Archive for the ‘home works’ Category

I don’t know how I did it, but one of the eggs of the three I poached this morning is perfect. Unfortunately, I just ate the last, most photogenic bite, wrapped up in sauteed spinach from the garden and green garlic from the farmers market. This is what I did:

Brought water to a boil. Cracked three eggs into little bowl. Turned heat way, way down.

Swirled water rapidly to create a vortex and slid eggs in. Covered eggs.

Let them sit for about 3-4 minutes. Harvested spinach & chopped green garlic during this time and sauteed it in a little butter.

Turned off heat.

Put spinach and garlic into a bowl and slid the eggs on top. Ate breakfast. (The other two eggs, by the way, were good, but they were not perfect.)


Radio is still being made. Since the beginning of 2012, I’ve done segments about making mustard and food swaps, homemade mozzarella cheese, sheep shearing, Slow Money, backyard foraging, and the relationship between food and weather and insects. Forthcoming segments will include stories about the origin and history of the Horseshoe Sandwich in Central Illinois, gardening with found objects, a produce pedaler (I spelled it right), thinking about winter holidays during the summer, and probably a bunch more stuff I haven’t dreamed up yet. You can listen to each segment on your own time from the website, you can listen as a podcast, and you can listen on the air if you’re local. Speaking of local airings, it seems that in addition to my usual air time of the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month at around 2:20 PM, IMBY is also airing the following morning during Morning Edition while people are getting ready for work or school or are getting their days going. Kind of cool. Oh, yeah. I suppose I should mention that I found out a couple of months ago that I won an Illinois Associated Press Award along with the gent who produces my work at WILL, Dave Dickey, which was totally unexpected and quite motivating in terms of continuing to create interesting segments. I still feel like I’m having trouble finding my voice because of the schedule I’m on, but I’m getting there. After (almost) two years I think I’m getting there.

Oh, and the other funny thing that happened recently with regards to media and me was Smile Politely choosing my Instagram feed as the best in C-U, for some reason. Again, completely unexpected and very cool.

I don’t know, all this stuff is kind of embarrassing, but I figured I’d let readers, if there are any left, know.

Speaking of photos, here are a few personal faves from the last month or so:

This poster has been slowly deteriorating in downtown Urbana.

I saw this swarm of honeybees getting organized a couple weeks ago and checked on them a couple hours later where I thought they might be. And there they were, in perfect shape. They now have a new, safer (for all) home.

Driveway cherries. Thanks, Jill!

Cody surprised me for Mother’s Day. I freaked out when he walked in.

We had a few people over to send off some friends moving to VT. Then all these excellent people showed up and it turned into a full-on party. Then everyone went home at about 12:30 AM and this is what was left.

I’m back on my market-season schedule of having Mondays off if I worked Saturday, which I did, and it was great. So here’s my list for today – it’s not everything, but it’s a start:

Must get cracking.

Off I go.


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Best Practice

I have mentioned it here before, that I was really excited to be away from my office for five work days that didn’t fall in the month of February that didn’t require traveling to Florida. I’m not used to time off. I never saw the point of taking time off if I wasn’t going anywhere. It surely would mean drudgery, housework, boredom, etc. Who needed that?

But after a bizzonkers third market season this year followed by a half hour spent roughing out a vacation schedule for the holidays and February, I discovered I could ALSO take an additional 5 days off (4 vacation days plus Veteran’s Day, which my office observes by giving us the day off) and still have a couple of days in reserve. This time, taking time off without going anywhere sounded like paradise.

I started my vacation from the office with some drudgery and housework, but it wasn’t laundry or dishes or even the embarrassingly-neglected garden. No, it was cleaning out what was passing for a closet upstairs, a catch-all small room about 4′ x 18′ with no purpose other than to store old clothes, hundreds of abandoned CDs, odd bits of small furniture. Shoes. Boxes of photographs and zines. Bad printers and computer towers. Two bags of not-quite-trash that Cody had filled up and, unsure what to do with a collection of old socks, pennies and nickels, and notebooks from 11th grade math, shoved into the closet/room on the eve of his leaving for Cairo back in February. There were small rolls of carpet scrap that had been there when we moved in, still standing at attention under the sloping of the roof.  I made trip after trip out of the closet/room and into our bedroom, dumping random parts of our lives onto the floor, the bed. My recent desire to BE RID of extraneous crap made it easy to donate/throw out the vast majority of what had been kept in there. But why? Why the motivation?

Two things: 1) I have no interest in spending what little free time I have taking care of stuff that no one wants anywhere in the house, including closets, and b) I wanted a room of my own and this was going to be the only way to have one.

An office. A CLOFFICE. Somewhere I could write, process photos, do research, and keep my various and sundry piles and projects without those things getting in the way of our common living space downstairs, because our house is adorable, but TINY. I spent all day Friday emptying the closet, purging it of bags of crappy yarn and extension cords and old, completely useless, why-the-hell-was-I-saving-this-again-never-mind magazines. A path was required to get to the bed.

The next day, I woke up and prepared to go visit my pal B (aka HousePet) in a neighboring state for just over 24 hours, Jim promising he’d work on the, um, cloffice in my absence. I threw my backpack into the Camry and set off, making the drive in about 2 hours. A Gumballhead was in my hand at 1:30 PM, launching a bit of a short bender with B and her husband, M,  the beginning and the end of it taking place in their really great ranch house. The middle part happened here:

Sunday’s was an incredibly muzzy-headed morning. M had coffee out and built a fire by 9 AM. I have to admit, it was a relief to just sit here, talking quietly, wondering what the heck was in that Arctic Panzer Wolf.

When I returned to Illinois in the afternoon, Jim had indeed worked on the cloffice. The plank flooring, which we will eventually paint white, was covered with part of a sisal rug we’d banished to the garage. A small desk was MacGyvered out of two metal IKEA cabinets and a piece of butcher block. A low bookshelf was moved from downstairs. Another bookshelf came up out of basement exile.

So. I have a room. It’s nothing major, but it’s mine. I’m still working on it.


That was written six days ago. I still love this little room – I’m working in it/on it right now – but having my work up here means I don’t spend a lot of idle time on the computer, which has made a huge improvement in the ol’ Q of L. I even picked up knitting needles again. Jim and I are talking about other projects. PROGRESS.

Speaking of, here are our two wonderful children:

Lilly’s BFF went to CA and came home with this vintage owl pin for her birthday. She’s been raiding my collection of silk scarves lately for adornment. She is twelve and verging.

I took this of Cody today and texted it to Lilly. She couldn’t get over his facial hair, but I think he kind of rocks it. I’m glad he’s coming back here for Thanksgiving, even if it’s just for the day; I miss his big presence in our house. He is eighteen and sorting it all out.

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