Saturday, February 27, 2010

comfort food ya'll

lunch went well.
a build your own salad nicoise and a heated barley salad.
Dinner was veg. comfort food
I used the fabulous magic loaf Creator from Vegan lunchbox, a fabulous blog of vegan lunch food for kids (and adults.)
The main event was a "meat loaf" of walnuts, bread crumbs, lentils, nutritional yeast, carrots and tons of other yummy things.
side dish: Potato, Celeriac, rutabaga gratin
and roasted asparagus
dessert= chocolate fondue!

and for Megan, pictures of the worms!!!
hearts, Lylee

more snow, more photos

Same old beautiful. Vermont is covered in snow in a way that makes even the most cynical person stop and stare in awe. The snow is wet and heavy, coating the trees; but it's warm here so it's both coating and melting. We have mountains of snow with shoveled paths going to the chicken coop, compost pile, as I look out the window I'll occasionally see just the combs, or a few dark feathers of chickens bobbing around. Pretty funny. Yesterday I took the morning off and went in to town, fabulous to just sit and read the New York times art sections and sip tea. Town is about 4 miles north of where I am. I decided to take our public transit to get back to school, an interesting proposition. The mad bus is totally free, but only goes in 1 direction, once an hour and exists only during the winter to cater to the ski folk. To get back to school I had to go on the rest of the bus's round and do a loop in order to get back south to YM. It was a 40 min. ride, but beautiful, up along the ridges, to Mt. Ellen, to sugar bush, down the access road, under the covered bridge and back home. It's just so odd, and sad to me that the public transit exists only for a population that is here a 1/4 of the year...

Last night we cooked Eggplant Parmesan, a big salad, garlic bread and a mango, blueberry, orange Tiramiu ish lady finger dessert. rave reviews.

Dessert from a few nights ago, the pears poached in ginger, cinnamon and apple cider with a chocolate Cayenne sauce- photo for you!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


so much today.
Finally met the woman who is farming the land across the road, small step farm. Figuring out how Yestermorrow can fit in with her growing plan. I'm going to help her make soil blocks/ generally learn is much as I can from her process of starting up a farm in its first year. She even offered to let me start some seeds in her greenhouse. Super exciting.
designed some shelves to go over the windowsill in the conference room, to hold eight seed trays for some little seedlings.
and made pears poached in apple cider, cinnamon, and ginger with a chocolate, Cayenne sauce. turned out so well- based on a recipe from veganomicon
planned to take tomorrow off, but it turned in to working dinner, perhaps part of breakfast- it'll be good though.
I think i get to make eggplant parm for dinner, so that's exciting.
because as you know, i heart eggplant.
on silly frivolous news I have become so smitten with project runway- such a fascinating show, so much design fabulousness...
all for now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

worms and seeds

hooray! the donation of seeds from high mowing seeds came today!
100 packs of all kinds of exciting stuff. Still waiting for my seeds from
Fedco- hopefully soon!!!
This morning I served Veggie pie in a potato crust (totally borrowed
from the fabulous Trotter's cafe and bakery )
I also spent time taking care of the worms, giving them a new home and making
up documents on how to take care of them. Got to talk to worm expert and
friend Megan on the phone to gain worm knowledge and advice- it's so
fun to have friends whose professional work is exciting things like worm composting!!!
and it's been snowing and snowing and snowing here. It finally feels the way I think Vermont
should in the winter. I think we have a foot or two here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the book

my lil' photos got erased, and since I'm sure you were in suspense about what my little machine sewed paper book looked like, here it is!

a photo essay of the day

Ah Tuesday! the berry sourdough crumb cake and roasted roots both went over well (I think). (pictured below is the crumb cake.) Last night I used Erin's sewing machine- the brand is Brother, so I often joke that I have a date with her brother. I love the way that sewing looks on paper, so I made this little book out of old gift bag paper, with an inside made of flour and grain bags. I love the color of them, and each bag has at least 2 or 3 layers of usable paper. In the late morning it (finally) started snowing and snowing, something that makes already beautiful Vermont look like a dream.

