Arguments and Attempts to be an Awarenivore

Arguments and Attempts to be an Awarenivore

September 26, 2010

Back from Kripalu - Garlic Season

Courtesy of
The first part of Foundations of Ayurveda was INCREDIBLE.

I have so much to say, and it will slowly come out is a series of millions of blog posts. In fact, I think it's really going to shape the direction of this blog.  Awarenivore meet Ayurveda.

Courtesy of
While I was away, Autumn came to Old Pump Road.

September 09, 2010

Okonomiyaki gone Local

We all have our cheap and fast go-to dinner.  Maybe it's mac n cheese, or breakfast for dinner in the form of some sort of omelette. Why is it that at the end of the day, there are always eggs in the fridge? (...and of course when we've decided to bake, eggs are the only thing we're out of?)

Okonomiyaki are Japanese pancakes - I've read that the word 'okonomiyaki' means, 'everything' or 'anything.'  I had found a recipe online, and started making these a while ago and whenever the cupboards start to look sparse.  Traditionally, okonomiyaki have some sort of meat, likely bacon, layered underneath, and are served with ketchup and mayonnaise.  I think they are like the beef tacos or kebabs of Japan - late night, greasy, regrettable snacks.

Courtesy of gawd's Flickr stream

Courtesy of gawd's Flickr stream

September 08, 2010

Italian in September

Working for tripwolf (for a few weeks longer), I look at maps all day, and it properly and evilly tickles my travel bug, and usually without much release...

Last week I wrote a blog post for tripwolf about Florence, and waves of nostalgia came rushing in. I've been lucky enough to spend over 6 months in the city. It was the place of my first ever apartment, living with 6 other girls while studying abroad, and I've also been lucky enough to revisit after my trip to India. I can taste the thin pizza, watery with cheese and sauce that I used to buy for 4 Euro (pizza and cafe being the only affordable eats in the major cities) at a cafe within walking distance from that apartment. Mmm. Italy has a special place in my heart, and I will get back soon.

This weekend I got a taste. A friend and co-worker of Jamie's, Justin, came over with his girlfriend and a batch of home-made pasta and sauce.

September 04, 2010

A free weekend

This summer has been a great one, a busy one! I think the last 8 weekend I have had some agenda, some driving plans or adventure. This weekend, I get to enjoy Vermont!

Jamie had thought of going down to New Jersey to visit friends and family, but the weather down there (Earl!) helped to make our decision to stay around here much easier.

Phew. It's been a long week. I don't think I have ever felt this relieved to have two full days off. :) I am becoming a believer in the weekend (as my days of having an easy two days off dwindle....)

I've been surfing the Vermont State Parks website for hours this morning, as Jamie sleeps off last night's car-bombs and the week's doubles at the Wind Jammer. What a different wilderness experience, planning it out online with a cup of warm coffee next to me before I even step outside. I bet the state parks have more visitors than ever before, though.

It could get down into the 40's tonight - kind of a bummer for the 'long weekend' (neither Jamie or I really get the long weekend) after a week of days in the 90's. But I am really looking forward to building a fire and even breaking out the winter hats. The leaves will certainly feel the weekend.

I have had to be very frugal because of the job shift, and the two weeks off (5 total) I am taking to go to Kripalu, but I can't help thinking of the food we should buy bring that does not include the words hot and dog.

I think Maybe I'll bring along my cast iron pan :) Maybe garlic, kale, white beans over the fire? Hahaha. Done.

One of the parks we may visit is in Hyde Park. Hyde Park, Vermont is about an hour from here along route 15 and 100, and it's also the location of Applecheek Farm, the farm from where Jamie and I were getting our meat share this Spring. I'd love to visit, or even just check out the small town.

The other park that's tempting me is called Brighton State Park, and it's smack in the middle of the Northeast Kingdom. I have to be truthful, and one reason I'd like to visit here as well is that the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury is nearby.

No matter where we go, I really hope to avoid any car-camping - I think we had enough of that two weekends ago haha. The Escape is not as cozy as we'd hoped.

September 02, 2010

Purification through Heat

Tapas - one of the Niyamas, which is one of the 8 Limbs of Ashtanga yoga, is very relevant to my life right now.

"Tapasya implies a self-discipline or austerity willingly expended both in restraining physical urges and in actively pursuing a higher purpose in life. Through tapas, a yogi or spiritual seeker can "burn off" or prevent accumulation of negative energies, clearing a path toward spiritual evolution."

Spiritual evolution...I guess. Some kind of evolution, revolution in the sense of moving round. It always happens at the end of August, and I'm just starting to embrace it, rather than fly away like I usually do. I always wondered why I was missing Thanksgivings (my favorite holiday) and having birthdays in far away places (makes for good stories, anyway.) When the nights first become cool, there's something that just switches inside my body, perhaps the fear of death of the summer, I desire to elongate the lightness of the season, fearing the darkness to come. Something is truly snuffed out inside all of us as the summer ends, I think we can all relate to that feeling.

A Tapasvin (thank you Wikipedia) is a person who is undertaking tapas, this practice and process which will purge one from sins or bad karma through practice. It can also mean that one is striving for perfection or mastery of a field of knowledge or work. Today, I quit my job.

I am scared, and it's a weird feeling because it's a decision I have made based on a desire I have had since January. My failure to act was creating a rift in conversation between Jamie and I. I have applied for quite a few jobs this summer, but really was not ready to receive any of them. I knew I'd have to give tripwolf a long time for transition. They wanted three months, and that really trapped me - so I acted maybe rashly and quickly, but it will be over on October 15th.

I'm feeling the burn. Questions arise, like, what am I doing, in this time where so many people are unvoluntarily unemployed? I was pretty content, thanking the universe daily for my luck, being safe and happy and healthy. But I was also bored I suppose, and feeling the three years I put into this job with low pay, and little desire to move up. I think I only saw it as a means to an end, and I guess this is the unglamorous end.

So what's next? (It's not quite over, but will be quickly.) I am turning 27 in November. Late 20's. I need to give my dream a chance before it becomes to late for me to do crazy things like this, like when I have a baby, or family, or...well I already have a lot of bills. But I guess it will only get harder to take a not-so-safe leap. I learn this from memoirs and every other book I read.

I am going to focus on my writing. This blog counts. But I am also going to focus on telling a story, a story I have been wanting to work on even before it began. India. Tapas. Purification through the heat of my keyboard. I'm feeling it in the base of my palms right now. Tapas is the act of practice. I have enough information, now it's time to manifest.

This will be the spiritual evolution I have been desiring. I have been practicing yoga regularly for a few years now, and I have learned a lot about what it means to practice. And I will continue to practice yoga as well. I put in hours almost everyday to that practice, so I need to learn to do the same with writing. I tend to be a thinker, a planner,but yoga has taught me the fruits of doing - and for well, at least I have taken action.

August 31, 2010

A change is gonna come...

I recently came to the conclusion that is it difficult for me to change. Change is hard for everyone, or at least the cliche says so, and though I feel as though I have always sought shift and movement (travel), there are a lot of deep set habits that are really hard to break ( or begin....)

