dancerjodi: (Geek)
"Farming is a challenging business – but what isn’t today?? We ALL have good days and bad, stresses and triumphs; changes and challenges. However, several recent conversations with other livestock farmers in our area leave us concerned for the future of livestock farming in the northeast. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s many thousands of small and medium sized dairy farms were purchased and developed, still others simply sold the cattle and made hay or ran heavy equipment or chopped timber and sold firewood to make a living. It seemed as if corporate Ag, home of the super dairy, was going to be the future. These are the farms with a 1500 to 10,000 cows in three or four HUGE barns where the cattle move from feeding to milk parlor to rest in eight hour chunks of time so that they are actually milked three times a day; not twice. They produce tens of thousands of gallons of milk each day and the marginal cost in miniscule – especially compared to the single farmer who can milk 75 to 100 cows per day.

The resurgence of the local food movement seemingly reversed the downward trajectory of farming and the existence of small farms in New England. Many people began to really develop an understanding of how food is grown; the connection to farms and farmers became important as did supporting local food systems. In early 2000’s the CSA became a popular model allowing farmers and consumers to by-pass the big corporations and all the associated poor animal care, high marketing costs and ridiculous requirements. However, those of us immersed in farming often fail to see the challenges of perpetuating our lifestyle in today’s economic, legal and political climate.

Two years the Zimmermans went out of business. One day they closed shop and a few months later they held an auction. They were livestock truckers based in Leyden, MA who served all of New England for over 40 years. The business was founded by the father and carried on by two sons; they had three pot-belly trucks (large tractor trailers for moving a large number of animals) and a slew of smaller trailers. Increasing operating costs, insurance costs (significantly!) ever-expanding regulations, and decreasing revenue ultimately forced a painful decision. However, they were part of the fabric that wove small and medium farmers together all over both MA and all of New England. Animals and farm news traveled together on the Zimmermans trucks and they often knew generations of the same farm family for years. This kind of connection is NOT found on Facebook; it is born over a cup of coffee next to the kitchen woodstove after unloading a group of new cattle or a slew of swine. The loss of the Zimmermans was far more than simply having to find a new way to move animals or the purchase of a new livestock trailer – it was the connection of farmers to one another in ways that are NOT based in technology but rather in the conversations that sometimes spanned decades.

During January, there was a conclave of farmers in the local farm store one day. All of us are on the north side of middle age and all were lamenting winter and its effects on our livestock (but not of course ourselves!). We were comparing and contrasting the challenges secure in the knowledge that we understood three am flashlights, heating pads that are warm on one side and frozen on the other as we try desperately to save a lamb or kid or piglet that was born on the wrong side of the day in the wrong month –and always between midnight and five am.

A local goat farmer, who at 62 milks 226 goats by himself every day, noted that people are always asking why he doesn’t get some help. Simultaneously, we all hooted and laughed at the concept!! Help – in JANUARY! Who besides us (probably all certifiably insane) would voluntarily shovel poop, clean milk equipment in the 10 below weather and move animals?? A (cow) dairy farmer noted that his barn cats have more skill in the milk parlor than anyone who has tried to help him. Another man noted that he can sometimes get his son and his son’s friends to help cut and stack hay – but then they just want to go play video games. Still another farmer noted that he tried to hire a neighbor to burn brush, but that even offering $10 and hour to stand at the fire pit was too much work for the neighbor. The collective opinion of this conversation that there is a single person under the age of 45 who is raising livestock in our area and no one going into the business. According to the USDA Statistics – the local farm store conversation was correct: In 1945 the average age of a farmer was 39; in 1974 it was 45 By 2012 the average farmer is 57 years old.

Joel Salatin wrote a great article for Acres Magazine this month about the challenges of farm apprentices. Essentially he said it is not about anything other than trying to support the future of farming – apprentices offer little, cost a lot and have few skill sets for the first month or two. By the third month (of a five to six month commitment) the farmer should be breaking even (at a pay of $100 per week)- however, there is nothing to be gained, but a hope that the farmer is supporting others going into the business. He correctly noted there is a serious commitment in having apprentices on the farm and too many famers expect to have help moving forward, when a goal needs to be NOT to move backward too much each day. He said to expect to have EVERY aspect of your life questioned including how you vote, discipline your children and where and why you go to church. From a farming perspective, the article was spot-on; but from a sustainability perspective, it is very concerning.

