Monday, June 28, 2010

It was only a matter of time.

I've been conflicted about posting lately. Plenty of things have happened that would have warranted posting in the past - but now I just think, "Why bother?"

I just scrolled through my posts from the past 10 months and it was fun to see all of things I've cooked, and all of the big changes that happened to our yard. It was fun to reminisce...and it made me hungry.

When I decided to start this blog, I told myself that I would just write on it for my own pleasure - not to receive comments from others. That's what undid me when I had my last blog...I got too caught up in wanting feedback from other people that I made myself crazy.

Well - I've reached that point where writing on this site just not that enjoyable anymore. My friends see my projects and hear my stories in person, so I ask myself: why am I bothering with this? Everyone who cares can just as easily be informed through a monthly photo album of what's happening in our lives. So no more guilt about not writing here!

Thanks for the good times, Frau Farmer! Auf Wiedersehen!

Monday, May 24, 2010


So...Just checked my email.

There was a Yahoo Groups update message.

Hmmm, that's funny, I thought. Aren't I no longer part of any Yahoo groups? (That means you, Freecycle.)

But it turns out...I am.

Looks like they didn't quit me after all! Or maybe they did, but then they found my post and realized the error of their ways?? Well, in any case:

Step 1: Insert foot into mouth.

Step 2: Delete the post where I tell Freecycle to suck it. I'm sorry, Freecycle. You're not that bad, after all.

Step 3: Blush and then add "find stuff to give away on Freecycle" back onto my To Do list.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Back in December after watching Food, Inc., I decided that I wasn’t going to eat meat from restaurants that didn’t buy their meat from humane farms. I didn’t want to be merely disgusted by industrial agriculture – I wanted to stop supporting it with my purchases. (Kind of like how I have been boycotting Wal-Mart for the last 6 years.)

I wanted my burger to have had led the kind of life that a cow deserves to lead (moseying around pastures eating grass) – and not to have led the kind of life that cows raised on factory farms are forced to lead (standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other cows, all knee-deep in their own manure, eating grain and ground up dead animals - to include other cows).

But that’s not just because it makes me feel better emotionally to support these humane farms. If a human is going to eat meat, it's healthier for us to eat meat from animals that have lived their lives eating the foods that they have evolved to eat (imagine that!).

It’s healthier for the cows, too. From
The average cow will die within 6 months from consuming a corn based diet (their livers blow out), which is about all the time a factory farm needs to fatten up a cow for slaughter. To keep the feedlot animal "healthy" (healthy enough to survive), industrial farms feed the cows a constant dose of antibiotics. Did you know that most of the antibiotics sold in America end up in animal feed? It is now generally acknowledged that this practice is a direct contributor to the evolution of new antibiotic-resistant "superbugs."
Yikes, right?

Now, I’ll be honest. Even knowing all of this, I have not been 100% successful at keeping my own goal – and I’m not beating myself up over that. I consider myself to be off the hook when I eat over at other people’s houses (if there is a veggie alternative being offered, I eat that, but if not, I go ahead and eat whatever meat they’re serving). And this past weekend was the first time that I broke my rule while in a restaurant. We went to a German restaurant in North Carolina to celebrate Mother’s Day with Eric’s parents and faced with having only sides for dinner as I did when we were there at Christmastime, I caved and ordered the sauerbraten.

For quite some time now we’ve been buying all of our meat from the farmers’ market, mostly from a local Virginia farm that raises buffalo. But some friends recently offered us up a deal that was too good to pass up. Friends of theirs moved to a farm in Pennsylvania and had a cow that was going to be butchered soon. They wanted to know if we wanted a share of it.

The new term for this?


We thought about it and decided to do it!

Three couples shared the butchering fee ($324.40 total) and then split up the meat evenly, with one couple specifying that they wanted a few specific cuts. (Um, yeah - go ahead and take the tongue! Fine by us!)

We ended up with 127 pounds of meat.

  • 1 brisket
  • 5 T-bone steaks
  • 1 short ribs
  • 1 regular ribs
  • 1 rump roast
  • 2 sirloin tip roasts
  • 3 rib eye steaks
  • 5 sirloin steaks
  • 6 round steaks
  • 1/3 of the ground beef

Needless to say, our freezer is more than a little bit full right now.

 The bottom two freezer baskets had to be completely removed 
in order to fit it all in.

When you add the butchering fee to the per pound price for the meat, we paid a mere $2.39 per pound for our grass-fed Jersey cow.

Not bad, eh?

Beef: It's what's for month...

For more information on cow-pooling, 
check out the following resources:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Step by Step

(Why can I not write that title without hearing New Kids on the Block playing in my head? Oh great. Now it's not going away. Oooooh, babaaay. Gonna get to you girrrrrl!)

