Love What You Love: 2

Posted in mothering/mother's circle on May 26th, 2014 by adrie — 6 Comments



Didn’t I do a post once about allowing ourselves to love what we love, to accept the ups and downs of our own energy and passions? I should really listen to myself more often.
I feel like I’m entering another level of this idea these days. It’s funny how sometimes we are so good at tricking ourselves, into thinking we don’t like something (or we do). It’s funny how every time I don’t have the energy/inspiration for housework, or cooking, or whatever, I start to immediately panic and try to buckle down, like Oh no, I’ll never want to do laundry again so I’d better just force myself to slog through it. And then a few days later, I’m happily loading the washer, humming.

If only I had let myself take a few days off from what I “had to do”, and saved a lot of struggle and frustration. As usual, I’m finding myself most out of sorts these days when I’m asking myself to do more than I can in a given situation, and then really overwhelmed by how much I’m asking myself to do. Perhaps I can start to ease up on myself.

May 23

Posted in Family, Farming, poetry on May 23rd, 2014 by adrie — Comment


Next Time

by William Stafford

Next time what I’d do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I’d stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I’d watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I’d know more — the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.




hopstrellis  hopsplants

It’s been a good week, and a hard week.  Looking back over photos and reflecting, I think there’s been a lot of growing happening, and growth can hurt.  Just ask our almost-7 child, who has lots of growing pains, tooth pains, fears and anxiety, etc.  On the farm, we planted strawberries into our cardboard mulch in front of the hoophouse.  We finished putting up the trellising for Ben’s hops plants (we screwed a board waaaay up high on the house, with hooks on it and ran twine up and back down).  We picked a lot of rocks, which is probably the most frequent springtime farm chore around here.  We started shooting a video about making wholegrain sourdough bread (exciting!).  And we settled back into home after being away.  I’m still on my yoga mat every day (I practice while the kids are eating their breakfast, and then I eat mine).  Tomorrow is the farmer’s market, and a little carnival is set up on the town commons – the kids are beside themselves with excitement.  I’ve always avoided it, but it looks like this is the year we’ll go, and you know what?  I’m kinda excited to try the bungee-trampoline jumping gizmo.  I think some jumps and flips would do me good.  After all, the children aren’t the only ones growing.

Blessings on your weekend.

P.S.  The kids keep stealing my camera to take photos – one of them caught this rainbow in front of our blossoming cherry tree!


Coming Home

Posted in Family, mothering/mother's circle on May 20th, 2014 by adrie — 2 Comments


I had two different home comings this month.

First, we went to Charleston, SC to visit my mother in the house where I spent the latter half of my childhood.  We got very lucky in Charleston, and were able to spend almost every day on Folly Beach. (Our one rainy day was spent at the Aquarium, which was amazing.). The children had so much fun playing in the sand, and Ella turned out to be a natural at body surfing.  I ate shrimp at almost every meal. A lot had changed, and so many things were the same – the smell of the pluff mud in the marsh, the same feeling of sand and staying out in the sun too long.

Over the winter, I hurt my sacrum (jogging – note to self: jogging is not for you), so for many months I couldn’t do much yoga at all. Many of the poses that are staples in my practice, even “easy” poses like Downward Dog or Child’s Pose, aggravated my injury so I had to avoid them. I did this back healing sequence dozens of times, but that was about it.
But in the last few weeks, I have finally healed and started to slowly, cautiously, try out poses that I have done for months. As part of a desire to feel better overall, I’ve renewed my daily practice (yes, I even took my yoga mat on our trip). I felt very creaky and stiff at first, but after about 10 days of solid daily practice I am starting to feel the beautiful flow of it again. I’m excited to try some poses I’ve never done before, including learning headstand at last, so I can play like this.
Blessings on your week, friends.  (By the way, if you’re a mother, or you might be someday, please take a few moments to see this – real photos of real mothers.  So beautiful and inspiring!)

Books for First Grade & Some Knitting

Posted in homeschooling, Knitting on May 14th, 2014 by adrie — 2 Comments

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(Joining Ginny for Yarn Along, sharing knitting and reading.) I’ve almost finished this Rapunzel hat for Ella – a great pattern. Super simple, looks way harder than it actually is, and knits up crazy fast because the yarn is so thick. Ben and I have been reading Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City together, and it’s totally fascinating. No, it’s not just about marijuana and prostitution. Amsterdam, it turns out, has been at the center of pretty much everything that shapes the modern world, from the fall of the Catholic/Roman empire, the East India Trading Company, the world’s first stock market, and more. Really well done and a serious amount of history, from an angle I’ve never considered before.
I thought I’d share a little list of some of the books Ella and I have most enjoyed reading together this year (we’re doing first grade at home). We’re not strictly Waldorf, but I do find the Waldorf Student Reading List to be a great guide for age-appropriateness.  Here are the ones we read & loved the most & please feel free to share your recommendations, too!

