Saturday, January 30, 2010


These are times of training and learning new skills. While my 2 year old is whining, laughing, crying and celebrating his way through potty training, I am doing the same with designing our garden for next year.

First came the onslaught of seed catalogs. This led me to my computer to see if they "qualified" under my "rules". Most do not, because they are owned by Monsanto. After I whittled the piled down to my two favorites, Seed Savers Exchange and Fedco, I created my dream garden.

Eight varieties of tomatoes for canning, making sauce and eating fresh, five varieties of lettuce, 4 varieties of beans, two varieties of peas, ground cherries, butternut squash, pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, chard, four varieties of peppers, three types of basil, oregano, chives, and a plethora of flowers. Do you see a problem here? I do. I have 5, count them 1..2..3..4..5 raised beds. 1 large and 4 small. Hmmm. When a seed packet shows it is capable of planting 6 hills of squash, well that is what the seed deserves.

My first step is to convince my husband that we need to expand our garden. I mean REALLY expand the garden. He looks away. Cue the whining. "We reeeeeeeeeally need to do this. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease."

Cue the laughter. These are not the sounds of my giggles, rather, my husband's. "You want to do what?" "How much do you think that will cost?"

Cue the tears. These ARE mine. "You don't understand, I am trying to make good food for OUR family!" Please note, these have NO effect on the previously mentioned laughter.

The only way to deal is to head over to your girlfriend's house with your precious seed catalogs and a bottle of wine. Cue the celebration. Perhaps they will bring me to a happy, sedated sort of garden reality.

So we are all being trained. 2 year olds are learning to "use the potty".   37 year olds are learning to build something dreamy and wonderful within their means. For both of us, we have to find the answers from within. As Galileo said, "You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself".  Personally, I think you can always figure it out over a bottle of wine with the girls.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010's January

To quote one of my friends, "Beef, it's what's for dinner". We have the salmon and beef covered and we will be receiving a 1/4 of a pig in about 3 weeks, but the chicken front is dry. I am CRAVING it! I have been buying organic once a week. It is from Washington, so that's good, but it still doesn't feel right. This is one area I have to work on. For those cold winter nights this Chicken and Dumplings recipe will warm you right down to your toes. And while we are on the chicken note, can you tell I have been obsessing? This is the recipe my girlfriend made for us a couple of weeks ago and we SWEAR it is by far one of the best things we have EVER tasted. Chicken Tikka Masala my advice on this one is to double the recipe. We added in some partially steamed broccoli and MAN was it good. Ok, enough of the chicken and on to the hills and valleys of eating close to home.

I can firmly say that I am proud that I have not purchased a single tomato since the last one I bought at the local farmer's market. That isn't to say we haven't had canned toms or spaghetti sauce, we have. But man oh man, this is the tough part.

Next summer I am going to make sauce like nobody's business. There really isn't anything better than the real deal.

We are becoming lovers of carrots and parsnips. That is about the range of our vegetable consumption. There have been a few treats here and there like a cucumber for our raita and an avocado (MAJOR splurge) for our bbq'd steak we had one night. We buy Washington grown lettuce that is organic and have it with sunflower seeds and carrots or apples. But I think the big difference, is that we think before we buy. I bought bananas once when my kiddo was sick and because that is what he was requesting. As a mom, you are going to do these things when your kid is sick and the request isn't for something outrageous. Maybe even then. You know what I am saying.

The fun thing is that our CSA squash is still holding on. Last week we had some wonderful Butternut Squash Tacos with Black Beans. They were a major hit with the whole crowd and my kiddo had fun making corn tortillas. Since my loving husband was in charge of this portion of the festivities, he did not love it as much. To be honest, I think that made me love it more. Did I mention that he had never made them before and I put him in charge of the whole process AND two 2 year olds. Hee hee. I had a grand ol' time working on the rest and watching that little vein on his forehead dance. Love you sweetie.

So it has been a long time since I have been here, but now the fun begins. The seed catalogs should start coming in and we get to plan the garden for next year. This is exciting stuff! I will be meeting with some girlfriends to discuss our plans and to see what we can share amongst our crops all over a glass of wine. This is living folks. This is living.