February, 2011 Issue #117




Amy baked her very first pie this month, using tips grandma Dunton taught Camille thirty years ago in her amazing kitchen in Ithaca, New York.  It was Garth's idea to bake a pie but we thought we'd need to wait until we could score some local apples.  And then Camille went to the cupboard for a can of tomatoes to make pizza sauce and saw those beautiful peaches we canned last fall.  The pie turned out perfect - molten sweet peaches nestled in crisp, flaky crust.

Saturday night has become pizza night, a tradition Amy and Garth brought to Moncure and one we whole-heartedly embrace!  The pizza in the picture involved sauce Bob made from tomatoes he put up a couple of months ago, home made dough, organically grown pineapple Amy bought during a  big moving-in shopping spree, home made ham-flavored seitan, green peppers and mozzarella cheese from "happy cows."




We all took a break for some fun with a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina, a one night stay in a hotel, dinner out and a raucous night at The Orange Peel to see Yonder Mountain String Band.  A few more photos here: A Trip to Asheville to see Yonder




'Round here we don't just do chores, we ATTACK them!  Bob used a two pound sledge hammer and a screwdriver to chip some wax for mushroom log plugging off his ten pound slab of cheese wax.  Robert, Garth and Amy got down and dirty in preparation for their move to Casa Blanca next door.




Spot watches as our next door neighbor, Fred plows up his sweet corn patch across the street.  Meanwhile, Napa cabbage and watermelon radishes flourish in Edible Earthscape's High Tunnel.  The high tunnel which, according to Garth, should really be called a Low Tunnel is an innovative and relatively inexpensive way to grow food in the winter.




Bob's garden is idling along, producing salad greens and lettuce and offering a sunny spot for Amy to do some hooping after work.




The cabbage is heading up and will soon provide us an excuse for an Okonomiyaki party.  The garlic and leeks are looking good and we're getting enough cilantro to jazz up our weekly pot of beans.




Tami knows it. Spot knows it.  The light this time of year is silvery in the same way the Fall tones are golden.




What a lucky Trouts Farm we are to have wonderful people like Sarah and Val stopping in to visit!




"Uncle" Glen joined us for potluck this month as well as Jesse, who is living in the big house at Oilseed with Matt and Greg.  Lyle's brother Glen came down from Canada to spend some time helping out the business and enjoy our milder North Carolina winter. 




It was a stretch but they decided to do it anyway.  So Garth taped away and Amy shook out the paint tarps and they freshened up their new bedroom with some new paint.




Amy obviously means business, going so far as to climb on the refrigerator to get at the overhead cabinets next door at Casa Blanca.  Back at Trouts Farm, Camille makes golden gravy for the Sunday evening mashed potato meal, one of our many soothing rituals.




A whole lot of mushroom activity is going on at Trouts Farm these days.  Bob is growing Black Poplar mycelium (a.k.a. Agrocybe Agerita or pioppino mushrooms) in a mixture of water, dehydrated malt extract and corn sugar. Once the mycelium is robust, Bob will inoculate dowels and plug the poplar tree so that the mycelium can slowly eat the tree, giving us delicous edible mushrooms as it does so.  He figures that since we plan on cutting the tree down eventually, we may as well grow some food on it in the mean time.  The oyster mushrooms in the picture on the right came from one of the mushroom logs we plugged last year and they were delicious!




This hole in the ground that Jason dug with a rented backhoe will become a root cellar.  Given a short growing season of about 190 days, it isn't enough to just grow food, we must also find ways to store it over the winter.  After the root cellar is completed, Jason will be able to stockpile a good supply of root vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots, beets and daikon radish.  Making us less dependant on trucked-in food is one of many steps our neighborhood is taking to make us more self reliant.




Camille liked the patterns Jason created in the red clay with the backhoe shovel and admires the hard work he put into this project.  In our neighborhood, intention is soon followed by action.  It is very rewarding to watch our neighborhood progress from dependency on corporate America towards interdependency within our community.



Camille happened to be in a borrowed truck with an extra pair of hands when she spotted this dresser at the recycle center.  Without hesitation, she loaded it up and took it home.  Bob liked it and suggested we put it in our bedroom where it was soon loaded with all of Cookie's clothes.

Because we live rurally, we haul our trash and recycling to Pittsboro where Chatham County Waste Management has put aside a shed as a "Swap Shop." People leave items that are too good to throw away in and others pick them up for free.  We totally support this innovative recycling method and have been happily swapping books, clothes and furniture these past three years.


"The oil is not gone. This story is not over. We smelled it in the air. We felt it in the water. People along the Gulf Coast are getting sick and sicker. Marshes are burned. Oysters are scarce and shrimp are tainted. Jobs are gone and stress is high. What is now hidden will surface over time." - Terry Tempest Williams from "The Gulf Between Us

"To see one's predicament clearly is a first step toward going beyond it." - Eckhart Tolle

"Most Australians look upon the US with wide-eyed bewilderment. Why do Americans think public healthcare will lead to death panels? How did they ever believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack on the World Trade Centre? What craziness leads so many to believe Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim? Why, over and over again, do they appear to fight against their own best interests?" - Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald

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