Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thinking about the 100 mile diet

I'm sure you all have heard of the 100 mile diet – where everything you eat for a meal (or a year – your choice) comes from within 100 miles of where you live. This not only keeps your spending in the local economy helping farmers you are likely to meet, but it also cuts down on your carbon foot print by not having your food travel so far (often shipped from overseas). On the website for the 100 mile diet, you can put in your zip code and it shows a map with a 100 mile radius circle drawn on it – That's so cool.

100 miles radius around here covers a lot of wilderness area, as well as beef ranches and the requisite alfalfa fields. There was one good sized town just on the edge of that circle (if I nudge it a little) and that had its origins in food production, peaches and pears, and apples so that was encouraging. Last I checked there were still food producers in the area. I know they also put in vineyards years ago so local wine production will be an option. I don't think we'll do a strict 100 mile diet but I am going to concentrate on finding sources of locally and close by produced goods.

{warning, rant ahead} I've been turning on the news lately just to watch the fuel prices. One article in this morning's news said that in the next 3 years fuel could reach $7 to $10 a gallon. It was what followed that really shocked me however. The interviews with people sitting in their cars said that they would have to change their habits then – take public transit, ride bikes, and mopeds. Wow, EXCUSE ME? What happened to making those changes at $3 and $4 a gallon prices? The "economics professor" at the (conservative) University said he agreed with those figures but didn't see his life changing too much in the next couple of years – he was optimistic. Somehow I find his optimism discouraging…. and I am I wrong, or are people are being affected now?

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Monday Menu

This Monday’s Menu comes from several different sources. For one thing, I’ve become aware that I need to get into both the (extra) freezer and the cupboard and use some of what is hanging out there. Maybe some of the things on the menu aren’t sustainable but they’re already in the freezer and I’m not throwing it away. On the brighter side, I have been out visiting other blogs this week and found some really inspiring foodie posts and want to try some of the recipes and I’ll provided links to those blogs.

One of the things I love about my house is the 7’x5’ pantry which is lined with shelves (24 inch shelves, mind you) and 9 foot walls. There is floor space for buckets and bushel baskets and is vented. I have to step down into the pantry as it is below floor level and the floor stays nice and cool. All that said, if not well-organized, I can and do lose stuff in there. So, I’m going in….send the dogs if you don’t hear from me….

Nee-chan is making Quiche tonight: She’s making the pie crust with a filling of a doz. free range eggs (we’re beginning to save the cartons for our future hens rather than composting them), spinach, and peppers. She makes a wall with the pie dough and we’re allowed some bacon in our side. Really quite vegetarian generous, I think. We’ll have a side of steamed artichokes that were on sale this week.
From the freezer we’ll have Lasagna during a busy night of the week. This was made for a party this winter (vegetarian and meat) and froze the leftovers in individual servings.

Also found in the freezer were chicken wings. Oh I do love them marinated in soy sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and grilled.

In the freezer, we still have strawberries from last year’s harvest and so we’ll be focusing on smoothies for breakfast.

Apparently the folks at the the spotted apron liked last month’s Cooking Light magazine too. They have a beautiful blog with great pictures so I’m trying their adaptation of the pasta, Makaruni Pasta with Baby Bella Mushroom Sauce. It looks wonderful.

With the left over fresh spinach I’m making Farmgirl’s Spinach soup

The pantry cleaning went well. I found very few things with more than one ingredient. One of those was a bag of powdered Hurricane drink mix from pre-Katrina New Orleans. Price tag read $3.99, and out to the landfill it went. There are the requisite canned veggies and tinned meats in case of disaster now neatly lined up with their labels showing nicely. But I also found several varieties of lovely organic rice. I liberated them from their plastic bags, cut the bags so to save the labels, and put them in glass jars with their labels showing. This will help keep them from getting lost.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Long Way to Go

It is as if I has woken from a long winter's nap, and discovered what has happened in my absence. It is a good thing, a hopeful thing to see spring returning to my life but suddenly I realize all the trash that has blown into my habits, how short sighted I had become in the Winter of Difficulty. A sort of malase had crept into a life that once raised livestock and vegies and traded them for vegies for a large garden and babysitting.