Most relevant for this blog is to write about how I eat. I grew up in my parents' garden, and they even raised their own pigs and chickens for meat. I knew about good food, but I wasn't then taught about 'bad.' 'Bad' foods consisted of basically gushers or fruit snacks from the store, and even then I think I only thought they were bad because they were too expensive for my parents to purchase.

I drank milk by the gallon, impressing my mom's friends when I would order it with dinner. I still love the stuff, but noticing a different affect on my body now, I am not sure how much I believe in it anymore.

Gluten-free cooking blogs bore me. The way they're written can seem a bit defensive, even apocalyptic. I have been telling myself for a few years now that I probably have a gluten allergy. As of yet, the only successful cut I have made it to stop drinking beer. And since gluten and dairy go so well together, I am still consuming the two evils in one greasy 2am slice (though less often I'm sure.) At least in NEw York I had an excuse, pizza was cheap eats I could afford, now it's just weak will power. Though, at the same time as I showcase my failings, I do feel as though I have made some permanent moves this year.

A year ago I started the September localvore challenge. I have kept most of my grocery receipts since moving in, and September was a pretty high month at first. I did have my own garden, but I had planted a lot of tomatoes last year, and the blight effected all of them, sadly. I experimented with fried green tomatoes - delicious, but time consuming. So I was purchasing a lot from Paul Mazza's farm stand, and meat from Jericho Settler's Farm ($$!). I still have olive oil, so I stayed with that rather than buying sunflower oil, which would have been local, but I even cut out coffee and most teas....for about two weeks anyway.

That small experiment ignited a passion. I permanently try to purchase mostly locally made or grown things now. I preach it (hopefully it doesn't sound too preachy) to family and friends, because it's an easy argument! Most everyone can relate to some aspect of this economic crisis, and we can participate actively by buying products that benefit our communities. It's not necessarily the extremists who make the most change, it's the small, regular things we do that every day. Buying organic, fine. Buying free trade, perhaps locally roasted or ground coffee and chocolate (things tough to give up) thoughtful. Buying something from your neighbor, delicious (probably organic) and life saving.

I have had many conversations with friends who seem passionate about buying local foods and putting good things in their body, Then I see their grocery receipts and cupboards, and it's mostly pasta, cheap chicken, packaged sauce. Maybe it's just boys. Are there still home-ec classes in high school? Maybe we should change them to food-network themed cooking classes, and kids would like them more (and learn more).


Well back to myself :P I'm lucky to be in Vermont, I'll say it again. When I leave, I am lost, lost in the grocery store. I have no idea what is local, and no idea where to start. I suppose I start with organic, but it's not what I want. I want that farmstand on the side of the road. I want easily labeled local foods (like city market, yay!) and to know that even while traveling, I can go and participate in their economic system....more than just paying tolls on the highway and such. I also want to eat good food, since it's hard to do that while your on the road.

I like to eat, I like to talk about my food, I want my food to talk....ahem. Let us eat poems.

August 26, 2010

A quick appetizer

It's been a while, and I have a lot to write! Coming soon - today I just want to share a quick recipe that I am proud of...

It's that kale salad, then wrapped in zucchini shavings and pinned with a toothpick.

Wilt raw kale in lemon juice and salt (1 or 2 tsp)

Throw is some fresh herbs - parsley is ggrrreat.

Shave a zucchini with a veggie peeler

Roll a tiny bit of the kale up in each shavings - like kale sushi.

Pin with a toothpick - eat! Salty, tangy and satisfying (also healthy!)


We picked potatoes today. GOLD!

August 18, 2010

Help me out!

I just entered the Anthony Bourdain Medium Raw Challenge - it's an essay contest, and I hope mine can hold it's own. The winner gets 10 grand and their essay published in the next printing of Bourdain's book. Please help me by voting for my essay here.

I love you.

August 14, 2010

Meteor Showers

I believe that observing the moon cycles connects us with our natural world. These huge and seemingly otherworldly objects are surrounding us continuously, and perhaps even affecting our daily lives (or our fate) yet our viewpoint is literally closed off to them a majority of the time. Most of the time we don't turn our mind away from the small, petty details of our human lives to look up, or inwards or well, really, shift the focus from the usual distance of skin to skin, human to human.

I'm trying to sound positive, really :) This is natural to us. It's still humbling and strangely comforting (and healthy) to take some time to feel tiny, insignificant, even, and feel the connection to the large and beautiful movement of the universe!

Back to the moon cycles, I enjoy being around Scott and the studio because in the tradition of Ashtanga as taught by Pattahbi Jois, we observe the full and new moon. We do not practice Mysore on those days, partly because the energy around them is auspicious for rest, and to make this part of the cycle more sacred. Of course, any mention of moon cycles make me think of menstruation - this is the second month I have decided to stay off of my birth control. I am definitely not trying to have any sort of babies any time soon, but I have been serious about detoxing my body, eating better, practicing yoga, so why why why throw in synthetic hormones? (Plus, having a healthy/non-manipulated reproductive system seems like common sense in a world where fertility drugs are becoming more and more prevalent.)

I have lost 5 pounds just from going off of it - and I really do not usually fluctuate. Also, I'm still regular, and still seem to be on the full-moon cycle. OK, that's enough info :P

Wednesday and Thursday of last week was the Perseid Meteor shower! Jamie and I pulled some blankets out on the lawn both nights and looked up or hours. We just put our hoodies and sweatpants on, and cuddled under an old comforter. Shutting out all the lights, of course, we then blasted VPR's broadcast with the 'an eye on the night sky' guy out of the windows. We even fell asleep out there on Wednesday, only waking up once the dew began to settle - it became pretty darn cold by 2:30 am.

It's times like those where I feel most connected to what's real. I'm participating in the passing of time, not just noticing later how much has slipped by. We all need more of the moments where we live in the pool of awareness. I desire to dip my toes in more often.

August 06, 2010

Recent Recipes and more to try

Zucchini exploding season. We have our own coming from the garden, and last night I picked up a CSA share from Jericho Settler's Farm because a friend was out of town and was nice enough to give it to us! So, herein I am drowning in the zukes. I secretly desired this overload after reading Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. :)

I finally got to make the recipe I was tortured with during my fast. :)

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

I made it alongside a local chicken (left from our Applecheek farm meat share) flavored with sage and oregano from the garden. The meal was 95% local, and 50% from my own garden. Lovin' this kind of pride :)

The cheesecake (savory) recipe calls or just the right amount of lemon zest and dill - you can taste each element on it's own.

I get so many recipe ideas from - her photos are what do it. The recipes are usually simple, or at least she makes them seem so, and her photography just places me in a quiet kitchen, surrounded by wood and ceramics...lovely.

Recipes I will be trying soon...

Spiced tomato gratin

Garden update - tomatoes have also begun to turn red, baby delicata squash on the vine, carrots ready any time we are! Ah, let's throw more parties/potlucks, i want to cook for you all!

