Monthly Archives: May 2011

CSA tuesday

Week two of our CSA and this week we got swiss chard (red and white), scallions, Red Russian kale, Red Leaf Lettuce, mixed greens and baby bok choy.

I made burgers with meat from Wright Bros and the swiss chard with the scallions, garlic and a little red wine vinegar. After trying it Madigan said “That’s not so bad.” That’s almost saying it good. We liked it. The problem was the canned beans. Compared to the green of the chard it looked all grey and washed out.

Look at that, isn’t it just lovely?! I am amazed that it was harvested earlier today and it is on our dinner table tonight. The nutrition and freshness is palatable. Sometimes when you open a bag of the greens from the store it’s got a bit of a smell to it, this stuff hasn’t even really had time to notice it was even picked.

Another great salad is on the menu for lunch tomorrow.

Recycling grocery bags

We have a cat who is obsessed with Kroger bags. He likes to get inside, sniff and lick and just hang out. He was a shelter cat and came with a broken tail so we aren’t really sure of what his 3 months was like before he came home with us. The bags pile up, and I found a site that shows you how to use the bags to knit. You start with folding them.

Then cut off off the bottom and cut into strips.

Loop them together and knit away. Its ether gonna be a cat mat or a door mat.

Another mostly local dinner

I tried Ikenberry’s for local eggs again, still nothing. They do have extra large double yokers but I just want local, regular sized single yokers. So when all else fails, buy some meat. They had some pork loin from Martin Farm in Fincastle so I grabbed a couple. I knew we still had greens and lettuce from the tuesday and organic carrots so dinner was set.

I can’t wait for farmer’s markets and local produce being everywhere, but as I see from my own little patio garden with these weird temperature fluctuations and heavy rains only so much growing can be done. The spinach and butter crunch looks like it’s going to be ready to eat in the next few weeks.

More pictures of plants this week, I promise!

Sprouts in the worm bin

Before we got the worm bid we did a lot of research about composting. Most of our meal are homemade, and whenever possible we get the fresh vegetables so we generate a good amount of scraps. Even with only putting out three good meals a week I can still fill two 5 cup containers. Last week we gave the worms a bunch of cantaloupe rinds and the guts from the middle. A few of the seeds sprouted on the left side.

The sprouts are a good sign. Consensus on line is the moisture, temperature and Ph levels are optimal, proof that the bin is doing well. We did give them a good amount of food last week since the poor things had to eat carrots for two weeks straight. All of the recognizable rinds were gone, but there were seeds left, and I know the worms go for the easy stuff first. Boomer likes to get one of the worms to make sure they look good, and this one did.

I am always worried the bin will have too much fluid in the base, but when I lifted up the worm bin from the base it looks like we have some compost. I am sure most of it is just the coconut shell core that came with package to put in the bedding, but the stuff in the back looks darker, more like dirt and that is what want.

They got more cantaloupe rinds, a few mushrooms and some artichoke leaves. Let’s see how they do with that.

What a difference 10 years makes

A little over 10 years ago Boomer and I got married. We didn’t have a wedding, just went to a JP and “got hitched” after work one day. Since we only spent about 200 bucks all together (rings, paperwork, fees) we splurged and went out for a fancy dinner. One of those places where everything is ala cart and you pick your cut of meat from a cart rolled over to your table side. The waitress came over and started telling us all the wonderful things offered at the restaurant. She was telling us about the salad, which has “27 different lettuces and greens” after she left the table I said “Of which I like 3”. Endive, raddicchio, arugula, chervil and frisee were not in my wheel house, I was more of a red leaf, iceburg and romaine. Boomer agreed, which felt like a thumbs up for our marriage. (Keep in mind I really didn’t know much about marriage since we had only known each other 6 months and just made the biggest commitment of our lives 10 hours earlier.) Thursday for lunch we had a similar salad, made at home from greens and lettuces from a farm 35 miles away.

We have changed so much in 10 years, now we will gladly try anything, once. We now eat things that we once thought were “disgusting” and enjoy it. Next up…Stuffed pepper? Maybe at 15 years.

The price argument

One of the arguments people have with buying local is “It costs so much more.” Yesterday Boomer picked up some local ground beef (I wanted local eggs, but Ikenberry’s didn’t have any, so he picked up some Moneta meat). I work tonight and for a fast dinner they will do burgers. I save the good stuff for when I am cooking. So stopped by Kroger and picked up some burger. We don’t buy what’s the cheapest, we buy what tastes best to us, 80/20.

