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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meat Issues

I have been a vegetarian for 26 years. Francesca seems to be taking the same road, perhaps because she sees me eat no meat, although her dad and her Nana eat it daily. Perhaps she has her own reasons.

I received a note from her school requesting the children not pack a lunch on the last day of school because there will be a cookout for the kids that will include hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans (with bacon) and some kind of processed fruit that hung on a peach tree in 2005. This is an issue as Francesca will have nothing, save the fruit, to eat. Peachy...

Any suggestions?

I could show up unexpectedly and say she has to leave school early due to a family emergency. I could send her to school with a cucumber and green pepper sandwich anyway. She could just eat the hot dog.

I have a week to figure this one out.

What are They Thinking?

This is an article I wrote for the Columbus Free Press. I hoped it might have changed some minds...made people think, etc. It seems our little town is moving backwards.
Please take the time to read it...
And react...say something, do something.

Health Department?

Last night's market meeting went well. The rain stayed away and Francesca was more than helpful. There was an excitement in the air that can only have come from a community coming together to help one another, what an array of talented and hard working people trying to make a difference. Attendance was excellent. It looks like we have a real market on our hands. The farmers and producers are as excited as we are about making this a reality. The vendors were thrilled with the meal we served.The health department, on the other hand, wants to make it difficult. Foodborne illness does not come from small family farms. It comes from factory farms. I'm going to trust food that was produced by a guy named Clay way before I trust food produced by Tyson. We are the only market in the county who is following the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code. We are also the only market in the county being targeted by the health department. Shame on them. The health department representative had no problem wolfing down a hamburger. She must have known the meat was kept at or below 41 damn degrees.

Feathers and Mouths

The five blue eggs in the nest behind the barn are now baby starlings.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cat Myths

I have a low tolerance for certain things...stupidity topping the list... if you ask people that know me.

1. Cats can suck the breath from a baby. Who in their right mind would believe such a notion.? How can a person's brain actually allow them to believe this?

2. Pregnant women should not scoop the litter box. So, do you just get rid of the cat? Perhaps a respiratory mask and gloves, Einstein, might do the trick.

3. Cats cause schizophrenia. I'd rather say they comfort the mentally ill.

4. Cats can see ghosts. Don't we all?

5. If you have multiple male cats, they will spray and mark. Cats are animals. They might do this. Have your cat neutered before he is sexually mature unless you are one of those sick people that breeds animals.

6. Cow's milk is good for cats. Milk is good for cows. Period.

The Tuscarawas Valley Family Farm Market

The farmers' market is becoming a reality. With the help of dedicated friends and volunteers, we will soon have a real farmers' market in this little town. Nearly two years ago we all sat down and decided this was a project that had to come to fruition. We were all tired of driving to Wooster or Akron to get fresh food when we were surrounded by growers and producers right here in our own county. Even the local producers had to make a long trip to sell because there was no venue available in the area.

Tonight is our first vendor meeting. We will welcome them with a cook-out at the fairgrounds. We will be serving burgers made from fresh, local beef, beans and potato salad. I'll sneak a few veggie burgers on the grill to satisfy my own desire for carbon coated goodness.

The market will be held at 259 S. Tuscarawas Ave in Dover each Wednesday starting June 10, from 3-7 PM.

Currently our vendors will be selling...








artisan bread

dog treats


arts and crafts

fresh-cut flowers

bedding plants

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Time to Every Purpose...

It took my dad four days to die, well actually it took him 64 years. The long, slow, miserable part took four days. As I watched him fade away I experienced anger, denial, misery, loneliness and felt cheated for not having been able to spend any time alone with him. It was not exactly the time to demand his attention. Everyone needed him...or more accurately needed to comfort him, to let go of him. I remember wishing it would happen faster so I could get on with trying to live without him. I wandered hospital halls, slept in uncomfortable chairs, smoked Marlboro's and ate only when forced. I felt so alone within my own self-constructed walls even though I was surrounded by my family and friends. Visitors came and say goodbye, to show respect and they each had the right. They had all been touched by my dad and that was important. How was I going to live without him? I kept asking myself that question and then it dawned on me...When I first found out I was pregnant with Francesca I told my dad first, even before Clint. I was so scared and so worried Clint would not be happy because he was too old to have any more children. My dad was thrilled beyond belief and knew Clint would be too. And he also knew that the little girl growing inside me would help carry me through a life that would no longer include my best friend, my dad. Francesca was two and a half when he died and she doesn't remember much but I fill in the details. I still have days like this filled with tears and memories and wish that I could have just five minutes, just five more minutes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Make Light Boxes

This lightbox is from a series of twelve. It was a study on the twelve most commonly used verbs in the English language. It so happens they are all irregular. In no particular order, these are the twelve from the series...

  • see

  • do

  • be

  • think

  • go

  • come

  • have

  • say

  • take

  • know

  • make

  • get

Tea Cup Swap II

This didn't turn out quite like I expected.

