A Meandering, Winding Path


Where will life take us? Or is the question where will we take our life?

Chilly morning

It’s a question I have been pondering as of late. You see, one of my long time dreams was to open a cafe; not just any cafe, but a cafe with healthy choices and welcoming homey vibe.

I did!

I worked as hard at it as humanly possible, and used every cent I had. I loved being there and loved our regular customers. I met wonderful people from all walks of life.

As much as folks and patrons loved it, and spoke of our delicious food; it couldn’t sustain itself. The Community could not support it, and we were not on a road traveled by tourists, nothing in town to pull them off the main road and into our quaint village.(well, that will be another post, another time)

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Grateful, for having the chance to try my wings and live that dream; to try, to step out in faith.

I am left with the question, what now? This question weighs heavy. Surely, I am not alone in questioning life’s path.

What is my plan B? Or C-Z for that matter? Is this a mid-life crisis, e-gad! Surely not. 50(ish) is the new twenty,right?

Everyone I meet now is at least ten years younger than me. I feel like Rip van Winkle with breasts!

Now to find where I left that path of mine…or should I let it find me?

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Be Well,
Jess

It’s almost March…It’s almost warmish (almost)


Although the shortest of days have gone by and whatever nastiness of weather we have before us; the month of February passes.

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March is near, and each day we ebb out a few more cherished moments of sunlight.

Minute by minute, the days lengthen out, almost imperceptible, even as the growth of a child. All at once the moment comes as if by epiphany; we notice we are out of doors in twilight for another quarter of a precious hour.

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The air is still bitingly cold.

The sun shines strong enough to cause icicles to drip, that is hope.

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My fingers ache to dig in the garden’s soil. To feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on my neck.

I think I will spend some time today sorting and gathering seeds saved, seeds bought, clay potting pots, and all of the thingamajigs, and whatchamacallits a gardening crazy girl could wish for.

I wonder how many seedlings will survive a Walker Hound 3 month old pup? Maybe I should hold off on that.

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Be well,

Jess

To Begin Again…Let’s start from the very beginning. Winter


The sun is rising over our little home. It will be a day like most days around here. Not much changes from day to day; I take solace in that.

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As the year progresses and seasons change a subtle shift is created in our lives and routines.

Before we even realize, the tides have turned. We are sitting on the far edge of winter~ a brutal, beautiful, cold, white winter.

Blasts of cold and snow temper our outdoor exploration driving us, in retreat, back to mugs of tea and steaming bowls of stew.

I don’t mind.

It’s cozy and comforting to sit, gazing out into the postcard that is my yard, pencil in hand, waiting, hoping for something to write or an idea to sketch.

My eyes wander out at the farm yard, llamas stepping gingerly into the billowy mounds of snow. Goats swaddled in their winter’s growth, content to linger beside the barn, soaking in the the late winter sun’s warming rays.

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The chickens have found a course of fence long enough to hold the lot of them. Clever those chooks, as even with the stiff north wind, they bob and sway in unison never loosing their grip on their uncertain perch.

The dogs curled up at my feet, resting, waiting for me to stir, a signal of the afternoon’s work ahead. Richard, the Yorkie; settled onto the top of the over-stuffed chair safe from errant drafts.

I reluctantly move from this moment of reflection. I don layers of armor against the bone chilling winds.

It’s chore time.

There are mouths to feed and barns to freshen, An extra ration of grain fed to each in hopes of warding off the the biting cold.  Water buckets are filled, heaters checked  ( to keep the filled buckets from freezing), and hay is given freely.

As I close the gate, I turn back to be sure our youngest cria’s (Revie) warming jacket is securely fastened. It’s going to be a cold, bitter night.

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My thoughts turn to warming my families bellies, a hearty vegetable barley soup with homemade biscuits should do the trick.

With the veggies chopped, sautéed, and the soup now simmering gently on the back burner; I find my seat by the window. The dogs follow suit.

I have a  precious hour to write…the sun is setting far too early for my liking.

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The biscuits are in the oven, the coffee is brewing… Let’s eat.

Be well,

Jess

Just One Tiny Seed…


Spring, opportunity, hope, I think these three words belong together. It all starts with one tiny seed, sown with hope, and if by magic, it becomes a towering sunflower, a a clambering vine of beans, a 40 pound pumpkin, or a sweet smelling sweet pea, isn’t that hard to believe?
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Yet, it happens; reminding us with hope, and determination anything is possible. Nurture your even the tiniest seed of a dream, and with work and perseverance it can be. I still have to pinch myself at times as I look around this Shoppe. It was a lot of work, and many, many hours of work; it still is, but, is worth it.
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If a seed can burst into life in NYC, it can grown anywhere!

Following your dreams is not for the faint of heart, if your want it, really, really, want it. You must put in the work. Some folks, think if you dream hard enough, it will fall into your lap. Nope, that’s not how this works. [Well, I guess you can dream of winning the lottery. That’s not much work..] But, you get what I’m saying right?
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Right now, I’m dreaming of making a really fresh sweet dessert. I noticed this morning there are lots of rhubarb stalks ready to be picked. So, I’m thinking Strawberry- Rhubarb Squares, a shortbread type of dough… I will work on the recipe today, pick the stalks tomorrow…and I am a little excited now. I will share photos tomorrow.

