Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pizza night

My first evening arriving in New Hampshire at the Land Trust, I had the opportunity to attend the nearby pizza night. This occurs at Orchard Hill Breadworks, an amazing bakery in rural New Hampshire. The concept is simply amazing. Come for community mingle, bring your own toppings, get a pizza dough crust, bake it off, and eat it on the lawn surrounded by other great people. I was simply amazed. Here's how it went down....
Pay $3.50 for virtually an amazing experience. Get your pizza dough. Don't tear it.
Slap on some sauce. That might be a little too much.
Cheese please! Mmm. local mozzarella.
A few toppings make it unique. Fresh summer squash galore.
Master baker Noah slides it in the wood fired oven. Nice and toasty.
And it's grub time. Oh so good.
I chatted with some really cool people while waiting in line. People brought out their coolers and enjoyed a fabulous evening on the lawn with pizza. I really need to get to building my oven and hosting weekly pizza nights. I'm simply in love!

Good Morning Sunshine

I've been spoiled. This is me, last morning in the luxury house outside of Woodstock, VT. Tuesday morning, July  20th. I really like my 12 year old boy jumped out of bed going to school hairdo that I have. Thanks Dave for taking this picture. Let't just say that right now if I were to take a picture it would be a little bit different. My hair is stuck down to my head, covered by my used to be white College of Ag hat. My skin is a dark color, not just because of the farmer's tan I've been getting but because I'm covered in dirt and such. I've got blisters on my feet and my Chaco tan lines are really great. I've been pulling weeds, picking many berries, building compost bins, jumping in the cold pond, and falling asleep to the sound of rain on my tent. I've been going to sleep when the sun goes down and waking shortly after it comes up. This is where I've been camping. In the middle of the forest of New Hampshire in a nice clearing in the woods.

I'm wooffing it at the Cold Pond Community Land Trust. There are six different families that live here on the land trust. They are all amazing people that are living very environmentally friendly. The majority of them implement composting toilets and are completely off the grid. They have solar panels and very simple houses, most of them built by themselves. They are very inspiring to me as they grow the majority of their food, raise livestock, and share with the community members. I have had play dates with several adorable children. It is such a joy to be able to share life with new people even for just a short amount of time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Made in Vermont

Last night I had this realization that everything is made in Vermont. I had this epiphany as I was in the Woodstock Farmers' Market store picking out ice cream to go with our homemade pie we got at the Norwich Farmers' Market. As I stared into the ice-cream freezer display I thought, "Well I better get some local made in Vermont ice cream." Much to my excitement, it was ALL made in Vermont. There were about four different brands and they were literally all made in VT. I thought my decision would be easier if I chose only local, but they were all local. Then I was thinking how many local ice cream brands can I get in Kansas? None. It's a sad day in the commodity crop desert we live in. Oh so much to do at home. I ended up getting Strafford Organic Creamery Sweet Guernsey Cream Ice Cream. Quality.

Today we made the trip up a little north to visit Farm Way. This is an amazing store that started out as the Vermont find everything store. They have tons of outdoors equipment, clothing, shoes, furniture, farm supply, feed, etc. I got me a sleeping pad that I shall be needing this week for my camping adventure, an extremely essential new pair of earthy shoes, and some Vermont pure maple syrup. I also managed to fight off a bear...

I've now seen a good portion of Hanover, New Hampshire. Home of Dartmouth college and narrowly avoided buying the $5 Dartmouth Alumni shirt. It could have been fun, but instead I got Ben & Jerry's ice-cream. Made in Vermont, B&J's Half Baked and CoffeeCoffeeCoffee BzzBzzBzz was quite tasty.

I'm presently sitting on this lovely porch once again, listening to to the thunder and rain and enjoying the nice cool breeze. My google home page says it's 98 degrees in Chapman, KS right now. Thank God I'm not there. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010


It's a victory for the Vermont 100 and Dave! He finished the race this morning just before 5am. We were so blessed to enjoy the morning sunrise as we waited at the finish line for him to come across. It was so cool to see the way they had the night running set up. Glow sticks lighting the way. Guess you can't be afraid of the dark although I was definitely thinking that after running that many miles without sleep I would definitely be a little delirious and would probably freak myself out in the dark. It was so neat though to be waiting through the night, watching the lightning show turn to a giant full sky of stars. So great! 

Dave finished a little behind his time goal, but with no injuries it is always a victory. He had the ability to walk out of there and crash on the porch for some much needed sleep. Still can't fathom, 100 miles basically constant moving. Wow.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Moose Crossing

Last evening.......