The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook
More Milly-Molly-Mandy (Storybook classics)
The Book of Fairy Princes
The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly
The Festival of Stones: Autumn and Winter Tales of Tiptoes Lightly
A Donsy of Gnomes, 7 Gentle Gnome Stories
Grandmothers’ Stories: Wise Woman Tales from Many Cultures

The Numbers

Posted in poetry on May 10th, 2014 by adrie — 4 Comments

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The Numbers
by Kim Addonizio

How many nights have I lain here like this, feverish with plans,
with fears, with the last sentence someone spoke, still trying to finish
a conversation already over? How many nights were wasted
in not sleeping, how many in sleep—I don’t know
how many hungers there are, how much radiance or salt, how many times
the world breaks apart, disintegrates to nothing and starts up again
in the course of an ordinary hour. I don’t know how God can bear
seeing everything at once: the falling bodies, the monuments and burnings,
the lovers pacing the floors of how many locked hearts. I want to close
my eyes and find a quiet field in fog, a few sheep moving toward a fence.
I want to count them, I want them to end. I don’t want to wonder
how many people are sitting in restaurants about to close down,
which of them will wander the sidewalks all night
while the pies revolve in the refrigerated dark. How many days
are left of my life, how much does it matter if I manage to say
one true thing about it—how often have I tried, how often
failed and fallen into depression? The field is wet, each grassblade
gleaming with its own particularity, even here, so that I can’t help
asking again, the white sky filling with footprints, bricks,
with mutterings over rosaries, with hands that pass over flames
before covering the eyes. I’m tired, I want to rest now.
I want to kiss the body of my lover, the one mouth, the simple name
without a shadow. Let me go. How many prayers
are there tonight, how many of us must stay awake and listen?

* * *

(I’m also the featured poet in a local paper today – you can read it online here:

Planting Seeds & Planning the Forest Garden

Posted in Farming, Uncategorized on May 8th, 2014 by adrie — Comment


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Today was a good day to plant seeds.  I direct-seeded beets, collards, salsify (a first time for us), and planted some Black Jade corn in pots in the hoophouse to keep the crows off it.  I transplanted some beautiful lettuces and salad greens from their soil blocks into the soil in our hoophouse.  The last batch we transplanted got immediately killed by single-digit overnight temps (weeks ago), but this batch should be just fine.  Most greens like cool weather, so they’re the first plants we get going.  And it’s so luscious to have fresh greens after so many months of root veggies.  (To see a full planting schedule we use, check out this old post.)

I don’t know how well you can see it in the photos, but we laid down boards in the walkways this year.  No more weeding the pathways, woo!  Yes, they will eventually degrade, and we’ll replace them.  We also laid down cardboard outside the hoophouse, above the stone wall, and covered it with compost.  We’ll put strawberry plants there – so exciting.

Our tomato seedlings are getting bigger, but they’ll have to wait for the first week of June, which is also when we’ll plant our corn and beans outside, after all danger of overnight frosts have passed.  I finally finished my plan for our front yard forest garden/orchard, so I’m excited to share that with you soon.  We’ll definitely be adding more plants, especially encouraging some wild edibles (aka plants that grow super well without needing any tending!), but hopefully this year we’ll get at least a few trees in the ground.

Blessings on your weekend, friends.

Wild Edibles

Posted in Family, Food, homeschooling on May 4th, 2014 by adrie — 4 Comments


(trout lily)






(fiddlehead ferns)


(garlic mustard)

