Sunday, December 27, 2009


In my life I have had several best friends. Each holds a special place in my heart but none of them are really in my life anymore. None of them were there when my daughter was born. None of them were there when my dad died. None of them were there when my cat, Napoleon died at the age of twenty. None of them even called. I miss that feeling of knowing there is a person out there who will stop what they are doing to share sorrows and joys with matter what. I miss having that person to call every day just because that is what best friends do...It's rather lonley without a girlfriend...a best friend.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

erata or eratum?

Yes, this is the question....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Soy Nog

Typically I would never intentionally advertise a product, mostly because humongous mega-corporations do that all by themselves, and also because endorsing a product, one might believe I believe in the entire mission statement of that humongous mega-corporation. I usually do not.
I avoid dairy products as much as possible. I believe once we are weaned from the breast it is time to move on. Cows and goats don't continue to drink their mother's milk once they reach a certain age and I for one, do not want to force an innocent animal to lactate for me to enjoy the creamy, viscous liquid we call milk.
Each year I look forward to certain seasonal treats like pumpkin pie, chestnuts, fruitcake (yes, I really do like it) and egg nog.
There are a few varieties of soy nog available but in my neck of the woods, Silk is the only one readily available, probably because I am the only person who actually purchases it.

Salted Onion Loaf

I used my traditional boule dough for this recipe...

6 1/2 c flour
3 c warm water
1 1/2 Tbs yeast
1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt

Seriously, that's it. Put it all in a mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer, mine is a Kitchen Aid, with a dough hook for about three minutes. Cover the bowl with something, not air tight and let it rise in a warm spot. My house, especially the kitchen, is a little on the chilly side so I let it rise under the halogen lamp on my counter top. It is ready to use when it falls naturally, usually two hours.

Pull off a one pound chunk and form it into a ball. Place on a whole wheat covered peel or baking sheet. Sprinkle it with dehydrated onion and a generous amount of kosher salt. Let it rise again for 20 minutes. Make a few slashes across it before baking at 475 degrees for 30-35 minutes. I use a baking stone in the oven but it is not required.

I bought a new kind of flour, I love trying different flours. White, all purpose works best with this recipe. I tend to only use organic flour but it is not required. Today I used a higher gluten flour. The results were spectacular.

Refrigerate the rest of the dough and use within two weeks. Refrigerated dough will take longer on the second rise for obvious's cold.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Custom Piece

I recently made a custom light box for my friend Trish. Her parents have been married for 61 years and coincidentally live just up the street from me. She wanted to give them a special gift for Christmas and thought original art might be nice. Her dad loves to paint and likes art in general. She emailed me a photo taken on their wedding day. This is what I came up with. Trish loved it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tour of Homes

Yesterday we let 200 (mostly) strangers into our home for The Tuscarawas County Heritage Home Association Christmas Tour of Homes. Most of the guests made comments about the unusual amount of original art in our home...unusual to them, I suppose but not to us. One of the guests was the paper boy in our neighborhood 40 years ago. He said the house had changed but it was still like he remembered it, big and warm. The guests were asked to remove their shoes or wear booties. It seemed odd to see so many people with blue booties on their feet. One guest was dismayed that we did not have a real Christmas tree. I tried to explain to her we didn't like cutting trees down and a tree that could be planted would seem too small in our high-ceiling library. Francesca impressed the guests with her knowledge of the history of our plaqued heritage home. One guest attempted to remove a piece of my art from the wall so she could see how I had made it. I stopped her before she could actually take the art off the wall. I was a bit shocked she would do such a thing. This morning our driveway is nothing but mud due to the number of cars in and out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Something from Nothing

Last night we attended a fantastic exhibit Something from Nothing at The Canton Museum of Art. The show was curated by Patrick Buckohr, a painter I have worked with in the past. The show consisted of works by thirteen artists living and working in The Rustbelt, a region that stretches from Minnesota to New Jersey. The art was made from salvaged materials like metal, fabric and wood. My friend, Daniel Horne (pictured with me) had three pieces in the show. He makes kinetic sculpture using metal he finds at scrap yards and various other places metal tends to collect.
You can see Daniels work at his web site
Paul Werner, another artist whom I know had the piece pictured above in the show.
In addition to the great art, Rust Belt Brewery of Youngstown was on hand offering samples of their micro-brewed beer. I tried the stout and enjoyed it very much. It had hints of licorice and Earth, two of my favorite things.
The show hangs until March 7, 2009. Please take the time to see it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weird Things I Have Found at Work

