Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rhubarb forever

There has been some wonderful rhubarb writings in blogland these last few weeks.  I am a lover of rhubarb truth be told.  It still grows behind the barn on the farm I grew up on.  Rhubarb butterscotch pie is my absolute favorite kind of pie (no strawberries needed!) and I was treated to it twice when home this June.  My mom made one and my grandmother made one.  I also tasted my mom's rhubarb relish this year and it is really good with meat.  Rhubarb is that versatile.  In the interest of making my front garden edible as well as lovely to look at I have planted an heirloom variety rhubarb there with the name Victoria (three guesses as to who it is named after).  This vegetable needs to be left alone the first year it is planted so no harvesting this year but I can wait for something this good. 

 This plant is nice to look at too which is a bonus to it being so tasty.  I wanted to share the wonderful writings I've come across about it this year:

Spread the rhubarb love around.  Eating in season is so rewarding to the taste buds!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

creatively speaking

That ever elusive spark called inspiration strikes one when you'd least expect.  I both love and hate that.  Love because it sends me places full of ideas and artistic dreams, and hate because it usually happens when the day's chores are stretched out before me with no end in sight.
I know that I can choose to ignore them and make things.  Sometimes I do.  It rarely happens though when you have a young baby.  They just seem to need you at the exact moment you were about to begin.  But as the story has gone since the beginning of time...babies cease to be such in a very short time.  So I dream, take notes (mostly in my head) and let inspiration flow through me without being fulfilled.
A new (to me) blog that I'm loving is Spirit Cloth.  It follows the work of artist Jude Hill from New York state.  Just glorious embroidery and cloth work.  She often lets cloth stain under leaves, flowers and such.  I've been admiring the delicate patterns and how Jude layers her work building a piece in such an organic way.
Some imagery that is inspiring and comical at the same time here.  Don't you love the teamwork?  It's amazing how relevant the chores and fashion are to today's homesteader movement.  Classics never go out of style.
Yesterday Heidi Joy and I spent time at the fabric store.  It is such a pleasure to talk fabric, compare projects and enjoy her company.  I am making new pillows for our living room which is almost complete!  Photos to follow in  few months (let's be realistic here).
Well my time for reveling in the creative world has come to a close for now.  I've had little snippets here and there for the past three months and soon there will be more time.  Here's to the inspiration of summer, cloth and circa 1940's farm girl models.  Happy weekend to you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tales from my garden

I thought I must get around to posting this garden update because the photos are already two weeks old and the plants are growing like crazy.  The above photo's flower emerged from a pot I planted last year with a wildflower mix of seeds.  If anyone knows what it is please leave a comment.  The fragrance from this one is lovely.

Here are the tomatoes, peas, and green peppers.  Both tomato plants are blossoming and the spaghetti squash is getting big and leafy at this point.  It's amazing what a difference two weeks can make.  Despite the weather taking its time to get warm the plants are progressing.  Being out on the patio is a pleasure with bees and birds and sunshine for company.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book of the Month: June

As a book of the month goes this one is the hardest I've had to read.  Dave bought this one day and as a vegetarian turned meat eater it seemed to make sense as a choice for him.  I heard Foer on Sierra Club Radio and I thought his perspective as a Jewish vegetarian father on a journey through the factory farm industry sounded very compelling.  Compelling is the least of it.  Eating Animals is a book that takes you there...that place that is uncomfortable, sadistic and scary.  Do you know what the animals you eat have gone through?  Do you eat them and want to avoid thinking about it?  I will admit that I often do.  At home we eat organic meats, Foer explains that organic has little to do with how the animals are ultimately treated.  The farmers that Foer interviews are doing their best to live up to different standards though none of them could convince the author to become an omnivore.  There were moments I had to put this book down.  I've seen some anti-meat industry videos of downed cows and animals in tiny cages just waiting to be killed for human dinner tables.  The realities are unbelievable.  How could humans treat any living creature this way? 
There is a current of bias on Foer's part that he bases on the three years of research he did while writing the book.  While he visited many farms and slaughterhouses and was given tours he also went to factory farms with activists in secret.  But there is a difference if you grow up on a farm.  By that I mean you are closer to the life and death cycle and you live with the animals every day.  The author made his choice of what to eat based on his values and his judgments regarding the degree of pain animals are subjected to.  As middle to upper class North Americans we have the privilege to choose not to eat animals.  He briefly brings up worldwide diets but more in relation to sustaining meat consumption on the scale Americans are at today.  He also doesn't touch on the health factors raised in Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.
This book is worth reading if you care about what you eat.  Factory farming is horrendous and needs to be abolished.  How omnivores reconcile their choices effects the existence of these "farms".  This book will help you if you want to be a responsible consumer and a responsible diner.      

Friday, June 10, 2011

Month three: in retrospect

The third month of E's life went by in quite a blur.  There was a trip, his first cold, lots of gas, crying and spitting-up, a smile that is slow to emerge but once it gets there is huge, attempts at organization and several days and evenings of giving up trying.  To be honest the only concrete thing I remember about Kyan at this age was me sitting and rocking him.  I would do that for hours as he slept.  It was blissful and yet I know I did other things somehow, I just can't remember how.  So while Ky evolves in to a more and more complex 3 year old, Elliott is leaving behind the small, curled part of newborn land for the chubby giggles of infancy.  Today he reached out in his bouncy seat and purposefully touched the dangling toys.  I delighted for him and my heart felt a pang at the same time because already he has left that tiny freshness for the next phase.

I must admit that I've had a few moments this week in which I felt like this or wanted to go here or just be anywhere but in this house with two or sometimes three unhappy beings as companions.  Someone dear to me often says: This is what you signed up for and often I bow my head to that.  I am a deeply optimistic person and so it's rare that I feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is out of reach but tgif has a great ring to it this week, that's for sure.  In these rough moments of parenthood and adulthood I often take the time to count the good things and be grateful for we never know when something really horrible could happen to shake our world that makes these smaller moments seem insignificant.

I hope if Elliott or Kyan ever read these posts when they are adults they will know how loved they are and how hard their dad and I worked to give them the best and be the best for them.  That is all we can do in the end and all I could ever ask of them in return.  Here's to the weekend and a clean slate.  I know I am not alone and we will move past this moment one step at a time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

last week we...

 searched for frogs in overflowing brooks

 buried two placentas in a sugar maple grove

 became re-acquainted with a certain loved cow

 recorded for posterity the simple beauty around us

 celebrated birthdays and blessings with family

met with old friends and family and made some new ones too

it was over far too quickly but sometimes memories are made that way.  i vow to stay longer next time and have more time to soak in the love.