The barriers to entry for livestock farming are significant (and that does not seem like a strong enough word). The cost of land, infrastructure, livestock and equipment is high. The knowledge base required to raise multiple species is extensive and the simple physical work hours are long – no nights or weekends off –animals need to be fed and watered seven days a week; 365 days a year. As we reflect this winter over our collective farm and business plan, Rich and I were struck by the conversation and are starting to think about long term sustainability in our planning. In January I “celebrated” my two year cancer-versary (I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in January of 2012- but feel great and am medically stable) and Rich has increasing pain in his hips from years of building, climbing and lifting. We are simply a part of an industry sustainability challenge.

We don’t have any epiphany or great solutions. Our children have all been raised on the farm but at this point none seem poised to step in and take over. Over the years, Rich and I have watched many people become interested in (and even passionate about) local foods, local farms and sustainable food systems. The vast majority have worked for a year or two at a vegetable farm and then moved into supporting roles, often in an office or at least clean environment. The daily, dirty, physical labor – the work that seems so foreign to so many – remains shockingly unappealing.

As your farm and farmers, we just want to put this out there – we know that you are not at the local farm feed store, but as supporters of local farming, it is a critical conversation – and one that transcends industries. Small software companies actually often strive to be bought by larger companies; small accounting firms, law firms and other professional services are often purchased by larger companies – farming is no different. How can we support and maintain small family farms??"

Chairs

Oct. 10th, 2013 09:22 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
Mina is purely a toddler now, in the 'terrible two' sense of the word. Most times we are good at figuring out what she is wanting or what her motivations are. Last night was just interesting.

She hasn't wanted to sit in her booster seat/high chair. We long ago dropped the tray and she's up at the table with us. http://www.diapers.com/p/fisher-price-healthy-care-booster-green-blue-85165?site=CA&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc_D&utm_term=FS-437&utm_campaign=GooglePLA&CAWELAID=1338730218&utm_content=pla&ca_sku=FS-437&ca_gpa=pla&ca_kw={keyword} . The seat is a bit high, but without it she is too low. Lately, she just doesn't want to sit in the seat. That's fine - she can sit in the big chair with help. But last night, she wanted to stand on the chair, climb up onto the table. She had little interest in eating her dinner (and she is typically a very good eater). Thankfully, the few bites she had with a glass of milk were enough for her to go to bed and sleep through the night. We were worried she'd be starving later on. This morning was more of the same. She wanted to sit on the chair herself and then on our lap. More and more she wants to mimic the big kid/big adult stuff. I'm wondering if we should find a way to get her little Ikea table into our dining room so she can sit at a kid chair, at a kid table. Of course, I don't want to set that up, because it would make dining at a restaurant difficult. We have similar challenges in restaurants. She doesn't want to be in the high chair, but we've had mixed (mostly negative) results with a booster. She ends up next to us on a chair with the table at chin level (too high) or she ends up on our lap. Or running around the restaurant with one of us, not eating. The girl's gotta move.

We do have another seat we use when travelling sometimes, kind of like this one only the bottom part of the seat is flat http://www.target.com/p/munchkin-travel-booster-seat-purple/-/A-11990151?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C11990151&CPNG=Baby&kpid=11990151&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=11990151&gclid=CPfBnaKtjLoCFQSf4Aodv2cAaA . I found at our local thrift store for $2. We tried that on the chair and she didn't want to be strapped into that either. It isn't a height thing as much as a 'baby seat' thing. Amusingly enough, one of her favorite things lately is to sit on this seat on the floor, strap herself in, and then walk around the house with it strapped to her butt. Hilarious!

Have any of you parent friends dealt with this? She's definitely too big/independent for the booster, but she's too small/squrimy for the big chair on her own. It could purely be just her trying to assert herself, since this is one of the ways she can control her environment.

