Monday, July 26, 2010

Eating close to home

It has been a great summer as we learn how to eat closer to home and the Earth. We have been learning more about growing our own food and buying from our local farmer's market. This past weekend I also learned a little more about foraging for wild foods.

Saturday I spent the day with a close friend foraging for mushrooms at a wonderful farm just outside of St. Louis. The weather has been a little too dry for mushrooms, but the hot weather and the promise of a lake to swim in, drew us both to the country.  We started the day by walking through the woods in the hope of finding chanterelles. Karen, my foraging buddy, had recently had great luck finding chanterelles, which she kindly cooked and shared with both Guy and me.

This day we weren't 50 feet into the woods before we spied our first chanterelle. Excitedly, we looked all around the area and only found one other dried up chanterelle. We continued to explore the area stopping now and again to admire flowers, ferns and the occasional scat. Yes, we actually do admire scat from time to time.  In this case it was very fortunate that we enjoy this rather peculiar activity since as we were examining some particularly interesting scat we looked up to spy a real treat. Attached to a rotting log was a shelf mushroom called Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) also called Sulfur Shelf. This is a beautiful and, I was soon to find out, delicious mushroom that is found on rotting wood. It is an absolutely beautiful orange and white that looks like something you would find snorkeling and not in a humid Missouri woodland.  Thank goodness we found this lovely and rather large mushroom since we would have looked pretty pathetic returning with our one tiny chanterelle. However, after a lovely swim in the lake we returned home the successful hunters.

Pictured here is our delicious Sunday dinner.

Blue bowl: contains potatoes dug a few hours earlier from the garden, onions (not from the garden) boiled and thickened with flour with salt and pepper seasoning. 

Maroon bowl: Chicken of the Woods mushroom, garlic (garden), scallion (not from the garden) and thyme (not from the garden).

Yellow bowl:  yellow and zucchini squash, okra, garlic (all from the garden) sauteed in olive oil. 

Bread: home made with non-local ingredients but also no preservatives. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hunting for Adventure Farm

The search has begun. This past Sunday we took our first trip to look for a place to call Adventure Farm.  This piece of property is in St. James, MO.  A couple is selling a large parcel of land broken into a wide variety of pieces that you can mix and match in all different ways. I had a great time and decided the whole experience was amazingly fun. Guy, on the other hand, found it “interesting.” 

The land is for sale by owner, which means that we got to meet the folks who owned the land. It was a wonderful first experience.  This couple spent almost four hours with us wandering the property and endlessly discussing the possibilities despite the fact that they knew most of the pieces were out of our price range.  I’m amazed at their generosity.

This first experience was a great exercise in looking for what we need.  We now know a little more about what we are willing to give up and what we absolutely can’t live without.  I can say with confidence that Deanna’s needs are much different than Guy’s, which should guarantee an awesome piece of property but a property that will probably take some time to find.

Here’s a quick run down of “can’t live withouts” for both of us. 

Guy’s needs


Blackberries-they were ripe on this property, and Guy was hungry :)

Trees -
  • a stand of trees that can be used for a challenge course
  • open grown trees for recreational tree climbing
  • a grove of trees for tree houses, a big swing and just to enjoy

In other words; trees, trees, trees.

Deanna’s needs

Water (stream, pond, spring…)

Ummm, not quite what I had in mind. 

Flat open land for growing food
No highway noise
A house NOT a mobile home
  • Southern exposure
  • Fireplace
  • Big kitchen
  • Without the cheap, tacky remodel, please
  • It can be “As Is” if it has character, is structurally sound and has the above characteristics.  For the right price, of course. Actually, for the right price we could build. Although building is not our first choice.

 An "As Is" with potential, but DEFINITELY the wrong price.

The Shining Star on the property. Maybe we could live in the barn.

This place had a lot of what we want, but the price and a few missing "must haves" made it just a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. So, if anyone knows where this dream property is, send us a note. Deanna, for one, can’t wait to look some more!