I helped with lunch, took a little break, then Karie and I went way over the top for dinner. Fabulous, Fabulous Kate sent me a box full of Indian spices, as well as some of her favorite recipes, so we ventured in to an Indian night. ( something that was actually planned for tonight anyway, as it turns out.) The menu included a kale cauliflower coconut curry, Thenga Paruppu (a coconut, tomato, mung bean dal) brown and whit basmati, potato and pea samosas (that fantastic Heidi made the wrappers for) and I got to invent all the chutneys! so we had a classic raita, a tomato, fig, raisin chutney, and a tamarind, cilantro, mint chutney. everything was sooooooooooo tasty. It's so fun to get to cook with Karie, we work pretty well together, and have similar levels of tidyness that we keep (read, we are both a bit messy.)

final excitement of the evening was the inoculate oyster mushrooms from the Urban Regeneration class a few weeks ago. check out how much they have grown!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The city, a city, any city: city city city

Hum, can you tell I needed to get out of the Valley?

The weekend to New Haven was such a breath of fresh air. On top of seeing many dear friends- including a few that I didn't think I'd get to see- I got to eat amazing ethnic food in restaurants, generally relax and see people of every hue and shade and ethnic background imaginable, which is amazing. As much as I love Vermont, the one huge thing the state has going against it is that more or less almost completely made up of white people, with the possible exception of Burlington. The train ride down was lovely all mountainy and lush: other highlights include being introduced to some awfully trashy, yet horribly addictive films and TV shows, walking Yale's cemetery and seeing the new forestry building (amazing!!!) and Eero Saarinen designed ice rink. Oh and we walked EVERYWHERE!!! I didn't realize how much I missed walking, but I do.

ooh and I bought some fabric and a fun antique store and my roomie has a sewing machine that I can use- so I'm back in the sewing game. I have visions of a few sewn soft cover books and a skirt featuring the lining from an old leather jacket, a translucent material with maps all over it.

I'm pretty exhausted: it really is quite a bit of traveling to get there and back, and perhaps the weekend involved a few too many vices, and a tad too much fun: fabulously needed though. Got back late last night and cooked breakfast this Morning. Somehow on 5 hours of sleep I managed to pull of sweet onion and red pepper scrambled egg and cheese sandwiches and a fruit salad. I even prepped myself and made tomorrow's breakfast: blueberry sourdough crumb cake and roasted root veggies with Moroccan spices. yum!

ooh, also exciting- I came home to a package from my fabulous cousin Kate full of Indian spices and recipes. So excited to make them this week.

Tomorrow- back on the gardening and researching band wagon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

muffin, muffin, drawing

Today I was really anxious to do some baking, so I threw together some muffins for breakfast tomorrow. I used the fabulous "sunny blueberry cornmeal muffins" from vegan with a Vengeance, with a twist though. We had all this left over grapefruit cut up, so my liquid was pureed grapefruit, I subbed mimicream for the yogurt, and used frozen blackberries and blackberry jam in place of blueberries. Threw in some flax, and they turned out pretty well. A tad on the crumbly side, and next time I'd use bigger muffin tins- I made a x3 batch though, and it multiplied pretty well.

cleaned all the chicken shit out of the co-op so our little flock has fresh straw and sawdust- yum!
last night I finished this little sketch book, with trees on the cover and the lyrics to "red river valley" which is constantly in my head these days. The first piece of art I started when I got here.

Tomorrow I'm off to the big city for an adventure, so I'll update ya'll on Monday.

adapting plans

two different farmers/ growers I was suppose to meet with today fell through and got pushed back, fine just reformulating what my day will look like. I started listening to WUMB- this fabulous folk station out of Boston that my dad told me about- and started going through notes when Sugar Magnolia came on- just what I needed this morning. I never was a huge Dead fan, but they are growing on me a lot.