All in all, she is a fairly easy kid and the toddler challenges are totally 'reasonable' and to be expected. There are days though, oh boy! :)

Weekend

Mar. 6th, 2013 10:57 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
It is Wednesday and I'm posting a weekend update. Time flies and all of that. I thought it did before I had a kid, but it is so much more faster now.

We took a walk on Saturday to our library and checked out the children's room. Wow! They had a nice open area for parents to sit on a long bench seat with room for the kids to play with a toy kitchen and food, puppets, small see-saw and then of course tons of puppets, books and such. And, a bathroom in the area with a changing table. I took Mina in to clean her up and Brian got the tour from one of the librarians. They are having a free 3 week music/dance activity that I'll be taking her to.

Our timing getting out of the house was later than I had hoped, so it put her at nap time as we were leaving the library. That paired with running around with kids there and she was pooped! She was out in the stroller within 2 minutes of leaving. We strolled home and stopped at our local thrift store and comic store along the way. After taking an inventory of her clothing that morning we found that she didn't have a lot of options in the next size up. She is starting to outgrow the 18 mo clothing (yes, she is 13 months), so we picked up a bunch of things from Global Thrift in the 24 mos/2T/3T range. Each one was around $2 a piece, which you really cannot beat! I love the hunt for this kind of thing.

We ran some errands in the afternoon and had dinner at PF Changs - our first time ordering something off the kid's menu for Mina. Normally I think it is unnecessary (you get such big portion sizes that Brian and I will just share with her) but her food reactions in her skin have been so odd lately, that we wanted something kind of plain but still not the regular chicken fingers and fries bent. Thankfully they were cheap: we ordered a $2 chicken and rice dish and another $2 veggie dish that she loved, with leftovers to spare.

Lately I feel like we are hemmoraging money, between buying food and clothing for this girl, despite trying to be low cost but high quality about it. We've gone through lazy periods where we just ordered dinner or went out, and have way outspent our "weekend" budgets over the last couple of months. We do great sometimes, not so great others. I really want to challenge myself to be better about this!

In other hemmoraging money news, our flights are booked for San Francisco for April. Brian's ticket will be reimbursed, and our hotel will be paid for by his company for part of the time. As will our rental car. This is both exciting and terrifying: first time flying with Mina!

She continues to just be a joy: running around, talking more, playing more. She is a social and active kid, so I can see the terrible toddler challenges just around the corner. I've been reading the Dr. Sear's Discipline book (picked up at the library) for some tips on how to deal with this before it explodes, because winter is surely coming. The Happiest Toddler DVD is waiting for me now at the library to pick up. I may try and snag a copy there of the Toddler Whipserer. I'm not a must do it by the book kind of person, but all of these experts were very helpful to us in the earlier baby days.

Work is work. Dance is dance. Right now, we just try and get through our days. :) We had a fun celebration of Gram's birthday (complete with looking at old photos and home movies). We need to take more lengthy home movies so that we can share more than 2 minute youtube clips with our kids decades from now!

Busy Week

Feb. 22nd, 2013 10:49 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
Mina has been healthy, though I've been fighting a cold of my own. Last night she was up teething. Oh teeth! I know they are helpful, required, a milestone. But seeing your child so upset is just heartbreaking. She's been waking up early, but not so early that we've wanted to spend the time in her room getting her back into bed. Thus, we have a bit of a return to co-sleeping in the wee hours of the morning. She is so much bigger than when I was nursing her every couple of hours and she would easily curl up in the crook of my chest. Still, snuggling with a sleepy baby is the most comfortable thing. Evah!

We have more snow coming this weekend. A real New England Winter! Though we do have some plans I'm looking forward to spending more time around the house to really enjoy it, and get some things done. And maybe do some sewing. I have a project I cut out for my youngest nephew a while ago that has been sitting in a bag on our dining room table. And then there is the Ewok costume that is not going to make itself before Boston Comicon. I've pondered making myself a new Leia costume: either a better ANH Senatorial (mine is just buggy) or an Endor Leia to go with Mina's Ewok. Between the babe and work and dance classes though, I'm not sure I may have the time. It would be to the exclusion of the other things I like to do, like reading and watching various TV shows or movies. I'm debating commissioning something like this for the first time in my life, actually. On the one hand it makes me feel like a bit of a poseur, but on the other hand, I would rather spend the free time with my kid while she is awake (plus, a toddler isn't too conducive to me sitting and sewing).