Focus! Why did I log in here again? Oh right. To post some photos. Apparently Eric is sick and tired of looking at the picture of the blond kid with his pool noodles, so I'm going to spare his precious retinas and post some other images for your (and his) viewing pleasure.

We went in the pool for the first time on Saturday! It. Was. Freezing!

We finished landscaping along one edge of the pool. 
The lights look awesome when they're turned out at night.

My friend Sara came over on Saturday and helped me to set 
some of the walkway stones. Thanks, Sara!

It was intimidating-slash-depressing to see how long it took us to do this one section of the walkway. I hope I'll be able to finish it before our pool party on Memorial Day weekend!

Check out the garden photo album to see the latest garden photos. I noticed last night that one of the strawberries has turned red already!!! So very exciting! Tonight Eric finished putting up some trellises to cover up the pool pump and air conditioning unit, along with a small raised garden bed in front of it. We filled it with the leftover dirt from last year's garden and I immediately planted a few cucumber seeds and a bunch of sugar snap peas. Can't wait to see how that works out...Stay tuned. We may have a cucumber coup on our hands in a few months.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free Noodles!

No, sorry – I'm not giving away a coupon for a free lunch here...

What I wanted to share was that last night I used my new (free) membership to our local FreeCycle group to score some free pool “noodles”!

(Our noodles, however, did not come with a little boy as pictured here. 
Thank god, because I have no idea where I'd store one of those.)

FreeCycle is like Craigslist but it’s only for giving away completely free stuff. No bartering, no strings attached – just straight up FREE. It’s not first-come, first-served because that causes people to waste time and gas by traveling somewhere to pick up an item that may no longer still be there. After joining your local FreeCycle group, you either place ads for stuff that you want to get rid of (for free) or respond to ads that others have posted.

From the FreeCycle website: “By giving freely with no strings attached, members of The Freecycle Network help instill a sense of generosity of spirit as they strengthen local community ties and promote environmental sustainability and reuse.”

So in the spirit of keeping things out of landfills and saving money at the same time, I responded to someone’s ad for pool noodles and some small boogie boards. He put them out on his porch for me and I picked them up last night.

I have to say that it was a bit strange to just pull into someone’s driveway, walk up to their house, take stuff off of their porch and then drive away! But kind of awesome!

And the benefit to being part of a FreeCycle group that’s specific to my section of town is that I'll never have to drive very far to pick up my free goodies. (Maybe not quite so true in the more rural areas of the country, but here in the DC area there are tons of neighborhood-specific FreeCycle groups.)

Want to find one near you? Go to and search for one where you live!

Monday, April 19, 2010


It has been almost 8 long months since we signed the paperwork to get a pool put in our backyard...and today, the pool was FINALLY finished.


We awoke at 7 am to find the crew on our property, preparing the pool for its plaster finish. The guys were super nice, seemed very knowledgeable and did an excellent job. Five hours later, the pool was complete! (Well, minus the water. We're working on that part as we, write.)

And with that, I leave you....our pool.

See more images in the sidebar where the album of pool construction photos are!

Friday, April 16, 2010

W-E-E-K-E-N-D, it's weekend!

This week Eric continued to work outside in the yard every evening after work, with me pitching where I could be of use. In digging out the ZGW (Zen Garden Walkway) he ended up with lots of displaced dirt, which he piled up next to the pool deck so that there isn't such a terrible drop-off any more. The one large area has been turned into our wildflower patch. Although it doesn't look like much now, we hope that it will look AWESOME a month or two from now. (Fingers crossed!)

Last night I built a low stone wall in front of the landscaping that leads up to the shed. Building those are my specialty around our yard! Just as with laying the stones down in the ZGW, it's like a game of Tetris to me. Then I laid down some grass seed in front the shed and put up some "fencing" to keep Tater out of there. (See the terrible shape the shed is in? Tater looooves peeing on it.) That's a project for another day. Or year at this point.

On Wednesday night I used our leftover rice from the Chinese food we'd ordered the night before to make a curry rice with carrots, peas, raisins, and almond slivers, plus tofu and onion that we'd purchased from Arganica. We used to buy garlic naan (Indian bread) from Trader Joe's, but I decided to try the recipe in my bread book for curry naan with raisins in it and it was fantastic. (Sara - you and I are going to have an Indian dinner some night and we're going to make this! Yummmm!)

Tonight while Eric was outside working on the ZGW, I looked up a recipe for brownies from scratch - which unbelievably, I had never made before - and whipped some up for our dessert! A half recipe, 10 servings, contained 1 cup of sugar and 2 sticks of butter, amongst other things. Sweet baby Jebus. But who knows what the hell is in the boxed mixes in the I'd rather be reminded that what I'm eating is not exactly healthy so that I can (try to) stop myself from finishing off the entire pan in one sitting. Wish me luck.