Saturday, December 24, 2011
she was sweet
with the promise
of coo, dark, sleep
Through the sky
with fluid motion
and caution to the wind
Oh, that Winter,
she can be a wicked
and wreaking havoc
blanketing the world
In her mischief
lives an inherent wisdom
She tells us
calmly and firm
get your mind straight,
Friday, December 16, 2011
So, if you will be so kind, raise your glass and share a toast with me," To the Post Oak, the Keystone species of the Cross Timbers ecosystem of North Texas, thank you for adding beauty to my life."
Friday, November 25, 2011
Today is a lovely day to appreciate the plentiful life I have.
In our modern society where so many people are concerned with "keeping up" I am making a conscious effort to simply maintain. In fact, in the past few months (minus the new additions gifted from my mom) I have been making the decision to try and rid myself of "things". One thing I am working to rid myself of is the feeling that I need more when in truth I already have everything I actually need: water, food, a roof over my head, clothing, warmth in winter, a family whom I love, and ever growing community of like-minded folks.
In our country, even those who feel like they have very little, posses greater wealth than people in so many other countries. We take for granted the fact that we have drinkable water delivered directly to our homes and accessible whenever we want and most of us have access to food all the time. Food and water to nourish our bodies is a blessing to be thankful for.
We, as a country also create some of largest amount of waste in world and use more of the world's resources than any other country. The US only makes up 5% of the world population but as a whole we are a consumptive super power wreaking havoc and leaving destruction everywhere we go. Greed and entitlement lead to unhealthy, malnourished spirits.
Today, with this whole Capitalist ploy of Black Friday and consumptive consumerism getting ready to sweep in and take over the holiday season, I want to remind everyone that we are not alone in this world. We live such individualistic lives even though the whole world is connected. When we make a conscious decision to consume to our hearts content, we can be sure that somewhere, someone else is lacking and it may be a direct correlation. This is what I think is one of the main things wrong with our society, lack of regard for other humans' rights to exist with integrity just so that we can have as much as possible. As I have been reminded by some very smart folks from an older generation, "It doesn't matter how much you have, you can't take it with you when you go."
It is my wish this holiday season that as a whole society we can find it in ourselves to come together and stop making a few people monetarily wealthy and work towards creating a wealthy world.
If you are going to be shopping for gifts this year, I know I will be as well, take the time to know your local shopkeeper. Buy from local crafts people or fair trade organizations. Make a gift contribution to a charity organization in someone's name, for instance Heifer International. Find out where items are made and what kind of record the corporation making the product has. Follow your money trail and see where it leads. As a whole, we should have learned by now that our use of our monetary resources speaks loudly. So, I say choose wisely where you spend it.
Let's start now and make changes that help create a healthy, wealthy world for all of the children growing up, being born, and not yet thought of.
As a little gift from me to you to start spreading the sweetness, here is my newest recipe for Cranberry Sauce.
1 bag organic cranberries
2/3 c organic golden raisins (feel free to use less if you want)
1/2c organic maple syrup
1/2c organic brown rice syrup
1/4 organic orange juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp organic corn starch mixed with 2 tsp water to make a slurry
Put all of the ingredients except cornstarch slurry into a 2qt pot. Cook over medium heat, mixing occasionally, until all of the cranberries "pop", or about 20-30 minutes. If there are still some whole ones, give them a hand by pressing them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. If your sauce is thick, don't worry about the cornstarch. If your sauce is still very liquidy, make sure it is gently boiling and pour in a small amount of the cornstarch. Stir until completely dissolved and keep adding in small amounts until desired thickness is reached. Cool and serve.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
The past few days have been full of fun and adventure. My mom has been visiting from the east and we, along with my son, have been having quite a blast. We've built Lego creations, eaten in a faux rainforest, danced and sang at a Harambee, been to the movies and shopped past the point of our hearts content.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
In NC, when I am there, deep within my being I feel at ease, at one with the with the surrounding environment, whole. Here in northern TX, I still feel like a visitor even though we're heading into our official second year as residents. It's not that I don't find natural beauty in the prairie or in the amazing sunsets. It's more that I feel all the weight lifted from my shoulders when I am in southern Appalachia and as of yet that hasn't been my experience here.
The challenge I posed to myself for this year is to expand my mind and figure out how to be exactly who I am in an environment that feels foreign. So far, I have actually learned quite a bit about myself.
For instance, once our homeschool co-op started and I began teaching art class, my happiness level rose substantially. In working with kids and creating, I feel at one with myself and I feel connected to a larger community, which is very important to me.
I am making a concerted effort to offer my creativity and skills to causes that I feel connected to, such as providing encouragement to a woman I know who wants to open a homebrew and tea shop as well offering ideas and help in planning a holiday fundraiser for the Denton Community Market.
I am also trying to just enjoy being in this environment that is still new to me and take time to walk in the wilderness and learn new plants. This past week Ian and I walked Frodo early in the morning and became familiar with Snow on the Prairie, a lovely little white flower with alluring sepals, and set our eyes on a lovely purple thistle.
So I hope you will join me this evening in raising a glass and sharing a toast to overcoming obstacles and finding a sense of place. L'chaim.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
on a warm morning breeze
leaving August behind
the Texas heat
and I dream up
snow on the prairie
blooms in stars of white
while trees and grass dry out
i too feel dry
kids mold clay
and talk about Africa
i suppose the heat
is stronger there
i'll break out
and we'll paint
Saturday, September 3, 2011
I Also got to spend so much quality with my dear friends, Nicole, Gaelan and Marcie. I have known Marcie since my first year in college at ASU and Nicole and Gaelan since I first moved to teh South Toe Valley. As I've gotten older, I've realized that having friends like them is really a special treat. It seems to get harder all the time to make those deep connections that I know will last the rest of my life.
My son went away to camp for the first time, and let me just tell you he did it big time, 3 whole weeks. It was the longest three weeks I have experienced since he was conceived. In fact the first time I saw him from a distance I cried for the following 20 minute drive to work. At that point it had been about 8 days. I finally got used to him being away and did enjoy the time to myself as well the chance to have alone time with my sweetie. We had a blast hanging around in the mountains together laughing, reading poems, walking in the woods and spending time together.
Then before I could blink it was over and we were on our way back to Texas. Now, here we are settled in after a few weeks and remembering how to be who we are in an environment we have a hard time connecting to. Anyway, the snow on the prarie is blooming, the warm winds are blowing, homeschool co-op is going and UNT is in full swing. Life is always moving forward and it is up to us to hold on tight and enoy the ride.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
My friends Nicole Delcogliano and Gaelan Corozine, along with their daughters have a beautiful farm called Green Toe Ground, located on the South Toe River. As a family and with help from Summer interns they run a small Biodynamic farm supplying local folks and restaurants with fresh, delicious vegetables. They’ve been living, playing and working on their farm for over a decade.
Gaelan was drawn to farming at a young age. When he was a teenager, Gaelan traveled to Italy to visit family and friends. While he was there, he fell in love with the land and the practice of working it. He apprenticed with a farmer and began to craft himself into a person of the land. After he returned to the US, Gaelan’s interest in farming continued to blossom and grow into a way of life. He worked with a local guy that had a CSA, which stands for community sponsored agriculture. The premise behind a CSA is that each member pays for a part of the production cost and in return receives a share of the vegetables. In this way, the farmer and the members are partners sharing equally in abundance (when the crops are good) and in scarcity (when a crop doesn’t make it). Gaelan’s next big move was to the Arthur Morgan School, in Celo, NC. Introduced to the school by a friend, Gaelan took a job as the gardener. By this time Gaelan had met Nicole and they came together from upstate New York to relocate and try out life in the South Toe Valley. It wasn’t long before they were hooked and began to see their future here in a beautiful swath of sandy loam located next to the South Toe River.
After partnering with Robert Tate for a few years, Gaelan and Nicole bought out his share in Green Toe Ground and began to transform it into their dream of a biodynamic farm. With a lot of hard work and dedication from their family, Green Toe Ground is a thriving, brightly colored, nutrient rich farm in full swing. So far this year Green Toe Ground has produced enough vegetables to feed all of it’s members as well as extra that has been bought up by restaurants in Asheville, NC and surrounding area proudly serving locally grown foods. Just the other day one of the interns told me they harvested 500 pounds of tomatoes. Talk about abundance.
Not only do Gaelan and Nicole take pleasure in growing vegetables they also enjoy cooking up the vegetables they nurture into maturity. This includes wonderful Italian feasts which are presented to farm dinner guests under a canopy of stars and twinkle lights by the bank of the South Toe River. The Green Toe Ground farm dinner is an event I have had the good fortune to participate in multiple times. Each time I was impressed with the dedication of my friends to make sure all of their guests had a night to remember.
Over the past two years and with the opening of the Knife & Fork restaurant in Spruce Pine, NC, Gaelan has had the opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen. During the first year of the Knife & Fork, Gaelan worked as the Sous Chef for Nate Allen (owner and chef at the Knife & Fork). Gaelan and Nate worked closely crafting delicious meals made from locally grown vegetables and meats. Gaelan, being a farmer as well as cook contributed to the restaurant in a very direct way. Not only did he give his time and energy to the plants while they were growing in the field, he also gave his time and energy to transform them into wonderful meals to be eaten and enjoyed. So this year when Nate created his team for the WNC Chef Challenge, it was no surprise Gaelan was asked to join the team. With the addition of Brenda Poole, who is the Knife & Fork pastry chef, the team was set for competition.
Fifteen other teams and three feasts later, the team from the Knife & Fork is headed to the finals. They will be going up against the Bistro at Biltmore for the title of Asheville’s top chefs.
I don’t know what the outcome will be, and by that I mean who the judges will choose as the winner. I do know that the meal awaiting the judges will be delectable. I had the opportunity to attend the third round dinner (Knife & Fork vs Posano). I was utterly impressed and pleased by the way the K&F team incorporated the secret ingredient: peaches. It will be interesting to see what the final secret ingredient will be.
While I won’t be able to attend the challenge, I will be waiting to hear the results.
For some of us, there is a deep love affair with food that is a part of our lives. I believe Gaelan is one of these people. He gives of himself utterly to provide clean, pure, fresh food that others can eat. He loves the land where the food grows and appreciates the opportunity to share that love with others. In true farm to table style Gaelan is the complete package of farmer chef.
Friday, August 5, 2011
roan mountain in the distance
i breath in the mountains
at their insistence
my boy is playing
the crescent moon
smiles down upon me
time is moving
i move with caution
so to avoid
keeping the sadness
psyching myself up
for the prairie
i'm on my way
heading back west
after a refreshing splash
in my favorite
Friday, July 8, 2011
Here you can see Nicole sporting her temporary radish tattoo and getting ready to change into a newly silk screened Green Toe Ground t-shirt.
Here you can see Nate Allen working on the spit roasting of Buster the pig. Early in the morning Gaelan and some friends got together and slaughtered the pig. Then Nate stuffed the pig with chickens and lots of fresh thyme. I made a huge batch of Colonel Neff's sauce and brought it over to the farm figuring that we'd serve it up with the finished pig. Nate thought it was delicious and decided to use it in addition to his own hot sauce goodness as a finishing baste.
I decided that I wanted to come up with some activities for the kids to have fun with. Here's Ian with his cork boat getting ready to race it down the rapids. We also had bubble blowing, face/body painting and water balloon throwing.