I've started reading this lately http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Feeding-Healthy-Family-Eaters/dp/0967118921 which has been just excellent! A while ago when we were just starting out with giving Mina solid food I had watched a webinar at Isis http://www.isisparenting.com/page/onlineclasses (seriously, these are free and are amazing, so if you have kids you need to check these out) where this author was recommended. I like her simplistic view: the parent's job is to provide the time, place and food and the kid's is to eat and decide how much and what. She emphasizes the family meal, and deemphasizes the actual content (beyond trying to have a good healthy mix, and including a carb, fat and protein in each meal). Her argument is that folks get so hung up on the specifics or the current recommendations that they clam up, and develop anxious and negative attitudes toward food/eating or cooking. Makes sense to me! I'm trying to balance the "perfect" ideal of a meal for us with the reality of having 2 working parents, not infinite free time, and a budget.

Can you believe it is almost March! It is almost time to celebrate my Grandmother's birthday. I wish she could have been around to meet our Mina - they would have loved each other so.

Health

Dec. 12th, 2012 11:52 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
I started using http://www.sparkpeople.com again (last time in there was 2009).  Oh boy! Pad Thai leftovers and Brian's work holiday dinner (tonight) don't make for a healthy eating day.  I didn't plan well and don't have things to go to the gym during my lunch hour.

I did go to dance class last night, and have class again tomorrow.  Tomorrow is another day. :)

Fooducate

Sep. 20th, 2012 10:20 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
My boss has recently gone through a health transformation of sorts, and told us about a smart phone app from these folks http://www.fooducate.com/. Brian and I have been having fun using it at the supermarket on any processed foods we are considering buying.

Foods are rated A-F, with A being the best and F the worst. It helped us at BJs to find some good breakfast cereal options (yes processed isn't best, but sometimes you just don't have the time to cook some oatmeal or some eggs).

Today's realization: there aren't any good granola bars, least that I could find scanning for a bit at Stop and Shop this morning. The best I could find was a C rating (Cascadian Farms organic) which was at least better than most of the bars that were Ds and Fs. Time for better easy snack options. I think Brian will need to get used to eating pieces of fruit and that kind of thing. He had such unhealthy foods as a kid that just grabbing an apple or that kind of thing doesn't seem like "food" to him. :)
dancerjodi: (Default)
Brian and I have belonged to a meat CSA http://www.chestnutfarms.org/ for a few years now. We love being a part of Kim and Rich's extended farm family and look forward to their monthly e-mail updates. From time to time I have shared them here, this one I think is most intersting because it touches on a few areas: slaughtering, raising animals as family, and the impact of federal law on the small family farm. Read up if you are curious. And support your local family farmer!

Read more )
dancerjodi: (Default)
Generally I eat very well. This is not the time of the year for that however.

Early in my pregnancy I made great efforts to continue my good eating habits, but as I got bigger I surely slacked. This is awful, isn't it? I'm controlling what my baby is ingesting, and I know I'm not eating as well as I should. But I digress.

This is the third year that I can remember where I had some kind of skin issue right before Christmas. The first started on my hands and moved up my arms, and showed up on my knees and feet. I went to my PCP and they sent me to a derm - they even biopsied one of the blisters! They chaulked it up to some kind of plant allergic reaction and blamed decorating my grandmother's gazebo.

I want to say I had a similar irritation last year, right before christmas. We were trying to get pregnant and it was right around the time of the 2 week wait. A blood test before the holiday told me I was not actually pregnant, but I was insistent with the doctor that something must be up - I had this weird rash! I remember showing my Mom when we were at my sister's house for Xmas Eve/Xmas.

This year's bout is the worst every. I'm pregnant now and have stress and crazy hormones on top of whatever would normally be going on. I am never a perfect eater at this time of year, but my huge body has made me less inclined to pay attention to what I'm eating.

