Early Summer Garden

imageSo here is the garden at the end of June. I just learned how to use my panoramic feature on my iphone camera.

imageWe have been eating lettuce for the last couple of months, spinach is all done and in the freezer. Now we are eating the thinnings of Swiss chard, Asian greens, and baby beet greens. Nothing better than a stir fry of mixed greens in olive oil and garlic scapes topped with a fried egg.

imageOf course there is always some timely garden chore that must be done. This time it was the garlic scapes to be cut so there will be lovely heads of garlic to dig up at the end of the month. So I made a delicious garlic scape pesto for the freezer with still lots of scapes to share. This recipe just about fills two ice cube trays.

Garlic Scape Pesto

large handful of basil and Italian parsley

2 cups of chopped garlic scapes

1/4 cup pignolis

good squeeze of fresh lemon

1 cup of olive oil 

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put first 4 ingredients  into the food processor, adding the olive oil as it is processing. Add the parmesan at the end. Some say to leave the cheese out for freezing, but I never do and always have had good results. Serve over pasta with more cheese and toasted pignolis.

This is an unusual year for us, because just as everything is bursting and blooming with the long days and warm sun, we are leaving for two weeks. I have no idea what everything will look like when we return. In anticipation, I have planted more greens and beans and there is still plenty of time to plant to again. But I won’t worry about any of this while we are dining in Paris tomorrow night.

Homespun Mom Book Cover

When I was given this assignment, not only was the essay so inspiring and full of imagery…it also hit a little close to home. I am including just a small excerpt.

In pursuit of our self-sufficiency, I didn’t realize that I had actually become a type. Even if we’ve never met, you know me. I am part of a new cadre of women – the Über-Moms. We are the over-educated over-achievers, sidestepping the conventional rat race in favor of an alternative maelstrom. In school we were taught that our careers could be our lives, and instead, we’ve opted to make our lives our careers. You can see us every week at your farmers’ market. When consumers cried out for “food with a face,” we stepped forward and offered you our sun-kissed complexions, breast-fed babies and homegrown products. We nourish our families on grassfed meats, homemade kefir, raw farmers’ cheese and yogurt; we knit sweaters, sew quilts and hand stitch Halloween costumes; we gather eggs, milk the family cow, weed the vegetable patch and eviscerate chickens with our babies strapped to our backs; we compost everything from dinner scraps to organic diapers to placentas. Our children are home-birthed, unvaccinated and home-schooled. We forbid white flour, white sugar, television, Disney films and plastic toys. We bake wholesome cookies and make believe they taste delicious. We sit on panels at farmer-chef dinners, host workshops and write newsletter articles. We claim to know nothing about cell phones, blackberries or iPods, but we have websites and PowerPoint presentations featuring idyllic pictures of our children bottle feeding lambs or nuzzling chicks. We blog. 

And when you approach us at the weekly market, we offer to sell you our eggs, homegrown tomatoes, or a grassfed steak or freshly processed chicken. But really, we are selling you more than that. We are selling you our lifestyle. “Buy from me,” it feels as though we’re saying, “Because I represent your values.”

But what I really feel like saying is “Buy from me, because I want to pick up a bottle of gin on the way home.” Somehow, on our paths toward this noble life, one more group of girls has fallen prey to another impossible feminine ideal. And I, for one, am crumbling under the pressure of Über-Momming. Our gardens are a mess, my kids are throwing up on the way to the market, my fingers ache from milking the cow, we’re running out of homemade soap, and attachment parenting is causing my back to ache. The cat has made a bed in my unfinished knitting, the firewood pile’s getting rained on, and despite our best efforts, our four-year-old still longs to be a Disney Princess. 

Shannon’s website is http://www.grassfedcooking.com/

Some wonderful snippets from Publisher’s Weekly!

Our first official review!

image

Cat in the City

So here is what I have been doing the past year and it is at the printers right now—ready for publication this fall! Below are the final proofs of the jacket, front and back.

imageThis has been a true work of love, from a seed of an article sent to me more than a few years ago—which then inspired me to send it to Julie, who I knew would create a world full of wonder. That’s how our cat, Pretty Boy came to life.image

These are the endpapers.

Here’s our page in the catalogue. I hope we will be signing books in your neighborhood!
image

Here is the Amazon site where you can pre-order your very own copy. Be sure to put this on your Christmas list!

image



Guess what our next book is about? Dogs! Of course.

Snow to Spring

imageIn April it seemed like the snow was going to last forever, but then the sun grew warmer and the days a little longer. For the first time in months the cold frame was visible and things were beginning to grow.imageWith Spring comes Merle. He is a master pruner and at 80, he may stand as crooked as our old trees, but nearly a dozen trees were perfectly pruned by mid afternoon. imageFinally the snow melted and little sprouts of greens from my planting last fall popped up—arugula, Asian greens, and spring lettuce. I placed a protective hoop over it to keep the soil warm enough that everything would begin to grow again. Good thing it was covered, because the snow kept coming. A month later and we are salad ready!imageSince the end of April, the cold frame has been full of spinach and lettuce. I planted lots of spinach in the garden last fall and now that is also ready to harvest.imageIn the meantime, all the rest of the vegetables and flowers have been given a head start indoors. On warm days they get to go outside and bask in the sun. Next week everything goes in the ground! Fingers crossed that there will be no more frost. imageHere comes the color!

Elmer

imageBefore I get to the business of catching up on both garden and work news, I thought I would post my painting of Elmer. It seemed fitting as I seem to be drawing mostly animals these days—having just finished a wonderful story about a remarkable cat and soon to begin a story about a remarkable family of dogs. Elmer belongs to my friend Judy who was just here visiting Frajil Farms. Judy rescued Elmer many years ago. He is so devoted to her that when they moved from their house to a condominium on the ninth floor, Elmer managed not only to open the door, but to also operate the elevator in pursuit of Judy. They finally had to replace the doorhandle with a knob that required actual thumbs to operate.

This was done for Judy’s birthday and the little frame is from my favorite store in Peterborough, New Hampshire called Bowerbird.

In time for Passover!

imageI will be at the Toadstool Bookshop on Sunday APRIL 6th, 2-4pm to sign my new book, The Story of Passover. Please come and say hello!

See my previous blog entry to get a peak inside 

http://frajilfarms.tumblr.com/post/56882996528/picture-this-at-danforth-art

I also would like to thank the Amherst Public Library for inviting me to participate in the library’s “Celebration of the Books & All Its Lives” exhibition. The exhibition is on display until March 28th.

Happy Valentine’s Day

image

Recycled hearts.

And again!

imageThe endless winter—BUT the good thing about February 13th is that it’s Frank’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Poppy!

image

Happy Groundhog Day!

imageJust found this card I did in 2004 and here it is Groundhog Day. It is not your imagination if you have seen it before. Sadly there is no German Shepherd lurking in the background because our sweet old Sophie had just passed away. But Bart is measuring Frank’s shadow while Butch finishes up the snowman. Gracie was delivering hot drinks. Funny how these cards that I have illustrated over the years tell the story of the comings and going at Frajil Farms.