Friday, November 30, 2012

they go together

Certain foods are forever linked in my mind to certain holidays/events: Leanne's Bread Pudding & Christmas Eve, Reunion Pea Casserole & New Year's Day, Boiled peanuts & trips to Florida, ice cream bombes & Arowhon Pines, Bar-B-Q and Owensboro -- and perhaps most firmly, Wheatberry Salad & Wisconsin Crew Regattas.

I can't eat Wheatberry Salad without being magically transported to Maggie's College Regattas. For four years, Magggie rowed for the Division I Wisconsin Women's Crew Team and for four years Ed and I went to as many of the competitions as we could. We would pack up the van and head to Madison, Bloomington, Knoxville, Philadelphia, even Sacramento. We would watch for hours and cheer for minutes as the Wisconsin boats battled to the finish lines. 

The Wisconsin parents would arrive early, stake out a  prime spot on the rivers' banks, put up a tent, blow up Bucky (the mascot), set out an amazing spread of food, and fire up the grill for beer-soaked bratwurst. To almost all of the regattas, I would bring wheatberry salad. It was easy to make a day or two ahead of the event, travelled well, and was received enthusiastically by both the fans and the rowers. 

Maggie graduated four years ago and I haven't made the salad in a long time. This morning just seemed like a wheatberry salad kinda day. So I made up a bowlful for our lunch and remembered back to Maggie's college years. I miss those times, those talented and hard-working girls, and their families. I hope they are all doing well.


Wheatberry Salad

This salad is inspired from the one they serve at Blue Dog Cafe. It is nutty, crunchy and good for you.

2 cup uncooked wheatberries
1 cup dried currants or dried cranberries
I cup walnut pieces
1 cup celery, diced
1 bag of frozen shelled edamame, cooked for 2 minutes in boiling water 
1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing (I like to use Hendrickson’s Original Sweet Vinegar and Olive Oil dressing) 

Cook wheatberries in plenty of water for about an hour. Let cool. Mix wheatberries with the all the other ingredients. Serve chilled or at room temperature. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


One of the first things that Mary did when she came home for Thanksgiving was break out a new jigsaw puzzle.

In keeping with the Galloway puzzle rules, the box top was hidden; so no getting clues about what the puzzle was ultimately to look like. Over the holiday weekend, the kids spent hours solving the 1000-piece puzzle. Slowly jewel-toned beetles of all sizes began to take shape.

Last night when Ed and I got home, we found Maggie sound asleep on the couch but the puzzle completed. Way to go Maggie!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My! how my shopping cart has changed

I chuckled today as Ed and I were in the check-out line at Rural King in Shelbyville. We had stopped in to pick up some orange flagging tape and some mouse traps.

By the time we finished shopping our cart held the following items:
  • 2 bales of straw for mulching my strawberries and garlic
  • 4 tee posts for anchoring our new trees against the wind
  • 1 garden hose to cut into pieces to use as a collar around the new trees 
  • A coil of tie wire to run through the hose and anchor to the tee posts
  • 2 rolls of flagging tape to remark all our tree seedlings so we don't run over them with the mower
  • a 21" bow saw to use when we get the chainsaw stuck halfway through a large limb and need to cut it out
  • 1 pair of brown work socks (for my Christmas stocking)
  • 1 can of terminal protector -- not sure what this is for: I think the battery terminals in the Polaris
  • 2 gallons of distilled water for capping off the Polaris batteries
  • 6 mouse traps, self explanatory
  • 1 sharpie marker to mark the contents of freezer containers
  • 5 lbs of tobacco bale twine for wrapping Christmas gifts.

When we lived in town, I used to head into Target for laundry detergent and come out with unscented candles, running shorts, cute shoes, birthday cards, cocktail napkins, nail polish, and coordinating desk accessories. My! how my life shopping cart has changed....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ben and his Backhoe/Bulldozer to the Rescue

I mentioned in my last post that we had purchased some trees on Friday night. Our friends Jackie and Paul met us at the nursery and loaded 3 large Willow Oaks, 2 large Tupelo (Black Gum), 3 large River Birch, and one Christmas tree onto the back of a trailer that Paul was hauling behind his pickup. They then delivered them directly to the doorstep of Farm Dover. I don't know how we would have managed without their help.

Then today, our new neighbor, Ben, headed up our drive with his backhoe/bulldozer to help us dig holes for the trees. He worked with us all afternoon. He would dig the hole with his John Deer yellow machine, then Ed and Ben would roll a large tree into the hole and all three of us would work to pack the hole with dirt. As dark came on, Ben headed back down the drive to his farm (just two doors down from us) and Ed and I gave the new trees a good watering. Again, I don't know how we would have managed without his help.