today's amazing link-
check out the greenhorns
they are a land-based non profit serving young farmers across America. Doing super cool stuff- they sponsored the young farmer mixer at NOFA. a pretty interesting resource, and really trying to cultivate a new generation of young farmers/ kind of making farming this hip fun thing, I'm not sure how I feel about it. on one hand it makes sense to use the lexicon and technology of the day, and generation to excite young folk, but it also feels a bit like something you can buy at urban outfitters and just this hipster trend thing. That aspect bothers me a lot- like (side bar) I learned that Urban Outfitters sells a whole line of Holga cameras and accessories- cool that you can buy those and the parts still, but frustrating that it's turned in to this "cool, new, hip thing"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

seed order in!

so it's been a crazy weekend and week. NOFA on SAt and Sunday was amazing! but super long days...I'll write all about it soon. The exciting story is, after 12 hour days Yesterday and Today I finally finished my seed order. WOOT!!!!! it feels so nice to have it in. I still need to iron out budget and make the plans for my beds, etc. but the most time crucial part is finished.
Erin's birthday is today- so Polenta and parm with garlicky greens and a special pudding espresso yummy cake... also, Happy birthday to Maddie! it's a birthday kind of week around here.

soon: details about NOFA (so many amazing people and stories and links to share)
more about bread and puppet..
thoughts on burlington, etc.

hearts and seeds!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

friday sushi!

spent the morning making a tiny bit of headway on the garden. Sent in my form to high mowing seeds for donations, e-mailed a whole bunch of people I need to meet in the valley, gathered all the things I need to table at the NOFA conference tomorrow. My goal is to get my seed order and budget figured out by Monday, as well as where to source everything. I'm excited about this whole elaborate process planned for figuring out how many veggies we go through, and what I can grow to make a dent in, what is most expensive to buy, much to learn.

we decided to make sushi tonight! so i spent all afternoon with Kerrie making sushi and chatting- a long long day of work, but fun.
seaweed napa cabbage salad
veggie sushi with avocado, dried pear, carrot, green onion, mushroom, cucumber
wasabi, homemade pickled ginger, soy ginger dipping sauce
and I rocked a mean
steamed/ then sauteed Tempe carrot and broccoli- I'm really happy with how it turned out. lots of ginger, garlic, tamari, rice vinegar, a bit of sugar, some hot pepper flakes.
so good

going to a bread and puppet show- awesome awesome puppet theater at a cool sounding community space- i'll let you know how it is.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

garden, garden, garden

I now feel like i am treading plant planning instead of drowning in it, and that's pretty exciting . spent the day going over last years garden plans, starting to figure out how to formulate my own talking with awesome folk here about it- and going out to the actual garden,seeing where the garlic is planted and going from there. Some intense math is involved though like if i have x amount of space should i figure out bed size, what i want to grow, and from their plan how many seeds to buy? how much can i start at the school and what should i buy as seedlings... etc. so many questions, but i am slowly chipping away at them.
busy day tomorrow, cooking (making, rather) sushi for dinner, and going to the NOFA conference all weekend.

now- off to a meeting about a possible hole in our floor. (also known as an indoor way to connect upstairs and down, currently their is none)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

to garden to garden

highlights from the day- really started to figure out a garden plan- feel like I should have started this a bit earlier, but I've embraced that now.
went to a lecture tonight put on by the mad river valley locavores about The Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, VT. I'm too exhausted to really explain it well, but basically they wanted to rethink Hardwick as the Agricultural center of Vermont and all the farmers and small business decided to work together to do this vs. seeing each other as competition.
check out the really great video on them by Dan Rather
most importantly though I met a board member for Yestermorrow, and the couple that is farming down the road at another really cool project where they are farming Vermont Land Trust land and working with the local food bank to farm for them.
so much is happening...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

a tired pants

braw! sorry it's been a few days, lots going on here.
The rest of natural paints and finishes class was pretty amazing. The class was taught by Deva and Ace, two fabulous folk that own a natural building business . I have always realized that I really like cooking, and really enjoying painting, and that they go together in the sense of "I'll combine these things I like in some hypothetical amazing arty/ cafe/ community center with rainbows where people hug a lot..." Natural paints, though really are cooking. On Sunday we made a casein/ lime paint which involved warming milk, separating the curds and whey, then blending the curds with water, lime putty, and pigment to make our paint. So Cool!!! I learned so, so much. A woman who raises goats and spins and dyes yarn brought in some of her fiber dyes which she awesomely let us use.We use Madder (a plant that usually turns fabric orange/ red) and added it to the casein/lime paint- and the paint turned bright purple!
a wall at yestermorrow (from last time this class was offered) this makes me a bad student, but i'm not sure if it's a natural plaster wall, or the casein paint...
It's kind of tiring to be in class all weekend and not really have a weekend, working on balancing that better.