1. Poop stained wife-beater style t-shirt in men's room bathroom garbage can

2. An enormous amount of hair from a beard (perhaps) in the men's room toilet

3. Very dirty blonde wig with glitter on it in the dumpster

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Doesn't Come from a Store

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Maybe Her Jaw is Broken for a Reason

While at work last evening a call came in from a local, big box office supply store. A group had decided to order food for pick-up. Included in their order was a bowl of soup. The caller explained she had a broken jaw and would need me to puree the soup for her as she was unable to eat it otherwise. Several thoughts crossed my mind.

1. How was it the caller could talk so well yet not be able to mash up some overcooked broccoli to the point of being able to swallow it?

2. What shift would one have to work to get a lunch break at six o'clock in the evening?

3. How did the caller break her jaw? Did a giant box of printer ink fall and hit her square in the jaw or did some other person do this to her?

4. Why didn't the caller bring her own lunch to work?

Needless to say, I pureed the soup as I was not so busy that it was inconvenient. I wonder, how far does one have to go in customer service? Did I do the right thing by pureeing her soup? Should I have told her, "You HAVE got to be kidding?" Is minimum wage worth the trouble? Should we be nicer to people when we make more money for doing so?

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I had never grown leeks before. Late winter I decided to plant leek seeds indoors under lights. They were pathetic little things and I was certain they would never make it to the garden. They did...and they thrived. Once thin strands of green poking out of the soil became robust, sturdy leeks. They were not difficult to grow but they took a long long time. I started the seeds in late February and harvested the first leeks today.
I made soup and it was fantastic.

6 leeks sliced thin
3 carrots peeled and diced
3 shallots sliced thin
3 stalks celery sliced thin
3 small potatoes peeled and diced
4 c vegetable broth
1 cup cream
bay leaves

Saute the first four ingredients in a little olive oil until tender. Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat. Add sherry, salt, pepper, bay and parsley. Allow to simmer for an hour or as long as it takes to put all the laundry away and leaf blow the deck. Add cream. Puree in food processor. Serve with thin slices of baguette topped with goat's milk feta and roasted red peppers.

Photo #14

I found this photograph in a picnic shelter along the Mahoning River just outside of Downtown Youngstown. I have no idea who these women are. I've decided to name them and create a portrait of each.

From left to right...

Agnes Johnson. Agnes is married to Robert Johnson but everyone still calls him Bobby. He is a fire fighter. Agnes owns a nail salon. She has far too many purses and believes one should never wear white after Labor Day. Agnes has three children, Stella, 30 lives in Tuscon, Jimmy, 28 lives in Gerard and Felix, 26 lives nearby in Youngstown.

Louise Simpson. Louise is divorced. She used to be married to Phil Simpson. Phil worked for King Tool and Manufacturing but is now laid off. Louise works at Macy's in the shoe department. She is famous for her southern cooking which she learned from her mother who is from Alabama. Louise has a daughter, Meredith, who works as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry.

Karen Hawthorne. Karen is married to Bill Hawthorne. Bill works as a car salesman at Fred Martin Ford. Karen is a librarian at a school for kids with special needs. Karen loves gold jewelry and bowls every Wednesday with a group from her church. Karen has two children, Paul, 29, lives in Boardman and Mark, 26 lives in Cortland.

Angela Reynolds. Angela is married to Joe Reynolds. He is a veteran of the police force. Angela is Agnes' sister. Angela plays the organ for her church and loves jazz. She won 1st place for her canned okra at last year's fair. Angela has two children, Donald, who lives in Rhode Island and Danielle who lives in Gerard.

