seeds and snow and such

I dug in the dirt last Sunday. Bug fell asleep on the way home from our ski trip and I scooped her out of the car, still in her full-body puffball suit, and placed her in her crib, walked around the corner, out the back door and into my garden. I was still in my long underwear, nearly-dreaded hair under a cute hat. I didn't want to waste a minute.

It was warm on our backcountry trip, but clearly warmer in Missoula. As we pulled back into town I saw people with exposed skin, upright shovels and cats outstretched on the matted brown grass. I am actually a bit behind as I usually like to have my peas, greens and radish in the ground a few weeks ago. But, oh, life is busy.

I hacked at that earth. My first thought was, wow my soil is loamy luscious. My second thought was where the hell are the worms? Not many worms. Hopefully goat poo and compost will help. It's also still kinda cold in there so maybe they are on a siesta way down deep.

Nary a garlic can be seen which bums me right out. I feel like I should see garlic, right?

And, I ordered my seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. I ordered with a bunch of pals which save cash money and resources used in shipping. I highly recommend it. I am taking a different approach to my seed selection this year: Instead seeking variety, I chose prolific producers, one kind and ordered lots of it. I am going for high quality varieties that throw down some roots and put on some fruit. I am certain I will be wooed by some exotic tomato or pepper at the farmer's market this spring, but, for now this will feed my family this summer:

Detroit Dark Red Beets
Danvers Carrots
Gourmet Lettuce Mix
Cortland F1 Hybrid Onion
Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Pea
King of the North Bell Pepper
Magnum Orange Habanero Pepper
Renegade F1 Hybrid Spinach
Burgess Buttercup Squash
Purple Top White Globe Turnip
Sweet Basil
Crimson Sprinter Tomato
Cosmonaut Volkov Tomato
Pruden's Purple Tomato

And, not from High Mowing:
Mediterranean Arugula
Chesnok Red Garlic

My strawberries, rhubarb, oregano, parsley, thyme and chives are well-established and will produce a lot this year. Also plan to snag some raspberry bushes.

By the time March rolls in, I have forgotten what produce from my backyard tastes like and I feel frumpy, full of winter beer and potatoes. March is kindof an asshole. March gives hope and then steals it away just as quickly as it was given. I am so so ready for sun-warmed skin and feel like I will have it soon and then, after temperatures in the 60s last weekend, it snowed last night and was 15 degrees this morning. It's a schizophrenic month and I don't trust it. And, I married a pisces. I live on the *edge*.

In March, the dog poo thaws.

But April starts just next week and I will begin April in northern California where things like lemons and nasturtium are perennials and land on easter in Portland where the bulbs will be in bloom. Maybe I'll even have some cute little garlic green when I get home. Yes, a real vacation that is more than a long weekend. My first one since before my bug emerged. For a best friend's wedding in California and just hanging about in Portland with family and friends. Art, wine, gab, runs, ocean. Most likely no blogging but I promise an epic post upon my return.

:: :: ::

And, sorry I am late here.
The winner is Tammi Salas (congrats!) who says these two things are rocking her world:

1. My mobile library and my fancy new library card; and 2. Mustard fields growing like mad in Sonoma County. Beautiful oceans of yellow & green as far as the eye can see down Highway One. Need a family photo smack dab in the middle of the field before it all disappears.


hello spring

Well, look what I woke to this morning. Sweet little nugget of bliss.

The air smells of sage and then hens are each laying one perfect egg a day. Bulbs and tubers are yawning up through the blanket of pine cones and leaves. Flip flops? Won't be long. happy equinox.

ps Don't forget to register for the giveaway; winner announced on Monday.


two :: synergy

Two years documenting thoughts with words and photos at dig this chick. This medium just keeps revealing more opportunity and, well, has become so so important to me.

Things grow and evolve with purpose when I pay attention.

And I find myself two years after my first, shy post about starting a running and gardening journal. Initially, I was wading cautiously into the blog river as if it was the first dip of the summer--on my tip toes, holding belly in, not wanting to have the cold water take my breathe away. But, of course, I was intentionally in the water and couldn't wait for it to take my breathe away. So, eventually, I dove in, head-first, and was overwhelmed by the current and naked energy that propelled me from then on.

I find that I think differently now that I write more deliberately. I notice more. I notice the beautiful, raw, I-am-alive moments with sharp attention. I fully inhale a bare bug foot on the bed, a quiet dinner with my man, an embarrassing encounter in the woods, falling on my face while shoe shopping, vegetable personalities because I am more present in love and humor and humiliation.

