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Kate Gridley's Blog (Page 2)

March 30, 2011 - 2:02pm
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

Gardening is like cooking is like painting. My husband gets upset when I grind pigments with the kitchen mortar and pestle and when I borrow the double boiler to cook glue. This morning I am mixing potting soil with water in his pasta cooking pot.

There was the time I ruined his favorite enamel pot when I decided to make charcoal following a 15th century recipe from Cennino Cennini. Fill the pot with straight, quarter inch width twigs of willow, wrapped in little bundles with a wire; seal the pot (lute it) with clay; and place it in the embers of a fire, with more embers piled on top. Cook slowly over night. Well, the pot was destroyed, but I got some fine drawing charcoals!

I am transplanting the exuberant Bok Choi, which begs to go outside under a tunnel. Not yet. Recipes, recipes, recipes. "Mix six cups of water with nine quarts of soil." I...

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March 28, 2011 - 11:51am
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

I am thinking about compost. Here's why: Ben Hewitt, farmer, writer, activist, and author of The Town That Food Saved, How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food, led a discussion up at the college recently. He admitted that rather than focussing on sustainable agriculture, he prefers to frame the food discussion around restorative agriculture. Can we farm in a way that is circular? Which is to say, can we create systems in which what we put into the soil -- the fertilizers, the enrichments, the compost – and what we take out of the soil – the food – are more interconnected?

How do we close the circle? Hardwick, Vermont, the town he writes about, now boasts food related businesses that run the gamut: from High Mowing Organic Seeds, to Jasper Hill Cheese, to Vermont Soy Company, to Buffalo Mountain Coop, to Pete's Greens, to Claire's...

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March 26, 2011 - 11:38am
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

The snow has finally melted and I have started the inventory of winter damage. For the first time in fifteen years, there are corners to repair on the raised beds.

This takes me back to when we built the beds, shortly after moving in. The first thing we did was move a ten foot high arborvitae hedge to create a sheltered, south-facing spot for a vegetable garden.

The man who moved the hedge came all the way from Newport, Vermont, hauling a goose-necked trailer on which perched a bobcat with a cone-shaped tree digger on the front. As he settled into the cab to drive the rig off the trailer, loud music suddenly erupted from two speakers on the side of the bobcat. “What’s that?” yelled my sons, then ages eight and five. “I like to work to music,” the driver shouted. Puccini’s “Tosca” poured forth, each aria soaring above the houses in the...

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March 22, 2011 - 3:05pm
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

There's an old Vermonter's adage that you plant seeds on Town Meeting Day. It's a big day: not only do we practice direct democracy here (we've dragged our kids to Town Meeting since they were little so they could grow up seeing democracy in action), but it's generally the day the sugar makers hang buckets on the trees (they've already had a couple of runs through the tubing). It is also when, in Middlebury, we take the Christmas Wreath off the front door.

The sap is rising. And now there are lots of green shoots under my growing lights.

Spring teases us right now, as is her wont in March. Some days we let the wood stove go out. Other mornings, there are snow flurries, and the mercury goes back below freezing, so we re-light the stove. We spent Friday biking in 60 degree sun, but then spent the weekend under snow flurries, with our friend sugar...

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March 20, 2011 - 4:00pm
By Kate Gridley in EatingWell Blogs

They are already up! The Bok Choy (a variety of chinese cabbage) seeds have sprouted, only three days after they were planted. Mind you, what I see are but the first embryonic leaves, the cotyledons. The true leaves, bok choy's particular personality, have yet to emerge. But the miracle has happened: a seed the size of the period at the end of this sentence has sent down delicate hairs for roots to drink water, and a tiny stem with primitive leaves has shot up in search of light.

What is it about that first little flash of green that brings such a jolt of joy (when outside the south window, even with sun, the temperature is 22, and there's a drift of snow four feet high)? I suspect I am in the grip of a some primal response: good morning, new growth after our winter of frozen soil and darkness!

It is Barbara's fault I have planted Bok Choi for...

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