This weekend, we were thrilled to go on a Wild Edibles walk with some local folks. We have a “Fresh & Feral” share with Acorn Kitchen, and part of the share is a monthly wild edibles walk – showing us plants, tasting, talking about how to harvest and prepare them. Ben has spent a few years learning about mushroom foraging, and we’ve both been wanting to learn about more wild foods. Now that we, um, have more flexible schedules, we can actually do it! Children were welcome to join the walks, and that was one thing I was most thrilled about – personally, I think this might be one of the best skills I can teach my children.
On Saturday, we saw Garlic Mustard, dandelion (brought over by European settlers as a highly valuable plant!), clover, nettles, ramps (wild onion), trout lily, Japanese knotweed, cattails, fiddlehead ferns, and bloodroot (not for eating, but a powerful medicinal). Some of these I knew, but didn’t know all the uses for, some of them I had eaten, and some I knew nothing about. I’d never heard of trout lily but it was exceptionally delicious (flowers and leaves), with a crisp, sweet cucumber flavor. Japanese knotweed is most often talked about around here as a pesky invasive, so it was really amazing to taste it (Gabriel ate at least 4 huge pieces), and to learn that its roots make a powerful tincture for Lyme disease.
We’re totally hooked – I’ve ordered lots of wild edible books and added some to our store and we’re really excited to eat more, learn more, and encourage more to grow in our own yard.

In other news this week, I spent a lot of time cleaning out our fridge, pantry, and deep freezer. Our well got contaminated by E Coli last summer, and we’re still in the process of getting it clean. I realized that all of my canning and frozen goods from last summer/fall are potentially infected, so into the compost they all had to go. A wicked bummer, but at least we won’t starve without that food, so it could be much worse.
We’re getting ready to go visit my mom in Charleston soon – I haven’t been home in over five years, and I’m really excited to eat shrimp and smell pluff mud.  I am mildly terrified that my children will throw temper tantrums mid-flight.  Cross your fingers for me.
Blessings on your week, friends.

P.S.  If you’re on Instagram, let’s connect!  I’m adrielester.

Wraps Around the World – A Dinner Journey

Posted in Cooking, Food, Grain CSA, menus, recipes on May 1st, 2014 by adrie — 3 Comments

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As we started putting together our dinner menu this week, we noticed that we had sushi and crepes and eggrolls – all wraps. Ben suggested  we continue the theme, and so, we have a global food journey this week, wraps around the world.

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Monday: Homemade Sushi. (Ben is usually the sushi master in our house. Years ago, we always sat at the sushi bar so we could study their techniques. We usually make mostly vegetarian rolls, like cucumber or avocado, some with egg, Ben’s famous bacon and egg roll, and we use a single piece of salmon from Vital Choice to make several rolls – a great way to make a very fancy piece of fish stretch to feed four people.  He added orange zest to one of the rolls and it was super delicious.)

Tuesday: Buckwheat & freshly milled wheat Crepes with sauteed leeks, wild ramps, gruyere, and shiitake mushrooms. We also made some with cinnamon apples.

Wednesday: Homemade Lavash and homemade falafel, with cashew cream sauce, cucumber, spinach, tahini sauce.  Salad on the side.  (Recipe notes:  We baked the lavash gently, so it was soft enough to use as a wrap, not crispy crackers like the recipe suggests.  We used freshly milled Frederick wheat from our grain share.)  I’d actually never eaten decent falafel before, so this was a fabulous revelation to me, and we’re definitely making this dinner again.

Thursday:  Homemade Egg Rolls & either Hot & Sour Soup or Miso Soup.  When I was a kid, my parents would make a huge batch of egg rolls about once a year, deep fry them all, and freeze a bunch to be retoasted later.  I haven’t made them in a looong time, so I’m really excited about this one.

Friday:  Corn Tortilla Enchiladas with shredded chicken, red sauce, caramelized onions, and spinach.  Salad on the side.

Saturday:  Gyros.  Homemade pita bread (same recipe as the lavash, but rolled thicker so they puff up in the middle), ground lamb, cucumber-yogurt sauce, arugula, onions.

Sunday:  Tex-Mex Burritos.  Homemade tortillas, black beans, guacamole, salsa, cheese, scallions, bell pepper.  Salad on the side.

Blessings on your week, friends.  What’s cooking in your kitchen?  Any wraps you love that should’ve made our list?

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – For A Rainy Day

Posted in Baking, Food, recipes on April 27th, 2014 by adrie — 3 Comments

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It was a rainy Saturday.  Cold and rainy.  After such a bitter winter, a cold rainy day in late April is a bit hard to take.  We made it to the farmer’s market this morning, and got some gorgeous spinach and arugula, but after chicken soup for lunch, I thought we all deserved a treat.  We’ve been reading Tea Party Rules, and so Gabriel keeps asking for cookies.  We used to make these at the cafe years ago, and it was time to taste them again.

Today, I made them with freshly ground Frederick wheat from last year’s grain share, and a little bit of freshly ground barley from the year before.  Can you see how golden the berries and flour are?  If you don’t have freshly ground grains, your cookies will still be yummy, don’t worry, just not quite as spectacular.  If you have a toddler on hand to “help” by trying to eat all the butter and sugar, may the baking gods be with you.

Baker’s Note:  Yes, this recipe is in grams.  Don’t be afraid, be happy!  This is the easiest and most useful baking tip I can ever give you.  Ready?  Professionals. Weigh. Everything.  If you want to make the same batch more than once, learn to love your scale.  If you don’t have a scale, a very reasonable home-sized digital one can be purchased through our Amazon store right here (fulfillment by Amazon, we make a small percentage which helps support us – thank you!).

Now let’s make some cookies.  I suggest freezing half your dough, so you can make more cookies another rainy day.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for a Rainy Day

 Butter, softened        260 grams

Sugar       450 grams

Eggs       87 grams

Vanilla Extract        3 grams

Whole Grain Flour (I used mostly Frederick wheat and some barley)     348 grams

Baking soda      8 grams

Salt    4 grams

Chocolate Chips      255 grams

Peanut Butter       255 grams

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Weigh out ingredients.  Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir to make sure the salt & baking soda are distributed.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter until soft and fluffy (about 1 minute).  Add sugar, and beat about 30 secs, until very fluffy and smoothly mixed together.

With the mixer running on low-med speed, slowly add in the eggs, and mix until combined.

Turn off your mixer, and add in all of your flour mixture.  Turn on the mixer slowly (or you’ll end up with a face full of flour!), and mix just until combined – overmixing will make your cookies tough.

Add chocolate chips and peanut butter, and mix on low speed just until combined.

Drop by the heaping spoonful onto a baking sheet, and press down very lightly so they’re not mounded.  Bake 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden all over.


(c) Adrie Lester & Farm Feast CSA – feel free to make and enjoy these cookies, but you can’t publish this recipe your own.  Thanks!

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In the Kitchen

Posted in Cooking, Family, Food, menus, mothering/mother's circle on April 21st, 2014 by adrie — 5 Comments







First: the wonderful Tonia is hosting a giveaway of my poetry book The Salt - hop on over to her blog to enter for a chance to win :)


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Our cafe & bakery officially closed its doors last week.  We celebrated this new stage of life (focusing on our grain CSA and expanding into more innovative farm shares, videos, etc) with a trip to see family and a bag of 50 raw oysters fresh out of the ocean, and came home to a freshly painted light blue front room.  I highly recommend that.

At home, we’re so blessed to be spending our days all together.  Cooking (of course), playing, gardening and working outside, visioning the years to come, and yes, heading inside to the office sometimes to share photos, answer emails, talk to farmers and vendors, work on paperwork and tying up loose ends.  It’s been a turbulent few months,  and our daughter is particularly sensitive to that, so I’m focusing on giving her lots and lots of healing time outside.  Right now, she mostly pretends to be a superhero, and sings long ballads about her adventures, while climbing around on the rocks and fallen trees.

In the kitchen, oh, we’ve been having fun.  Cooking for ourselves is very different than cooking for customers.  Ben made his genius bacon & eggs sushi for us again.  I’ve been eating salads for breakfast (and lunch) the past few months, and I really love it.  Greens, vinaigrette, saurkraut, lots of seeds and sometimes fruit, and an over-easy egg on top.

Last week’s menu was delicious, even though I never got around to the doughnuts.  I liked the buddha bowl so much I proposed one for lunch the next day (no one else was quite so enthralled, lol).  Here’s what I have planned this week (photos from this evening’s dinner, the first grilling of the spring!)

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Grilled Mackerel, Onions, & Honey Dill Beets

Homemade Veggie Burgers and Salad with Walnuts, Blue Cheese, and Sunflower seeds

Roast Chicken or Fish and Potato Sorrel Gratin (from Lulu’s Provencal Kitchen, one of my favorite cookbooks ever)

Lentil Salad with parsley, sundried tomatoes, and onions & Swiss Chard with Cashew Cream

Beef Short Ribs (probably asian flavorings) and roasted veggies

Homemade Gorditas from local corn, black beans, salsa, sweet potato fries

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Soup – I’m using the recipe from the excellent Ladled)

Another meal in a bowl, this time with hummus :)

Blessings on your week friends.  May you, too, enjoy the pleasure of food eaten with family or friends, the sunshine on your skin, the fresh grass and plants bursting up all around us.