Posts Tagged With: sustainable agriculture

a little patriotism for the 4th of July

how’s that for independence?

Categories: musings | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

know your food

I already posted this video with my other Red Clay writings last week, but I wanted it to also have its own link here because the message is pretty important to me. If you’ve already watched it, feel free to view again or not. If you haven’t, I would love for you to take a look and tell me what you think:

Click here for image credits.

I’m also sharing  my video with Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday for June 29th.

If you’re as interested as I am in slow food, local/sustainable foods, whole foods, etc., visit their site. I had never seen it until one of my friends from Red Clay mentioned it to me the other day, and I have to say, it’s pretty amazing.

Categories: links, musings | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Red Clay writings + that exciting project I mentioned yesterday

Hey guys.

I’ve mentioned the Red Clay Writing Project a time or two now, and today is our next-to-last day. It’s been a whirlwind, and I haven’t slept or cooked or spent time with Micah nearly enough–but I’m still sad that it is coming to an end.

Like I mentioned before, we’ve pretty much been writing nonstop.  I’ve got a Google Doc now brimming with story starts, scraps of poems, little bits of introspection….and most of that work is unpolished, rough, and completely unsharable.

Other fruits of my Red Clay work are pieces you’ve already seen, like my musings about root vegetables and my ramblings about vision.

Now, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll share a couple more with you.

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The first is a poem inspired by this little scrap of plastic:

Sal L. Russo was my Pappaw, my Mammaw‘s husband and my mom’s dad.
I’ve saved this since I was a little girl.


Stiff, knuckly fingers
took scissors to me one day.
For those fingers,
for the hands and the body
that moved them,
I was the voice that told doctors,
“Yes, you can care for this old man.
He will be paid for.
He is covered.”

Skinny, withering,
wheezing in from plastic tubes,
leaning on a cane clutched tight,
he needed care—
needed me.

In a year, I was replaced
with a copy of myself—
younger, shinier,
not yet thumb-worn at the edges.
Useful, while I was used up.

The old man could have snipped me
into a trash can
like crescents of yellowed fingernail,
silver mustache trimmings,
an expired credit card.

But this old man,
practical as he was,
was also a man of songs.
Aged, bony fingers—
the same ones that wielded the shears—
plucked out melodies on guitars and banjos
as a tiny granddaughter looked on
and listened.

I once was a silent thing in a leather wallet,
only speaking at the pharmacy,
the hospital.
I once was a thing of business.
But now,
I make music.

*   *   *   *   *

The second poem I’m going to share came out of a movement and improv activity that we did in our class last Thursday where one of us would start a scene, the others in the group would join in. It was also inspired by my first date with my husband (six years and three days ago) and our honeymoon in New York City (almost three years ago).

Death-Defying Stunts and Other Human Oddities for Your Amazement.

Remember the fire-eaters,
the knife-jugglers, the sword swallower.
Remember the tattooed lady.
Remember the spectacle, the danger,
the applause of a mesmerized crowd.

Remember the Cyclone,
the old wooden coaster,
rickety click-clacking
up and down
crisscrossed, whitewashed
peaks and valleys.

Remember the Wonder Wheel,
that tilting car on the Wonder Wheel,
sitting with the one
who quickens your heart
and flushes your cheeks,
sneaking a curled pinkie
around his thumb for the first time
and the electricity of one feverish hand
reaching out for another.
You could look across the water,
across the glittering boardwalk lights,
across the popcorn-dusted bustle
of buzzing, bumping bodies,
and see sparkling Manhattan
stretching infinitely before you.

But you don’t.

You are in Brooklyn,
at Coney Island,
on the Wonder Wheel,
surrounded by sideshows and chaotic sweat,
clutching the trembling hand of the man
beside you—
the man who will still thrill you,
still swallow fire for you,
long after
the carnival

*   *   *   *   *

And last, here is the digital literacy project that I created to present to our group this morning and to share with all of you in the blogosphere, too:

The music is a song that our band, Fleet Machine, has been playing together since we formed in 2010. Blake wrote the song long before that, and it’s been performed in many different incarnations in different bands he and Micah have been in together. But this is the version we play, minus the vocals. (If you click the link above, you can hear the song in its entirety.)

The images are Creative Commons-licensed issues from flickr (full image credits here).

And the text, visual effects, and layout/design are all my own.

Thanks for letting me indulge a little.

*   *   *   *   *

Next post: two more recipes for gluten-free goodies. 🙂

Categories: musings | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

project in progress – 6.3.12 – Micah’s home-cured bacon, part 1

in the beginning….

Micah has cured hog jowls to make guanciale many times, always with delicious results.

Once, Micah even butchered a whole pig’s head himself, slicing off two big, beautiful cheeks that yielded about three pounds of bacon, not to mention simmering the rest of the head for hours into several gallons of rich, porky stock…and then scraping the remains together into a loaf of headcheese, which we both discovered we really don’t like, at all.

Did you know that you really should shave or burn the hair off of a pig’s head before you cook with it? Neither did we, until we were faced with that hog’s stubbly mug.

And there’s something really unnerving about seeing a pig’s giant face every time you open the refrigerator.

Now, I’m not squeamish about where meat comes from, or, at least, where this meat came from. It didn’t bother me that our hog jowl bacon once had a face (in fact, was a face), because I know that this particular pig lived in squishy mud and green pastures before he so graciously gave his life up for us. No nasty feedlot, no cramped pen full of sewage, no yucky chemicals or drugs. He was surely as happy as a farm pig could be.

I’m not going to argue that any animal deserves to die, and I’m not going to evangelize about the marvels of meat to my vegetarian and vegan friends. All of us must make choices we are comfortable with. I am comfortable with eating animals if they have been treated humanely, respected, honored for what they provide us.

This pig, unlike any other pig I’ve eaten, ever, had a face that I got to see, had features I can still picture. He was scraggly with coarse, short hair. His ears curled and flopped just a tad, right where they came to a point. His snout looked perfectly suited for rooting, and proud of it, too. He smirked. His eyes were closed, but his tongue stuck out of his mouth just a little. What a joker.

As much as we enjoyed the guanciale and the stock, Micah declared he’d never buy another pig’s head after that.

Until a week or two ago.

“You know what we oughtta get?” he inquired, in the midst of a conversation about how we have too much food in our freezer. “Another pig head.”

I’ll let Micah handle that on his own if he wants, and of course I’ll be happy to help him enjoy the fruits of his labors.

Except the headcheese. Unless maybe we find another, better recipe…

In any case, we don’t have room in our fridge right now to store a whole pig head or to cure a pair of hog jowls.


Because Micah is already busy curing a pork belly to make regular old bacon. Of course, given the gorgeousness of this slab of meat (from our friends at Moonshine), not to mention the generous heaping of fresh rosemary from a friend’s garden, I feel pretty confident that this bacon will be anything but ordinary.

Micah’s been reading up on the process, including how to cold-smoke the meat after it cures, and I’ll share links to his resources plus more photos of the progress very soon.

Also, this means you can certainly expect to see some recipes featuring this lovely bacon once it matures.

Categories: links, musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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