Showing posts from August, 2011

look out Peter Piper!

Sesame Street - News Flash - Piper's Pickled Peppers

I pickled Farm jalapeno peppers today--doing this made me remember this video which cracked me up as a kid. I pickled 6 quarts of Farm peppers, and my research though it may be wrong, suggested that a peck is about 8 quarts, which means I ALMOST pickled a peck of peppers--LOOK OUT PETER PIPER!

where the wild things have been

I haven't written substance in some time; the last couple of weeks have been so busy and tiring. My boss FlavaFlav goes to Montauk every year for two weeks, during this time I am quasi-in-charge and that means longer hours, working harder, having kitchen nightmares (this is no lie--silly shit, like people hiding granola). My boss' vacation combined with the fact that, due to various reasons, I had to work more hours at the library in August meant that I worked 17 days straight, starting on the day that I got back from vacation.

Suffice to say I was so glad to get away last weekend, joining RugbyGirl for a mini-roadtrip to Burlington, VT. This was my first visit to Burlington and I was blown away by how beautiful the ride along Route 7 is;  how green green green the mountains of Vermont are (I told Angie that the color of the mountains made me think that this is what Ireland must be like!)--good choice on naming the state, by the way! And to see Lake Champlain! SO GORGEOUS. I f…

my current jam

Maroon 5 - "Moves Like Jagger," ft. Christina Aguilera OmG! I love this song so much right now. I hum the tune while I'm working, I whistle it while I'm walking, I may even practice my moves like Jagger when I'm home alone. You're welcome.


Dolly does it well, but this is my favorite version! Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons cover "Jolene" JOY!

the rains of Hurricane Irene

Here are some photos I snapped today--Hurricane Irene sent lots of rain our way: flooding the river, knocking down trees. 
After work I was like a child, helplessly enthralled by the rush of water, ecstatic to get thigh high in the cool run-off. N and I even took a canoe and paddled from the shoulder of the road into what is normally field and woods, now flooded and covered in over 6 feet of water--it was one of the most amazing things I've ever done. It was so cool to glide through the woods, imaging us adventurers on a journey through the bayou!

Farm meet Hurricane Irene

Here is a short video I took today of a swimming hole just off the Farm property.
The water here is generally calm, the kind of place where you can lay back and look up at the sky and just drift around. Hurricane Irene sent lots of rain our way.

why can't he come and sing with me?

Remember when I mentioend Laura Marling ages ago? Well, here she is with Marcus Mumford *sigh*, singing "Ghosts." I heart this song. It hit be just right on this too tired kind of day. You're welcome.

some kind of school

A new book of Shel Silverstein's poems are being published posthumously. Here is one gem. I heart Shel Silverstein! Happy Monday.  "Nasty School" Oh have you heard of nasty school?
They teach nasty things and they have nasty rules.
They only take nasties and rowdies and fools,
So come, let’s take a walk through nasty school.
You get to nasty school through a secret gate.
The first rule is you must be late.
Your hands and face must be all caked with dirt.
There must be lots of grease and gravy spots upon your shirt.
In class, instead of listening, you just talk,
And make those awful squeaks upon the blackboard with your chalk.
You must make sure your shoes are wet and muddy,
And as for homework, you must guarantee you haven’t studied.
You must put gum on everybody’s seat,
And when there is a test you have to promise that you’ll cheat.
Instead of teachers teaching you to make things,
The bad schoolteachers teach you how to break things:
They teach you how to smash a windowpa…

oh you!

Mumford & Sons - Lover of the Light.

Thank you for recommending this. I know you care about me.

farm goodness

Last night I had another great summer dinner (the menu similar to the best summer dinner #1), something I looked forward to all afternoon while I was working at the library. In what seemed like no time Jay was firing up the grill; I was snipping Swiss rainbow chard and picking tomatoes; RugbyGirl was stopping by to drop off beer; Sierra was pouring drinks as I chopped chard, onions and garlic; TSO and Brett were arriving.

