eat real

I haven't been able to post much here lately despite quite a few things I'd actually like to write about. I'm really feeling frustrated by that old "not enough hours" thing. If only I could have one full life dedicated to the garden, another to cooking, another to the kids, another to work, another to art etc. etc. But who doesn't feel that way, right?

Anyway, one of the things that's been on my overly full plate these days was producing some guerilla-style video clips for the upcoming Eat Real festival. Anya Fernald and the crew who brought us Slow Food Nation in San Francisco last year (you can see my v-blogs from that here, here and here) are back in action with this new festival focused on sustainable street food. Unlike Slow Food Nation (which was amazing but also criticized for being elitist) this festival is free to attend and all about inexpensive, accessible foods.

Last year my foodie compadre, Carla B. of Local Forage, and I had a great time blogging Slow Food Nation so we were happy to accept when Anya asked us back to work on the Eat Real festival. The event is being held this weekend (Aug 28-30) in Oakland, and I'd encourage those of you in the Bay Area to stop by. Besides all the great street food there will also be a farmer's market, music, cooking demonstrations, a canning swap, a butchery contest and a lot more. 

In the meantime, here are a couple video clips of Pizza Politana and 4505 Meats–two of the many food purveyors who will be there. Yum!

primum ovum!

What a beautiful and surprising moment I had in the chicken coop this evening! As I've mentioned before, over the past few weeks I've had the sense that a couple of the pullets were getting ready to start laying. Especially "Monday" and "Tuesday" who are now 25 and 24 weeks old respectively and have recently started to seem more hen-like (I just stopped myself from writing "womanly"). Pullets can start laying any time after 21 weeks but with some breeds it can be much longer. So even though I've been eagerly awaiting our first egg, I haven't really gotten into the habit of checking for them yet.

I was out of town for a few days this week, so this morning when I returned I spent a little more time than usual checking on things in the coop. Without really thinking much about it I took a peak into the nesting boxes. To my surprise, I found the straw displaced in a nest-like way and could definitely tell that someone had been sitting in them. A first! I knew this was a sign that someone was getting laying urges but I still assumed it would be awhile before I'd see an actual egg.

Then this evening right before I started dinner I went out to make sure the chickens still had plenty of clean water. As I was leaving the coop I had the impulse to check the nesting boxes again, mostly to see if there had been any more signs of activity. And wow…there was a small but beautiful egg sitting there!

It's funny, but even after all the anticipation and effort that's gone into achieving precisely this result, it was still somehow a bit of a shock. For a brief moment, I honestly had the sensation of, "Wait, what's that doing there?" and the feeling that it was almost some kind of trick. I think part of that reaction is just my inner city-girl, but another part is my profound amazement and appreciation of the many miracles of nature. So beautiful!

Of course we fried it up immediately as a little pre-dinner snack. It was everything I imagined it would be–a vibrant orange yolk and full of flavor. Silly as it might be, I'm still feeling a little incredulous that our chickens are actually going to keep making these for us almost every day. It's hard for me to just take that for granted. Simple pleasures give me great delight!

a striped serpent in a sea of cucumbers

I’ve been a very lazy pickler this year. By this time last year I was feeling guilty that I had only made two batches of dill pickles and one of bread and butter pickles. And this summer I still haven’t pickled anything at all! It certainly hasn’t been for lack of ingredients because my cucumbers are coming in way faster than we can eat them. I’m picking at least three and up to ten a day!

Luckily friends keep coming by for fresh produce and I’ve been sending them all home with bags full of cukes (plus squash of course, basil and now corn too). I love feeding my little community but I know I’m going to be lamenting my own lack of pickles in a couple months. Better get to it soon.

I always try to grow several cucumber varieties but this year was the first time I tried the Armenian “striped serpent.” It hasn’t been very prolific but the arm’s-length (and I have long arms!) fruit are spectacular looking!


limoncello and the lunar eclipse

I’ve written before about my relationship with full moons, whether in the garden or just in my own head. But tonight is a special full moon because it’s also a lunar eclipse (the final of this season’s three eclipses).

According to Stephanie Gailing at Planetary Apothecary this is a period when things come to fruition. It’s the time to let go of something that is outworn–a possession, a habit, or a relationship that doesn’t serve your highest good. She says that during this event we have the ability to perceive our own unique gifts and qualities in a way that helps us close one chapter of our lives so that another one (which will more gracefully align with our heart’s desires) can emerge. Oddly enough, I had a very clear awareness of exactly that just yesterday before even reading her write-up. Apparently very fitting words for me right now.

So while musing on Stephanie’s insights and waiting to see the moon this evening, I decided to sit in my garden and have my first sampling of the limoncello I made this spring. It was the perfect fresh (and strong!) taste to accompany thoughts of a new chapter in my life.

Then I watched a beautiful moon rise up through the clouds. Since the eclipse happened earlier in the evening I wasn’t able to witness it but I definitely felt it. A magical sky for a meaningful transition.