Friday, August 29, 2008

Blog Etiquette?

So, I have a question for you more experienced bloggers out there.

I love having the list of other blogs I read as a sidebar. For one thing, it is a convenient place for me to see which ones have been updated recently and they are each just a click away.

But as I continue to add blogs I discover and enjoy reading, I started wondering, do people generally let people know when they post a link to their blog? Some of the blogs in my list belong to people I actually know in real life. Others I have posted comments on before, but most of them I simply go and read and stay anonymous.

So, for those of you who blog (or those who read a lot of blogs and have a sense of this), is it OK for me to just link to blogs of other people who have no idea I (or my blog that links to them) exist? Or should I send off a quick email or comment to let them know I have added them to my "blogroll?"

Just wondering,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Want to guess what we've been reading?


The combination of moving to "the country" and reading the Little House series has influenced the kids' imaginary play of late! Other favorite pastimes include tree climbing, dog training, and garden weeding (OK, that's not really one of their favorites...).

I am thoroughly enjoying watching them experience life in a very different setting than the 1/10-acre city lot we left! Of course, we miss some aspects of city life and it is never easy to start over in a new place and have to set out to make new friends; but all three kids are thriving and I think I am, too!
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The Other Blog

Just in case you haven't clicked around and found it via "About Me," here is the other blog I am keeping- purely as a photo blog. No text! So far I am not even interested in doing captions...

Blue Jay Hill

Stuck inside (it's *still* raining!),

The Setting

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of where I am!

Down the driveway:

Our work in progress:

The view of the mountains:
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Murphy's Law

I wasn't prepared for the magnitude with which Murphy's Law manifested itself this week.Things had been getting pretty dry around here, but I didn't water the garden. We had planted our garden under the influence of Steve Solomon's Growing Food in Hard Times, which calls for greater spacing to improve plants' ability to withstand dry conditions, and things were looking pretty good. But it didn't rain and didn't rain and, well, didn't rain. Everything was beginning to look a little parched. Then on the day I was ready to give in and go find the sprinkler, it was cloudy- just one more day, I thought. But the sun blazed forth again with no rain and so the next morning I put the sprinkler on. And forgot about it. Oh, well, I thought, they got a good, deep soaking, and I moved the sprinkler to the other side of the garden. And forgot about it. And it was still going when I got home. In the midst of a downpour. And it hasn't stopped raining since. I should've turned the sprinkler on sooner, huh Murphy?

After a couple days of rain, everyone needed to get out of the house. So, we suited up in rain gear and walked the long walk down the hill to the mailbox. We came back thoroughly drenched and thoroughly happy with fresh-picked apples in hand (I hope the neighbor doesn't mind) and headed straight for the tea kettle. Later, we sat around playing card games and board games and eating hot beef stew. All in all, a pretty perfect rainy day.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Bear-ly Breakfast

Our chickens haven't been producing many eggs lately. We have four hens, so could conceiveably get four eggs a day. We've been lucky to get one or two a day. We're still determining the cause (seasonal? space? feed? heat? age?), but while we do, breakfasts around here are severely out of whack. We would typically have eggs in some form at least three or four mornings a week.

With starting back to homeschooling this month, a breakfast that is quick and doesn't require a lot of forethought is nice. Oatmeal is a standby around here (one child out of three doesn't like it, however) and on a really industrious morning I might make muffins or pancakes or waffles. But really industrious mornings (at least in the kitchen) have been few and far between and even muffins and pancakes and waffles need an egg or two in the batter. We need a go-to breakfast again- something everyone will eat and doesn't take much preparation. We do occasionally go for cold cereals, but I prefer not to in the interest of both cost and nutrition.

