Archive for the ‘sprout wrangling’ 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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One would think I’d be able to cobble together a blog entry more than once a month. Not, like, every day or anything. Maybe twice a month, like the IMBY series I do for the radio, is a more realistic goal.

Well, anyway. We went on vacation and just came back.

Wooden ship.

It was also almost a vacation didn’t happen. As it turns out, it’s kind of hard to rent a suitable (and remotely affordable) place on Anna Maria Island at the last minute for dates in March. Jim performed a miracle and found one. A great one.

We read, ate, had coffee, dried things, and generally lounged here.

The weather was phenomenal – into the 80s and sunny every day. The water temperature was almost 80 degrees, practically unheard of for this time of year. That’s the Gulf of Mexico there on the horizon.

Siblings at sunset.

Our kids got to hang out together, something that very rarely happens anymore. They conversed, just the two of them, down by the water. It’s something they’ve done since they were quite small.

Through the mangroves at Robinson Preserve.

My love for the water sports was completely reaffirmed on this trip. While kayaking alone in the Gulf, I saw a manatee about 30 feet away – this was something I put on my pre-trip wish list, and lo – one just sort of appeared before me, snout popping out of the water almost in greeting. I freaked out, a little, because those things aren’t small creatures. Anyway, I wanted to paddleboard, but it was too windy on the day I planned to go. We kayaked as a group and we swam and swam. I think my mid-life crisis might look like a Sea-Doo.

An amazing place.

After Anna Maria, we headed to central FL to see my dad and then to the east coast to visit one of my favorite beaches in the entire world – the Canaveral National Seashore. We flew some kites. We got tossed around by the surf. Eventually we had to leave.

Until next year.

My personal journal entries from the days leading up to our departure reveal an extremely stressed-out and slightly crazy lady; it’s evident that getting away was crucial. I certainly could have used more “away”, but it was also hilarious to come home and discover that spring had completely, unreservedly sprung in our absence. In eight days the trees had flowered and/or leafed out, the tulips came up, the greens I planted were growing strong, the asparagus was 5 feet high, and the garden was past unruly and into ridiculous territory. I spent a few hours back there yesterday dealing with the asparagus patch and weeding the greens and cutting dead growth. It was no trip to the beach, but it felt fabulous.

IMBY segments coming up – this week you should be hearing/seeing a piece about sheep-shearing. It was researched that last quite chilly weekend we had early this month – I thought maybe the sheep would be too cold. Next week (or maybe the next), a piece about the Slow Money concept and an interview I did in February with its founder, Woody Tasch, will air on the radio and online.

For now, I’m enjoying my last day off before heading back to work tomorrow. There’s a farmers market that needs putting together, but I don’t want to think about it until I need to. Over and out.

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After almost a two-week run of posting every day – something I’m not even sure I did ten years ago when I was first blogging –  I had to take a time out. I was at a conference in Springfield, the weather was bad, I drove (you know all of this already), but I was also just wiped out for some reason. But here I am again, blogging at what is perhaps the least popular time possible. Sunday night. Dinner time. Football game. Golden Globes. Sorry. I’m crawling through this open window.

Tomorrow I’m heading out to Blue Moon Farm to talk to owner/farmer guy Jon Cherniss about seeds. Then, a couple hours later? Talking to Zack Grant, manager of the Sustainable Student Farm about the same stuff. City Hall is closed tomorrow for MLK, so I’m making radio hay while the sun shines, so to speak. Like Pa Ingalls, kinda.

I am having some envy with regards to this television show. I would love to be able to do something like this someday, either as the person onscreen or (much more preferably) as a writer or showrunner. I’ve informally pitched a similar-but-different idea to a couple of people, but no one has any money or time or the inclination just yet. Patience.


Photo a day #13: Stuff in my teensy bag

I was at a local shoe store recently and was eyeing a pair of boots on sale when I discovered that the store also carried my favorite tiny bag. I had pretty much destroyed my brown one, so this time I chose black. The photo above shows what was stuffed into it a couple of days ago. (I didn’t get the boots).


Photo a day #14: Something I'm reading

I love to read actual books, but this book is what I call a Bed Book. It’s hundreds of pages and densely-written and the kind of book I like settling into bed with. Unfortunately, a Bed Book can take months to read, as I now have a tendency to fall asleep almost as soon as I crack open any reading material. I’ve turned into my mother.

Anyway, this book belongs to the library, so I only have a couple of weeks with it, AND the photos are mixed in with the text, so I kind of have to read it if I want to see photos. Also, it’s Spence. I figure I can do my best for him, right? This photo, on the cover? Makes me feel feelings. This one does nothing for me, but was taken within seconds of the one on the cover.