I am more spongey to life's adventures and details. And it is all so synergistic.

So, of course, a giveaway. Because everyone loves free stuff! But, not just a giveaway. Also, a special deal. The scoop: Leave a comment listing two or more things that are rocking your world right now. I'll pick a winner on Monday, March 23, when I get back from a little ski adventure with pals down the Bitterroot, who will receive a set of dig postcards. AND, for the next week, a sale on dig postcards. $10 for one set or $16 for two sets. Thanks for the orders I have received! Here are a few comments from purchasers (in case you are dying to purchase postcards yet remain on the fence):

The postcards are beautiful! They arrived very quickly, even across several time zones. Thank you!

Too nice to put away - displaying on my kitchen bulletin board until I use the postcards - love these!

The postcards are so much more beauteous in your hand than they could ever be in a photo. I received a set for my birthday and was really blown away by the texture, color and weight of the images. What a marvelous present! The only trouble is that I don't want to send any of them away!

:: :: ::

So, in two years, I have grown to just plain adore this forum and all you readers out there. Thanks for riding along with me. *wonder what's next*

xo, dig


more stuff made from stuff

I am all about the *belt-tightening* phenom on our little homestead. Whether using left-over rice and sausage and some canned beans to make epic soup or cutting up ill-fitting knit shirts to make my kid's wardrobe. Heyo, I dig it.

First, the soup. Super easy and super tasty.

Black Bean Soup :: serves six

olive oil
one onion
four cans black beans
one can diced tomatoes
1 lb pork sausage
two cups of cooked rice
dried mustard
whole milk plain yogurt

Heat the oil over high, add onion and cook until transparent. Toss in all canned items (don't drain liquid). Bring to boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook up the sausage in a separate pan and then add to soup. Add a can or two of water. Season to your heart's desire. Serve with sliced avocado and a generous dollop of yogurt. We ate it with the seedy bread that has become our staple.

It seriously takes 1/2 hour to make which I am all about these days because by the time I land in my kitchen after a full day of work, well, for the most part, I'd rather sit and gab with my man and smooch on my kid and roll around with my dog than hover around appliances.

:: :: ::

And then, the killer pants and skirts made from wonky t shirts.

For these pants. I followed the same basic steps as the sweater pants, but, instead of adding elastic, I cut a two-inch strip of t shirt and made a drawstring. This is especially simple because of the no-need-for-sewing-button-holes aspect of knit fabric. Just a snip snip and voila.

I wish I had a before picture of the purple shirt before when it was a a designer, high quality cotton t but awful fit for me: high, restrictive neck and super tight. Then, awful lady shirt becomes cutest bug pants.

And, this pink v neck was cute and all but the print is not centered and it always bugged me in a bad way. Like, it distracted me. I regularly found myself pulling the shirt to the right, hoping that one day it would magically line up. I am fairly certain I walked crooked on the days I wore it. You can tell by the wrinkles it has been in a wad in the recesses of a drawer for many moons.

Icky, pitted-out pink tank now a dress. It still needs some finessing in the frontal area but, cute, no? I sewed a wee pocket on the chest that you'd be able to see if my chicken didn't move like lightening.

And, too-short, too-boxy sweater is now my new favorite skirt. Finished with felted wool circles. This is what I stay up until 1am doing when I should be sleeping. The skirt is entirely too big for bug and entirely too small for me, so, for now, it only exists here.

I have discovered that this is my sewing bag. I adore the repurposing of old, gnarliness into new darlingness. I mean, I also love making stuff with beautiful, crisp, brand spankin' fabric, but the creative challenge and subsequent satisfaction that comes with making new, cute stuff out of old, ratty stuff is just heaven. Perhaps I have finally found my religion. Or, at least, I almost feel like I am making art again.

Also, I wrote a little diddy for Today's Mama answering the question, What kind of women inspire you? Click here to read my 150-word answer.

And, welcome to my new sponsor: High Mowing Organic Seeds. These seeds were a staple in my plot last year and they rock.

And, whew, tomorrow, I am off to ski and hang without somewhere-else-to-be for the duration of the week in Utah. Which I so need. So, I wish you all a great week out there.


embracing hippie

In between high heels and lipstick, I have always held a whole lot of hippie close to my heart. I tried to carry full-on hippie style in high school but it just didn't pan out for me. I sewed funky patchwork clothes, saw the Grateful Dead and wore weird combinations of homespun necklaces. I donned birkenstocks at the bottom of unshaved legs. And then, at the mature age of 16, I realized that I could bear-hug my tree-hugging instincts and hold onto my own style. Whew.

