Friday, June 24, 2011

friday's haul

In the Bins:
Tokyo Bekana (that really big thing in the middle)
Cucumber (split)
Carrots (split)
Summer Squash (split)
Spring Greens
Romaine head (to PPM)
Escarole head (to PPM)
Garlic Scapes (to PPM)
Broccoli Rabe (to PPM)

Pick Your Own:
all manner of herbs and flowers

Still in the Fridge:
Garlic Scapes

Garden-cilantro pesto with garlic scapes
Salads for the spring greens and cucumbers
Slow-cooked local pork roast with carrots and oregano
Beet Salad (OMG this was amazing last week and must take photos!)
Grilled zucchini (best. veg. ever.)
Scrambled (home-chicken) Eggs with sauteed collards, garden swiss chard, and garlic scapes
Stir-fried tokyo bekana and garlic scapes with quinoa

Any questions? :)

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, June 20, 2011

all the tools for all the broken parts

I'm failing.

Holding at 7lbs down. Regained 2lbs from my losses last month. I'm not even at the half-way mark. I'm not really even at the quarter-way mark anymore.

I have excuses. blame. sadness.

I have hope without merit, which really is just hopelessness in a pretty mask.

Worst of all, I have tools. Tools utterly unused. Rewards prematurely bestowed. Challenges gratuitously unheeded. Restrictions wantonly ignored. All sorts of ideas and ideals and plans and things to measure and opportunities to do right.

And nothing to back it up. Not willpower, determination, courage. Just the humility to admit failure to you.

I'm ready to give up. Not necessarily quit all my good efforts: my eating habits, my cycling. But quit checking my weight, caring about how I look or feel. Because I don't feel bad, and I don't think I look any worse, and yet it feels like I have nothing to show for it.

Is it insane to keep going, even though I can't see the point, the benefit, the gain? Even though I haven't shown myself one bit of true grit, always taking the easy way?

In my head I hear all the cheerleading and encouragement, or the sympathy and understanding, or the blaming and self-righteousness. I hear all those voices calling and none sound like what I need to hear. I spin around and around, from one voice to another, looking for a gap in the sounds, a perspective I've missed, a new direction to take.

I think I'll just sit a spell.


Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday's Haul

We switched to Friday's so we could use more of the veggies on the weekend, rather than during hectic weekdays. The farm was happy to have more Friday shareholders, and Purple Pregger Monkey and I agreed that we weren't gone too many weekends over the summer to make it a hassle.

No photos cuz I was a grumpy girl last night and just wanted to get everything washed and put away.

In the Bins:
cabbage (us)
summer squash (split)
radishes or turnips (turnips, to PPM)
red beets (us)
celery (split)
kale (split)
spring greens (us, cuz I cannot get enough salad these days!)
lettuce heads (to PPM)
scallions (to PPM)
cucumber (to PPM)
garlic scapes (us)

Pick your own:
all the herbs from previous weeks (I took more chamomile, but that is all)
flowers (which I picked for PPM, who was having a bad day)

Taking advice from a wizened CSA pal of mine, I take care with my greens. I bought this AMAZING salad spinner, by Starfrit, to make the whole process easier.

  1. Trim and cut the tough greens, like the kale this week, into whatever size you need/want them to be.
  2. Dunk them in a large bowl of ice-cold water and leave for 5-10 minutes (or 2, if you're impatient like me, but longer if you really want them to last without getting wilty). Give them a whirl to wash them too.
  3. Dump the bowl of water and greens into the salad spinner. Pick up the inner strainer (watch, it'll be very very drippy!), and use your third and fourth hands (or a friend) to dump the outer bowl's water contents back into your original soaking/washing bowl (re-use it!!!)
  4. Spin for 5-10 seconds, dump any water, then spin again.
  5. Place the greens in a paper towel-lined tupperware and refrigerate. If I can get my hands on some cheap light linen, I think I'll try to do that instead of paper towels. I also believe that the tupperware ought to be somewhat breathable, rather than air-tight.

I also put my celery in a glass of water to keep them hydrated for now. No food coloring :)
The cabbage went in a lettuce tupperware, lined with a damp paper towel.
The chamomile and garlic scapes went in the container with the leftover thyme from last week.
The salad greens got spun dry (they were pretty soaking wet, but even still one pound of them was a full grocery bag!) and put into lined containers.

Any tips on keeping produce fresh? Summer squash? Anything I've gone over and done wrong?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Thursday, June 16, 2011

the state of the body

Well, there haven't been too many posts about weight loss or working out lately, have there?


Last week I did a little scale-surfing. Didn't like what I saw, so I did it again the next morning. Even worse. Not so good for morale, let me tell you.

I'll be honest, I haven't been working out so much (as I could be). By the time the rains let up, we got the chickens and Able-Bodied Boy was out of town most of the week. So I was incorporating animal duties into the morning routine and dealing with work stresses and not wanting to leave Bella alone even more than the 10.5 hours I was leaving her as it was...

Excuses excuses. I could have been doing ab-work. I could have gone on one of my big cycling rides on Saturday or Sunday. But I didn't. Though Able-Bodied Boy dragged me out on Sunday for one of our short 10 mile rides.

And boy did I feel like an idiot. A total idiot. I'm out there cycling with him, loving every minute of it. Loving the feel of my strong legs carrying me up the long, low side of Burden Hill. Loving the breeze in my face, watching the wild turkeys haul ass into the woods. The different types of road surfaces, the horse pastures (scaring them or peaking their curiosity). But mostly loving my legs.

Why don't I do this more often?!?!

My plan is to get back into the routine next week, while Able-Bodied Boy is back in town. Then making sure I have an extra 5-10 min in the morning to take care of all our ladies and give Bella some extra love when he's out of town for the Epic Summer Leaving (3 full weeks straight!).

For those of you that comment with questions: do you check back to see if I've answered? I never do because I don't think anyone does (sometimes sending the answers privately), but I will start responding. I really wish I could reply to specific comments in a thread, and you could sign up to get notifications of those replies... Apparently there is a way to fix that by using another website to host the blogger site (or something like that) but it's far too complicated for me to start fussing with :)

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, June 12, 2011

a weekend of awesome eats

I stored the Tuesday haul very carefully, so that we could enjoy most of the produce over the weekend when Able-Bodied Boy was actually home. I also purchased some strawberries and rhubarb from Linvilla Orchards. And then there's that first egg of ours... So we've been feasting!

Saturday Lunch: Tuna Wraps
Tuna, mixed with CSA radishes, CSA oregano, curry power, lemon juice, mayo, salt and pepper, then wrapped in a CSA red lettuce leaf and a CSA collard leaf.

Sunday Brunch: Collard Frittata
CSA collards briefly sauteed in butter, then tossed with CSA scallions, CSA oregano, feta cheese, and black pepper, then tossed with miscellaneous egg whites, yolks and whole eggs (a mix of local farm and store eggs). Cooked covered over low heat until the sides were firm, then under the broiler on low until the top was mostly set. Then the lone chicken egg was cracked on top and sent back under the broiler on high until the egg was mostly cooked and the frittata was browned.

Sunday Brunch: Chamomile Tea

I got a handful of fresh chamomile, but had no clue how to actually make the tea, short of drying it (which I didn't want to take the time to do). So I took off the feathery "leaves" and flower heads, put them in a tea bag, and set it in some hot water. YUM!

Stem Pickles
Got stems? Make fridge pickles! Heat 2 cups sugar and 1 cup vinegar until sugar is dissolved; add 3 heaping tablespoons of sriracha sauce and a 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed; cool; pour over stems into a jar; place in fridge for 2 weeks.
Technically, I haven't eaten any yet cuz the oldest ones are still only 1.5 weeks old.... but they look fantastic!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
an annual must-make!

Whatcha got cookin'?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Saturday, June 11, 2011

a full and happy family

Thanks to BarnhengeMomma and hubby, we now have chickens. We spent a lovely evening in barn-henge under the twinkly lights, eating yum-tastic food (like a very fresh salad with lemon vinagrette and crab-stuffed mushrooms and a divine swiss chard-sausage-lemon lasagna), and enjoying a tour of the gardens with good company. And at the end of the evening, they sent us with a cat-carrier with two of her flock. Chicken Karma is on her side, as she's about to receive another five :)

This is Ginger.
She is a Buff Orpington. Generally pretty easy-going.

This is Mac.
A Barred Rock and very very pretty. Also a little uptight.

This is Bella trying to be good and not harass the ladies.

This is our first egg.
We believe it was laid by Mac. We're still teaching them about the coop and their nesting sites. In the meantime, Mac seemed to enjoy the cool grass under the coop.

We have them set up in the coop, with a 10'x10' dog fence surrounding it, covered with a tarp. The coop itself is dig-proof, so that's where they will be at night. During the day, we let them into the larger run. Since it is covered, we are not too concerned about the birds-of-prey. But they have demonstrated that they can run into their coop if there is a threat. Like a turkey buzzard or a Bella.

Did you figure out where the names came from?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

tuesday's haul

On the big white board today...

garlic scapes (went with purple pregger monkey)
summer squash (went with purple pregger monkey)
green onion
spring greens
beets (went with purple pregger monkey)
bok choi

pick your own:
one flower: sunflower, snapdragon, or *mumblemumbleotherflower*
herbs: mints, garlic chives, basil, parsley, thyme, chamomile, sage, oregano

I haven't made anything with any of it yet... any favorite recipes?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, June 5, 2011

notes from the road

Well, I intended to go on an almost-30-mile cycle ride today. Things didn't go quite as planned.

The route I chose had me riding for a few miles into our local small town, then hopping on a local road for 12 miles (of which I'd only ever traveled 2 miles), all the way to another nearby town. Google called it 14.3 miles one-way. It would definitely have been the longest ride I'd taken to date. Not to mention that Able-Bodied Boy is out of town so my main support person for road mishaps was not around here. I was a little anxious about all of this.

So I start down that long road. A sheriff's truck passes me in the opposite direction, then a few minutes later passes me again at full speed, lights on.  As I came over a hill, I saw another police vehicle on the side of the road, lights on, another mile ahead. Then another cop passed me, and I saw another one approach the group of them from the other side and they were letting cars pass in the opposite lane. As I approached and slowed, I noticed it wasn't a traffic stop, and an officer with a shotgun told me it wasn't safe for bikes to pass and to go the other way.

Go the other way? The other way? Ummm.... the "other way" out in the countryside is a 4-mile detour. What the hell?? I bemoaned it and thought it was impossible for me to handle all the cycling that day. Especially since that detour took me up one side of Burden Hill, about a 1-mile climb - not a terribly grade but since I wasn't too sure about the rest of the ride, I didn't want to push it.

But you know what? I did. I went up the hill, and back around to the other side of the incident. I continued on, up and down hills, and had the most amazing time. I passed an alpaca farm.

I passed a picture-perfect creepy bog: a slimey pit of mud, surrounded by old, craggy trees, with just enough sunlight through the canopy to illuminate the creepiness, and it looked like it came straight out of the set of Harry Potter or Princess Bride.

I passed a strawberry farm, smelling so ripe and sweet. I passed a private school commencement for their 8th graders, with hundreds of parents and grandparents in khakis and skirts gathering under large, old oak trees while all the students in suits and dresses ran around or played with the band or let parents coat their legs with bug spray.

I made it home without incident. I climbed most of the hills without problem, although one major hill on the ride back required about 100ft of walking.

32.8 miles in 2:18 for 14.2 average speed. Rock on...

Any awesome accomplishments for you lately?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Friday, June 3, 2011

what sustainability means to me

AKA: What the hell is the difference between going green and urban homesteading and non-toxic living and organic products and sustainable living and all those other terms I hear?? And which labels apply to me?

"Going Green": this is the one we probably all started hearing first. All about being environmentally-friendly, right? You buy things that don't kill the fish once you pour it down the drain, that save electricity - and thus fossil fuels, that use less water, that aren't produced with toxic chemicals that can cause your kids to get cancer. To me, though, this term is so vague it's almost laughable. It's turned into a marketing ploy to make you feel better about buying, consuming, and generally being the same as before. To truly "be green", you have to read the labels, do your research, understand exactly how this product/process/practice is better than what you were doing before.

"Urban Homesteading": this is starting to become a lot more popular. Urban and suburban families, in tight quarters, learn how to turn their little place in the world into a mini-farm. Farms being places where you use, reuse, do things yourselves with grit and elbow grease. These folks raise chickens, compost with worms, grow as much as they can on their patio and when they run out of space, use abandoned lots for community gardens. They can their own jams and tomatoes, make their own mayo, use baking soda and vinegar by the pound, and have that can-do spirit. It kinda makes me want to live less rural (ok, everything about me screams "get me outta the pastures!").

"Non-Toxic Living": start reading the labels on every product you'll use, and you'll quickly get the point of this. We are constantly exposed to petro-chemicals and man-made concoctions. Some industries that use these products are not regulated in terms of what they use and how they market them, and the ones that are regulated... well, it's the government regulating these things; you decide how you feel about that. There is a lot of concern that these toxins cause cancer and any number of other ailments. For some folks, this can be solved by a combination of "old-fashioned" (pre-industrial) / homemade goods that have worked for generations and new technologies that produce our modern accomplishments in a more-natural way.

"Organic Products": this concept, more than any other, has evolved for me. It used to mean a stamp of approval, a lack of chemicals, assurance that everything was shiney clean. No chemicals, hormones, or anti-biotics; living in pastures with all their parts in tact; being shaved of their wool without needing to die in the process. Well, not anymore for me. I don't take the "free range" label or the organic labels too seriously. So many of those concepts are government-regulated, a government who has been in the pocket of the food & farm industry for far too long. Corporations know how to get around the red tape and through the loop holes, and can afford the certifications. Local farmers and producers can't afford the pricey certifications, but they can still produce the best "organic" products you'll find. For me, "organic" merely means knowing where it comes from: how it was made, where it was made, what was/wasn't done to make it a better-for-you/the-animal/the-community/the-world product. My new favorite phrase is "we-can't-afford-the-certification-but-really-are-quite organic".