It's these simplest of simple moments that I cling to; pray that these are the moments I remember years from now; hope that when most things fade, I will have these nights. I want to remember how we didn't even notice the warmth from the stove-top as I par-cooked the potatoes--theses summer nights are getting cooler; remember the feather-like weight of the chard in my hand, how the stems fought against my old, dull knives; remember the smell of the grill, the sound of the cicadas; remember that familiar feeling of being comfortable with the people you are wit…

a Gateway to Knowledge

Some cool facts about the Library of Congress:
Has over 145 million pieces in its collectionHouses the U.S. Copyright Office, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and the Congressional Research Service (which as you guessed it--does the research for members of Congress) The LofC also has books in 470 languagesThe Library of Congress opened in 1800, was burned by the British in 1814 (nearly destroying everything!); was recreated when Congress paid Thomas Jefferson $23, 950 for over 6,400 books; then suffered another fire in 1851, destroying over half of the collection once more! You can imagine they have mad fire-proofing skills these days!The LofC was once housed in the Capital buildingI was recently able to visit the Library of Congress' traveling, "Gateway to Knowledge" Exhibit.
The exhibit--touring via an 18 wheeler truck--gave a glimpse into the variety and scale of what sorts of things the Library of Congress has in its collection. I…

lots of ors

 "Miracle" Why, who makes much of a miracle? As to me I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of    the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night    with any one I love, Or sit at table at dinner with the rest, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer    forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so    quiet and bright, Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring; These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place. To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every cu…

here comes the sun(flowers)

And because the Beatles are my favorite and sometimes looking at sunflowers makes me start humming this tune:


one potato, two potato

Yesterday Sierra, Jay and I all wound up at the garden at the same time. We ate Farm raspberries, fat in their seedy clusters; admired and picked Jay's peppers and tomatoes; brushed dirt off of carrots and bit into their crunchy, sweet meat. Then we moved on to potatoes.

Everyone should dig up potatoes at least once in their life. And I mean dig up by hand. There is nothing so satisfying as turning your two arms into excavating equipment; digging down deep past the surface, sun warmed soil, down into the cool, bug filled earth. As your hands drag back up towards the surface, like a swimmer coming up for air, you realize that without even knowing it, you've stumbled upon potatoes. Potatoes no bigger than a marble, huge ones, in-betweens, worm-bored ones.

And as you dig you begin to salivate, turning into a Forrest Gump of sorts, now listing off every way you want to serve your treasure: mashed, roasted, grilled, steamed, boiled, with Farm steak, with olive oil and sea salt... P…

mustaches rock

Potter Puppet Pals: Mustache Buddies

I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made

I need to get down and take some pics of the garden. TONIGHT! I hope. So, until I have something better to share, read this gem!

"Before the world was made"

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror,
No vanity's displayed:
I'm looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.

What if I look upon a man

As though on my beloved,
And my blood be cold the while
And my heart unmoved?
Why should he think me cruel
Or that he is betrayed?
I'd have him love the thing that was
Before the world was made.

--W. B. Yeats

voice of the working man

Poet Philip Levine (a former Detroiter too--HUZZAH!) has just been named the next United State Poet Laureate, succeeding W.S. Merwin. See the full story here.

This poem touched me; made me think of home; made me a little sad for what used to be, the Detroit of my parents' childhood, the Detroit of my grandparents.

Also, welcome new follower antonio0500!

"An Abandoned Factory, Detroit" The gates are chained, the barbed-wire fencing stands,
An iron authority against the snow,
And this grey monument to common sense
Resists the weather. Fears of idle hands,
Of protest, men in league, and of the slow
Corrosion of their minds, still charge this fence.

Beyond, through broken windows one can see
Where the great presses paused between their strokes
And thus remain, in air suspended, caught
In the sure margin of eternity.
The cast-iron wheels have stopped; one counts the spokes
Which movement blurred, the struts inertia fought,

And estimates the loss of human power,

these kids are amazing

Sleepy Man Banjo Boys - Flint Hill Special (Live) June 28, 2011 on Letterman

if at first you don't succeed

try try again...
Kathryn Stockett is the author of The Help, the best selling book which is now a movie. Her book was rejected 60 times! 60!! But it was the 61st time that mattered. So, never give up if you believe in something. Here's the whole article.

