Thanks Todd.

Our Dog Todd

Can you see the pure mixture of fear and intense concentration in those eyes?  Our dog Todd looks like this every minute of every day that both John and I are not within a 25-foot radius of him.  His dog world has one rule.  We never, ever leave him. . . ever.  And in return, he will be the best dog on the planet.   Certain Saturdays, we do leave him.  We buckle down the house – twice – because he’s been known to jump through screens and open doors.  

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Subtle seasons.

Subtle Seasons

Every late May, the Agapanthus arrive. Like soft, little firecrackers, their purple petals light up the farm, doing their part to create beauty and happiness. And every year late May, my Dad somehow remembers to ask me if the Agapanthus are  blooming. He knows and loves the farm so much that he remembers these small details. However when you spend any extended time here, you realize that this detail isn’t really all that small.

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Can I get that recipe?

Mom visited last month, and when she did, carrots ruled the garden, a bit of a dictatorship.  They needed thinned badly, and like she does, Mom made things feel better.  As a result of her effort, we lunched on creamy carrot soup with a side of buttery carrots, which we later named Dilly Carrots.  The side was such a hit, she made it again for our volunteer dinner the next evening, and receiving the best kudos any chef could hear, mom was asked, “Can I get that recipe?” by this sweet person below.

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I feel somewhat like a pregnant mother of triplets must feel.  Minus the pregnancy… and the food cravings.  Unless you count chocolate?

At an auction in Texas, John purchased 16 more sheep to be delivered in the weeks to come.  Check out some videos of the auction on the Apricot Lane Farms Facebook Page.  Plus, 5 of our current 6 ewes are preggo.  Flavio and I can confirm #5.  George the Ram wasted NO TIME.  So, the gas peddle is firmly inching towards the floor.  And the good new is, this ain’t no shotgun wedding. We’re pleased as punch.

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Sparce Abundance

The fridge doesn’t remain stocked nowadays.  The consuming rhythms of the farm leave less time for redundant runs to the grocery store, therefore less impulse buying and less clutter on the refrigerator shelves.  Basically, we’ve been living off of whatever eggs come out of the chicken coop and vegetables come out of the garden, plus frozen meat from the farmer’s market and good fats, like drippings from frozen, pastured bacon and mail-ordered coconut oil.  I make a big soup with homemade chicken stock, and we eat off of it for 2 1/2 days.  I’ve always been one to eat a soup breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I’ve noticed my husband doing this lately, too.  There’s no other option.  A run into town takes 10 solid minutes each way and the pickings there are mostly fast-food nonsense.  A run to Whole Foods hot bar, which used to be our cafeteria on days I wasn’t cooking, takes 20 solid minutes each way, making it an occasional treat.

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A food fix.

Do you remember the canned french-cut green beans of the 80’s?  I do.  I used to love them with a big ‘ole hunk of margarine.  How times have changed…

Lately, I’ve been digging things that remind me of being little.  For example, Homemade 24-Hour Chicken Stock, the chameleon of comfort foods, warmed up with a little sea salt reminds me of the smell of Campbell’s Chicken with Stars, a frequent childhood lunch.  Yesterday, John, not knowing I had some in my thermos, asked me why the car smelled like McDonald’s.  And honestly, it did smell a bit like french fries.

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Farmy is my everyday attire.

I adore this photo… John took it. And to me, it’s perfect. The food looks delicious, and I love the plaid in the background because it makes it feel farmy. What is farmy, you ask? About a year ago, while shopping at Anthropologie, I side-glanced the 3-way mirror and with that, decided on my style, which is, “clothes that support my desire to be on a farm at any moment.” I still reserve “classic” for my dressy occasions, but “farmy” is my everyday attire, hands down. Breezy tees, comfortable jeans and the obvious, button down flannel, fitted a bit girly because farmy doesn’t necessarily mean manly. Farmy can even be sexy. What guy doesn’t like a girl in a hot pair of cowboy boots?

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Food has magical powers.

Have you ever tried an heirloom cherry tomato? First off, be warned not to put them in the fridge, really any tomato for that matter. It kills their flavor. They go from: Exciting! Sweet! Delicious! To blah, in about 4 hours. Strawberries, too. I didn’t learn the strawberry rule till after I put some of my mom’s absolutely perfect summer berries, fresh from the market, in the fridge. Several hours later, hungry for a mid-morning snack, she found them and almost cried. The raw sting of a lesson that sticks…

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Finding my own carrot.

I must first apologize for the abundance of spaghetti squash recipes in mid-June. You have my word that this is the last for a great while, and I will be moving on to blueberries or something equally seasonal. However in my defense, winter squash are kinda tricky. They store so well that they nearly last all year. But, it simply wasn’t fair of me to post a Summertime banner that screams for cookouts, fizzy drinks and fruit salads, only to slip in another winter squash recipe. So… hug!

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Lined in nature’s bubble wrap.

This recipe is jumping the gun a bit, but I’m in pre-game training for the glory of summer’s farmers’ markets! Living in California has introduced me to a whole new way of thinking about food. I imagine California to be a little like cooking in France, which I intend to do one day. Different cuisine obviously, but definitely a focus on freshness. The farmers’ markets begin to come alive this time of year. Right now, bright juicy strawberries fill the stands – gone in a flash! Snap peas, artichokes and asparagus grace us with their unique slice of the palate. We still have all of the delights from winter: squash, carrots and potatoes. No more garlic. But, grocery stores thankfully fill in a few gaps of necessity. I fear I couldn’t bear a few months without garlic, but I should probably try restraining one year. Might expand this cook, whose every dish begins with the obligatory (and oh so tasty) garlic and onions.

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