Infinite Blogging

Tales of love, fertility and nourishing food.

I’ve created a monster. December 24, 2009

Filed under: House,Life,Love — Annette @ 4:58 pm

I was out shopping this afternoon, and feeling happy about being off of work for the next week and a half. Wanting to be a loving wife, I thought I would bring my husband a treat. I stopped by Starbucks on the way out of the grocery store and got us both a coffee.

I came home and handed it to him and he was happy and appreciative. Then he pulled the back of his t-shirt over his head and announced that he was Cornholio.

It was at this point that I realized that he had already had Starbucks today.

I now hear the sounds of prying, ripping and sawing throughout the house.

What have I done?


Beef! December 21, 2009

Filed under: Food,House,Local — Annette @ 7:24 pm

Oh, the excitement! We have half a cow in our freezer. AND the crazy thing is the freezer is still half full with a large block of ice that we froze inside it to help keep things cool. Which means we could theoretically put an entire cow in our freezer. Oh, the possibilities!

After talking with Mike K. about how they had purchased grass-fed beef in bulk, I decided I wanted to do the same. This was soon after we had plugged the 1951 freezer in again and it worked, which meant that storing meat was actually a possibility.

I found a local guy who raises 100% grass-fed beef and has actually had the nutritional analysis done on his beef to show the omega-3 content, which I think is very cool and very smart. I initially wanted to buy a quarter of a cow, but then found out that he only sells them by the half. After realizing just how much meat was in a quarter, I decided that just splitting a half would be too much.

I eventually found three other people to share with me, and we started the process. We were able to have it processed to our exact specifications, which meant that I had to learn about the different cuts of meat. I’m still pretty clueless but after some coaching from the seller I was able to place our order.

We picked it up tonight and all 241 pounds of it is now safely sorted and packed away in our 60-year old gigantic freezer. Very exciting.

So, the numbers. Part of the reason I wanted to look into buying in bulk was because I had been buying local grass-fed beef from Hy-Vee anyway, and it was $5-6/lb. That’s pretty pricey, but still manageable for us since we don’t eat a ton of meat. This stuff, which took maybe 4 hours of my time to research and coordinate? $2.92/lb, including processing. Without processing it was $2.35/lb. That seems pretty cheap to me.

I just did a quick Google Shopping search for ground beef, and it looks like grass-fed beef is going for upwards of $7-8/lb on Amazon. Ouch.

And this isn’t just ground beef, either. We each got 21 lb of ground beef, but the other 40 pounds of our share is steaks and roasts. So considering everything, and especially that it’s nutritionally better AND locally raised, I’m pretty happy with our purchase. 🙂


Photo catch-up. November 16, 2009

Filed under: Composting,Food,Growing,House,Life — Annette @ 9:15 am

The last of the garden photos:

This was fun.

So long, tomatoes…

Hello garlic!

And other house and life photos:

Les Bourgeois.

New doors!


Aaaand we’re back. November 13, 2009

Filed under: Bees,Composting,Food,Growing,House,Life,Local,Love — Annette @ 9:03 am

I am amazed that after such a long lapse, my blog stats are still decent. Who are you people, and why do you keep coming back?

Things have been pretty busy work-wise since we got back from the Feast. This is peak farm trip season for us, so I spent 5 days driving out to Lexington to Fahrmeier Farms. If you’re in KC and looking for a cool place to hang out (or buy some fantastic local veg), this is it. Winery, MU games, the whole deal.

We’re looking into applying for another grant to fund a similar pre-K program called Early Sprouts. It has more of a gardening component and allows the pre-Ks to experience six target vegetables with all of their senses before tasting it. There’s cooking in the classroom, plus sending ingredients home so the parents get involved, too. It’s a very cool program. I hope we get the funding.

I’ve applied to present at a conference in Alabama in April. Plus there’s the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in May in Detroit, and I definitely want to go to that. Hopefully I can have a poster. And I’m also presenting at school health conference at the Lake in December. I’m working on trying to develop a presentation that doesn’t suck.

Our grant funding ends at the end of this academic school year, so we’re exploring how we can integrate my program into our existing statewide programs. There are still a lot of questions up in the air, and I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. Hopefully for the best.

I’m very interested in developing some actually functional Spanish-speaking skills. I took three semesters of Spanish at Queen’s in undergrad, but it’s been a long time. In a couple weeks I’m going to be starting a Community Spanish course at our local career center. I’m looking forward to that. It’s a bonus that I get to do it on work time. I think having Spanish skills would be a huge career asset.