Armageddon - Are we riding the crest of the next Agricultural Revolution?

Photos of the latest yummies.

Jamie and I were in New York City last week - I was called down to meet with my boss and tripwolf COO, Sebastian. (Meet Seb.) He was in the city that week because his fiance lives there at the moment.

We spent two nights in Jersey, and one between Brooklyn and Queens. Its so fun to get a taste of the different neighborhoods and boroughs one after the other, and enjoy the differences and similarities. We were also so lucky and happy to visit old friends. We had a roof top cook out in Astoria with Britt and Arezki (recently married, love them) and spent the night on a blow up mattress in Williamsburg, only about 3 blocks away from my old apartment in Greenpoint. It's here we met Jamie's long-time friend Johan, and I met him for the first time.

Johan works (perhaps he is even the director) at a CSA in New Jersey. He has the opposite daily commute to I think probably every person who lives and works in or around New York City - he leaves Brooklyn every day and drives south to work the land.

First I want to point out that his apartment is beautiful - one of those long, skinny railroad style that dominate Brooklyn. It's only a one bedroom, perfect for him and his girlfriend, and everything is mise en place (can I use this meaning like everything has it's place? Well, that is what I mean.) The apartment is all wood and reds and ceramics. Jamie and I both loved the place, but really can't imagine moving away from our place and into an apartment - or ever desiring that kind of move - just the word apartment feels inhumane. (We've been spoiled.)

The decor was more farm-y than Brooklyn-y (these two things are becoming oddly intertwined), and from my experience, the young people I find myself surrounded with seem to need a combination of both urban living and idyllic country realness and connection. I am one of them, so I am on this train. We want to be connected, we desire to learn constantly, be in the 'center of the universe' in the sense that cities give us - moving forward, being surrounded by creative and (perhaps even) ambitious energy, while creating our desired life shaped by a different belief system. The belief in the good and the crafted and the grown. Cities are good, crafted and even grown in their own way, though the urban emphasis usually seems to be on things that are faster, cheaper, newer etc.

A few of Johan's coworkers were visiting as well, and talk came around towards current events, the Gulf Oil Spill and... Armageddon, of course.

I had drank only slightly less than a bottle of wine before this conversation, so I was int he perfect mood to sit quiet and listen to his interesting theories. The first was about the apparent methane pocket that was tapped with the same leaky line as the oil well. And that it is still leaking, and no one seems too urgently worried about this. He continued to say that if the underground pocket emptied enough to where the pressure of the water on the surface increased to be more than what was inside the pocket in the earth, the pocket could potentially collapse, and potentially create a giant tsunami, or series of tsunamis, and destroy much of human life and development on earth. ***OOoooOooOOOooo*** But I don't mean to make fun, it was thought provoking! Have any of you heard his theory before? Thanks.

Another idea of his that was a lot less destructive was the theory that we are on the crest of the next Agricultural Revolution. Coincidentally, Jamie and I were listening to an interview with Michael Pollan on the way down to the city in which he said exactly that we were NOT yet quite in what he would call a revolution. I do think we're on the edge of something like this, or at least this kid and us in Vermont are definitely feeling it. Vermont embraces this because it's farms and this system had luckily not been completely disintegrated before the majority of people started to re-embrace them. Plus, we have a small, interested and aware (smart) population.

Maybe most of my friends are foodies, but I spend a lot of time talking about food with them. We are an aware generation - aware by choice or not. Ideas are constantly thrown at us. We're also better at forgetting because of this, I believe. We are constantly on the spot, asked to filter out the crap from the truth. This truth-seeking trait drives us to find the real things - we've been enlightened to the fact that we have been fed fake foods - fake FOOD!? Even the stuff that looks and feels real, like produce, can be effed with on the inside. We don't want to be effed with, we don't want to feel like fools.

Along with this comes a desire to feel slightly in control of our choices, our lives, a feeling of independence. Feeding ourselves, (see an old post) even if it's only to be able to make the occasional caprese salad, means we are winning.

Agricultural revolution? A revolution usually grows out of necessity, and there are so many different sides to arguments about what we need...or what sort of priority we should even give to this idea of 'good' or 'real' food. I think we've reached a scary precipice.

Rooftop farms are trendy (this is way better than anything American Apparel will sell you), and home gardens have never left us - Let's see where this all goes.....

July 29, 2010

Blessed Herbs, Day 4

Hi, again. I'm doing a lot of work for tripwolf today. My mind feels ok, I can still focus, but I think I am forgetting things more easily. I always have a bit of struggle keeping things in my brain, but they seem to be fleeing faster today....

Sleeping in a lot this week - I suppose I like the excuse, but I also like to wake up, and be tempted to get even more work done by making myself a cup of coffee (it was tea for years, but Costa Rica got me in her grips!) for motivation.

What's wrong with food for motivation? :) I use my body a lot, for pleasure, and I guess you could call teaching 'work.' Food is fuel, of course, and food is art and expression that I get to ingest! Food is coming back into my life very soon ;)

This said, I think I am going to break my fast tomorrow. If I can get through today safely. I am teaching tonight, and twice tomorrow. My circulation is not so good, I'm chilly, and feeling pretty dizzy today. Being 'aware' of this situation require me to listen to my body and make changes. Whatever is going on int he toilet is not impressing me so much, so it's time to end, even though it's a bit early.

My 'make it to the top' stubbornness is pushing me to at least get through today. I am going to take shakes until my juice is gone, and then be done. No reason to potentially hurt myself in this experiment. That is NOT the idea, and I think I am just over it haha.

Well, 4 entire days without wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine etc etc etc is a nice restart anyway! :) Tomato in the garden - YOU ARE MINE.

Thanks for listening. Have you ever tried anything like this? What do you think?

July 28, 2010

Blessed Herbs, Morning 3

This morning I woke up with abdominal cramps - all night wanted to get up to go, but our upstairs toilet is not working so well. I have been taking two of the digestive stimulators at night, but i think it may be too many. I have already gone to the bathroom 5 times. I am only going to take one tonight, and I am also going to take fewer toxin absorber shakes, drinking simply more juice, tea and water.

Part of doing this cleanse is the idea that it will give my digestive system a break, but as of right now, I feel like it is working overtime to pump all this stuff out.

Side note* I had interesting dreams about walking in late to an anatomy and physiology class, taught by my old (passed on) professor/advisor/poet, John Engels.

So, this morning I had a 1/2 cup of juice, and a couple of tablespoons of raw coconut oil. Everyone has their 'cures.' The internet is beautiful in many ways, giving me access to a multitude of different opinions and ideas, but what it really leaves one with is making decisions on our own. It's hard to know who the 'experts' are, and what to trust. This goes perfectly with my 'awarenivore' experiment - another reason I feel like I should stick it through.

