Sunday, August 29, 2010


Sometimes nature makes me sad.
Today when we went to my parents to pick some peppers and water the fall plants, dad showed me a bee hive of his that was doing poorly. He's not sure what, but some sickness has got to the hive and the bees are going crazy. He was carefully watching the grass and then carefully picked up a small bee that was crawling on the grass. The young bees can't fly and are crawling away from the hive, four or five at a time. I asked if maybe they wanted to go to another hive, but dad quickly dismissed that thought. "They're just sick." I frequently forget that bees and other animals don't have the same type of thought process as humans. There is no option for them. I thought of those children who leave religious cults or Amish communities, like the hive is shunning them and sending them off crippled into the world.

I found this picture off the internet, but they looked very similar. I wish I had my camera.

As we pulled into the drive way a dove caught my eye. She was laying on the ground, much like a hen would lay on her eggs or young and I pointed out how odd she looked to Matt. Turns out dad had cut a low hanging branch down on Thursday and the two young were knocked out of their nest. They were still alive, and the mother still guards them, but their chances are so slim that I had a great desire to scoop them up and take them home. I know that that would only increase their chances of dying. Helpless little doves would make any one's heart go soft and mushy.

I am somewhat reminded of the book The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote a biography of a pioneer type man, committed to living off the land. In the book someone made a comment about how they would hate to kill a helpless deer. Eustace Conway said he didn't feel sorry for the deer because they weren't nearly as helpless as some people are. And I am reminded that nature is capable of so many things and I am the one that is disconnected and incapable.
I just figured out she also wrote Eat, Pray, Love. Since I enjoyed The Last American Man, I might enjoy this movie phenomena.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A year's worth of "to-do's", involving food of course!

It's not January, but I'm feeling the need to create a list of important things I would like to complete within this year. Since I'm a teacher August feels like New Year's, and a time to create resolutions, or at least goals. We teachers really like the word goal. You get a new class, another chance to do things differently, and new things to learn and adjust to. With this are a couple of things I want to do this year...I think.

1. Finish my old quilt Check
2. Start a new quilt with a more difficult pattern, like so:Check

3. Attempt homemade brioche

4. Grow broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beets, cauliflower, and a variety of mixed greens Check
5. Don't let any of the above go to waste Sort-of Check (we froze broccoli)
6. Make homemade pasta (besides gnocchi, we've already mastered that)
7. Make apple butter with apples that we've picked Check
8. Sew a shirt with ruffles! (this one scares me the most)
9. Read all the Little House books...that should be easy! Check

10. Make a tiramisu with homemade zabaglione and lady fingers
11. Bake pitas
12. Make honey wheat bread a muscadine jam to eat with it!
13. Sew oven mitts and hot pads with insulated batting
14. Find a cute house to rent in May, with a small plot of land that has good soil and gets lots of sun
15. Make homemade chicken stock and freeze
16. Go to The Piedmont, a restaurant in Durham
17. Make dinners more during the week night
...I can't think of anymore!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

out with the old in with the new

Our garden is suffering from a variety of diseases, inconsistent rain, mold, insects, and anything else you can imagine that would attack an innocent plant. We're still getting peppers in by the basket full and a few tomatoes, though mostly green because the ripe ones have all busted open by the time we arrive to pick. The romas have been our most sturdy tomato, resisting the heat and remaining intact. We've made endless sauces, salsas, soups, and pizzas with them. Most of our herbs are also fine and dandy, with the exception of the cilantro and dill. But the squash and cucumbers have been long gone, along with the corn and radishes. So we're left with a few rotten looking tomato plants and lots of peppers. We put peppers in everything, so lately we've been freezing all of them, because I need a break from peppers. I guess at this point I've become disenchanted with our garden. It's no longer neat and pretty, each small seedling green and bright. It has produced so many goods and filled our bellies time and time again, but as August wears on, I'm thinking it's time for a change.

It's hard to beat a fried green tomato sandwich

Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, butternut squash, cilantro, kale, parsnips, carrots. I know how to grown some of these. Swiss chard, kale, and spinach will go in the ground as seeds and sprout until it gets too cold. Broccoli will go in the ground as a plant, as will cilantro. I'd love to plant butternut squash, but it's a little late for seeds. Can I get plants? As for parsnips and carrots I have no idea. I'm researching on the internet for some advice, since my parents have never grown either.

I'm really enjoying this school year. I'm not stressed and I feel like I have a life outside of teaching. Last year I became so worn out and tried of always being in a endless cycle of teaching, planning for teaching, grading, and teaching more. I felt that I was trapped and couldn't do anything else. I learned late last year that you have to make time for other dreams and desires you have. I've been reading a great book called Coop about a family's decent into a Wisconsin farm, slowly working on my quilt, and will sign up for pottery lessons in late August.