I Need a Siren

Another Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Memorial Day came and went last week, and I found myself unprepared to mark the day.  In fact, today we are already on to Israel’s Independence Day — but I seem to be running a bit behind. Back in high school, I probably read more Holocaust memoirs than was healthy and later I spent quality time at both the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Israel’s Yad Vashem. In those pre-mothering days, there was plenty of time for reflection. Now as a relatively new mother, museum visits and heavy reading have seriously fallen by the wayside. …

Continue reading

I baked my own Mother’s Day Cake

Ok, I admit it, I baked my own Mothers Day cake.  But I like baking and the baby was napping and my son was out planting tomatoes with Dad, so it was easy. And the strawberries were hand picked for me and left washed and shiny on the counter. After a bit of searching a couple of years ago I found my “house” yellow cake recipe which I used for this cake.  It’s called “Natural Yellow Cake Mix” from the Whole Foods website.  There are a few things I love about this recipe. First, the cake tastes great as is …

Continue reading

Now Starring (drumroll please) the Cover Crops

On a farm, cover crops usually play supportive roles at best.   Unglamorous crops like clover and vetch never get the shiny magazine spreads reserved for trendy heirloom tomatoes or the newest hydrangea cultivar.  They just quietly hold down the soil, fix nitrogen, provide food for the pollinators and create biomass to enrich the soil.  It sounds like enough to me for a starring role, but cover crops are almost always considered second fiddle to the crops. But right now, the cover crops are having their moment to shine. The crimson clover is topped with dramatic red blossoms, the vetch is covered in …

Continue reading

Stormy Skies and May Day Strawberries

The first day of May is cold and rainy in Maryland and the sky has a stormy look that gives me the creeps after our week of dramatic weather.  While the storms turned out to be non-events by the time they reached Maryland, we still found ourselves under a tornado warning for about 45 minutes on Wednesday evening and a watch that continued much longer. During the warning, we gathered in the interior room of our house listening to the radio and preparing to pile into the closet if we heard the sound of an approaching train. I busied myself …

Continue reading

Matzah in the Sandbox

Nobody wanted to leave the sandbox at lunch time today. With the perfect spring breeze shaking the new Bradford Pear leaves over our heads and the soft afternoon sun warming our cheeks, we were all content to keep playing. Plus, there was a new bucket of plastic sand toys for digging and building. But I was hungry too, so I ran into the house and grabbed a box of matzah. I have noted the irony of the impressive onslaught of matzah crumbs beginning the moment the house has been cleaned for Passover. The near constant shower of matzah crumbs around …

Continue reading

Bringing in the Heavy Hitters

When I wrote, Eulogy to a Greenhouse in February I promised to add updates as we built our new greenhouse.    In the past few weeks, we have made some progress and the new structure is taking shape. We now have all of the side bars in place and more than half of the top bars.   The side pieces actually went in very easily thanks to the awesome High and Heavy Hitter made by (I love the company name)Wheatheart that we were able to rent from our local extension office. If you like machines you can click on this link to see a …

Continue reading

Jewish Farming Piece

 I am happy to have a short piece called Back to the Land about farming and Jewish life running on the Jewish Parenting Blog Kveller today.  Feel free to check it out and the rest of the site which has several good Passover posts and  lots of other interesting things to read.  If you are landing here from Kveller,  you might want to click here for another Jewish parenting post on this blog.   Happy Passover!

Continue reading

Potato Planting

It is always an event when my husband teams up with a neighboring farmer to break out this restored antique potato planter that actually works amazingly well.  They are pulling it with a small tractor. The machine digs a trench, drops the potatoes in and covers them up all in one pass.  They are planting fingerlings and purple potatoes today. It is great fun to watch this machine in action, and the children found it especially fascinating. Since we used to plant potatoes by hand and know what a slow process that can be, it is a bit miraculous to watch …

Continue reading

First Green

If you look closely at this picture you can see thin, green lines of sugar snap peas coming up in the beds.  Even though the germination looks pretty good, we are a long way from harvest.  These tiny shoots are very attractive to deer and groundhogs and now that they have emerged from the soil, we need to scramble to protect them. It’s hard to imagine that if all goes well, in just a couple of months these plants will be tall enough to require six feet of trellis which we will piece together from old tomato stakes and flower netting.  …

Continue reading

Passover Countdown

We are only 10 days from the first night of Passover and once again I am realizing that my house will not be cleaned to my images of Passover perfection. I love the idea of a very deep, full house spring cleaning where any trace of chametz – both literal like cracker crumbs under car seats and figurative like the clutter that rises and puffs on surfaces and in closets—is removed.  While it is a wonderful idea that your entire home could be perfectly clean in time for Passover, I never seem to pull it off. In part it is …

Continue reading