Monday, January 31, 2011

Let the Weaving Begin

Today I got to sit down at the upstairs loom - started in on reweaving for a friend who wore out a rug she liked.

I got the lead and end (wider as this one won't have fringe) and the start of the body of the rug.

Our Winter Salad

Last winter Ken read that spinach loses most of its nutrition eight days after harvest. So we are working on what we can eat we could grow. In winter we grow sprouts.

Then I grate root vegetables - celery root, carrots, daikon or black radish.

Then I make a dressing.

My dressings vary from day to day. I combine a sour like vinegar or lemon juice, a sweet like honey, some oil or dairy like yogurt, sour cream, cheese, or mayonnaise, herbs or pesto and or garlic or onion, and salt, and pepper.

This one is lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, basil pesto, honey, feta cheese, salt, pepper. Sometimes I make a typical cole slaw dressing.

Pie Plate Come Marching In

What do some people do at 6:30 in the morning? Trim pie plates, of course. Like all pottery, pie plates take several steps.

First, turn them over and trim the bottoms.

Then later in the day, when they are just the right texture, put the handles on each piece. Make handles.

Put some slip on the pot.

Put the handle on the pot. Do the other side.

Voila! Add to the wet closet so they dry uniformly.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

Ken found a list of vegetables with the most and least contaminated fruits and vegetables published by the EWG (Environmental Working Group). We pass this on for people with limited access to organic produce or with tough economic choices. As always we recommend you eat our vegetables as you know how it was grown and that our soil produces nutrient dense food.

Here are the two lists:

The Dirty Dozen
bell peppers
imported grapes

The Clean Fifteen
sweet corn
sweet peas
sweet potato
honeydew melon

Pottery Progress

Those lids from a few days ago are now in the wet closet so they can dry evenly and slowly.

Here are some of the steps taken to get them there.

First, trim the top of the lid.

Then smooth it out.

Then make handles and put slip on pot. Press on the handle.

Check fit of lid.

Move the ware board of jars with lids to closet.

Cover with plastic.

And here is the fun part - a new item created from the extra lids!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Seed Order

Here we are tackling winter tasks. I got the taxes ready for our accountant in December (earlier than usual), but am still working on the seed order - later than usual this winter. First step, inventory of seeds we have from last season and assess viability(done). Then I go through what we should get, go through catalogs and hunt for organic seeds and best buys (in progress).

Next I reassess what we really need and eliminate most of the "oooh, doesn't that look interesting..." impulse selections. Place orders and once seeds arrrive, label growing instructions on packet. Soon Ken will be planting!

Put a Lid on It!

While I was at the gallery today, Ken was in the studio. Many of the artists create at the gallery - there are open studios for painting. Clay is best done at home, so I take fiber projects to the gallery while Ken works at the studio at home. Today he made several lids of varying sizes for all the covered jars he has been throwing.

Once they firm up he will trim the other side and add handles and match them up to the jars. Right now they don't look much like lids, do they?

Color studies

This week I have started working shifts at the art gallery co-operative, artZ on the main street in Amery, Wisconsin where Ken has pottery. The artists take turns working at sales and other tasks as needed.

While at the gallery, I have been filling my time between shoppers with color studies. I have a small hand loom and I make potholders from cotton loopers left over from the sock industry.

Some people look askance, and ask in a patronizing voice why am I working on a dinky child's loom making something as mundane as potholders... I laugh and say, "Well, these are my color studies. I would rather make a mistake on a potholder to use and burn up than invest hours in a rug that is a disaster!"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CSA Newsletter January

Greetings from the Garden! This box contains onions, garlic, Carola potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, rutabagas, beets, celeriac, daikon and black radishes, parsley and micro greens.

Field Notes. Ken has been planting micro greens and setting up windows for them.

We were gone for a few days - together overnight. We are most grateful to Dan and Ingrid for farm sitting; they did a GREAT job. Now it is time to finish seed inventory, make final decisions for the season to come, order seeds and soon Ken will be planting.

Once our plans are final, we will sending them out. Stay tuned for an exciting season ahead!

From the Kitchen. This box has a couple treats - Carola potatoes are a buttery flavored potato that is great baked or in soups or even mashed. They are a customer favorite in taste trials in a Madison Seed Savers store. I understand why!

Butternut squash is said to be the best squash soup squash. Its smooth texture does not require pureeing in a blender or processor. Many people like the small seed section and easy to peel skin. We started growing this squash after receiving requests to do so. Ken and I have several squash soup recipes - some have sausage, vegetables, and chili pepper. Others are smooth with chicken stock and cream with just a touch of nutmeg.

Ken made a delicious chicken soup with both black and daikon radishes. They are a tasty addition that adds a bit of zip to the familiar favorite. I like daikon in miso soups. Miso is an Asian bean or grain paste that has been fermented and should be added to soup just before serving - don't boil as it will kill all those beneficial probiotics that aid in digestion. Miso is used like our boullion - but with more vitality than a freeze dried cube. You can find many varieties in natural food stores or Asian food stores. We use lighter types in salad dressings, darker types in soups. It is a great alternative to foods like yogurt for people who need probiotics, but don't want to eat dairy products.

We're Back!

Hurrah! Ken and I both left together for a midwinter break. We traveled to visit with aunts, uncles, and cousins on Ken's father's side of the family. Our thanks to all our hosts. Everyone was so welcoming on short notice.

And thanks to Dan and Ingrid who stayed and held down the farm - so kind, enthusiastic and responsible. I think all the animals and people were sad to see them go back home!