It's hard not to feel like I am cultivating an eating disorder, but again, this is mind over matter. I just remind myself that I love food, I love my body, and I am truly trying to do good things for it. This is an experimentation in confidence and conviction. Do I believe in this idea enough to stick it through? To not let other people's (which may also simply be another uninformed opinion) effect what I am doing for myself? This morning I thought, halfway through, perhaps I am subconsciously looking for a way out in reading those things... ;)

To be aware is to have knowledge, be informed and conscious. To gain this, I think one must also gain personal experience. Without that, all one really gives is hearsay.

July 27, 2010

Hiking Camel's Hump

There are now at least a few camels in Vermont, but I am assuming they arrived in only the last 20 years or so. A friend had recently mentioned to me that the large mountain, that most of us know as Camel’s Hump, has a native named of Crouching Lion. This refers to the (now extinct?) Catamount, a large mountain lion that used to dominate this region.

Anyway, Jamie and I hiked this mountain on Sunday, pretty much on a whim. Even halfway up, we were not sure if we would go to the top. Then, we were just so close, I decided we had to keep going. ...and then it looked like Ireland at the summit. A bit wet and certainly cold. No views, but still amazing, natural and beautiful.

That morning, we had gone out and bought some Vibram five-fingers, and headed straight for the trail. Every other person stopped us to ask about them, and even though we're newbies, we tried to answer. So much conversation on the trail. They are extremely comfortable, like having invincible bare feet! (Until I stubbed my toe ;) ) Very light, and fun, which is all that matters. A kid passed us and said simply, "Those are the coolest shoes ever!"

Wahoo! This hike was one of my goals for the summer. :)

Blessed Herbs Cleanse, Day 2


It's day 2 of the liquid fast. I have been blessed with a quiet Tuesday, a beautiful weather Tuesday, so I am simply working from home, taking my day slowly, and taking time to sit outside, and now, write. :)

I am not so much feeling hungry, which is refreshing considering the fruit fast Ashley and I did last autumn was more difficult. I felt like I was starving the whole time, and always wanted more. These fiber shakes, that are the main part of the Blessed Herbs, really fill me up. The first time I took one (first night of the three day prep) I felt like it was super thick, and like I had cement in my stomach. But, now that there isn't any food in there, and only the shake, I feel pretty empty and clean. And the crazy stuff has already started to come out.

I made a veggie broth with a bit of miso, and mostly because I really enjoy chopping the veggies (kale from the garden) more than I was hungry. I have been alternating between juicing fresh, local apples, and bottled organic pear nectar, or a green juice, again, mostly just for variation.

I don't want to get sick of fresh apple smell or taste before cider-making season arrives. ;)

I felt amazing yesterday, and was still able to practice on my own, as well as lead a class. Jamie's parents (soon mine! I hate the word in-laws) came to class, and visited afterward which made me feel even better.

Today has been filled with reading, tea, working, sipping and a bit of writing - I hope to continue down this track.

I'm trying to pinpoint and put words to some of my anxiety, or restlessness, which I think comes from seeing the passing of time, and wanting to be aware of every second, every minute as it passes. As the day passes, as the season passes. I don't want it to pass, I want to slowly glide along with all of it, swept up in the waves. I guess this would be called, desiring to live in the moment. And as I try, I automatically separate myself. I just need to DO.

I think I came more prepared to this cleanse - it's the perfect week, no excuses in that aspect. Beautiful weather, which subsides my hunger for the most part anyway, and no particular parties or dinners etc. I am not quite sure what I expect to gain from this, really - it's a test mostly of my control, getting off of sugar for a bit, as well as wheat and dairy, which I plan to cut back on majorly anyway.

I am watching one tomato in the garden though, and if it ripens before Friday, I may have to make an exception.

July 20, 2010

Another RAW Potluck

Photo by George Mihaly

...This time at my place!

I made an all local dish (well, PA peaches were thrown in there, but they were sold at the local farm stand) that consisted of blueberries, raw corn right off of the cob, cubed peaches, a cubed tomato, chopped mint and parsley. I thought it was amazing, and no dressing or sweetener! I got the idea from a cookbook I saw in Maine, that told of blueberry and corn salsa.

Ashley brought some fresh juice, Liza and Chris a salad, along with some raw, fermented dressing they found in-store. George made nori rolls and brought another Durian which seems to have just become an event - I still don't like the taste! to go with the nori, he made a dipping sauce of almonds, garlic and salt - it tasted like ranch dressing (well, all the good parts about ranch dressing.) Claire made an incredible dessert, again - cute little raw chocolate cupcakes, with walnuts and cacao nibs. I mean incredible, like I would pay money for them, wouldn't you?

Photo by George Mihaly

This was only my second raw potluck, and I was so happy to have it at my place. I was so happy to have everyone over for anything, so I could pull the big dining room table out on the deck, and we could hang outside in the too-short summer weather.

It was also interesting to be introducing Liza and Chris into raw foods - not that they were completely new to the idea, but to show them their were recipes other than salads. George and Claire are the hard cores, so they explained a lot and we all soaked it in. Both Liza and Chris already do not eat wheat or dairy, so incorporating a lot of raw foods into their diet is an important goal for them.

Check out a few more pics, all taken by George - his blog can be found here:

July 18, 2010


We all innately desire the ability to provide for ourselves, yet we rely so heavily on others for the basics to live.

Most of us don't feed ourselves, and only half of us might cook for ourselves. I don't want to get too negative, because there are certainly benefits to our modern society - more time to follow our passions and spend time with friends, and less time worrying about whether we will survive the winter. But I think the pull to be independent and feed ourselves is still a happy practice.

Everyday I feel lucky to live in Vermont (especially on summer days) because I am surrounded by thoughtful people who also work hard to achieve things they believe in. I think Vermont probably has one of the strongest local food systems in the country, but we're still losing large farms and farmers daily to financial problems.

This yer, my garden is better than ever before (I've posted some pictures in the last posts.) but truthfully I am growing for fun, maybe getting enough broccoli for a week of eating, and peas and radishes for daily salads for a couple of months. Even this small amount of food is satisfying to my core. It's not as though "I made this," but it's more like "I cooperate with the rules of nature to create something successfully."

Like any art project, you need materials to work with, and this one required seeds, dirt and sun.

My brother and his friend were visiting this weekend, and yesterday I promised a cup of coffee and a garden tour. Justin, currently living in Boston, and as far as I know who has never desired to farm or garden said under his breath a few times "I want to have a garden..."

I do not think it was the mystery of life, or the magic of watching things grow from a tiny seed into food - I think it was more of a provider's desire - the idea that with a little time and digging, we can create something that sustains and supplements life.

July 13, 2010

No Food Guilt

When was the last time you ate something in which every part of it was good for you?

Eating healthy on vacation is tough. I was in Maine last week, and I ate well, but bologna sandwiches and Bailey's I would not consider healthy. Even as I placed the stuff in my mouth I was thinking "Why am I eating this?" Tummy overrules my brain often.

I believe that the raw foodists are on to something, and if you've check out one of my lats posts, you'll notice that I'm learning more about this diet. Every meal, absolutely no food guilt. It's all good for you and necessary for your body...crazy. I'm not ready to go full on, in fact, I don't think that would make me happy. I do believe in a 40 or 50% diet, and since it's summer, it's easier to get fresh, local produce, as well as eat lighter on the whole.

