IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I almost wrote 4/3/17 when I signed off this post.  What a scatterbrain.

Maybe that’s why this never happens to me.

April kind of went by in a blur.  But, oh! May! The flowers and birds are happy-go-larky.

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Nature always inspires me.  So does Wendell Berry~ poet, farmer, environmentalist.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

Wild things and totes work for me. Hey, I ain’t no drag, I got a brand new bag.

 

How did I ever manage without it? It’s gentle on my shoulders ~ a-a-h ~ and the best part?  I know where everything is. And I mean everything.

 

Do you have a pen pal? Here’s mine. What a sweetie!!!

 

We’ll be together soon. Until then, I’m on turtle watch.

 

So, what are you (screen) watching? I’m finishing up Offspring, the Australian series. And The Great British Baking Show~ you know, the Downton Abbey of cakes and torts. Did you watch it?  It made me crave cheesecake tiers and lady fingers and sponges and macarons and frangipanes….well, you get the idea. I really love that tent and everyone under it.

 

I just finished (virtually) traveling to every US state with Stephen Fry, in a traditional British black cab. He gets right under the skin of American life~ the good, the bad, and the ugly. Give it a try. On Netflix, one of many intensely good documentaries.

Oh, this. Skip the movie, A Man Called Ove. Read the book. Precious.

 

Speaking of books, I checked out (and renewed) way too many books at the library this month.  Plus all my requests on OverDrive seem to come in all at once.
If you’re anything like me (and I suspect you are), you have a TBR list. Mine is out of control.

 

There’s time enough, but none to spare.

~Charles W. Chesnutt

How will I read them all?  Will I?  And then I read this. 

HOW MANY BOOKS WILL YOU READ BEFORE YOU DIE? SPOILER: IT DEPENDS ON HOW OLD YOU ARE RIGHT NOW

 

What are you reading now?  I’m between a thriller and a hard place.

I’m super excited about the new Richard Russo book that comes out this month. Trajectory, his new collection of short fiction.

 

Summer’s here! I’ve got my seed catalog dog-eared. My head is in the clouds dirt.  I can’t wait to see the garden grow….

…to the strains of Nestor Torres. I saw him perform, what a talent.
He’s on my Pandora, non-stop.

OMG, I finished listening to S-Town!!!! SO good. Did you? Can we talk?
Tell me, what’s up with you? It’s May….got plans?

 Toni 5/3/17

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

YOU CAN PUT THAT SALT GRINDER DOWN

Here we are, all the way into the August of another year.  The garden is exploding.

I think that a vegetable garden shouldn’t just be functional…it should be pretty to look at. So come see how my garden grows…and shows.

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And, yes, I’m here to suggest you put that salt grinder down.

 

Herbs.   I love.

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Here’s my case for the herbal sense of taste:  Herbs add just the right tang of green to food. They may be sublime ingredients, but they’re not shy or retiring. They’re free-spirited and supernal, divinely edible and summer-sweet healthy.

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It’s August 29, so let’s all celebrate MoreHerbs, Less Salt Day.   Call it a passion-raising plug for a finer solution.
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Just a little rosemary, thyme, or oregano will enrich a dish as much as a heavy dose of salt.

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My favorite herb is basil. It’s besiegingly lovely. Beyond utterance. This year, I’ve got a bull-moose bumper crop of Biblical measure.

Gardening with herbs, which is becoming increasingly popular, is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.
– Helen Morgenthau Fox

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When you make dinner tonight, instead of adding salt, use a few herbs.  Get the skinny here on Twitter.

Whatever you eat, it’s best when herbs are involved.

Summa cum yummy.  I guarantee it.

 

 

Toni 8/29/16   ps Zucchini still coming? Be an expert.  Herbs make it better with a little feta. Try this.