Celia Montgomery. Celia is married to Allan Montgomery. Allan is an assistant prosecutor. In between hosting dinner parties and fundraisers for needy children, Celia also teaches piano lessons and knits. Celia gets her nails done at Agnes' salon every Thursday. Celia has a son, George, who she named after her father.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Remotely Peculiar

A man came into the deli and asked if I had a ladder. "Why, yes I do. Why do you need a ladder?" He went on to explain to me he had been in the parking lot the night before flying his remote controlled airplane and it got stuck on the roof of the building that houses the deli.The ladder we have in the deli is not nearly tall enough to allow someone to gain access to the roof and I explained this to the man, who at this point seemed rather agitated. I apologized and suggested he use the remote control to get the plane off the roof. The next day the same man returned to the deli this time carrying a telephone, not a cell phone but a telephone, a land line as it were. He again asked for a ladder and we had to go through the whole process again about the ladder being too short and all. I suggested he call someone who might have a taller ladder. He said he did not have a telephone. "But, you are holding a telephone at this very moment, yes?" He said, "Yes, yes I am." The plane remained on the roof of the building that day.

Crack Head Perfume Sales Person Incident

I work in a deli in the town just across the river. It is generally a fast paced atmosphere as the business of feeding the hungry is as important a thing I can think of. I had prepared sandwiches, bowls of soup and apple crisp for a family of three and was ready to take on the next customer. I asked, in my loud enough to hear over the ovens, compressors and country music radio station, "May I help you?" She did not want a sandwich, a bowl of soup or even apple crisp. She wanted to let me know she was having a 65-75% off sale on designer perfume. My first thought was she was a crack head, although she was a bit chubby to be a crack head. She could have been a new crack head, yet to shed the pounds. My second thought was where does such a crack head get enough designer perfume to fill the trunk off her car. I did not see a trunk filled with designer perfume but images of Giorgio and Estee Lauder that had mysteriously fallen off the back of a truck did surface. "Do you wear perfume?" asked the crack head. Without hesitation, I explained I was AT work and could not participate in her bizarre solicitation. She promptly left albeit a bit embarrassed. I suppose this is no different than an insurance sales person cold calling or a window cleaning service stopping in because we have lots of windows. Somehow it bothered me and continues to bother me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm Just a Liberal Fool

I got to know a lot of farmers this summer as they participated in the market. I was under the impression they had thoughts similar to my own where food production was concerned. All of the farmers were what we'd call small, family farmers, farming between 1-80 acres. None of them were big, industrial farmers who see food as a commodity. None of them practiced monoculture, the one farming method I believe is destroying our environment and safety of our food supply. And yet most of these farmer's think it's OK to factory farm because it is our God-given right to eat animals so who cares what conditions they must live in during their short time on Earth. It's OK to put a bunch of suits in charge of livestock standards because otherwise some evil group from the Humane Society is going to shut down the agricultural industry as we know it and we're all going to be forced to eat hummus and falafel which we would buy with our food stamps because we will all be broke. I am beginning to reconsider my role in the county's agriculture landscape. Both the producers and the public seem to be on a very different page than I am. For the hundreds of thousands of acres of corn and soybeans, meant to feed animals that will later be turned into food, I say...what a waste of space.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marble Cutter Soup

My great grand-
father was a marble cutter and sculptor in Carrara Italy. Carrara is well known for its marble and has a rich history. The current town originated from the borough built to house workers in the marble quarries created by the Romans after their conquest of Liguria in the early 2nd century BC. He eventually moved to Vermont to work in the stone quarries there. He has a sculpture at Union Station in Washington D.C. and he was asked to work on Mt. Rushmore but declined as he did not want to plummet to his death and leave his children without a father.

In Italy there is a soup named for the marble cutters.

2 medium red onions
1/2 medium carrot
1 small stalk celery with leaves
4 branches Italian parsley
Robust extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tightly-packed cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 to 3 pounds delicious ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or one 28-ounce can and one 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
12-ounces (about 3/4 loaf) rugged country bread of mixed grains (without fat or sweeteners), sliced and left to dry for a day
More olive oil
About 6-ounces Pecorino Toscano, Pecorino di Pienza, Toscanello, American sheep cheese (like Trade Lake Cedar), or young Asiago, shredded (optional)
2 tightly-packed tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
1. Mince together the onion, carrot, celery, and parsley until very fine. Film the bottom of a 6-quart pot with oil and set over medium heat. Stir in the minced vegetables, with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Saute to rich golden brown in about 8 minutes. Blend in garlic and basil, and cook another minute. Add tomatoes, crushing them with your hands. Boil 10 minutes, or until thick and flavorful.

