Thursday, March 31

Portugese Kale-Potato Soup

Living outside the city definitely encourages creativity in the kitchen. I loathe driving into town for just one or two stops. Yesterday was one of those days that I didn't think I could come up with anything for supper. But, alas, I was wrong.

I had some Russian kale leftover from our last CSA share so I made this soup. Served it with whole wheat buttermilk cornbread, it was one of the most deliciously filling meals I've made. Since I did not have the chorizo it called for, I added more veggies. Unfortunately, the lack of sausage rendered it very bland (note the recipe calls for no salt or pepper). We salted at the table but, honestly, that wasn't quite enough for my better half. Next time, I'll get the chorizo!!

Wednesday, March 30

In A Time of Need...

If you've ever been blessed by friends bringing your family food after a major life event, you know what a tremendous load that can take off your family. Organizing people for this is pretty easy but there are some great websites that can make it even easier.

Check out a couple here and here.

Tuesday, March 29

Seed Draft

I'm working hard to build the garden of my dreams. With forty-plus varieties of seeds to manage, I'm also working hard to convince the kids that helping me just might be a bit more fun than they think.

My first attempt to get them excited was staging our first 'seed draft'. Inspired by the NFL draft my guys are glued to every year, we laid out all the packets, discussed them a bit and took turns. Each child was allowed to choose as many as they wanted with the understanding the care of the plants, once outdoors, was theirs.

So far, their enthusiasm for this project is representative of their individual personalities:
  • S wants to be in charge of being a complete goofball. He choose thyme (and almost all the other herbs 'because they're easy, right?') and proceeded to keep me laughing all day -- 'Mom, I'm running out of thyme!!' while pretending to pour out all the seeds. 'Oh no!! I've lost track of thyme!!' while frantically searching for the seed packet. To be fair, though, when it comes to the actual work, he is efficient, strong and a wonderful problem-solver.
  • E wants to take it completely seriously and expects a earth-shatteringly perfect outcome about which she can be oh-so-nonchalant. As I built the beds outside, she drew a casual schematic of the garden. 'Casual' because she said, 'It's not very good but is it okay?' In reality, the drawing has measurements, accurately-placed landmarks as well as notes about which beds are know, to ensure that, months from now, her success is duly noted. Most afternoons, Emma's job often entails calming the dogs who want to run through/lounge in whatever workspace we're currently in.
  • T, of course, wants to want to garden but really she just wants to alternately watch TV and complete her self-imposed mission of reading all the Harry Potter books in five months. When we drag her away from the books, though, she works hard and remembers the tiniest of details to tell about and ponder over supper. I can already tell her duties will include updating any remotely interested party in the minutia of our garden. (Maybe she should blog!)

Sunday, March 27

Purple Hull Peas

Our winter CSA shares this year often included purple hull peas. I've never eaten or prepared them before and I've just been lazy in not dealing with them.

I finally Googled for recipes and found not just recipes but an entire website dedicated to purple peas -- a dance, pageant, parade, and even tiller races -- wow.

In the end, I used this recipe, omitting the pork. They were a hit all the way around, with the kids going back for seconds and thirds. Good thing I have a lot more in the freezer.

Friday, March 25

Starting Seeds

photo -
This year, I've enlisted the help of a cute little tool called the Pot Maker. It allows you to reuse newspapers to make perfectly sized seed-starting pots. This has been extremely useful to me as I currently have over two hundred seeds sprouting. Once they're ready to go into the ground, I'll just plant the whole thing to eliminate the risk of damaging fragile root systems. 

Thursday, March 24

Today's Workout (Sort Of...)

Yes, it's a tiller. No, it wasn't fun.
(Especially since I used it on a hillside full
of rocks and tree roots.)

Besides, you know what doesn't make sense??

Walking on soil you just loosened. Clearly, a man designed the tiller....

Tuesday, March 22

Brick Beds

With construction set to begin this time last year, we did not plant a garden. This year, I'm totally making up for lost time. The good news is that we cleared more land for gardening. The bad news is all the beds have to be built - now. My excitement is making the work pass quickly and I'm so grateful for the time I'm able to spend outside.

After trying to build unsupported raised beds, I realized the slope of our lot was just too much. My parents gave us a most generous gift of several hundred bricks. I used the first load for S and E's beds. 
S's garden bed (16'x4') awaiting two more rows of brick

One of E's beds (4'x7')
More to come...

Wednesday, March 9

New Blogging Friends!

I'm adding a couple of girlfriends to my blog roll.

One of my best friends from grade school is now a grade-school teacher herself. This year, her daughter is in her class. Read about their adventures here.

Julie (whose old blog you may remember) has, not one, but two blogs now! Read about her life here and she's bravely committed to recording her workouts and dietary habits here.

Tuesday, March 8

Tuesday Workout

I'm back. No better way to get back into blogging than with a workout, right? :)

Here's what I did today:

50 squats
40 situps
30 squat jumps
20 pushups
10 lunges (with a 5-count pulse at the bottom)

Grab a timer and complete five rounds with no (or minimal) rest. Record your time and try to beat it next week!!