George shared with he a simple recipe for raw tomato sauce - just blend a tomato or two, salt, pepper and few garlic cloves. I used it for salad dressing, but you could put it on anything. Salt is so satisfying, and garlic will give depth to anything, as well as leave you with intense breath for the rest of the day.

I picked some kale from the garden, and wilted it with lemon juice and salt. Then just threw in some sliced avocado (not local I know ahhhh!) and drizzled the tomato sauce over it. So salty, lemony and good. See the pic above.

Here's another salad I'm proud of, everything from the garden:

I had been craving a kale salad since the raw potluck a few weeks ago. Getting a bit personal here, after that meal, I had three days with amazing bowel movements. Large and clean. Alright, that's as far as I'll get into it.

I wasn't just looking for more of those, but the tart of lemon and dry bite of parsley and kale (did not have parsley on hand this time, but wish I did!) I tend to get obsessed with certain meals, eating them every day for two weeks, then wishing I would not see them again for months. I have actually yet to make the kale salad again, but I will make it (improved version) for the raw dinner we're planning for next Tuesday at my place. Anyone interested? :)


I have just picked up the book "Born to Run," by Chris McDougall. It's been recommended to me by quite a few people, and I'm into it. He's just so good at making what could be a short story into a long one where I want to know all the details. In short, it seems to be about a tribe if Running People who have kept themselves away from modern society by holing up in the desolately beautiful Copper Canyon of Mexico. He's so good at making them seem magical - I believe it. They're known to be the best long-distance runners in the world, who live of really nothing more than corn and corn-moonshine. They run hundred of miles at a time over the world's most dangerous terrain just because it's in their blood. I haven't run since I've started practicing yoga intensly, but it made me want to wake up early and see how far I could go! ...maybe tomorrow.

It's inspiring in other ways as well. These are not necessarily 'passionate people,' Ambitions do not drive them. They're simply loving life, and no one is telling them not to do these amazing things. The law of intention...kind of. More like just celebrating the body which frees and happifies the mind. (Yup)

Plus, they eat a lot of chia seeds...maybe I'll order some from Raw Food world and start training for the next ultra-marathon. :P

June 29, 2010

Isn't that a contradiction?

...was my brother's response when I told him I went to a raw potluck last night. Well, there was luck (pot?) and delicious food.

(Alright technology, you win. I'll bring my camera more places, and not be too good to stand behind it. )

Vermont feels like a tropical place in the summer time. Humid and lush - it's like during the 6 months of winter the trees are holding in their energy for so long that when the June rains let loose, so does this dark green intensity that has been bursting at the bark for so long.


What a surfer-dude word. But whatever, I felt it in more ways than one yesterday when I was invited to a raw potluck. The few hard cores thought it was a thrill to 'pop some Durian cherries,' aka share this weird Durian fruit with a few of us who have never tasted it.

Durian (human?) comes from Southeast Asia, and is a super spiny coconut-sized fruit. It gets soft enough where you can simply cut or rip it open though, and then yellow, gooey pods are produced. There are beautiful wooden seeds inside. The flesh is a bit like scrambled eggs, and tastes, well, meaty. And garlicky.

Mmm, not so much.

The aroma goes down your throat and up into your nose. I took two bites and felt a rush of energy to my head, and at first I was worried that maybe I was allergic. But all it felt like was an adrenaline rush. It is supposed to be one of the most energy-filled foods in the world, as well as a hardcore aphrodisiac. I actually did feel the rush (not down there, psssha.)


Things on the menu -

Claire's amazing chocolate dessert. Must. Get. Recipe.

Taboule without the Barley + mint.

Dehydrated seed crackers with pesto.

Home-made sauer kraut.

Kale salad, with kale-leaf wrappers and delish nut cheese that tasted like cottage cheese.

Pickled beets.....and more.

More than the food, though, it's the people that are inspiring. They're trying something. Trying hard, changing their lives to do better. Better for themselves and the world. Putting energy towards good. It's so wonderful to be around that energy, and to feel like you're contributing to it!

When I'm around a group like this, I feel like these are the modern 'hippies.' In the best sense of that word. Here are the people trying to be socially and environmentally conscious, and making movements through their choices. Raw strikes me as the cutting edge of modernity, yet still upholding the right side of idealism. Phew. Big mouthfuls and explanations.


Anyway, here is what I brought to share:

Summer Green Bean Salad

1 Pound green beans
1/4 red onion
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
1 c chopped raw almonds
Tblspoon of Raw honey
Juice of one grapefruit
Fresh oregano (parsley or mint would be great)
Olive oil
a bit of salt (probably not needed)

Chop it up, put it all together ;) Easy.


It was a group of young an old, all inspired, welcoming and thankful.

June 16, 2010

Lit Crit

Who actually enjoys reading literary criticism?

Reading it usually gives me the same headache as watching Judge Judy. I feel like if some kind of art is bad, it should just be allowed to wither to the wayside. If for some reason it gains a following, it won't taint art, the rest of us will still know it's crap.

I'm putting this out there because it is a required supplement to my application to a creative writing program.

Even when I was editor for the Deli Magazine, we did not want to write negative things. We simply ignored them, and highlighted the positive. It's what the Deli is still doing.

I do not want to be a critic, I want to create. I suppose to create, most of us have to be critics of our own work - so this essay's use must be to prove that we are capable of this way of thinking. As humans, though, we constantly judge to stay alive. It's in our nature. It's a true and tough practice to get away from this.

Should I just write my essay, or some how be snarky and fit this perspective into it?

June 10, 2010

Local is good, raw is...enlightening?

A couple of my yoga friends, Kyle and George, have been exploring and glorifying in the raw food world. Kyle has been completely raw after an intense switch two years ago, and George has been re-writing the (new) book himself since about January this year.

I have seen some amazing documentaries about the power of raw food - and I believe every bit. I have never doubted int he power of good food, but if you have read some of my past posts, I have explored what 'good' really means. To mean 'good' can sometimes be comfort food, if filled with love and eaten sparingly (if bad for you, I believe every meal should be home cooked, whether in my kitchen or someone elses.) Just in the past couple of weeks, I have really been listening and tasting some of these exotic ingredients. I have yet to add much to my regular diet, besides cacao powder...mmm.

Did you notice the key word in the last paragraph? Exotic. First of all, speaking of some of these supplements uses drug dealing terminology. "Oh! Can you get my some of that? I don't need much, just about $20 worth to try." But that's not the biggie - after my 9 months of exploring local foods and glorifying the healing aspect it's bringing to our community, words like MSM, Maca Root, Deer Antler extract and phyto-plankton strikes me as exactly the opposite of what I am aiming for.

Last night, after watching two youtube videos Kyle posted on Colostrum and this Deer Antler Extract (which I definitely tried last weekend, more on that), I realized that I had been keeping this from my blog, which is all about being Aware of what we/I am eating. What is happening in health food, fads, or even modern breakthroughs, which eating Raw seems to be. Being and awarenivore means seeking, and taking it all in, and using discernment to make the best choices for our own bodies, community and kitchen.