The simple practicality of changing my ways met me in the face this morning: I was up very early for prayer and preparation, dressed in sensable clothes: dressy yet fit for walking and got ready to leave and realized that I had not adjusted my leaving time to allow for the walk. Ugg, how basic! So I drove where I could have walked because I am kind of particular about being on time to church....given that I'm the priest.

What we have done so far: We are eating lower on the food chain a little at a time. Nisama became vegetarian on the way to Thanksgiving dinner 2 1/2 years ago. She was listening to an NPR report recording from Jane Goodall and procliamed herself vegitarian, walked through the door of the feast as a vegitarian and has been so ever since. I wanted to support this (then) 14 year old in her taking moral stance on an important issue, though we (still) have no intention of being vegitarian. However we have gone from a western, service of 10oz. steaks for every person to one such steak feeding the family with left-overs for stir-fry. We have gone from meat daily, and holding two freezers full, to meat a couple of times a week.

We are all walking more. The girls wanted me to run out to the grocery for just stuff today. We didn't go - we didn't need junk food. We are planting a kitchen garden that will support our summer eating and hopefully provide food for next winter as well. We have composted for years and haved moved compost barrels to our new location. We have a couple of water barrels on order to water the garden in an arid climate. I quilt, we use hand-me downs, turn down the heat, use energy efficient appliances, have never purchased a TV (but recieve hand me downs), don't pay for cable, buy in bulk, freeze and can fruit and vegies in season, and fish close to home.... but it's not enough. So here is where we are going:

*With our Economic Stimulus Check we are buying a Chicken coop (locally built shed) to go in the side yard of our suburban home. We are ripping up about 1/5 of the lawn this year to go into raised bed organic gardens.

We have in our plans to begin solar projects:
*we want to be able to turn on a light on the asphalt side yard but instead of wiring one we are going to put in a solar panel so we can learn more about what it means to move our house to solar power.
* I'm going to put up a clothes line - the climate here is dry and we might as well use it to dry the clothes. This is an example of how even we have become greater energy users because when the girls were litte we would wash diapers and hang them along with all our clothes.
* I want to build a solar food drier. Last year I wanted to buy an electric one, now I want a solar one.
* fast grow the weeds has given me goal for food cellaring to work toward.
*Here I mumble into my sleeve but I'm going to try Crunchy Chicken's Diva Cup challenge though I wish to not speak of it in the Kitchen again.

We are not doing the no-purchasing challenge because there are things we plan to buy for the Urban homestead including soaker hoses, solar panels, water barrels, Diva Cups, Lumber for raised beds, another Compost Tumbler, a fence to keep the dogs out of the garden, specialty work clothes, a little giant ladder, a chipper....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Name Change

You know, the worst part of borrowing books (and then returning them)is that they aren't around to quote from in a clean manner. On a recent vacation , I read Lalita Tadamey's Cane River and Red River. In Cane River, one of the Grandmothers changed her name a couple of times to suit her after having won freedom from slavery and had the right to choose a name.

I've changed my blog name from Rev. Sweet to Verde because, well... I can and it seems to fit better. I feel a little bad about this because the name, Rev. Sweet had been given, or at least suggested, on the RGBP Big Event by my roomie from Prarie Light. It is a sweet name given in kindness, but has begun to feel saccharine for what is turning out to be kind of an edgy, or at least crunchy, blog.

So much of my life is tied up in the church - in full time ministry. Often being a priest in a small, conservitie town is isolating. For this blog to "feed me" and not be one more thing I produce, I need it to be about the other parts of my authentic person that don't get to have good expression in daily life. I quite simply respect that there are differing opinions - those who deny global warming, those who don't give a shit, those who support Pres. Bush and the war, but I have to live my life according to my calling - even if that is living green in an oil and gas boom-town.

The Evening News

The first half hour of the evening news has been on covering the risiing cost of gas and how a BMW driver has had to start taking the bus. You know, this is one of times where rising gas prices actually looks like good news. People have said it for years - high gas prices is what it will take to change our ways.

Of course rising food costs are a serious humanitarian issue. In fact, an enormous number of people have thus far been living in a precarious place between making ends meet and...not. That my friends, is going to have a major impact on our society.

