Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Farm City

Hostess: Jennifer
Book: Farm City by Novella Carpenter
Food: Roasted Vegetables, fruit salad, chocolate and vanilla pudding tarts, cheese tortellini with pesto, Boursin cheese dip with basil and tomatoes
Wine of the Night: Lucky Duck Malbec
Month: May

I read this book immediately after last month's book club, and then had to wait a whole month to talk about it! This book was an interesting departure from our normal book club books, and I really enjoyed it. I have to say though, this hits a lot of notes with me, since I am really interested in urban gardening, farming, and food - but not necessarily butchering meat. Actually, not anything related to eating meat at all.

I loved this book - although to be honest I did skip a few parts. As a warning, this has a lot of animal slaughter in it! I did appreciate that Carpenter did care about her animals and treated them humanely before killing and eating them. She put alot of effort into feeding them, and making sure that they were well taken care of. One thing I thought was interesting were how the neighborhood children responded, with curiosity and awe. It was probably the only time some of those kids had seen a real live turkey or pig. My favorite parts were the ones involving the bees and her neighbor, who was always trying to get Carpenter to go vegetarian. Chrissy liked those parts too, and Jennifer and Chrissy both really liked her 30 day challenge of eating food that was within 500 yards of her, or something like that. It was extreme local eating. There is one part during that section with Carpenter and a fruit tree that very vividly stands out from the book for some reason. There really are so many different things that happen in this book, it is a great read. And if you are like me, squeamish about animal death, I didn't feel it detracted from the book to have skipped those parts.

If you are interested, Carpenter has her own blog http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/, where you can read more about her endeavors in urban farming.

Next month is Chrissy's pick, The Lost City of Z. I have been wanting to read this book, and have been putting it off for months, so I am glad it is our book club book.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Farm Girl

Ok, so I am not exactly a farm girl type. Too squeamish and vegetarian. Nor was this picture taken today, it was taken years ago at my cousin Meghan's engagement party. But today Billy and I did farm-ish things with our day. We wanted to get out into the first nice day we have had in a long time and were just going to poke around our area a bit.

We began by going to the Grosse Ile Herb Fest - and it wasn't that kind of herb, either, though for some reason this event name makes me think of the illegal herb. They advertised selling heirloom plants, herbs, and other herbish things. I bought some things from a booth selling lotions, soaps, and that sort of thing. Two are gifts so I am not telling what they are! But rest assured they smell very pretty. I think we got there too late to really take advantage of the plant selling, by the time we got there it was pretty much picked over and not much left. But we strolled around Grosse Ile's Centennial Farm for a bit, visited their cute animal shelter, where I saw some decorative ideas that would be so cute in the shelter I volunteer at, and envied the dog park. I would love a dog park in our city, and I am sure that Penny would too! We finished up the festival and our explorations pretty quickly, and decided that we were going to leave the island and try to find the ingredients for dinner by shopping roadside stands with vegetables, eggs, etc. Like a fresh food ingredient scavenger hunt.

Well, we must have picked the wrong direction, because we didn't find any roadside stands. We did bumble onto Calder's Dairy Farm though. As a side note here, I love Calder's Dairy, I grew up near the Calder's store (the one not near the farm) and my grandfather would always take us to Calder's for ice cream in the summer. Calder's Farm is open 7 days a week to visitors from 10-8, and it is free, if you can believe it. We wandered around, ate ice cream (this was twice in one weekend for me, and I usually eat ice cream once a year!), bought milk in glass jars and some other stuff like brown eggs from the roaming Calder chickens, and then - the best thing - we saw a newborn calf! As in 15 minutes old newborn! It was so sweet to see the momma cow licking her baby clean, and watching the baby stand for the very first time!!! I am glad we didn't wander into the barn while she was giving birth, I am not sure that I could have witnessed that, but seeing it all cute and spindly legged like Bambi was awesome. If I can figure out how to get the picture off my phone, I will upload it. Of course today of all days I opted to leave my camera behind. I didn't want any distractions today.

We ended our day a bit earlier than we wanted to, for some reason we are both feeling not the greatest. I have a killer sore throat! And I still don't know what we are doing for dinner. But all in all, what a cool day. It renewed my interest in forming a commune with my friends somewhere, so I can have goats, chickens and apple trees, and Chrissy and Devin can have bees. Who knows, maybe one day I will be a farm girl.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This May began in a circus of energy that has not slowed down for one second! I have had mini-pockets of peace here and there, but for the most part I have been running to and fro like a crazed energizer bunny. (or is the energizer bunny already crazed?) The picture is my cousin's daughter, who with her fiery hair and energy is almost the embodiment of my month so far.

It started with our book fair, which I already mentioned briefly. This is a huge fundraiser for our library, a week long event that involves a lot of overtime on my behalf -and the hard work of my family and friends who are kind enough to assist me. It paid off this year for certain, we made more this year than any other year previously. I hope that this is a sign that the economy in our area is boosting a little bit. Michigan could certainly use the boost!

