Tuesday, June 9, 2009

previous lives and eating like kings

I woke up this morning to the sound of pounding rain. In my previous life (before my world revolved around planting, feeding, and fences) waking up to rain was one of my favorite things—meditative and simple. Today however, I knew it meant sloshing in a downpour to take care of a lot of damp and hungry animals. But I have learned to blueprint my mornings out on such occasions. I'll play upbeat music on the record player while I cook up some breakfast. I put on good rain gear when I venture into the angry Vermont morning. And I make sure I set aside enough time when I get back in the cabin for a longer shower and an extra cup of coffee. It amazes me what patience, a hot shower, and coffee can get you through.

This past weekend was delicious. The photo is a small sample of the bounty that was my weekend. I'm now hitting that time of year when every meal comes out of the backyard. I spent the weekend devouring farm omelets with melted VT cheddar cheese, fresh salads from the garden, homemade breads and pies for dinner and dessert, and just savoring every bite. The best meals you could ever eat you pay for in sweat, blisters, and dough under the fingernails. I promise.

So, another Fiddler's Summer update is coming along. I'm going to tell you about my current fiddle: an 80-100-year-old Czech shop fiddle that has become my best friend. But before I do, I just wanted to make clear to all of you out there that there is no "official start date" to all this business. You can sign up anytime, and there is no real rules to follow either. I just set out the guidelines to help you teach yourself. We're all chatting about it together as we stumble along. It's the only way to learn. I want you to take that book, your fiddles, and a few minutes every day to get to know each other, and then please report back here with your advice, links, videos and comments. So far so many of you are already helping each other out, and I swell with pride when I see the back and forth in the comments.

P.S. Looks like two of the kits are sold and will be picked up by some blog readers in June. Two to go. Wish all us rabbit folks luck.


Blogger Rose said...

Love the blue bowl of eggs. So true that what you do in the weather can change your feelings about it; and also, your decisions can change your feelings. Enjoying your blog; thanks for sharing and reminding me of the good things.

June 9, 2009 at 11:02 PM  
Anonymous AmyKortuem said...

I was awake ALL NIGHT with thunderstorms the other night. Welcome rain, but geez, a girl needs her sleep.

Have you ever made egg coffee? My grandma made it in her old green percolator and it was the best coffee EVER. I think she just mixed an egg in with the ground beans and then let it perk. (I haven't had a good cup of coffee since she passed away 10 years ago...)

June 9, 2009 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

aside from the rain, don't you just love this time of year??

June 9, 2009 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

my gram used to mix her egg shells in her grounds but not a whole egg.... and we are an old vermont family!

June 9, 2009 at 11:26 PM  
Blogger omnicharm said...

Would you be willing to share your bread recipe?

June 9, 2009 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger ammamcp said...

Before I moved to the farm, I was a California girl - 60 degrees was cold. But I learned to love Indiana winters feeding the horses, working fenceline, kicking holes in the water troughs in 13 below.

Now I'm back in SoCal for a while and I really miss 4 seasons and the country.

Got my fiddle book in the mail today, going to music store tomorrow w/ my fiddle and electronic tuner I've been dragging around for a while. Ready to get started!!

June 10, 2009 at 1:43 AM  
Blogger MrsL said...

We're starting to eat more from the garden too, the first of the beans are almost ready, plus lots of salads. Interested in the egg coffee idea, will have a look around for more info about it.
Definitely true about the taste of food that you've had a hand in, getting it on the table.



June 10, 2009 at 3:02 AM  
Blogger Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Jenna.....I got your book and started reading it last night.
Great info: on chickens and your comment about "sitting with your back against a tree" made me want to take on the fiddle as it has always been my favorite!

June 10, 2009 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger BenAmyDau(Leggett) said...

This Fiddler's Summer is well under way. My fiddle needed some love when it first arrived, but I am fortunate enough to have an Austrian immigrant instrument repairer/maker 20 minutes away. Who knew small town Iowa would have someone like that? Anyhow, with new strings and refitted pegs and bridge this $50 fiddle from Ebay should last a long time. I am loving the book, the hardest part is learning to hold/play the fiddle from my chest so I can sing along. So glad there are no violin teachers around...

June 10, 2009 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Our garden is going like gangbusters now...just wish the fiddling were as well. We just had to bury our senior dog (sniff!) - a beloved German Shepherd, and I've not had a chance to practice for a few days. I wished I could have played her a sad song, but alas, all I can manage right now are scales. Badly. :(

June 10, 2009 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

Tara, I'm sorry to hear about your dog.

June 10, 2009 at 11:38 AM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

I have tons of fresh radishes and learned to make radish top soup this weekend. It was---different. Kind of like a creamed spinach or broccoli soup. Husband pronounced it "too green" for his taste, but I was okay with some goldfish crackers dropped in (VT cheddar would be heavenly I bet.) Anyhow, I just thought it was cool that you don't have to waste any parts of the radish plant. It's all edible. I sliced some of the radishes and put it on top of the soup just before serving. It really was good.

I'm still squeaking, squawking and scratching on the violin, but I'm not giving up.

June 10, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this talk about bringing in the friuts of your gardens makes me wish I'd decided earlier to put one in. Oh, well, I'll be ready next year!!

June 10, 2009 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

I gotta make some shortenin' bread to go along with my practicing of the song on the fiddle! My jar of newly made lemon curd would go nicely, as would a pot of huckleberry tea. Mmmmm.

June 10, 2009 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Annie said...

Hey, anon, check into putting in some cool weather crops. There are things you can plant in the fall, depending on where you live. Google planting a fall vegetable garden. Lots of spring crops will also thrive if you plant around Sept.

I love eating stuff we've grown ourselves. I hope someday it will be most of our food, instead of just a portion in the summer. We're learning as we go!

June 10, 2009 at 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Annie said...

Hey, anon, check into putting in some cool weather crops. There are things you can plant in the fall, depending on where you live. Google planting a fall vegetable garden. Lots of spring crops will also thrive if you plant around Sept.

I love eating stuff we've grown ourselves. I hope someday it will be most of our food, instead of just a portion in the summer. We're learning as we go!

June 10, 2009 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Karen L. said...

Jenna, I see someone else has asked for you bread recipe. That's what I was going to ask for also. But I would also like to know how and in what you bake your bread? It looks so nice and crusty. Do you use some steamy water in you oven ... or perhaps you cook with wood? Since I have moved from the Philadelphia area to NC, I have not been able to get a decent crusty bread. Perhaps you could share the info in your blog ... which by the way, I love to read?

June 10, 2009 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Heathers T and E said...

I am on my fourth day of fiddle practice...two of which were done with an out of tune instrument, but I wanted to start to get the finger placement and bow stuff down. What a difference with a recognizable tune coming forth.

I am lucky to have a friend who is in a group called Fiddle-iscious in Maine...she has been a BIG, BIG help!

June 10, 2009 at 8:08 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Today I realized (after looking at some online stuff and the Erbsen book) that my violin had some "issues." The bridge was in the wrong place (not centered and not over the soundpost) and one of my strings was crossing another one up near the pegs! Husband has some long-ago experience with guitars and he got brave and fixed everything. Then I had to re-tune it and I broke my E string! Dang. Now I'm waiting on a new bow AND some strings, but I have a makeshift bow and I can still practice my D scale, since I don't need the E string for that.

Daughter got back from her trip and is working with me on technique. It's good to have someone in house that knows somethin' :-) I only wonder how she ever played this thing without her teacher noticing the problems with her fiddle.

June 10, 2009 at 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I'd say if you live in area that is decently warm during the summer, you could plant anytime with in the next two to three weeks, given that your area doesn't have early fall frosts. Last year due to flooding we didn't get our garden planted til right around this time, and by fall we had a decent harvest.

One thing on recipes.....When I first started reading your blog Jenna, back a two months ago, while I was going through your archives, I found the recipe you had posted for the best pancakes. I was curious as to how good they really were so I made them one morning. The first dollop on the pan ended up so thin they were more like crepes. So I added some more flour...perfect but kind of heavy....then I started to think...You're possibly at a higher elevation then I am here in northeast Wisconsin....so I think I have to keep this in mind when I try your recipes and adjust accordingly.

June 11, 2009 at 2:45 AM  
Blogger JoyceAnn said...

Hi Jenna ,
We've just started getting fresh eggs from our hens , I'm so excited , 15 eggs to date.

June 11, 2009 at 6:37 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

I have to ask about percolators. Me, I'm a French-press aficionado (I really do think it makes outstanding coffee) and grind my own beans. However, I only have 4-cup press, which doesn't work for when I have guests (especially since my clunky mugs hold WAY more than a cup). For those days, I used a Mr. Coffee drip coffee-maker than makes the world's worst coffee (right up there with a Bunn for badness). So, I've been searching for a percolator and all I can find are aluminum ones. Do you use an aluminum percolator?

June 11, 2009 at 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Renee said...

Just recieved your book yesterday and am having a hard time putting it down! We started our "homesteading" journey about 8 years ago and would still like to go further, everything in its time. We also raise angora rabbits to sell and for their fiber (I spin) Enjoyed the blog!

June 11, 2009 at 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

For all of you seeking a super easy No Knead bread recipe...look no further! http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

FANTASTIC. I've substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of white flour, and sprinkled oats (aka uncooked oatmeal) on top instead of more flour. Next I think I'll try cinnamon and raisins...

Let me know what you think. Also, if there are any vegans out there check out: www.veganyumyum.com ...so delicious.

June 11, 2009 at 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Karen L, check this out on how to make bread & what pots to use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU

And Jenna, I've got the D scale down, but oh lordisa, tuning the E string is a real pain in the butt. Any tips on how to work with pegs as well as the knobs on the bottom of the strings (don't know the term yet) would be welcome indeed!

ps. my zucchinis are slowly taking over the entire block. totally fantastic.

June 11, 2009 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I'll post the cread recipe soon.

As for crusty loaves: right before you slide it in the oven - brush butter on top, a lot of butter. Then let the first coat dry and then add another. Bake it just a few minutes longer and you'll get some crusty goodness.

June 11, 2009 at 9:59 PM  

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