Thursday, February 18, 2010

MOVING: to WordPress and a sweet new house

Moving this piece over to WordPress. Change your bookmarks if you were silly enough to bookmark me!

Also moving into this awesome new house! Many more details to come on the WordPress page.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year, New Resolutions

The holidays have come and gone once again. We managed to take three family visit trips in the course of three weeks...and I only took one extra day off of work. We've been to the north Georgia mountains, northeastern Pennsylvania, and Augusta, Georgia; and I can't be happier about doing absolutely nothing this weekend. We got a bit of snow in Knoxville this week, and if all goes well I won't leave the house again until Monday morning.

I've never set a serious New Year's Resolution for myself, but this year I've got a good one going. By the end of 2010 I want to buy a house. And more ambitiously, I want to do it by the end of April to qualify for the $8k tax credit for first time home buyers. If we still lived in New York, it could easily be another ten years before I could even consider buying a home, and the definition of "home" would be a questionable one bedroom apartment in south Brooklyn. Knoxville is an incredibly affordable place to buy real estate. The prices are shocking to people from the northeast. A nicely updated small house in a nice neighborhood is attainable for under $150k.

It's intimidating to make a decision of this scale, but more than anything I'm super excited. I can't wait to live in a place I can be proud of. The rental house we live in here is fine; it's a roof over our heads, and it's about twice the square footage of our last apartment. But there's no motivation to make it better. I'd like to think that in a house of my own, I'll gradually work to make it great. Imagine having a home that's filled with only the things you love, painted in the colors you choose, and every corner is yours. I can't really imagine it yet. But it's fun to.

I'll leave you with some highlights from the holiday festivities. In preparation I made my first batch of perogies (a.k.a. pirohi, pirushki) from scratch:

Some delicious sugar and spice nuts packaged up as gifts in recycled jars:

Our Christmas trees for the last two years have come from this strange little farm that's less than 2 miles from our house. You walk up the hill and choose your little tree, then a man with a chainsaw comes and cuts it and throws it in the back of his gator to take it down to your car. Good family fun to be had.

And after about two years, I finally finished another knitting project I'm happy with. Here's the colorful Noro striped scarf I made in December:

Happy new year, friends!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Care of the Earth CSA

This fall I stumbled upon a new local farm called Care of the Earth Community Farm that was offering a fall season CSA farm share. I've always been interested in the CSA concept, but it always seemed like such a big commitment of time and money. But since this farm just got up and running this year, they decided to offer a partial season from September through November. So it was only a 12 week commitment, thus significantly cheaper than a full season. So I did it...and it was GREAT.

I went with the half share, which turned out to be just the right amount each week. A typical box from early September might have been 3 summer squahses, 2 green peppers, 4 jalepeno peppers, 2 large tomatoes, one small head of lettuce, one bunch of swiss chard, one bunch of herbs, a few small potatoes, a bag of green beans, and maybe some other little things too.

By the late fall there was a lot of butternut squash, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and dark greens (so much damn kale!) I found myself cooking a lot of different things that I would never buy at the store, because I had to use it all up. I learned that roasted beets are amazing, and that I don't much care for turnips or radishes (especially that evil daikon radish).

They had a little open house one Saturday afternoon at the farm. It's just outside Knoxville to the east side of town. They have about 30 acres total. For this first short season, one young woman did ALL of the work herself. Everything. She fed 50 people for three months. I think that's an admirable job.

The last CSA pickup was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And now, two weeks later, I'm really missing it. The freshness of this produce was like nothing else I've ever had. I guess I got used to it, because after a weeks worth of Kroger produce again, it's just not the same. I was wavering on whether or not to make the investment for their full season next year, but the last week or so has completely made the decision for me. I can't wait until it starts again in April.