Thanks Lauri, I borrowed your idea for this blog!

great back to school resources

island effervescent

 So, the Virgin Islands, one word: glorious. Well, many words. Effervescent, unconstrained, buoyant, wonderful.
The worst part: 96ish degrees F everyday with high humidity. I am a jeans and tshirt kind of gal.

The best parts:
Spending tons of time with my besties L&K WITHOUT their kiddos for hours and hours...days in fact, this hasn't happened since their oldest Lauren was born over 9 years ago! It was like the old days; tooling around, beaches, swimming in the BEAUTIFUL ocean, eating and drinking, laughing, laughing, laughing. We had so much fun.  I shared a condo with three other girls--teacher friends of College Kim's--and that wound up being great too.The night of the wedding--since the reception ended ridiculously  early--we all met for drinks after we'd changed and hopped around to three different bars. Some of us headed to Hawksnest Bay for a late night swim in the bio-luminescent waters. It was so cool.I watched the sun rise on my second to last day. It was …

St. John, just the facts

Some helpful hints to other travelers:
How to get there: 
To get to the U.S. Virgin Islands you fly into St. Thomas Amalie airport.
To get to St. John you take a shuttle bus from the airport (about half an hour ride) to the ferry (about 15 minute ride) to St. John. When you book your hotel see if they send someone to drive you to the bus and from the ferry to the hotel. That was covered by my hotel, the ferry was not, but with my bag it was around $9.50

Where to stay:
I stayed at the Gallows Point Resort. It was ok. A lot of people around, not as intimate as some of the other hotels. If I were to go again, I would stay at Estate Lindholm, where L&K stayed. It was nice, clean, had a lovely view, more secluded, good amenities and the owner Lauren was very cool.

How to get around:
Check with the hotel as to whether or not they recommend a car. My hotel was only a 5 minute uphill walk from town, L&K's hotel was in the opposite direction, up a much larger h…

staying together

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.
-- Charles M. Schulz

I have been missing lately. Missing my best friends L&K since I got back from the Virgin Islands, where we were able to spend tons of time together; missingMummyDearest and her family since their recent move to North Carolina; missing my other bestie Kim and our frank conversations; missing College Kim and how we can watch God -awful chick flicks and laugh insanely; missing my family. 

Missing the family dinners; the conversations around the table; missing the very way that I would sit with my back to the deck, feeling the breeze blow in and over the lattice work, reaching in to ruffle my shirt as I leaned forward and listened to my Dad's stories. I miss spending …

hug a farmer!

Did you know that in the U.S. the week of August 7-August 13 is National Farmer's Market Week?!

So, check out the Farmers Market Directory and go support your local economy and your local farmers!

Here are some other cool links: (U.S.D.A.)'s Chefs Move to Schools Program:
"The Chefs Move to Schools program, run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will help chefs partner with interested schools in their communities so together they can create healthy meals that meet the schools’ dietary guidelines and budgets, while teaching young people about nutrition and making balanced and healthy choice." --U.S.D.A. website 
What's in Season in Summer food awareness by the U.S.D.A.
Rural Tourism in the U.S. Loads of helpful links.
All this information and more available from the National Agricultural Library."The National Agricultural Library is one of four national libraries of the United States, with locations in Beltsville, Maryland and Washington, D.C. It hous…

the mmms of summer

I promise I am going to write about my vacation and post some more pictures, but until I actually have time (I am back to work in the Kitchen and also working 20 extra hours at the library this week!) I just wanted to share what's cooking in our Kitchen.
The walk-in refrigerator at work is stuffed stuffed stuffed (things sound more fun when repeated, no?) to the gills with Farm veggies; sometimes we are even able to eat veggies which are still warm from the sun, picked minutes before brought to us! Life is good! Right now the gardeners are bringing us: chard kale broccoli cauliflower scallions cucumbers (green and yellow) summer squash zucchini lettuce greens basil a variety of herbs (coming to us from our Kitchen garden) I have also been donating tomatoes from my garden, my neighbor Jay's garden (while he's away on vacation) and Farmer MacDonanld's garden (because he doesn't like tomatoes! HOW!?) until the Farm tomatoes ripen. I wandered through our gardens this morning; care…

summer reading

As you can imagine we get a lot of people at the library looking for the perfect books for their summer vacations].