2. Stir in 6 cups water, or a ladleful for each diner. Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered, or until soup is only slightly reduced. Taste for seasoning. Just before serving, break up the bread into bite-sized pieces and add it to soup, or place the bread in the soup bowls. Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve hot. The soup is also good at room temperature.

3. Sprinkle each serving with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and generous black pepper. A little chopped fresh basil is a modern touch, and a very good one. Pass the cheese if desired.

Light Boxes

SMARTS is an educational organization that promotes art and literacy in Youngstown. They have asked me to make them some lightboxes to sell in their shop. I met Becky, the director of this very cool organization, at an art show last month. She saw my boxes and thought they would sell well in her shop. We'll see what happens.

4x6 inches

I am participating in an art challenge, as it were...a contest for a grant. The idea is simple enough...

1. Sign up and complete your 4x6 piece of art work. It can be anything. A painting, drawing, sketch, photograph, or just about anything that can fit on the drawing paper we send you.

2. We will hold an exhibition in Brooklyn, NY of the drawings we get back and allow the viewers at the show to vote for the 100 best.

3. We will put the 100 with the highest votes on the website where the art house community will vote on the 50 best.

4. The 50 artists with the most votes will create a larger painting, photograph, drawing, whatever and submit it for a 2nd exhibition. (We will email more info to those artists that were selected.)

5. The person with the most votes will win the $1000 dollar artist grant!

Keep in mind this is a 4x6 inch piece of paper. What can I draw, paint, smear, print on such a small piece of paper that will be noticed in a sea of other small pieces of paper? Any ideas?

You can read more about it here

Friday, September 18, 2009

Somebody shoot me...

I have been very depressed. Things are going well...Francesca is surviving first grade and has yet to tell Father Matt to go to "h" "e" double hockey sticks. The market has been great especially with the addition of The Market Grill. I have an art show in Youngstown next week. Clint is touring with Sweany for eight days beginning next week. The trouble is this ridiculous minimum wage job...the only one I can find. I can make art, raise a child, cook a fantastic meal...many fantastic meals as I do at the grill, write and receive grants, help manage a weekly farmers market, give speeches, garden, serve as a village council person and all I can do to make money is work for someone else serving mediocre food and using more plastic disposable items than I can even believe. There has got to be another way...another alternative to this fresh hell. Does anyone have an extra 50K laying around so I can turn The Market Grill into a for profit business? 20K? Anything. Save for hope...I got nothin'.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Late Blight

It was a sad day. For weeks I have been wondering why our tomato plants were developing dark spots on the leaves and the fruit. It turns out they are infected with the fungus-like oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans, the same disease that caused the infamous Irish potato famine. Our potatoes seem fine so Francesca and I harvested them. The tomato plants are in the dumpster. The pathogen can over-winter so we did not put them in the compost. The disease can be prevented if healthy plants are sprayed with a fungicide containing chlorothalonil. We choose to use organic methods in our garden so this was not an option. Next year I will spray the plants with neem oil once a week to prevent a repeat of this year. The perils of gardening...ah...such is life.
So far this year we have lost two cherry trees, the Minnesota Midget melons, Longfellow cucumbers, peppers, gourds and now the tomatoes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Market Grill

We had not expected to open The Market Grill at the market until next season. One thing led to another and here we are on opening day. Our temporary kitchen is primitive but should prove to provide a plethora of tasty food for customers and vendors.

Today's menu includes:

Green Fields Farm Burger
1/3 pound premium aged beef from Green Fields Farm of Tuscarawas and Harrison County with your chioce of toppings on a Flat Top Bakery Bun

Walnut Grove Egg Sandwich
Fresh, free range egg from a variety of heritage breeds raised at Walnut Grove Farm in New Philadelphia grilled with your choice of toppings on Yoder's white or wheat bread.

Heirloom Tomato and Onion Sandwich
A variety of heirloom tomatoes and onions served hot or cold on Yoder's white or wheat bread.

