Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dear Peach: Love, Rhubarb

“We need to get on these vegetables. We are close to disaster in here,” Andy said as he crammed the half and half back into the refrigerator between cascading cucs and billowing broccoli. By “we” he means me, my family’s food grower, harvester and preservationist. This week, I started with the 80 pounds of peaches I bought from a local orchard. I buy the split pit peaches, which can be literally translated: the pit is split in two and there is sometimes (like 1 in every 8 peaches) an earwig or seven hanging out in there. The split pit peach flavor is the same and my kids have fun opening the peaches in search of the copper bugs. Also, they are $1 per pound which is quite enjoyable. Alice and 80 pounds of peaches Ruby and I went at it this year, spending Margot’s first days at school in the kitchen covered in peach juice, eating peaches, cutting peaches, peeling peaches, boiling peaches, cooling down peaches, puréeing peaches and squealing over surprise earwigs. not for peach butter, these peaches are on a baking stone to freeze so they won’t stick when we bag them Me: Ruby, I love you. My little peach.Ruby: I not a peach! Silly mama.Me: No?Ruby: I your sweet potato. Your rhubarb. Your cat-pillar. (All my nicknames for her. Doesn’t she resemble a sweet furry little catepillar?) Me: True. Will you be my peach too?Ruby: OK, mama. Thank you. Then you be my rhubarb. My canning setup: 1. Fresh peaches2. Boiling water for blanching, to loosen skins3. Ice water, to cool so skins slip off.4. Bowl for pits and skins.5. Water with a dash of ascorbic acid (to prevent browning) to hold halved peaches6. Pot over low heat for peaches preparing to be butter.7. One of my most favorite things I own: a big slotted copper spoon with a hand-forged iron handle My peach butter recipe and canning tutorial HERE.  We canned about half the peaches and have eaten and shared about 10 pounds, leaving 30 pounds of really ripe peaches to preserve, stat. We cut and froze some and right this minute making Peach Salsa from Marissa McClellan’s fabulous new book Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. I’ve been a fan of Marisa’s blog for a while now and was so excited to learn she was to publish this book! And then thrilled for the opportunity to review her book. It’s gorgeous, creative and full of wonderful recipes. Food in Jars is a killer resource for those who want to begin canning as it beautifully and thoroughly explains process with accessibility and ease. It’s also a great addition to the seasoned preserver’s library — it’s creative and full of interesting recipes like Caramelized Red Onion Relish and Pickled Sweet Cherries. I’m also a big fan of the section titled Other Foods in Jars with recipes like Rosemary Salt and Mo’s Famous Whole Grain Pancake Mix. I am devouring this book. And one of you lucky ducks could win one, courtesy of Running Press! Leave a comment for a shot at it. If you’d like, link up to what you’re preserving this season. ** comments closed ** WINNER: Lucky #24: About me: said…I really want to start canning as well. I just purchased a box of Ball supplies, including the jar lifter and a magnetic thingy for pulling the lids out of the boiling water. Look around thrift stores for the canner and basket. This book would be a great help! Amy Congrats, Amy! Everyone else: buy the book! You will be happy you did. *GIVEAWAY TERMS: Winner randomly selected on the morning of Wednesday, September 5 and announced HERE in this very post, at the bottom. Please check back or leave your email in your comment. If the winner doesn’t claim their prize within two weeks, I’ll randomly select another. Read more on Dear Peach: Love, Rhubarb…
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the second first day

“Mama, can I please be in charge of my preschool?” Margot asked during our back-to-school shopping yesterday afternoon. She went on to explain that our whole family could be involved but she wanted to call the shots. Namely, open the door, walk in first, say hi to teachers and kids, find her cubby. Demonstrate her independence, leadership and ownership. I get it. I smiled and listened and felt that same heave as the first day last year — the swelling ache that happens in the exact place where she occupied my core for nine months. My body has a physical reaction to her growth, just like it did when she grew from a cashew to a pumpkin, just like it did when it contracted and pushed her into the world, just as it always will every frozen moment of pinch-myself-that’s-my-awesome-daughter for the rest of my life. She’s been excited for weeks now, asking often when school would start. Last night she laid out her clothes, helped me pack her backpack and told me what she’d like for lunch on that first day. I love packing her lunch a whole lot. This morning, we snuggled in bed for a long, really fun bit where she giddily, regularly screeched I am going to school today! In the kitchen, I poured the coffee Andy had made just before he left for work, prepared oatmeal and discovered a little surprise from daddy. In addition to coffee, he had also made cookies for his girl. Arriving, Margot entered with upperclassman confidence through the giant double doors to the sign-in table, casually saying good morning to the director and locating her starfish hook. She was proud and exceedingly happy. Heave. My little extrovert explored, introduced herself and found a place next to her friend Lucy at the art table. Earlier she had asked me to stay for a bit and read a book. Ruby and I sat with her and, after a few minutes, she smiled and said. “OK mom, I love you. Give me a kiss. You and Ruby can go now.” And so we embraced. I held her wondrous little kid frame, inhaled, pressed my cheek to hers and whispered I love you so much. I left, Ruby on my hip and a little sad to leave her sister, Margot all pigtails and giggles, writing her name with a red marker. In charge. Read more on the second first day…
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nuggets: day trip