I'm not a big sweets eater, and with cookies, fudge and such showing up all over I eat a lot more than I'm used to. More nuts. More dairy. More ingrediants that I probably don't have on a regular basis.

So maybe this is the cause of my annual skin issues? Maybe despite all of the goodies coming my way, I really just have to be diligent about not eating them (tiny bits in moderation are one thing . . . there is nothing moderate about what's going on here).

It is food for thought. Each year I say to my self "what the hell, this never happens to me?!". But now I am remembering that indeed it does, and that it is always this time of year. It can't have anything to do with the weather either (this is New England - we don't always have crazy cold/snow this time of year).

Since our freedom and free time will be limited I've wanted to spend some time going out with Brian on 'date nights' before our babe is here. It may be a nice challenge to see how to be smarter about food, despite the restaurants, sweets and parties. But I know I can do it!

Foodie

Nov. 17th, 2011 11:03 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
I've been frustrated with the awkwardness sometimes of packing a lunch (fitting what I want, carrying too much stuff) and have been keeping my eye out for a new cooler/lunchbag for work. I blog I've been reading about school lunches lately inspired me to order a kit from http://www.laptoplunches.com/. It arrived last night, very neat. It was fun (but also a challenge) to pack up for today. It's definitely easier to carry than my previous one, and made me think more about putting a balanced meal together.

It also reminded me that we are sorely lacking in easy/quick/healthy snack foods. And fruit. I need to get my shit together with meal planning before we have a baby to care for and worry about. :)

I also need to spend some time doing some bulk-cooking to freeze, but first things are first. We have a Thanksgiving dinner to plan for next week. There will only be 7 of us. I found a great recipe for a squash+carrot+sweet potato dish that I'm excited to try. I want to make my Gram's italian stuffing. Mom doesn't eat that, so I'd need a traditional stuffing. And then we'd need a white mashed potato, right? It is a lot of sides for only a couple of people. I'll do some kind of green veggie side for good measure, though Thanksgiving tends to stick in the whites/browns/reds in our house.

This talk is making me hungry.

Random

Nov. 8th, 2011 10:42 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
We toured the Maternity areas of Newton Wellesley Hospital last night. Swanky! Since I work for a hospital organization and have meetings in either of our two hospitals often, being in this kind of setting isn't anything odd to me. What is odd is how NWH doesn't have the "hospital smell", and how bright/new/fancy it all is. Folks at my employer would tell you it is due to demographics, being owned by Partners and the $ that comes from that. Anyway, it was neat to see what our 'home away from home' will be like for a few days in January.

I have a lot of bulk-cooking do to over the next few months. Having ready-made food from the freezer that's wholesome and homemade is a wonderful thing. I'm sure we will also utilize take-out, Sharma's across the street and Peapod quite often in the early parenting weeks.

As it turns out we are hosting Thanksgiving after all. Originally that was not the plan, so we hadn't ordered a turkey from our CSA. Low and behold, they haven't had a lot of losses this year (they over-buy the babies so that they are secure that they can provide everyone a bird that ordered one). Despite not preordering, we will be able to buy a turkey from the same place we've been doing that for years. I love cooking and hosting. This year we'll also have the NEW MUPPET MOVIE to enjoy!

Dance class and glee tonight! I'm getting bigger and more awkward and more swollen as time goes on (couldn't wear my wedding rings this morning, so now it has officially moved to my fingers). It is worst first thing in the morning which is odd - bad when I'm still laying in bed (and gets better later in the day). Heat related? Our second floor is warmer than our first given our steam heat/single thermostat system. I'll miss another ballet class on Thursday (this time for a CPR class - last week for a doctor's appointment). I am curious to see if I will be able to dance to full term, but if I have to give up a bit earlier I feel proud that I've come this far at least.

