Just when I was beginning to think I had fallen victim to the magic troll-mirror, trapped in a snowy kingdom where everything seems ugly and depressing, the sun came out, it stopped snowing, and we had a couple days with temps above freezing. Even the gals of Great Cluck Egg Farm have seemed happier recently – they have been clucking away in the barn unable to romp around outside and somehow on the warmer days they seem more content – as if they know what I do – the snow is slowly very slowly melting. My Tuesday trip earlier this week to The Holy Donut for a Fresh Lemon Donut might have helped my mood a bit. So did the productive evening I had last week when I made a couple pillow covers from the brightly colored fabric I purchased in the Democratic Republic of Congo last spring. And then, there is the pot of basil on the dining room table by the one bouquet of pretty cut flowers I allow myself each week. Anything to brighten up the place!
Sunday I will visit the beehives out back and give them enough candyboard to keep them fed and presumably happy till they can begin foraging. The bees always cheer me up. They remind me of the promise of warmer weather and with it gardening and long days full of light spent hands and sometimes feet in the dirt. On the bright side, on one of the warmish days I cleared a path out to the hives (wish I had taken a photo of the feathered gals lined up in the doorway looking at me and all the snow anxiously wanting so badly to go out). No wading through thigh high snow to get to them. Yay!
Better Late Than Never
King Arthur Flour introduced Sift Magazine this week. It has recipes (hot cross buns!), beautiful images, and an article by my friend Monica Michael Willis “At the Middle Eastern Table” – hello Pita Bread with Baba Ghanoush accompanied by a glass of Pomegranate Punch. I also love the article on Jeffrey Hamelman – Master Baker and a beekeeper!
As someone who loves East Africa I encourage you to read this article in The New York Times on how international terror/travel warnings are ruining Kenya’s coastal tourism industry. If you adhere to every warning the U.S. State Department puts out well you might just never go anywhere outside and maybe not even to Western Europe. American officials are fear mongers. Nairobi has a reputation for security issues – robbery, petty theft, and armed carjacking – and the police for being corrupt. That said, if you use common sense (don’t flash money, dress like a tourist, walk around at night by yourself, or protect your money…in crowded markets) and/or travel with an established tour agency chances are you will be fine. I sure hope to go in the next year! After that it would seem between Islamic militants and our own government it may not be that safe a place to travel to. Heck, while I was in Uganda folks were telling me how friends of theirs cancelled their safari tours to Kenya and Tanzania because of Ebola. Ebola! Seriously, that’s like a case being reported in Maine and someone from Africa not traveling to California because of it. Seriously.
Looking for ways to give back? The book A Path Appears by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn shines a light on ways individuals and organizations can help transform lives. Biggest takeaway from the book – the idea of creating a giving circle that meets once every month to explore ways to make a difference – donating money, organizing an event, helping out at a local food bank… I met with a friend yesterday regarding starting one up – maybe combining it with a book club.
I have also approached a couple organizations – one in Rwanda, one in Uganda – about my holding a marketplace this summer or next holiday season – selling their beautiful handmade goods (think wooden bookends of giraffes or lions) and returning 100% of the profit to them to support their educational/craft… programs for women.
Doris Ulmann beautifully and gracefully photographed the southeastern United States around the turn of the 19th century. Her images of the farmers’ wife, a fruit-stand owner, a blacksmith, grandmothers, grandfathers, and great-grandsons transport the viewer back in time into the rural valleys of Tennessee and North Carolina.