The news moved from there to Monsano - which is a name I've noticed visiting blog to blog but had not previously realized what the fuss is about. This GMO producer apprearently has been "harassing, lieing, tresspassing," and sueing family farmers out of their living if their seed is found in a farmer's crop - even if the farmer did not plant it there - if it drifted in. There is a long litany against Genetically Modified foods and giant agri-businesses which I am not goint to list here. Suffice to add to the litany against them is the blatant hunting down of the family farmer.

And Honey Bees - the good news tonight is that individuals are taking up beekeeping in such numbers that supplies are short and classes are full. And I applaud those who are putting themselves out there and investing in reversing the problems our globe is facing.

Of course I was out in the yard today... we moved here at the beginning of the winter and it is so exciting to see what is coming up. I am pleased to see there there are perennial herbs in wit the beaugiful bulbs.

As I'm not in the best of shape after the coldest winter of my life so I've been surfing around to all sorts of blogs. Many of them have been added here. I am so impressed at what I've seen - so many people so far along in making a differance and really living green - I applaude you all and am inspired to change my habits. I've gotten complacent since my move to this oil and gas boom town.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The property

So, what do we have to work with and what are we willing to do?

Our little urban homestead looks like this: I am estimating that the house sits on about 1/5 acre and the house is a little under 2,000 sq ft. You can get the picture and if you are a numbers person you are welcome to do the math (its not my strong suit). We also have a detached shop and a paved "RV" space for which we have no RV, but we do park a row boat for fishing.

At first I was frustrated with the paved area but I've come to think of it as a work space and I've learned a little more about container planting. I am in fact in search of oak barrels for planting potatoes.

The back yard has fruit trees and ornimental plantings with vegetible plants tucked inbetween. I read about small farms and I'd love to have sheep again and I'd love to live in an intentional community of simularly minded people. However I have to focus on what we have - which is a lot.

For now we are going to leave a spot of lawn in front. But on the other side yard - that peice that keeps us a comfortable distance from the neighbors, I am going to take up. Toward the back, and so must go in first will be a little shed for the chickens. They'll be better protected against the house. In front of that will be raised bed vegetable gardens. I know from last year that one 8x16" bed produced most of our needs for the summer - though there was little for freezing. What is going to hold us up is the cost of that shed - I'm not going to take on debt for it but it has to go in first so as to not take the delivery truck/tractor across the gardens. I'm planning on paying for it with the "economic stimulus" money from the feds but that doesn't seem to be coming fast.

I would prefer 10+ acres in the country but, there is an advantage to living in town: we live within walking distance of the church (and office), and girls withing walking distance of school. We are a block away from the library and three blocks from the hospital where I make regular pastoral calls. I know from past homes in the country that it comes down to a lot of driving. This experiment in urban homesteading is not to get away from society but to live with integrity within society, transforming from the inside outward.

I hope that by staying in town, and taking care of our selves right here in the city, others will begin to follow suit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Ant and the Grasshopper

I was raised on Aesop's fables. They are after all, a way to introduce moral thinking to young children, and they have stood the test of time. They are tales well suited for the human ear.

I've been thinking lately of the tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper. Here is a synopsis from Wikipedia:

"The fable concerns a grasshopper who has spent the warm months singing away while the ant (or ants in some editions) worked to store up food for winter. After the winter has come, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger, and upon asking the ant for food is only rebuked for its idleness. The story is used to teach the virtues of hard work and saving, and the perils of improvidence. Some versions of the fable state a moral at the end, along the lines of:

Idleness brings want
To work today is to eat tomorrow
It is best to prepare for the days of necessity"

As I listen to the news of food crisis in China and Austrailian crop failures, as I listen to well-informed scientists on global climate change, as I listen to well-infomed and moderate religous leaders talking about peak oil, as I understand more about organic gardening and sustainable gardening, I am compelled to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the things we typically run out and buy.

Maybe that is because we have known real financial difficulty in the past and have been sustained by both the food of a vegitable garden and the gentle, healing, hopeful nature of seeing the food spring from the earth to nourish a family; maybe I inherit this from my mother who tried to dig a bomb shelter during the Cuban Missle Crisis; but maybe I am informed by the fables that says that when the sun is shining and there is money for the lumber to put in raised beds, gas to haul good soil, and the means to make a little housing for some poultry (in a way that is pleasing to the eye). Maybe Aesop speaks to people because these are universal truths that last season in and season out across the globe, maybe we would be foolish to not take measures to provide for ourselves if a winter should come to the perpetual summer our society has experienced over the last 80 years.