Starfire Peanut Butter Sandwich
Homemade peanut butter by Starfire Foods of Sugarcreek and your choice of locally produced honey or jelly.

Tomato, Red Onion, Grilled peppers, Onion Marmalade, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Hot Pepper Butter and Cheese from Heini's in Bunker Hill

Sides by Starfire Foods
Potato Salad, Pasta Salad or Macaroni Salad

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Things I Did Not Plant

As much as I enjoy my garden, the planning, the preparation, the tending and the harvesting, I also enjoy the things I did not plant, the things that just grow because that is where they decided to take root. Some of these things are obvious...a bird or squirrel left a seed behind or the wind carried it. Others are more mysterious and beg one to wonder, how did that get there? Rather than pull up every stray sprout, I leave them in their new found home and watch them grow. This year there were many marvels, the mysterious pumpkins on the deck, the impatiens in the hibiscus planter and the tansy and sunflowers. Everything happens for a reason, I suppose.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A New Belt in Tae Kwon Do

Francesca earned her white belt with black stripe on Friday. She decided, with the coaxing of her friend Shayla, she would go to Tae Kwon Do camp. The camp allows the kids to earn a belt in one week as opposed to the two months it normally takes. She is now the highest belt level in her group called the minis. At the end of August she will test again and graduate from the minis and become a mighty. Here is Francesca and Shayla with another friend, Antonia on the day of the test. Silliness was abundant.

Sunflower in the Silver Maple

We have a Silver Maple that is nearly hollow and a home to many creatures. A most wondrous thing occurred when one of those creatures, probably a squirrel placed sunflower seed in the tree. The sunflower is growing...thirty feet up. It's quite charming.

Perfect Marinara

Italians didn't start cooking with tomatoes until the 1850's. They were introduced to the Italians by the Spanish in the 1500's but they weren't very popular. It is difficult to imagine Italian cooking without them now. My family is from Northern Italy where the food differs a great deal from the Americanized versions we commonly see in the U.S.
I like meatless sauces.

Perfect Marinara

2 small onions diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
2 stalks celery diced
1/4 olive oil

Heat the olive in a stock pot until hot. Add onions, carrot and celery and saute until golden about 15 minutes.

1/4 dry white wine
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt I always use Kosher
5 basil leaves
3 bay leaves

Add the wine to the vegetables and stir until evaporated on high heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for a good hour. You can puree the sauce for a smoother consistency. Various herbs can be added. This is a very basic recipe and can be personalized with oregano, marjoram, hot pepper you like it!

I serve this sauce over brown rice pasta as I do not eat wheat but any pasta will do.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Last Chance Pancakes

I never like the term starving artist. When I was in art school 20 plus years ago, I was poor...but I was never starving. None of us were starving. We took care of one another. Sundays were the best. All the art students living in cheap apartments in Olde Town East and Franklinton gathered, usually at Randy's place just across the alley from my apartment, for Last Chance Pancakes. Everyone brought an ingredient... flour, nuts, berries, bananas, maple syrup, butter, eggs, whatever we had, whatever we could afford. Randy would mix it all up and we shared the pancakes, ideas, opinions and fellowship.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Amanda...Light of My Life

Amanda is one of my favorite people. We share many of the same ideas regarding environmentalism and sustainabilty. She is the founder of The Tuscarawas County Sustainability Network.
We met at a local rally to protest BIG COAL a few years ago. Seems our local leaders didn't see things our way and are now locked into a 50 year contract with a company that doesn't care about poisoning the water or the air. This fight isn't over and Amanda and I are very passionate about it.
Amanda sells books and zines and also has a lending library. You can borrow a book for $5 and when you bring the book back she gives you your money back.
Amanda went to school in Montreal. She earned a degree in International Studies.She speaks fluent French and is now attending massage therapy school.
Amanda organized an art show called Art Pals. School children from one of our local districts made art and then sent it to countries like Senegal and Japan where the children there responded with their own art. All this art eventually ended up back in the states and was hung as a show at the local art center. I learned a lot from this project. And sadly, American children are quite shallow and superficial.
Amanda chooses her bike more than her car. She also helps people in need. I am proud to be her friend.