For the farm fashion show, Ashely who used to work for Sweetheart bakery put her artistic skills to work and painted me a beautiful cornucopia that covered my whole upper back. It was so beautiful and I really appreciated her taking time out from the party to do it.
And here, in purple glory are the t-shirts we screened using the beautiful hand made screen that Tara (and Joe) gifted them last year. The underwear served as 1st prize for the winner of the farm olympics. There was live music, swimming, dancing, laughing, fireworks and a blast had by all.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Summer is rolling along.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Place leaves in a shallow pot of boiling water and wilt down until bright green and soft. Eat these healthy, nutrient packed greens. I like mine with just a hint of umeboshi vinegar or simply plain.
After you've eaten all of the greens, then you can pour the leftover cooking liquid, or "pot liquor" into a glass and drink it as a warm nettles tea.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
i'm cleaning the cabin
after a week of deep green
on the south toe,
outside, the mother bird
huddles deep into
her corner porch nest
as thunder rolls and rain
comes down hard
mother nature replenishes
we freshen the spaces
i jump the gap
heading down the rock walk
to run a load of things
for packing in the car
but she catches me
i too am washed
by her majesty
Friday, June 17, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
A poem by Jim Veteto
Little Deer (March 11, 1996-June 12, 2011)
had I seen a dog
climb vertical rock mountain walls
run with albino deer
hunt down white possum
and birds out of trees in winter.
You traveled the whole wide country with me
into deep wilderness
numerous Indian reservations
Earth First camps
and rainbow gatherings.
You sensed things
--often before me--
and gave me that look
of awareness and concern
A true pack animal
yet one of a kind
You came to us
when Hale-Bopp was in the sky
a full moon
and the planets aligned.
You left us the eve
of an intense Appalachian lightning storm
gone down to the pond
to end it all.
I always felt
you were an indigenous dog
one left over from the old Indian camps
that may have mixed with more modern breeds.
The way you moved
the way you hunted
and you crossed your legs in front of you like a proper princess.
Today you are gone back to spirit
and tonight we celebrate your life
around the pyre.
Little Deer Woman
your spirit lives on among us
we will always tell the tale
of your life and times.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I have previously been making her chocolate chip cookies as a go-to cookie but wanted something different. And, I found it. A ginger cookie. Here's her recipe...
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground ginger
½ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup yacon syrup
½ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and ginger
- In a medium bowl, combine grapeseed oil, yacon, agave and lemon zest
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time onto a parchment lined baking sheet
- Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes, until tops start to crack
- Cool and serve
I actually wanted to make a few changes to accommodate our needs and the ingredients I had available so here's is my version:
2-1/2c Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2c canola oil
1/4c organic sorghum molasses
1/2c Suzanne's Specialties original brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Pre-heat the oven to 350
First gather up all of your ingredients to your workspace.
Next, in a large bowl combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and cinnamon. In a large measuring cup combine the oil, molasses, rice syrup and lemon zest and whisk together until well blended. Pour wet into dry and stir. This is a thick dough but it should not be sticky.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I used a tablespoon of dough per cookie and rolled each one into a ball and then pressed flat. Bake for about 10 minutes until they are golden and have cracked on the top.
Take them out of the oven and let cool. Although to be perfectly honest we ate some nice and warm and they were delicious. Be aware, the ginger flavor seems subtle at first but builds as you eat the cookie until it is full bodied and wonderful.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Makes 3 dozen
Pre-heat oven to 350
1/2c coconut oil
1/2c spectrum shortening
1/2 banana, mashed
2t vanilla extract
1/2c chocolate chips (njoy life brand)
2c Bob's red mill gluten free baking mix
1t baking soda
2t guar gum
In a large bowl cream together coconut oil, shortening and sugar. Add molasses, banana and vanilla, stir. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix. Roll into walnut sized balls and press flat, place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
of songbirds singing
and splashes of color
on the tip of my mind's tongue
i can taste
the dew soaked air
and feel the mountain
kiss my cheek
while feathery hemlock boughs
gently brush against
a flutter within
as my heart
finds its energetic connection
and clouds roll like waves
thoughts blow by
on the whipping winds
of the prairie
with grasses waving hello
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Blueberry Orange Marmalade pie
By: Alena Veteto
5 cups blueberries
1 cup orange marmalade
3/4c unbleached sugar
¼ tsp salt
1T lemon juice
4T corn starch
Preheat oven to 350
In a bowl mix together all ingredients.
