Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sweet day

Our school year is nearly complete. Above is a photo of the third grade garden that I planted with Mia and her classmates. Since we have had good rain this year, everything is coming along nicely. Their radishes are ready to harvest, they have carrot and peas coming up, as well as zucchini, tomato, basil and marigolds. Vivienne is wearing her crown from her Science Fair event. She worked really hard on a presentation about rocks and minerals. The whole school came through the Kindergarten class to see.

Her class also made a collaborative book based on E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan. It was a beautiful creation. Here is one of Vivi's pages...

Now for the sweet part. There are just a few days left of the school year. To celebrate the girls and all the effort and energy they put forth this year, we indulged with cake and frosting at Short Street Cakes. Check out Jodi's delicious blog here.

~cheers to the sweet things in life~

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fresh Produce: Part Two ( On the Farm)

Yesterday I got to deepen my appreciation for the hard work that goes into every bunch of greens and every pint of strawberries, each bundle of beets and bouquet of flowers. I spent my morning at Full Sun Farm, participating in the work share component of my CSA(community supported agriculture). It felt so good to get my hands in the dirt, and really know the magnitude of effort that goes behind the scenes of a farmer’s market stand!

I arrived at the farm at 8:30 a.m., (and with the guidance of a lovely farm intern, Melissa,) I started in the thick rows of kale, choosing, picking and bundling mature leaves into bunches. Then I moved to the broccoli, harvesting the full, open florets with a knife and trimming off the large leaves. Next came collecting the beets into similarly sized bunches, then weeding the carrot patch and finally, gathering strawberries. Each task required special attention to detail, only choosing the very best for market. With about eight people in the field, it took four hours to get most of the harvest for today's farmer's market stand. My feet and hands were caked in mud, my heart was happy for the good, honest work, and my body was downright tired out by mid afternoon and I fell asleep that night with a wonderful sense of satisfaction. It was a miracle that we did not have thunderstorms! The clouds drifted overhead and kept the fields cool, but luckily no downpours.I love that I will never look at another bunch of greens or pint of berries without recalling the effort that it takes to get produce from field to market.

Thank you, Alex and Vanessa, for giving me this opportunity!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fresh Produce: Part One (Farmer's Market)

I feel so grateful to live in a place where I can buy fresh, organic, local produce for most of the year. As much as I love my garden, it is not nearly large enough to feed my family. For now, it feeds my soul and lifts my spirit, and offers a sampling of good food and herbs. Someday, I would like it to grow big enough to feed us more.

this week's CSA(community share agriculture) box -Kale, lettuce, beets, strawberries, onions, sugar peas, collards and arugula - yum!

We are lucky to have artisan bread bakers as well as goat cheese makers, fresh eggs, local fish, maples syrup and honey, homemade empanadas and countless other specialties.

Hopefully soon I will be posting about getting our own city chickens! The local ordinance improvements passed, and we are eligible for a livestock permit. I am looking for coop plans and dreaming up a family building project for the summer.

And here is the latest harvest from our own garden... little yellow summer squash. And one small red potato that comes from Vivienne's own potato crop. Nothing tastes better than home grown.

~ With thanks to all the farmers who produce the foods that feed my family~

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Great Outdoors: Part Four (Beauty)

Words are few. I hold images and memories that haunt my senses - smells of smoky bonfire, the feel of cool, fresh creek water numbing the skin, the gentle song of the water as it rushes past, the deep darkness of the night sky, the mist settled among the green leafy trees, the vast expanse of wild woods, in all it's beauty and splendor. The sort of place that inspires the artist to create, and the philosopher to find truth.

The River Poem by Mia

River O' River rushing over my feet,
Splashing my legs, so icy and sweet,
A cool wind slap my head and my feet,
River, O'River what a Great Treat.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
~John Muir

Great Outdoors: Part Three ( Community)

So much of what I love about this camping trip is the sense of community that we share. The children create their own ever-changing clusters, moving from one activity to the next, sometimes in pairs of those close in age, sometimes spanning seven years or so, from youngest to oldest child. We shared a wonderful, robust meal of communal chili, everyone contributed some ingredients and batches of homemade cornbread. I was especially grateful for my friend, Diana's Kundalini Yoga session, which was such a treat. And, we had our first mother-daughter book group discussion, reading Wise Child by Monica Furlong. We sipped homemade herbal tea, nibbled fire-popped popcorn, and talked amongst ourselves about the messages in the book. The girls were especially productive around the campsite that afternoon, washing muddy laundry in the river and setting it to dry on a clothesline. We shared stories, laughter, advice, meals, walks, bike rides, adventures, bonfires, problem-solving, games, joy and appreciation for one magical weekend in the woods.

With gratitude for my community of friends