Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Now the the Greenblade Rises

March and early April have kind of been a blur...  full of highs and lows and busy days in between.

I've had a lot to write about, and I've taken many pictures but there just hasn't been time to write about them here.  Since I wrote last..

The boy turned 12.
Both kids did a great job in our school production of Annie Jr.
I had a multitude of doctor's appointments which all could have been very serious and turned out to be nothing.
My grandmother died.
I took a student to compete at State Forensics.
The kids and I took our annual birthday trip to New York City.

I'll write about those in other posts, but for today --- Spring!

A mild winter means fall planted lettuce is ready for harvesting
This is one of the first years in memory where none of the flowers have gotten hit by a frost.  It's beautiful.

Flowers were even blooming in Pennsylvania this weekend when I took a hike with my Dad.

Isn't it amazing where things will find a place to grow - this is in a slag pile left from strip mining.  Resurrection!

I love French food, but there is no where to get it close by so I've learned to cook that way.  The kale is from the garden too.

Hic Resurrexit!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March Madness

February passed in a blur....  and March will speed by even faster.

Ski and Sugaring Weekend 

We found winter for a few brief days and reveled in cold and snow.  I feel so cheated.  Where was our winter?  I'm not ready for spring - I'm still looking for that three day snow day forecast.  I miss living in the North.

She's 14 now so her default mood is anger.  Uncle Jim knows how to fight those bad mood blues.

We also snuck in a (not so surprising) birthday party for my sister.

I got to hang out in the sugar camp with my Dad and Uncle Bruce and chat for almost an entire day.
It was food for the soul.

 Growing Up

Just yesterday she was in ski school, now she's old enough to work there.  It's lots of fun to see your kid do well at her first real job and it's delightful to be out there with her.  

Pizza Fondue for the birthday party

S'mores dip instead of a cake.  Happy Birthday Girl...

On the birthday kid's day we do take out -- the other kid benefits too.
These were worn after repeatedly getting hot sauce in his eye.


It was the shortest Sugaring Season ever - 16 days, but the syrup was still divine.

His enthusiasm for band is palpable... and they sounded pretty good too.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lion and the Lamb

My son is a few weeks shy of turning twelve. Recently, he's been feeling very sad at bed time and he's been needing more tangible love:  tucking in, singing bed time songs, cuddling and of course talking through his feelings.   I do not know whether his anxiety is about the transition from childhood into young adulthood, or residual anxiety about what's happening in our nation.

But lately these conversations have felt bigger than our little house.  I feel anxious too.  I feel sad and hopeless.  I make my daily calls to representatives, attempt to have dialogue with those that don't think like me, use my money to support humanitarian and social justice organizations and try to keep myself informed.  But yet I feel as if my small voice is being blown away in the wind and that there is nothing I can do to combat the juggernaut of hatred which is our current government.

When I tuck my son in and kiss him good night I think about three things.  One, I am unspeakably blessed and therefore have an obligation to work to be a blessing to others.  Two, I remember those Jewish mothers who continued to love and protect their children until their last moment when hatred ripped their lives in two.  Three, I am saddened that history is repeating itself and envision (and pray for) those Syrian mothers that want nothing more than a safe place to raise their children.

I'm not always sure how to move forward or how to make my voice be heard.  But I can't tunnel under and do nothing.  Mothers have a sacred bond and an obligation to work to protect all children - no matter the circumstances of their birth.  Feel hopeless too?  Try heading here.  Glennon is a light in the darkness and a voice in the wilderness.

Pray, support each other and try not to give up on Hope.

Isaiah 11:6-9The Message (MSG)

6-9 The wolf will romp with the lamb,
    the leopard sleep with the kid.
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough,
    and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
    their calves and cubs grow up together,
    and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
    the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
    on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
    a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hygge: One More Reason I Love Winter

I'm a big winter lover.  I love everything about the season:  the cold temps, the snow, the crackling fires, the wool socks and sweaters, the sunny brisk days when we're able to get out and ski or hike in the winter world.  But, I especially love when weather cancels events and you are forced to stay home.  It gives me time to practice Hygge.  I'm pretty sure if you dug deeply into my heritage somewhere there's a Scandanavian grandma who has influenced me.

