Monthly Archives: June 2012

You gotta have friends…

By now you have certainly heard about the big storm that has knocked out power in the North East. Our power went out at around 10 p.m., but our power goes out about once a week, so I didn’t realize what a big deal this would turn out to be. The best estimates at this point is that we will get power back in 3-5 days.

The problem with not having power at the farm is that no power equals no water. No water on a cool day is a huge problem. No water during the hottest week of the year is just not possible when you have more than 100 animals to care for. We have a small generator but it’s far too small to run the water pump.

This morning I triaged by going to the closest open grocery store (most had no power) and buying 260 pound of ice. Charlotte and I dumped ice into the water tanks in every pasture but 260 pounds of ice doesn’t equal much water when it melts.

I called Amy (who has power) about something else and when she heard I didn’t have power, she sent Paul over with their big generator.

Zac and Caroline, who were on vacation last week, got home just before Paul arrived. Charlotte and I looked like we spent a long weekend in hell by that time. (It’s around 90 degrees in the house.)


Paul had to do a bit of wiring to get everything we needed on one circuit for the generator to power. Basically, we now have the water pump working, one light, one electric outlet and the refrigerator. No a/c, no internet, no water heater. It sucks but having water is the only important thing. How lucky are we to have Paul and Amy?


Did you know that geese pant? Me either, but they do.

The puppies are hot but still adorable.

Remember the panting thing with geese? Chickens too.

Zac is now on 24/7 generator duty until the power is back. We’re going through a gallon of diesel an hour (@$3.50/gallon) so I don’t know how long we’ll be able to keep this going, but for now, we’re doing okay. Keep your fingers crossed that the heat breaks soon and that the electricity comes back sooner than expected.

We’re over at Amy’s house now, cooling off a bit and using the internet. Our friend Lisa is here too, because they lost power too, but they also had a giant tree fall on their house and car.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back to the blog but I wanted to let you know that we are okay. Hot, but okay.




Joe Cool

Kimball Art Museum Steven's Garden and Grill

Yesterday we had a great lunch at Joe T. Garcia’s and then spent some time at the Kimbell Art Museum. We also had some excellent BBQ for dinner at Steven’s Garden and Grill.

Summer Suppers: Marrow Beans Fresca

I think I’m a pretty good cook. I went to culinary school and I learned the techniques. I care about ingredients and I really try to always give each dish my full and thoughtful attention, particularly when I am cooking for friends and family. But no matter how much care I put into cooking, I can almost always find a something I would do differently next time, a little tweak that would make the dish even better. I’m not being hard on myself; it’s just that almost anything can be made better the next time around.

Today I am presenting to you the exception to that rule. I love this recipe so much and I can’t think of a single thing I would do differently to improve upon it. To my taste, it is perfection. And – in keeping with the theme of the week- it won’t heat up your kitchen.

This recipe is my modified version of an old recipe from I use marrow beans in this dish because they have an almost bacon-y flavor. They are available at my Whole Foods in the bulk section but you can substitute any dried white bean if you can’t find marrows.

2 cups dried marrow beans

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

2 slices Pancetta, chopped

1 piece of Parmesan cheese rind (I save the rinds in a ziplock in the freezer for use in soups and beans. You can also buy the rinds at some fancy grocery stores. Just ask at the deli counter.)

salt to taste

olive oil

1 large, ripe tomato, chopped

1/2 red onion, finely diced

1 handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped

grated Parmesan

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Rinse the dried beans throughly in a colander, picking through to remove any debris. Put the beans in a heavy pot and cover with to inches of water to soak. You can either let them soak overnight or use the quick soak method. Discard the soaking water, rinse the beans again and return to the pot. Cover with two inches of fresh water and add the smashed garlic cloves, pancetta and the parmesan rind.

To keep from heating up the kitchen, I cook the beans overnight in a low oven. Just pop the lid on the pot and place it int he middle of an oven pre-heated to 300 degree. When you wake up in the morning, remove the beans from the oven and test for doneness.