Be Well,
Jess

You may need a weed. or dandelions, not just sunny face.


At the start of this years garden and yard cleaning season; I am thinking of all of the chemicals folks think they need. To have perfect lawn is not so perfect anymore, it come with its fair share of guilt. Doesn’t it? Round up, the most publicized weed killer, kills more than just the weeds, so we are finding out. It has been doing a number on bee populations as well. I was never one to use chemicals much anyway. Have you ever sat and watched your toddlers and young children frolicking on your freshly mowed lawn; only to have the sinking feeling come over you with a gust of hot air? Oh how lovely, look at my children rolling around in the poisons I just spread all over, is not a picture of parental bliss. Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah, weeds. Some how we have the silly notion that nature has this all wrong, and we need to correct this mistake. . How dare Mother Nature throw weeds willy nilly all over our lawns! For crying out loud.

Weeds need love too and weeds can be beneficial; they can add fertilizer to your soil, increase moisture content, attract insects, and repel insects. Some are good to eat, some have medicinal benefits, some have both. Take the dandelion for instance, honey bees love them, they are a natural diuretic, and they can be eaten in salads or cooked. You can even use the to make dandelion wine, for goodness sake. THey help less hardy plants as well, their tough tap roots bring nutrients to the surface for neighboring plants to use.
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Dandelion greens are packed with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, E, & K, and calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium & copper. Dandelion greens are also about 14% protein, which is MORE protein per serving than spinach, Popeye’s favorite muscle-building food. Dandelion greens are especially beneficial for the liver and aid in flushing out toxins and remineralizing the body. It’s high beta carotene and flavonoid content also benefits the immune system and cardiovascular system. Dandelion greens are also one of the richest sources of plant-based Vitamin K and Vitamin A . If you pick them from a back yard, just make sure they have not been sprayed with any pesticides and wash in cold water before using. The leaves can also be dried and later used as a medicinal tea. So, go ahead, add a few dandelion leaves to your soup, salad, green juice, or smoothie.
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Or how about Purslane? I swear this stuff can grown in concrete! Purslane is eaten throughout much of Europe and Mexico. It contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. It can be eaten in salad, stir-fried, or cooked like spinach. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicines to treat infections and topically to soothe and heal sores. A great companion plant for tomatoes and peppers. It breaks up hard soil and hardpan, brings nutrients and water up from deeper than crops can reach, provides healthy ground cover, stabilizing soil moisture.
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Alright, could someone please help me down form this soap box? I’m done, I’m done, I swear don’t leave me here…
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Pretty little things…


Spring is all about new beginnings, don’t you think? New growth in the garden, new babies in the fields, maybe even new ideas. Does spring rev you up, kick start a new verve for life? All I want to do is throw open the doors and let the fresh air blow through the house, and clean the windows to let the streams of sunlight shine through! Breathe deeply the warmth and freshness. It has been a long cold and dreary winter. Maybe we should just enjoy these moments, go ahead sit in the sun enjoy very blissful minute; we’ve earned it. I am not certain, old man winter has yet to relinquish his grip just yet, but, I am paying no attention to his snow squalls and bitter temps.
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OK, so he’s not a baby, But he is lovely. Sachema lives at our friends farm, Dakota Ridge Farm; as do all of the other cuties shared to day. With one exception, Ruby.
This is Ruby, I don’t believe you’ve met. She was born in late October here at Picasso’s.
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I see spring. I can feel it. My hands ache for the warm soil. My feet want to run in the grass,( ok run might be an exaggeration).
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It can be an exciting time. We aren’t expecting any cria or kids this season, but I did get to visit a few yesterday. kinda makes me giddy. baby chicks and ducks will be coming soon though.
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The raised beds at our little shoppe will be built and filled with fresh soil and llama fertilizer (the absolute best). An arbor is being constructed for our open air farm to fork dinners. Can’t you just feel the excitement?
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Our soups and Specials here at Picasso’s :
Butternut Squash Bisque, no it’s not typical spring fare, but is sure has pretty and scrumptious.
Corn Chowdah, cuz, I must, I tell ya.

Roasted pork tenderloin served with a tangy-sweet mustard sauce on a bed of greens sitting atop a kaiser roll.
Turkey burger slathered with vidalia balsamic jam, on mixed greens piked on a soft buttery croissant. “nuff said here. moving on…

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Say good bye Sachema.

Be well.
J

Floating with the season, or hang on for dear life!


Seasons come and seasons go..with them come their own particular adventures, challenges, and foods. Yes, foods. Just because a particular vegetable or fruit is in our local supermarket, does not mean it is ion season in our neck of the woods. Your strawberries or lettuce may have traveled thousands of miles and many days to get to this market. And it may have been cultivated with Lord knows what synthetic fertilizers and under what ghastly conditions. The paradox of the day is available vs healthy. no?

