Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where Food Comes From, Week 3

Dinner for November 19-25
Popcorn and Leftovers
Split Pea Soup
Roast Beef Hash
Taco Salad
Potato Pancakes & Turkey Gravy

Thanksgiving dinner was amazing, as always. We only made the turkey (after helping to harvest it on Sunday), mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin custard so I didn't include the ingredients for things we didn't make.

lobster mushrooms
chicken stock
Salsa de Casa

Should Have Been Local
salad greens

Not Local
butter (Tillamook)
sour cream (Tillamook)
cheddar cheese (Tillamook)
olive oil
coconut milk
split peas
lemon juice
Bragg's Liquid Aminos
brewer's yeast
soy sauce
spices (salt, pepper, dill, paprika, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cloves)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I've been on a bit of a baking binge. We had Whole Wheat Cranberry Scones on Saturday morning and Chai Spiced Shortbread Cookies tonight. I just started grinding some soft white wheat berries that we got last year (having just run out of the hard red) and I'm delighted by the light airy results even though I'm using only whole wheat flour in the recipes.

I'm going to try this walnut pie crust with our favorite pumpkin custard recipe for Thanksgiving since we have friends who don't eat flour or sweeteners coming for dinner.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where Food Comes From, Week 2

Dinner for November 12-18
Meatloaf and Broccoli
Popcorn, Leftovers and Snacks
Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
Lobster Mushrooms and Penne in Cream Sauce
Ham with Braised Cabbage and Pumpkin
Dinner with a Neighbor (Russian Pelmeni)
Chicken Soup

beef, ground
lamb, ground
goat, ground
lobster mushrooms
green pepper
hazelnut butter

Should Have Been Local
apple cider vinegar
spices (parsley, garlic powder, onion powder)

Not Local
cheddar cheese (close though, Tillamook, just over 100 mi. away)
rye crackers
brown sugar
olive oil
Worcestershire sauce
Bragg Liquid Aminos
brewer's yeast
spices (tarragon, thyme, salt, pepper)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My nod to politics...

Occasionally I catch a light case of politics. I try to make day to day choices that reflect my beliefs and figure that if enough of us do what is wholesome and healthy and share that vision with our neighbors, the big picture will sort itself out. I realize that this is optimistic and short-sighted and I'm able to live like that because I am fabulously lucky. Many people are unable to even make the choices I make because of certain challenges - economics, health, education, etc. Regardless, it's what allows me to move through life doing what I can and being exceptionally happy.

Okay, for any of you who haven't figured it out from my lifestyle choices combined with my geographic location, I tend to lean left. Depending on what you're used to, some say far left. ;) For Eugene, OR, it's pretty gently left as I've got a pretty strong streak of "do what you've gotta do" personal responsibility thrown in.

That said, I started singing "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the shower a few days ago because I've been a serious Bob Dylan fan for over 2/3 of my life and it sometimes pops into my head. Then I started thinking about the lyrics and for the first time since I first heard them 20+ years ago, they seemed vitally relevant to the current state of society. I started thinking about the genius of the lyrics, since I can easily picture that song being sung at Occupy Wall Street. (I later confirmed that it is.)

In the weird way of coincidence, today I heard the new folk anthem that has just been created for Occupy - Makana's "We Are the Many". It's a fantastic song and remarkably reminiscent of Bob's, which is going on 50 years old now (!). If you are a singer/guitarist, here are the lyrics and chords, I'm sure they'll be popping up in a million more places but this is where they are now.

So ends my overt reference to politics for a while. Back to the baby, chickens, cooking and creating (while occasionally rocking out to songs I can believe in). :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nonsense Baby Songs

Q has always made up little nonsense songs to completely original tunes that he is unable to recreate later, with the exceptions of ones that I latch onto and make him repeat over and over. I sing all the time but it's almost always real songs that I've gotten stuck in my head. Now, Miss W has joined us and it's been brought to my attention that babies tend to inspire song making and singing.

I looked up all the words to "Hush, little baby", "There was an old woman", and "The Day I Went to Sea" because I needed long songs to amuse myself as she listened during the day. Along with more traditional fare, songs that have never been lullabies have become ones because I know the words or they make me think of her - "One Day" by Matisyahu, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles, and Amy Grant's "Baby, Baby".

Now the wonderful creative nonsense that little ones inspire...