Our plan tomorrow is to finish the paining that has to be done in the short term (trim around our front door and the ceiling in the baby's room). Once that bit is done we can actually set up the room and get ourselves a crib. We're hoping to pick up our carseats this weekend, meaning we'll have the necessities we need for birth. Whoot!
dancerjodi: (Default)
Despite the snow, the Woburn Halloween parade stepped off yesterday. Our group (and the number of floats in general) was cut in half, but we did it and had fun. I wrangled for the group, which meant that I wore normal clothes and walked the 2+ mile route to make sure that the troopers with limited visibility and mobility were OK for the event. My feet were KILLING me by the time that we were done, but I'm so glad I pushed myself to do it. Other than that, I felt fine. I'm sure my feet would have been just dandy if we just walked, and didn't stop and start and stop and start and stand around for hours before we stepped off. There were some snafus with setup (less troopers, leaving Jabba at home so that he wouldn't get damaged in the water, not having enough money for our bus rental on hand), but all in all it was a great time. I love catching up with people at the annual 'crowd into the food court at the Burlington Mall' dinner, post-parade. Thank you to all of the organizers, and we'll see you folks at Megafest next month!

Usually after a long troop Brian and I each soak in the hot tub we installed when we re-did the upstairs bathroom. I put my feet in. Preggo ladies aren't supposed to go in water that's higher than 100 degrees. It can raise your blood pressure which isn't good (as it is the rate is raised higher than normal given the extra blood in your body and all the work it is doing growing and supporting a babe). Before I know it, I'll be able to go in there again!

We're going to hand out candy tonight and some folks are coming over to use Brian's vac table to do a run of X-wing helmets, so we'll be chilling with nerds and probably watching some spooky movies. I haven't yet broken out The Nightmare Before Christmas, for shame!

Have a great 10/31 folks! I can't believe November is tomorrow. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we'll have to prep for our own dinner. We weren't planning on hosting originally, so we didn't order a turkey from our CSA. Where can we easily get a good, non-hormone and non-corn-fed bird around these parts? I know there is a farm in Andover but we won't be making it up there most likely. A friend worked at a place in Framingham that had them, but not sure about getting out there either. Whole foods? Where do you get your bird?

Iron

Oct. 18th, 2011 08:43 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
"Your glucose screen came back normal. Your complete blood count is borderline for anemic and will respond nicely to your increasing high iron foods in your diet, like dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits and black strap molasses."

I like dark greens and I have some dried fruits here for a snack today, coincidentally (it was the one easy snack I was able to grab out of our house and bring to my parent's place).

How could I incorporate black strap molasses into my diet? Least of all it won't be for the next few days while we're living out of an empty apartment. :) I think pushing the greens and the dried fruit may be adequate. This isn't the kind of thing I'd ever have in my house, so unless I can include it in some kind of yummy baked good or dinner item (squash?) it's not happening.

I'm guessing more of our grass-fed, low fat, 'organic' (though they don't meet FDA requirements to say that) CSA beef once we get home again will also help boost some iron.

The best news however, is having no need for another glucose tolerance test. The non-fasting/1 hour/1 draw one was enough for me. :)

The midwife said that my size was good, despite my weight being slightly high I'm healthy. She said that extra exercise at this point is probably not something I or my body may want to do, so I am to keep more mindful about what I'm eating - more good stuff and less junk.

Foodie

Aug. 14th, 2011 09:35 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
In concept I'm a gal that gardens and hits up farmer's markets and cans things.

In practice I'm too busy to put in the time to do this, so I end up going to Trader Joes or Stop and Shop because it is convenient and being disappointed in their offerings or going to Whole Foods, spending more $ and wanting to hit the other patrons there.

It is good that my life is so comfortable that these typify the kinds of struggles I most often have.

Going to see Sound of Music this afternoon and debating how much I want to do before then: be productive at home or be productive out of home. Already have picked up the house a bit, got the laundry started and made whole-wheat pancakes for breakfast (that slacker Brian will need to heat his up later when he gets out of bed).
dancerjodi: (Default)
An article from a series on farms in Hardwick, MA. Chestunut Farms (featured in this installment) is where our meat CSA is from http://publicradiokitchen.wbur.org/2011/07/06/part-2-the-farms-of-hardwick-ma.

Foodie

Jun. 8th, 2011 10:05 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
Fad diets change all of the time. This article notes the top ones currently http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/06/07/137041187/in-latest-diet-ranking-dash-races-to-the-top, #1 being DASH, which I had not heard of.