(Alternatively, you can cook the beans in a slow cooker during the day. I’m not a huge fan of slow cookers in the summer, as they put off a lot of heat, but when I must use one I plug it in in the garage. That way I’m not pitting the slow cooker against the air conditioner all day.)

When the beans are tender and creamy, drain any excess liquid and taste for seasoning. Add salt if necessary, but don’t go crazy. Drizzle the beans with good extra virgin olive oil and top with chopped tomato, red onion, basil and grated parmesan. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

I like to bring the pot to the table and serve into individual bowls. Serve with a crusty baguette and red wine. Marrow Beans Fresca is lovely served warm but it is also a great cold dish for picnics.



Snippet #3 Update …

Full size snippet pictures ~ part 3.

Espresso Love – Edgartown


Midnight Farm – Vineyard Haven


Union Chapel – Oak Bluffs


Island Home ferry


Black Dog Bakery – Vineyard Haven


Old Sculpin Gallery – Edgartown


Memorial Wharf – Edgartown


(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Weekend Reading

Doctor Who Has Worked Seven Days a Week Since the ’50s Still Charges Patients Five Dollars a Visit from Gawker.

When My Crazy Father Actually Lost His Mind from The New York Times Magazine.

SPOILED ROTTEN:Why do kids rule the roost? from The New Yorker.

Separated At Death from Texas Monthly. Really great article.

THE KINGPINS: The fight for Guadalajara  from The New Yorker.

Why Fast Food is Not Saving You Time (nor Doing You Other Favors) from Good.

Mooning: A History from Slate.

Sidecar lets drivers rent out their empty backseat from Grist.

Norway To Build Breivik His Own Psychiatric Ward from Slate.

People Are Awesome: Woman Saves Horse’s Life, Evokes The Neverending Story from Good.

As Swarms Startle New York, Officer on Bee Beat Stays Busy from The New York Times.

Malters Bring Terroir to the Beer Bottle from The New York Times.


Have you read anything that really made you think this week? Share it with us.


Don’t Mess With Texas!

Log cabin socks progress

We had a smooth uneventful flight  down to the sizzling South yesterday and already I’ve got a new pair of smashing boots! They aren’t the shorter style I was looking for but they fit beautifully and I love them. Before we left I frogged back most of the log cabin sock leg so I could repair a slew of mis-crossed cables. A four hour flight was perfect for that and these are back on track again.
Boots take two

Blueberry Scone And Coffee …

My favorite breakfast…anytime of the day.


Hey Look—> A Shiny New Comment Policy!

Having a blog, particularly a blog that’s associated with a business, can be a tricky thing. Every day there is the opportunity to accidentally offend readers with my opinions, to over-share, or to write something in the heat of the moment that I’m bound to regret later.

On the other hand, I’ve never really liked the kind of blogs that are nothing but unicorns and rainbows and sparkly cupcakes. I just don’t think anyone’s life is 100% perfect 100% of the time. I find blogs like that to be fake-fake and- even worse- boring.

It’s a bit of tightrope walk, really.

So while I try to be true to myself when I write here, there are some topics I will never write about on this blog. Politics. Religion. The Middle East Peace Process. Not because I don’t have opinions on those topics. OH MY GOD do I ever have opinions! But I don’t think this particular space is the place for them.

See, I think that one of the great things about craft is that it’s a piece of commonality, something we call all agree on. I may not agree with your choice of political party but I can still appreciate the hell out of that cardigan you knit. We may have been raised in different faiths but that will never stop me from complimenting your straight seams.

Which reminds me of a speech I heard once by the ad guy who created one of the most famous and successful ad campaigns of all time. Bill Backer was flying to London work on a radio spot for Coke, but Heathrow airport was completely socked in with fog and their plane couldn’t land. The flight was diverted to Shannon, Ireland to wait out the fog, and everyone on the plane spent a couple of days in a tiny airport cafe, waiting to board the flight at a moment’s notice when the fog lifted.