Chocolate Mint Tea

Ruth is our only certified organic grower at the market. She owns a local greenhouse and grows herbs and produce. I appreciate the heirloom varieties she brings to the market. She often brings tea for customers to sample. This week she brought chocolate mint tea sweetened with Stevia. I can't say I have ever had a finer iced tea in all my life.

Chef Cameron

I invited Chef Cameron Krahel of The Inn at Honey Run to be a guest at the farmers market. We scheduled a meeting to discuss ideas. He invited me to his home just outside of the neighboring town. I made my way down a long gravel driveway and quickly noticed a large garden and chicken coop. When I knocked on the door of the red-metal roofed house a delightful Dalmatian appeared. It seemed Cameron was not yet home so I waited.
Cameron arrived a few minutes later. He let Gracie, the Dalmatian out and then we walked to the chicken coop where he opened the door for an assortment of outgoing heritage breeds. He showed me his garden and we strolled about the property while he gave me some history. Gracie insisted I throw the tennis ball over and over and over again and I was happy to comply.
At one time a previous owner was so paranoid his neighbors were going to cut down his trees, he cut them down himself and buried them. Cameron is still dealing with this as he digs in preparation of an orchard.
Cameron's home is new but has much character. The kitchen, as you might imagine, is the heart of the home and looks like Mario Batali's set kitchen.
Cameron agreed to come to the market every other week to do cooking demonstrations using products provided by the market vendors.
Week one was a huge success. Cameron prepared a delicious cheese soup, a vegetable fritata and a zucchini pasta with tomatoes. Samples were given away for free and most took a recipe print-out home.
In addition to his culinary skills, Cameron has also been know to win small town versions of American Idol type contests. Who knew?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


My house is over run with toys, toys of every variety, toys that I must admit, I bought. How did it come to this? I trip over them. I step over them. I kick them. I sit on them. I sleep with them. I even play with them. Simply put, Francesca has too many toys.
Don't get me wrong. Play is good and she does play...constantly. Legos, dolls, castles, fairies, barbies, stuffed animals, cars, guitars, hats, boas, houses, trucks, costumes, puzzles, wizards, James Brown rubber ducky, drums, kitchens, play doh, buses, scooters, games, nesting boxes, James Brown dancing doll, mega blocks, keyboards, xylophone, James Dean with a cigarette doll, Frank Sinatra with a fedora doll, Dr. Doolittle doll from the seventies, markers, crayons, paper, paper, paper, paper, magnetic paper dolls, paper paper dolls, and Gib.
Gib is Francesca's favorite bear. He goes everywhere with us.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soap, Cotton Candy & Body Piercing?

My friend Tricia makes soap. You can buy her products at the market. Most of her soaps are vegetable based with added herbs and essential oils. They make your bathroom smell delicious. Tricia also makes cotton candy and does body piercing.


Mom nearly sold out of her hand drawn gourds at the market this week. It is nice to know people want to have beautiful things.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Miss Spelled

Poor spelling bothers me, especially with resources like dictionaries and spell check at our disposal.I find most people spell poorly. When we write we leave something behind, something that can be viewed again and again. If part of that is misspelled I feel like one would if they went outside without their pants on, exposed, perhaps vulnerable. Maybe it is laziness. I still manage to put my pants on.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sometimes Spaghetti Likes to be Alone

I am an American. I have always been an American and yet I do not eat like an American. When I think of American food I think of some of the most vile, detestable food in existence.

Sara Boo

Tae Kwon Do Belt Test

Francesca doesn't like Tae Kwon Do. She doesn't hate it. Once she gets there she has a great time. When she asked to sign up Clint and I decided she could do it if she committed to two years. That WAS asking a lot of a four year old but we thought it would be good for her. Her two year commitment will be up in September. Today she had a belt test. She earned her brown belt.

Guess What?

Guess what these are and I'll buy (or make) you lunch...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Night and Day

This is night...and this is day...or so Francesca says.

A Play in Four Acts

This morning Francesca staged a play for her dad.

