Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pierogi, Mushrooms, Party, Harvest & Two Feet of Snow about sums up October

It's pierogi time! Earlier this October I spent a rainy afternoon making my grandmom's pierogi recipe in hopes that I could make enough for a party I was hosting to celebrate Polish and Hungarian culture. 6 hours later I made enough to have a small feast with some friends at home but not enough for the 70 or so folks who would show up at my party. Thank god for Millies Pierogi in Chicopee. She provided me with enough of this Polish delicacy for all my friends and I didn't have to spend 24 hours in the kitchen!

It's been a busy and crazy month. Some of you may be able to tell with the lack of time for blogging and posting. I've missed spending time here. So I thought I'd end this month by summing up the time with photographs that I meant to use in individual posts. Better late then never, right?

October was a warm and wet month up until very recently which made for excellent mushroom conditions. I started eating wild mushrooms for the first time after some talks with my neighbor who is a wild mushroom forager and some personal research. Wild mushrooms are so amazing and flavorful. Look at these Shaggy Mains that were sprouting up all over our yard. They are edible in their earlier stage before they start looking like this black, inky, dripping mess.

Heather, my employer in the gardens, found this Puffball Mushroom in our client's yard. We took it home to slice up, fry and eat. It probably weighed five pounds and was the size of a soccer ball!

While mushrooms were sprouting up all over I spent a lot of non work time getting ready for my Polish and Hungarian Quest party. I wanted to share a presentation including photographs, foods, books and music inspired by my time overseas this summer. I learned how to make a power point presentation and whittled over 1300 photos into a 133 slide show with some music and video. My local community and friends showed up to celebrated with me last Sunday.  My neighbor Tom who was born in Poland in Korczyna (the village where my grandmother was born!) brought his family along including his girls dressed up in their Polish outfits. He brought so much to share as well which made the party even more fun for me.

 The potluck turned into a 5-star eastern European inspired feast.
 Friends enjoyed tables with books, art and inspiration made and collected this past season.
My presentation was projected in a nice room so everyone could see some of the lovely people, places and things that inspired me so deeply this summer. The party was such a highlight for me this month. It took a lot of my free time to prepare for it but to share an experience that was so meaningful with others made me incredibly happy and even seemed to inspire some of my friends.

October is winding down. It's the day before Halloween. Last night I had planned to go to my communities Rag Shag event to see the kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Instead it decided to snow. Alot. Over two feet. Before the flurries started to fly yesterday I spent part of the day harvesting the rest of my summer crop in the garden. I brought in leeks, potatoes, carrots and beets. They were harvested in the nick of time. While the snow came down Josh and I cranked up the music and cooked some good food. We made more of our tomatillo salsa with the last of or tomatillos for the year. For dinner, homemade french fries, steak and roasted root vegetables dressed with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.

Beautiful morning photographs of this unprecedented snow. Snow with my sunflower...snow as a hat for the coneflower seed heads...snow against a blue sky and yellow orange beech trees.

Snow on my Halloween pumpkin. Happy October and Happy Halloween! Now I'm looking forward to the quiet time and darker days filled with dreaming and creating. The harvest is over and winter like dream time is upon us.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No Place Like Home...Cummington Part 5

We're into October, the rain finished falling for now on Stage Road, the temperatures are warm and the sun looks and feels golden. The autumn days this past weekend have been perfect. Perfect for me to connect to my gardens almost all day on Saturday. Lovely for our friend's annual cider pressing party today. The leaves are turning beautiful colors. They're probably at peak color now. Josh and I headed over to the western hills on the other side of the village of Cummington to see friends, press apples for cider and eat homemade doughnuts. But first we needed to stop a couple of places to gather apples off and around the trees where we have been given permission to pick. While driving over to one of the apple trees where we picked  we saw a man in the golden light working in the hay field. One last crop before the weather turns colder and the days get even shorter. The kids have a blast working the apple press. So did Josh and I. Sitting in the fridge now is a half gallon jar of fresh apple juice. Sometimes it's nice to just stay close to home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

In Solidarity..."Declaration of Occupation in NYC"

From The Raw Story:

"The New York City General Assembly — the decision-making body for the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in lower Manhattan — approved a statement of purpose on Friday amid concerns that the movement lacked a clear message. "

Read the entire “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City” below:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


To TRUTH both personal and universal.... 

Here is a brilliant song with brilliant lyrics. I can't seem to stop listening to it. It was my anthem this summer while abroad. It seems so timely now, personally in my life, as I slowly struggle to realize my goals and the shadows I face within myself on a daily basis. 

There is a calling out and a need for truth in the world we live in today. I'm amazed and inspired by the activity and demonstrations on Wall Street. Truth, expression...things need to be said, come out in the open and be expressed. I stand in support with the 99%.

The message is universal and always timely...

Light's blinding
No way dividing
What's yours or mine when everything's shining
Your darkness is shining
My darkness is shining
Have faith in ourselves
           - Alexander