Good, fresh air


Saturday. I love Saturdays so much, and today was another perfect 10 for me. We spent almost the entire day outside. We started out by celebrating the first weekend of the outdoor Saratoga Springs farmer's market with lots and lots of other happy people. It was so nice to walk around and see all of the produce and potted plants and honey and peanut butter and fruit wines and breads... and of course we stopped to listen to the banjo man play too.


I loaded up on some tried and true favorites - asian greens and onions at this time of year - and tried some new treats. When I finally came inside this evening to prepare dinner, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the field greens I had purchased made one of the prettiest salads I have ever seen in my life. The greens were all so unusual! I topped it off with some little yellow edible flowers from the market - brassica flowers - and it looked like a million bucks.


Something else I tried that's new to me: Wood Ramps. They're kind of a cross between green onions and garlic. I washed them up and followed the recipe that the farmer handed out with them and it was delicious.


Spaghetti with Ramps

1/2 lb ramps
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb spaghetti

1. Trim roots from ramps and slip off outer skin on bulbs, if loose. Blanch ramps in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, 5 to 10 seconds, lift out of boiling water and transfer to cutting board. Coarsely chop ramps and put in a blender with zest and oil.

2. Add spaghetti to boiling water and cook a few minutes, then ladle out 1/2 cup pasta water and add to blender. Purée ramps until smooth and season with salt. Continue to cook spaghetti until al dente, then ladle out about 1 cup additional pasta water before draining spaghetti in a colander. Return pasta to pot with ramp purée and toss over moderate heat for several minutes, thinning sauce with a little pasta water as needed to coat pasta.


Enough of food. We stopped by the lumber yard after our trip to the farmer's market and picked up supplies for our garden beds. Finally, after a few weeks of discussion, we decided to use cedar to build the beds. It was pricey but worth it. We want the garden to be organic, without any chemicals from treated lumber leaching into the soil over the years.


While I was digging out all of the grass, I must have unearthed a little toad. Jeff spotted it and what good eyes he has, because this little toad had the best camouflage ever. It blended right into the soil! Jeff scooped it up and brought it to the woods to safety. What a nice Friend of Nature he is.


Here are the beds - a work in progress.


Speaking of nature, last night instead of having my Healthy Child, Healthy Planet class, we met at the Saratoga Spa State Park to hear Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods" and catalyst for the grassroots "No Child Left Inside" campaign, speak at a Children and Nature Saratoga event. Children and Nature Saratoga is a new group - it's actually a collaborative project, and a network - dedicated to encouraging children and their families to spend more time outdoors. It's a group with an activist bent and it was refreshing to be back in that kind of company again after these few years out of that loop (4+ years, since 'A' was born, to be exact). I was struck by the fact that I was one of the youngest people there - many of the attendees had far more grey hair than I (I have about 5 of them). It makes me sad that I haven't seen a strong group of politically active adults under the age of 40 since I moved to upstate New York a few years ago. Maybe it's just the things I'm going to, and it's not reality. I hope so. What happened to all the people Jeff and I went to college with (he went to SUNY Binghamton, I went to UConn)? What about all of the Move On members who registered voters with us in 2004, or marched on the mall in Washington with us (separate rallies, before we knew each other) years ago? They must live here too, right?


On a separate note, we found a bird nest tucked behind the lamp outside our garage door. Sweet! When we first saw it, the mother bird wasn't in it, so I climbed up the ladder to peek and see if there were any eggs in it. Yes! I snapped a quick photo before the mother bird squawked and squawked at me. We're excited to watch them come to life.


The lemon balm burst from the ground while I blinked this week. Lovely... green and fragrant and lovely.


Have a great day.

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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!