Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Recently I've been obsessed with daydreaming about my future country farm house and farm, that I've been stalking every cute, rustic, farm related website as possible.  It's become my new hobby. Baileys Whitecross Farm is one of my favorite sites. It's this amazing store/ workshop/ art cafe in Herefordshire county, England owned by Sally and Mark Bailey. They've recently restored the old Whitecross farm and turned it into a beautiful store.  They've written two wonderful books as well, Simple Home and Recycled Home, which are both about their style and aesthetic of beautiful well made items and how they can work in a home.  You can purchase some of their wonderful home accessories here.

I love this idea for shelves. Greg and I are looking to move and we will need a shelving unit to house all of Greg's books and my trinkets. We both love old apple boxes and I think this will be perfect as a new addition to our ever growing large collection of furniture.  The only thing is how to secure them together and to a wall to prevent a castrophe from happening? I'm probably going to have to find 16 of the same old wooden boxes and then nail them together and maybe even use some glue. It looks like the Bailey's folks have this one attached and floating on a wall. I'm pretty sure ours will have to sit on the floor. Greg's book collection is massive and at times ridiculous and out of control. I'll keep you all posted on my progess in finding all the parts to make my very own apple box shelveing unit!! In the mean time here are some of my other favorite items from their Farm and pictures from their books.


Andrew Neyer

                                                       ~ Dudes at a Campsite ~

I've recently fallen in love with Andrew Neyer's artwork. He's an incredible artist who draws mundane but nonetheless hilarious scenarios like a man taking a bus ride with his dog or some "dudes" camping.  He makes prints, drawings and zines, many of which are sold in his online store.  I love how childish he is in his work. They're simple scenes but are executed with complexity and detail in such a creative and simple manner. My favorite drawing is "Dudes at a campsite". It is possibly the most  hilarious piece of art I've ever encountered. I mean c'mon! putting a bandaid on a blister while "roughing it" in the woods is hilarious. And the man in the plaid drinking with his foot resting on a log = genius. Check him out and buy some of his work.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Acadia National Park

We've been having the most amazing weather up here for the past couple of days, 45 and sunny. Greg and I decided to spend the day in Acadia National Park and soak up some of those glorious rays. We only live about an hour from Acadia and since we had nothing else to do we decided to make a day out of it and bring a picnic along as well. Greg made these amazing pork sandwiches with pickled red onions and carrots on homemade pitas topped off with our greenhouse spinach. Oh man they were so yummy.

We also packed a jar of green olives and some stewed yellow eyed peas and chocolate chip cookies. I'm salivating just thinking about the yummy picnic we had.
We decided to set up out picnic on the hugs pink granite rocks that make up the acadian coast line. What a perfect day, yummy food and a breath taking view.  

After our picnic we decided to take advantage of the low tide and walked long the edge of the water on the big beautiful rocks. We found an amazing tidal pool that was filled with so much life. Tons and I means tons of sea urchins (which happens to be one of my favorite underwater creatures), periwinkles, seaweed, mussels, and crabs. AMAZING!!! As we walked further down  cliffs started to form and we had to move up to the path at the top of the rocks. We came along to this amazing cliff that was about 100 feet in the air. I decided to throw huge fistfuls of pebbles off the edge. I love the sound pebbles make when thrown into water. They make this incredible noise which reminds me of someone gulping.  It's one of my favorite sounds. It was a wonderful day, I hope to get back there as soon as I can.

Homemade ricotta

 We made our own homemade ricotta the other day and let me tell you it was some of the best ricotta we have ever tasted. Now, according to the professionals and the Italians, traditional ricotta is made with the left over whey from sheep's milk or cow's milk cheese making process. These days and especially here in America people and company's have been  making so called ricotta with milk. Techniquely it's not ricotta but it's very similar in look and taste.  It was not as creamy as ricotta but it had the most amazing flavor to it. We curdled the milk with lemon juice so our final product had an amazing light undertone of lemon in it. It was overall pretty easy to make but we did have to troubleshoot a bit.  

All you need is:
a deep stock pot with a heavy bottom
wooden spoon
small holed slotted spoon 
cheese cloth
large strainer
large metal bowl big enough to sit the strainer in it without touching the bottom
kitchen twine

1 gallon of whole homogenized milk (preferably raw whole milk)
3/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
a pinch of salt

First, line your strainer with a piece of cheese cloth. make sure the cloth hangs off the edges of the strainer a bit to ensure there's enough cloth to hold the cheese.  rest cloth lined strainer in metal bowl. set aside.
Place heavy stock pot on stovetop and pour gallon of milk into heavy stock pot, turn on medium heat. Clip on your thermometer to the side of the pot and into your milk making sure the probe is more than half way covered. If you don't have a clip for your thermometer or it doesn't reach your milk you will have to hold it till you get your correct reading.  Only stir the milk every once in a while until the curds start to form which will be towards the end like around 150 degrees. While your milk is heating up squeeze 3/4 cup lemon juice and set aside. Once you start to see the curds form stop stirring.