Within the first week of Willow's life, my mom mentioned how she kept having a song she'd learned in kindergarten run through her head. The original was:
Little Duckie Duddle, splashing in a puddle
Splashing in a puddle so small
Said he, "It doesn't matter how much I splash and spatter;
I'm only a duckie after all!"
Mom knew the first two lines of the remake were "Little baby Willow, sitting on a pillow, because she is so very small" We finally completed it with "Says she, 'I don't give a hoot how much I squirt and toot, I'm only a baby after all." This is a very true song for a newborn and we enjoyed it immensely. I've modified it as she's gotten older and it's now in my regular Willow soothing rotation during the day:
Little baby Willow, sitting on her pillow
Wondering what the day will bring
First she'll have a snack, then she'll have a nap
Then she'll do it over again.

Here's my favorite that Q came up with one night. I made my own simple tune (since he couldn't repeat his):
Willow on my shoulder
Willow on my arm
Willow on my shoulder
I'll keep you safe from harm.

To the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot":
She's my baby Willow short and sweet
From the top of her head to her little tiny feet
When she gets all steamed up hear her shout
But then she smiles and the sun comes out.


Here are Willow's feet and her calves and her knees
Her thighs and her tummy and her chubby chubby cheeks
Here are Willow's hands and her arms and her head
Shoulders, chest and nose and now it's time for bed.
(This one is usually followed by "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" during daytime play sessions. It gets big grins.)

And the latest, to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star":
She's my baby Willow Anne,
I hug and squeeze her all I can
When we go to sleep at night,
I'm thankful for her smile bright
She's the sweetest in the world,
My precious little baby girl.

Who knows which ones will stay with us as she gets older. Will there be ones she remembers? Will I ever remember them? I want to, which is why I wrote this post. These songs will always recall her precious early baby days for me.

At the very least, I'm sure she feels the love we're pouring out to her as we sing "her" songs. She looks into my eyes and grins her little dimpled grin. She's started cooing along in delight. That is a gift every parent should give to themselves - lose your inhibitions, sing your baby nonsense, and rejoice in having yet another way to tell her how much she is loved. Anybody else willing to share their own baby songs?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Chickens

After they went to roost last night, we moved our old girls in with the new girls. They've all been exploring the new yard this morning without too much fuss. Just a little posturing.
Here's one of the Speckled Sussex. They look exactly alike.
Here's our Silver Laced Wyandotte.
Little Miss and the new sexlink also look almost identical. Here's the new coop and the new yard. We haven't gotten the water/food/shell/grit locations finalized yet, but I made sure they have plenty of all of the above this morning.
The lady we bought them from says the girls are 7 months old but she said they are all just coming out of a molt?! Seems young for that to me but she says the Sussex haven't started laying again. The sexlink lays big beautiful dark brown eggs though.

I don't know where we're going to put the new beehive we get this spring now that the chickens have their old spot but it really seems like a perfect place for the new chicken yard.

Monday, November 14, 2011


First off, everybody in the world should know about this Baked Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe. It is amazing when it is baked the night before and lasts us for a couple of breakfasts reheated in the morning.

Fall officially came to the valley a couple of weeks ago and our blueberry bushes are still an amazing color.
Q has taken to the new tiller with zeal. He'd already done the side and back beds (which now have annual clover sprouting) and them moved on to the front bed and the paths.

He's still planning on tilling up the strawberry bed, make a new raised bed that matches the others to replace the one currently tipped up on it's side, till up a curved path around the asparagus bed at the very front of the house, and put new bark down on the paths.

We'll see when all that happens because he spent yesterday working on a new chicken yard behind the shed. This will hopefully be the "permanent" one for the layers. Time was of the essence on this project because we got some new chickens yesterday. A lady was selling her 3 chickens, 1 rooster, and their coop for a very reasonable price. The rooster, who crows very robustly, is living in our guest bathroom on water alone until he gets put in the freezer tonight. The other three hens are locked in their coop until this evening when we are going to put all the girls, six in total now, together in their new yard. Since Lacey has been separated from Lily and Little Miss ever since the failed introduction, we currently have three "sets" of chickens. We figure that putting them all together in new, neutral territory will let a proper flock pecking order develop. The new ones are two Speckled Sussex and another red sex-link (like Lily). Pictures will be forthcoming.

Willow and I just got back from a two week trip to visit Colorado. I don't have pictures to post today because my phone is being difficult. It was so much fun and the drive was easy with a very good baby and a couple of excellent books on tape. I strongly suggest Clara and Mr. Tiffany and The Poisonwood Bible to anyone looking for a good read or listen.