I'm a typical type A first born that generally enjoys being busy.  However, having the gift of meetings and events cancelled because of winter weather is one of my top reasons to love this season.  Today is one of those days.  The weather called for freezing rain - and even though I drive a Subaru with Ice Grip Tires and grew up driving in the snow - I don't mess with freezing rain.  The girl and I were scheduled to work ski school, and the boy and The Woodsman had a synod youth retreat planning meeting.  Both were cancelled because of the impending weather.  This meant that I slept in this morning, drank my coffee while it was hot and I may spend most of the day in my robe.  Dinner was already planned for the crock pot (Taco Soup) and laundry and cleaning was mostly done earlier in the week in anticipation of a busy weekend.   It's good to have some forced rest.

A quiet winter's day seems like a good time to reflect on the summer's harvest.

First, what I didn't can - jelly!  It was a terrible fruit year.  I managed to freeze a small amount of strawberries and blackberries for smoothies, but there wasn't enough to make jelly.  The peach crop was small so there weren't seconds available for jelly making either.  There was just enough rhubarb to make one small batch of jelly - but I gave all of that away for Christmas.  It is very odd to have store bought jelly in the house.  I don't think that's happened since I got married.

I also decided not to can whole tomatoes.  I felt like I had a lot in the pantry, and the tomato harvest was sparse so I concentrated on salsa, juice and sauce.  Now it's mid January and I'm out of tomatoes.  I definitely regret that decision.  I forgot how many, many winter dishes call for tomatoes.  Lesson learned.

Here's the final canning tally:

green beans:  23 pints
peaches:  4 quarts
tomato juce:  24 quarts
applesauce:  60 quarts
salsa:  20 quarts
spaghetti sauce:  34 quarts
green tomato curry:  5 pints
hot sauce:  10 half pints
apple butter:  33 pints
roasted tomatoes 2 quarts
pinto and kidney beans  - 16 pints
soup:  venison stew, ham and bean, garden chowder, minestrone - 16 quarts

Overall - not too bad.  

I had an abundance of frozen tomatoes from my Mother's garden.  It all got cooked down and turned into spaghetti sauce.

I had to use the stove top, the oven and the crock pots to get it all heating and cooking down.

Listening to audio books makes canning much more enjoyable.
Tomato sauce was accomapined by the true story behind Moby Dick.  

I hate Green Tomato Curry - but the Woodsman loves it.  Eli helped me make the hot sauce - he's a frequent consumer.  I don't know why I didn't make it before.  I didn't peel anything - just used the Vita Mix to puree it all.  It worked great.

My 93 year old grandmother helped with the apple butter.  It's so good to spend time with her.

We did apple dumplings that day too - October smells like cinnamon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hope in the Darkness

I often find December to be very difficult.  In many ways, as I continue to reel from the hateful rhetoric and policies revealed after the election, I'm finding this December to be even harder than others.  

I don't know when I started to feel disconnected with the Christmas season.  Since I entered adulthood I have struggled with the commercial nature of the season and the expectation to do everything with extravagence.  I've worn myself out crafting home made gifts to protect our family budget, and still often felt that I fell short of other's expectations.  Since having children I've also added a general feeling of exhaustion in December since there are so many extras that get tacked on to our already full schedule.  To be fair, there aren't many of those traditions I'd like to give up, and the kids are still enthusiastic so I soldier on.  

And then, four years ago, 20 children and six educators were brutally murdered eleven days before Christmas.  I don't know any of those parents personally, so maybe my continued grief is misplaced.  But, I am an educator and a parent.  I teach with the ghosts of Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine echoing in my head.  We've had two high level incidents of violent intent at my school this year, and in some manner we're always on alert.  It's a fear that never really goes away.  This time of year (Sandy Hook - 12/14/12) , and in mid April  (Columbine - 4/20/99) I find myself envisioning things too horrible to write here, and wondering when I say goodbye to my children if it will be forever. 

This time of year especially I hold my children a little closer, and bury my noses in their hair like I did when they were babies.  When I feel their no longer little arms press around me I can't help think of those Sandy Hook parents who had that chance taken from them.  They never anticipated that morning's goodbye would be the last.

Christmas feels hard.  

Advent... Advent is easier.

I've found some Hope in Advent.  The promise of Christ that is to come is much more powerful for me than the rememberance of Christ the baby that was.