....we had the pre-race party and dinner celebration. I think this may be Dave's favorite part of the event, getting together with his friends, family, and supporters and enjoying the evening together. We had a group meeting with team captain, Beth, whom gave us the low-down on the event. I'm still not really sure what is going on, but I know that at this precise moment Dave is out there running at about mile 40ish in the sun and heat as I sit here and write about him in the comfortable house. 
Dave packing up his loot and necessities for the race. Lots of gel energy packets, energy bars, magic powder aka protein powder, chaffing stick, clean socks, pants, shirts, extra running shoes, sunscreen, bandanas, etc. Pretty cool to see.

While Dave is out there running, I was forced to travel along with Wendi and Karee to visit Norwich, VT. Home of King Arthur Flour Company.
We might have bought a few things.
Just gifts, really. Until we went to the Norwich Farmers' Market.
We came home with an abundance of food to eat. Veggies and these amazing looking pies from this adorable elderly lady that had been baking all night long. Plum, apricot, nectarine pie. We simply had to support her.

Then we found the country store in town. Let's just say this store has everything you might possible need. After checking out the grocery, simply walk past the butcher deli to find the hardware, firewood, and don't miss the kitchen supply, VT clothing, and farm fresh eggs. I was forced to buy a few more Vermont only gifts.

I'm so used to seeing deer crossing signs in KS that I don't even think about them; but this whole moose crossing sign business has got me to thinking. Life would be really rough if you really hit a moose on the road around here. I haven't seen any moose yet, but it's crazy to imagine coming upon one on the road. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oh Vermont!

Oh Vermont how I love thee. As soon as I made it off the New York State Tollway, I knew that it was only getting better. The nice drive through a somewhat rural area of upstate New York and into Vermont was quite lovely. As soon as I entered the state of Vermont I thought to myself, somebody is really going to have to remind me why I live in KS and not here. So beautiful. 
A quick evening shot as I was driving down the road. Rolling Green Mountains, lots of really cute small towns called villages here and tons of places to get great local foods. I made it to Woodstock, VT where Dave shall be running the VT 100 race starting at 4am Saturday morning and finishing around 2am Sunday morning. He's crazy and I'm here to be a supporter, encourager of the crazy. This race requires a whole team of people that will meet him at certain spots along the route to make sure he's still alive, awake, and fueled. I'm excited for the craziness to begin.

They've rented a really great house up here in the hills. Most of the houses in the area are second or third homes for NY people. Simply insane to comprehend the amount of money people have. I think I would rather fund a small village in Africa with my extra million dollars, but each to his own. I'm enjoying the stay and the view:

Niagara Falls

I took the opportunity to drive straight across Canada from Michigan to New York. My first trip to Canada was pretty good except for the hour wait to get into the country. I think I definitely picked the wrong line at the border crossing. My first observations in Canada include:

  • Speed limit signs in km/h- this is obvious but it took me a while to get used to looking at the tiny print numbers on my speedometer

  • There are no billboards in Canada! Only the wide open spaces

  • Wide open spaces = just as flat as KS if not more flat

  • Gas is sold in liters not gallons- so I really have no clue if it was cheap or expensive

  • Lake effect in the Niagara Falls area = many wineries and orchards
When I got to the US border, it amazingly took no time to get back into the US. There was NO traffic at 8:00pm on a Wednesday evening. So great. I met an amazing gentleman named Bill who let me stay in his apartment Wed evening. I made this friend on couchsurfing and it worked out really great! Thursday morning I made my quick two hour tourist stop at Niagara state park on the New York side and then walked across the bridge to get the better Canadian view of the falls. I decided they were of course gourgeous, but definitely something to see with somebody else. These tourist attractions just aren't that exciting when solo.
So a view from the US side. Great rainbows.

And a complete view of the falls from the Canada side.
I took pictures, walked a bit, and got back in my car to book it to Vermont. Oh Vermont!

Eastern Michigan

It's been a couple of days since my last post and I have definitely come a long way since then. After departing my friends in Battle Creek, Michigan, I made it across the state to visit Three Roods Farm. This would be the farm that I visited and lived at for about three weeks last fall when I was on my adventure travels. It was so good to visit and have a short time there. Robin and Greg are such great people to share life with. I was only there for about 27 hours but I managed to leave with a sunburn, dirty stained fingers, two articles of clothing, a quart of raw honey, green beans, and two dozen free range organic eggs. Life is great.

Robin tried to entice me to stay longer with promises of Indian food and baking opportunities, but I had already made arrangement in Niagara Falls so off I went.