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Our diets were, in the past dictated by the seasons and what we could grown, and “Put By” for the coming months. Does any one remember when peas and strawberries a late spring early summer treat? Sweet and succulent, juicy dribbling, red berry goodness. Pick warm from the garden and popped in your mouth. Fresh feet peas, stolen from their pod and eaten raw before they every got to Mamie’s kitchen. Potatoes, squash, and other root vegetables told you that fall winds were here, and leaves would turn beautiful colors, and fall, just for you to rake up and jump in. The brisk day inviting you in at supper time to a hearty stew, made from natures bounty.

Now, produce is transported around the world! We have all of the blessings of any season at our finger tips. Not necessarily a good thing. Local, organic fruit an vegetables are grown with age old techniques tab maintain its natural flavor, water content and growth rate. They ripen naturally, and retain their natural vitamins and minerals.

But, I digress, I was talking about seasons wasn’t I; rediscovering the joys of the seasons. Finding a rhythm, re-creating how we plan and shop for our food.
Discovering,nearby farmers markets, a local CSA, or discover a new talent by planting your own garden, or learning the new, but age old skill of putting food by. Use the changing seasons to to guide us to set more thoughtfully, mindfully, and more healthfully, you become naturally inclined to experiment and maybe discover a new favorite.

Let’s make mealtime special again, let’s slow down enjoy your meal. Isn’t that what its all about anyway? Finding joy in life. Our growing season may be short, so why not enjoy what delights it offers, take asparagus for example, luscious when eaten fresh from the garden, limp and tasteless from a can. When this season is over, what fruit or veggie are you eagerly anticipating? For me it is berries! Raspberries, blackberries, blues, and strawberries, I love them all!

Ok, so here are our specials at Picasso’s today
Soups” Vegetarian vegetable with butter beans, Creamy steamy Corn Chowdah.

Salad: citrus,and pecan salad served on fresh mixed greens, served with homemade citrus honey vinegarette. ( insert lip smacking noise here)

Have a wonderous, wondrous day! Hangon to your hats! It’s Windsday.Miss Daisy

Who’s with me?


What is all this WHINING about Mondays? Does Monday have some kind of super power that I don’t know about that robs you of your sanity, good mood or abilities? Is it a magical force, steeped in brute strength.

 What if we all had Monday off? What if we worked Tuesday through Saturday? Would we then hate Tuesdays?

Monday is the kick off for a brand new week with possibilities and potential successes  people!

oh ok, to be fair, there was a period in my life where I didn’t like Mondays but I also didn’t like any other day of the week except Saturday or Sunday because those were the days I wasn’t at that job. And I think that is the real problem when we kvetch about Mondays. We don’t hate the day because after all, it’s just a day.

I think what we are saying when they say, “Ugggh, it’s Monday”, is that the only part of our life that brings them joy is the weekend and that is really sad. Since Monday is the furthest day away from the next weekend, Monday becomes some dark and sinister power, out to sabotage your day.

Monday, interestingly enough, could be a metaphor for how you approach your life. Expect to have good things happen and attack your day with enthusiasm and energy and watch what unfolds. Or, hate the day, give away your power and be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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I’m starting a movement to stop the Monday bashing! Who’s with me?

Let’s start Monday off with a bang!

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Soups Tuscan potato and sausage, because I love it and i can’t stop eating it. Vegetarian vegetable , cuz everyone should enjoy good homemade soup.

Special: Caesar salad with  seasoned chicken breast, sliced and grilled topped with sliced parmesan and crunchy croutons. ( is it ok to drool in the privacy of your own office) 

Smoothie: Spinach peach and peanut butter blended with almond milk.  A green monster, packed with energy!

Remember when….A Wordless Wednesday.


Common sense and good nature will do a lot to make the pilgrimage of life not too difficult”
– William Somerset Maugham

Sophie, you are not a duck...

Sophie, you are not a duck…

Andrew, my sweet, sweet little neighbor. Oh, and Claire.

Andrew, my sweet, sweet little neighbor. Oh, and Claire.

dogs,chickens, and llammas oh my 5

Andy today

remember when...

a song

remembering

lovins

duo

Breez

girls

jenni .3

Andys

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.”
– Robert Frost, Two Roads

Be Well,
Jess

Finding Nemo…


Well, he never found us. He found every town around us…but not us. Funny how nature works, isn’t it. I was a little excited for the storm to arrive.

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A big storm ~ one that needs preparation. Flash lights, kerosene lamps, water; you know provisions.
The type of storms that forces card games,board games, and allows for guilt free lazing about.

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I filled the barns with a heavy bed of fluffy hay; filled waters to the tippy top (if the power goes out, so goes the pump), grained with copious amounts to help the animals generate their own warmth.

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(a farm on my morning journey)

The chickens and ducks tucked themselves in among the llamas. Everyone was settled in; cozy and warm.

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And we waited for Nemo.

and we waited….

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and waited…

We got about 3″…

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Many parts of New England and New York were not spared; I do hope everyone was able to be somewhere safe and warm.

Be well,
Jessica