Around the neighborhood some call me The Chicken Lady. I’ve been called way worse, so I’ll gladly take it. And anyway, I’ve (in some ways surprisingly) found so much joy in raising chickens and harvesting fresh eggs each day that it’s a name I’m proud have. I know what they eat, I know what they do, and I know that they are happy. The garden is also just as rewarding, even if there are some seeds that need replanting and I have so much left to learn. I love watching seeds sprout and grow gradually, judging their progress from the morning to evening, and I love the zen calm of daily waterings. Here too, I know everything about them.
This big evolution in my life, coupled with my deep passion for food and agriculture reform has left me craving for stimulation and conversation about all the issues that connect back to food and farm. My sweet Andrew came to the rescue when he bought me this new magazine, and we’ve been poring over it and the website ever since. Don’t let the cover sway you (even though I totally geeked out over it), it’s a beautiful publication and the content is really sexy and so well done. It’s for anyone who’s interested/concerned/curious about real food culture, global and domestic agriculture, food security issues, gardening, recipes, bees and chickens, agritourism, and much more. There’s a global cultural shift where food and food topics are concerned (the real story, not the Food Network version) and it gives me so much hope and inspiration.
Some of my favorite features:
- Celebrate bee week
- What macho herbicide names tell us about fighting weeds
Check out modern farmer online, or subscribe for the quarterly issues.
Can you imagine being a teenager today? I’d probably die. I mean just thinking of the dynamics that social media brings to the hierarchy of teenage measures of acceptance makes me cringe. And basing my disgust at the current set of “role models” and idolized celebrities (ahem, the empire of shallowness that is the Kardashians) I often wonder where I’d fall along the line of today’s teenage standards. Yeah, I’d probably die.
Thinking of all this led me to these images, from a seemingly simpler time, and the dawn of the concept of teenager. From a LIFE feature in December of 1944, shot by photographer Nina Leen, these images focus on the carefree (despite wartime) world of the typical all-American teenage girl. Not to say that it was without drama (and then there’s the whole conformity thing), but still, there’s something very captivating about this life passed.
A great read check out the original feature and full gallery at LIFE online.
Tableya is a traditional beverage from the Philippines and is a rich hot chocolate drink that’s made from chocolate tablets. This version from Askinosie is crafted and packaged by the PTA at the Malagos Elementary School in Davao, Philippines where Askinosie has direct relationships with the cocoa farmers. Each $10 package of Tableya that’s purchased provides enough money for 225 meals. In total, the project totals to 140,000 meals for 700 students–lunch for every student at Malagos for one school year.
Askinosie buys the Tableya for $1 and sells it to us for $10. The $9 profit is used by the Malagos PTA to source, purchase, and prepare local food for the students.
More from Askinosie:
During a visit to Malagos Elementary School in 2011, Shawn Askinosie met with the principal and teachers and asked about their greatest needs– hunger was the biggest issue. He learned from the school administrators that 20% of the children at Malagos were on the malnourished “watch list.” So together, Shawn and the Malagos PTA created the Askinosie Chocolate University Malagos Elementary Lunch Program. The PTA makes the Tableya and ships it to the factory and 100% of the sales of this product fund the program.
We monitor height, weight and arm circumference of every student, along with attendance and graduation rates to measure the success of this program. We are in constant contact with the school administrators. Since the program began, with your help, we have provided 185,000 meals. 90% of the students have gained weight and the school attendance rate has increased.
Askinosie, their beautiful chocolate, and this wonderful project all make me so very happy. Get your bar of Tableya from Askinosie. $10 for a great cause, and great chocolate.
You know those pretty blossoms atop the chives in your (or your neighbors) garden? They’re the ones that are typically admired for their pretty lilac color, but often left to wilt and die as if they’re purely ornamental. But wait, they’re not! They are yummy as they are pretty, and if you’re an acid freak like I am, you’ll love adding a delicate taste of chive and onion to use as a finishing vinegar for salads or soups. (The blossoms are also good sprinkled in salads.)
All you need:
Vinegar – champagne or white wine
Jars with lids – I used small canning jars
Just snip the blossoms at the base of the bud and pile them into a container or two.
Fill the containers with vinegar and seal with the lid.
Let sit for four to five days then strain out the flowers and use the vinegar in place of your usual. Voila!
Ever since I nabbed these vintage Swedish clogs (for $45 bucks!) I have been the crazy clog chick, wearing them around the yard, for errands to the grocery store, and lunches with friends. But since I mostly wear them around the chickens, and the chances of chicken poop contact is pretty high, I decided I should look for a pair to wear exclusively for outings at my favorite restaurants.
I stumbled upon Swedish Hasbeens, and while they’re nothing new they are popping up on a lot of stylish ladies. At first glance I thought they’d go the route of folksy but when you see the way SJP styles them you’d never make that association. There are lots of other images of her wearing them around town and they’re always the perfect pairing for city jaunts. They’re also great because the leather is tanned with vegetable oil and not the toxic chemical chromium, and they are made in small Swedish factories, by hand, using vintage techniques.
Buy stateside at Zappos.
Kyle McBurnie, California
Harbor seal in a kelp forest at Cortes bank, near San Diego, CA.
These are the winners of the University of Miami’s annual Underwater Photography Contest. The overall winner was Kyle McBurnie’s seal image above. The rest are also great, with some animal camouflage mixed in too. Things like this just make me so happy.
View the full gallery here.
Frederica Bambi, Italy
A porcelain crab on an anemone at Pescador Island, Cebu, Philippines.
Laura Rock, Florida
Goliath grouper during the annual spawning event in Jupiter, FL.
Douglas Good, Pennsylvania
An emperor shrimp on two nudibranches at Dinah’s Beach, Papua New Guinea.
I’ve found the most perfect Darjeeling black tea and there are so many exciting things that make this tea extra special. It comes from one of the last remaining family-owned tea estates in Darjeeling, India. That’s one. It’s grown using biodynamic, organic, permaculture agriculture. That’s two. It’s grown at high altitudes among fresh air and fresh mountain water. That’s three. It’s hand-picked, artisan processed, and fair trade. That’s four, five, and six.
I’m once again directing you to my favorite tea source at Art of Tea for this award-winning, proprietary blend that has been called “the champagne of teas” (hell yeah it is). This blend of select high-altitude leaves steeps to become a lighter and more fragrant tea than the black blends that many are used to, and quite simply it’s the most beautiful and elegant cup of black I’ve ever had. It’s also rare to enjoy a 100% Darjeeling tea outside of India, so let’s call that lucky number seven.
Like other black teas it can be steeped as high as 206-degrees, but they recommend steeping at a cooler 180-degrees, more like the temp of a green tea. I much prefer it at this temp too.
I steep 2 teaspoons in 16 ounces of 180-degree water for 3 minutes. And one additional minute for each subsequent steep up to 5 minutes.