 Heat the milk up to 190 degrees. Turn off heat and immediately pour and stir in the 3/4 cup lemon juice. Do not over stir, stir about 1 to 2 times, that's it.  Move your pot to a cool burner and let the milk sit for 30 mins for the curds to properly set. The milk will have speparated from the whey which will be a yellowish gray color. The curds will be white and in a mass.
Once your curds have properly set up scoop out your curds carefully with a slotted spoon with small holes into your cloth lined strainer. Once all the curds have been removed bring all four corners of the cheese cloth together and tie your twine around them, creating a knot with a loop so you can hang your ricotta to drain. Choose a spot where you can hang your ricotta to drain for an hour where it won't be in your way. We hung ours on a cabinet knob over the metal bowl. You can squeeze it gently to release some of the liquid. 

Once all the liqued has drained, about an hour remove the cheese cloth and enjoy!!!!

Don't throw away the whey!!!! You can reheat it and make REAL RICOTTA!!! Just follow the same steps adding more lemon juice and you should be able to make more ricotta. 

It goes great in any pasta dish or spread it on toasted slices of bread with a little salt, pepper, a dizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil and fresh sprigs of thyme or sage. Yum!

makes about 2 to 4 cups.

Hope you guys enjoy!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Maine Farm house

 For the past 6 months I've been living and working on Four Season Farm which is right down the road from The Good Life Center,  and this beautiful piece of property and farm house, belonged to Lynn Karlin and Stanley Joseph. Together they wrote Maine Farm: A Year of Country Life, which is a beautiful book about homesteading on the coast of maine. The land has been unoccupied since Stanley passed away but the house is rented out during the summer to vacationers. The house is a beautiful old farm house with a barn, a pond, beautiful fields, a shed and a stone walled garden. The pond, which has an island was dug out by hand by Scott Nearing. Scott was a political radical and the pioneer behind the back to the land movement  in the 60's. He and his wife Helen wrote many books on homesteading as well as politics. When the Nearings moved from Vermont to Maine they bought this property and cultivated and lived on it for over 10 years, then built the good life center and sold this piece of land to Stanley. This place is s beautiful but so sad at the same time.

The grounds and gardens have not been kept up and it's sad to see them in such dissaray. The Nearings built a stone wall around their gardens which in it's hay day was beautiful. Stanley and Lynn also had beautiful gardens and kept the property thriving. In their book there are many wonderful pictures of their gardens and the many wonderful creative projects they made. What I would give to be able to live here and bring it back to it glory days.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


~Spring 2010~
           motto. Time to work hard and look cute
              .  stripes of blues and creams
              .  high waisted blue jeans
              .  oxford shoes
              .  vintage round sunglasses
              .  silk scarves as belts
              .  red lips
              .  40's long curly hair
              . khaki rain coat
              . pink cheeks
              . leather bags/ straw bags
              . Hair pinned back on both sides of head



Rainy days and vanilla extract

 It's raining out again for the third day in a row up here in Downeast Maine.  We've been having the strangest weather, 50 degrees and rainy.  We did have some sort of sign that it was winter last night when it snowed. As I was getting ready for bed I noticed that it was really bright outside and saw we had this lovely coating of snow on the ground. But as I woke up this morning all the snow had either melted away or had been washed away by the stupid rain. Go away rain!!! And since it's such a crappy day I decided to finally make vanilla extract with the huge bag of beans I bought months ago. I purchased them from the kitchen store leroux kitchen in Portland, Maine. It had about 20 beans in it for only $15. What a steal! They're Tahitian vanilla beans from Vanilla Saffron Imports in San Francisco, CA. 
All you need is some good vanilla beans, rum, vodka or bourbon and a airtight jar to store them in. I made two different kinds of vanilla extract using Bulleit Bourbon and Appleton Estate Rum (not the best choice but was all I had).

.First to split the beans down the middle using a sharp knife. 
.Then place them in an airtight jar like a mason jar or an old clean jelly jar. 
.Then pour your choice of liquor over the beans covering then and screw on the lid.
.Give it a good shake and viola!!! You have the beginning stages of vanilla extract.
.Store in a dark place for 8 weeks giving it a couple of shakes every two weeks. 

To keep your extract strong and flavorful keep adding beans that you've used in baking projects. Just rinse them off and stick them in the jar. 
When your extract is all gone, don't throw away the beans just pour more liquor into the same jar and store as before.

 Another yummy food specialty item you can make is vanilla sugar. When storing vanilla beans you don't want them to dry out and a good way to keep them fresh and oily is to keep them in sugar.  This keeps the moisture in and in the process makes yummy vanilla sugar that you can use in cookies, and cakes. Do not refrigerate your beans.

Homemade vanilla extract makes great gifts for friends and family especially for anyone that bakes. Just pour some into smaller bottles and label unless you want to give them the whole jar!!!

Have fun!!