Pour into a pie crust. Cover loosely with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes more until the crust is cooked and the pie is bubbling.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Wildflowers have been popping up in fields all over town spreading cheer and adding bright colors to the landscape. The Indian Blankets glow in bright orange and the Wine Cups call to me in shades of brilliant magenta. The prickly pear cacti have begun to show their softer side with delicate yellow and orange blooms leading me to remember the sweet taste of prickly pear syrup made from the ripe juicy fruits.
This past weekend a visit to Dinosaur Valley State Park. On the bank of the Paluxy River looking into the water, amazed at tracks left by ancient reptiles. Therapod and Sauropod tracks dot the riverscape. I am reminded how small my human size is as I sit in a huge footprint from long long ago. The river is cool and refreshing and the limestone/alkalinity of it leaves its trace on my skin and in my hair. Beautiful.
Rounding out our trip is a visit to Fossil Rim Wildlife Preserve. It's the sort of place you drive though and feed pellet food to the "free" roaming animals preserved therein. Ian thought it was spectacular. Zebras and Giraffes coming right up to your car, the latter eating out of our hands. It was a treat to see so many interesting animals up close.
As I shift to prepare myself for the coming summer, I say "Bring it on," I'm ready for my adventure to continue.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Check the link below to read all about it, The Slaw and the Slow Cooked, edited by James R Veteto and Ted Maclin http://www.vanderbiltuniversitypress.com/books/430/the-slaw-and-the-slow-cooked
Monday, April 4, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
i hear and feel the wind
against the taut tent fabric
it ripples and sways slightly with the gusts
leaves picked from tree limbs
or the forest floor
occasionally pitter-pattering upon the rain fly
i am concerned there may be rain
through the fabric
i can see a hint of moonlight though
and i am reassured that the clouds
hold no moisture
the air is crisp and cool
refreshing to breathe in
a rejuvenating elixir offering relief to my lungs
filled with the city
in and out of slumber i drift
interrupted by the night sounds
i am no longer used to
in the dim of morning
a chickadee sings nearby
a cardinal lends his voice
and an unfamiliar trill
greet me with the joy of a new day
i lay quietly and listen to their song
coming to me on the still blowing wind
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
When this begins to happen to me, I know that the ebst course of actions would be to tell him that I need a good talk. That I need an hour of his time just to listen and help me process the irrational emotions wreaking havoc on my life schema. Usually I wait until my breaking point hits to actually ask him for help. I don't know why, he has never since I've known him refused to help me when I have needed it.
By the time I am "breaking" as it were, he has most likely spent most of our interactions during the previoous week trying to ligthen the mood and make me laugh, reminding that everything is really ok. That I'm healthy, usually happy and have a wonderful son. I know all of these things but it doesn't help me. When I finally do break down and share the things in my head, he always listens. He is patient with me as I let loose, sometimes being overly critical of him, without telling me I am wrong, or what I am feeling is wrong. He is a good listener. He reassures me. Afterward my mind and heart begin to lighten. Even though this process is painful for me (and for him too) I think I come out better on the other side. It's like that deep internal winter reflection all comes to a head and is shouting to burst forth and into the next season. I emerge more aware of myself, my habits, and who I am, ready to continue my growth for the next year.
This time around, it didn't help that the following day, after my breaking point, the sun began to shine brightly again and the temperatures began to warm up. Last week felt like spring with sun and warmth and flowers beginning to bloom around town. I am hopful, inspired, and lucky to have such a great family.