It is also nearing the end of the school year, which involves a change from my normal routine at work - we are adding in ordering for next year, inventory, and most importantly, the rounding up of all overdue library books. Doing this always makes me feel like the meanest person on earth, hounding students for their books or their money to pay for a lost book. Unfortunately, if we didn't follow up, the school would be out at least $1500 in books a year! And considering that is just a bit more than we make per fundraiser, we would never have any new books. So, it is a dirty job but a necessary one. I have also been working more assignments in my role as a freelance contributor for the Wyandotte Patch, where I shot the city's Spring Fling event, Cinco De Mayo Festival, and most recently the city wide garage sale. I love going out and mingling with people; I have found that most are pretty accommodating about having their pictures taken, much more than I would be! I hate having my own taken.

In between all of this working that is going on, Billy and I have been carving out moments of peace. We had a perfect weekend a few weekends ago, when we visited nearby Crosswinds Marsh. We left our home early in the morning, and managed to catch the marsh at a perfect time. We saw Barn Swallows, gaggles and gaggles of goslings, swans nesting, an eagle near his nest, and the weather itself was exactly right- warm with a breeze. It was a great day, and I hope that this weekend we will get a chance to go to Oakwoods Metropark - I find that when my life turns hectic, a walk through the trails there are enough to clear my head and reconnect with Billy and the natural world around us.

If only it doesn't rain! It has rained here almost everyday, so fingers crossed for another beautiful day over the upcoming weekend!

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week!

Read Last Week:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: This book took a little bit to get rolling for me. I really enjoyed it, especially the closer I got to the end, which was bittersweet, since by that point I didn't want it to end. I liked Diana, and I loved Matthew, but together they kind of bother me. I dislike when the heroine gets so involved with her significant other that they act they will die if the other is away from them any length of time. It was the main reason I really disliked Bella and Edward in Twilight too. I loved the slow awakening of Diana's powers, and how they revealed themselves. I think the thing I loved most though, was how geeked Diana got when she learned she could first, talk to Matthew about history, what it was really like to live during certain events and times, and then second, that she could actually visit them by timewalking. My degree is in History, and although I am not a historian like Diana, I would have felt the same as she did about these things. I am looking forward to 2012, when the sequel will be published.

Currently Reading:

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert- I am really excited to be reading this book. My husband's family is Hawaiian, and when you trace his genealogy, he has ancestors from Moloka'i. I don't think they were lepers though.

Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman - I am a big fan of Alice Hoffman, and I found this book at a church rummage sale and realized I had never read it. It was a lucky find!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Coy Swan

Crosswinds Marsh - So many swans this weekend, it was beautiful!

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila atBook Journeywhere you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week!

I didn't read anything last week! I was chairing our school's fundraiser for the school library, a Scholastic book fair, which consumed my entire week! By the time I got home from work I was exhausted. But we raised alot of money for our school library, that we can use to buy new books for the students! So it was worth all the time and effort.

Currently Reading:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: I am 1/3 of the way through this book so far. It seems to have a slow start, but I am enjoying it nevertheless.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Holy Crepe!

The weekend may have been cold without much sun, but it has been a pretty fantastic weekend anyway. It was a rather eating based weekend, but I am not complaining about that! I will just have to make up for it next weekend with a lot of hiking!

Saturday Billy and I went to Eastern Market, just to hang out, figure out what we wanted to plant, and people watch. My favorite vendor was there, Patisserie by Matt Knio, who makes the best almond croissants! I could eat a million of these, but then I would have to buy a whole new wardrobe in a larger size. But they are that good, that you want to almost take that chance. Billy also bought a container garden of mixed greens, that we are excited about eating from this spring and summer.

And to continue on the good eating trend, Chrissy and I went to What Crepe in Royal Oak- out of all the crepe places I have been to recently, this one is by far my favorite. I loved the decor, the food, the service, it was a total package experience and I can't wait to go back. We ended up bringing half our crepes home, because we splurged and got an appetizer of Crispies with Nutella- fabulous! They were crispy ittle crepe pieces, that you dip into Nutella. Delicious! I ordered a mushroom, spinach, asparagus and feta crepe, and I think I am going to eat the leftover for dinner in a few hours, if I am even hungry by then. If not, Billy will be eating some great leftovers. We shopped around the town, but actually ended up only buying cupcakes to share with Billy and Devin from Taste Love Cupcakes- I bought a Strawberry Champagne cupcake (which were apparently made this week to celebrate the Royal Wedding) and a Breakfast cupcake, which I couldn't resist with all the cinnamon sprinkled on top! We will be eating these later.

On a different note, I was nerdily excited yesterday when three books I had on hold at the library came in - A Discovery of Witches, Molokai, and The Peach Keeper. Then when I got home from the library, one of my paperback swap requests was in my mailbox!

Sometimes it is these simple moments that can make me the happiest - time with family, good food, and good books. This weekend I had it all!