Act 1: The Cleopatra Romeo Story

Act 2: Angels and Fairies

Act 3: The Firemen

Act 4: Santa and How the Elves Helped Him, the Musical

I must admit, I did need to remind Clint more than once that she would only be little once and he'd better sit still and watch the play in its entirety, or else.

Traveling Man

When my dad was 16, his parents sent him to Italy. It changed his life. I believe it connected him with his roots, his beginnings. He spoke of the trip often.
It gave him an opportunity to see the world beyond his own backyard, which was in itself, pretty interesting.
He used to say he left as a boy and came back a man and I believed him.
Today I remember my dad. I think I would have liked him even before he was my dad.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bread Winner

I stopped eating wheat for health reasons about four weeks ago. It has been excellent for my health but terrible for my spirit. I miss it so. No more bread, pizza, burritos or naan. I still bake it for the rest of the family. Here are two mini loaves and a fougasse stuffed with olive oil, garlic and roasted red peppers. To make the fugasse you roll out the dough and make slits in it, folding it over the chosen fillings. It's easy and impressive. It's rather like the French Version of Calzone. Fougasse is typically made in Provence. Often times it is made to look like a tree with the bottom being the trunk and the top the branches.

Suki Found a Home

The Humane Society has been coming to the market each week to promote their cause and to find homes for homeless pets.
The rules of the market do not allow for the selling of live animals but it is the perfect venue to introduce prospective owners to these wonderful dogs.
Suki was fortunate. He found on a home after spending the day at the market.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kids Like the Market

I have been impressed with the number of kids who visit the market. They come wide-eyed and ask lots of questions. Some are country kids and know where food comes from. Most are not and are fascinated that carrots have green tops and are not born in a plastic bag.
I have been trying to come up with ideas that will keep the kids coming back.
The Skiffle Band Workshop is next week and the Bookmobile is coming. Can't say I have ever experienced the Bookmobile. It seems odd to me there are people with no books in their homes. I suppose a mobile library is pretty good.
All kids like face painting or body painting as it were. Girls pick butterflies and kitties. Boys pick skulls and sports.
I remember getting a strawberry painted on my face when I was six at The Strawberry Festival in Bolivar. I thought the artist was the coolest person in the whole world.

It it wasn't for the Weavers

The Weaver's are a local Amish family that has decided to become regulars at the market. They farm in a sustainable manner with three Weaver families tending to the responsibilities.
They brought tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, green beans, peas, lettuce, bread and maple syrup, all produced on their family farm.
As they don't want photographs of themselves taken , I asked if I could photograph their products. They kindly agreed and seemed delighted I was impressed with their food.
Mrs. Weaver and I discussed lettuce and its ability to bolt overnight. She was generous in sharing her knowledge of growing, harvesting and preparing meals. She explained her family ate seasonally and was just about tired of strawberry pie and strawberry jam.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Daddy and Me

As Father's Day approaches I have been thinking about my dad a lot. I have noticed I am more like him than I ever thought I could be. I use all the dumb one-liners he used. I would rather entertain then be entertained. I become obsessed with my passions. I try to be my daughter's best teacher.

The last father's day gift I bought him was a radio controlled boat so he could play with Francesca without having to physically exert himself. He died two months later and never got the chance.

I am still learning to live without him.


I was a bartender for a million years before I decided to work my butt off at things I care about receiving no paycheck whatsoever.
It wasn't always so bad, in fact, sometimes it was downright enjoyable.
I worked in nice places and hole-in-the-wall places and usually made decent money that went into my pocket and not the corrupt governments. I evaded taxes like crazy because, well, I could. I feel no shame about that either.
I was performing a customer service. I listened to peoples joys and sorrows and pretended to care. There were times when I did care. I saved marriages and ruined even more. I cleaned up vomit and feces and urine and some other substances I still have not identified. I was forced to listen to music I hated at volumes that are incomprehensible. I called cabs or dropped off drunks at three in the morning just so the customer wouldn't get their fifth DUI. I mostly listened and for most people that is all they needed beyond the drink or the beer.

