Fermented Pickles

Sep 30, 2011 by

Were you the kind of kid who liked to save french fries in your dresser drawer?  Do you find yourself wondering why the zucchini you left out looks like an animal now?  Does something in you want to put the molding leftovers back in the refrigerator for another week to see what happens? Do I have a recipe for you! My preserving share this year included 25 lbs of cucumbers, leading to a search for a good pickle recipe.  Pickles can be made in several different ways.  You can brine them once with salt, then rinse and pickle in vinegar.  You can brine them with salt and then vinegar several times over before pickling.  You can even go straight to the pickling and skip the brining.  Each of these methods will produce a pickle...

read more

March of Loss

Sep 19, 2011 by

“I’m at the vet specialist with Snowball,” I said into the phone, “trying not to think about Snowball.” I’m losing cats in reverse order.  Spot, the youngest, died of heart failure four months ago.  Snowball, the middle cat, has barely eaten since then.  Did you know cats mourn when another cat dies?  I didn’t even know they liked each other.  For 13 years they fought.  Spot bullied Snowball and stole his food.  The wrestled over use of the heated pad and played a fierce game of King of the Cat Condo for the window space.  When Spot died, I tried to show Snowball that he was gone.  Snowball walked on the corpse, as if in triumph. And then he lost half his weight, as if to show that half of himself is missing without...

read more

One Nation

Sep 11, 2011 by

Has it really been 10 years? I know we all remember where we were.  I had just started a new job, fresh out of graduate school and ready to take on the world.  In the years since then, I’ve wondered if 9/11 played a role in my shifting focus, in my disillusionment with the corporate world.  How could I expend so much energy climbing the corporate ladder when my homefront needed protection? My first sign that something was amiss came in the form of an incredulous comment by a coworker, “The World Trade Center has been hit by an airplane!”.  Some of us sought out the televisions scattered throughout the building.  Some of us kept on working, but none of us suspected an attack until the second plane hit.  America, we thought, is safe....

read more

Five reasons I want a husband (or at least a partner)...

Sep 7, 2011 by

It takes all kinds to make the world go round, or so they say.  Girlfriends don’t always agree and as much as many of the women writing for this site are avowedly single, I want a partner again. Partnered relationships aren’t for everyone.  They take a lot of energy, they require compromise and sometimes a commitment beyond what seems reasonable.  Just look at the biblical Sarah, a woman married to a man whose search for meaning brought her a pregnancy at age 90!  She laughed when she heard this prediction, just as I would have laughed if told what my marriage would help me grow into by midlife. Thus, I respectfully submit to the Girlfriends my list of what I have learned about long term relationships. A stable relationship frees my energy How do...

read more

Cherry Amaretto Jam

Aug 19, 2011 by

If I measure my summer by canning jars, I’m up to 33.  I made a no sugar added apple-cherry cider jelly in mid-July with cider from my Farm Share.  Late July brought a jug of apple-apricot juice and I made no sugar added jelly out of that too.  Finally, my first preserving share item arrived, sour cherries!  I had been waiting anxiously for those cherries with a bottle of amaretto and package of pectin in hand. A preserving share is just one of many share types offered by local farms.  A little research of the farms in your area may unearth vegetable shares, fruit shares, bread shares, cheese shares and even mushroom shares!  Egg shares guarantee you a dozen fresh local eggs every week.  As a person with a beloved flock of pet chickens,...

read more

The Expense of Joy

Aug 8, 2011 by

There ought to be some joy in all this. Dating in middle adulthood is all confusion.  Everyone I meet has been wounded, one way or another.  The formerly married endured divorce, the never married endured someone who left or whom they had to leave.  Everyone fears vulnerability.  They question whether the benefits of partnership are worth the potential expense. I’m not saying dating in young adulthood is any kind of picnic by comparison.  I remember it as an anxious, stressful endeavor; the part of my life that causes me to say things like, “Every boyfriend I ever had, except for my late husband, made me miserable”.  I did, in fact, marry Dave because he didn’t drive me crazy.  He made me calmer.  I saw this when I picked up a journal I’d written in...