Lights in the Darkness

Holden Vespers

I'm blessed with a wonderful pastor that spreads love and social justice with every breath he makes.  He's also a fantastic musician.  Every Wednesday during Advent I am able to sing and play and worship through Marty Haugen's Holden Vespers.  I draw power from the example of Mary, and remember that even when the world seemed like it was turned upside down she still praised, trusted and remembered.  I try to do the same.

My soul doth magnify the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm.
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat
and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things.
And the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel
as he promised to our forefathers Abraham, and his seed forever.


Although we started lighting the Hanukkah lights as a way to create some religious sensitivity in our children, I have come to find Hope in the lights and promises of Hanukkah.  When the candles are lit the prayers all start by saying, "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe."  For above all else Hanukkah is a festival of Hope.   Hanukkah reminds me to continue to spread the light and work to heal the breach.  The Maccabees were a small group working in hopeless conditions who only had the promise of God to light their way.  

Advent Sermons and Texts
Both the pastors I know, and the ones I listen to through podcasts have such wise words that help dispel the darkness.  This sermon by Nadia Bolz Weber is the best I've heard.

Tonight I'll light a Candle and I'll Remember

When I sing the prayers at tonight's Holden service I'll think about the lost ones of Sandy Hook and their families who wake up each day with a hole in their hearts.  Later, I'll pray for them alone at home and hope that we'll one day live in a world where parents don't have to worry about losing their children to violence.  I'll remember those 26 and other victims of violence throughout the world.   I'll hope for the promise given in Isaiah.

Isaiah 9:2-7The Message (MSG)

2-7 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
    light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
    you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
    Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
    sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
    all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
    as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
    along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
    a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
    the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
    Strong God,
Eternal Father,
    Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
    and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
    over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
    and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
    beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    will do all this.

In their names...
from The Mourner's Kaddish..
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
He who creates peace in His celestial heights,
may He create peace for us and for all Israel;
and say, Amen.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fall 2

It looks like fall, but with the exception of a few cold nights it's been really warm.  We've continued to have days in the 70s and 80s.  Now that Halloween is over I'm ready to start thinking about Christmas and ski season, but it still feels like we're in mid September.  I still love fall, but I'm ready for wood fires and sweater weather.

Ed built a Halbshausen with his most recent firewood cuttings.

 Halloween Fun

Trunp and Clinton Pumpkins

Jack O'Pepper

Eli as Trump at our church's Trunk or Treat.  Our pastor told us that he was very disturbed to see our son dressed as the devil.  Seriously, it's the scariest costume he's ever worn.
Robin Hood - we wanted her to be Clinton.  I guess this is close enough.

 Fall Camping

We had a lovely fall weekend and had some of our favorite people on the planet join us for an evening.  We're often so busy that camping and traveling provide us with opportunities to just spend time together without any interruptions.  We even taught the kids to play Pit - that was a blast!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fast, French, Fabulous

I was treated to an unexpected visit by one of my oldest and dearest friends.  He's often able to stop in on his way North this time of year so I usually try to keep some ingredients for some fast, yet elegant meals on hand.  It helps that there is an abundance of produce available both from the garden and from the CSA bag.  I found out that he'd be coming for dinner around lunch, finalized a menu in my head during the early afternoon, and cranked the oven to 450 when I got home.  We were eating by 5:15 and had a healthy and filling meal in front of us and great conversation between us.  

Roasted Salmon

Put a cast iron skillet into the oven set at 450.  When the oven (and skillet) is hot put the salmon down, salt and pepper it and drizzle it with olive oil.  Bake 10 minutes.  Scatter on garlic, lemon slices and fresh parsley.  Bake 5 - 10 min. more until the fish flakes.

Roasted Cauliflower

Put Cauliflower on a roasting sheet, drizzle with olive oil, chopped garlic and sage.  Roast 20 min. Add salt and pepper and fresh parmesean if you have it.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Par boil whole sweet potatoes for about 15 min. until fork tender.  Drain and cool.  Peel off the skins, slice and put into a baking pan.  Scatter chopped garlic and sage over the top.  Salt and pepper.  Cover with heavy cream and chees (Swiss or Mozarella work well).  Bake for about 10 min. untilt the cheese is melty.

Also on the table - Apparition wine from Americana Vineyards in Trumansburg, NY.  This is the perfect fall wine.  We love this vineyard and I usually buy at least four or five bottles so there's enough for fall entertaining.

This was a perfect meal with one of my favorite people on the planet.  What a great way to end a Monday.