I've had an interesting relationship with food, with it generally being healthy in our household as a young child and moving to more convenience/microwave and bad for us foods as we got older. I feel like Brian and I have done a good job keeping things real for the most part over the last couple of years. I always struggle with how to eat enough veggies, though.

What's your favorite food trick or diet as of late?
dancerjodi: (Default)
Our beef/kale/southwestern soup was good, but man did our house smell like cooked broccoli when I came home! WTF? Kale? It's dark and green but I've never had that reaction before.

After windows and fans and a candle, hopefully the guys weren't too offended by it.

And I did get to do some sewing last night!

Food

Mar. 24th, 2011 08:33 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
I was feeling like we were being so lazy with eating out. We had a particularly stressful couple of weeks and I thought that doing this was fine - you can't do everything all of the time and the ease of not having to worry about what to cook for dinner took some of the burden off. How we get too comfortable with being lazy though!

I'm happy to say that we've been cooking at home this week, though we'll be out tomorrow night and Saturday. Last night we ate the chicken that we had crock pot roasted the night before. Brian had rubbed it with some Indian seasonings, so I threw together a pseudo indian spinach side dish (and we had some frozen naan we bought who knows when from Trader Joe's). Not bad!

After dinner we browned some stew beef and threw it into the crock pot with other stuff: broth, lentils, black beans, KALE (we have a ton of this stuff frozen to use up), corn, and some southwest seasonings. It is a huge, huge pot and will net us leftovers, and has a lot of healthy goodies in it to boot. Yay for easy dinners!

We still need to figure out what to do with the big hunk o' pork (butt). I'm trying to plan based on what we have in the house so that we can use some things up. We've been spending more on food and on gas for the car, so cutting back in one of those areas would be a good thing. We don't need to scrimp and save every penny, but I feel wasteful when we don't (to a degree).

I'm sewing tonight for the first time in a long time, for a friend's birthday. I figure if I keep telling you people that I'm doing this, I won't blow it off for some other reason I seem to always manage to find around the house. :)

Random

Mar. 23rd, 2011 11:25 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
I'm going back to the gym today (been a couple of weeks) - Glee on Random will be my soundtrack, since it always gets me grooving. Don't be a hater!

It's been a crock pot cooking week - the best tool for the lazy cook who wants real food! We washed a chicken, rubbed with spice and yesterday cooked in the crock while at work (we'll eat tonight with some rice and veggies). Tonight we'll brown some stew beef and throw into the crock with other stuff to cook tomorrow during the day, and we'll have stew tomorrow (a good way to use up some frozen kale methinks). And then we have some huge hunk of pork something to cook in BBQ sauce to have when - Friday? Unless we get lazy in which case we'll keep it cooked in the fridge to heat up on Sunday night. We've wanted to check out the new Zaftig's in Natick in the old Joan and Ed's space (and want to try to catch a movie), so we may do that instead.

The guys are coming over tomorrow to play with the new Lego Star Wars (rather than with their 'little men' Star Wars minis), and I'm hoping to get some sewing time in upstairs away from the ruckus.

We're going to http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/cardigan/ with the fam on Saturday, whoot!

I can't believe that Wondercon is next week, nutso!
dancerjodi: (Default)
Since Christmas fell on a Saturday this year, I had Friday off. Yesterday's snow storm (we got around a foot) left me with one more day, making for one extremely long weekend! I was able to spend a good deal of time puttering around the house cooking, cleaning, organizing and a tiny bit of sewing. It was just heavenly!

We saw family on Christmas Eve at my Sister's house - I can't believe how big all of our nephews are getting! Brian and I were to sleep in the spare bedroom, i.e. Hugho's room, so the two of us slept squished on a small bed with a large Boxer between us. It seemed like a quieter, more meaningful Christmas this year since people seemed to favor the time and the food over the presents.