When we lived in the city, we looked to our neighbors when we needed to borrow a cup of sugar or an egg. Now that we live in the country, we turn to our neighbors to help plow our garden, bush-hog our fields or dig wide and deep holes for trees. In every instance, they show up and are happy to help. When we tried to pay Ben for his afternoon of hard work and use of his equipment, he was reluctant to take any payment, saying he just did it to be a good neighbor. I'm promoting him to great neighbor status.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guilty, as charged

We have a rule in our house: No Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. I get irritated at seeing holiday decor decking the malls the day after Halloween. And I never consider getting a Christmas tree until one week before the 25th -- of December, that is. I have, in fact, been accused of being rather Scrooge-like in my regard for Christmas decoration.

But yesterday, I did the unthinkable. I bought a live Christmas tree. I don't know what came over me. Ed and I were shopping for some Farm Dover trees with friends Jackie and Paul. I spotted a 7-foot Hemlock and decided that it would make a grand Christmas tree.

Last year, we bought a live tree but it was rather Charlie-Brown-like -- small and crooked. And while I got kudos from my kids for getting any sort of real tree – a step up from the artificial one that I insisted on for years – they were clearly disappointed that it was so pathetic.

So Ed humored me and we brought the tree home. Paul, Jackie and Ed wrestled it into a tin bucket and set it on the front porch. There it will stay until Christmas Eve, when we will bring it inside. Then, before New Years, we'll plant it out near the front fence, close to last year's tree -- creating our own Christmas tree forrest.

So, I suppose that Christmas has officially come to Farm Dover. Only 44 more shopping days....

Garlic's in the ground

I took advantage of yesterday's warm and sunny weather to plant garlic in my garden. Maggie had ordered me two kinds from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange: Italian Softneck and Porcelain-type Rocambole Garlic. The Seed Exchange offers more than 40 kinds of garlic, all certified organic.

The garlic was mailed to us  a couple of weeks ago. Jack had tilled up the garden earlier in the week. Yesterday, I opened the two small brown bags of garlic. Included in each were whole bulbs of beautiful white garlic. I separated each bulb into cloves and then planted each clove about 6" apart and covered them with 2 inches of soil. In a few weeks, green shoots will come up. In the spring I'll harvest some of the garlic scapes and then in August, I'll dig up (hopefull) a basketful of garlic cloves that will last us all of next winter.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Super Foods

Some super foods are popping up in my winter garden: watercress, beets, arugula, carrots, dill, turnips and spinach. I've been harvesting some microgreens (of watercress and arugula) for our salads this week. On nights when a hard freeze is predicted, I simply cover up the garden with a thin blanket. The next morning, the blanket comes off, the sun shines down, and the garden grows up.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


My talented landscaping-design friend, Barbie, gave me her garden tiller this past summer. I didn't have a need for it until today, when I decided it was the perfect day to get the garden ready for fall-time garlic planting. Coincidentally, Jack had come out for dinner (and laundry). So, I put him to work tilling up a long row in the garden. It worked beautifully. Thank you Barbie! And thank you Jack!


We've been mesmerized by the red-tail hawk that has taken up residence at Farm Dover. He/she spends most of his/her day sitting atop an electric pole. But now, he/she has a girlfriend/boyfriend. Yesterday, Ed and I saw both hawks floating above the farm. When they perch in a leafless tree, they are easy to spot with their great white breasts. Amazing birds.

And then when they fly, it is with such grace.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Blooms

Back in the spring, I bought a small terra cotta pot of geraniums. They limped along through the summer; but come September, they perked up and have been going strong ever since. Just this week, I moved the pot into my kitchen and now it feels like a bit of summer lingers on. It's nice.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


One of the best parts about our move to the county is our ability to untether ourselves from the clock. Most days, I have only a general idea of the time and that is based on the sky or my stomach. If the new day's sun is slanting through our bedroom window, it is time for me to wake up. If it is pitch black out, then I think about going to bed. When my stomach grumbles, it is time to satisfy it with a meal. Lunch may happen at 2 p.m. and dinner at 9 p.m. So what?

We, in fact, have only one clock in our entire house. Guests often complain comment about not having an alarm clock in the cottage, but I just tell them that is part of the Farm Dover experience.

By not being tied to the clock, I can start a project and, if I feel like it, I can finish it. It's not a race. I don't have to multitask.

This was not always the case. In my old life in the city, I'd hit the ground running, multitask all day and night and still not get half the things on my list done. I'd look at the clock and realize I had 15 minutes to get over to school to pick up one or more child and if I made all the green lights, I could make one stop on the way -- not the three errands I needed to check off my list, all of which were en route. Those would have to wait until the clock told me I had enough time.

This whole silly concept of "springing forward" and "falling back" I could never fully grasp. And, twice a year when those events happened, I'd be thrown off kilter for at least a week. Now, I  may get around to changing our one clock, but if I don't, it really doesn't matter. I'll get up with the sun and so what if the clock says it's 7 a.m. or 8 am?