A lot of the localvore diet seems glorify moving closer to our previous agrarian society, which sometimes I take to mean moving away from technology, even backwards towards some idyllic past. Maybe this is just me. Maybe this is also because we seem to equate technology with industry and largeness.

"From our ignorant identification with our ego and its mortality arises man's creativity and his destructiveness, the glory of culture, the horror of his history." - B.K.S. Iyengar

Humans have the ability to create great things, but those things would be greater if the right motivation was behind them. And here is where intelligence comes in. Blind devotion is not intelligence. We were given the ability to use discernment. Discernment is different than judgment. And before I go off into outer space, let's get back to earth and what comes out of it, food.

More on this later tonight...

June 06, 2010

Making Chili in June, among other things

Another chili least I think there's one down there already...

I am opening a Woodchuck's 802 - yeah, I guess it's past 5 p.m., but I can't decide if this weekend was productive enough for me to be drinking. I suffer from some kind of mania that's guilt driven. I'm also actually thanking the loud music right below my office for scattering my thoughts a bit. Rainy Sundays tend to bring about a lot of thinking, but not so much doing. I did cut Jamie's hair today...and now this officially a diary entry, not so much an 'essay.'

I am glad for the coherent and somewhat organized thoughts about my grad school application that have come back with conviction today. I'm sure this is also thanks to Robynne being back in town, one of the two friends who have recently become Masters in something. :) It's inspiring in a few ways.

I did start a new writing project this week, and I am also in the midst of two books at the same time, both non-fiction.

I am also in the midst of making chili on this rainy, cool June Sunday. I picked the first bounty from our garden this week - though none of it will be going in the chili. We had salads yesterday with the homemade pizza - radishes (see above), spinach and red lettuce, and ate the leftovers again this morning alongside hard-boiled eggs. It is already truthfully supplementing our groceries - perfect timing, because we're both attempting to lay low this summer financially. Umm, until I buy a new (needed) vehicle soon.

Recipe (changes a bit every time):

1 lb Applecheek ground beef
3 cups(?) of a bean assortment, this time simply chickpeas and kidney beans (dried/soaked)
1 onion
1 carrot
2 sml cans of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp of tomato paste
red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper
tons of chili powder
a bit of maple syrup
splash of soy sauce (meaty flavor like worcheshire)
secret first-time ingredient - 1 tbsp or so cacao powder

...and I already can't wait for the sour cream and cheddar to top it with. Umm addicted to dairy.

My good friend Katie just texted me saying that we must be food-psychic, because she's making chili, too. Must be the weather.

May 30, 2010

Mind drift, cloud shift

Sunday evening, Jericho, vermont, early summer and later Spring all rolled into one.

We've been lucky this year - the last few brought a month-long drizzle in June. There has already been a long, fruitful Spring. I've wandered through my forest for the first time, foraged my first ramps and nettles, and come closer to this spot of land. Its eas because it's so much like my childhood home. Not the hand-made house itself so much, but the dirt roads an the distance I drive to know I've gotten there. The safety in unlocked doors, and in a warm bed upstairs. The same sounds, and the quickly shifting and today dark grey clouds over a green horizon. Adjectives.

I began writing about my dad today, I hope I can keep it up. It's painful already. Perhaps I'm darker than even he was. I've been through breakups before, but this was his second divorce. Perhaps it was softer than the first, or maybe that made it even worse. Thinking about the house I grew up in makes me miss it. And remember thanksgivings so well. The best times with his side of the family. I guess that is where I will go for the next 'chapter.'

Perhaps if I speak less in daily life, words can come more easily on paper. We only have ourselves to experiment with...

Thoughts all over the place, or at least in a few very deep places. I want to write about the progress of the garden. Today I was able to add a few things, before the black flies ingested much of me. I am so glad my dad was able to contribute a lot - he brought me some seed potatoes last week (two are at least starting!), 6 red lettuce plants, of which I can begin to pick at I think for sure. Radishes are going to be the first taste - I could probably pick a couple for breakfast tomorrow...but perhaps I should wait for Jamie. I love to share the first fruits, it's what it's all about.

Kale and freckles lettuce from seed are coming up. Peas really need the fence. Carrots are alive, and the spinach may be worth nibbling on. I planted one cuke and one tomato plant today (as from dad.) As well as two of the three delicata squash, in mounds in the low corners. It's going to get pretty intense in there soon enough. I'm ready!

I transplanted a wild chive, that I believe is the grandchild of the old, big beautiful one that lived near the stone steps. I found it over in the 'rubble' beside the yard, where the gravel a sand was pushed. It may have re-sprouted, and it was my favorite thing in the old steps. Let's hope it takes...I also plan on getting some peppermint to plant among the stones. Let the (semi) wild weeds grow!

So in love with place and person...I am so lucky.

May 25, 2010

Ancient Futures (is already a book)

"It may be absurd to believe that a primitive culture in the Himalaya has anything to teach our industrialized society. But our search for a future that works keeps spiraling back to an ancient connection between ourselves and the earth, an interconnectedness that ancient cultures have never abandoned." (Helena Norberg-Hodge)

It's this quote that opens a chapter in Three Cups of Tea, the best-selling novel published a few years ago, that I just got my hands on this week.

Today was the second monthly pick-up of our meat CSA from Applecheek Farm. Last month we went through the share pretty quickly it seems - holding a dinner party to celebrate, and another (The T-Bones on the grill alongside raddichio) to soothe a relationship. This month, perhaps we'll get to do the same, though it goes more quickly that way.

Jamie went by the Bluebird Tavern to pick it up from Rocio, farm John's wife, who does the delivery. She is the sweetest woman, and I was sure she wouldn't give him a hard time even thought he meat was labeled with my name. She didn't, and Jamie came home later, happy that he had been more involved. He talked about the experience with rapture, though it was only a few moments. Something like "Why is it so special that we go and pick up our meat from them? I bet this is still a big part of her culture where she grew up!" (Rocio is from Ecuador. Even so, we're speculating.) And I said, "Well, it was a part of our culture only a few generations ago." I think this is true...haha.

In Italy I got another taste of this - it seems like a lot of European cities and towns still center around artisans. The tailor, electrician, cobbler and butcher are still lucrative occupations, and necessary neighbors. I am not sure if the butcher raises the meat himself...not likely since he's probably pretty busy, but I bet he's still good friend's with that farmer. His livelihood depends on the quality of his product and service.

The average current way of living is far from this. Most of us know that now, since stuff like this is a normal discussion around the (Vermont?) dinner table. Here in Vermont, both farmers/producers and consumers are turning away from this model. I wonder what it will do long term? Will Price Chopper no longer be open 24 hours? These small farmer's may have to struggle to stay small, because what we have right now could not feed the whole state...more people would have to take on this as a profession OR at least on a small, personal scale to feed themselves and their families. Modernity must meet practicality and not only 'get back to nature' but go back to what has been ingrained as natural to us for thousands of years. Self-sufficiency and independence with an emphasis on community.

