Pretty sweet shoes for a pretty sweet girl. Happy fall!
Pretty sweet shoes for a pretty sweet girl. Happy fall!
- This is my home. I am not renting anymore. The changes we make here will not have to be changed back when we leave.
- We can plan on being here for a very long time. That means that doing things like planting fruit trees, or putting in a huge garden will not feel like a waste or even a compromise.
- I know the rules. When I started the homestead in the Red House I felt like I needed to do tons of research just to make sure what I was doing was alright. With landlords, with laws of the city, etc. This time I am outside of the city (by 20 blocks) and I own my own house. It never stopped me before, but it will make the going much easier this time.
I am daunted by this task. I feel like there are so many things to do and research before I even start with the building, digging, moving, and planting.
This week, it is apple tree research. In this catalog above I can get three year old, branched, bareroot fruit trees for $21 each. The man that runs this farm will make an appointment with you, let you try the apples from the trees you are considering, and tell you if your planting location will work. What an AMAZING resource! I am setting up my appointment for next week (our weekends are T/W/Th) and we will go out there and pick our three trees for the spot in the back of the garden. I am looking for semi-dwarfs, native to the Pacific NW. The catalog says that there are quite a few. I can't wait to taste them!
You can't find this type of service at the big box stores. Their products may be cheaper but there is something HUGE that is missing there. Not only are there only three kinds of trees, but the employees refer to the tags for the difference. lol! They rarely know anything about planting, growth, or when they fruit. Not to knock places like Home Depot or Lowes... honestly I am there quite often with requests for specific kinds of boards, hinges, paint, and door knobs. And they do a good job of helping you research while you are there. But for things like fruit trees, it just seems that you would want someone who has tasted the fruit. Doesn't it?
However, I made a mug exception. When I saw this mug I thought it was brilliant! Since then I have seen that there are several more that are similar. I doubt Starbucks came up with the idea, but still... I love this thing! This mug has become my newest sidekick.
It helps that it is an actual mug. A mug that is double insulated and has a neat, twist-off plastic lid. I even love the utilitarian look of it. (Although I could do without advertising for Starbucks... but I actually DO support them, and heck, they are local... right? lol!) My favorite part though, is that I can drink it with the lid on (like in the car while dealing with my three children) or off.... because there are none of those plastic ribs to make it uncomfortable to drink from. Not something you can claim from any plastic travel cup I have ever seen.
Since getting this thing three weeks or so ago, I haven't used one single paper cup from Starbucks... not even on Sundays when I have to be up at the crack of dawn to leave for market. Yay me! I have also stopped using my other mugs in the house... I just keep washing and reusing this one.
I somehow need to kick the Starbucks coffee habit. But the mug is staying.
Above is lavender tea with honey. Yum!
Next green purchase: Glass Straws!
(Just before I posted this, Don bought me another one of these mugs. He said it was the last one they had and he couldn't imagine me going all winter with only one of these babies he has seen me use it so much. I am a lucky lady. The Man loves me just the way that I am... mug obsession and all.)
Last week I was flattered to be interviewed by one of my favorite blog moms, La Fuji Mama. It was a fun chat and I really enjoyed talking with her about my passion for good, local food and how it led me to my work at the Ballard Farmers Market.
This mama is a wonder... let me tell you. I have a hard time getting things done with my one toddler, and she has two kiddos under three yrs. Amazing! And she can bake. That in and of itself is awe-inspiring to me. My house is the place where bread comes to die. I hope that you can take the time to check out the interview and her other amazing posts. Enjoy!
BTW This is the cartoon I was refering to in the interview:
I think it shows the choices quite nicely. ;)
Logan fell on the side of his foot last night. He has been really cranky ever since and favoring that foot. He is walking on it... in fact, this afternoon he chased a ball and ran on it. But he is hurting. I took off his socks tonight to get him ready for bed and the whole foot is bruised. All up the inside of his foot, and across his instep. His instep is swollen flat and his toe is so swollen it is pointing down slightly.
I am glad to know that he is walking on it. Because honestly, if he wasn't I would have rushed him in for a cast. As it is, I don't think it is broken, but it takes a lot to damage the foot of a 2 yr old that badly... so I wrapped it in an Ace bandage and I asked The Man to bring home some Arnica cream after work.
I am trying not to feel guilty for taking him out today. He said it didn't hurt... but it is much worse than it was this morning. I think a quiet day is in order tomorrow.
4 large sweet potatoes
Water to cover
2 Tbs sliced (or 1 Tbs grated) fresh ginger
1/4 tea cayenne pepper
1/2 tea cinnamon
1/2 c peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, really doesn't matter... just don't get the kind with added sugar)
Peel and slice sweet potatoes into small chunks. Put in a large pan and cover with water. Boil (with lid on so it doesn't reduce much) until potato pieces are falling apart into tiny chunks. Mash the sweet potatoes (without draining the water, leave the water in the pot) until you have a thick sauce like consistency. Add in all other ingredients, and salt to taste.
