Friday, May 08, 2009

CSA - Week 1

I had been wanting to join a CSA for YEARS. There were some available in the New York City area, but I never participated because I didn't think I could get to some pick up location at the same time weekly. After moving, it was one of the first things I looked into. I looked through the offerings on Local Harvest, and signed up for the first one that opened up applications for the spring/summer season. But that was way back in NOVEMBER, and I still had to wait until MAY for the CSA to start! This is totally normal, and how the whole process works, I was just so excited to get going with it.

CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture," which has been increasing in popularity for the past decade, and has really started to boom in the past couple of years. A farm accepts shareholders who pay a bulk amount at the beginning of the growing season. Many farms offer full- or half-shares, depending on the size of your household. The farmer uses that money for seeds and supplies, etc., and when harvest season comes around, the shareholders receive a weekly box of vegetables -- and/or eggs, meat, flowers, or whatever the specific program offers -- for the length that the program runs. I like it especially because I know that my money goes directly to a local farmer, and I know I am getting the freshest, in-season produce that is grown right in my area.

I am looking forward to the challenge of cooking with what is available, rather than purchasing out-of-season sub-par ingredients that have been marked up a million times. One draw back that some people might find is that you might not have control over vegetables you receive. A picky eater might want to locate a CSA where you have the option to switch out items or one where you purchase credits and can use them weekly for the specific produce you want. Personally, I hope to find some mysteries in my box this summer. I encourage anyone interested in finding out more to take a look at the Local Harvest website.

As for my CSA, I think I got lucky in the program I joined. I am getting a half share weekly from Elysian Fields Farm, which will provide me with yummy veggies for the next 20 weeks. The farm practices organic and sustainable agriculture, which is a huge selling point to me. This is my first weeks takings:

CSA Week 1
Strawberries, Winterbor Kale, Boston Lettuce, Pink Beauty Radishes, Baby Turnips, Spinach

I've been snacking on the strawberries and radishes straight up, and have used the lettuce for lunchtime salads. Last night I used the turnips and their greens for a simple soup from The Art of Simple Food (and it was GOOD). I am thinking of trying kale chips with the kale, and the spinach is reserved for a bed for my potato salad I'm bringing to a family dinner tonight (which also includes someofthem radishes).

Does anyone else participate in a CSA? Let me know. I love hearing about different types of programs.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sometimes, I knit

My knitting mojo has been crappy in 2009. Oh yes, I've been knitting for sure, but every project is either not working out, or going painfully slow (hello Riding to Avalon [Ravelry link]), or riddled with mindless knitting mistakes. I haven't finished one project yet. Not one, son.

I've been working on a baby gift, and whizzing right along, until I looked back, and realized I had missed a a few rows of garter stitch along the button band, very noticable. $#&^%&%%! I sure as heck did not intend to frog back that far when things were finally moving along, and especially with a lace pattern. I decided to tackle dropping the stitches and weaving them back up in the correct order.

Fixing Garter Stitch
I actually had to work my head around how to do this for garter stitch (I've done it countless times for stockinette). And lo, it is simple: Just alternate between inserting the crochet hook from the front and the back (I turned my work for each row) to alternate purl and knit stitches. That might be obvious to some, but I had to Google to double check...
Fixing Garter Stitch
Wow, it worked!
Bonus round: Can you tell what I'm knitting? I bet you can!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Foodie Friday :: The Greenhorns

I've had this preview for The Greenhorns bookmarked for a while now, and thought it would be a cool thing to share for FF. The documentary will take a look at the current movement of young men and women returning to farming culture and who can be found working the land rather than working the office. I'm looking forward to seeing this.

A snippit from the director's statement:

Our job in this generation is to rethink, recycle, retrofit and restore our land and our community; the Greenhorns have come to this revelation and taken action. This film is a way to convene a movement that is for now quite thinly spread out on the ground. Population density of young farmers might be as low as 1-2 per county in America. Yet, once seen as a whole in the film, you will find it an attractive and coherent sub-culture: proud, strong, tough, and a little bit nuts.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sheep Shearing Day (2/14/09)

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting Rising Meadow Farm in Liberty, NC for their annual open sheep shearing. It's about an hours drive from Durham, through some lovely rural areas, which made me long for a home in the countryside.