I did get the opportunity while in Columbiaville to take part in a workshop on edible wild plants. We took a bit of a stroll while collecting plants that most people would call weeds. They are weeds, however, they are definitely edible. After enjoying some already prepared Wild spring greens soup, we enjoyed our edible greens salad. It's really all about perspective. I mean all the purslane that grows t rapidly and abundantly in gardens this year is edible, so we really should stop complaining about weeding and get to eating the free food out there.
Our salad with beautiful lily petals and violet flowers. My favorite green is definitely the sorrel. It has a great lemon citrus flavor!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Good things come to those who wait and good things come to those who work hard. The people that I have had the greatest opportunity to work with these past couple of days at Green Gardens are some of the hardest working people I know. Being a farmer is one of the least appreciated and so very under-rated lifestyles. I was going to say professions, but let's be honest, it's a complete lifestyle. Planning, sowing, tending, harvesting, packaging, selling, over and over and over again is extremely exhausting. Despite all of this people are doing it, trying to make a living, and feeding us underappreciative consumers.

Would I be willing to get up everyday, go to a job, and have no real certainty that everything wouldn't be destroyed at any given moment? I don't even want to start thinking about all the things that could go wrong and destroy a farmers' entire livelihood. Let's just say it is super risky. But then again, the hope and the encouragement comes with the beauty of creation and the rewards of amazing food produced.
If there was no sun, none of this would be possible.

Life so tender and fragile.

Many many investments with great hopes for great rewards!

Simple Beauty

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Michigan Day 1

Day 1 of real excitement at destination Green Garden Community Farm, I made a trip with Farmer Trent and Farmer Ruthie to inspect a new farmer wishing to become Certified Naturally Grown. Because the fees associated with becoming Certified Organic are ridiculous, this certification is much more affordable and basically holds many of the same standards. Ths farm had some amazing goats and incredible goat cheese. We got a private tasting and came home with Chevre cheese. mmmmm. 

We then venture on to check out Crane's giant orchard.
Quite the amazing view!
Some good food. Not so great pie, but then again, I am a food critic.
Dinner delight, all things local! Fried green tomatoes, fresh salad mix and roasted beets complete with two different fresh local goat cheeses.

Beginning of a great adventure!

As I sit here in beautiful Michigan I am once again reminded why life is so much more exciting when we travel. For many reasons. One being the great opportunity to see different landscapes. There is a really good reason why God did not create the entire world with the same scenery. There would be no reason to move around and explore new places. Let's just say that after traveling along the I-80 interstate across Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, I was so very excited to enter Michigan and have the scenery change. One excitement that did break the landscape of Iowa were several wind farms I happened upon. Simply amazing.
I've also made it my personal life goal to never eat at chain restaurants whenever possible. I also try really hard to find places that are one of a kind and make smart food buying choices. Along this drive I stopped in Iowa City for my mid-day dining experience. My Iowa native friend suggested this cute town. It was quite cute and I found Mia Za's Cafe for my dining delight. They really liked to advertise their fresh ingredients and organic produce. Kinda exciting, however, I doubt anything was local. It was quite tasty. Pesto Misto Vegetarian Panini and Gorgonzol Apple Crunch salad.
I also managed to keep going my first tradition while traveling solo. Keeping a list of joy moments or observations along the way that are funny, crazy, or noteworthy. My list to start this trip:
  • Clean Energy for the Future - Adair Wind Energy Project (turbines from above)
  • Beautiful Lavender/blue wildflowers on I-80
  • Urban Sprawl - Aint too pretty- Save our Farms - Build in the City (series of signs in a field)
  • Silo & Smokestacks Nationa Heritae Area
  • 2 Johnies on the job hanging out in random corn field
  • Later corn field with several more Johnies all along the edge
  • Hardcore Christian window sticker
  • Kinze Implement Dealer displays
  • Midwest Tidal wave- I mean really, does that make any sense?
  • I-80 Largest Truck Stop in the world
  • Graze& Grow Grass-fed Lamb
  • Farm Raised Rabbit Meat
  • Giant Christmas tree farm

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Food Conversion

My father has always been what we call the garbage disposal in our family. Growing up he was the one we gave our leftovers to and he ate them happily. However, as I have grown older and started eating more delicious and varied foods, I have learned that my father does not eat everything. He has claimed to not eat: squash, beets, sweet potatoes, and eggplant on many occasions. However, as we all know living with my father this summer I've made it my personal goal to eat everything that comes out of the garden. This has included a plethora of these precise vegetables.

