A Talk with Sandor Katz about Pickled Peppers

I love the taste of naturally fermented sour dill pickles. Since I don’t live anywhere near a Jewish deli and I have lots of fresh vegetables on hand from the farm, I really want to learn to make my own. But my initial attempts at pickling have not been a success. Natural fermentation is the traditional way of making pickles taste like they are fresh from the barrel at a Jewish deli rather than fished out of a jar from the supermarket.  They are not packed with any vinegar and not refrigerated, giving them the amazing taste and some say …

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Some Writing News

About a year ago, I decided to try to do more writing, and more pitching story ideas into the world for magazines.   I have spent some time connecting with other writers, both in person and on line, and have tried to be assertive about catching my rare quiet moments to write.  I find parenting give me lots of time to think and creative inspiration, but very limited time to actually write, interruption is always imminent or already happening.  But I know it can be done, other mothers have written under far more stress. Here are a couple of things …

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Tractor Seat Slipcovers and Baby Carrots

Ready for some comic relief from real life today? Truth is really stranger (and funnier) than fiction. Sometimes I spend time reading sewing blogs and marveling at all the adorable projects some super mothers seem to effortlessly carry out while caring for many children, homeschooling, gardening and generally doing it all.  For me, sewing and parenting are not always as easy a match.  So with that in mind, I have to share what I just found in my sewing machine compartment.  Please note, last I saw this compartment had 4 bobbins ready to go and my new seam ripper (the …

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And One More Surprise in the Mail

So the chicks are finally with their rightful owner.  They stayed with us much longer than expected and we even wound up getting them set up to spend the night with a special light we borrowed from a neighbor. While I was initially delighted to find the unexpected box full of adorable chicks on my porch, dealing with them was increasingly annoying as the day wore on.  I wasn’t happy about having to take them inside the house as the temperature outside dropped in the evening.  Inside the house their little chirps were suddenly much louder and it was getting …

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Surprise in the Mail

This morning I suddenly heard the sound of lots of birds chirping.  I looked out the window expecting a flock of birds to be passing by or filling a nearby tree but I couldn’t find anything. I stepped outside on the porch and it was so much louder.  The skies and trees were empty so I started searching around for a nest somewhere on our porch.  Since we use our porch for the farm, there are a lot of places to look like on top of the cooler, and behind it, but I couldn’t find anything. The chirping was was …

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Strawberry Summer Cake in February

So it turns out Valentines day is a huge deal in preschool.  My son was looking forward to it for weeks and when the day finally arrived there was a party at school complete with candy, presents and yes dinosaur temporary tattoos.  He even brought home his first Valentine with a carefully lettered “I love you” message on the front. Fishing for compliments, I asked, “Is this for Dad or for me, or for the whole family.”   His answer was stunning, and humbling.  “It is for the whole world, I love everyone in the world.”  Four year olds are truly amazing creatures. I used to be a Valentine’s day …

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Natural Play on the Farm

I am not going to pretend that my children go outside to play every day.  There are plenty of days in Maryland that are too cold, or too hot, or too windy to play safely outside.  But today we took a little walk outside and it turned out to be so inspiring.  I love how creative children are with play especially when they are out in nature. A ladder set aside from a job becomes a natural obstacle course for learning balance. We do not have much in the way of an outdoor playground and it is at these moments when …

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Our Trial: Sunn Hemp as a Cover Crop

Finally, a real farm post! We planted sun hemp on our farm as a late summer/early fall cover crop.  Like everything else in life and farming, Sunn Hemp has some pros and cons but was overall quite impressive and we will probably plant it again.  We planted it as part of a federal study to help people solve problems on farms.  We were looking for a midsummer cover crop that would fix nitrogen, prevent erosion and not be a draw for deer. We received a small grant and free seeds to participate in the study. On the sunny side, sunn …

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My Antidote to Twitter

I joined Twitter this week and was immediately pulled into the incredibly fast paced flow of information.  I am sure the novelty will pass, but my first days of finding my way around has been truly overwhelming to the point that is is hard to fall asleep with all these # and @ signs flying around in my head. It reminds me of my very first days on the internet in the early nineties — the potential is blinding.  If you are a Twitter user, you are welcome to follow me at @thelettuceedge (or our small family business @israeliharvest)  where …

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