Pullin’ It Out of the Hole Cookin’

Making Vegetable Stock

Despite the number of cookbooks on my shelf, I believe I was born with a predisposition to winging it in the kitchen. And, as long-time readers are probably aware, I’m content that way. I happily toss together all manner of stews, soups, frittatas, stir fries and salads, even venturing now and then into the world of improv baking. The results may not win me blue ribbons, but they’re always perfectly edible, even fit to be shared.

Simmering away in my kitchen right now is Continue reading

The Illusion of Control


The garden is generous with metaphors for living. Bone tired, stooped beyond straightening, encrusted in dirt and decorated with prickly seeds, I’ve harvested more truths in the garden than I could ever have known were ripe for the picking.

Each truth, in its time, and stunningly clear. When I was depressed, my garden urged me to wonder about what next spring would bring, gently coaxing me on, convincing me the seasons ahead would bring good things. When I was bored, it filled me with wonder. When I thought I had nothing to give, I saw all the plants that needed dividing and, therefore, sharing. The spirits of the garden are generous, indeed. Continue reading

Child Play

Red Manse Farm Radishes

I knelt on the cool, black dirt to dig a hole with a deformed, old teaspoon. In the solemn tones I’d heard spoken, but not fully understood, I prayed for the life lost. I wondered in silence if I’d killed this one myself with either love or neglect. I wondered if another one would come my way. I placed the box in the hole and pulled dirt over it with my hands. I wondered if it was almost lunchtime.

I grew up in a time when kids roamed the neighborhood, creating their own kind of fun. Sometimes that fun was with my sisters or the kids next door and beyond. Often it was all by myself, or in the company of my dog or a cat or two.

At four, my world was an area spanning a few houses and yards in each direction Continue reading

Caving to a Craving for Very Expensive Watermelon

WatermelonI love watermelon, especially once summer really arrives. The problem is, I live at a latitude 43 degrees north, with a short growing season that doesn’t favor watermelon. With most other fruits and vegetables, I try to hold out for delicious, fresh local options, but I always seem to cave in to my watermelon craving at about the time summer heat settles in for real.

A couple of days ago, I had one such powerful craving. In an effort to make one stop, rather than two, I set my sights on buying an organic watermelon at the local food coop. Continue reading

Some Things Just Happen

Honeysuckle FlowerSummer is happening, in spite of me.

I wasn’t ready for it this year, and I’ve had a hard time keeping up with its crazy pace so far. More accurately, I haven’t kept up at all. The lesson I’m presented with has something to do with understanding my humble place in the universe and accepting that the planet is spinning away, even without my help. I’m 80 percent out of commission this summer, and I’ve had to adjust my expectations continually. Continue reading

Hope for the Future (and a Giveaway Winner)

Hay baleMany thanks to those of you who entered the Ben Hewitt book giveaway. Herbalist Wendy Stevens, from Weare, New Hampshire will be the lucky recipient of Ben’s two books, Making Supper Safe and The Town That Food Saved. Appropriately, the books will be exchanged at the Weare Farmers Market, tomorrow evening.

I asked readers to share their observations of their own local food season and to comment on something that they observe that gives them hope. Continue reading

The Scents of Spring

Found Well Farm

First came the scent of mud. Moving quickly to the scent of trees in bud, grass emerging from winter dormancy, soil coming alive—the fresh smell that can be characterized as nothing other than green. It’s a scent made more intense by spring rain. Continue reading

Farming for the Future

Compost Bin Signs

This post relates to the Week Three readings and discussion in our local Menu for the Future course. Whether you’re participating here in Concord, following along from afar or simply have thoughts on this topic—please comment!

We’re a group of eaters, with not a farmer among us. Yet, at the third week of our Menu for the Future course, we dug into organic farming details that aren’t usually part of mainstream consumer discussions about eating organically. Many of us are gardeners, so seeing ourselves as farmers of a sort was fairly easy to do. A group comfortable with the topic at hand, to be sure.

Continue reading