Friday, October 03, 2008

Virtuous food (mostly)

Tonight for dinner I'm making "Hearty Lentil Soup," a recipe from a cookbook gifted to me recently (thanks, Sarah). The cookbook is "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison, and I'm excited to start experimenting with more vegetarian fare.

Part of my reasons for shifting more toward the vegetarian end of the spectrum (I don't know that I'll ever go all the way, but closer, anyway) are for health reasons: it's well known that Americans eat too much meat, and that we're clogging our arteries etc. Another reason is budgetary: the more I learn about how feedlots work, and the more I understand about grain and chickens and cattle, the less I want to eat them unless they're grass fed, free range, etc. Expensive! Cutting meat out cuts the budget. And then of course, there are the environmental factors: meat is inefficient, and harder on our planet.

So I'm cooking vegetarian, using carrots, tomatoes, and onions from our garden, and lentils from the bulk bin at PCC, and I'm serving it with home made oatmeal bread. How virtuous of me! (wink)

But the catch? I'm adding sausage. I know, crazy, but I"m hoping that by doing so, my meat loving family will adjust to lentils....

Here's hoping my plot works!

Garden - October

Here are the latest pictures of our garden crop, which is just about all harvested.

In the end, I think we spent:

$20 on organic fertilizer

$10 on organic compost to supplement the worm bin

$15 on tomato starts

$20 on misc. starts

$20 on misc. seeds

$20 (?) on blueberry bushes
$10 on strawberry plants the extra water in the water bill, which I haven't yet calculated.

We got soaker hoses and bark mulch for free, and we used our own compost (worm bin) for most of it. So, for about $115 plus water, we got:
- several pounds of strawberries (averaging about 20 per day at the height of the season; we're still getting everbearing and alpine varieties several per day)
- about 10 blueberries - not our best crop!
- several pounds of sugar snap peas
- many pounds of carrots (still some in the ground, picked a big crop today, and we've been picking them at will for months)
- a couple pounds of starburst squash
- five enormous cabbages
- perhaps a dozen onions
- several plants of basil
- 3 cloves of garlic (many didn't grow well, only 3 heads were sizeable enough to use)
- no leeks (didn't grow well)
- two months worth of lettuce
- several pounds of radishes
- enormous quantities of rainbow chard
....and the piece de la resistance.....about 40 pounds of heirloom tomatoes!
The tomatoes are the best part, in my opinion, as they taste so much better than anything from the supermarket. The first ones came in so slowly, one here, one there....and then a couple of weeks ago I picked 13 pounds of them. Today I picked perhaps 20 pounds of them - hurrah! Many are green, so I've spread them on a tray and set them in windows (see picture of our kitchen window) and I'm hoping that they'll ripen soon.
In short? I think that our investment paid off handsomely, and I'm proud of myself. I'm delighted that Tessa is learning a connection with the earth and how to grow food, and I'm proud of the frugal elements, too. The tomatoes cost about $15 to plant, and I harvested over $100 worth (and I'm ashamed to say that many of them rotted before I picked them today - the colder/damper weather got to and learn for next year), so that alone was worth the investment. Fortunately, our family likes tomatoes!

And now, I'm going to roast some tomatoes for use this winter. Simple pasta with tomato sauce will taste so much better to me remembering where the tomatoes came from. :-)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Change of plans

I had planned on working on the book all day today. I got chores done yesterday, I bustled around (and had lunch with Adrienne, which was lovely), and planned on working all day today. Change of plans! Last night, Tessa started melting down....not unheard of in these early days of kindergarten. But then her nose got stuffed, she complained of a sore throat, and she had a mild fever. Uh oh!

We're at home, and will be relaxing all day. I think that Tessa might just be overtired, and that her bug is mild, so I will take this time to relax with her, to read stories, and to get caught up on some housework while she plays. (Yes, I did chores yesterday, and laundry is caught up....but housework is never ending!)

Today is a chance to slow down. I might just stay in my PJs til noon. We'll see....

Monday, September 29, 2008


This weekend I was on an RE (Religious Education) Council retreat. I was asked a few months ago if I'd be interested in joining the RE Council at WSUUC (church), and decided - honestly, without much thought! - to jump in.

I had no idea what a gift it would be to me. Isn't that funny how those things work sometimes?

The RE Council takes their work seriously. They want to give the children of our church community a chance to feel loved, to explore their spirituality, to nurture their souls. The RE Council approaches their work with applied intelligence, compassion, introspection, reflection, and an applied standard of excellence. And the women on the council? Amazing people, each and every one.

This weekend we worked hard. We worshiped often, we sang, and we bonded....and we worked hard at visioning the coming year for our children and families.

Today, as we rush through the morning, I'm taking a moment to write this because I want to remember the feelings of this weekend, and how strongly I felt part of something bigger than myself, and how deep my desire is to be the best I can be and to shape the world in positive ways, and I want to take that with me.

Kari told us that the great warrior tribe of Africa, the Masai, has a greeting:
"How are the children?"
The answer is,
"The children are well."

What a wonderful way of grounding a community. It's all about the children, even for the warriors.

Now off to my busy week....