Rising Meadow Farm
Rising Meadow raises Corriedale, Morrit, and Pulled Dorsit sheep, which create a lovely natural palate of neutral fleeces -- from fluffy whites, to caramels, to a deep chocolate browns. It's enough to make me want to take up spinning! Although I managed to hold off (don't need another addiction right at this moment, heh).
Sheep waiting to be shorn
To shear the sheep, the shearers would pull a sheep from the corral, flip them onto their backs, and start shearing away, turning the sheep as they went. They used old school hand shears, which to me looked terrifying but they handled them with ease. After shearing off the entire fleece in one large piece, another person would bring it outside of the barn to be skirted (picked through for any leftover vegetable matter (or other) matter. Then the fleece would be weighed and put into a large garbage bag to be sold.

Skirting Fleece

Fleece from "Puffy"
I got to pet my first llama. Every field with sheep also held a few llamas, who offer protection from coyotes and other predators.
Although the activity of the day was sheep shearing, they did have the added attraction of showing off a few lambs born just that morning. They are adorable! They mostly were sleeping, with their mothers staying over them protectively. The barn had classical music piped through the speakers to help with the calming mood, even with hundreds (seriously, hundreds) of visitors coming through.
Lambs born that morning
Some more photos (and then see more here):
Fleece (still on the sheep)

Sheep waiting to be shorn

Sheep waiting to be shorn




Thursday, February 12, 2009

Christmas Poffertjes

At Christmas time, Oma gave my parents a kit for making Poffertjes. Poffertjes are a Dutch snack of small, silver dollar-sized sweet pancakes. They are made in a special Poffertjes pan, which has round divits where you pour the batter. Apparently, these treats are seasonal, and are served particularly in the summer months.

The kit contained a mix, to which we add some milk and egg. There is a bottle which we were supposed to use to dole out the batter into the pan cleanly (the nozzle kept clogging so we didn't really use it properly).

When they are just done on the bottom, and before the top has set, you use 2 forks and try to flip them quickly. It's a tricky maneuver.
Shake on some powdered sugar (Oma tells me I use too much... like that's even possible!)
Eat AT LEAST 25. They're small and tasty, and after all that flipping, you've surely worked up an appetite.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Catching up

Some photos of my finished February Lady Sweater, which I finished for the 2008 Ravelympics, posted about briefly here.

February Lady Sweater
I'm not the best lace knitter, but this 4 row repeat was manageable, and even a bit forgiving for some occasional missed YOs.

February Lady Sweater
The buttons I bought a few years ago from M&J, which I bought to replace some buttons on a purple fun-fur winter coat that for some reason I used to think was cool. I donated the coat but kept the buttons, cuz let me tell you, those things were PRICEY.
February Lady Sweater
I have to say, I think this sweater can do no wrong. It's flattering on everyone and easy to dress up or down. Custom fitting? Totally not necessary with this one. I'm thinking it might be nice to have another of the same in black or grey.

Pattern: February Lady Sweater (adapted from Elizabeth Zimmerman by Flint Knits)
Yarn: Misti International Pima Cotton/Silk in Dark Burgundy (4 skeins)
Started: 8/8/08
Finished: 8/23/08

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

happy new years!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've had a nice transition into 2009. Mine has been uneventful, but that's just the way I like it. 

It's hard to believe I haven't posted since the middle of October. I've been getting set up here in North Carolina for awhile, but allowed myself a little vacation from blogging. Plus in setting everything up, I haven't really done much on the craft front up until now.

I'm loving being back in my home state, and I've been away long enough that a lot of things are new to me again. So much has grown and developed, and my tastes have changed, so that leaves a lot to explore. And setting up an apartment that is ALL MINE has been a treat. Plus there's more apartment for the money, so it's a nice change from living in nyc.

For example, the view from my bedroom in Brooklyn (it's an air shaft):
View from my Brooklyn bedroom

And the view from my new bedroom (those are ducks in the water):
View from my NC bedroom

Much nicer, you say? Darn right it is. Needless to say, I think this has been a good move. I'm getting used to working from home and trying to figure out ways to get myself out of the house and meeting people and staying active.

Lot's to come in '09. Stay tuned!