Last night I took a road trip to Burlington to hear Wes Jackson speak. I've heard vaguely of him and The Land Institute he started in Salina Kansas my whole life, but I wanted to see what it was all about- and it was all about amazingness. His whole work is about making wheat, and corn into perennial crops (so that they are better for the environment, work withour eco systmes and are lighter on topsoil, everything by the virtue of them not having to be planted annually and are thus colser to prarie grasses and what the land that is Kansas naturally wants to be.) So interesting- I only understood a small fraction of the talk, just because a lot of it was a bit over my head language and concept wise, but still so cool.

Feeling pretty overwhelmed and underskilled for everything that I need to be doing these days, but I'm trucking along. The big NOFA organic farming conference in Vermont is this weekend, so I'm tabeling and going to workshops. Also in the stages of buying seeds, getting seeds, and generally focusing on the garden and feeling a little behind in it.
Worried about our chicken friends a tad and have to do some research on them.
things are picking up speed and piling up and I'm working on taking it a day at a time.

on an exciting note- I made scones for tomorrow's breakfast: vegan banana, date and maple and a vegan garlic chive variety. yum!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

we are men, men in skirts long skirts

So, when I last wrote, it was already an amazing day.

The rest of class was fantastic, we made a few clay based paints and started painting walls in the studio- Erin and I painted a wall bright(ish) red... had an amazing dinner of friend eggplant (or fish) with sweet potato fries, green beans and carrot cake for dessert- all in hour of Serena's birthday. Then, we actually made in to Mont P for contra dancing!!!! I say this with such excitement because we really kind of are in this black whole vortex where it is difficult to assemble ourselves to leave a lot of the time. This time though, we made it out- contra dancing in Vermont is one of those things that gives me faith in humanity. Outside of town, up a gravel road in the community hall lies a building with wooden floors and signs directing you downstairs to take off your shoes, and change in to dance shoes and clothes. These folk are serious about their dancing- with good reason.
My conservative guess is that there were around 150 people ranging from age 3-86, people who were sober to a few who had had a few to drink, and most of all, men in skirts. At least 20 men had on long flow-y skirts, there were thin muslin tiered skirts...and brightly colored polka dotted skirts. Tight off white skirts with embroidered flowers, dark black skirts with white underneath... and these were just the men.

The intense nature of contra dancing is fascinating- there is so much direct eye contact, that it could make even the toughest Minnesotan fall in to a Lutheran "lake wobegon" stereotype and blush. And the spinning! holy dizzy pants. The best part though- meeting strangers, asking people to dance, getting asked to dance- everyone so friendly, and very few of the dirty old men elk. I know, you're thinking "oh it's the off the beaten path hippie folk" but really, it was a good cross section of folk- really it was just so Vermont. It was exactly how Vermont is. And let be known.... I love Vermont.

icing on the cake.... getting back to school and catching the end of an episode of Glee, followed by a convo about the psychology of the show. love it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

paint it the color of starfish love

yesterday was a long Friday to be sure. It was a day of cramps and headaches and generally feeling crappy- I cooked breakfast, and Heidi came in and helped me with lunch. Afternoon research and office like work followed by late afternooon nap -formal Friday dinner (switched from Monday because the alliteration flowed better) and ending with all the interns hanging out in our house with a few beers, stories, guitars and even some violin and harmonica.
Today is the natural paints and finishes class and it is so much fun! It feels so nice to be painting again- even just painting swatches of color to see how the different materials respond to different surfaces.... I could go on and on about pigments and lime and plaster...but I'll spare you and write more about the class tonight or tomorrow and include fabulous photos and links and such.
tonight: perhaps contra dancing in Mont. P (although, it's generally hard for us to find our way off of the yestermorrow campus...)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A fox (near) the henhouse

