family outside

a faerie petal pond

My niece loves to make bouquets from my mom’s flower garden. This time, after she made two wee bouquets in vases, I filled up a glass bowl with water. She plopped her roses in there and began making “faerie lily pads” with the petals. I think she played for at least 30 thirty minutes at the table in that faerie pond. How enchanting.

holiday outside travel

happy mother’s day from portland

This outdoor market takes “sample day” to a whole new level. The experience would later be affectionately referred to as the morning toothpick feast. Bacon pickles, huckleberry rhubarb jam, roasted hazelnuts, vanilla & cayenne all-natural maraschino cherries, green chile corn chowder, cardamom rosewater cheesecake, dried royal ann cherries, goat cheddar, marionberry & cream cinnamon rolls, red cabbage slaw, sopressata, and more! Somehow amidst the frenzy of fine samples I managed to take a few pictures of the abundance.

Mom: I love you bunches and piles. All Mothers: may your jam jars overflow with local pleasures.

cookie family holiday inside meal outside

easter blessings

Niece Piano Stretch | Look what Hatched | Breakfast, Sister Made Strata, Subbed Challah with Ciabatta | My Mom’s Dinner Rolls | Helpful Hands | More Treats after Dinner | Free Ice Cream on the Backyard Menu!

chocolate outside

chocolate peanut butter march basketball

After having record-high temps this week back home, we got the most wonderful rain all day today that made the redbuds pop against the wheat fields. Today was my day off, so I took a quick drive this afternoon to Peru (Indiana, Sillies). While I was there I stopped in at Day’s Sweets (I love that they have three OPEN signs) and could not resist bringing home some of their chocolate peanut butter bars for the sweet sixteen ballgames tonight. I partially blame the pervasive Reese’s commercials during March Madness, but chocolate, peanut butter, March, and basketball just seem to go together in my head.

cheese ice cream outside sandwich snack travel

signs of spring in philly

It seems as though the minute I landed in Philadelphia, it was Spring. The past few days have been unseasonably warm. I ate a Geno’s cheese steak in 70+ degree weather! The outdoor basketball courts and city playgrounds were packed. Fruit lined the narrow city streets of the Italian Market. On a conference break, I had Chocolate Peanut Butter Ripple ice cream in a pretzel cone. Pretzel cone, more on that later. Spring bulbs were in bloom by Independence Hall, Rocky and “The Thinker.” All pleasant Philadelphia Spring surprises.


blue night

Last night we had thunder snow during our first substantial snowfall of the season. These snowflakes were not like the fluttery, carefree snowflakes in a snowglobe or Christmas Pageant. They were beautiful, but they were heavy as they fell from the sky, demonstrating the gravity of life on Earth. My heart felt that weight all day long yesterday. Then when the electricity went out, I turned on my battery powered blue star lights and was reminded that you can still be cozy even when you’re blue.

fruit outside

rain at countyline

I took a drive over the Eel river to Countyline Orchard last week for some asian pears and fresh pressed cider. It was a perfect drizzly Fall day; I even stopped for some filling station hot chocolate on the way home.  Glad I had my boots and camera handy.

family outside

stonycreek farm

The sun came out this weekend just in time for October fun in Hoosierland. Some of my favorite things at Stonycreek Farm & Nursery: pumpkins growing amidst Christmas trees, beeswax candles, corncob cannons, roaming animals, and hot cheesy crinkle fries. Nothing like riding a hay wagon in the falltime air, either.

friends fruit outside

johnny appleseed

Prior to this weekend, my knowledge of John Chapman was merely a caricature image of a barefoot Lincoln-looking man carrying a seed sack and wearing a tin pot for a hat.  After traipsing around the festival named for him (eating fried and kettle-cooked things with the name petal attached to them and touching beads and bones and furs), I started to read Howard Means’ recent book about the folk hero.  In it, he “explores how our national past gets mythologized and hired out.”  From the book: “Johnny Appleseed, of course, does live on, but less as a whole person than as a barometer of the ever-shifting American ideal: by turns a pacifist, the White Noble Savage, a children’s book simpleton, a frontier bootlegger in the fanciful interpretation of Michael Pollan, patron saint of everything from cannabis to evangelical environmentalism and creation care–everything, that is, but the flesh-and-blood man he really was.”  This folk hero was a real guy with a seemingly steady moral compass and passion for the literal and figurative sweetness in life.  I wonder how he would navigate life on modern day Parnell Avenue as opposed to 19th century wilderness.  Would he find it all a bit too cloying?

friends fruit noodle outside travel vegetable

pasta & pancakes over the campfire

It’s probably not a surprise that one of my favorite parts of camping is eating food made over the fire. Pinot Basil Pasta and Pecan Pancakes with Fruit Compote were two such meals enjoyed this weekend at Van Buren State Park with a dear old friend of mine. We chopped goodness from her garden and began cooking the thickest and hardest veggies first in a bit of olive oil.  Afterwhile we added the softer veggies to the skillet along with some basil and Pinot Grigio. Once the wine reduces, everything is ready to mix in with the pasta and be consumed!  The pancake combo was another winner from Backpacker Magazine. These pancakes did not miss usual syrup.  The woodsy cinnamon and smoky dark cherry was my favorite flavor combination, but since I cannot resist a toasted marshmallow at any given opportunity, I topped off my pancakes with one goldened from the embers.  Corn syrup made it on the pancakes after all.