As a child, one of my favorites was Cream of Wheat, and it's whole-grain cousin that we found under the brand name "Bear Mush." I loved the picture on the package of three bears sitting around their wooden kitchen table with wooden bowls and spoons eating their porridge of varying temperatures. Flash forward to my kitchen: I am working my way through a 50-pound bag of whole wheat and couldn't justify buying another wheat product- especially since I didn't want the refined Cream of Wheat and couldn't find "Bear Mush" at my local Kroger. So I have been experimenting with my grain grinder and trying to replicate the coarseness I remember. My first batch on Saturday was a big hit. I patted myself on the back for finding a hot cereal everyone in the family would eat and thought my breakfast dilemma was solved. But when I made it again this morning, well, let's just say Goldilocks wasn't very happy... Yes, the same Goldilocks that doesn't like oatmeal.

Wishing for egg-laying abundance,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad Precedent

I should probably not be writing this blog entry. It would really be in the my own best interest to not set the standard of a daily entry that I seriously doubt I can keep up with. But here I am at 7am ready to gush on about my little life.

First, I just have to get it out there that I am already annoyed with how much time in my day and space in my mind is taken up with thinking about whether or not the name of my blog is right. It doesn't help that my sister's new blog has a perfect name- complete with subtle Laura Ingalls imagery. And her pictures are better. I think the only superlative I get is "more anonymous."

But enough of my self-consciousness and back to the blog! Perhaps extra-motivated by the desire to live up to the blog name, our dinner last night was made up of green beans, new potatoes, tomatoes and corn on the cob all from our garden!

OK, so I threw in some chicken from the freezer, not remotely home-grown. We do have chickens on our "farm," but only four and they have names so, barring the advent of full-scale apocalypse, they will not be offered up as food on this farm kitchen table. Nonetheless, it felt good to put a homegrown meal on the table just 3 months after moving to our little piece of heaven. I am getting a fall/winter garden planted this week and have even bigger dreams for next spring!

Foodily yours,

P.S. Be a dear and leave a comment, won't you?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Growing a Blog

The self-imposed pressure of writing the perfect first blog entry is too great for a soul like me to ever hope to start a blog. Solution? Suck it up, intentionally write something imperfect, and get on with it.

Another challenge? The naming of said blog. I know I am silly, but the major obstacle to starting a blog for me has been the naming of it. How to decide? Seriously, I have been thinking of starting a blog for 3+ years, but couldn't get past naming it. Well, except for those three times I started a blog, name and all, but within a couple days (and before I could write the perfect first entry) decided the name wasn't quite right. You laugh, but I'm serious. I often try to hide my perfectionism (I do particularly well at this in the housekeeping department), but here I could not. I have word, language, grammar and naming hang-ups. Imagine the process of naming my three children. Thankfully, I have a husband who vetoed 99.9% of the baby names I suggested, so the field of choice was very narrow. But, I digress. Anyway, as someone who likes to rearrange as much furniture as possible on a monthly basis, who knows how long I'll be happy with the name, but for now it seems perfect, if somewhat grandiose.

Our endeavor here can hardly be called a farm right now, but our plans and dreams are big and with hard work and a little divine providence, I think we can grow into the blog's name. Besides, farmkitchentable was available and kitchentable was not.

So using the term "farm" in the title is a bit of a stretch, but the kitchen table connection is solid reality! Firstly, food and family take center stage at our house, and we currently eat all our meals at a beautiful, round table that graced my paternal grandparents' house as far back as I can remember. I imagine the topics of food and family (particularly my children's antics) will take center stage of this blog. Also, we homeschool our children, and many of our messes and masterpieces are created at our kitchen table.

Another hope for this blog is that it is a way to keep in touch with friends far and wide. One of my favorite ways to spend time with friends is with good food and good conversation around the table in a cozy kitchen. This little corner of the blogosphere will hopefully provide a small dose of that connection, albeit inferior to face-to-face company.

To top it all off, I just happened, this week, to discover and fall in love with a song by Tish Hinojosa titled, "The Kitchen Table."

So here's to all the celebrations of family, friends, food and all the messes and masterpieces I hope to record and/or create here at my little Farm Kitchen Table. And may I not be paralyzed by my desire for perfect grammar and phrasing of my blog posts.



P.S. Why yes, I have edited this entry 3 times after I first published it. Wanna make somethin' of it?