Sunday, August 28, 2011

To the Market
Sunday around here is market day. Over the years the Chattanooga market has gotten bigger and bigger. This year it celebrates it's tenth anniversary! We love to go and buy fresh local produce usually picked just that morning or the day before. Our market also has an array of local crafts people selling everything from homemade clothes and hand spun wool to hand crafted pottery and jewelry. Also, there is usually some live entertainment. It has become the highlight of our weekend. On this morning trips we bought three large candy onions, a whole bag of spring mix lettuce, and another bag of cayenne and jalapeno peppers. We spent a grand total of six dollars. It really excites me to see the crowds getting larger and larger too. It shows that people really are interested in fresh local goods. I saw some peaches that looked very tempting. I think if they still have them next Sunday I'm going to load up.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fun at the Park

picture taken by CGM member Lisa

A few months ago I joined a meet up grow called Chattanooga Green Moms. I really felt it was important to let Isabelle play with other kids her age, and for us day care is not an option. It's been a lot of fun and I re-connected with an old acquaintance who was also a member. Every other Wednesday we meet at a local park and let the kids play. Today we had lots of fun. Outside time is so so important for kids. It's so easy to just stick them in front of the TV, but the TV is not a good babysitter. Isabelle so loves to play outside, and if she doesn't get to I've noticed that is when she's her crankiest. In fact, I believe outside time is important for adults too!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Favorite Pan

My sister called me recently because she had bought a cast iron skillet, and she knew it couldn't go in the dishwasher, but she wasn't sure exactly how to take care of it. She called me because I am always cooking with cast iron. My skillet is the most used thing in my kitchen. Cast iron pans are so great! They are versatile - you can use them on stove top, in the oven, or even over open flame - and just require a good wipe down when you are finished with them!. (If you must scrub it, NEVER use soap! Only use hot water and dry immediately with a towel!) Back in the day, people had to season their pans to make them non-stick, but these days I believe you buy them already seasoned. In fact the only remaining producer of cast iron cookwares (Lodgestone) in the US is right here in Tennessee. Mine, like so many things I have that I cherish, came from my Grandma. With her arthritis she can't lift them anymore, so I got her collection. This included two large skillets, one of which I gave to my dad, a small skillet, a big dutch oven, and one of those molds shaped like corn cobs for corn bread. I use the large skillets so much that it lives on my stove top. I have a glass top stove (I often lust after the gas stove at my parents house). I have heard that it is not recommended you use cast iron on those, but I have and haven't had a problem. I just have to be careful when I am moving it around not to slam it on the stove top. A good cast iron skillet, if cared for properly, can last for generations.  I wonder does anyone else prefer cast iron too?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Letting in the Fresh Air

This is a picture of the window above the kitchen sink. It looks out to part of the back yard. When I woke up this morning is was a wonderful 66 degrees outside. I switched off the AC which wasn't running anyway and opened all the windows. That is one of the things I'm most excited for this fall. Last fall we hadn't had then new windows put in yet and could only open the one in the bathroom and the one in the kitchen. When I went out to check the mail, the neighbor was checking his and he asked if our air was broken because he noticed all our windows were open (I'm sure he actually heard Isabelle screaming at the top of her lung. She thinks it's funny to scream as loud as she can. She giggles like crazy after each scream.) I thought that was funny. I told him no, I just really enjoyed letting the fresh air in. It's 84 degrees outside right now, but the humidity is very low and there is a breeze. I think it feels wonderful! And one of my favorite things in the world is to be working in the kitchen with the windows open, listing to all the outside noises and feeling the breeze blowing through the house. You just can't bottle that kind of fresh air.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


My friends, I am at war. The evil enemy? Weeds. They have staged a coup and are attempting to take over the world! Or at the very least my garden. And I have to say, they are damn close. Is it just me or does it seem that the hotter it gets, and the more other things - things you want like my pole beans for example - wither the more aggressive weeds get. It's like they know it's so hot outside you won't be out there as often as you should, so they use the opportunity to multiply like bunnies. Is oppressive, humid heat the ideal mating conditions for weeds? Today it's only in the upper 80's, and overcast, so I took the opportunity to give my garden some much needed TLC. I need to prepare beds and get going on my late summer planting. I hope to add collard greens and another round of radishes to the resident list. But oh the weeds! I just spent the last two hours yanking and cursing my way through the garden, getting stung by a wasp and attacked by ants, who I believe are in cahoots with the weeds. And what's more frustrating? When you sit back panting, thinking you've finally got one clear patch, and you look away, assessing your next target, when you look back, more weeds magically appear, laughing at you. And then there's the neighbors. All around shaking their heads at the "hippie" lady yelling at her plants while they spray another dose of roundup over every nook and cranny of their yards. If I were a weed I'd want to live in my yard too.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chemical Pregnancy

Chemical Pregnancy? I'd never even heard of such a thing until I went to the doctor for my first prenatal exam. A chemical pregnancy starts out just like a normal one, sperm and egg meet, hook up, and make their way together up to the uterus to implant and make baby. In a normal pregnancy the now fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, and divides into two. Half will be a placenta and half will be a baby. In a chemical pregnancy after implantation for some reason the process just stops. There is no divide, and ultimately, no baby. A woman who is experiencing a chemical pregnancy will show positive results on a home pregnancy test, as well as possibly even experience some early pregnancy symptoms, because of the presence of pregnancy hormones. This is what happened to me. I'm told it's not the same thing as a miscarriage because there was never any baby, but let me tell you if you've gone around thinking you had a baby growing inside, it sure feels the same. I have to say I was crushed. I've had a few days now to come to terms, and really I am okay. We weren't trying to get pregnant or anything, and I'm only 26 so I still have time. I have learned, though, that this is one of those reasons people wait to break the news. I wish I had gone to the doctor before I told folks the news. Fortunately I didn't tell too many people, just my immediate family.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Laundry Liquid

I can't believe it is August already! July just flew by! This time of year is so so busy! Yesterday, I made a batch of laundry liquid using Rhonda's recipe from Down to Earth . This is the first time I've done this, but I think the savings will be well worth the time spent making the liquid (which wasn't very long at all - like half an hour). I had a hard time finding all of the ingredients locally, so I ordered them all from I spent a total of 27 dollars and the shipping was free. I received enough supplies to make about 60 litres of laundry liquid! Of course I won't make that much all at once. But comparing pricing, at the store where I shop, the cheapest brand (which I can't use because it aggravates my skin) goes for about five dollars for a litre and a half. If you want to purchase "environmentally friendly" liquid, which I do, it's about seven dollars for a litre and a half. For about four and a half dollars, I made 10 litres of laundry liquid. Like I said, totally worth it!