This summer I've been reading a strange brew of books; from Edith Wharton, to a sprinkling of scattered (WHOREY!) chapters by Chelsea Handler, to an interesting smattering of books on topics from homesteading to farming to gardening to food.

Here's some of the books which I've read:
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
A look into the upper class of (Gilded Age) New York; the rules that governed those who strove to be a part of that class. One man's struggle to be a part of this class while hating the rules he must live by, which govern who he can love. LOVED the story, but not until the very end. House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
Following Lily Bart through her falls from grace and the social ladder. Another one of Wharton's keen observations about upper class (Gilded Age) New York. Good book, not my favorite.Twain's Feast: searching for America's …

roaming around home

Enjoying my last moments of vacation before I go to bed and wake up early for breakfast duty. My first day  back was HOT...not St.John, VI, hot, but sticky. Got down to my garden and HOLY CATS; spent some time picking tomatoes and more tomatoes and eating lots of what I picked; cucumbers are not doing so well as last year, bummed about that. Pictures soon. It's good to be home!


How brightly glistening in the sun
The woodland ivy plays!
While yonder beeches from their barks
Reflect his silver rays.
That sun surveys a lovely scene
From softly smiling skies;
And wildly through unnumbered trees
The wind of winter sighs:

Now loud, it thunders o'er my head,
And now in distance dies.
But give me back my barren hills
Where colder breezes rise;

Where scarce the scattered, stunted trees
Can yield an answering swell,
But where a wilderness of heath
Returns the sound as well.

For yonder garden, fair and wide,
With groves of evergreen,
Long winding walks, and borders trim,

on fire

Thanks Librarianista for the "Blog on Fire Award!" I'm honored. (Librarianista and I met in grad school in Detroit and now we're both Michigan ex-Pats, she's living in Canada and I am in New England.)

Well, I guess I'm supposed to give you seven random facts about me:
When I am sad I bake and listen to country musicBilly Collins and Walt Whitman are my two favorite poetsWhen I was 9 I wanted to be a doctor or an architectI hated The Fountainhead until I was 3/4 of the way through and then I fell in love with Howard RourkeGone with the Wind is my favorite movieI fantasize about quitting my job and doing a modern take on Travels with CharleyThe worst thing for me about living at the Farm is being too far from my best friends and family
Now, the blogs I bestow the Award on are:
Life in Avalon, a blog by my bestie Mummy Dearest, full of wit, wisdom and life experiences. I love it. And her. Here on the Prairies, because she makes me laugh so. A Farmer in the dell fo…



the poetry of being home

I return to the Farm late tonight/early tomorrow morning. I will drive from the fume-infused, roaring aired airport into the thick, insect-orchestrated music that is the sleeping world of the Farm. It will feel good to be home; to march about my home, like a dog, taking it all in; snuffing out what is mine; finally circling a few times and dropping down onto my bed, stretching out and feeling my body down to the tips of my toes and into the shoots of my fingers. Everything will be familiar. Everything will be being home. "On the Grasshopper and Cricket"The poetry of earth is never dead: When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the Grasshopper's--he takes the lead In summer luxury,--he has never done With his delights; for when tired out with fun He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. The poetry of earth is ceasing never: On a lone winter evenin…

the body and the chorus

"Alice at Seventeen: like a blind child"

One summer afternoon, I learned my body
like a blind child leaving a walled
school for the first time, stumbling
from cool hallways to a world
dense with scent and sound,
pines roaring in the sudden wind
like a huge chorus of insects.
I felt the damp socket of flowers,
touched weeds riding the crest
of a stony ridge, and the scrubby
ground cover on low hills.
Haystacks began to burn,
smoke rose like sheets of
translucent mica. The thick air
hummed over the stretched wires
of wheat as I lay in the overgrown field
listening to the shrieks of small rabbits

bounding beneath my skin.
--Darcy Cummings

the greatest of these is love

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when…

requirements of happiness

I couldn't get this video to post, so here' the link: Boy & Bear, Rabbit Song

Thinking of bears made me think of this:

