Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday

From Family

Today is my daddy's birthday. Happy birthday, Dad! I feel incredibly blessed to have you as my dad. I hope today is filled with much celebration. You've been a great example of strength, understanding, and patience. I love you, Daddy. Happy birthday!

In other news...
There are really only so many ways to state one is busy. I've tried the "boy, we've had a lot going on," and the direct "we've been busy," so let's just ignore the long gaps between blog posts and move along.

I had high hopes for lots and lots of leisure time this summer, which has just not been the case. We've had a few family related trips and the usual flurry of activity before and after the trip. Plus, I have this really terrible habit of overbooking myself. In short, my hopes of lounging on the sofa knitting or spinning have been dashed upon the harsh rocks of reality. I'm still making due by knitting as much as I can. I have a recently finished shawl and pair of socks to show for it.

From WIPs

The bohus sweater is still progress, albeit, the weather has not been conducive to knitting a wool sweater. There's just something about 100(F) and a heat index of 110(F) that just doesn't scream "wool." The sweater has caught me eyeing some silk, but I'm being failthful. Well, I promise to be faithful through the body. After that, though, there's no guarentee. The sweater might be a vest for a while.

The big time suck for us really has been the garden and the CSA. I anticipated spending more time on food preparation, but I grossly underestimated the time required. Thankfully, cooking is a pleasure for me and the food has been remarkably delicious. Our meat consumption as a family has also dramatically decreased, since the meats we have are large roasts or whole chickens. More planning, preparation, clean-up, and in some cases, cooking is required. With some luck, the summer weekends will open up a bit more, allowing me to do more reheating on the weekday evenings and more cooking on the weekends.

Friday, June 11, 2010

You ate what?

Conversation overheard this week after Spot dug up the onions in our garden:

Italian (to our dog): I don't understand why you insist on digging. If you're bored, then get a job like a normal person.

Italian stopped when he heard me laughing behind him. I just pictured our dog sitting in a room filling out a job application and I cracked. Italian, nonplussed replied, "What? What's so funny?"

Yes, Spot, our lovely yellow lab was in our garden again, digging away. This time, our onions suffered the full force of his mighty paws. They weren't really doing well anyway. I think I planted them too late, or too early. I'm still learning. Thankfully, we aren't relying on our garden for substinance. The CSA is feeding us and feeding us quite well. This past week, in addition to our usual loaf of bread, the CSA included garlic scapes.
From 2010 CSA

The garlic scape is the stalk and unbloomed flower of a garlic plant. You cut the scape so the plant's energy is concentrated in the bulb resulting in a larger more flavorful bulb. The scape is completely edible and makes a delicious pesto. The pesto is wonderful on a slice of homemade bread and a light crisp bottle of Torrentes wine, perfect for a picnic, which we had Tuesday.
From 2010 CSA

Our little town holds a horse show every year in June to benefit a local charity. Little Clover, being a rider, was invited by his trainer to attend with her barn and walk around the arena for the costume contest. Italian and I packed our little picnic and enjoyed the warm summer evening and the amazing horse riders. We still can't pick a winning horse, but we managed to have fun. I think the wine and food helped.

In addition to having family friendly low cost or free events, our small town post office will stay open in a mail emergency, like when that skein of yarn one needs to finish a certain shawl is sitting in the post office two hours after they have closed. Yes, if you beg, they will stay there for the five minutes and 42 seconds it takes you to drive to the post office, and they will also apologize for making you wait. I love my town.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

At least the food is good

Saturday, I went to the grocery store for the first time in three weeks, all thanks to the CSA. This is our first year ever to be a part of Community Support Agriculture, and we didn't know what to expect nor did we know if we would like it. The up front cost for us then was a bit of a gamble. It is a gamble that is really paying off.

The "farm" we support is a a collective of approximately 4 to five farms. The subscription is for a total of 27 weeks, averaging out to $30 a week. For $30, we've gotten an assortment of salad kits with radishes, carrots, peas, and greens, some herbs, braising greens, jams and pickles, bread, fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables. Our weekly pick up has without a doubt, influenced how we eat, not just what we eat. When Italian asks, "What's for dinner?" I don't answer with a protein item like, "steak" or "chicken." Instead, I reply with a vegetable. "We're having braising greens" or "We're having Mrs. Zook's salad kit" have become common answers. We've also eaten some foods I've never even seen before, ever.

Last week, we faced down a Lion's mane mushroom. This has been the most foreign food we've received, and it was delicious. It was accompanied by shiittakes and served with a steak and fresh tomatoes. The steaks came from the grocery store and did not taste nearly as good as the steaks we've purchased directly from the farm. At $8 more per pound than the farm steaks, I'm now researching the potential of joining a meat CSA.

Overall, we as a family, expected to pay more for food by buying directly from a local farm. Instead, we are finding we are paying less for food. Our $30 per week has almost completely fed us for the full week. We have gone out to eat twice in the last three weeks, when in the past, we would have had a restaurant meal at a minimum of twice per week. Our diet has also seen a shift to a vegetable focused diet instead of a meat based diet, and we don't miss the meat. We've also broken out from our eating ruts, trying new foods and discovering we like them. This week, I'll be tackling beets for the first time.

My knitting, has not been nearly as adventurous as my cooking. Maryland Sheep and Wool did pump some new and fun yarns and fibers and spindles into my stash. Sadly, they are all still in my stash. In an effort to be mynogomous (sort of), I've been knitting on the same lace shawl and Bohus sweater I began in March and February, respectively. For a few moments yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope the shawl would be complete and I could cast on something new. Then, the maniacly laughter of the knitting fates filled my head when I accepted what lay before. With just a few rows of border left, I ran out of yarn. The shawl and I are on a break.

From WIPs