Friday, July 31, 2009

A busy summer

It's been too long since I've posted anything, but then, that's the irony of it...once the weather warms up, it's more of a challenge to find the time to spend on the "living in tune with the seasons" blog because the outside is singing so many songs that we need to join in on! Sometimes easier said than done, for sure. Right now, I'm feeling sort of grumpy because the solar oven (a birthday present for Steve's last birthday) is taking so long to cook my pizza. Next time, I'll try to remember to set it up sooner, so the oven has more time to heat up. This is my first solo solar oven experience, and I'm still getting the hang of it. (I've only had to call Steve once, and only knocked the whole thing over once!) It's actually pretty easy once you accept that it's going to take a little longer, and you need to work with the sun and the clouds. And it's good for making candles as well as cooking! These pictures were taken back in May; Steve's melting down candle remnants(which we get off the curb, mostly, or cheap from yard sales), using a baking powder can as a mold (and an old pot for the melting of the candles). I love that creamy vanilla color. We solar-baked chocolate chip cookies for my stepfather Andy's visit in June.

He came and visited us on Father's Day, which was great, as he has his own kids and grandkids back in Omaha, so we felt very honored. He rode here for 8 hours on his motorcycle in 90 degree heat, and he will be 86 in November!

We've had an extraordinarily cool and dry summer (I'm wearing socks and jeans and it's July 31st??), but have gotten some monstrously big shiitakes, anyway:

Even Natasha was SHOCKED!! (Sergei, uncharacteristically, had nothing to say.)

And the chicken girls (l to r, Sara, June and Rose) were more than a little intrigued. (They love shiitakes.)

I have been doing alot of yoga (keeps me happy and healthy) and drove a tractor for the first time when we visited Steve's family down in Illinois for the annual birthday May/June birthday celebrations...

...and Steve started working on the roof again this month. The cupola is not only beautiful, but contains a whole-house fan, which is the next best thing to air conditioning.

This photo is actually from last fall. The cupola is finished now, and The Roofing Crew is focusing on the north side of the roof. (We're getting lots of help from lots of friends.) This will be the hard side, with two chimneys and two skylights, as well as various solar implements (like a hot water heater), but we think the whole thing will be finished before the weather turns cold.

In late June, we took some time off to camp out for a night and see a great evening production of Shakespeare's "Winter's Tale" at American Players Theatre (an outdoor theatre) with friends Joyce, Joan and Ellen, and hung out at an art fair after stuffing our faces at The General Store in Spring Green. No photos from breakfast, sorry, but here we all are on the front porch of TGS:

As fans of Claire's fabulous blog, "Here's What You're Missing" will know, we had a few of Steve's old workmates from North Farm Co-op (a natural foods distributor that went belly up in the early 21st century) for a potluck reunion. The challenge was to bring a dish made from food from North Farm, though lo these many years. We still had some NF dried seaweed, so Steve made a pasta salad with roasted red peppers, and the centerpiece on the table was a heart-shaped bottle of bath oil I got at the NF outlet store. Here, Gary, Alan and Mike try to remember just exactly how many pallets of outdated soy smoothies the employees were allowed to take home every night...

And now for a completely gratuitious food photo! It's a stir fry that we made this spring, with mung bean sprouts, carrots from last year's garden, whole grain rice noodles, but I can't recall now any of the other things that were in it...


Andrea said...

Well, when you finally get around to posting, you certainly make up for lost time. Loved your solar oven tales and the story about your stepfather. Pretty impressive!

And, as a former member of North Farm Cooperative, I think I, too, might be able to come up with a couple of badly out-of-date remains - seaweed for sure. I think I finally threw away my last bottle of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (from the outlet), realizing at last that we weren't going to use it.

Marina and Steve said...

I think we still have one of those bottles of veggie W sauce from NF, too, now that you say that. And we do use it, but for only one or two recipes.

We need more seaweed recipes, friends! Just soak it and put it on pizza?

Vic Robinson said...

Wholly Crap! Look at that wild mushroom! I love it! It is huge! Great!

wingraclaire said...

Wow, did you say he was 86????? Amazing!

That's a seriously big shitaake mushroom. I'll bet it made a few meals!

Marina and Steve said...

Wonder why we get these big mushrooms around here---don't forget the 8 pound puffball! We have yet to eat them. If you don't wash them, we've found they keep for a couple of weeks. Maybe a mushroom and wild rice soup would be in order, though... Steve usually does most of the cooking (I have a pretty small repertoire), and has a huge recipe collection, but I'm trying to do more of it right now since he's working so hard on the roof. Hmmm, I think I'll put some North Farm seaweed in the soup, too.