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Mainely Tipping Points

Archive for July 2011

Turkey Tracks: Garden Bounty

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Turkey Tracks:  July 31, 2011

Garden Bounty

Mike, Tami, and the kiddos left Thursday morning for the two-day drive home to Charleston.  We miss them already.

 Miss Reynolds Georgia is so thrown off that she has pooped in the house for three days running.  Here’s the kind of attention she misses from all four children:

Here’s a picture I particularly loved–taken at the Camden Amphitheater during a music concert.  Wilhelmina’s hand is missing.  The children were new to making clover chains and insisted I make crowns, necklaces, and ankle/wrist bracelets:

Garden Bounty pours forth.  Here’s a picture of fresh-picked raspberries.  The bushes are thriving on the chicken-coop bedding dressings in spring and fall.

Here’s a picture of what we picked yesterday evening–except for a large bowl of raspberries that went home with Barb Melchiskey.  We got two kinds of onions–spring and bulb; the first zuke; beans–HARICOT VERTES we can’t wait to eat and Dragon’s Tongue (Heritage seed); and what is probably the last of the sweet peas you can eat right off the vine or blanche quickly–we love them on salads:

Written by louisaenright

July 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Interesting Information: An Unlikely Crusader For Food Safety

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Robyn O’Brien, a former Wall Street analyst, watched in horror while her youngest child (of 4 children) experienced a food allergy attack one morning- -while eating a breakfast of waffles, eggs, and tube yogurt.  The experience set O’Brien off on a journey to understand why and what she could do about it in order to protect her family.

The video is 18 FAST minutes (because it’s so interesting and informative)–and ends with the suggestion that we can all begin to make small, incremental steps toward insuring that our food supply is once again made safe.


O’Brien also has a web site that seeks to help and to inform:  http://allergykidsfoundation.org.

PS:  O’Brien surfaces the information that the United States has higher cancer rates than anywhere else on the planet–due mostly to our use of untested chemicals in and on our foods.

Written by louisaenright

July 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: Blueberry Buckle

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Turkey Tracks:  July 24, 2011

Blueberry Buckle

We’re still making desserts this summer from recipes in RUSTIC FRUIT DESSERTS, Julie Richardson and Cory Schreiber:  http://www.amazon.com/Rustic-Fruit-Desserts-Crumbles-Pandowdies/dp/1580089763.   (A book suggested by Tara Derr.)  We freeze about 20 pounds of ORGANIC wild Maine blueberries every August, which our wonderful CSA, Hope’s Edge, makes available to us.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had wild Maine blueberries.  They are much smaller than the big round ones most people can get in supermarkets.  And, they’re chock full of flavor.  Once you’ve had these little guys, the big blueberries seem utterly tasteless.  So, be warned!

Now, the “wild” Maine blueberries are anything but wild.  Yes, there are some wild blueberries at the edges of our woods.  But, commercial wild blueberries are a wild myth!  They’re heavily cultivated, actually.  And in the harvest year, which is every other year, the commercial (as in NOT organic) are heavily sprayed with all sorts of heinous and poisonous pesticides and herbicides that get into the watershed (atrazine compounds)–in Maine we have a LOT of watershed–just take a look at a map of  Maine–and that stay in the ground for up to 175 days, like the organophosphates often used as pesticides.  Organophosphates attack an insect’s nervous system.  And it remains a mystery to me why people think a compound that attacks nervous systems is NOT going to affect THEIR nervous systems–especially when it hangs around for 175 days on the ground, gets tracked into homes on shoes and clothes, and when it, often, gets INTO the plants and berries themselves and CANNOT be washed out.

Many of these chemicals kill bees and any other insect that gets in the spray, which, in turn, affects the bird population.  But, since commercial bees (poor things) are trucked in from across the country to pollinate the crop BEFORE it is sprayed, it’s our LOCAL bees and hives that are at risk.  (How dumb is that?)    And, many of these chemicals affect a human’s endocrine system (read reproductive ability), cause birth defects, cancer, and so on.  (How doubly dumb is that?)  The EPA is going to render a new verdict on atrazine in the near future, and it’s already been banned in Europe.

So, if you want to try a “wild” Maine blueberry–for heaven’s sake–buy organic ones.  Or come up here and pick some yourself!

Anyway, since I usually make blueberry cobblers, making a blueberry buckle was an experiment.  So, far, it’s been voted the favorite dessert and has been repeated once more.  (It’s GREAT for breakfast too.)  It’s a rich cake, studded with blueberries and lemon, topped with a crunchy crumb topping, and drizzled with an intense lemon glaze when it’s still warm.  Here’s a picture:

Here’s a better one!

Turkey Tracks: “Corinne’s Beach Braid,” A Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  July 24, 2011

“Corinne’s Beach Braid,” A Quilt

Last February during my annual trip to Williamsburg, VA, to quilt with my Virginia quilt friends and to attend the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show, I started a special quilt for my daughter-in-law–and new mother–Corinne–whose birthday is the day after mine.  Pisces!  ( And yes, we both love water.)

I used a French Braid pattern from FRENCH BRAID QUILTS, by Jane Hardy Miller and Arlene Netten, which I have long admired.


Since Corinne lives on Isle of Palms, SC, 2 blocks from the beach, I wanted to use blues, greens, and sandy colors, from light to dark–with a contrasting inner diamond of red/orange–all batiks.