We watched a lot of movies and TV over the weekend, which is leaving me feeling like a bit of a mush brain because it's not something I typically do. The Dr. Who Christmas episode was great this year (their version of A Christmas Carol, of sorts). Since Brian has been catching up on Smallville it has been all Superman all the time in our house, so we watched the original 1978 movie (holds up wonderfully). Ironically enough, there was a 2-hour documentary on the History Channel on the history of Superman which we watched, which lead us to learn about (and find on the internet) a 70s Superman musical. It was terrible! It was worse than the Star Wars Holiday Special and has a similar fame (aired once on TV, never to be spoken of again). Thankfully, watching the Lost Boys #3 that we had borrowed from our friend Justin a long time ago finally redeemed our weekend. It was just the right amount of cheese, just the right amount of nodding to the original (such a great movie).

This was the first snow storm of the season requiring much intervention from us, and our little snowblower that could (Toro! Toro!) did an excellent job quickly clearing out the 3' pile that the city plows left on the end of the driveway. We are petsitting for our friends Krista and Sean and managed to time things such that their new downstairs neighbor had cleared the driveway already (he let us go through his apartment into the house to get to the cats, since the front wasn't cleared yet). And I had to stop by my old childhood home a few blocks away to check and make sure there was enough water in the boiler. The house has a single steam heat (gas) system, and they were going through a ton of water having to fill it each day, since some of the release valves on the 2nd floor radiators were open too much or were defective. It's still odd to me that there are two apartments in my formerly single-family home. We passed Gram's old house on the way back to ours to see the young couple that lives their now clearing the snow. Part of me is sad that we weren't able to buy her house, but I'm glad that it's got some new life with a young couple and their young child.

It's all about snow and cold lately. This weekend I noticed that my schmancy shearling LL Bean boots that I purchased last year have some stitching coming apart near the ankle, rubbing on my heel just on the left side, and threatening to cause a blister. I went to the Burlington store during my lunch hour to day to see if I could return them and buy something else - bad mistake! There was a huge, huge line and I'm guessing, not much of a selection to buy from too. Hopefully things will return to normal over the next couple of weeks. I'd like to have new, comfy and warm boots to wear on our NYC trip in February. My challenge is always finding something attractive, and comfy, and waterproof, and warm.

NYC! What should we check out? We are crossing our fingers that Spiderman the Musical actually opens safely and that we can see it.

Dinner with some peeps from the dance studio tonight. I've always wanted to check out South Pacific http://www.yelp.com/biz/south-pacific-newton-highlands and some ladies from the studio are going in lieu of our dance class (we are on break until the new year). Oh my body will be happy to get back to class and back to the gym!

Meat CSA

Nov. 5th, 2010 10:53 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
Our CSA has some meat shares available starting December. Info at http://www.chestnutfarms.org/.

Related, they hate raising turkeys but they do it each year for their members for thanksgiving. A reason they hate them:

"Turkey Pecking Order: With several hundred turkeys, it is always a
challenge to make sure all are healthy, happy and well fed. And I will be
honest - laying hens aside - poultry is NOT the same as other animals. They
do not have personalities as our pigs, cows, goats and even some sheep do (I
think sheep are only slightly higher than turkeys in on the IQ food chain).
We pasture raise the turkeys and move them from field area to field area. We
also check them twice a day. The spectacular taste of a field raised bird
is the major redeeming quality of our turkeys. They are stupid (they will
dehydrate themselves if they can't find the waterer, and yes, we do believe
they can drown in the rain). Not only are they stupid, they are mean to
each other and have a pecking order that puts our chickens to shame. All
poultry have literal pecking orders, but usually it is simply which birds
eat first or get to leave the coop first in the morning. As our turkeys grow
larger and stronger their pecking order comes out more clearly. In the last
month we have had to remove one turkey about every ten days from the flock
in order to save its life. Today's bird had been pecked so hard by its
fellow birds that the poor turkeys head was bleeding. The cause is simply
that the bird was at the bottom of the heap. I would love to have an
anti-bullying discussion with the birds but I don't think it would help. It
is also interesting that all of our animals, pigs, cows and goats included
have their own version of the pecking order. There are always dominant and
submissive animals and the bullies and bullied. Only with turkeys does it
become a matter of life and death; but we don't miss the connection with
humans."

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