The other night my mother said in response the Indian food I had prepared, "Oh, your father wouldn't eat this."
To which I responded, "Mother, they will eat what you put in front of them." It's actually true. Children, adults, whomever are only picky because they are only fed the same picky foods. Come on cooks, if they're hungry enough or lazy they will eat what you give them.

Let's look at choice dinner of this evening:
That would be a sandwich comprised of: grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, swiss cheese, basil on multigrain bread. The very first ripe tomato of our garden season. mmmm good. Grilled corn on the cob and summer squash. As my father was dining on his sandwich this was his remark, "If you had told me 6 months ago that I would be eating a eggplant and pepper sandwich right now, I would have thought you were kidding me. And I'm actually really enjoying it!"

Like I said, put it in front of them and they will eat it. Sometimes they will even enjoy it.


I managed to complete a few last minute sewing projects before heading on my adventure. I've actually had a stack of jeans that have needed some patch work for quite some time and finally got around to completing that. Then today as I was packing I decided I wanted to take a dress along that needed to be chopped. It has simply been too long to be an enjoyable wearing experience. Therefore, today seemed to be the day to get out my sewing skills again and do some chopping and hemming.

Exhibit #1 dress:
Check out that nice belt or scarf or tie that I now have from the material I chopped off the bottom!

I also managed to sew up a stinkin adorable apron and matching baker's cap:

I think maybe I could sell these on Etsy. Any thoughts?

Dave has been joking about me taking my sewing machine on the road. It actually could come in handy to hold down my hood that is presently giving me issues. I think I'll leave that added weight at home. Rest assured though Dave, I always travel with an emergency sewing kit.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's good.

After a few days of constant rain, I made it back out to the garden. It is quite a mess and I am actually getting ready to abandon it. Actually kind of amusing I think that my mother has plans to pour on some chemicals in her attempt to make things grow faster. Oh well. She can do whatever she wants. I'm getting the heck out of this place. It's definitely time for another adventure.

A large collection of goods on my last week home this month.
My first carrots! Mom said we've never grown carrots before. That's a parsnip there as well.

 I collected a giant amout of cucumbers and decided it was time for the real pickling. Good thing we had ample amounts of fresh dill growing right out back as well.

And a tasty creation for dinner that I just could not resist. My great friend, Kelsey, has gotten me very hooked on Indian food so I decided to do what every cool person with lots of random vegetables should do. Put them in a pot with some spices, make some form of bread and enjoy.
This would be cauliflower, onion, roasted beets and sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. Eaten with fresh homemade whole wheat naan. Mmmm. good.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Soiree #2 went down on July 2nd on a quite lovely evening in Manhattan, Kansas. My party hosts and I determined that location, location, location makes a big difference. Although we had a fabulous time at Soiree #1, the number of guests totaled around a half dozen. Soiree #2 totaled around 1 1/2 dozen. I do believe the Manhattan spot made it much more convenient for people to stop on by and join us for a bit of relaxing and eating. I do love this middle of nowhere farmstead, but it is not really convenient for anybody to just stop by.

We had a regular feast. I must admit that I failed to take any picture because I was so excited about eating that I completely forgot to record the moment. A quick recap of our dining delights: All things homemade...
  • Some amazing vegetable crudites and roasted red pepper dip
  • Cream cheese/feta cheese dip and crackers
  • Salmon burgers
  • Hemp/Tofu burgers
  • Fresh multigrain buns
  • Grilled new potatoes
  • Grilled summer squash
  • Fresh from the 92 year old neighbor tomatoes
  • Corn, blueberry, cucumber salad
  • Potato salad
  • Fresh greens salad
  • Bread & Butter pickles
  • Amazing macadamia nut/white chocolate chip cookies
  • Ice cream with fresh fruit on top (combine berries galore, pour some balsamic vinegar on top, let sit for at least 20 minutes, and enjoy an amazing creation)
I must add that party host, Wendi, used to be a caterer at one time. She has amazing skill and makes everything look so beautiful. It's so fun hosting with her and Dave, the master griller/storyteller.

Today, I took a trip to KC with Dave and Wendi to visit the City Market. I always love that place and although I was bummed that Shatto dairy was not there, I got some other goodies. We also proceeded to dine at Bluebird Bistro, a definite favorite of mine in KC! The drive home also included a stop at Wheatfields in Lawrence for tea and bread time.

Wow. Life is kinda exhausting when you're having such a great time. I think tomorrow I'll get up and run that Rocket Run 5K in Abilene to work off all the dining I've been partaking in. To bed for now.