December 2009

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Wonderful

The more I wonder…the more I love.

Alice Walker

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May your holidays be filled with much wonder and love, my sweet blog friends.  I’ll see you back here in the New Year.

Big Hug,

Colleen

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For a long stretch of time last year, I wanted to move to the country.  I thought it would be nice to have quiet, to see the stars shine, and a bit more space between me and some of my neighbors, without a view of their varying, ahem, decorating styles (snob).  I also thought raising my own livestock, like chickens and a pig, would be fulfilling.  I’d know where everything came from, what it was fed, and that it had a good life.  I have since changed my mind – loving the easy walk to Hawthorne, Woodstock, and downtown, the lure of the Academy Theater, and best of all, my dear friends who live nearby.

This, however, does not mean that I don’t like to occasionally wax poetic on the virtues of a hobby farm, and so I read about them in wonderful blogs and books like today’s.  In Made from Scratch, Jenna Woginrich writes in simple, yet beautiful prose about her life as a homesteader: baking, raising animals, growing vegetables, keeping bees, even making music on a fiddle.

What I liked best about the book is her honesty.  She’s never done any of this before, but is willing to “Research, Son” and ask questions (and for help) like nobody’s business.  As she writes about her experiences, we learn that, while there are many, many joys to a more earth driven and sustainable life, homesteading isn’t always easy, poetic, or romantic.  There are many hurdles and much to learn, like how to plant a sensible garden, keep bears from a bee hive, or to put down an animal in dire pain (the hardest part of all, I think).

It is a wonderfully rewarding journey, even if it was only vicarious.  She’s also got a blog if you’d like to see what she’s up to at the moment.  It’s pretty interesting: Cold Antler Farm.

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Day Dreaming

Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.

Lauren Bacall

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Isn’t it neat how life works out?  You think you are going to do one thing, but for some reason it doesn’t happen, and there you are doing something better.  That was our Sunday.  We got up and moving rather leisurely with the intention of walking to get the hubster’s hair cut.  However, once we found the coupon we were to use (our household is quite thrifty) and realized it wasn’t a walking distance affair, we had a change of plan.

Still determined to walk, we set out in a different direction and collected the greens for this year’s holiday mantel and window.  Though I was a bit worried about finding enough, there was plenty.  There always is.  Then we came home and decorated, taking in the heady scent of evergreen.  If Christmas has a scent, that is it for me.  Wonderful.   New additions include the diamond church (Gregory’s name for the sparkle) and the tall white house.  It is simple and pretty and a bit of a hodge podge, but I like it just the same.  The hubster thinks it’s pretty neat, too, especially since we have one small box of decorations and use what nature provides on a fun walk, together.  He is also quite fond of the fact that the greens go right into the fireplace when we’re done, filling the house with the scent of the holidays one last time.

This last shot is for my Dad.  When I lived at home, and all the decorating was done, he would turn off the lights.  We’d sit quietly in the glow of the tree and admire the beauty of it all.  Shh…

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When I was a kid, I loved spinning.  Loved it.  I would go out in our rather capacious yard, extend my arms and go like a top.  I’d focus on the undulation of my fingers as I twirled, greens and browns streaking by.  Then when I couldn’t take another second, I’d drop dramatically to the ground, look up at the sky and marvel in the sensation that, despite my stillness, my body was still spinning.  Heaven.  This was such a habit that my Mom told me I’d likely grow up to be a dervish.  While I do love watching them, I’ve never actually become one, save, I suppose, for the occasional wild romp in the yard and cleaning.

Mondays are top to bottom cleaning days around here – laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, toilet scrubbing – the whole kit and kaboodle.  I used to do a little each day but then felt like that was all I was doing, and it left me kind of depressed.  Now that it is condensed into one day, I get a pretty good workout and a gleaming, sweet smelling house at the end.  By the way, is it wrong to be in love with the scent of Murphy’s Oil Soap?  If it is, sign me up for the program to get me off the stuff.  Gosh it smells gooood.

The only problem with my dervish style clean is that I am pretty tuckered out by the end of the day and not terribly keen on making dinner.  Thankfully there are fast, make at home meals like this that are delicious without being at all taxing.  Otherwise, I don’t know what we’d be eating; maybe chips and salsa?

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

1 head cauliflower

olive oil

1/2 of one small onion

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup raw cashews

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Remove the stem and leaves from the cauliflower.  Break up the head into florets.  Place on a baking pan and roast for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion and garlic.  Saute with a bit of olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat until translucent.  Add roasted cauliflower, cashews, and broth; bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to low and puree with an immersion blender or process in a blender in batches until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Makes about four adult sized bowls (I know, so precise).

We had ours with a little cheese toast (with Dave’s Killer Bread! Good bread and an even better story) sprinkle with smoked paprika.  It was delicious and warm.  Warm is good, too.

Enjoy!

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