...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Are You Going to Wisconsin State Fair? Parsley, Sage...

"Daddy, Daddy, can I get a chicken?!"

Polish Chicken
Buff Brahma Chicken
"Really, do you have to?"
Ben and Vera made their inaugural visits to the Wisconsin State Fair on Sunday afternoon.  It was fun for all; I can't believe I hadn't attended in several years.  It was a scene, as you might expect--kids on leashes, lots of "state fair hair," and the aroma of grease floating on the breeze--but we managed to see everything we wanted.  We checked out the livestock barns where Vera had a nice close look at what could be her only pet some day--chickens!  I was obsessed with the beautiful coloring and feathers on many of these birds.  She also checked out the ducks, geese, "bunnies," sheep, "moos," and horses.  While passing through the horse barn I actually ran into someone from my hometown--another Paris-ite (that's Paris, IL)--who was there showing his family's Clydesdales.  He let us "behind the scenes" to get a special look at one of them.  Vera was a bit spooked by such a huge animal.  State Fair foodwise I did not buy a cream puff, I did not sample any chocolate covered bacon, I did not try anything that came "on a stick," and I most certainly did not taste the cheesburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut.  Ugh!  The mere thought!!!  After watching a horse pull, and getting a few laughs out of the crazy products they're selling at the Expo Center, we capped it off with a stroll through the Horticulture, Crafts, and Culinary Pavilion.  I have hope!  There are still many many talented artisans out there handknitting, baking from scratch, and canning gorgeous preserves.  I would love to go back and spend a couple of hours examining the details of all these projects.  Impressive!  We also managed to sniff out some local food at the Wisconsin Products Pavilion--Ben tried a local bison burrito, Vera munched on a local apple and honey stick, while I savored a lamb gyro from my friends at Pinn-oak Ridge Farm in Delavan, WI.  Sure beats the Colossal Corn Dogs they were offering on the midway.
Whoa Horsey!
Wall of plants
I took a photo of this interesting wall of plants at the fairgrounds.  These aren't necessarily all vining, but they've been planted in such a way that they grow to look like they're climbing.  I wonder if I could incorporate this into our yard next year.  Maybe with some kind of veggies?

Black Raspberry Jam
Today it was truly back to reality after our vacation.  Everyone went back to "work."  I managed to squeak out a small batch of wild black raspberry jam while Vera napped.  With what I foraged I had 6 cups of berries--enough for 3 1/2 half-pints.  A couple for us to try and at least one for Ben to take on his annual Fall Classic canoe trip with his buddies where he always make a point of exploiting my homemaker skills with his assigned food items.  That's okay, I know they'll enjoy it.

I came up with an interesting raw salad today based on what's pouring out of the garden and our CSA farm right now.  This is a sort of slaw that could be made with kohlrabi or green cabbage.

Kohlrabi and Rhubarb Slaw
Serves 8

One could also add oil to the dressing mixture.  Sliced apples can be substituted for rhubarb.

3 small kohlrabi, peeled
2 green onions, chopped
3 salad turnips
1 stalk celery
3 stalks rhubarb, trimmed
2 T. lemon juice
3 T. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. walnuts
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the kohlrabi and turnips into chunks that can fit through the shoot of a food processor fitted with a shredder blade.  Shred the kohlrabi and turnips and put into a large mixing bowl.  Change to a slicer plate and add the rhubarb and celery; add to the mixing bowl.   Combine the lemon juice, parsley, vinegar and whisk until blended.  Pour over kohlrabi mixture.  Add nuts, toss and season to taste.


  1. hey, I've been wondering if the rhubarb is still alright to harvest? I got quite a bit in the spring and now my plant has grown back and looks good but I'm not sure if it is OK to cut. any advice? thanks. this slaw looks yummy.