Today I experienced complete happiness. Not the fleeting winning-the-lottery kind or the getting-my-way kind, but the super-simple kind, the lasting kind that you only get when your partner and both of your children are in the car with you and are spending the day with you and this is not a usual thing, at all, because the older child has moved away. It was blissful. I’ll always remember it because it was so simple and uncomplicated and it’s just the kind of thing I like to have in my back pocket in case of a shitty day, which, well, we’re heading into the season of such.

I know. If you have more than one kid and they are both in the backseat of your car and there’s food everywhere and they’re bickering and no one is happy and the younger one has figured out how to escape from the prison that is her car seat and the older one has to go to the bathroom even though he said nothing when you asked five minutes ago if anyone needed a rest stop, it can seem sort of unbelievable that at some point, a family trip to IKEA will seem like some sort of heaven on Earth.

Photo a day #15: Happiness = Lilly, me, Cody

But give it a decade. It just might be.

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Cody's dad, Dan, used to call me "Lisa Lip Prints".

Just about every morning, I head to the Great Green Satan or the Carb Palace and get a big-ass decaf Americano. The GGS is right down the street from my office and the CP is very close to Lilly’ s school, and usually, due to lack of any real routine in the morning, I don’ t make coffee at home.

[This is a travesty and a waste, I know. And yes, I drink decaf. It never tastes right when I make it at home. It tastes much better when someone else makes it, but I can always tell when they’ve accidentally given me “real” coffee, because it tastes so good.]

Is coffee shop coffee great? No. But the hot cup in my hand as I enter my office is a bit of a talisman, warding off bad vibes and smoothing entry into the day even if the vibes are good.

I’m trying to get into a better routine in the morning. The Newly Resolved don’t seem to be taking over my gym in the early morning, so I’ve been trying to get there on the regular, but I’ve also been trying to get more sleep. I’m constantly at war with myself about how to deal with mornings. I read something recently about stopping the arguments with yourself, about just shutting out the devil on your shoulder that tries to talk you out of a decision you’ve made. It’s amazing how often I try to talk myself out of things that I’ve already decided to do, especially if they involve me getting up at 5:30 and I’m not getting paid.

In other news, Lilly received a report card over the weekend that was so mind-bogglingly awesome that I’m not quite sure what to do with her, except be grateful that she’s such an all-around excellent person, not just student. And Cody – I’m not sure what he’s up to, but I know he’s been working hard and wants to travel some more and still takes great photos and we’re seeing him this weekend and I cannot wait.

My kids.

Lilly & Cody on our wedding day, August 2000

Lilly and Cody in FL, February 2011

I couldn’t possibly love them more.

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That’s the prompt for today’s Photo A Day challenge. And, so, here is today’s photo.

The photo on the left is of Jim, Cody, and I on an improbably flower-strewn path on an equally improbably cloudless day in Ardmore, Ireland in 1997; the note on the right from Jim features his signature beating heart, which gives even this mundane note about where the car is parked something extra that makes it worth pinning to the board in my office.

Yep, big on Jim over here.

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Meadowbrook Park - Urbana, IL December 2011

I’ve been kicking around, for months, the idea of moving this blog to a domain. I’m pretty serious about this radio thing, and I thought that maybe being more serious-looking online would prompt more frequent posting on my part. But, you know, that’s a stupid excuse for not updating the blog and stewarding my shit. As I look around this place, it’s obvious some serious updating on all fronts is needed, even if a domain is in the offing.

We have some catching up to do, no?


Since my last update, much has happened. Rather than recount it all for readers here, here’s the truncated version:

  • Cody is still in CHGO, working for an apparel company and working as a freelance photographer when he has time. He was home 8 days for Xmess and we talked a bit about his plans for the spring, which may or may not include taking a few classes. However, just this morning Jim was checking Kayak on the Tablet Computing Device for airfare deals and ran across flights Cody was researching while he was home – Kuala Lumpur. Karachi. Ulan Bator. Other places on his list include Lebanon, Jordan, New Zealand…
  • Lilly goes to a new school and skipped 7th grade to do it – it’s basically a 5-year high school. She’s kicking all kinds of academic ass. I’m also very excited – her social studies class does a pretty intense radio project with the NPR affiliate here, which is also the station I do segments for. She had an excellent soccer season in the fall and is looking forward to some indoor soccer action while we wait for winter to arrive/end. She’s almost 5’8″ tall, willowy, beautiful, and, she will tell you, a complete geek. And, I will tell you, a total badass.
  • Jim continues to work for Parasol, though the nature of the business has changed. Almost 16 years ago, Jim and I moved here to  help Parasol expand its reach as a group of record labels, while the mail order/record store aspect of Parasol continued to thrive. Over the years, Jim has been called on to do more mail order/record store stuff and less label stuff, despite the fact that people weren’t buying records from stores and mail orders as much any more. In December of 2011, Jim’s boss decided to refocus on releasing records by excellent bands and to close the mail order/record store. This means Jim has come full circle and will be back to releasing records for Parasol and its associated labels in 2012. I think there are seven records on the schedule already, with more to come. Last year, they released one. The stuff on the schedule that I know about it is awesome.
  • As a family… we’re solid and happy and healthy. 2011 was quite kind to us overall, for which I am extremely grateful.