The garden has been put to rest for the season, but I did plant garlic. We had our first frost on our predicted first freeze date of October 17, which I thought was fairly coincidental. After that, though, the temperatures warmed up to be quite lovely and now I have some top growth poking out of the soil. That’s not supposed to happen until spring, so I hope it doesn’t affect next season’s garlic crop.

I did also build a small outdoor compost pile, using Eliot Coleman’s method of using straw bales for the walls of the pile. That meant that I got to buy overpriced straw at our local hardware store, which made me feel very farmy.

Speaking of composting, I also recently ordered another pound of red wigglers for our vermicomposting system. The half pound I purchased originally just wasn’t enough to keep up with all of the scraps we have. We do have some great-looking castings, though, so I’m looking forward to using those on the garden in the spring. Since I have a 5-tray vertical migration bin, I’m hoping to just use two trays at a time and alternate feeding the two trays.

I think, though, that either the delivery man didn’t knock on our door, or we didn’t see the worm box on our porch when we got home last night. That means that the worms sat out on our front porch all night. I didn’t find them until this morning. 😦 I don’t think it got too cold last night; it was 46 when I checked at 7 this morning. The worms don’t like temperatures below 40, so I hope they’re not a gooey mess when I get home.

A couple nights ago Charlie and I were talking and I mentioned something about having bees. I lovingly harass my husband about having backyard ducks or chickens, but he always says no. I’m only allowed to have animals that take care of themselves. Like worms. When I mentioned that people in France keep bees on their apartment roofs, though, he said, “We could have bees.” Are you kidding me?! We can have bees?? I never thought that he would let me keep bees. So now my new thing is learning about how to keep backyard bees. Did you know you can get 100 lb of honey from one colony of bees in one season?! That’s amazing!

As it turns out, there is a local beekeeping association that offers a beekeeping basics course here in town. It looks like the course is in January, and as much as I would like to take it and have bees in the spring, I think I need to reign myself in a bit. There are so many things that I want to do and so many things that I’m interested in, but I keep having to remind myself (my husband does a good job of that, too) that I can’t do them all at once. So I think for the next growing season I will focus on a) adding another garden bed, b) planting a couple fruit trees and c) building cold frames for next winter. Then the next growing season (2011) I’ll put in the last raised bed and get myself some bees. Yay bees!

House-wise, we have been focusing on trim and doors. Charlie installed four new interior doors a few weeks ago, and since then we’ve been painting the doors, painting the frames, painting the trim that goes around the doors and installing it. It’s starting to come together. I’ll post some pictures later.

Charlie’s been very busy with freelance work, which is a blessing financially but also means that it takes us longer to get things done on the house. But, on the other hand, it does help fund some of the house projects. So maybe we do need both.

Oh, and he’s taking me away on a mystery anniversary vacation in December. I don’t know where we’re going, but I know it’s within the US, we’re flying and we’re going to be away for about five days. How exciting!


House projects. September 4, 2009

Filed under: House — Annette @ 9:03 am

Working on the backsplash.

Working on the backsplash.

Miter saw, stand and trim

Miter saw, stand and trim

Painting the trim

Painting the trim


How a Neighborhood’s Walkability Can Increase Property Values August 28, 2009

Filed under: Environment,Health,House,Physical activity — Annette @ 7:45 am


Garden sustainably. August 18, 2009

Filed under: Environment,Greywater,Growing,House — Annette @ 8:30 am

Here’s a good general introduction to ways to keep your garden sustainable:

And a great, super simple idea from Homegrown Evolution on the best and easiest greywater system ever. We are thinking about integrating this into the deck we plan to build on the back of our house. We do just happen to have an old cast iron sink left over from an old house…

Outdoor Sink Makes Water Recycling Simple

This is my new outdor sink. I found the cast iron sink on the side of the road in Pomona and gleefully dragged the heavy beast several hundred yards to my car. I had a frame built for it out of scrap wood lying around the yard, the faucet and pipes came from another discarded sink, and we hooked it up to the hose outlet. It drains into a simple 5 gallon bucket which I can then pour out into the nearby landscape. It is super simple grey water. Now instead of going inside to wash my hands or rinse produce from the garden, I can use the outdoor sink and easily recycle my water. Plus, there is less dirt and compost in my kitchen sink. This is the kind of so-simple-its-brilliant stuff I just love. While I would like my entire house to have a greywater system, that isn’t really feasible at this time. The house is old and the pipes are very difficult, perhaps impossible, to access. So we are starting with the sink and soon we are doing a simple greywater system from the washing machine as part of our Summer Workshop Series. Every drop counts so we have to start somewhere.