So I enjoy well-tailored clothes and beautiful shoes but I am so quick to let my curly hair get dangerously close to dreadlocks when backpacking (it doesn't take long). I like dirt a lot and I do my best to reduce waste and remain conscientious about the stuff I take into my home and life. I can drive myself (and my man) nuts with my proclivity to obsess about what we throw away, what we use, what we buy, what we eat.

I am not one to run to a box store when I need something (don't get me wrong--I do shop at box stores) because I get off on discovering something that it collecting dust and finding a use for it. I don't particularly like buying things (well, that isn't entirely true. I approach Banana Republic Martin-fit pants and the Anthropologie sale rack like a crazy lady on her last day of life) but I love love creative reuse. Repurposing, I believe this trend is called.

Old apple crate for a laying box.

Hideous, old picture frames all painted red.

Computer desk made out of scrap wood from a construction site.

Pea trellis and garden gate fashioned with old window frames.

And, now, I am super excited about bug pants and sweaters made from clothes that look like ass on me. Oh, sweet satisfaction.

I had a sweater pant idea and found this lady's rendition and went for it. The only additional hint I can add to her tutorial is that if your kid has the extra junk-in-the-trunk because of cloth diapers, add 1 1/2 inches to the rise measurement. It is supa easy.

And, paired with a spiffed-up onesie, voila.

And the felted cardigan idea came from this lady who got it from this lady. Also supa easy.

I went thrifting for fugly 100% wool sweaters and scored a few. After felting the wool (throw in washing machine on hot/cold cycle with detergent), I cut up the sweater and remade into a bug-sized sweater but it still looked like a marmy, conservative sweater, so I hippied it on up.

The great thing about bug clothes is that they are forgiving in a way grown-up clothes aren't: they look cute even if ill-fitting and hurky. I mean, my thighs in bright green cable knit? yikes. I added some pockets made from scrap wool from the cardigan, stitched with yarn that was a gift from my musician friend whose mom spins and dyes the wool. I have been dying (ha!) to use it and since I don't knit, it has been a challenge to find a worthy purpose.

And I have a million other projects in the works. Coming soon: summer dresses made with thrifted pillowcases and skirts and leggings from old t-shirts.

Oh, and garden stuff coming soon: onions, arugula, radish and spinach. yay.



So yes I am a bread machine slut. And while I have purchased Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recommended by my pal, I have yet to make the incredibly simple, abundantly forgiving and delicious five-minute-a-day dough. Maybe tomorrow. Or the next day.

For now, after a lot of heartache over dense, flavorless bread I have found the *perfect* bread machine recipe. Or two. I'll start with our not-favorite so as to lead the reader to a climax of nook-and-cranny, blissful-crust-and-crumb seedy, luscious, everyday perfection for toast and sandwich and dinner accompaniment...ahem, for now, the cornmeal molasses loaf that is really good too.

:: cornmeal molasses bread ::

1 cup water
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour*
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

* I am annoyed with everyone calling for bread flour. Not necessary, in my limited but resolute experience. Unbleached, white flour is best.

The bread is simple and lovely. It dries out quickly so it is best to make when you have a very hungry husband and a 14 month-old who love it. Or some sort of similar scenario.

(also, nobody told me that the bread machine bread looks like a total disaster when it is mixing and not to fret and scrape the sides of the pan like mad woman who fears bread with chunks of flour in the crust. Because it always mixes just swell).

And, now, the epic seedy creation. I was initially inspired by a recipe but it wasn't quite there for me. The loaf had delicious flavor but was a scosch dry and dense. And I really wanted cornmeal in there. Like, in a bad way. So this is where I landed and oooh boy. It's tasty. And makes a mean toast with eggs from chickens in your backyard or tuna sandwich or just a fist full with a roast or whathaveyou. It's really effing good.

:: seedy bread ::

3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons honey
5 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons flax seed
2 tablespoons sesame seed
2 teaspoons poppy seed
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

throw in the machine, light crust, normal setting.

It also dries out a bit quick (like three-four days) but we don't have a problem devouring the entire loaf in two days. It has become our staple. Really, I could live on bread, cheese, vegetables, fruit and adult beverages so seeking this easy-as-pie (maybe the expression should change to easy-as-seedy-bread-machine-loaf) recipe just makes me so so happy. Try it and tell me what you think.

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