Saturday, June 26, 2010

From scratch.

Ryan and I were supposed to have a small, intimate country wedding
under the cherry tree in our backyard. That was the plan, but not the production. Weather did not work out and thus, we wed inside whilst the tree stood alone. But, in what I could interpret as mother nature apologizing for nasty weather on my wedding day, (go ahead and sing the Alanis -- you and I both know you want to...) our cherry tree put on a feast of cherries a few weeks ago heretofore unheard of!

I decided to reap nature's bounty and create the ultimate, from-scratch, down home country cherry pie. (Any other "country" adjectives you can think of?!?!)

Ah, like life, here is the bowl of harvested cherries. I must thank Ryan for his help, as I could only reach the bottom two limbs on the tree...

Everest, with her ultimate guidance, "supervised" the pitting of the cherries:

Pitted, sugared (organic turbinado), and ready to be pied:

My go-to homemade pie crust is a vegan, organic oil crust, courtesy of Betty Crocker:

The finished product! Served with pride to my family with some vanilla ice cream goodness.

I can't even begin to describe how I felt doing this. It was the first time I picked and pitted cherries and certainly the first time I did so after picking them from a tree in my own yard. It was a lot of time and effort, but the reward certainly seemed worth it. I felt incredibly self-sufficient -- and I think I would have even if the finished product had not been so dang delish.

The garden is coming along. The weather has been on and off nasty pretty much since our wedding (hmmm...) and pictures shall be forthcoming. I probably should not have told Ryan about our first tomato by exclaiming (while he was at work on the phone with me) "Did you know we're parents?!?!" Oh, well. As this blog is all about, I am living and learning.

Feel free to come out and see the garden. We can always use extra weeding hands!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Breaking ground

Admittedly, we got off to a late start. However, the parsonage in the country is now home to our first organic garden!

Here's the tilled patch we chose for our garden's home...

We're going to try our hand at heirloom organics. We got our seeds and seedlings from local farms, who advised certain plants that are suited for Hoosier soil and climate. We've got tomatoes: Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripy, Hillbilly (yes, indeed) and Big Beef. We're also growing okra, beets, carrots, onions, peppers (hot and bell), eggplant, squash (acorn, spaghetti and pumpkin), cauliflower and broccoli. There are also some flowers and herbs in the mix. Especially catnip for the girls. I don't think I forgot anything, and that seems like a hearty list!

Here's Ryan working the land...

And a Hoosier country sunset!

So far, some organic tricks we're trying are companion planting (e.g. marigolds next to tomatoes) and habanero tea. We haven't applied the tea yet, and I am excited to see how the bugs react. We've had a few squash casualties, possibly from chipmunks, and other than that there hasn't been too much wildlife damage.

More good news: Murray is taking to his outdoor location very well! He even had his first robin's nest this spring. We were very proud of Murray's first family.

Monday, March 22, 2010

on the sly...

Last week when I was returning to my office, I spotted a big, red fox -- right next to the road! Now, I understand I am a city girl, but this was *so* cool. I only had my blackberry, so the pictures aren't spectacular. See if you can spot Mr. (or Miz) Fox:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The relief of rebirth

The sun has been out and the temperature has been decent for two days in a row. You might not think that is much, but I have to share just *how* important this is to me. For the fourth or fifth winter in a row, I became devastatingly hopeless, sick and tired. This wreaked havoc on my relationships, my job and my feeling of self-worth. Ladies and gentlemen, this was the worst case of seasonal affective disorder (aka SAD - a delightfully ironic acronym) in my own personal history. After being what a beloved physician calls "lower than a toad's belly" (I swear, only in Indiana...) I am taking better care of myself, I am getting treated and I feel amazingly better. Not only that, I have a proactive plan for heading this off next year. There was a song that really hit the nail on the head and helped me get through this winter: "November was White, December was Grey" by Say Hi to Your Mom. That, and Ryan's incredible understanding and patience and a surprise package of mix tapes from my friend Gavin.

A lot has changed in the past few months. I got rid of the food dehydrator. It was made of plastic and I am not partial to heating plastic with my food. If a stainless steel dehydrator ever becomes affordable, I am all in. My jam is still good. The beans are still good. Oh -- and I moved to the COUNTRY! Check out this (almost) most rural location: Erie, IN.

Ryan and I got engaged on July 25th. Before it happened, I commented that the date was Christmas in July. Little did I know he would ask the big question that afternoon!

Here is the gorgeous ring Ryan got from my mother. It was her mother's and I used to wear it in undergrad until it broke and I lost the main stone.

Along with moving to the country, Ryan and I have been spending more time in a town nearby, Wabash. Some of our new haunts are: Modoc's and Market Street Grill.

I am so, so glad to be feeling better. And with living in the country, I will have plenty of bECOming Hoosier stories. One that I wish I had photographed while it was happening was the story of our xmas tree, Murray. Yes, he has a name. Ryan took me to a tree farm so we could cut our own tree. We picked it out, had the saw ready and were about to take it down when suddenly I could not do it! I could not kill the tree. Ryan, whom I have already described as patient and understanding, indulged me in procuring a living tree, complete with 300 lb root bulb. It took all the effort of Ryan, my brother, Ryan's good friend (great friend!) Jason and (kind of) me to just get the tree into the car, out of the car and into our home. Murray never got decorated and is still in our living room. He is growing and it will be hard to plant him outside, but I know that's what's best for him. He smells great, though, and I will miss him. Here's a picture of him, although it hardly does him justice.

I will be trying to write more as the spring arrives. Thanks for reading!