As you can see there is a difference in the price the local meat is $4.44 a pound and the Kroger is $3.71. The bigger difference is when it comes to the lack of packaging, the flavor, the lack of fat, higher Omega 3s, knowing the farms where the animals live, and supporting local businesses.

CSA tuesday

Today we got what was described as a “light” delivery since we have had a few decent storms that made the harvest on Tuesday not very abundant. Polly at Seven Springs says this is the earliest they have started deliveries. In this bag we got, scallions, two bags of greens and a big bag red Russian kale.

When I think kale, I think kale chips, so I washed up some of the kale, grabbed the olive oil and some sea salt and a healthy snack.

I thawed some chicken thighs, knowing no matter what we got in the bag we would have chicken as the protein. I pulled out some of the other local and non local items from the fridge and tried to pull together a meal.

I used lemon juice, olive oil and rosemary as the flavoring for the sweet potatoes and chicken thighs, which I baked. I browned up some bacon, used the fat to cook up the scallions and quickly cooked up the kale so it was wilted. It turned out pretty good, I think next time I would only use the juice of half a lemon.

We will be getting a bag of produce from Seven Springs every week, I plan to have a post once (or more) about the food we get from the CSA and how we use it. In addition to us eating well, the stems from the kale will be going to the worms. Even the worms are eating locally.

Happy Mother’s Day

As out there and weird as I get with all of this local, first hand, within 100 miles food thing there is one person to blame thank for starting it all…my mom. When we lived in Spokane my mom got us the best gift ever, she bought into a CSA, and once every two weeks a box of produce was delivered from Fresh Abundance, a local store and distributor of organic and local food. It really added fuel to our fire of getting away from the Wal-Marts of the world and supporting local businesses.

Leaving Spokane was hard for me, and I have been trying to create the life I want here. Since I work on Saturday mornings, the farmer’s market is out of the question. I hit the coop every time I can (and when my bank account can support it) and am growing plants on our patio without Monsanto. Taking trips to Floyd and finding what I want at produce stands.

When we started researching how we would be able to do the 100 mile challenge we found a few farms within 50 miles where you can buy into their CSA-Community Supported Agriculture. We picked Seven Springs Farm. I learned about the farm when I was trying to find soil that wasn’t connected to Monsanto. After Mark at Mike’s Country Market stopped laughing at me, he told me about Seven Springs. The details with this CSA, from May to November we will pick up a bag of fresh, local, produce that was grown from farm less than 50 miles away. If you are interested you can find a CSA in your area here.

We bought into the program at a level that we could afford and feel great supporting something we believe in, voting with our dollars. Will this get us away from grocery stores? I don’t know. How much food will we get? Depends on how well the farm does.

So Mom, thank you for helping me discover this path of better living by choice! Happy Mother’s day, I love you!

This old old old house

When Boomer isn’t sleeping, working, doing prep, watching Family Guy, eating or going to the bathroom, he looks for houses for sale. Over the last 10 years we have talked about what we want in a house. He wants central air, I want land and Madigan wants a place to breed fish and have 100 cats. Boomer stumbled on this place a couple weeks ago.

With this 101 year old home comes lots of chipping paint, 3 boarded up fireplaces, a wood burning stove that is weird with lots of things wrong, a claw footed tub in the worlds more inconvient bathroom, walls painted so badly that you would question why someone would let a 3 year old do all the trim work…all of this is true but it also comes with this

and this…I think 100 cats would fit in here.

And a big old shade tree to sit under and drink sweet tea.

Yes that is a cellar door. It needs lots of work. It is more house than we will ever need. It is more land that we would ever need. But if you look past all the flaws, it is a lovely old house, that I could see us living in, doing all the things we want to do. The upstairs problems are mostly cosmetic and geography (the bathroom was a modern addition, old farm houses only had 1 bathroom.)

Cute girl on stairs does not come with the house

This is a twofer–boarded up fire place and ugly paint

Somethings are modern and up-to-date

but then you have this

this is in the laundry room, so don’t worry it’s not the kitchen.

Not sure what the function of this board is, but it might be holding the whole thing together.

As rough as it looks, and much work as it will be, even this doesn’t make this house a deal breaker.