The Bunnies and the Garden

The bunnies have made themselves comfortable and quite at home in the garden, feasting on lettuce, radishes, tomato starts, peppers and even onions. They've done a significant number on my future harvest. A trip to a local farm store and 18 dollars later, problem solved. I had no choice but to put up a fence, albeit temporary as it rather prevents me from weeding and tending.

The Baby Groundhog

My friend JoAnne is a fantastic woman in many respects. She is kinder to animals than most people are to each other. On Friday she found a baby groundhog in the middle of the road. She brought him home, fed him organic yogurt and gave him a stuffed moose. She was able to find an animal rescue group in Massillon who knew how to properly care for him. With hopes, he will do well and be released in the wild when he is about 14 weeks old. He's one lucky groundhog.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hungarian Bakery

The town where I live does not support businesses that do not involve cars, beer or meat. How delighted I was to discover a Hungarian bakery in Wooster, about 40 miles away.

I Chose This Cup

I mailed my package containing a tea cup and saucer and a selection of five teas to my partner in the tea cup swap. The name of my partner is ambiguous like mine. One cannot tell if it is a man or a woman. This is the cup I chose to send to Rochester, NY.

Nest VI

The baby doves have left the nest. They are still staying close to their former home. They are ready. They have had good teachers. I plan to leave the basket in place. Perhaps the nest will be used again. I was able to get this picture before they took flight.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Paula Thomas

Whatever happened to Paula Thomas? She was a chubby girl I knew in elementary school. She wasn't especially bright and she was tom-boyish in appearance and attitude.
She often told me of her family's visit to Ocean City Maryland. She loved the ocean.
Her parents had little money and her older brother, Donald, I think, was mean.
I remember her in a panic on the first day of fourth grade. Her hands had mysteriously turned blue. She was afraid to ask Miss Zingg what to do so she asked me. I asked her, "Paula, what have you touched?" She responded, "Nothing, nothing. I have just been standing here with my hands in my pockets." It was then I realized she had dye on her hands from her new jeans. I don't think she had ever had a new pair of jeans as she always wore her brother's hand-me-downs.
She was so relieved and so grateful I did not laugh at her.
What ever happened to Paula Thomas?

All-Natural Beauty Workshop

Today Francesca and I attended an all-natural beauty workshop hosted by The Tuscarawas County Sustainability Network, a group I am actively involved with.

Our teacher, Emily was quite wise for her years.

She uses a skin cleansing regimen that utilizes caster oil and olive chemicals. Simple. My skin felt better after one session.

She explained that our skin is best maintained by what we put in our bodies.

We all brought fruit and juices and made smoothies after the lesson. Francesca and I brought strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, peach nectar and pear nectar.

Friday, May 8, 2009

French Fingerlings

Wonderful, rose-colored skins cover the creamy yellow flesh. These potatoes are rumored to have been smuggled into America in a horse's feed bag in the 1800's. I wanted to get them planted sooner. I ordered them from Iowa and they wouldn't ship them until the danger of frost had passed. You can order some too...

Nest V

The doves are here! We aren't quite sure when they were born as we have been trying not to bother the birds. Today I checked and lo and behold, babies. What a joy it has been to host this family. They have found a home to happen in!

Wine and Song in Amish Country

Erin Sax Seymour, a NYC native is travelling the US playing music with Lorenzo Bertocchini, an Italian singer songwriter from Varese, Italy. We were fortunate enough to hear them play at a local market last night. The evening was complimented with fresh pasta and Putenesca.
The musicians were late getting started as they were taking buggy rides in Amish Country and nearly decided to drop out of their own lives to live a a simpler life.
Thanks to latte from Java Jo they snapped out of it and played us some songs.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I don't go to restaurants often because I like to cook and can usually prepare a meal that is tastier and healthier at home. There is, however, something to be said of the restaurant breakfast. It's nice to relax and let the wide-hipped (and in this case) middle-aged waitress bring you hot plates of food and pour coffee perfectly into cups. I like restaurants that have waitresses or waiters, not servers. I like bus boys in all white and cooks you never see.

Bird Hike

Francesca and I attended a bird hike last Saturday. It was a lovely, moist morning. There were pictures of birds in various trees along the hike. We were given a list of birds and were required to match the names with the numbered pictures. It turns out we don't the names of too many birds. In fact, we were pathetic. As we walked along the wooded path near the Tuscarawas River I began to wonder if any of the birds on the list were native to the area. One in particular, was a water bird called a Coot. I have never seen such a bird.

The ruins of the former canal system were even more exciting than the pictures hanging in the trees. There is the perfect amount of moss on everything. This system, at one time so vital to industry and commerce, is melting back into nature in a slow, sad, beautiful way.

Loss of Innocence

There has been a tragedy. Perhaps it is the first of many this Spring. High winds took out the robin's nest on the potter's bench near the garden. The four perfect eggs are no more. There is, strangely enough, no sign of them. The house lay on the ground with the nest inside albeit disrupted.

As nature would have it, we spotted a single egg in a nest that was built last year in the cherry tree being closely nurtured by a most cautious bird.

Life seems difficult for these creatures and still I envy their lack of commerce and television.