Self-sufficiency - or being a successful farmer - requires skills, and skills are attained through practice. Our lives may have to slow down a tad. This does not mean we can not multi-task. The new future can pick and choose the best from both ways of life - solar panels, modern (or ancient/successful/herbal) medicine and the internet, with the old connection to the rhythms of the natural world.

Who's got ideas?

May 22, 2010

Peepers and Counting Receipts

Soon after we moved in last May I began collecting my grocery receipts in a small drawer in our kitchen.

It was separate from the 'stuff' draw that Jamie hoped we would not have. I think it's inevitable, because we just have a certain amount of stuff that doesn't belong with anything else, and happens to be small enough to fit in the drawer. You always know what will be in there - lights, scotch tape, twist ties and sometimes AAA batteries, if you're lucky.

But this is not the same as the receipt drawer. A new creation...for me. I was not very diligent about it, and this shows in my results. Still I am always proud when I start and finish an idea, and today I really did sit down and sort them.

Each month it seems I spend an average of 200 bucks on groceries, and at 4 different stores. I have yet to go through and find local stuff, or meat or produce see the differences there. That will take some detective detail work.

I remember that at the end of last August I really made the switch to buying and eating local produce. This April we joined the meat CSA from Applecheek Farm. I am proud of our changes.....We also already have quite a large garden going...I am proud of the way we have been eating.

These peepers are still going strong. I wonder, which parents told their kids they were insects, and which knew the truth? I'm finding that only about 50% of my friends know which little creature creates that familiar summer sound. I am also wondering how long they will keep on singing their love song. I believe they started early, April at least, and now it's nearly June.

Speaking of the peepers, I had an in-love-with New England moment. My landlord, Pat, had brought over a copy of the lease for us to sign. We're staying another year. I signed on Tuesday, since I was home, and to be honest, I began to have the tiniest anxieties that Jamie would not, until Thursday when I saw his scribble under mine. After a great class, I came home, poured myself a glass of wine, and walked across our front field through the twilight dew to personally hand the document to Pat. I took the long way back, down his gravel driveway, pausing to look over the land as I walked down the small hill into the valley that is Old Pump road. Nostalgia is a silent killer, it's why we're all afraid to make marriages.

I've certainly fallen for this place though - the romance began a while ago, but out of convenience almost. Not that any move in convenient, but the love came because it was supposed to. This week, walking back up my driveway right before dark, the smells of childhood came back. I looked for the constellation of grass in the driveway. I stopped to stare at the birches, and their bright, baby leaves. I sent love to the moss in Hercules' (the bull) pasture. I thought deer thoughts, and wanted to curl up and spend the night with the Earth.

Out there, yes, but true and intense. New England sows it's way into your heart. Many poets have understood this. Robert Frost was bitten.

Well, perhaps I will keep counting, but I've cleaned out one drawer.

May 20, 2010

...checking in.

"Mainly, I think that we (and by we, I mean me, again)—against our great wealth of experience to the contrary—harbor the belief that in reaching our goals we will be freed from the neurosis, fear, self-doubt, obsession, and myriad other emotional and psychological discomforts that accompany writing. Or any other kind of work, life, or humanness. If I just find love. If I just get into this graduate program. If I just lose this 5 pounds. If I just finish this book. If I just publish this book. If it just gets reviewed well. If I just manage to assemble this Ikea bookshelf. THEN, I will stop wondering if I am good enough. Then, I will be able to stop worrying. Then, I will be liberated from the bondage of self-concern and free to pursue a life of service. Needless to say, this secret expectation is never met. I mean, thank god. Each time it goes unmet, I think we wake up a tiny bit more to the actual experience of living."...zzzzzzttttttttttttttt! Bazzing!

I mean, i guess that just magically turns into a kind of living in the moment stuff. Our own, weird moment, it's ok. Well, hell, it's the only time I've ever really felt happiness. :)

April 29, 2010

Cheaters and eaters

I can't resist alliteration.

I'm out of the raw milk I picked up last week from Family Cow Farmstand. It's too far to drive regularly, but they are planning on expanding their delivery to include a stop along Route 15 in Essex, and if so, I will definitely join their weekly milk CSA. $5 per half gallon, and yes, $10 per gallon. Not the cheapest I've seen, but delivery makes it possible, otherwise, I'd just pay that in gas getting somewhere.

This is the first raw milk I have had for years, maybe even since growing up drinking goat's milk. I love milk, for years it was my beverage of choice, but I am already ready to boycott the 'regular' stuff. Not because of taste, but because I feel as though I am being lied to, and cheated on. This has been a huge reason for my localvore quest lately - true, I certainly think this food is more healthy for us, and for the animals, community etc, but I am really just sick of filling my belly with falsities.

After bringing home the milk last week, in a big glass 1/2 gallon mason jar, I poured off most of the cream to have with our coffee (not big coffee drinkers but we have this stuff from Panama mmmmm), and simply drank most of the rest. Mmm. So when ran out of cream yesterday, I decided to run to the store because I was already looking forward to coffee for the next morning.

I think I spent at least 20 minutes deciding what to buy. First, I went right to the normal dairy section in Hannaford's, thinking I would get what I usually do, I mean, I'd bee drinking it for years and enjoying it. Well, not so much now. I have been reading a lot of milk literature. Not only about the benefits of raw milk, but about the dangers of mass-production, and even banality of pasteurization. (See this article for information regarding types of milk vs. types of cow...)

I picked up a half-gallon, not wholly satisfied. It was a 'Vermont' company, but I do not know how much I trust it, I do not believe it's really 'localvore' because it's never labeled that and always available in the huge chain grocery stores.

Then I walked towards the 'Organic' section to see what I might find. Thinking perhaps Organic Valley half and half would make me feel better, but here again is where my attempt to gain knowledge is turning me away. I know that though organic, this company is still owned by one of the huge companies promoting industrial agriculture. SO what's the next option? Soy. There are a few choices, even a soy 'creamer.' First though: what makes it 'creamy?' And why should I choose to support soy, another of our mutilated, industrialized crops? Well, at least it doesn't have (as many?) dying or sick animals involved. So, organic plan soy milk is what it is. Yummy, but I still left feeling like a fool.

How am I walking around in this land of plenty, and mistrusting everything I see? It's all going to fill my belly, but I want more than that. We seek truth in all other aspects of our lives, and we deserve to be able to nourish ourselves with it from the inside out.