To execute the pattern I picked from the book, one was supposed to pick about 10 fabrics for a run, with 2 for starting and ending triangles.  (These quilts can be directional, with a run of fabrics that moves from light to dark, or vice versa.)  I came home with more like 14 in total.  So, the two runs together, made for a LONG narrow quilt, which I realized when I saw the first few runs actually completed.  I knew I had to add two more runs at a minimum and that I would be bumping up against my long-arm machine width limit of about 83 inches.

I had used all of the orange-ish batik fabric I was using for the inner diamonds, and I was lucky enough to find it THE LAST DAY of the big quilt show in Williamsburg.

Finally, I discovered Anne Bright pantographs for the quilting and found two that had beach motifs–I ordered the one with sea horses, stars, big conch shells, and so forth for the body of the quilt, and the one with flip-flops and shells for the border–which would mean I would have to repin the quilt sides after quilting the top and bottom borders and the body of the quilt to get at the side borders.   You can see Anne Bright’s web site at http://www.annebright.com/shop/category/store/paper-pantographs/.

So, here’s the finished quilt across the end of the bed:

And, here it is from out upper front porch–in bright sun which has distorted the colors.  John and valient Talula (tiny hands on the left) are holding it.  You can just about make out the flip-flop pattern on the bottom border.

Several long-arm quilters strongly suggested that I use a poly thread–So Fine–for the bobbin thread.  As it is fine, a bobbin goes a long way.  And, So Fine seems to make the top,  cotton thread stand up.  But, the downside, I discovered, is that the elaborate patterns I used on the body of the quilt and on the borders and the stitch-in-the-ditch I did so well do not show on the back of the quilt at all.  See:

Here are some close-ups of some of the braids:

I really love this quilt, and I’d love to make more with the French Braid pattern.  It’s a fun pattern to do and would lend itself to all kinds of interesting color schemes and fabrics.  From now on though, I’m remaining an all-cotton girl!

Written by louisaenright

July 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Interesting Information: Healthy 4 Life and Please Don’t Eat the Wallpaper.

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When someone asks me how to start changing their food consumption habits, I usually recommend NOURISHING TRADITIONS, Sally Fallon Morrell and Dr. Mary Enig, both of the Weston A. Price Foundation–which also has a really good web site.

But, this past year, the WAPF came out with a very short little book–their answer to the travesty of the USDA’S food guide, whose formation is driven by the market–not science–and which is guaranteed to make you sick.  I really like this little book.  It’s an excellent and easy guide to changing your life.  NOURISHING TRADITIONS is an amazing book and is chock full of information, so that would be the next place to go in your journey.

WAPF will send you HEALTHY 4 LIFE for about $12.   They also have a great shopping guide and lots of informative pamphlets on soy (really bad), raw milk, and so forth.

In addition, Dr. Nancy Irven, after working with high school students, published PLEASE DON’T EAT THE WALLPAPER, available at amazon.com at least for about $14 as I recall.  Irven’s goal is to get students to own their own health and diet by first understanding why high fructose corn syrup, white flour, and trans fats are really bad sugar, glue, and plastic.  Get those three out of the diet, she explains, and the other bad additives, etc., drop out with them.  Irven has a light touch and funny sense of humor, and the high school program she’s been working with on diet has been highly successful.

In short, there’s so much really bad information out there that teenagers, who are often adrift on their own in terms of food anyway, don’t know what to eat.  Since this same condition is true for many Americans, Irven’s little book is useful for all ages.

Turkey Tracks: Maine Summer Pictures July 2011

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Turkey Tracks:  July 13, 2011

Maine Summer Pictures July 2011

Time is flying by so fast.  We have hit our summer groove.  Up early.  Breakfast.  Chores (pick the garden, pick the strawberries and raspberries, water plants, change sheets, organize food, wash clothes, etc.).  Fun activity (swimming most days now, hiking, a trip to somewhere fun).  Lunch.  Quiet time.  More play.  Dinner.  More play.  Bedtime rituals (baths, stories).  Sleep.

Here are some pictures I’ve been too busy to post:

On July 4th weekend, we all went to a charming outdoor bell concert, courtesy of the St. Luke Concert Handbell Choir, from Gales Ferry, CT.  The choir was made up of high school students.  They let our kiddos try out a small hand-chime each.

Here are Kelly and Wilhelmina listening to one of the choir’s selections:

Here is a picture of one side of our amazingly beautiful Camden Library amphitheater where moss and wild strawberries grow in the cracks of the steps:

Here are two girly indians and two girly dogs hard at play:

Pop and “the crew” took apart the garden bench and repainted all the metal:

Tami took this picture of “the hikers,” most with a walking stick from the woods:

We got rhubarb in our CSA the first week, so I saved it for when the kiddos came.  We made a rhubarb cake that was delicious from a recipe in RUSTIC FRUIT DESSERTS, Julie Richardson and Cory Schreiber:  http://www.amazon.com/Rustic-Fruit-Desserts-Crumbles-Pandowdies/dp/1580089763.   (A book suggested by Tara Derr.)  I don’t mind making a cake like this one upon occasion when I’m using fruit, real butter, really good eggs, and a limited amount of sugar and white flour.

Finally, here’s a picture of our sugar snap peas putting out the goods.  Often, the children eat them raw as fast as I can pick them.

Written by louisaenright

July 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Interesting Information: “Why Go Organic” video

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This little video, done by a child after an experiment, speaks to why you do not want to eat commercial potatoes in any form.

Do take a look?



Here’s a site discussing the video and chlorpropham, the chemical at issue.  According to PAN (Pesticide Action Network), it is toxic to bees and retards growth in animals–and can kill them.




Written by louisaenright

July 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm