5 below. In the dark. Under the coop.

I started riding NYC subways and buses on my own when I was about 12. My sister and I would take the elevated train to music lessons Saturday mornings – me for flute, Cathy for clarinet. For a short stint, we rode into downtown Manhattan on afternoons to clean cages and welcome visitors at the ASPCA. Continue Reading

“To lay an egg” – city style vs farm style

A milestone.

Even as a kid in New York City, I knew that “to lay an egg” was not a good thing. It meant you’d failed to do something you’d set out to accomplish – and everybody knew it. Why’s an egg synonymous with failure? According to numbers of Internet sources, it’s because an egg resembles a zero; and zilch is what goes up on the board when you fail to score. Continue Reading

A wild apple night

What a night! Up till the wee hours boiling down apples to make and can golden sauce and ruddy butter. Added just a splash of pinot grigio, a dusting of cinnamon and a couple of pinches of cloves, and had the pots bubbling for hours. Nothing like putting up sparkling jars of summer. Most of the apples came from volunteer trees across the farm. We never spray or dust with any types of herbicides or pesticides. Yumm. Continue Reading

Harnessing sun, dew and grass

I was walking out to the chicken coop in the early morning, a pail of seeds and cracked corn swinging on my left and my right hand raised to shade my eyes. The sun, just a few degrees above the trees, hit the dew-drenched grass and sent spears of bright light into the air. It was like a white fireworks: busy, slightly chaotic, riotous. Continue Reading

Feeling very “David and Goliath” as a ‘Supermom against Superbugs’

Chicago O’Hare Airport 7:26 AM: I pulled out of our farmhouse driveway at 3:24AM and wondered if I’d make the plane. I’d overslept by over an hour and hadn’t packed before hitting the pillow last night. I thought I wouldn’t be able to drive my usual 70mph on I-94 into the Twin Cities because it would be three hours before the pedal-to-the-metal commuters would be screaming into Minneapolis. I hadn’t realized that 3 AM belongs to the long-haulers and that they set an aggressive pace that sheltered my Impala from any radar sweeping the roads. Continue Reading

After a long day and tuff commute? Artisan bread and cheeses from Wisconsin

Tonight’s nearly two-hour commute on icy roads left me with a dull headache. Hearing my husband Dave’s warm hello helped a lot when I pulled into the garage. The full remedy, however, waited in the cool root cellar – a package of handcrafted “medicine” from one of the Midwest’s premier cheese shops, Fromagination (Madison, WI). Continue Reading

Waiting for the first foot

At the end of my 80-minute commute from St. Paul, I was greeted by the sound of sizzling hamburgers smothered in sauteed onions and pressed between grilled slices of home-made, multigrain French sourdough. Thank you, Linnea! What a sweetheart of a step-daughter. Her gift gave me an extra hour of time this evening – an opportunity to prepare an invoice and packing slip for beef that my husband Dave will drive to the farmer co-op warehouse tomorrow noon. Continue Reading