As you can imagine, the passengers were not happy to be stuck in an airport with complete strangers. But within a short time, Backer noticed that even the most irate among them were sitting around tables laughing together and sharing stories about their lives while they drank Cokes and ate snacks. In Backer’s mind, Coke immediately became more than just a sugary drink– it was something that everyone had in common. Something everyone could agree one.

And that’s how the “I’d like to Buy the World a Coke” campaign was born.

I have to admit, I got a little teary when I heard that story for the first time. I get teary when I think about today. Yes, it’s a Coke advert, but it’s also something kind of beautiful and true. Replace “buy the world a Coke” with “teach the world to knit” and I think you’ll see what I mean.

Wondering where we’re going here? If I’m  going to be able to weave all these disparate threads into some kind of coherent blog post? Stay with me, we’re very nearly there.

This blog is part of my business but it is also incredibly meaningful to me. This space, these posts, and your participation are incredibly meaningful to me. And because it’s meaningful to me, I’m going to do my damnedest to make sure that everyone feels welcome and supported here.

Hence the new comment policy. It’s short and sweet and should be easy for everyone to remember. Here it is. Be civil. That’s it. You can disagree with me. You can disagree with each other. You can point out my mistakes (I make loads of them!). You can tell me I’m wrong. You can challenge me to a duel with pistol at dawn if you like but you must be civil while doing so. No snark. No nastiness. No meanness of any stripe.  To paraphrase Mrs. Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility, if you can’t disagree without being disagreeable, kindly restrict your comments to the weather.

Comments that violate this new (and not-all-that-onerus) policy will be moderated. By which I mean deleted. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I happen to know that this isn’t going to be a problem for 99.99% of you, because my readers are good and kind and lovely people. Honestly, I can count the number of comments that I’ve moderated in the last five years on one and a half hands. Which is to say that this really isn’t a problem we have now to any large extent. I’m just trying to be proactive before it becomes a larger problem. But I didn’t want to implement a new policy without letting you know whys and wherefores.

Now feel free to discuss. Civilly.


The Shape of Things To Come

Summer isn’t moving by quite as laconically as I’d like.  It’s almost July already and I have barely tackled anything on my summer to – do list.  This can be blamed partially to my own laziness, partially to the landscaping going WAY past deadline, and partially because we’ve thrown another project on the heap (Paul doesn’t need his home office anymore, so I am cleaning it out in preparation to make it my new sewing room!).

Of course there has been plenty of swimming since we opened the pool this week, and since I have to be out with the kids (as the only adult) that has further slowed me down.  I have done A LOT of reading while they’ve been splashing about.

In more exciting news, though, I ordered a darning needle a few months back for my sewing machine, and I managed to get my patchwork quilt from last summer almost done.  All that is left is the binding.

It’s not the neatest or most precise quilt ever crafted, but I did it ALL myself. And it made good use of all the beautiful Heather Ross scraps that I had hanging around.

Okay, so I might have had a little help from someone with 7 toes on each of his massive paws.

I have told myself I will finish the binding once the new sewing room is all set up (I’ve already bought paint – I can’t wait for it to be done!).  My current sewing spot overlooks the back yard, and it can be a bit distracting watching the work going on out there (and soon, livestock grazing!).  My new spot faces the front, but it will have more light, so fair trade.

Soon I will be able to sit in the dining room with my coffee and see my animals.  We are very, very close.

A few days ago the view looked like this:

As of today it looks like this:

That field back there is deceptively huge.  Our main portion of land sits in a little hollow – a fact we didn’t really realize until we started clearing.  It’s odd; we have our own little micro – climate here.  All of my plants bloom later than my neighbors, who are on higher ground around us.

I kind of like being in a little hollow.  I should have called the farm “Magpie Hollow”.

Hmmmmmm.  You never know.

Tagged: Farm, Pets, Sewing

Her Pretty Ways Cropped Hoodie