newsletter, oct-nov 2003
Dear family and friends,
Welcome to fall. We've just spent a gorgeous month in the New England states where the changing leaf colors have brightened our vistas...and colorful squashes & yams have begun gracing our table. Yum.
We can't believe that we've been on the road on this book tour for over one year. WOW! We are still enjoying the "free" lifestyle, though some of the long travel days can be grueling. The magazine, "Simple Living", is one of the seeds of inspiration that started us along this path of living with less and enjoying it more. We subscribed about 10 years ago. Each magazine is filled with many stories of people living more simply...with great tips for reducing stress. We read them cover to cover as soon as they arrived. It is now going to be published via the internet by subscription. You can see the first month of this new version for free on their web site: http://www.simpleliving.com/issues/index.htm
Apropos to simple living, we were excited to visit the last home of Scott and Helen Nearing, who inspired the homesteading movement. Their books "Living The Good Life" and "Continuing The Good Life" describe their experiences and engages your soul. It was such a privilege to walk on their property, home and garden. It is currently known as The Good Life Center, is located in Harborside, Maine, and is dedicated to advancing the Nearing's commitment to social justice and simple living, and preserving their last hand-built home
For years, the Acadia National Park in Maine has been on our list of must-sees and we found it was totally worth the trip to this part of the country. This awe-inspiring park offers mountain top views, ocean beaches, deep forest and inland lakes all wrapped into one. We spent memorable hours hiking, biking and enjoying so many aspects of nature here. We'll be back!
In Vermont, we found the oldest co-op we've been in. The Adamant Co-op, was begun as a food-buying club in 1935. Their building is nearly 150 years old with a large, wood burning stove in its one room. The restroom is an outhouse, unisex of course. These days, they also sell general merchandise for the community since they are way out in the sticks.
Another stop in New England was Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, http://www.seaveg.com. This is the home of the fabulous, applewood-smoked dulse. On our tour of their packaging and shipping building, we met everyone involved in the operation. They take great care in the harvesting (which needless to say is done out in the ocean) to enable sustainable growth and management of this precious resource. While their dried sea vegetables are found in most natural food stores, several more difficult to find products which we really enjoy are the "Powerful Sea Pickles" and "Kelp Krunch" which is a sweet, crunchy energy bar available in several flavors. Ask your local store about them.
We were also blessed to see so many waterfalls in New York, in the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes region. The Taughannock Falls there is even higher than Niagra Falls! Visiting the national historic parks...Saratoga, Morristown, Johnstown Flood, Minuteman, FDR & Eleanor Roosevelt homes, New Bedford Whaling Museum and Ellis Island...really brings history to life unlike our high school history books.... You can just imagine and feel the events of the past and appreciate struggles and triumphs of the human spirit.
Books We Recommend
This is a cookbook that you can also read: "The Angelica Home Kitchen", by Leslie McEachern, has some great recipes with a host of information. Angelica Kitchen is also the name of a restaurant in New York City with out-of-this-world food. On a hot August day, we had a delightful lunch there with our good friend, Chris Smith. The following was the wording on a vintage poster in their restroom from a World War II public relations effort:
Food is a Weapon,Aside from the weapon part, we agree!
Sites We Recommend
The Women Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, NY was a memorable experience. It is located at the site where, in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton first espoused the Declaration of Sentiments that expressed the inequities that women at that time faced. Eventually this seed grew into the women's suffrage movement, as it continues today through struggles for equal pay, etc. There were many thought-provoking exhibits and an amazing outside water wall where the Declaration of Sentiments is carved along with the names of the original signers. We were motivated to come here after seeing the PBS documentary several years ago entitled "Not For Ourselves Alone", the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Click on this title for excerpts or you might find the videotape in your library. It's worth looking for. We also listen to the beautiful, traditional music on the CD by the same name. The extraordinary filmmaker, Ken Burns had a hand in this film.
For all of you art lovers, you may not know of this treasure trove. Located in Merion Station, in greater Philadelphia, is The Barnes Foundation. It is a superb gallery of impressionist painting, over 170 Renoirs alone. Dr. Albert Barnes assembled it in the first part of the 20th century mainly as an art education school. As we wandered through the 28 galleries, we noticed unique groupings of Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and others which demonstrate the evolution of their skill. Although we were overwhelmed by the size of this collection, it was a very enriching experience. You can get more information at http://www.barnesfoundation.org.
Renewable and Loving It!
At the July Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair, we learned about many simple steps we could all take to help diminish our dependence on precious, limited fossil fuels. An easy one is to change light bulbs. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL), especially in high use lighting areas such as the kitchen, family rooms and outdoor fixtures. Today's CFLs have a high efficiency with long life and produce steady, quiet, warm white light. A 75-watt incandescent bulb uses 3 1/2 times more electricity to produce as much light as the equivalent 20-watt CFL. This lowers electric bills and saves the planet's resources.
Restaurants We Recommend
Although not a restaurant, we were really impressed with the Red Hen Baking Co.-Artisan Breads located in Duxbury, VT. ALL of their tasty breads are naturally leavened without added yeast. They distribute fresh daily to many stores and farmers' markets in the northern Vermont area and if you are lucky enough to be there, enjoy a loaf. If you just want a cyber visit, get more info at http://www.redhenbaking.com
We are nearing the holidays when homemade, high-quality cookies taste SOOOO good. One of the tricks we have found to facilitate baking is the Silpat® Baking Sheet. It is a product of France and is made from food-grade, silicone which you place on baking sheets or pans. Your cookies, baked goods and pastries cook the same as on oiled pans, but without the mess. Food ALWAYS releases easily and you can also leave baked goods on the Silpat® to use it as a "cooling rack". You can usually find them where kitchen gadget are sold. Don't be put off by the initial cost; it's worth it in the long run. A good alternative is unbleached parchment paper which we used before we felt that food-grade silicone was safe in the oven. Since cooks in Europe have been using Silpat® Baking Sheets for decades and since Europe is much more health conscious than the U.S., we felt it was time to convert.
Recipe of the Month
Fresh buttercup squash on the market inspired us to bring out this cool weather breakfast recipe. Make it for a smooth, sweet start to your day.
SWEET WINTER OATS Serves 3-4.
The night before:
1 cup WHOLE oat groats1. Wash the oats as you would rice.
2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a pressure cooker. Add the oats.
3. Over high heat, bring to full pressure, maintaining high pressure for 5 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat, leave the lid closed and let stand overnight.
The next morning:
2 cups buttercup squash, diced
1. Add the squash, 1 1/2 cups of water and salt. Stir. Replace the lid and bring to full pressure over high heat.
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