...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.


Here, There, and Everywhere

Salsa Party Setup
I felt like we were all over the place this weekend.  It was another whirlwind Friday through Sunday, but fun was had by all.  Friday night I put on my first preserving party.  A good friend had some other friends and co-workers interested in learning how to preserve so months ago we began organizing a salsa party.  She prepared a festive taco bar along with a pot of spicy tortilla soup, played Latin music, but stopped just short of running "La Bamba" on a loop on the basement television.  While the guests mingled, ate, drank, and made merry, I turned it on in the kitchen preparing salsa then demonstrating to the guests how to can it.  Everyone got to take home two jars of salsa as well as some other lovely parting gifts of Jane's choosing.  I don't know about all of them, but I had a blast!  I feel like many of the guests took home some new skills--or at least they now have a desire to try canning for themselves.  To be honest, I'd been a bit nervous about teaching food preservation to a group that had been imbibing, but I made sure to (mostly) abstain myself so that at least one person was guaranteeing the salsa's safety.  Perhaps in the future I can host bridal canning showers (give the gift of domestic skills) or more weekend preserving parties.

Spanish Eclectic Cottage
Saturday we drove down to Glen Ellyn, IL (western suburbs of Chicago) to visit Ben's parents.  And speaking of preservation, we went on the annual Historic Home Tour put on by the Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation.  We made it to four of the six homes/buildings on the tour.  I've always been taken by this kind of activity.  Ben says it's because I'm nosy about how people live, which is completely false (though I probably should have been an anthropology major).  What I really enjoy is seeing how people decorate they're homes and getting ideas for our own.  And ever since my "Living Environments" class in high school, I can easily geek out when discussing architectural features like clipped gables, rafter tails, and corbels.  We toured two gorgeous Arts and Crafts homes, which both had cozy nooks and smaller rooms that made me want to curl up then and there with a book or some good music.  We also toured a Prairie Style home as well as a "tiny" Spanish eclectic cottage--more elaborately decorated than my taste, but absolutely stunning.  I gathered lots of new ideas, especially for remodeling our own kitchen soon.

That night we got a sitter for Vera and drove into Chicago with Ben's parents for dinner at the Atwood Cafe on the ground floor of the Burnham Hotel.  We enjoyed a delicious local, seasonal menu then headed over to the Goodman Theatre to see a musical version of Candide by Voltaire.  We found this French satire, written in the mid 18th century, to be timeless.  Following all the unhappiness, hatred, and dishonesty in the world, it concluded with the central couple moving to a farm and growing vegetables--something hopeful for the future in this crazy world.  What a coincidence that we should see a performance like this.  Reminds me that we're doing the right thing in building our urban homestead.  Hopefully we too are building hope for the future.


  1. nce you decide what basic functions you need from your sink it is time for the fun part, deciding what look you want. There are so many styles to choose from you shouldn't have any problem finding just the right look.

  2. Thanks again Lady A.

    You rocked the salsa pot.

    An excellent presentation and calm demeanor in a small kitchen full of winos and boil'n jars!