LIVING OFF THE URBAN LAND

One of the most fun experiences I’ve had this winter was a Monday evening spent making sourdough bread at Ground Floor Farm.

Here’s how much fun it was: I don’t like to muck around with sticky dough and I had a great time.


I marvel at this ‘farm’ building on SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in the city of Stuart, FL. It wasn’t always such an urban dreamscape. I try to picture the street-savvy religious mission it used to be. Red-hot and righteous, the Salvation Army occupied this space off Colorado Avenue not that long ago.


Across the country, the Salvation Army plunges headlong into the emerging commercial culture of city life. Across town, so does the Ground Floor Farm.

I can tell a lot about a place by its chickens.


I heard about the farm but it wasn’t really on my radar until a chef at a local sandwich shop sang its praises. I realize now what all the fuss was about. Nothing else has measured up since.


I judge a farm or market to be a keeper if it adds something new and healthy to my diet. Food is medicine, after all.  And I just love the sense of discovery, don’t you?

 

Take a walk with me around the farm. Not a single thing or inch of space goes to waste.

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In the kitchen, Jackie and her staff bake bread, make cheese, and ferment almost anything from veggies to beverages to vinegars and more.


There are honeybees, flowers, and a cafe. Tours, educational programs, and a year-round farmer’s market.
Oh, and Joy.
There’s Lots and Lots of Joy.

Jackie (my bread guru), Micah, and Mike are dedicated to growing and producing food using sustainable methods. Ground Floor Farm is part urban farm, part kitchen/workshop, part market, part art/events venue, part community space…. and totally magical.

If you ate today, thank a farmer.

So, about that bread.


I’m not sure the evening convinced me to switch permanently from my bread machine.


The process of creating this loaf takes time, love, and plenty of muscle. But it has undoubtedly added to my quality of life. This hand-crafted loaf – the crisp crust, the internal crumb, the yeasty aroma, the complex flavor — is a work of art. And its life-affirming force promotes friendship and conversation. That alone is worth the price of the workshop. (Do I sound like an ad? Enthusiasm in the face of such joy is unavoidable.)


I’m aching for some sourdough bread right this minute.
That’s the beauty of this disarmingly lovely loaf ~ I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Plus, with the discards from the starter, I can make cheeky chews like these.

Popovers!

Ground Floor Farm’s next endeavor? To build a pizza oven.
I have no choice but to return.

Toni 3/10/17

AN OPEN LETTER TO NEW TEACHERS

Dear Newbies,

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.

― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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It’s September. Again. And so the subject of why we do this crazy job is on my mind. Because let’s be honest~ teaching is grueling and rather grizzly. Fangs-in-the-neck intense. Every. Single. Day.

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But I feel lucky, having had this teaching life, even though it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 

There’s heartbreak. There’s triumph. And so much is out of your control.

But it’s worth it. I promise. It is so worth it.

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Plenty of mornings, I dreaded the drive to school, especially the cold bleak mornings of winter.

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But that first step into the classroom, well, it’s the best feeling ever. One absolute emotional liftoff.

Trust me, there are days when you’ll regret that decision. 243791-where-s-the-blanket-charlie-brown-windows-screenshot-sally

There are times you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel, move to an island paradise and eat roast pig for the rest of your days. Maeva!

But, oh, that classroom. Those faces. The teaching life.

It might just be your paradise.  I know it was mine.

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Love what you do, even when the bureaucratic balderdash is mind-riddling.

Know that you are making a difference in the world. Every. Single. Day.

Good Luck, First-Year Heroes!

 

Toni 9/19/2015

 

 

 

DID SOMEONE SAY #TBT?

$(KGrHqJHJ!4E8+iZ5cl8BPRDzP73bw~~60_12Scan 45 Scan 44Mom’s teaching certificate from Danbury Normal School, 1936

Note: The term “normal school” originated in the early 16th century from the French école normale. The French concept of an école normale was to provide a school with classrooms to model teaching practices to its student teachers.The children being taught, their teachers, and the teachers of the teachers were often together in the same building. Although a laboratory school, it was the official school for the children.

 

Toni 5/28/15