May your life be blessed by someone who takes you for who you are and is glad of all of your faults. When you reach your dark winter place, may there be someone with a hand outstretched to help you reach the surface and breathe. And may the waves of doubt in your mind that have the ability to wreak chaos help you find a calm shoreline upon which to walk.
I'm looking forward to spring and new beginnings, bright colored flowers blooming, new birds migrating through, and the continuing of my grand life adventure.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
2T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 fresh roma tomato, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 can Muir Glen organic fire roasted diced tomatoes, plus 1 can of water
1/2 can organic tomato paste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt (this measurement is to taste, I used only 1/4tsp)
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried italian herb blend (usually found in bulk at your local health food store)
1/4 tsp garlic granules (or course ground powder)
1T red miso diluted in 1/2 cup warm water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. (Although I prefer to use my deep cast iron skillet). Then add the onion and sautee on medium heat until translucent. Add the tomato, zucchini and garlic and cook until soft.
Then add the tomatoes, straight from the can, and the paste. Fill the tomato can with water and add that as well. Add all of the spices except the miso. Simmer on a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken. Then add the diluted miso and simmer another 5 minutes.
Top your favorite pasta and enjoy.
Monday, February 7, 2011
I suppose I won't celebrate the sun and warmer temps too much just yet as there is a call for more snow and ice starting tomorrow night and then again later in the week. Oh well, at least being cozy at home with the family is something I truly enjoy.
Well, I'm sure cheese heads everywhere are delighted with the outcome of the superbowl. There were quite a few injuries on the astroturf and more long hairs on the field than I can honestly say I've noticed in a quite a while. I guess the game was considered to be pretty good football. What started out like it might be a shut out of a game turned competitive after half time and was actually pretty entertaining.
However I cannot say the same for the Black Eye Peas performance at half time. Maybe I'm showing my age by admitting that when it comes to seeing/hearing live music at this stage of my life I really perfer to actually see people playing instruments as opposed to just singing and dancing on stage. While the light up costumes were kind of flashy and mildly entertaining as were all of the light up dancers, Slash, lending the sweet guitar chords I've come to know and love as Sweet Child of Mine totally stole the show. And of course gimmicks, which seemed to be what the performance was all about continued throughout even bringing singer Usher down from the rafters and onto the stage.
All in all my superbowl watching experience was fun combined with snacks (none of which were advertised during the game) and good conversation (which often included mocking of things that were advertised during the game).
Now that I've gotten that all out of my brain, will I be able to make the leap into this morning's schooling? I'm sure I will but after spending the week cooped up in the house and neighborhood, I think we're both wanting to play with others, somehting we usually get plenty of.
My stream of consciusness seems to be dwindling out so, I guess that's about all for this morning.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I'm not so bothered by the cold weather. It's just come as a surprise. I feel lucky for that we're a homeschool family because snow and winter weather provide great opportunities for both fun and learning. We can measure how deep the snow is in the middle of the yard compared to how deep it is in the drifts. We can see how much water is left in a glass after the snow melts. And we can make snow cream!!!
This week I've been making a lot of hearty warm meals to keep our insides from chilling. Last night I made a delicious potato soup and thought I'd share the basic recipe with you.
Creamy Potato and Vegetable soup (vegan)
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 rapunzel brand bouillion cubes, sea salt and herbs
4 cups of water (maybe more)
4 cups of fresh washed spinach
8 oz mushrooms sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic
2T olive oil
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Place the cubed potatoes, veggie bouillion and water in a large pot. You want enough water to be a good 3 inches over the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium and cook potatoes until they are completely done, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sautee for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Then add spinach, bell pepper, and a pich of salt and sautee until all vegetables are cooked and soft. Add enough salt, pepper and garlic powder to give a good flavor.
When the potatoes are done cooking, use and immersion blender to turn them and the cooking liquid into a puree. Add the cooked vegetables mixture and season to taste. Enjoy!