“… truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm.
For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.”
Herman Melville in Moby-Dick
Lately, I have a lot on my plate but I couldn’t be happier…because that plate involves a lot of food. I have started doing PR and marketing for the new local business, Thom’s Bread, and it is so much fun. Plus the bread is to die for. If you try it once, it instantly becomes a favorite. Tonight I had a mini product photo shoot pairing the Rosemary ciabatta with Linden Dale goat cheese. After I got the shots that I wanted, I ate it all up.
Watch for blog posts at Thom’s Bread, soon to come.
The holidays are almost over. All the cookies, decorating, family gatherings and familiar Christmas tunes will soon be gone and all will resume to normal. I, for one, will be sad to see it go. “Holiday spirit” really took hold of me this year, making our house more pleasant than I’ve ever remembered it. Our applesauce and cinnamon ornaments hung from our enormous tree, with cranberries draped from its branches and lace tied in bows. Cookies were accessible at all times and the Rat Pack Christmas albums were placed on top of John Denver and Amy Grant’s.
We were most lucky to spend the holiday with family, and lots of it. Every year, as I get older, my heart seems to swell with joy to love and be loved by my own family and the family of the person that I love. Spending time with them reminds me how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing, truly good people. And if that’s not enough to make your days merry and bright, I don’t know what is.
This weekend Nick and I purchased our first Christmas tree together. It was a spontaneous decision – we just pulled into the parking lot and decided to look around…45 minutes we left with an 8 foot tree. Good thing we drove the pick-up. We also ran across the highway to get hot cocoa. It seemed necessary.
I can’t wait to decorate the tree! We put lights up so far, but now we must collect/make ornaments since we don’t have any saved from years past. Doing this together will be one of my favorite memories years from now. My favorite parts so far have been watching Nick carry the huge tree into the house, and holding the tree steady to put it in the stand. My face was nestled into the branches as I hugged it to stay upright and the scent of the tree brought to mind so many lovely childhood Christmas memories. I now lean in, very closely, to smell it each time I walk by.
But until we can share pictures of our tree, I’ve brought to you a small DIY Christmas project this evening. If you have been inspired by the amazing wreaths from Terrain like I have been, you may be itching to hang one of your own ( but hesitating on the price). It is very simple to make your own wreath and there are tons of varieties out there! I suggest going for a walk to find some ‘ingredients’ from nature. For my own wreath, I used a large branch from our Christmas tree that we had to remove to put the tree in the stand. For the ring you can use wire, embroidery hoops, or basically anything round you don’t mind hot glueing tree branches onto. Nick found an old lamp shade in the garage for me.
Working with small pieces, I glued the branches in a circular motion around the outer rim first. It took almost an hour to fill in the entire area, but I was quite happy with the final project. Especially happy that I can smell Christmas as soon as I’m home.
What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.
- Hermann Hesse
I wish the corn were this short and tomorrow I’d nap in the grass and that it was the beginning of the summer and not the end just quite yet.
Well friends, who likes tomatoes?
Our Garden. It is once again a little better than the year before, but not free of mistakes. We grow food and we learn. We learn that only one squash plant is necessary for a family of two. Our single black beauty zucchini squash plant has taken over by force. I think it literally ate my artichoke plant, because now it is nowhere to be found. And the harvest never ends, we’ve had zucchini for what seems like months. I do remember it being my strongest little seedling but geez! We are learning ways to hide zucchini into dishes and baked goods, and we are sharing recipes with friends.
And then there are the leafy greens. We learned they need more space. They were planted too closely together this year, and still made it, but you can just tell they should be better. Bigger and stronger. I’ve seen a kale plant with a stalk as thick as my arm and as tall as a toddler. Ours are not. But we’ve learned.
We also should have eaten more mustard greens and kale, but maybe we’ll have a second chance in the fall. The bright lights swiss chard is still vibrant and growing strong, and for what I thought was a cool weather plant, it is showing such endurance even through this heat. There is a particular bug that likes to chomp at it though…we better eat up.
And it’s not over yet. Now we wait. Tomato season is ever so steadily approaching. We check our plants morning and night to pluck a ripe little yellow cherry tomato here, an orange one there. We slice them thinly and savor each bite for now, but in a few weeks (I’m eagerly awaiting) the moment when we realize we are drowning in tomatoes from our 16 plants. I’ll “complain” that I have to can them, and find friends to come over to take some off our hands, and eat tomatoes morning, noon and night. It will be the best part of the summer yet.
Each tomato will be a celebration of another year of gardening.
Creamy Pasta with Ham, Peas, and Mint & Spicy Pork Belly Confit
I’ve posted two new recipes on the Sweet Stem Farm blog…check them out!
I’m also very excited to announce my first “Foodie” blog post for Fig Magazine here.
And my apologies for being so absent, dear blog world. I promise to return.