April 18, 2010

Meat Share vs. Car Repair

In line at Hannaford’s, I’m looking down at the black belt where I’ve placed my carefully selected items, knowing it’s going to cost more than it looks like it should. A plastic stick divides my bounty from the woman’s in front of me. I try not to be assuming, but I look out of the corner of my eye to asses her situation. She must have at least 3 children at home, and this week’s dinner looks like tacos, hamburger helper and salad mix. She had chosen meat, baby skinless carrots, bags of salad mix and soda. Delicious and home-cooked no doubt (except for the soda), and it will fill their bellies.
I look at my measly produce, almond milk, eggs, tofu and pasta sauce,(etc) knowing that she’s feeding three times as many people, and not spending much more than I will. And – I didn’t even buy organic this time. Hannaford's doesn't have much of a selection, anyway, Their organic produce section consists of lettuce, cucumbers and celery, and it seems to be cleared out by 4 p.m. every day. As far as I know, the only local products they sell are Bove's pasta sauce ($6 per jar, but delish) and hydroponic tomatoes - Vermatoes. Haha.
I am not pointing this out to try to make a point that I am a 'better' shopper. I have no idea what I would be buying if I had to feed a large family. It would completely depend on our budget - which is what sucks about this food system right now. It's nearly impossible to buy idealistically when you're broke. Many times, I come to the end of the month and buy good groceries on my credit card because I believe we deserve to eat well. Now I am being good, and leaving the credit cards at home, lest I think I will ever be able to pay them off.
Well, one of the reasons and I am working on a particularly tight budget is because I needed a new starter in my truck this week. $250. I can't complain much - I was not even very upset. I have had this truck, which I paid $700 for, for a full year this month (in fact, I also paid to renew the registration, but this was an expected cost.) I have not had a repair in five months, so I had felt it was due - routine maintenence kind of thing.

Though, that $250 was going to be Jamie and I's meat CSA money for the summer. I had met a woman from Maple Wind Farm at the last Burlington Farmer's Market. The farm had a pick-up point in Richmond (very close) and this could work for us! I had finally gotten Jamie even more excited about eating local, good, clean food. Though truthfully, I believe we can go without meat if we were going to be totally hardcore, but we are choosing a different angle. I know we will both want to buy it every so often, and the last six months or so we have been only buying local. It's easy enough to get now that we realize that Sweet Clover Market is close by, but it gets quite pricey. $12 for some chicken every once in a while sometimes gets hard to spend too.

Eating right has lots of challenges (who knows what is right, anyway - this just feels right and real right now) and budget is a big one. It makes me upset to know what I want, to know what is best, and to not be able to get it because we're trying to get enough to eat. I have certainly been the one to say 'Pay more, eat less' and I think I do follow this mantra.

But that unexpected $250 really threw off me off my golden path.


(PS, Jamie and I ended up finding a cheaper meat share from Applecheek Farm, which we will pick up on Thursday - wow!)

April 14, 2010

Ramps, rocket, redemption

It's only just hitting mid-April, but I found my first ever wild leeks (ramps). I feel like a Yankee, or Pocahontas, or something equally as idyllic and conjoined with nature.

It was a gift from our woods, the first one to come directly to me, unless maybe you would count the pussy willows I found a month ago, before anything had turned green at all. But well, I couldn't eat those.

I was actually heading downtown to go have lunch with a friend, but I just had these little things on my mind, and had to see if it was that easy to find them. I left the door open to my house, and the door open to my truck (not realizing this of course, until I came back to them both, and hoped that my battery was not dead) and struck out right then and there. Cell phone in my pocket, I was still texting Laura saying I was "leaving in 5" as I crossed the threshold from the yard to the forest. There were quite a bit of green things. Trilium (not blooming yet) as I had learned from one of the herbal talks I went to recently. Also, one other small, dark green-leafed crawling vine I recognized from the same talks, but could not name. Then ferns (not fiddleheads) and another single-leafed floor covering. I thought it may have been one of the leeks, they were just not fully grown yet. Perhaps I was looking too early in the season.

These little leaves were sticking up in patches everywhere, where any bit of sun ma have happened to pass between leaves and hit the forest floor. I had expected the leeks to be like this. These leaves, though, were not promising, almost menacing - a darker green, and dappled just as their mother.

We have a series of paths that begin beyond the large field behind our house. They would be perfect cross-country ski paths, or snowshoe paths, (we intended to do more snowshoeing, but did not do enough to get back there anyway - this year) wide enough for a tractor or something, which probably originally cleared them. Also, we hear, they go all the way to a neighbors house on the other side of the hill. We really need more than 5 minutes to explore, but that is another story.

I decided it seemed illogical to start out on the path - why would wild leeks be sitting nicely ready to be picked alongside a wide, once-tractor trodden path? So I started near and even crossed over into the bull's (Hercules') fenced in area, since he has kind of a little stream which I thought they might grown near.

They live in colonies. I saw quite a few pictures while I was dong some research, and they grow as in little families up out of the dead leaves. In the pictures I saw, there was not much else for green around. The trees are not green yet - we're lucky that there are even a few red nips of buds starting on some certain trees. It's going to happen so fast though - in less than two weeks, we'll have a neon backdrop. Just like in the fall, the hills are on fire for the same amount of time. It's even a fast change for us humans.

I walked through the woods, finding some old barbed wire fence (not Hercules') and tried not to catch my leggings on them. Dressed for yoga, cell phone still in my pocket. I felt so 17th century Yankee... I was only about 20 feet or so into the woods, walking parallel to my yard, up hill, the parallel to the field. Nothing but more of the same four types of greenery I mentioned before, but not what I wanted. I thought, "Why should I think it would be so easy?" Like wild animals, the leeks would know where humans were living, and wouldn't set up their homes so close by. They're wild things, they have the intuition. Perhaps I was giving plants way too much credit.

I kept thinking I saw them...those single-leafed beings were fooling me. Some larger than one another, and glowing in the bit of sunlight, looked like the lime-green feathers I was searching for. I almost turned around (mind you "leaving in 5" text was probably 20 minutes in the making) but I saw the path I had spoken about earlier starting in front of me. I had made my way to the top of our field.

There is a huge, ancient tree very close to the start of the path. This winter, and in other low-light times, this tree scares me - it's more like a dark being. It barely sprout leaves, and the few were so high up last summer, I could barely discern what kind it was (my guess is Maple.) The tree certainly has a presence, but I saw it and realized I had been building up it's size - for the winter, I had not wanted to face it alone, that's how intimidating it is...But well, I looked at it in the face, and asked gently "Tree, show me where the leeks are." In my head, not out loud, ya know, preserving some sanity. I turned my back to the tree, to head down the path towards the field and house, and BAM leeks right in front of me. Glowing green, the big bright floppy green rabbit's ears settled in their circle right under a different old maple.

Thank you.

April 12, 2010

Local recipes and perhaps a supper club

Hello all,

It's Spring and I am falling over myself deciding on a meat share, where to get my raw milk, and what I can find/harvest from my woods. I want to share my excitement (and bounty) with everyone!

I am going to start exploring and exposing recipes including all local ingredients, and maybe when we get it together, we can have monthly dinner parties.

Here's one from last night - a light dinner, but so good:

Sauteed zucchini and tomatoes w/shaved cheese on top of polenta, side of Vermont Cranberry beans. (The tomatoes and zucchini were not local last night, but could have been 100%!)

OK, enough for now....who's down for some dinner!?