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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Standing Room Only

I love it when the free programs out at the Conservancy far exceed our expectations. Like today.

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Fifty two people. Ten of them little ones. For Frank Marsden’s talk and walk about finding wildlife in winter.

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Frank told us everything we always wanted to know about scat, but were afraid to ask. Like determining the diet from the color, texture and “ingredients” found. Like how grey fox and red fox are different. How we never see grey fox as they sleep in trees.

We went out for a ninety minute hike, looking for signs of wildlife. We did find deer tracks.

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We also found out that our former ground hog habitat, a large number of interconnected holes up in the meadow, have been abandoned by the ground hogs, and are now inhabited by fox. How do we know that? The smell of fox urine, a sure sign that fox have moved in and are marking their territory.

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We had a lovely day out there, even if it was a bit windy.

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The meadows are lovely this time of year, and by taking a leisurely hike, you can find many signs of the wildlife living here. Take a hike some day. There are four miles of marked trails, and with no leaves on the trees, you can see far across the ridges to neighboring towns.

She Wolf

Bakery. In Brooklyn. With breads that just amaze with flavor.

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This is sprouted spelt. The description from their web site.

“Bread that comes out of the oven on a Saturday has a production cycle that began on Tuesday! Whole spelt berries are soaked and sprouted over the course of the week, mixed into the dough on Friday, which then undergoes an overnight cold proof before being baked on Saturday. The enzymatic activity of the sprouting process converts starches in the grains into sugars and releases an array of vitamins. Roughly 50% wheat flour, 50% whole spelt flour and ground sprouted spelt berries.”

This is our second week of the fall Community Supported Agriculture from Lancaster Farm Fresh, and this season, the bread share is back. They found this bakery in Brooklyn. Our driver tells us he picks up freshly baked loaves on Monday when he delivers produce to the restaurants and the CSA pick up spots in New York. We get them on Tuesday.

The first week, a sourdough that probably is close to the best one I have ever found.

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Chewy, dense, with just the perfect sourdough taste. We devoured that loaf in three days. I was considering adding a second bread share to have enough for a week.

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The ingredients.

While searching for information on this provider, I found a video on Bon Appetit. It gives a little more insight into the bakery, and the baker.

It doesn’t get much fresher, and it’s why I love buying from smaller regional producers. I hope they offer this bread in the other seasonal CSAs, but I wonder if they can cover the demand. The last bakery, in Lancaster, couldn’t handle the numbers that our CSA wanted.

I think that’s a good thing, in my view. We are supporting and nurturing more small entrepreneurs and looking for the best quality, and not going to the big box stores and the chain stores.

Can’t wait to see what ones we get for the next six weeks. Crossing my fingers for caraway rye and for miche.

Year Round Markets

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The end is nigh. The local farmer’s markets are almost finished. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a committed group that creates a year round market in Howard County? You know, a downtown market?

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I love the Silver Spring downtown market on Saturday mornings year round. They close a road to accommodate the vendors. Love Dove, one of our local farms heads down there to sell. According to the FreshFarm website, there are 36 vendors at the market.

I love the fact that local wineries show up on a regular basis. Multiple rotating vendors. I wish we could get a market started around here, maybe in Old Town EC, or down by the lake in Columbia, or Maple Lawn.

I have always been supportive of, and impressed by, the nonprofit group that started Olney. The group that continues to make it better. Luckily for us, they are only 10 miles down the road. This year, they are keeping the market by the hospital, and they are working to purchase tents to use in inclement weather. Their web site.

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For a few years, they moved the market to the Sandy Spring Museum. It wasn’t quite big enough and some vendors were outside, others shoe horned into the building.

I like the Sunday morning market concept. Come have breakfast. Shop a little. Browse a little. Pick up some fresh food and a few staples from local purveyors.

The mother of all Sunday morning markets is DuPont Circle in DC. Honestly. 40-50 vendors. One of my favorites. Next step produce.

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One of the reasons. They are a local farm growing grains. Many grains.

The other market in the mix. Takoma Park. Also Sunday mornings.

Really. We need to figure out how to do this. We have the local farms and vendors. We have some high density areas. It’s not bad to drive 10 miles to Olney but EC is closer.

Planning Ahead?