image from the bento box blog (so cute)
so the fox wasn't in the hen house..but enough to put us all on edge. This morning when I went to open the kitchen and let the chickens out I noticed tracks leading up to the coop door... then at lunch we saw one dart over the hill and then two down in the front of the school (back of the school?) by the pond. As a result we decided to lock them in the pen at lunch (and their run) but one just wouldn't go after a bit of running, and flying, and cornering, Rob- our new chicken whisperer- was able to throw a coat over her (I think it was Sadie) and get her in to the run, poor scared little muffin she was...

In other animal news a black cat wandered in to one of the cabins last night (smelling and feeling the warmth of the fire) and curled up with the guy staying in the cabin all night. This morning the cat came inside and led the life of cat luxury hanging out in the conference room all day on a soft black chair and meowing a lot. It's obviously been outside for a long long time, but the cat (she?) really likes people a lot- and isn't afraid at all... has front claws (which i thought for sure means it doesn't have a home) - but apparently no one declaws cats in Vermont (which is awesome cause it's such a mean thing to do- it's like cutting off fingers...) so it still could have a home... The cat went home with a staff person for the night, but we'll see what happens to the little friend tomorrow.

Breakfast turned out well! overnight banana raisin cream cheese stuffed french toast, sauteed bananas, maple syrup, and oven baked spicy potato cubes. yum! everyone loved it.
tonight. love notes and organizing...and maybe watching movies.

and now to leave you with some Pete Seeger that I've been singing all day, so it can get stuck in your head too!

The Fox went out on a chilly night
He prayed for the moon to give him light
For he had many a mile to go that night
Before he reached the town-o, town-o, town-o
He had many a mile to go that night
Before he reached the town-o

He ran till he came to the farmers pen
The ducks and the geese were kept therein
He said a couple of you are gonna grease my chin
Before I leave this town-o, town-o, town-o
A couple of you are gonna grease my chin
Before I leave this town-o

He grabbed the great goose by the neck
He threw a duck across his back
And he didn't mind the quack, quack
And the legs all danglin' down-o, down-o, down-o
He didn't mind the quack, quack
And the legs all danglin' down-o

Well the old gray Woman jumped out of bed
Out of the window she popped her head
Cryin' John, John the great goose is gone
The Fox is on the town-o, town-o, town-o
John, John the great goose is gone
And the Fox is on the town-o

[BRIDGE (Fiddle)]

He ran till he came to his nice warm den
And there were the little ones 8, 9, 10
Sayin' Daddy, Daddy better go back again
It must be a mighty fine town-o, town-o, town-o
Daddy, Daddy go back again
For it must be a mighty fine town-o

The Fox and his Wife, without any strife
They cut up the goose with a fork and a knife
And they never had such a supper in their life
And the little ones chewed on the bones-o, bones-o, bones-o
They never had such a supper in their life
And the little ones chewed on the bones

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

drawing warmth out of the cold

breakfast this morning...
toasted amaranth, barley and steel cut oats hot cereal- soaked overnight and cooked with raisins, dates, cinnamon, salt, tiny bit of sugar. I'd never cooked with amaranth before but it turned out pretty well- I really like how nutty it is.

we successfully turned the first compost bin in to the second (we were overflowing!) and have started brain storming ideas for additional compost bins as we are filling them up soo fast... we are tossing around the idea of penned in areas on top of the herb garden so the chickens can get in to them and help compost/ eat well...

evening party in our little cabin. It got a beautiful clean and new arrangement from lovely interns and everyone was around tonight playing guitar/ working on art projects/ catching up with people telephonically/ hanging art around the house....and blasting some Stevie wonder.. It feels nice to really be living in our living space...

