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Sexy bad-ass Lauri Newman, my new inspiration
photo by Hannah Combs
Alright folks, I have a confession:  I stretched the truth on my farm hand job application.

I believe my exact words were, "I know how to lift properly - 50 pounds shouldn't be a problem for me."  Well... lifting 50 pounds shouldn't be a problem for me.  But it is.

In reality, I am a lightweight, petite woman with low upper body strength.  As a dancer, my core strength and flexibility is great, but my upper body is... 'delicately' muscled. 

So, in an effort to be a valuable member of the farm crew, I made a plan:  Farm Girl Bootcamp.


 
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Those are some sexy loaves...
I live approximately 5,760 feet above sea level.  Now, baking bread from scratch is tricky enough, but add all sorts of wacky pressure changes from high altitude?  Yep, we're in trouble.

But never fear!  High altitude baking can be done.  I've been using this homemade bread recipe for months now, and it just keeps getting better.

The recipe yields two loaves of whole-wheat bread that rest between sandwich-grade fluffy and moistly dense.  For those of you at sea-level, I'll include some alternate ingredient measurements.  


 
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Squash is a winter staple around these parts, but I never quite know what to do with it.  Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, never fails to deliver! 

Introducing spaghetti squash as... what else?  Spaghetti!

Vegan, gluten-free, seasonal spaghetti, that is.  I used all local and gifted ingredients for this squash-ilicious spaghetti.

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Ingredients:
~ spaghetti squash, local and organic
~ garlic, local and organic
~ yellow onion, local and organic
~ green onion, dehydrated, gifted
~ green onion, fresh, gifted*
~ garlic-infused olive oil, gifted
~ RealSalt, sourced near my home state
~ black pepper, from bulk into a reusable shaker

* You can keep green onions growing for a long time in a jar.  Keep them in sunlight and replace the water frequently.  Trim off the tops and they'll grow back!


 
It's time you knew:  I'm a tree hugging dirt worshipper.

To me, Nature is divinity, and I'm in love with the Earth.  But I don't spend as much time in nature as I'd like.  Sometimes, I go on technology overdose, and I start to feel really spaced out and irritable, or just plain depressed.  Too much time indoors can really make a person nuts.

Nature Deficit Disorder isn't just for kids - adults need nature too.  It's in our blood.  Nature-based religions honor this through connection to the elements.  No, not the periodic table!  Many paths recognize the natural elements as Air, Fire, Water, and Earth

When we're tweaked out on silicon, electric lighting, and too much caffeine, we can reconnect with Nature and the elements to find balance.  Get ready for some 'woo-hoo' theory that actually works!
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"The Designers Elements" - Larkin Jean Van Horn

 
I love projects... maybe you noticed?  My recycling bin is littered with to-do lists on backs of receipts, motivating me to:
  • write my best friend a letter
  • purge my extra belongings
  • make chocolate almond milk
  • organize food storage
  • sew a soft guitar case
  • and so on...
But lately I haven't had that usual fire under my ass to do! go! more!

I can think of a few reasons for my lack of motivation:  Morgan, my partner, just moved out of the state... I'm in a transition period in work and relationships... and the Sun moved into Pisces.

 
I drink chocolate almond milk with my coffee every morning.  It's delicious!

Today, I ran out of almond milk - voila!  I made my own.  And you can too.  Making your own almond milk cuts down on packaging (are those Tetrapak cartons really recyclable?), plus you can make it exactly to your tastes!
You will need:
~ 1 cup almonds
~ 1.5 cup water
~ 2.5 tbsp cocoa powder
~ 1 tbsp agave nectar/honey/sugar
~ blender
~ strainer/cheesecloth
~ half an hour

 
Ever since my multiple failures at cold-frame temperature control (read: crispy fried kale plants, and not in the good, tasty way), I've been sprouting my own greens.

Instead of beating my brown-thumb against the wall when my outdoor crops failed (for the 2nd time), I re-evaluated my purpose in nurturing cold-frame greens: having greens throughout the winter. 

Now, my winter CSA provides leeks and cabbage, but that's about it as far as green veggies go.  So, in the interest of year-round veggies, I've begun sprouting my own micro-greens at home.

 
Earlier this month I made a set of cloth menstrual pads, but I didn't know how well they would perform.  Well, the trial period (no pun intended) is over!  And yes, yes, cloth pads work!

Pros
~ No leakage whatsoever
~ The night pad design worked beautifully, even on a heavy flow
~ Much more comfortable than commercial pads, and feel drier
~ No irritation from crinkly plastic & synthetic materials
~ Totally re-usable & eco-friendly
~ The 'period tea' (water for soaking used pads) is awesome for plants!

Cons
~ You have to soak and wash them
~ They will stain anyway

... I can't think of any other cons!

So yes, 5 stars - cloth pads work just as well as commercial pads, plus they're much more comfortable & earth-loving.  Hooray!

Do you have any questions about cloth pads?  Anything I didn't cover that makes you go 'hmmm' or 'yuck'?  Let me know, we'll talk it out!
_
PSKXS78G4ANS
 
My diet doesn't fit into any easy label. 

When I say I'm vegetarian, friends raise their eyebrows over my occasional hamburger and call me a fake.  When I say I'm a flexitarian, it's dismissed as lazy vegetarianism.  When I say I'm a locavore, well, people are just confused.

The truth is, none of these dietary labels are accurate in the first place.  For me, food is highly personal, and my needs and intuitions change over time - daily, sometimes.

Currently, my diet could be described as a semi-locavore lacto-ovo-pesce-pollo-flexitarian.  But who really understands or wants to hear that?

If anything, I'm an intuitive eater.  (An intuitian?  Intuivore?  Hmm.)

 
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Morgan is satisfied!
_If there were a homemade tempeh church, I would join.

I know that sounds strange, but it really tastes that good!

As a vegetarian-minded/flexitarian-type eater, I've bought my fair share of commercial tempeh.  It's okay.  It's kind of boring, though, so I rely heavily on marinades like soy sauce and honey to spice it up.  Plus, tempeh costs around $4 for an 8 oz. package - $8/lb. is do-able, but not for something that's merely 'okay'.

One day, my partner Morgan and I were leafing through our copy of Wild Fermentation, and saw the section on bean ferments.  She offhandedly commented, "I'd be into making tempeh." 

Two days later, I bought 20 pounds of dried soybeans for $10 on Craigslist, and soon after, bought a packet of Rhyzopus oligosporus (the tempeh spore) from G.E.M. Cultures.

I was committed.



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