to Tampa, FL... a place he once told me he never cared to visit (despite it being the area where I spent my first 17 years of life). Now, he's going without me!

I was just peeking at a blog I peek at a lot, design*sponge, and how funny, they also have Tampa on the brain today... I just had to swipe their photo, it was far too tempting:

Obama goes rogue on GMOs

I try not to be too political here.
I really just intend to share with whomever is reading whatever is going on...

But sometimes things have to be discussed that affect me, you, everyone.

Monsanto, that big seed company that seeks to rule the world (literally, via food), is at it again, and this current administration is bowing down to the King of Seeds.
Please take a moment to read this article and sign the attached petition asking our President to re-think GMO seed to stand by his claim to be concerned with the health of our people.

If you want to read more about this, please do! Here is an article discussing the switch-a-roo that the USDA's Vislack pulled. And here is another that explains just why we should all care!

Thanks, all. I will post happier things later today, promise!

Friday, February 4, 2011

small home, big fun

My little place here at The Community School is just that, little! But I love it! I get to figure out ways to store books, shoes, dirty laundry, pots, pans, canned food, 1/2 completed projects from 2004...
And I get to decorate in fun ways, too.
When the two combine (1/2 completed projects + a wanting for decoration) it's the best.

For example, broken sunglasses turned into sunrings... and the frames turned into a looking glass looking back!

Pages from a Danish coloring book acquired in Copenhagen a few years back keep me company every time I reach for a dish!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

bonkers for bulgur

I recently inherited a small stock of bulgur to add to my grain collection, and I must say, I really like it! 'What is bulgur?' you ask... it is a whole grain version of dried durum wheat.
'Is it good?! or is it good for me?' you scepticize... yes. both. NYT writes about it and has some great ways to cook it here.
What I really like about it is the ease of preparation.

I usually like to pre-soak my grains for a few hours in warm water with a little yogurt or kefir (overnight, if I'm really ahead of the game). This warm water/soured dairy combo allows for little microbiota to take up shop in the grains and aids digestion by breaking down phytic acid. Soaking also cuts down on grain cooking time: rice takes 20 minutes instead of 40, rolled oats are a cinche!

Okay, back to bulgur. If you soak it, bulgur cooks up in about 5 minutes.
If you forgot to soak it (which I did last night and found myself hungry and un-soaked this morning):
simply saute 1 cu. bulgur in 2 Tbl butter for 2 min
add 2 cu. water and simmer for 7 min or until tender
I added some home-made maple syrup from a great couple I have befriended up here...


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thanks Archinect!

I am a feature on another blog!!!!

Archinect, a blog for everything architecture (and more) did a feature on me and my move from architecture to farming.

I'm so excited, I'm blushing!