This then, is the basis of what I will journal as things come along. If all we do is save money by providing a little for ourselves, then that is a good thing and worth the effort. Digging up one's lawn is eccentric, and it is also statement of how uncertain the world feel just now, and how I want to live a life that produces for the good.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Catching Up

It has been a busy week and I have not blogged so here is the encapsulated edition:

I began yet another Urban Homestead project: Instead of posting the Monday Menu, we have started now a fourth little homestead garden - the life of a preacher is a nomadic one. I've planted indoor seeds to be transplanted later when the danger of frost has passed - that should give us time to build cold frames to protect from the first frost of the fall, a few short weeks after the last spring frost. We also ordered a rain barrel to accompany the twirling composter.

I've met the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who spoke on Global Climate Change and violence. She encouraged all faithful people to live lower on the food chain, and reduce imports (and slow the negitive impact on the oceans that exponentially increasing shipping practices are reaking), and reduce consumption of "stuff" (she said it better). It was good to see state dignataries and other religous leaders in the Eucharist.

A 14 year old child has died and been buried in the church of his mother's parents. I've preached on this twice as the RCL lectionary provided both the 23rd psalm and then the typical burial readings from the gospel of John.

Fr. Diesel began to get better but just as he says, every time he feels better something bad happens... he felt better and the Sherriff called to say his adult son had been found dead. The week before he had given me the first complement ever on a sermon on the 23rd psalm and loss. This week instead of growing in strength he went to settle the affairs of his closest son.

We purchased a new viola for Chibi. We have really streatched: spending tax return and violin turn in, Grand parent contribution, and took out a loan. The Harpie musician was pleased. What me?...trying to please a critical authoritarian or trying to give my children the qualitiy I never expreienced? Maybe child #2 will simply know that we have supported her in every way possible to live into her fullness as a muscian. The quality instrument will hold value and give me pleasure even as an unaccomoplished musician bows across its alto voice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Monday Menu

I seldom...rarely...almost never....gush about a product. Media and books are more likely to get gushed about and that is the case here. The April 2008 issue of the "Cooking Light" magazine has me waxing poetic. With every page turn it is as if the editor knew me and put this issue together as a gift to me.

"Cooking Light" has stood the test of time for me as one of my favorite publicataions for years running. There was a time several years ago where I stopped taking it because it veered away from practical recipes to sustain my family but they obviously are back on the path to righteousness.

The first article begins on page 16 and is entitled, "Homegrown, home enjoyed - a short enjoyable article right up my ally. Alison Ashton, Sr. Food Editor mentions the Local Food Movement. I am all about this. This used to be something we did as a family that was quirky and eccentric, but given time it's come into the main stream (not that we still arn't quirky and eccentric).

I hope the local food movement is not a trendy thing because buying locally is an issue of justice. When we track the meal choices to their origins and then add up the pesticides from mass farms, the carbon foot print from the trucking (or air or ship) and the justice issues of purchasing from other contries whose farming and human rights practices we would not tolerate, we begin to realize the impact our choices make in the whole picture. The added benefit to buying locally is that one connects with the local community, and supports the livelyhood of people who still work with the land to support themselves and their community.

The author ends the article with a nutrition guide. Those of us who like our food, and who sometimes consume too much of it need at times to look at that. The figures for women are for pre and post menopausal ages. That brings me to the point that in a few more pages there are instructions for using tofu and tofu recipes. No, it is not produced locally, but the off-set for a meat consumption and the justice issues that surround that, is worth it - to me. Now I don't want to be hearing 'ewww" out of any of you'll, I get that enough around here.

The magazine does not say it but what I've hear is that Asian women have fewer trobles with menopause and nearly no hot flashes. While genetics plays a huge factor here, I believe there has been found a strong coorelation to the consumption of tofu and more vegies to the lessening of menopause symptoms. If I'm wrong here, we can take up colesterol and heart condition.

I'm headed outdoors to plant 4 fruit trees and get raised-bed vegie gardens started. So, if you want menu ideas, I suggest picking up a copy of "Cooking Light", it is well worth the cover price this month. I for one, am stuffed with ideas to try.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

On the the birth and death of 14 year olds

I knew first thing what my blog would be on today. After all, my first words to my husband this morning were that 14 years ago today our second daughter was born. Our daughter is a child to be proud of. She is very smart and talented, and is growing into a lovely young women.

While not a morning person, Chibi had to get up early for her first viola recital - a judged event. She had been nervous and had cried in rehersal - a very rare event for my Stoic One. She hadn't had the music long and it had to be memorized and she is shy. When she stepped up on stage today my heart swelled in my chest. She made a good effort at smiling - probably convincing those who didn't know her well (actually she could have fooled me). She was the picture of confidence and poise. She played her pieces beautifully to the end.

We shopped at the store for birthday dinner: crab (thankfully on sale) salad and Hubby made coconut cream pie from scratch using a recipe in an ancient cookbook and topped with fresh whipping cream.

And we went for a hike.

We stomped through red sand and scrambled along rock ledges poking our noses into recesses and caves. The dogs were estatic, running back and forth between us. The girls went off sometimes lost in their talk, sometimes each girl walking with one parent or the other for conversation and pointing out cool stuff. We followed deer trails and dry creek beds, and wound our way down into the valley floor and up along a ridge. We had taken the GPS looking for a geo cache but found we were on the wrong side of a larger canyon without a road. That's OK, the hike was exhillerating and so nice after such a cold winter.

As we were walking back to the car my cell phone rang. This wasn't the first call one of had gotten but mine was more likely to be work. I was tempted not to answer, not to interrupt this time with family, but I did. The call from a parishioner: the 14 year old child of her fiance, a child baptized in our church, a student in the only Jr. High in town was in the hospital - flown to the Children's Hospital in the city 5 hours away, and is brain dead. I say that in the present tense they are waiting this night for the blood alcohol level to go down to remove life support and donate what organs they can. It had all happened with the stupid antics of early teens, barely teens, acting out in the middle of the night. So abrupt, so absolute are the consequenses. So suddenly things will never be the same for this family.

The sun was suddenly hot as I listened to the family on the other end of the line. I was still catching my breath from the hike, when my breath caught me and seemed to squeeze me around the middle. My knees were no longer weak from exersion alone. The sky was so clear and blue as I looked heavenward. The sound of my family calling to me "come on, you can talk on the phone in the car...." sounded sureal. My brain realing between pastoral and parental.

I havn't been doing this long, but I don't suppose knowing what to do it is something that many people take to naturally. What comes natural is hugging my 14 year old, giving thanks for her birth and her life and asking God for protection for all children. What comes naturally is crying for this child, praying for all involved. We sometimes get them for such a short time, they don't all make that transition between the shelter of the family to emergence into the world. This is why we raise them up to know God so that when they meet again - hopefully much later, they won't be strangers.

I started the prayer tree at church, asking this community to pray for this family in this aweful liminal time, to accompany this child with prayer out of this life and into the next. The bulletins printed last Thurday are for Shepherding Sunday. The 23rd Psalm is printed there. I think I'll get up at dawn and rewrite my sermon though.

I've come back to edit while house is shutting down for the night. I checked my email and found a note from a friend whose wife lost a pregnancy while he was in an interview. It is important that life is beautiful and that God is good, that the sun shines and that spring comes because the closeness of the heartache that isn't my own leaves me quaking.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Five: a moving edition

So, losing sleep over things I blogged about yesterday, I thought I'd get up and be the first to post on the Friday Five. Much to my dismay there were 11 other posts ahead of me. You really have to get up early to get the jump on this group!

1. How many times have you moved? When was the last time?

In a lifetime? Oh let me take off my slippers and count on my fingers and toes.... 14 lifetime moves. The last one was 6 months ago.

2. What do you love and hate about moving?

Moving always poses a time to begin again. There is hope that things like the spice cupboard will stay organized or that there will never be a hurtful word said in the new place.

Mostly moving is a PITA. While there were times when I was in college that some moves fit into my Toyota Corolla, these days I don't like being reminded of all the things I lug around.