There was a lot of IMBY in 2011, only some of which I mentioned here. I’ve collected everything starting with the May 30 segment for you here – you can either download the files or stream them from the station or, heck, subscribe to the podcast.

Lisa Haynes owns her farm. She does, not her husband. (May 30)

Weird weather is the New Normal. (June 8)

The little farmstand that could. And does. (June 23)

Daniel Tucker, who wrote Farm Together Now, came to our party. (July 21)

Cathe Capel and her Sidney homestead. (August 4)

Every place has its taste. (August 17)

So many tomatoes, so little time. (August 25)

Considering the local food economy. (September 8)

Pickling is nothing to be scared of. (September 22)

The one where my neighbor makes a smoker out of an old dishwasher. (October 12) *

The one where I admit I am afraid of squash. (October 27)

I’ll bet you’ve never thought of this as an alternative to bagging leaves. (December 6)

Be it resolved! (December 21)

* potential submission to some contest my producer said I should enter

New content will resume February 9 – I need a month to go dormant, just like the gardens do. So far during this time off, I’ve brainstormed more topics than time slots, which should prove interesting. I’ll be blogging the segments as they appear, with transcripts. Swear.


One of my online pals is doing this photo challenge:

So I thought I’d do it, too, both here and using Instagram. Here’s January 1:

Me and Mattie Flicktail Lonesome, Best Cat Ever

And January 2:

Formerly poached eggs, black beans, and cracked pepper chevre

I think my theme/challenge/goal for this year, if there’s going to be a theme/challenge/goal, is engagement. I’m giving a work-related talk this month about creating a culture of commitment around farmers markets as the food landscape changes, so it’s obviously been on my mind, but I haven’t been thinking about it just for work.

Now, however, it’s time to put away Xmess and engage the birds by putting some seed in their feeder. Even if it does attract raccoons.

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Graffiti behind Goodyear Tire in Urbana, IL – photo by me


Hi, readers.

I am so very sick right now, felled by a massive cold that got underway not two hours after I’d bragged to someone, knowing it was a bad idea, that I hadn’t had a bad cold or flu in almost 3 years. Things are looking up, slowly, but this cold is the kind that you look at your co-worker sideways for bringing into the office – drippy, hacky, sneezy, involved. People are avoiding me, but it’s cool. I suppose it’s a good thing that it might mitigate by tomorrow, right? So I don’t get the stinkeye from the people I work with? Sigh.

I am very happy at this moment, however, because both of my children are home at the same time – Jim is too – and the four of us are in the same room eating food with the football game on and wisecracking and reading and are basking, quietly, in each others’ presence. With Cody living in Chicago, this doesn’t happen very often. He and I were out procuring groceries and stopped to pick Lilly up at a friend’s… and I had to think hard to recall the last time I was in the driver’s seat with the two of them in the car with me. It’s been more than a year.

Not much else going on – not worth talking about at this juncture, anyway. I’ll be getting back to putting the archived In My Backyard stuff up here soon. I’m planning on putting in a seed order from these folks any day, though the idea of getting into the garden exhausts me right now (I think I have food and garden burnout, but that’s a topic for another day). I’ve been trying to write something, somewhere, every day. I have an unhealthy interest in The Selby.

The Bears fans don’t sound happy. Booing!

Here’s what I’ve been looking at these last few days:

I’m eyeing these boots.

And these.

Editorial about farming subsidies in the NYT.


Portland Alternative Dwellings, or PAD. Supercool.

Video documenting a wall-painting in Goteborg, Sweden. From several pals on Facebook.

A show on public broadcast I’d never heard of until very recently.

I’m interested in attending this conference.

I ADORE these color combinations. Need color STAT.

The family togetherness was short-lived – Cody’s off to the cafe until later. Jim has a meeting & is making chili for dinner. I should probably get together a cornbread. Lilly is on the couch, snacking. I gave her Good Omens to read – we’ll see if she picks it up.



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