"Sustainable Living": For me, it all comes down to sustainability; I sort of think of this as the big umbrella over all of these concepts. Using renewable resources in a way that allows them to replenish themselves before we need/use again. Making do with what we have, rather than consuming more than we need. Being a part of the full cycle of seasons, of growing, of the circle of farm life pest control where the ducks eat the snails and the cats eat the mice; of planning for more than just the next day or week or month or year, but for our lifetime. It can apply to what we eat (local/organic, not shipped from South America), what we put on our bodies (no-poo, not toxin-filled shampoos), what we buy for our houses (sustainably-forrested durable wood, not cheap plastic crap), and what/how we grow around us (gardens watered with rain barrels and pests controlled by natural products or natural methods, not water-depleting hoses and pest poisons).
Do you embrace any of these concepts? Practice them? Disagree with their principals or how I've put them?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

tuesday's haul

The first CSA pickup. And boy, was I unprepared.

Most CSA's I had seen pre-packaged all the loose greens for you.

Not ours. Cuz I didn't pay attention.

So my one huge canvas bag ended up being a layered mess of spinach and spring greens and arugula interspersed with the whole/bundled goods. As such, I did not pick much of the PYO because I was worried it would get lost in the bag. I also didn't take photos of the haul cuz quite frankly, I had "a day" and was nearly in tears separating everything out of the bag at home. You try telling 3+ lbs of leaves to not co-mingle!!

first haul:
   spinach (2lbs)
   spring greens (1lb)
   arugula (~1/4 lb)
   bok choi (1 head)
   scallions (1 bunch)
   radishes (1 bunch)
   white beets (1 bunch)
   kale (28 stalks)
   butter lettuce (1 head)
pick your own:
   garlic chives
First meal:
Spinach (sauteed in oil, honey, garlic, smoked paprika, aleppo pepper, and balsamic vinegar)
with fish sticks (don't ask)

Second meal:
(cooked/shared with with our CSA buddy, Purple Pregger Monkey)

Bok Choi (blanched, with stir-fried garlic, hot peppers, & CSA scallions, with coconut lime dressing)

Lettuce Wraps (filled with chicken thighs, mushrooms, CSA scallions, and other asian ingredients)

The only bad thing about the CSA, that I can come up with so far, is that I have absolutely NO motivation to do my own gardening again, ever :) With such selection, grown by experts, and keeping me out of the heat...

Why didn't I do this sooner!?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


on not, need, want and do...

I keep thinking about all the things I'm NOT doing, NEED to be doing, WANTing to do.

I ought to focus on what I AM doing.

I tell myself about NEEDs more often than I should, but I've been catching myself. I pick something up at Target, "ooooooh I need this!" then stop myself and ask about that need. Is it real? Perceived? How long have I gone without that thing? Could I reasonably go without it? Is there something we have that I could use as an alternative? Do I really even have the money to buy it, or the justification to ask Able-Bodied Boy to purchase it for me? 90% of the time, it goes back on the shelf.

We're in the middle of a heat wave and it makes going outside a miserable experience for me. For Bella too, so I've been trying to busy myself around the house.

Able-Bodied Boy voted that my next project should be labeling cleaning supplies with their alternative replacements. So as we run out of one thing, we can make up a batch of the new stuff. I'm excited that he's on board with that concept, so that will be the next thing I tackle. Maybe the next w/mo2h series...

I have been crunching those abs regularly. I have not, however been cycling. I'll update about why not here pretty soon.

Bella will soon be part of an awesome program that helps rescue owners who are struggling with behavioral issues. It's cheaper than normal one-on-one, in-home training, but with 3 hours of personal training and a ton of phone/email support. So maybe by July we can have friends over without worrying about how she's going to react.

Able-Bodied Boy has a ton of travel and vacations this summer. Having been with his company since they invented electricity, he gets more than double the vacation time I do, so off he goes for 3 weeks of camping. I have on occasion joined and enjoyed. This year is debatable. Bella wouldn't be allowed, I'd be out in the heat, and well... it's a lot of late nights and drinking and somehow that isn't as appealing as it was before. We'll see. I usually spend his time away working on a project; this year will be the cleaning supplies and the game room downstairs. It woefully needs a clean-out; it's more of a dungeon right now and while that makes for fun ambiance it also makes for a stale smell and big spiders that creep up on us while we're down there :-P

Gotta focus on the DO. Not on all the other stuff I'm not doing or wanting to do or convinced I need to do.

Just do it?

How do you block out all the things you think you ought to be doing? How do you get yourself satisfied, living in the moment?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl