Three Perfect Days…in Indiana

photo of a covered bridge in Roann, Indiana
This covered bridge in Roann, Indiana, was worth a stop!

I have a complicated relationship with my home state, Indiana. Three quarters of the people I love best in all the world live in the Hoosier State, a rather rustic and idyllic childhood was spent running in the woods there, I spent my amazing college years there, and yet I often have mixed feelings when I board a plane bound for IND. Maybe it’s because I’m the polar opposite of the typical Hoosier ideological profile. Maybe it’s because I run into someone I’d rather not see every. single. time. I visit.

So it was even more surprising to me that when I embarked on a long-weekend touring northern Indiana this past July, I encountered not only the best restaurant meal I’ve ever had in the mid-west (one that competes with some of the best meals I’ve had in Europe and in much more cosmopolitan locales in the US), but delicious cider, some nice wines, ┬ácharming inns, antique stores, and beautiful vistas that made for three perfect days in Indiana. Read more

A Meatless Monday home-run!

a photograph of Finnish chanterelles (suomenlainen kantarelli)
Finnish chanterelles (suomenlainen kantarelli) for sale at the market by our house

Despite having added meat back into our diet a few years ago after more than a decade as vegetarians, we still eat meatless meals several times per week. It’s not really a conscious decision, just something that naturally happens when I plan the menu. Still, with the abundance of amazing local poultry & fish available here in Helsinki, I’ve been feeling like my best meals, at least recently, have included meat. That’s why I was so excited to hit one out of the park this past week, and on Meatless Monday no less!

Chanterelles are in season here in Finland, and by that, I mean the market stalls are bursting with these tasty orange mushrooms, and people are out combing the woods for them at every opportunity. So I bought a kilo the other day, and just threw them in to just about everything I was making from vegetable side-dishes to pizza. But I wanted to do something to really showcase them as a main course, and this Chanterelle Tart did the trick. Read more

Wildflowers of Early April

Photo of Townsendia hookeri
Townsendia hookeri - One of the earliest daisy-type wildflowers
In 2007, I began working on my Native Plant Master (NPM) certification down in Jefferson County. We were in the process of moving to Lyons, but Boulder did not yet have a NPM program, so I hoofed it down to Morrison every Saturday for a month to begin learning about native plants. Three years later and I’m preparing to co-teach my first Native Plant Master courses right here in Lyons at Rabbit Mountain next month.

Usually, I’d say the wildflower season in this area begins in March. But we’ve had a cool, wet spring, so I think things are getting off to a late start. That’s part of the reason I was delighted to find so many little treasures blooming on my first Rabbit Mountain hike of the season yesterday afternoon. Read more

Choosing a Seed Company

In December last year, the first gorgeous, glossy seed magazine arrived in my mailbox. After fleeing to a private spot to drool review it in detail, I started thinking about how we choose where to buy our seeds. If the early bird truly does get the worm, Seeds of Change, sender of that first beautiful catalog, would have gotten my money this year, just as they have the past several years. But this year, I’m choosing my seeds from other sources and perhaps explaining my reasoning will help you make your decisions too. Read more

Planning the Perfect Pot Garden – Primer Part 3

This is a great example of container gardening, taken from Permaculture 4 Renters.
This is a great example of container gardening, taken from Permaculture 4 Renters.

I’ve already talked about growing herbs indoors to beat the winter blues, but I know a lot of gardens in urban landscapes are looking to maximize growing space using containers (no, not that kind of pot!) to garden outside too. Whether you’re planting a few herbs in a sunny windowsill inside or growing a large container garden in your yard, a few tips will help make things easier. Read more

Birthday Cake – Localized

cakeToday is my darling husband’s birthday, so this morning the kids & I baked him a cake. I chose my Grandma’s Fresh Apple Cake recipe in part because I had ingredients on hand and in part because it was one I could adapt so that it used mainly local ingredients. Oh yeah, and also because it’s moist and delicious and one of Matt’s favorites ­čÖé

I’ll give you both the original recipe and the modified so that you can make it how you like, but also so that you can see how easy it is to modify your favorite recipes so that they use local ingredients. Happy Birthday, Love! Read more

Garden Primer Part 2 – How Many Vegetables Do I Need?

vegIt took me longer than I’d hoped to get this post out. Part of my struggle was that choosing the veggies for your garden is such a personal choice. But a conversation with a friend last night helped me really focus in on how I choose veggies for my garden.

Start with the limiting factors
If you live in Lyons, you can’t grow bananas outdoors, no matter how badly you’d like to. If you live in an apartment, you probably can’t manage an apple tree. If you live in a suburban house, you likely don’t have room enough to grow wheat or barley. So start your veggie planning with identifying your limitations. Last week, I wrote about figuring out how much garden space you have, and how much you need. Read more

A Vegetable Garden Planning Primer

gardenI spent about two days of my time off of work planning next year’s vegetable garden. Yes, I realize it’s early January, but I like to start seeds beginning in February, which means I need to get my seed orders in now! That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s too late for you to get started on your vegetable gardens for this-coming year. In fact, the perfect time to start planning is right now, and I’m going to give you some tips that will help you get started.

First, What Went Wrong Last Year

Last year, a couple of things went wrong with my vegetable gardening plans. First, I tried to go in on a giant seed order with all of my gardening friends. Although I think we saved some money on shipping, and had some fun getting together over the garden catalogs, we placed our order later than I like, it took us forever to divide up the seeds (we split single packets of seed among as many as six of us, which was kind of nightmarish!), and I bought way more seed than I needed because I wanted to try a few plants of everything my friends were trying. Read more

Blog Action Day: Why what you eat makes an impact

Today is Blog Action Day and I’m proud to be participating with other bloggers around the world in raising awareness about the topic of climate change. With all the press the upcoming talks in Copenhagen have been getting, doing something tangible about climate change can seem overwhelming, or out of our hands as individuals. It’s not.

Regardless of what is decided on Washington (where cap-and-trade legislation is taking shape) or Copenhagen, there is something that most Americans do three or more times a day, and how they do it has a real impact on their carbon footprint. That’s right folks, eating. Read more

My 15 minutes of fame…

If you read the Boulder Daily Camera, you might have seen a familiar face on today’s front cover. Actually, three familiar faces: myself, Gabriel & Lily. I was interviewed last week about my efforts to cellar onions, garlic, squash, and potatoes over the winter using a system of shelving and lidded bins. Little did I know that I’d get a blurb on the front page pointing to a pretty cool story a few pages later! Take a look to learn more about building your own root cellar. And check out another great article on how to figure out what you need to store for the winter.