nuggets: bits of the season in photos and words At one time in my life, summer meant long weekends where I carefully packed all I’d need on my back into the woods. It meant late night outdoor concerts, summiting peaks, road trips that ended hours before my work week-alarm would sound. It is probably a combination of have two small kids and a new house but, now? I hunker here, my home the trailhead, my neighborhood the summit, my deck the concert. I’ve always been a cocktail of homebody and socialite and this summer, I nestled my family’s days close to home. We didn’t do ‘much’ in the way of organized tripping or activity. And yet. And yet, adventure was high. It’s all about the day trip, the small exploration. It can be squeezed into the tiniest window, there’s always room. summer nuggets :: gathering, bare skin :: getting to know our patch of earth, dreaming of next year I have received many garden questions and am planning a post soon. Also, I will update you on the future of Virgin Harvest! Do you have a gardening question? Ask in the comments here. :: sunrise, coffee :: river swims, rock studies :: cooking with the harvest, both ours and that shared by friends :: park visits, errand running walking to daddy’s art talk at the Missoula Art Museum :: the weird, the colorful. the fair. :: walking up canyons, science class this angle makes it appear that Ruby’s neck wasn’t supported. I assure you, it was! :: sleeping on the deck, watching sky turn from blue to star-spangled :: staying home, following boredom’s creativity This summer, we experienced a lot in not doing much. I feel so appreciative to get intimate with the abundance in this place, our home. School starts next week and with it, a new structure to our weekly rhythm. Until then, a few more day trips. ps In this week’s mama digs, I wrote about a bad choice I made and how I moved through it. Click to read mama digs: Space. Read more on nuggets: day trip…
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dig this sponsor: tart

Welcome back to dig sponsor tart! This fabulous store is located in Bozeman, Montana and online for your easy shopping excitement. tart is a wonderful source for gift-giving or self-indulging (we find something we can’t live without every time we visit — Margot’s new favorite book). Everything sold is made in Montana! In tartress Anna Visscher’s words: With an emphasis on recycled, repurposed and sustainable materials, tart strives to support Montana artists while minimizing its environmental footprint. Oh – and getting you the very finest wearable and wallable art around. tart offers all dig readers free shipping with coupon code DIG THIS. This month, tart exhibits the stunning cut paper artwork by Karin Neff. From tart’s website, about Karin’s approach: Reducing a three-dimensional landscape or flower to two dimensions requires hours and hours of just looking; mentally de-constructing the parts that make up the whole. Karin also creates reproductions of her original pieces (check out the notecards!) and she put together a fabulous 2013 calendar. One of you lucky ducks will win one! Leave a comment, answering this question: What’s your favorite part of summer? For another entry, like tart on facebook and leave a separate comment here telling us you did so. ** comments closed ** WINNER: Lucky #45: DeRae said…Thank you for the opportunity!!! Congrats, DeRae! Always fun when someone I know wins. thank you, tart! *TERMS: Winner randomly selected on the morning of Monday, August 27 and announced HERE in this very post, at the bottom. Please check back or leave your email in your comment. If the winner doesn’t claim their prize within two weeks, I’ll randomly select another. :: :: ::  Here at dig we love to work with businesses and organizations whose product and practice our family values.  To read more about dig sponsorship, click here. Read more on dig this sponsor: tart…
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home tour: sunroom

We are mostly settled into our home. Honestly I think it will take us into the winter (of 2013) to tackle all those last few (dozen) boxes full of random stuff I didn’t miss but can’t let go of. You know the cds, old art, thousands of photographs, outdoor gear, books. Holy hell we have a lot of books. Read more on home tour: sunroom…
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