Showing posts from December, 2015

The Darkest Day

I spent this winter solstice at the funeral of a beloved friend.  She was full of light and energy, and it is so very dark here right now — as if the sun were suddenly snuffed instead of just warming the other side of the planet for a bit.  I lack. I lack words to express this loss. I lack all resources to stand up against the waves of sadness that have really only just begun to crash around me. I lack any ability to cypher out the ledger sheet of this year, which has been filled with more loss — in the world at large and in my corner of it — than I can tally.  This photo gets at something I haven't been able to say, though. This is MaryClaire, walking away, holding Jonas' tiny hand and no doubt teaching him something about that big, beautiful world around them. He's only five there, and that's also gone, replaced by something study and clever but less soft and trusting.  And, now, much more sad.  So there they are, my friend and my b

Big Bird's Banana Bread

So far we have jarred up about 10 pints of honey, and there are still several combs left in our buckets waiting their turn for crushing and straining . That’s about 16 pounds of honey (well, according to the online calculator  I found, it’s 15 pounds, but we also used quite a bit in passing that never made it to the jar at all). Anyway, with all that honey around, we need to use it for more than just sweetening morning tea and coffee. (More about honey in coffee later — it’s a life changer worthy of its own post). This morning, Kirk pulled out an old favorite recipe: Big Bird’s Banana Bread is the best you will ever eat. This recipe is vintage 1970s, straight from the Sesame Street Magazine  (though ours is a photocopy). This recipe is also as wholesome as you would expect, given the earnest source: tons of real bananas, honey instead of sugar, and it’s totally whole wheat. You’ll have more fun if you click on the photos and follow the original directions, but here’s the b

Sunday Dinner: Homemade Pizza and a Salad

We took advantage of this beautiful weekend to finish up some garden clean-up chores that we had put off while working on the kitchen. Now all the garden beds are tidied up for the winter, and all the root vegetables are mulched and ready for cold weather. Part of the clean up included harvesting some beets and beet greens that are not under plastic. I also picked the last radishes, which have done admirably in the cold without any protection. Add some last snippets of broccoli and a carrot, and you have a tasty winter salad: We were a little disappointed to discover that most of the arugula and lettuce in the greenhouse tunnels was limp and mushy from the wide temperature fluctuations over the past month, so this salad is mostly beet greens taken when we pulled the beets for storage. (There's a tiny bit of arugula from a volunteer patch, but not much.) That makes for a strongly flavored salad, so Kirk balanced it out with a sweet new dressing: Honey Sesame Dressing

Peace Comes Dropping Slow

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee; And live alone in the bee-loud glade. ~ W. B. Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” Our own bee-loud glade has fallen silent , but we were able to harvest eight full combs of capped honey: These five we had sitting out on the counter for some time, since dealing with sticky, messy honey in the midst of kitchen chaos would have been difficult. That’s not an ideal situation — without the bees using their wings to maintain the proper humidity, the honey thickens and will eventually crystalize.  But over the past several days we’ve been working to get the honey out of the comb (though you can see in the photo above that we’ve been cutting off pieces to use as needed, for a cup of tea or to drizzle in an apple pie, for example).  To deal with the honey properly, we finally cut the comb off the bars: