Saturday, May 31, 2008

Working on the farm

Part of the deal of getting a farm share at Lindentree Farm is that you have to work 4 hours at some point during the summer. I decided that I wanted to get it done with early, so I headed over this morning and got in on some planting and seeding. Here is a photo of the tons of basil that was planted by our little crew this morning:

It smelled SO good. I can't wait to get some of it in my part of the share! I also helped to plant loads of summer squash. Some of this I did with a trowel and most of it I just dug in with my bare hands. It was so nice to have some great soil to be in. All of this was done under the threat of rain, with thunder booming in the distance. After the planting was finished, I got to seed some lettuce in the greenhouse. Lettuce seeds are very tiny! Each tray has 98 seeds planted in it and we planted 7 trays. So that's a lot of lettuce. And this is the second round of lettuces that are being planted. The "empty" trays in the background are what I was working on.

While we were planting the lettuce the clouds opened up and drenched the farm with a quick downpour. It smelled so good. By the time I was finished, I had a huge blister on my hand (thanks to the trowel). Note all of that good organic dirt on my hands!

Once I got home and showered, I was so exhausted that I ended up taking an hour nap and I'm still feeling a little tired from my morning. But it was totally worth it. It's amazing how you feel so connected to your food when you truly have a hand in helping it grow.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Change is good, right?

Does anyone else feel like things are changing like crazy? Little things, like having a different person make my bagel, and big, big things like finding a new job, possibly finding a new place to live, TURNING 30 IN TWO WEEKS! Yeah, things are changing. Here is just another example: Pazzo Books in Roslindale is moving to West Roxbury. This is a bummer for two reasons: 1.) they won't be around the corner from Murforelli anymore and 2.) they are NOT taking the skee-ball with them. Now I've only played Skee-ball there a few times, but they've all been good. You can see some of the results here and here.

Anyone else feeling like things are changing? Is it just spring? Something in the air? The stars aligning? Let me know...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So long it's been good to know ya, Utah

I was sad to hear of the passing of Utah Phillips this past weekend. He was a national treasure, a singer, songwriter and storyteller. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform at both the Old Town School of Folk Music and Club Passim. At both venues I had the chance to shake his hand, look him in the eye and thank him for an amazing performance. He will be missed.

Here is his obituary from the NY Times, and here is an open letter he wrote on May 14th describing his failing health and still full of humor, passion and wit. Read more about him on his website.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love the long weekend

So much fun crammed into one weekend, I can hardly stand it. On Friday morning I got the inspiration to rent some photo equiptment from Calumet for the long weekend. It's a great deal because for the 1 day rental price I got everything from Friday afternoon until Tuesday morning (they were closed Monday for Memorial Day). So I got a set of studio lights and a 35mm camera with a macro (super close-up) lens. I had a lot of fun playing around with all of it. I shot film all weekend, but once I get the negs scanned I'll post some photos. Lots of fruits and veggies and project I've had in my head involving circles. We'll see what comes of that. Both of my roommates were gone for the weekend, so I wasn't bothering anyone too much. Here's what the dining room looked like all weekend:

On Saturday, Trinity and I headed down to the Hatch Shell for EarthFest and a picnic. It was a beautiful day and there was all kinds of free stuff including plants! I got some herbs and some petunias. After having our picnic and hearing some music we walked over to the Public Garden and Boston Common to see if we could run into the annual Zombie March. On our way through the Garden we got to see some swans and some swan boats:

And after patiently waiting for a little bit, we also got to see some Zombies! It was pretty funny to see all of the tourists and shoppers reactions to the Zombie March. We walked down Newbury Street while they were walking on the other side and so many people made hilarious comments like "I think it's anti-war or something..." and "They totally already did that on Project Runway!" (Disclaimer: I don't know much about Project Runway, but I thought that was pretty funny) The juxtaposition of hoity-toity boutique shoppers, tourists and Zombies was worth the wait.

On Sunday morning I headed out to Rowley, MA for the Todd's Farm flea market. I can't believe I didn't take any photos, but it was a great time. I open at 5am (I didn't get there until about 8am) and it's full of all kinds of interesting folks. I found some good stuff like The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, a cookbook by Mollie Katzen for only $1, a card game called Milles Bornes that I played with Miriam and really enjoyed and they don't seem to make it anymore as far as I can tell. And last but not least I picked up an interesting old (non-functioning) Kodak six-16 camera from the 1930s. The thought was that I'd take it home and photograph it with the macro lens getting all of the details. Sunday was spent taking photos and then Sylvie and Miriam stopped by for a delicious dinner of french bread pizza. It was so good.

Monday started out with a fit of inspiration. I decided that I'd use my early morning to take a bike ride. I thought I'd head out to the Minuteman Trail again and try to go a little further than I did the last time. And yes, I did go further! I made it all the way out to Lexington, which I figured to be about 17 miles round trip. Now, I know this doesn't seem like much to a serious cyclist, (my roommate took a 70 mile ride last weekend) but that very well may be the longest trip I've taken on a bike. And it was super fun. I stopped at one point to swing on a swing set, which I haven't done in ages and on the way home I stopped again at Diesel Cafe in Davis Square for a bagel. It was a great way to start the morning. Once I got home I planted some morning glories and moonflowers along the chainlink fence around our house. Then I took some more photos, cleaned off the porch and got ready for my Memorial Day BBQ.

Trinity, Paul, Amy, Miriam, Sylvie and Amelia all came over and we had quite a spread. Veggie burgers and veggie skewers on the grill, potato salad, salt & vinegar chips, green salad, and brownies for dessert. All that and good conversation, too! It was a perfect night to sit out on the porch and enjoy the evening.

And after everyone left there were still a few photos I wanted to take (of that old camera from the flea market) so I shot those and headed to bed.

Now back to reality, back to work, back to job-hunting. At least it's only a 4-day week. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Farewell Bagel Aubrey!

Well, today marks the end of an era. For as long as I've lived in Cambridge (almost a whole year now) I have been stopping at Darwin's on Cambridge St. on my way in to work at least twice a week to get a bagel (wheat or sesame), toasted and sometimes with veggie cream cheese on the side. The majority of the time, this goofy order has been taken by Aubrey, who even early in the morning always has a smile on her face and something nice to say. Well, today is her last day at Darwin's. She is moving to Canada to go to grad school at McGill. I'm really happy for her, but bummed that I won't have her around to perfectly toast my bagel and ask how things are going. It's tough to find great service with a smile these days, and even tougher to see it move to Canada.

So after giving her a hug over the counter, I went on my way with my perfectly toasted bagel in hand and noticed that the lilacs were turning brown and not smelling as nice, but the irises are starting to bloom. I also saw a little baby robin hopping around among some blooming rhododendrons. Again, nature reminding me that life goes on, things change and everything will be OK.

Hopefully I'll find a new job soon and start my own next adventure, preferably somewhere near a place where I can get a toasted bagel with a smile. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I did it!

Needless to say, I was a little excited to be graduating:

It was a beautiful day, surrounded by family and friends. I couldn't have asked for anything more. Thanks to everyone who has helped me out while I've been in school. Everyone who has listened to paper ideas, procrastinated with me, edited for me, heard too many library-related stories and gave me a polite smile and nod. I couldn't have done it without any of you! YAY!!! Love to all!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jerri!

Jerri, one of my dearest friends, is having a birthday today! I just wanted to let the world know that she's super and I'm so happy she's my friend.

Can you believe it was 8 years ago to the day that we were graduating from SU and celebrating Jerri's birthday and Mother's Day all on the same day? I can hardly believe it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Asparagus and other good things

Today was just a great day! I left work an hour early and decided that it was high time I had a bike rack for my car. That's right, I want to be able to take my bike out and ride places that aren't Cambridge or Boston. In fact, I wanted to do that immediately. I had planned to drive out the farm where I have my farm share to see how asparagus grows and there is a bike path running through their property, so I thought it would be fun to take my bike and see what the path was about. So I bought the bike rack, strapped on my bike and headed out to the farm.

It was such a beautiful afternoon, it was great just to be out in the open air. The drive to the farm is past Walden Pond and makes for a scenic drive. Once I got there, I found Moira (half of the couple that owns the farm) and she pointed out the asparagus patch. I had walked right past it and didn't even notice! I was blown away by the sight of asparagus growing out of the ground. I don't know why this was shocking to me. I grew up with a backyard garden, I have seen things grow from seeds, but asparagus is different. It looks like it's from another planet. It was awesome. I picked a nice handful, took some photos and walked back toward where I was parked. I ran into Moira again and thanked her for letting me take some asparagus and that I was really looking forward to a bountiful summer. As I was getting into my car, she ran into the house and came out with 4 farm fresh eggs and said "Here, so you can have an omelette with your asparagus." I was hesitant to take them because I didn't have anything to put them in, but I know how good farm fresh eggs can be and couldn't pass it up. I nestled them into my jacket which was on the front seat and hoped for the best.

I then drove down the road a little bit and parked at the head of the bike trail, undid my bike and started on the dirt path through the farm. It led to a nice wide path through the woods and by a pond and was just so quiet and peaceful. At one point a huge bird swooped past me overhead and I stopped my bike and looked into a nearby tree only to find a huge owl staring back at me. It was amazing. I don't think I've seen an owl in broad daylight not at a zoo. It was just so cool. I didn't want to spend too much time on my little bike ride because I knew the asparagus and eggs were sitting in my car, so I headed back after just a short little trip. But I'm planning on going back.

On the drive home I got stuck in rush hour traffic and ate two raw asparagus stalks. There were amazingly good. I'm sure it's not as good with grocery store asparagus, but it was sweet and crunchy and delicious. I highly recommend it if you get the chance to pick your own asparagus. Once I got home I looked online for an asparagus recipe and found Linguine with Fried Eggs and Asparagus on Mark Bittman's Bitten blog from the NY Times. I thought that would be a great way to use both the asparagus and the eggs. And I was right! It was so delicious. The asparagus was just lightly sauteed in the garlicy oil and it was out of this world. This makes me so excited for the produce that I'll be getting all summer. It was amazing and I'm happy to say that I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

But wait there's more! Lee, Ann's husband, delivered some leftover cupcakes from Ann's graduation party this past weekend on their adorable Vespa (I am so jealous of their Vespa, someday I'll have one of my very own). But he used the fabulous cupcake carrier that I got Ann for a graduation gift. See how nicely it fits onto the back of the scooter:

The night ended with another short bike ride, tea with a friend and a nice ride home.
You can't ask for much of a better day than that!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fun Sunday: Lilacs and Passim

On Sunday I woke up and decided it was a perfect day for a bike ride. I've been wanting to find the Minuteman Bikeway for a while now and took the chance and wander through Somerville until I came across it. It was a nice meandering bike ride, even though some of it was very uphill, but once I found the bike path it was totally worth it. And now I know a much quicker way to get there. I rode out to Spy Pond in Arlington and then turned around and headed back to Davis Square. I stopped at Diesel Cafe for a bagel with dill havarti and then headed home. It was a great way to start a beautiful day.

Around noon I went out to the Arnold Arboretum for their annual Lilac Sunday celebration. It was a beautiful day, a little bit chilly, but worth it for the Lilacs. I went with Paul and Trinity and we met up with their friends for a wonderful little picnic. This is the only day throughout the year that the Arboretum allows picnics. Here's me and Trinity basking in the sun and the amazing smell of all of those lilacs:

The lilacs came in many shapes, colors, sizes and smells. Here is a white variety:

After a great morning bike ride and afternoon of picnicing and walking through the flowers, I went to Club Passim for the Falcon Ridge Preview Tour. Anthony DaCosta, Joe Crookston, Randall Williams and Lindsay Mac all performed. But I have to say, it was Lindsay Mac who I was most impressed with. She holds her cello and strums it like a guitar. Here is a photo to give you an idea:

All of the performers were strong, and I'm looking forward to the festival this year.

Another fun day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Update on the plant

So here is what the plant has grown into. It's very fragrant, but the blossoms only open for a short time and then kind of shrivel up. Still, pretty amazing for a plant that did nothing for over 3 years.

This is what it looked like a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Denver fun stuff

I found myself in Denver for the Art Libraries Society of North America Annual Conference from May 1-6. It was an excellent conference and a chance to see good friends Ania and Ken. Before the conference officially got underway, Ania picked me up in Denver and we headed to Boulder to have lunch at the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. It is a beautiful building and the food was great.

We also took a little time to check out the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. We missed the factory tour, but we got to taste any tea we wanted. It was fun and I bought some cool brew tea, which I usually have trouble finding in the grocery store.

One afternoon during the conference I took the chance to walk around and see a little bit of Denver. I ended up in the area of the Coors Field while a game was going on. I got there in time for the 7th inning stretch and stayed until the beginning of the 9th.

I ended up standing behind a family of Red Sox fans.

I also ended up walking around and seeing some architecture, and some mountains.

There is a 40 foot blue bear peering into the convention center:

And this is the Denver Art Museum:

On the last night I was there I got to hang out with Ania and Ken again. This time we went into Boulder for dinner at Mountain Sun Brewery. We all had very different beers, mine is the dark one on the left, Nitro Java Porter. It was great. This also happened to be the 8th anniversary of Ania and Ken's relationship. It didn't feel too awkward to celebrate with them, since I've been given credit for introducing them in the first place.

After dinner we took a walk on Pearl Street and wandered into Powell's Sweet Shoppe where I found candy cigarettes and Ken found Big League Chew. We all walked around the mall with huge wads of gum in our mouths trying to make the biggest bubble.

So after a good dinner and fun times hanging out, Ania drove me back to my hotel and I got on the plane this morning and headed back to Boston. This is the view over Western Mass.

Overall it was a great trip, and even though I didn't talk too much about the actual conference here (there wasn't much to take photos of), I learned a lot and met an amazing amount of people who are in this Art Librarian world. One of my favorite speakers was David Silver, the closing Plenary speaker. Here is a link to the blog post he used to present his ideas on literacy. I think it's worth checking out.