"The Truro Bear"

There’s a bear in the Truro woods.
People have seen it - three or four,
or two, or one. I think
of the thickness of the serious woods
around the dark bowls of the Truro ponds;
I think of the blueberry fields, the blackberry tangles,
the cranberry bogs. And the sky
with its new moon, its familiar star-trails,
burns down like a brand-new heaver,
while everywhere I look on the scratchy hillsides
shadows seem to grow shoulders. Surely
a beast might be clever, be lucky, move quietly
through the woods for years, learning to stay away
from roads and houses. Common sense mutters:
it can’t be true, it must be somebody’s
runaway dog. But the seed
has been planted, and when has happiness ever
required much evidence to begin
its leaf-green breathing?

-- Mary Oliver
from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays, Beacon Press…

the water

This is Laura Marling. Mumford & Sons used to open for her. I love her music. I also love Johnny Flynn--the two play together sometimes. Enjoy!

Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling
"The Water" and "Travel Light" on Audio Live

sent to the brink

Ok ok, I'm obsessed with Mumford (at least that's what RugbyGirl says), but I just had to share their Bookshop Sessions! I love how raw Marcus' voice is...*sigh* I can't wait until their 2nd album comes out later this year!!

Also, I wanted to shout out a HAPPY 34th BIRTHDAY to my brother A2!
And I wanted to welcome Choco, a new follower!

I am traveling to the Virgin Islands today and will be gone until Sunday, so I will just post some videos/poems until I get back. See you next week!

Mumford &Sons - White Blank Page (Bookshop Sessions)

on vacation

I again have a packed bag waiting in my car. All I have to do it climb in and drive over an hour to the airport. That bag and I will fold ourselves into the small spaces of airplanes and head for foreign shores. I love vacations. I love airports. I love just going.

"Vacation"I love the hour before takeoff, that stretch of no time, no home but the gray vinyl seats linked like unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall be summoned to the gate, soon enough there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers and perforated stubs—but for now I can look at these ragtag nuclear families with their cooing and bickering or the heeled bachelorette trying to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s exhausted mother waiting to be called up early while the athlete, one monstrous hand asleep on his duffel bag, listens, perched like a seal trained for the plunge. Even the lone executive who has wandered this far into summer with his lasered itinerary, briefcase knocking his knees—even he has worked for th…

I made it back in time!

Today at tea snack we had our very own Farm cucumbers for the first time! I was in HEAVEN!! I am bumming that I may miss the first batch of Farm tomatoes while I am vacation, but rest assured that there will be millions for consumption when I get back!

Also, in MY garden news: my cucumbers and tomatoes arrived in time for me to pick some, eat some and lament all the ones that will come to readiness while I am away; thankful for my small army of friends who is tending to things while I am away! Pictures soon! PROMISE!

lake loons love Mumford & Sons

P.S. Also, a shout out and thanks to my latest followers: LaCosta, Sarah Lynn and blondebookworm, and anyone else who I've been remiss in mentioning that is new. Thanks for reading!

pure Michigan pics


pure Michigan

I sneaked away from the Farm for the weekend--that doesn't sound like much but it is a huge feat to do something and not have 5 million people know what you're up to...we have nothing to do at the Farm but work and know about each others' lives...we do live, work and eat together every day! I borrowed TSO's car (mine needs work) and drove all Wednesday afternoon; away from the Farm, through New York State, into and through Canada and back over into Michigan, to the home of my bestie L.

Bestie L, her husband K and their three girls: L (age 9 years), A (age 6.5 years) and V (age 1.5 years) and I piled into their mini van the next afternoon and headed "Up North"--the area of Michigan that we Michiganders refer to when talking about any part of the lower peninsula above the fist knuckles (Michigan afterall is the "mitten state"). A little trivia for you: I grew up in Southeastern Michigan, right on the border of the tri-cities area, but was born in North…

in the middle of the night

Mumford & Sons - "Lover of the Light"