My one year blog-anniversary

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One year ago I wrote my first blog post.  At that time I was embarking on a new life in a new town.  We had packed up the car with our two dogs, and left DC for Pennsylvania.  How have I spent my first year outside the office?  Well, let me tell you, it hasn’t been boring or mundane.   The journey has begun.

Let me count the ways.

I gained a new appreciation for sitting quietly by my peaceful pond and do nothing.

I put in a backyard garden and understood how hard it was to successfully grow food to feed yourself and your family.

I realized that not only did I not miss getting up every day to dress for the office and embark on the morning commute, but I didn’t miss spending the day in the office and keeping the boss happy.

I cultivated an eye for wildlife all around me:  Mallard ducks and woodpeckers, rabbits and deer and chipmunks and butterflies.  I learned to be patient and wait for them to come out and show themselves.

I got back into the practice of cooking not because I had to but because I wanted to.

I lingered in local shops to get to know strangers who became friends.  I let down my guard and learned that trust is easier than it seems.

I left the house without locking my door and didn’t think twice about it.

My blood pressure went down, way down and stayed low.

I stopped worrying about things that didn’t matter.

What about year two?

Now that I’ve taken a look back, what’s in store for me in the coming year?  One of the things I started with at the beginning of the year was genealogy research.  I started a project of finding out more about my family history just over a year ago.   Then life got in the way, most importantly, both of my parents, who are elderly, began to decline and became more frail.  We had to clear out their house to get it ready to sell.  I found a few of my relatives and connected with my second cousin who live in New Jersey.  My year two plan is to start the work of adding more leaves on the family tree and get it in a form that I can share with my relatives and for those who come behind me.

I want to write more, beyond the format of this blog.

My backyard garden project continues, with failures and successes.  Before the season ends I need to map my garden on paper and catalogue what worked and what didn’t.  Over the winter I will begin the task of planning the garden in a more scientific way, putting planting dates on the calendar, starting seeds indoors, and investigating ways to prevent pests from destroying my zucchini and eggplants.

We have travel plans in the next twelve months and beyond.  I will be blogging about that.

I want to try at least three new things.  Stay tuned!  No, I will not be jumping out of an airplane or bungee jumping.  I will be planting fruit trees, spending more time outdoors, and getting creative.

Want to join me?  What new things do you want to try?

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The green giant, or how many ways can you cook a zucchini?

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As the first of my harvest comes in I am reminded of what it must have been like to live off the land.  In the summer you ate whatever was in season.  You went out to the garden and that was what you ate.  No one at peaches in December or asparagus in September.  For the past week it has been all about zucchini at my house.   Soon it will be something else, and if I’m lucky, an assortment of vegetables.  Unfortunately, when you have one zucchini you have ten.  They don’t cooperate and ripen one at a time.  There is no way I can eat all these veggies, so I am coming up with imaginative ways to eat, store, or repurpose it.   This post is about the green wonder. Continue reading

How does your garden grow?

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Cauliflower in front surrounded by tomatoes plants.

I haven’t written anything about my garden project in a while.  This is part of my push for self-sufficiency and reducing my carbon footprint.  Why drive to the store and buy food that has traveled in a truck or train when you can grow it in the back yard?   Now, if I could only give up chocolate.  Unfortunately you can’t grow that anywhere in my neighborhood.

After weeks of rain, we now have the opposite — long, hot days.  I have to water every evening, carrying my two water cans back and forth to the standpipe to fill them, and then repeat.   I finally got a hose to attach to my existing one to reach the garden, and a spray attachment.  I promised to keep you informed about what was working and what was not.  Mostly, it has been successful, but there have been some challenges and some failures. Continue reading

Vegetable tagine with friends

Over the weekend we hosted our first dinner party.  Well, not exactly a party in the traditional 1950s sense, but a dinner with friends.   Since I love to eat and I love to cook it was an opportunity to try out something new.   I decided to focus the meal around Turkish food, one of my favorite cuisines.  What’s not to love?  Garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, olives, feta cheese . . . seriously, this is great food.

The lentil soup is already done.

The lentil soup is already done.

I stuck to some old standbys that I knew would come out well.  I started with baba ghanoush and artichoke hummus as starters with pita bread.  For the soup course I made a red lentil and bulgar soup.  For the main course I served zucchini squares and vegetable tagine. Continue reading

Time Travel at Zern’s Farmers Market

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On Friday nights and Saturdays the place to go for local food items and an assortment of other shopping pleasures is Zern’s.   This place is hard to describe.  It’s part food market, part flea market, and part craft market.  Wrap it all up into an indoor shopping experience in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania.   This iconic place has been around a long time.  As a boy in the 1960s, my husband rode his bicycle there from his home in Pottstown, about six miles .   Continue reading

Twas the night before Christmas . . .

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Twas the night before Christmas and in Marla’s house, we were busy preparing for a day that would not interest a mouse,

For we had no presents, no tinsel, no tree, just two grown up people in wait for a  day that was free,

Our fridge was packed, our house nice and warm, as we hunkered down for a quiet day outside the norm,

No children were waiting, no brew was chilling, as we eagerly looked forward to a day that was thrilling,

When what on our lawn did we spy from the door but some deer, a grouse, squirrels, and wait . . . birds galore!

As darkness descended on our small village street we heard the sound of peace, joy, and a new day to meet.

So my virtual friends I send you a warm greeting, in hopes that one day we may be meeting,

And wishing you all a joyful weekend, filled with family, food, good cheer and old friends.
Continue reading

In a holiday frame of mind

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It’s that time of year when we get together with family and friends.  We go to parties and eat and drink too much, stay out too late, spend too much money and flit between a state of bliss and stress.  We want to drift into that place where all we feel is sweetness and light.  Inevitably we are sometimes disappointed.   Our plans don’t come to fruition and our Continue reading

Pieces of cloth: The Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza

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I haven’t been blogging lately.  A lot has been going on so I have some catch up to do.  Two weeks ago I attended the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza that took place from Thursday to Sunday in Oaks, PA.   Oaks is the home of the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. My friend BJ is an expert quilter and she had two of her quilts accepted into this show.  Since I lived so close I said I would go and scope it out, and take pictures of her quilts.  By the way, one of them won a ribbon. Continue reading

Holy tomato! From farm to table.

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The big basket of tomatoes . . . yes it was full when I bought it — 30 lbs!

One thing you should know about me is that I like to eat.  More than that, I like to eat good food.  I think that if you like to eat good food you had better know how to cook unless you can afford to have your own personal chef.  For me,  good food means real food, that has not been processed or otherwise adulterated.   Continue reading