Showing posts from August, 2010

imagining sustainability

"If we cannot envision the world we would like to live in, we cannot work towards its creation. If we cannot place ourselves in it in our imagination, we will not believe it is possible."
~ Chellis Glendinnin

Flowing through my head these days is the idea of change, possibly spurned on by the summer winding down; watching my cucumber plants begin to die off and my pumpkins swell with each passing day. So much can be learned of change just by watching Mother Nature make her graceful dance of it.

In all this thinking about change and the seasonality of crops I was reawakened to the blessedness of living at a place like the Farm where so much of our food comes from US!! Sharing some of this with a friend the other day spurned my introduction to The Berkshire Food Journal. 

Check it out and if you live in the area think about supporting one of these great vendors, and if you don't, maybe think about how you can support local in your neck of the woods!

applesauce, an experiment

Avalon (our house) smells like fall tonight; it even seems like a fall day outside right now: 62 degrees Farenheit, windy and rainy. Why, you ask, does it smell like fall in our house? Well, with the breeze and the rain it felt perfect for a fire, then add to that the smell of boiling apples and voila! you have the scent of fall.
Why, you ask, am I boiling apples? Well, the apple trees (pictured right) outside our back door (which produce a MacIntosh-ish looking apple) and another tree at the edge of the road (which produce a yellow apple) are what Bob, the Farm's nature/woods/weather expert, calls early apples. Apple that are considered early apples are, as the term suggests, earlier to bloom than most other varieties, whose fruit comes into season meaning they come in to season in thef fall. The apples on said early fruiting trees has just been dropping into our yard for a little over a week and while I love running over the apples with the lawn mower--opening up the fruit as a…

tomatoes, a love story

Thought to be poisonous at one point. The fruit of the Americas (native of South America). An Italians dream since the 1500s. A North American joy since the late 1700s. Referred to by the French as, "love apples." I give you the tomato.

Tomatoes are something, like asparagus and watermelon, that mean summer to me. All year long I look forward to that first bite into the fleshy fruits; the seed seeping chomp into a cherry tomato; the very smell of tomatoes in the garden--the smell of the green tomato vine spines supporting fat, reaching orbs.

We just started getting crates upon crates of tomatoes in the Kitchen and it looks like the garden team grew some similar varieties as me: green zebras and Cherokee purples. They have other varieties of big beefsteaky looking tomatoes and perfect, perfect, PERFECT cherry tomatoes.

Our favorite way to use the tomatoes these days is simple enough: slices of Farm tomatoes, interspersed with slices of Farm mozzarella, sprinkled with fresh…

progress of a garden

A while back I promised I would post some more photos of the garden TSO and I have been working on around our home. Here is what the Avalon gardens have come to look like this summer.
1. View of the sunflowers and the railing where the morning glories and moon flowers are growing. 2. Ditto #1. In this picture you can also see our lovely seedum plant and some of the lily or iris (can't remember which?) stalks. 3. Our first GORGEOUS red sunflower. Can't remember what variety this is? 4. Glorious sunflowers. 5. A v iew through the railing, purple morning glories. 6. A close-up of the trumpeting morning glories. 7. The garden along the side of the house. Here we planted strawberries, triteleias (which never took), gladiolus and some other plants which I can't remember. There are also peonies and irises here.
Recently Neighbors P and R gave me a huge mass of red day lillies for transplanting; was able to separate the lillies and spread them out around our garden beds and now I am ju…

laughing through the awkwardness

My best friend L thought of me when she saw this picture. Thankfully she only thought of me because the ridiculously large whatever the hell that is made her think of  the ridiculously huge cucumbers I've been finding in my garden lately. Some of my cucumbers are getting hidden by the ever increasing pumpkin vines, which are now growing and twining all around every cucumber plants, wrapping around everything like damn boa constrictors!

L sent me this picture with the hopes that I too would take an awkward photo with my freak cucumbers and my cat. I may just humor her yet. For those of you out in the wide world, who also love awkward and funny photos, check out these absolute gems! The above picture and more available through this Los Angeles Times article.

bat tales

There was a bat INSIDE MY HOUSE tonight!
It's funny how one minute you are relaxing in your empty home, contemplating life and enjoying the soothing night sounds of nature; next minute it sounds like a giant moth is falling down the damn chimney! That's literally what went through my head, "hmm, a moth in the fireplace."  Next thing I know this bat is flying around our living room frantically.
So, I did what any other sane person would do: I tried to be rational for about ten seconds until it settled in, "HOLY CRAP!! THER'S A BAT IN THE HOUSE!" I shreiked; threw pillows; wondered about rabies; covered my head with a blanket; then,when I thought the coast was clear, ran for the phone.
It followed me down the hall; I played possum--thowing myself down onto the ground and using my blanket as cover. After grabbing the phone I hid in the bathroom and was able to get ahold of B2, TSO being unreachable...where are my housemates when I need them!!?
While in the …

laying in the Elysian Field

Went down to pick more cucumbers tonight; to check on the progress of my tomato and pepper plants; to feel the mounds coming up under the speckled beet leaves; to pull weeds. After all these lovely chores I dropped onto the cut grass, smelling the fresh clippings which now hung to my clothes and to the dampness of my skin. I lay down feeling weightless against the Earth, as though in its constant spin my tiredness was pulled down and away from me. I spent minutes...quarter of an hour...half an hour...who knows?!...just laying there, hands behind my head and toes pointed skyward. I stared at the clouds, white chalk smudges against a perfect baby blue sky; noted the cooler air; listened to dueling nature: a cricket on my left side, a bird on my right. I honestly wanted nothing more than to lay in that field and sleep. To feel nothing. To expect nothing more than to wake up under a star filled sky perhaps.

But, sadly, I forced myself up. Moved on to my other plot and stooped, squatted, h…

a milestone in gardening

Today marked a serious milestone in my life as a gardener. With the help of M (3.5 year old daughter of friends N & M) I picked over 20 pounds of cucumbers from my plants, taking me to a grand total of just over 300 cucumbers to date. M and S (M's 1.5 year old sister) both were pleased with the product, chomping on one of my cukes; M Sr. couldn't believe how big some of the cucumbers had gotten; RugbyGirl nearly groaned since our cupboards are already so full of quarts upon quarts of pickles (30 quarts to be exact).

I am out of quarts jars, been meaning to buy more, but until then (this weekend, perhaps?) I am donating my cucumbers to the Farm kitchen. There is nothing as lovely as knowing that we are eating the fruits of my labors. Yum!

Daniel and Kooper left us this morning, back to hiking the Appalachian Trail after a brief respite here at the Farm. Good luck guys and thank you Daniel for becoming a follower!

hiking for a cause

Roommate RugbyGirl's cousin Abby is sick with Mitochondrial Disease, and her friend Daniel and his dog Kooper are hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise funds and awareness. Please check out his webpage and all the links and donate if you can!
Daniel and Kooper are actually staying with us tonight--RugbyGirl having picked them up at the AT crossing nearest our house earlier--and we've fed him, let him shower, played with his dog Kooper, and EvanAlmighty even took him to a Farm sauna.
According to the U.S. National Park Service,
"The Appalachian Trail is a 2,175-mile long public footpath. Conceived in 1921 and completed in 1937, private citizens built the trail and thousands like you each year volunteer to maintain its footprint. From Maine’s Mount Katahdin and Georgia’s Springer Mountain, this footpath traverses scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild and culturally resonant lands through 14 of the eastern United States."
The history of the creation of the Appalachian Trial is …