...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.


To Market To Market...

Black tote for my jars in the co-op bulk section
...to buy a fat bag of vintage patterns and other odds and ends.  Yesterday was the second Elkhorn Antique Flea Market of the season.  Originally I wasn't planning to attend because I was going to sign up for a Bee Symposium at the Urban Ecology Center to log hours towards the completion of my beekeeping certificate.  But when I realized that I cannot make it to either the August or September flea markets I had to change my plans and sort of "skip class" (there will be other bee events this season.)  I was solo on this trip to the market because my partner in crime was out of town and Ben said he'd spend the day with Vera so I could have a personal day.  I could hardly sleep the night before.  It reminded me of childhood family vacations when my parents would choose to pull out of town before the crack of dawn.  We three kids would do our best to get a few winks amid all the mental stimulation of the upcoming trip.  Too bad I didn't know about melatonin capsules then...or valerian root for that matter.  This past Sunday gave me a similar excitement.  I voluntarily got up with the sun and was amazed at how quickly I can extract myself as a party of one.  Sipped my coffee and shuffled my soundtrack for the ride, which floated from Patty Griffin, Erasure, and Morrissey to Radiohead, Beth Orton, and the Commodores as I cruised a well-worn path along 43-South.  This was a trip I made maaaaany times--usually fully caffeinated then too--as I commuted nearly every weekend during my internship at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.  It was a gorgeous Sunday morning, I was alone in my car with some delicious black coffee, and had a buzz going by the time I got to the market.  The booths and vendors certainly did not disappoint.  I have learned to go with very limited cash and when it's gone, I leave.  Do not pass GO, do not stop at the ATM to collect $200.  I found a size ~7-8 linen handmade jumper for Vera to grow into, a black wooden carrier for toting my pint jars to the bulk section at the co-op (this was at the top of my list and the last thing I found!), and some cool vintage patterns--the booth owner said to me "can you afford to sew anymore?" Because she knows how expensive new patterns and fabric can be.  She doesn't know my money-saving secrets--buy both patterns and fabric secondhand, reuse, repurpose, and upcycle.  My favorite score of the day, which I found at a vintage clothing booth though it wasn't vintage itself, was a pair of red leather sling back Dansko clogs, just my size for $10!!!  (I've had such good luck finding Danskos for next to nothing).  I believe that every girl should have a pair of red shoes--I just happen to have four pairs (even thrift-shoppers have vices.)  I was out of the market and the hot sun by 11 AM and home knitting by afternoon.  I had the best time!

Berries creating condensation as they're warm from the sun
This morning we jumped right back into our week with a huge string of errands that included a trip to our CSA farm to pick strawberries.  I'm kicking myself for forgetting my camera.  Not only was Vera adorable as she sat on the sidelines gorging herself on these red jewels--mouth and hands stained pink--but cute as a button as she popped out of the hoophouse later with Farmer Sandy and a handful of freshly yanked carrots.  I wiped the dirt off of them on my jeans and she ate them immediately, making sure to save the tops for the chickens.  We  thought we'd get V to go for a ride on the tractor with Sandy, but she was a bit too timid today--tired perhaps, but maybe just not ready for the big machinery yet.  It's much less intimidating in the library books.  We also got to see Peaches the pig and a long, loud freight train go right by.  It was a great way to start the week and I'm so glad we have great farmer friends and an opportunity like this to expose Vera to the barnyard.

We wandered the South Shore Farmers' Market on Saturday where I grabbed a beautiful head of Napa cabbage to make some slaw to go with our grilled burgers that night.  I will leave you with one of my favorite slaw recipes in case you're looking for a dish to prepare on the 4th.  We're heading to the east coast this week where I hope to sample some local fare, namely "lawbsta" and a clam roll.  Happy Independence Day!

Asian Coleslaw
Makes 12 servings

Many of the ingredients can be shredded together in the food processor for a quicker preparation.  Feel free to take liberties with other vegetables.  I found this to be a great way to use a lot of what's currently in season.

7 c. shredded Napa cabbage (I used the food processor)
1 c. fermented or fresh red cabbage
1 c. shredded radish leaves
1/2 c. finely diced spring onions
1/2 c. finely chopped chives
1 c. loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 c. fresh snap peas, sliced on a diagonal
1-2 medium carrots, shredded
3 T. sesame seeds
3/4 c. olive oil/flaxseed oil
3 T. rice wine or coconut vinegar 
1 T. salt/soy sauce/ or nam pla (fish sauce)
1/2 t. dark sesame oil
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. sunflower seeds/peanuts/sliced almonds

Combine first 9 ingredients (Napa through sesame seeds) in a large bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients except sunflower seeds/almonds.  Whisk.  Add oil mixture to cabbage mixture; toss well to combine.  Sprinkle with seeds/nuts.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.  (Once the slaw "marinates" for a while, the volume really decreases, but it's still enough for several servings--you just may not need a huge bowl.)

1 comment:

  1. My 10 year old red Danskos have about had it. Every year I swear that I've retired them, and I still grab them every time. I seriously have to get to that flea... and seriously have to make this slaw!