3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?

I've always moved myself, but after breaking the 40 yr old barrier and aquiring heavier and heavier "stuff", I've hired a mover for the last two moves.

4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?

Where you are moving a short distance, move the things that mean the most to you yourself. If you drop Aunt Tillie's glass urn and scatter her ashes all over Bellview Blvd. you can bless the mess yourself.

Don't eat too much junk food. On our last move. Father and #1 daughter stayed at one house to supervise the going out and #2 daughter and I went ahead to oversee the move in at the new place. Father/Daughter dined on fast food for days and felt crummy for it where as Mother/Daughter ate fruit and basic peanut butter sandwitches and did not have the yucky feelings. That said, this is a perfect time for a nice dinner out and a movie to escape for a while.

5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?

Well, there is the basic grow or shrivel up, but it would take something enourmous to get me to move house at this point. One additional observation is that I tend to think of myself as a rooted person, not moving much. My youngest's impression is that her life has been a series of moves. She was young when we moved across country to go to seminary and this vocation is a rootless one.

Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what moving means to you.

The movie "The Money Pit". I havn't seen it in a while but one sees the downside to the fixer uper in the country.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Anyone have nail polish remover?

Well as the tatoos of the B.E. have worn off, so goes my manicure. It now looks tacky and tattered. I wonder what Aunt Bosnic would say? I paint my nails just enough to have nail polish remover but not enough to know where to put my hands on it. Perhaps I just don't want to rub off that outward and visable sign of the Big Event.

The first day back went fine. Even one of the harpies was pleasant and seemed glad to see me. And this is what I have to remember: this is a community of God, in times past they have behaved as flawed people but they still come together and worship God and try and orient their lives in a Godward direction. They are good people.

I have to admit that I carry trauma with me from my first congregation. It is like the after effects of blood poisioning from a toxic situation that left us (family) fearful. It helps to keep this before me because I come wounded, my family wounded, and financially broken. We need to be in this place at this time.

There are some choppy waters ahead: Fr. Diesel has given up on life. He has been locally ordained and left out here in Siberia for about 20 years without interaction from the powers that be (and have been). He has had little formal training, no continuing education and has been a polarizing influance on the congregation. There are those who love him dearly. He has worked hard for the church, and been to hell and back several times with people. He's been sick now for a while and is refusing any more medical intervention. This is one stoic and muleish man so that we will be looking at how to die well and with dignity.

Yea, time for the nail polish to come off.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Monday Menu

Did I hear you say, "but it's Tuesday"? Oh please, don't box me in! Actually I had vacation brain on Monday and instead of shopping a planning a menu I waundered aimlessly, so now I'm doing it now before I go back to work.

What I'm doing here is planning about 4 or five meals a week. That way my family eats things other than poptarts and cheetos puffs for dinner. For the remaining days of the week other days of the week we eat left overs, or meals frozen ahead,or maybe we have a meal out, or we just plain forage in the cuppoard (this happens more than I'd like).

Tonight I'll be putting the Lentel and Ham soup into quart jars in the freezer for another day. Two nights of this is enough and hubby is beginning to give off an offensive gassious odor.

The Menu

Vegie Casserole - This is a family favorite (OK hubby and I like it best). The recipe came from my sister. It consists of sliced potatoes, zuchinni, onion, cauliflower, carrot, tomato, and what ever else you have on hand. Grate sharp cheese on the bottom of the casserole dish and layer vegies by group with cheese, and spices (salt and pepper, dill, a little basil). Cook a good long time (hour or so) at 350.

White Fish and salad No, not my favorite but hubby cooks it and it's good for us. He makes a crust for the fish using ground nuts, butter, and dill and broils it until just flakey. The secret here is DO NOT OVERCOOK. Now repeat after me.....

Pork Tenderloins I find that one tenderloin is enough for two different recipes and two nights (one child is vegitarian). I don't know what got into me to try this recipe but we just loved the Fig and Blue Cheese stuffed Pork Tenderloin on p.38 of the 2008 Cooking Light annual recipee book. (Recipe is from the January-February issue). Then we also really like the Mustard Herb crused Prok Tenderloin on the same page. These don't take too long and add a nice variety to the menu.

Chicken in Clay Roasting Pot - An old favorite is a roasting chicken in a clay pot with a german name we can't pronounce. My mom taught me to be obsessive about chicken - wash bird in running water, pat dry with paper towels put directly into pot and then scub all surfices. (Mom wears surgical gloves - serious). Rub the chicken with and organic lemon and then toss the lemon inside the bird. Rub salt and garlic powder on bird and inside (pepper inside) add potatoes, carrots, and onion & garlic to the pot. This chicken is frozen - bought on a great sale - so it will be laster in the week.

None of these things is difficult - just food for daily meals. Let me now if you want more information on recipe. Just call me the domestic goddess.

...and back to work

It's been a long, lovely vacation. But toward the end of it I think I needed something more to do or I was in danger of creating a new career for myself. It has snowd the last two days and so the newly purchased trees are as yet unplanted.

I have to admit that I have a lot of anxiety about returning. What trouble will have run un-checked. Will I have trouble, will I remember the routine, will I be good enough? I'm not sure why I am in ministry - I'd make a better hermit than public figure. I know that I become a better person through interation with others, but all the time I do so comes at a cost.

I marvel at the people who seem to be authentic, and at the same time, not seeminly worried about being hurt. The person I need to grow into has greater clearity about my own roles and the role of others, how to encourage others to grow into themselves, how to say no comfortably.

With that I'm off to shower, put on my pom (panties of ministry) and go to it!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


It was a long drive home alone - with just a few empty thoughts. It was sure nice to be greeted by the wagging tails of the four dog a matics and two teens. While youngest was still happy to see me, we went and bought fruit trees and some gardening things.

From the Big Event, I learned about Geocaching and spent the day with the teens finding our first geocaches today. This happened instead of unpacking from the trip. Youngest found the hardest cache.

It was this evening that I caught first glimpse of dear husband whom I hadn't seen since sunrise on Easter Morning. His job at the well site had gone badly.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Not home yet

I am still not quite home from the RGBP Big Event. That's a good thing because it was really a tremendous experience to take 21 women mostly who had never met each other and send them on a cruise to care for one another and deepen ourselves. Me? Well, I began all about the cute drinks in pink cups with umbrellas and ended up being entranced with the process. These women are sisters.

I learned about each person a little differently.

St. Casserole, besides being really funny and a true southern lady had practical tips. I learned about repurposing things - like a stand of pearls or old Salvation Army sweaters made into beautiful cat beds. And I have marveled at her poise, not one break in her composure and grace as a we gustily sang her happy birthday. And that she would rather be on Fantasy than Ecstasy.

I learned what a mojito is and that I love them even if I can't spell it.

I learned that even the most noisy, glittery, ships have quiet spots where women can gather and say "AMEN" with such force it seems to propell the ship from the aft.

I learned to pray that a missing person really have made some bad life decisions and is passed out somewhere (rather than being lost overboard)... No, this was not a memeber of the RGBP - we had a better time than that!

I've learned that it can feel as if you are going to die of laughter when you can hardly draw a breath. -- It wouldn't be a bad way to go.

I've learned about geocaching and even caught the vision enough that I looked up caches in my zip code.

I learned how to hire a taxi - even if I will be paying for it for the next 6 months.

I learned how close you can become to complete strangers in a few short days.

I believe that laughing until your belly aches must burn all the calories from the extra desserts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

When Justice and desserts collide

There once was a time when gazing out to sea with a stack of desserts and an umbrella drink, I was gifted with my word: justice. The two seemed to collide with one another like the meeting of vastly differnt cultures, like savory and sweet, dear sweet friends and complete strangers.

Yet these are the things that surround my life like family and pulpit, like materialism and monasticism, like fashion and fishing, like man and woman.

This blog is the integrated parts of my life where Prep Girl goes fishing and raises children and dogs and chickens; she quilts in the winter, plants a garden come spring, and is wife to her man.

This life is also where Prep Girl pulls up her Big Girl panties and wears an academic gown, accepts her degree and ordination,puts on her stole and steps into the pulpit of full time ministry...
....always looking back over her shoulder as if God will write in the dust whether it is time to plow or if it is time to plant.