Mountain Day.

Today was a holiday I wholeheartedly embrace. There isn’t any run up. No gifts or cards. But the anticipation, well, it’s palpable.

Mountain Day has been celebrated at my alma mater, Smith College, since 1877. One random Autumn day, the president of the college surprises the students; bells toll in the early morning signifying classes are cancelled – on the honor that you will take the day to enjoy the natural world (not catch up on homework). Part of the tradition includes at least one evening of pre-Mountain Day convenening where restless students carol and cajole at the steps of the president’s house, begging (all in good fun; a pantomime) for classes to be cancelled. The residents of Emerson House, the house I lived in all 4 years, have the honor of blasting the 1812 Overture from the balcony into the Quad as early morning revelry (c’mon you know you do that now). We were a rowdy crowd, and embraced the opportunity to purposefully annoy wake up our rival houses. On the sacred day, bagged lunches are provided by the dining halls and you head out to hike an Appalachian ridge, pick crisp apples, explore, inhale the day.

As an alumna, you get an email from the college president letting you know – and we do what we can to celebrate, recall, reflect. I for one, throw myself behind this tradition with vigor. Although much of each of our days is spent out doors, and today it was particularly drizzly and wet, we made a special space to celebrate, just the same. WV and I planted rows of veggies in the drizzle (E slept, wrapped on my back), practiced safe chicken handling (E slept, wrapped on my back), and picked peppers by flashlight, despite the rain, for dinner (E and daddy waited inside, stirring the sauce). It was a beautiful day.

We all need more Mountain Days.

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{this moment}

A Friday ritual: a single photo, unaccompanied by explanation, which captures “a simple, special, extraordinary moment…I want to pause, savor and remember.” ~SouleMama
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If yohttps://walterandlila.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=pageu’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Rad Radish Green Soup.

One of the nicest things about eating seasonally is that you are forced to get creative with what you harvest from the garden. This is how zucchini bread was born, I’m convinced. Boiled/sauteed squash, well, it can get tiring. Over the last week we went from a light chopping of radishes on our salad to all-out radish salad. Enough! W had an idea…soup? Why yes! And did you know, because surely this isn’t recondite only to me: you can eat radish greens! I promise! I did an exhaustive search to make sure I wouldn’t poison us all (and Lynne Rossetto Kasper says it’s ok), as I know you should never eat rhubarb greens, for one. And it seems the jury’s out on carrot greens. But radish greens are delectable.

Anywho, I browsed several recipes and came up with my own version, below (permanent link here)! It has one-pot simplicity, is rather quick to make, fills the kitchen with a scent of “deliciousness” according to husbands walking through the door, and was mighty tasty. I hope you enjoy it too!

20140609_182149 20140609_182735 20140609_193204Ingredients:

2 cups radish leaves
3 radishes
5 medium yellow potatoes
1 medium onion
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup water
6 cups milk
1 chicken Boullion cube
salt, to taste

Directions:

Begin by washing potatoes and radish leaves and bulbs thoroughly. Radish leaves wilt promptly after being cut from the root, so do this just before you want to make the soup, not hours or days before. Peel potatoes and radishes and slice them along with the onions. No need for perfect slicing…everything will be blended in the end! In a large soup pot on medium heat sautee radishes, radish greens, and onions in the butter until they are wilted/translucent. Add potatoes, water, and bullion (truth be told, this is what I use instead of bouillion…it’s organic and awesome), and cover for ~20 minutes, or until potatoes are easily forked. The water should be mostly evaporated. Add milk and stir, deglazing a bit. When it’s all hot again, use an immersion blender to puree all the ingredients (if you do not have this kitchen tool, transfer to a blender and blend). Salt to taste. Serve with crusty home made bread!

This recipe was shared on The Prairie Homestead’s Barn Hop.

St. Paddy’s [Snow] Day

March in VA is pretty unpredictable. The other day, it was a balmy 70 degrees, this morning we awoke to an inch of snow on the ground! But, since we do live in VA and our state isn’t as good as others in handling snow “emergencies,” my work always operates under a delayed opening to give VDOT a little more time to clear the roads. Which is great, since it gives me a few more hours in the morning to do farm chores!

I normally don’t get to feed the chickens in the mornings during the week because they’re “lazy” and don’t come out of the coop until the sun comes up. And if I throw food out to entice them to carpe mane (not sure if that’s a thing or not, but just roll with it) the pigs eat it instead (they know how to carpe mane). So this morning I was able to give the kittens and pigs food and fill up watering apparatuses, come back inside and eat my own breakfast, and then feed the chickens after the sun finally came out. We were also able to get some more seeds started!

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So here’s to small victories, in hopes that spring will be here to stay! Enjoy a shot or two of whisky (as opposed to green beer) in celebration and remembrance of the “saint” (technically was never canonised, but he was still a good dude).

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