read more

Bananas With Spatula Bits

Jul 22, 2011 by

Every year seems to bring new food fads with one replacing the next in popularity.  For example, even as you read this, cupcakes are supposedly being replaced by whoopie pies as the tiny cake of choice in the world of confections. The world of simple home cooking is not exempt from this trend.  Last year, we were all infatuated with kale chips.  The recipe made the rounds of parties and never lasted long enough to land on a plate in my house.  We ate them straight off the baking sheet. This year, banana “ice cream” is generating excitement.  Not only does this recipe not require an ice cream maker, it doesn’t even require cream!  It’s this simple … Ingredients Ripe bananas Vanilla – if you like Peanut butter – if you like Directions 1....

read more

If You Can’t Eat It Freeze It!...

Jul 15, 2011 by

Here we are in the middle of July already.  Where does the time go?  On a farm, you can measure the passing of summertime in produce.  I hadn’t been to the farm where I get my local produce in a few weeks and finally got there yesterday to volunteer.  I headed out to the north fields to weed and found a considerably different place than the last time I had been there. For one, the weeds had made good progress in their quest to choke the beans.  The farm uses chemical free methods to grow our food, but that means someone has to get in there and pull the weeds out.  I spent the entire morning crawling along the furrows, sorting weeds from beans.  It’s hot, exhausting work; but made lighter by many hands...

read more

R Is For Roasted Radish

Jul 8, 2011 by

It’s radish season again, here in Colorado.  I know people who like radishes, but to me they taste like rubber bands.  Actually, rubber bands taste a bit better. Before I started buying a farm share every year, I simply avoided the radishes at the grocery store and never gave them a second thought.  These days, however, radishes invade my kitchen in the early summer.  It happens every year.  I open the farm share boxes, delighted with the lettuce and kale, and then think to myself, “What on earth am I going to do with more radishes?”. I tried giving them to the chickens, but they wouldn’t eat them either.  As a last resort before sending them to the compost pile, I thought I’d try making them into something less healthy.  And what do you...

read more

House of Mourning

Jul 5, 2011 by

This is a house of mourning, even if you can’t see it among the brightly colored ceramic lizards or hear it in the laughter. I have woven mourning into every house I’ve lived in since the death of my husband in 2008.  It flickers like dappled sunlight, casting shadows with the death of each cat who was part of our home, with every new chicken in the yard or farm skill learned, with the introduction of every potential long term boyfriend. Our old life slips away like hands reluctantly unclasping.  Like the sun at the summer solstice, an era sets slowly. Sometimes, I sit outside at the most recent grave and talk to Spot.  I tell him things I never told him when he skulked around the house, catching mice and stealing Snowball’s food. ...

read more

Present – The Story Of Me And My Dad...

Jun 18, 2011 by

My dad bought me the nicest ring last weekend at the local Fine Arts Center.  I love it!  It’s a beautiful ring, but mostly I like how it makes me feel like an adored little girl. Is that odd at my age?  I suppose it could be, but that’s the story of me and my dad. The story starts with a very functional relationship between two very young people, my father in his early 20s and me as a young child.  I suppose parenting is a mystery for many people when a first child is born, but since my grandparents had divorced in my dad’s childhood, something uncommon and frowned upon at the time, the future must  have been that much more murky. It could not have been easy.  With no model for an...

read more

Resting Spot

Jun 8, 2011 by

Mr. Spot, one of our beloved cats, died on Thursday morning. He died in the way of his choosing; at home, under the bed, where he felt safe.  He hadn’t been able to breathe well for months due to congestive heart failure.  Six months ago, I took him through a labyrinth of stressful veterinary medical procedures to ease his breathing, but two days after, his symptoms returned. We could have done it again.  We could have submitted to another terrifying day of waiting rooms and needles, but how many times until we accept the inevitable? Since the death of my husband in 2008, I have had an uneasy relationship with the medical system anyway.  When they told us Dave had leukemia, his only symptoms were some lethargy and pain in his side.  He checked...

read more