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Just a couple of really interesting programs are coming up next weekend over at the Howard County Conservancy Mt. Pleasant site. Followed by one of the very popular meteor shower watches on the following Tuesday. Here are the details for those planning their weekends in advance.

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Spotting Wildlife in Winter – Saturday morning the 14th at 10am. For the hikers, photographers, and nature lovers who want to learn how to see more during the winter, Frank Marsden is leading a hike through the fields, woods and along the stream out at Mt. Pleasant. Frank has been taking amazing pictures out at Eden Mill Nature Center in Harford County. He is coming into our woods to show us what to look for, and how to increase our chances of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.

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Then, on Sunday, another very special program. Do you know where Patterson Park is? Have you ever heard of Miracle Pond? Middleton Evans had made over 600 trips to this pond in a wildly overgrown section of the park. His visits, and his amazing photographs, span 15 years. He is giving a presentation in the Gudelsky Center at 4pm on the 15th of November. It should be something special.

Planning to check out the Leonids? Want to do it with some of our talented astronomical experts, like Star Doc (Dr. Joel Goodman) and Dr. Alex Storrs from Towson University? They will be bringing high powered scopes, but on a dark night like the 17th, you should be able to sit back in a lawn chair, bundled up against the cool weather, sipping some hot chocolate while looking for meteors shooting across the skies. This is always a popular event, with many attendees. Sometimes we’ve had over a 100 people out there. They will be there from 10pm until the wee hours of the morning.

This trio of programs should give us a few good reasons to “Get Out There”. Details on the Conservancy web site, under upcoming events.

Missing HOWCHOW

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Yes, I have to admit, I miss all the great local food scene trivia, and all the comments that we were used to getting from HOWCHOW’s blog. I know he is busy, with a toddler and yet, I still miss those informative posts that gave us so much information about our local restaurants, markets and stores.

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When I started my blog, he helped me. He linked to a number of posts I wrote. I wrote a couple of guest columns for him. He was the “GO TO” place to read about bakeries, butchers, ethnic groceries and so much more.

Maybe if we all ask nice, we can get him to post a simple post, once a week, asking for comments and input about the latest in the Howard County food scene.

It would certainly help us feel like we have something that focuses on us out here in the boonies.

For me, he introduced me to Ananda, and I love it. H Mart. Larriland. Town Grill. And more.

Come back, HOWCHOW, if only for a quick word or so.

After all, you helped us greet Wegmans with that Facebook page.

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There’s so much happening here in Howard County. We are missing a good source for insider information. Not asking for tons of reviews, just a quick “drive by” post that we can comment on. You know you are greatly appreciated out here.

Four More Years?

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It’s hard to believe four years have passed since I first started this blog. I was reminded of it this morning when Facebook showed me my memories. The last three “blogaversary” posts. Looking back at them, I noticed somewhat of an evolution.

The first year in.

I was talking about cooking and gardening and amateur radio, and life out here. Hasn’t changed much, has it? We had just weathered a near miss from Hurricane Sandy, who inconvenienced us while barreling up the coast. One of my goals back then was to become a year round locavore. I think I accomplished that one.

Moving on to that second anniversary.

Talk of blogging parties, and pick your own fruit and vegetables. Still engaged in the local scene. Still loving retirement out here.

Last year, the third one done.

Crediting those inspirational bloggers. Like howchow and Kitchen Scribble. Promoting the events where I still volunteer.

I miss the frequent posts from HOWCHOW. His toddler is keeping him busy. Almost too busy to go places as much as he used to do. We haven’t found anyone as prolific as he was when I started blogging. He helped me grow my following.

Where will my blog be going? Nowhere far away, yet. I still like to write, although not as often as I did in the beginning. I like the current frequency. Almost a balance. No burning need to post daily. I still haven’t accepted advertising, and never will. Those businesses that I talk about here on the blog, don’t give me anything and that’s how I like it.

So, what is ahead for me? Still gardening, cooking, traveling around the area. Reading and writing. Visiting friends. I have started messing around in ancestry.com, while cleaning out all the old papers from our families. Something new and interesting to keep us from getting boring in our old age.

Here’s to many more brilliant sunrises and sunsets. And at least four more years of blogging.

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