Lylee's movie update (yes, we watch a lot of them...vaguely reminiscent of a certain year of volunteering...) chris rock's movie good hair is fascinating.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

to Nerinx Hall goes the song that we sing

The pitcher inn with the shuffleboard was closed tonight so we ended up at the local folk, filled with local folk, pool tables, big buck hunter- it's the place to be in Waitsfield on a Tuesday night.
Some students from our woodworking intensive that just started showed up a bit later. I know a few of them, and some how the topic turned to St. Louis (doesn't it always?) and a woman in the class came over to the conversation and said that she use to live there. Turns out she went to the same small, Catholic highschool that I went to. Really, in the middle of Vermont I find someone who went to population 600 Nerinx Hall highschool. Crazy!!! She was a senior while I was a freshman so we actually know people in common too...
Even crazier (I know, "what could that be?" you ask) two other people at the school right now found out that other students went to their highschool and they didn't know each other.)
It is such a small, small world..

"and they say the truth will set you free but then so will a lie- it depends if you're trying to get to the promised land or just trying to get by."

an interesting thought to contemplate.. It makes a lot of sense in the terms of- when is it worth your while to actually tell the truth and make yourself available vs. when is it a better idea just to say ok and nod your head and move on (which is kind of a lie, or maybe just not full disclosure?)...
today was a day of zero cooking and two meetings.
on an exciting note the class this weekend was Urban Regeneration- a class co taught by Scott Kellogg literally the one who wrote the book on sustainable city living from a DIY perspective.
As a result we now have three packages of inoculated mushrooms that will be ready for eating in a few months, and a beautiful blue Rubbermaid container full of worms! for worm composting. On top of that I was given a sourdough starter yesterday, and hopefully soon a kombucha mother.... Now our kitchen/ house will be a mushroomy/ wormy/ fermenting machine!
This afternoon I had the time travel experience of taking redeemable bottles and cans to be turned in to money.. This involved driving them to a ramshackel of a building just outside of town where a sweet woman took our bottles, hand sorted them, and gave us cash for them (based on the generally 5 cent redeemable rate). I've never lived in a state that has a bottle deposit before, pretty interesting...

Kitchen meeting went well. We have some new systems in place, and new ideas for recipes, etc. Overall, everything is looking uppish.
tonight- honing the shuffleboard skills.
this weekend- taking my first class- Natural Paints and excited!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

what's better than on tap beer?

on tap kombucha! I got out of the school on Sat and frolicked to nearby cities for a seed swap, and for fun . I decided to treat myself at the hunger mountain co-op in Montpelier and grabbed a bottle of Kombucha- I wander around the store then towards the ext found on tap locally brewed komucha in two flavors!!! check out the website- some of the most beautiful graphics and layout I have ever seen on a website. woah!
I also found locally made- soymilk and tofu, tempeh and more varieties of (especially goat) cheese than my little heart could ever possibly begin to try.

ah, fermentation! I finally bought my own copy of Wild fermentation by Sandor Katz.
for years I had photocopied pages, now covered in goo that I referenced religiously. Katz's publisher is in Vermont and he was here not too long ago doing a fermentation demonstration.
Last night I volunteered at the SOUPer bowl- a magical local food event, held at the Round Barn Farm. I was in food heaven, everyone brought their own bowl and twelve or so local restaraunts were there with soup made largely of local ingredients. Other tasty highlights included: maple raw milk milkshakes, local espresso gelato, goat cheese, apple cider, raw cheddar, butter, Red han and Mangies bread, and (wait for it, wait for it) kimchi made by Sandor was good, tasted like kimchi, but just the fact of knowing it was made by the master fermentation guru- I was so excited! Top the evening off with a bluegrass band, and apple cider-maple-"local-tini's" and it was the best sunday night I've spent in a round barn ever.

Thanks for all of the love after that sad, mopey, post I made yesterday. I have much perspective and confidence that the situation will improve, but needs a lot of patience, love, and slowly, it's getting much much better.

Final thought of the day: if you have never seen earth girls are easy, the 80's alien musical featuring geena Davis and Jim Carey, it's hysterical...a lovely way to spend an afternoon making lil' DIY planter pots to get my seeds started in.