Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Saturday, I'm going to attend my first Tellabration event. I'm very excited! Tellabration is an international event - folks from all over the world will be gathering in small groups in their hometowns and neighborhoods, to tell stories and hear stories. I think that is just a fascinating concept. The local event is held at the Des Moines Playhouse; my very talented storytelling friend Jill* will be at the event, but working as an interpreter rather than a storyteller. I've gotten to hear her, and the local Story Spinners group, do storytelling at several events lately, and have thoroughly enjoy it.

*I have some really great pictures of Jill doing storytelling at my farm, but, am refraining from posting them so that she doesn't hurt me. She's little.....but tough. heh. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The definition of optimistic: My 89 1/2 year old grandpa ordered some magazine subscriptions today. He got them for 3 years. :)

(I fully expect him to be around to enjoy them for the full length, too).

Here he is with my mom, at our still. He's such a cool guy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm hanging around the house doing chores on this sunny autumn day. I've got a BIG week next week, so I'm thinking ahead. Time to wash the socks - I do NOT like having to wear commercial socks, ugh! It's not hard to handwash socks at ALL. I just save up a week or two worth, then dump them in my sink with some lukewarm water and a bit of dishwash detergent. Let soak about 15 minutes, then rinse and wring out. Super easy.
And they look so pretty drying. :)

The summer canning/freezing is done; there's just a few more "putting by" things to do. Today, I made pizza crusts to go in the freezer. My recipe says I can keep the dough in the freezer for about 3 months, so I did 12 crusts (3 double batches). One pizza a week sounds pretty darn good to me. :) I did 3 variations. I use semolina flour and white flour in each batch - then added whole wheat to one, 7 grain flour, dried basil and dried oregano to another, and wheat bran, dried garlic and dried rosemary to a 3rd.
Just separate each batch into 4 crusts.....

put in frezer bags, label, and that's it. When i want pizza, you just let the dough defrost for a few hours at room temp or during the day in the fridge. Then roll it out, let rise briefly, top, and cook.

I have dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, pesto, and roasted red peppers in the freezer, as well as chevre and homemade tomato sauce. This is my idea of "fast food".

And this is a picture of my homemade grape juice, simply because I am amazed that nature produces a food this color. Divine!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yesterday, I got the pleasure of delivering an order to the Soap Opera in Iowa City, and wandering around the VERY fun ped mall (short for pedestrian mall). It's a fun and funky district that doesn't feel like Iowa - it's laid back, funky, and bohemian. We had a blast checking out the "recycled" thrift duds at Ragstock - I got a fantastic black wool coat for $20, and the BEST thing was the huge rack of amazing japanese kimono, from $10-20. I didn't have enough money to indulge my Japanophile urges, but rest assured - I will next time I visit Iowa City. :) Prairie Lights Bookstore is amazing - I felt smarter simply being surrounded by all those great books.

Then, we hit New Pioneer Co-op, a fantastic natural foods store! I couldn't resist indulging in a few delicacies. We eat REALLY cheaply and frugally nearly all the time - we can happily eat vats of bean stew with freshly baked bread for weeks at a time (really), and live out of our freezer for weeks on end. But, I have a serious, SERIOUS weakness for good wine, good butter, and great cheese.

The first thing that got me was the cheeses. Oh, the cheeses!!!

Now, I have the luxury of being regularly supplied with what I am sure is some of the best chevre in the world. So do not get me wrong - it takes ALOT to tempt me to buy non-local goat cheeses. But the Truffle Tremor aged goat's milk cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre did it. Now, sit down before you read this next sentence. It costs $27 a lb. So, I could afford approximately .000987 of an ounce. But that little wedge - oh, my gosh. It's divine. And truly - it's such a rich and flavorful treat, that a really small amount does go a very very long way.

I also induged in a triple creme brie. There is something oh so wrong - and yet oh so right - about a cheese make up of 70% milkfat. It's delicious. :)

Next - wine!! I know nothing about wine, other than I really like to drink it. :) So my wine buying decisions go something like this. "Ooh, pretty bottle! Hmmm, can I afford it?". My answer to both of these question was YES! I mean, look - Kungfu girl wine. How could I resist? I didn't. You'll be glad to know it's actually quite a delicious wine, to my unducated palate.

Last but not least - extra salty french butter. Again - I have regular access to some AMAZING local butter, but....there is something really extra-special about French butter, and when you can find the kind that has large grains of sea salt in it - well, I simply cannot resist.

In short, I love Iowa City. Now if you'll excuse me, my wine and butter and cheese are calling to me. It's lunchtime.