My Favorite Childhood Cookbook

I learned to cook mostly from watching my parents and grandparents but this book played a big roll in gaining my independence in the kitchen. It is a Betty Crocker cookbook for kids that my mom bought me when I was about five. I had graduated from the Easy Bake Oven and was ready to move on to the real kitchen. The recipes in this book are things I would never consider eating now but at the time it taught me about proper measuring and oven temperature even if it meant making canned pears look like mice. I was especially fond of the sugar cookie recipe and the pancakes shaped like circus animals. Today I refuse to make any recipe that calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup but back then I followed the instructions to the letter.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Opening Day

The Tuscarawas Valley Family Farm Market had a terrific opening day. I was shocked at the number of people expecting more produce and had to explain how food is seasonal. I was also shocked at how many people came before the market had opened and expected to be permitted to purchase items while the vendors were setting up. This is going to be an issue. While we don't want to turn people away, we do want to allow enough time for vendors to set up their booths. We are still in the red but with hopes, this market will be self sustaining. We have received two grants but it might be sometime before that money actually lands in the TVFFM bank account. Hundreds of people showed up for opening day and I thank each and everyone of them for their support of our local farmers and producers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Counter Coalture Coalition

I don't like coal. I don't like relying on it for electricity. I don't like the mining required to bring it to the surface and I don't like the burning of it to generate power. I don't like coal. is a great project where one dedicates their garden to counteract the hideous destruction of the planet caused by the coal industry.
Lavender has been known to symbolize Love, Protection, Happiness, Peace, Purification, Sleep and Longevity. I dedicate my Lavender to this cause.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Last Day Of Kindergarten

This is the last year St. Joseph will be called St. Joseph School. Next year it will be called Tuscarawas Central Catholic Elementary School.

We attended a wonderful prayer service and ceremony for the kindergarten class and yes I cried. I was proud of Francesca but also saddened at the changes taking place at our school.

Father Bill suggested we embrace the change and know that all will be well in God's hands. Give up on trying to control things and let God move us forward in a direction that He intends.

Father Bill has been reassigned to a parish in Columbus.

The kids will start the new school year with Father Matt.

The name is changing, the uniform plaid is changing, the priest is changing.

It's a shame the school lunches aren't changing.

The Dumb Hillbilly & The Cherry Tree

We have a patch of pokeweed on the northwest corner of the property. Over the years I have tried to get rid of it. Pulling, cutting and smothering hasn't worked and I have accepted that it is there for a reason. It provides nutritious berries for the birds and bunnies in late summer. The owner of the adjacent property wants it gone as it tends to come up in his yard as well.

He took it upon himself to spray it with toxic chemicals even after I asked him not to do so. We have well water and the idea of drinking or cooking with Roundup doesn't sit well with me.

He sprayed the pokeweed and the wind must have carried it across the yard.

The cherry tree is where it landed.

A friend who is an arborist suggested mulching the tree heavily with compost and watering deeply once a week. The tree will probably survive, I hope.

The dumb hillbilly way of life is to kill anything you don't like and if you don't kill it the first time...kill it again.

I wore gloves to remove the brown, curled pokeweed and placed it in the back of the pick up. I'm not really sure what I will do with it. It will grow back. All the Roundup in the world won't kill it.

I have considered purchasing some Roundup myself and using it to write Dumb Hillbilly in the lawn of my neighbor.

Do you think he would suspect it was me?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The End of an Era

The end of school is bittersweet. It is great...summer vacation...get to spend lots of time with more waking up at 5:30 am.

I'm not going to get a damn thing done this summer, am I?

She actually made it through kindergarten without telling Father Bill to go to hell.

She learned how to read for Pete's sake.

She had perfect attendance.

I am so proud of her.

I'm not going to get a damn thing done this summer, am I?

Well, she graduates from kindergarten on Thursday.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cold Soup

I have been seeing recipes in all the magazines that reflect the upcoming season of summer. Cold, pureed, vegetable soups continue to catch my eye. There is the ever popular gazpacho, cucumber yogurt and avocado. Nope. Can't get on board here. I don't like cold soup. Soup should be hot. Why puree cucumbers and avacado when you can just make a salad? And isn't gazpacho just salsa?

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Francesca started her own blog. She said she wants to write and show her drawings to others so they might send her emails. She named it Artmatism. I rather like the name. She has asked me to share this with all of you.

Drum Circle