Serve topped with sour cream or whole milk yogurt (not flavored), with salted peanut pieces and chopped cilantro.
This weeks list:
Spinach, Sugar Pie pumpkin, Delicata, Carnival, and Acorn squash, Choggia beets, storage onions, cilantro, brussel sprouts, artichokes, broccoli, fresh Edemame, curly kale, Red Oak lettuce, chives, cauliflower, late crop basil(!), and romanesco. Traded for: Apples, plums, eggs, bell peppers, and a couple of the seasons last tomatoes.
The menu this week was all inspired by this weeks market. I LOVE fall foods... warm soups, pasta packed with sauted veggies, baked squash, and of course, pumpkin pie. Yum!
With Autumn food preservation coming to a close and lots of rainy days ahead, the kids and I have started on our Christmas crafting. We are looking for a place to sell our wares, but for now, we are just enjoying the process and learning. I will have some tutorials up soon.
Meet my friend Terry Whetham. This is the man that owns the stand next to ours at market. He is a meat vendor and owner of Quilceda Farms. He has cruelty free goat and veal products and eggs to sell. This week I traded for both eggs and some of his veal Italian Sausage. Normally I am completely opposed to veal... but in Terry's case it means 'young cow' and does not mean 'stuck in a box for it's entire life'. Terry's 'veal' cows hang out on grassy pastures and get their ears scratched by caring owners occasionally. They have a comfortable life.
It seems I have been having the 'animal product cruelty' conversation with my children a lot lately. My daughter especially is very invested in the animals we get our products from to have a good life. She has been asking; "Mama, do these eggs come from happy chickens? Like chickens that get to eat bugs? Chickens that have a happy life?" Just the fact that my 8 year old knows the questions to ask makes my heart sing. I am not a vegetarian. I was for the first 23 years of my life. But after a couple of scary health issues relating to iron deprivation, I decided to adjust my view. I may change back, I may not... but this food evolution has turned into a cruelty free obsession. One that I am happy to say is obviously rubbing off on the next generation.
Leek and Potato Soup with Italian Sausage
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks (sliced into 1/2 inch rounds)
2 teaspoons Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute or a mixed herb mix like Mrs Dash
1 lb mild Italian Sausage
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups milk
1 lb baby potatoes (I used Ozettes) cut into quarters
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chives for a tasty garnish
Parboil the potatoes. Slice the Italian Sausage into rounds and fry until cooked through.
Saute the leeks in the butter and oil until tender (about 5 minutes). Add in the seasoning. When potatoes are fork tender, drain and add in the milk and stock. Turn to med heat and add leeks. Cook for 7 - 10 minutes while stirring frequently... try not to boil the soup. When the soup is very hot, add in Italian Sausage and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh crusty bread.
Here is Alex putting the cap on our jug of yummy fresh cider:
In my experience, a twin sheet makes one table cloth (for a smaller table like mine) and four 17" X 17" napkins. Here is how I do it:
1. Picking a sheet: Picking 100% cotton wovens is your best bet. No stretch!
2. Now that you have it, you need to wash it. Really well. On hot if you can... and heated dry. You want anything that will happen to this puppy to happen BEFORE you put a bunch of time turning it into your masterpiece. This has been an issue for me before, so don't try to skip this step. Sometimes you find sheets that look brand new! How exciting! Except that they ARE brand new, and when you wash them for the first time they will shrink unevenly and make your napkins look like crap. Nothing stinks more than spending a bunch of time on a cute project just to have it ruined the first time through the wash.
3. Iron your clean fabrics.
4. The measuring. Measure your table and your current 'favorite' cloth napkin. I like my table clothes to hang down about 8 inches on either side of the table, so I use my table measurements and add 16 inches to the width and length. My favorite napkins are all 17 by 17 inches.
5. Then I cut. I cut the table cloth first, then the napkins. I usually cut a 18inch long strip, and then fold the napkin over, making a perfect square with my fabric and cutting it off on that edge. This leaves a nice seam allowance and makes cutting easy. Think of the way you used to fold an 8X11 piece of paper to make a square. That is the same concept.
6. Then comes the hemming. Iron down a 1/2 inch of fabric all the way around your tablecloth. Then go around and iron it down again, making a double hem.
7. Hemming the napkins is the same, except you use a 1/4 inch double hem if you can. This takes a lot of starch. Starch is your friend. Don't be afraid to use it.
8. Then stitch the hem down. If these are starched and pinned, they should go easy and smoothly. Keep your needle down on the corners and turn that way, making a folded square corner.
A couple of notes:
I tend to be picky about brands when it comes to shopping for thrifted linens. Name brand linens are usually better made than the off brands. They are also usually better fabrics as well... being mostly cotton or all cotton of good quality. I avoid the sheets with any sort of Lycra for this project. The stretch makes it harder to get square corners and strait seams... even with an iron and starch. However, if you find a print you LOVE and you can't find the tag saying what it is made of, give it your best guess. Worst case, you have a bunch of fabric that you like for another project that you paid next to nothing for. You really can't go wrong