Thursday, September 12, 2013

Another week around the homestead: mental meanderings and links to interesting articles and tasty recipes.

Another week has gone by...

And it is time to post on my blog.

I am posting on a weekly basis these days and have no plans to break from this habit (even if I'm not sure what to write about). This is one of those weeks, I'm not sure what to write about.

Yet, there is always "something" to write about. This week has been about traveling in busy circles, one thing to another and then back to that first thing and on to the third. So please indulge me.  I do not have a unified theme to this post. Following will be some thoughts, recipes, stories of work around the homestead, and some inspiring and interesting articles I read.

The approach of fall always seems to up the anti in New England. One becomes soberly aware that winter is approaching and it's time to prepare. Time to get the wood in and stacked, time to harvest and preserve from the garden, time to prepare for opportunities like craft fairs and art sales that happen in the fall around the holidays, time to go back to school and get back to normal work, child care routines.

The icing on the cake was a yucky cold that Kaz and I came down with, made all the worse with the high, hot temperatures we've experienced the last couple of days. Can I just say... blah, blah, blah?

Before we came down with the cold, Grandma and Grandpa came to visit us from PA for a couple days last week. We went out to lunch in Northampton and  as you can see, Kaz was really excited about sharing the quesedilla we ordered.


Last weekend we put the finishing touches on a wood shed we built out back in which to stack our wood. There will be no more loose metal roofing blowing about in windy winter storms, yay! The next day Josh decided to slaughter 4 of our old hens who are no longer laying as many eggs. A friend came over to help. I took care of the baby. Really, I was not in the mood to take part in the killing of our hens. I was game to cook them though.

So I made a delicious chicken stock by cooking the bird for 14 hours in a huge stock pot with our home grown potatoes, carrots, garlic, dill and parsley. That night we had a chicken noodle soup for dinner to help us get over our colds. Quart after quart of golden stock made the way to the freezer to be used this fall and winter. Then, tonight I made a homemade chicken pot pie. Oh my, it was good! I've never done this before. It took some work but it was worth it! Here's the Chicken Pot Pie recipe that I roughly followed (substituting fresh vegis and herbs from the garden) with a homemade pie crust recipe. If you find yourself with some chicken meat after making stock all day I highly recommend  using the meat this way. Homemade chicken pot pie is the perfect thing for a cool fall/winter evening. Well, yes, it IS still summer and really it IS pretty warm and humid but I had to make use of the food left over from stock making.

I've been rotating back and forth between new paper cut deigns and some embroidery projects this week. I have three new holiday tree of life designs cut and ready to be glued on some paper. I hope to have these images uploaded to the computer in two weeks so I can design the cards and get them off to the printer for my first official holiday sale of the season on October 26th. I am loving doing the paper cuts and embroidery. Both are really relaxing and put me in a quiet, zen like head space. I'll share some of the new images with you soon.

I day dream about traveling and plan trips in my head. Of course, I'd like to go back to Poland and Hungary. It is never to early to start preparing. Even if it takes me a year or two or three to get back to these countries. I've been studying the Polish language through Pimsleurs Polish language recordings. I am making head way! I've finished with the recordings that I have and need to look into finding the next round. I'll see if the library system can come up with something like they did for this first round of recordings. I have a feeling I may need to invest some money into taking my studies up a notch.

On that note, I just read a really inspiring article called , "Why Speak Polish?"  by Isabelle Sokolnicka. She writes....

"All jokes aside: Parents, send your kids to Polish school. Don’t let them watch cartoons or sleep in on Saturday mornings. Seriously. Or find some other effective way to teach them your language. Be creative, be tough, but don’t let them forge their identity without discovering this important part of being Polish.

You’re still unconvinced? What about…:

The fact that there is something strangely beautiful in the unpronouncability of Polish names or the interminable chains of consonants; something unique about a Slavic tongue born in the heart of Europe, and influenced by languages as different as French, Hungarian, German, Italian or Turkish.

And that there is something indescribable and unqualifiable about the subtlety of Polish poetry. The delicacy and depth of the vocabulary, its capacity to represent movement and perspective like no other language, and the very wide range of prefixes and suffixes that can completely alter the meaning of any word are all elements that permit nuanced expressions of specific emotions or particular settings, and on top of that all – with very few words: the perfect ingredients for poetry-making. Read Baczyński, Słowacki, Miłosz and of course Mickiewicz: maybe it’s the authors’ talent but maybe it is also the language that makes it so incredibly natural to step into a true kingdom of literary creativity. Make your kids learn Polish. Make your kids learn Poland. Make them spell solidarność, ojczyzna, or better even – milość. Who knows, this might just be the beginning of a long-lasting love affair with the Polish language… or at least of a friendship with unquestionable benefits."

In the coming years I think I may find myself in Saturday morning Polish school with Kaz. I don't care if I'm the oldest person there!

And now for the icing on the cake... I'll stop my meanderings after this last shout out.

If you are like me and like to lose yourself (or perhaps find yourself) in other countries, 
An American Man’s Quest to Become an Old Castilian
is a MUST READ.  It's a NY Times article adapted from “The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese,” by  Michael Paterniti.

A man finds his "soul place" while on a quest for a particular cheese. Yes, I said cheese! If you are not interest in this piece yet, then I don't know what's wrong with you :-).  Something happened to him during his first visit to a small Castilian village. And of course none of it was practical.

"But something happened to me. Even now, I’m not exactly sure what. I have a friend who once told me about the first time he ever took a ferry to an island off the coast of North Carolina, and how he knew, right there on the ferry — with the salt spray and the light off the ocean — that he’d come back to this same spot every year. He’d come to relive that feeling of leaving his old self behind. That annual renewal, the reacquaintance with the person he felt himself to be on that island, was something he wanted to organize his life around. Similarly, Guzmán instantly and improbably became my place. It made no sense, practically speaking."

I can really relate. A simple idea or lead can push you through a rabbit hole towards a soul shaking, life altering, new reality. Connections happen and projects emerge and are created all for the love of a place.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Fourteen hours? how big was that chicken???

    1. Not big at all, Danusha...just old, so it took some time to get the meat tender. Plus I had a huge stock pot going and wanted to get all the flavors and healthy goodness into the stock. I just let it simmer real low on the stove all day long.