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Category Archives: Howard County

Just Fiddlin’ Around

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With the Fireflies. At the Howard County Conservancy this Thursday night, weather permitting. The Conservancy always has this event in late June. It is one of the most popular evening family events.

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Look at the children’s craft area from a few years back.

The treat. Bill Wellington.

Telling stories. Playing music that gets you up and dancing.

Bring a picnic. Some good salads, dips, bread, cheese.

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Relax on the grounds. Meet some new friends. The event is from 6-9 PM and it’s only $10 a car.

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There’s even room to play a little catch up on the farmhouse lawn.

Summer Weekends in Old Town

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With tonight’s First Friday events in Old Town Ellicott City, the summer fests and markets and events begin in earnest. It doesn’t get more interesting than Yappy Hour at the Wine Bin, or movies on Saturday night, or just strolling Main Street and eating at the restaurants.

On the first Friday of every month, the shops stay open late, until 9 PM or later. Check out the events page to see the latest.

As for the movie schedule, the refrigerator magnet always lets you know what will be playing on the outside wall of the Wine Bin.

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Tomorrow if the weather gods cooperate, they will be showing Grease. Tonight is Yappy Hour, again check the weather notices on their web site.

Our other favorite activity on Friday nights, when the weather isn’t as awful as it has been this year. Wine and goodies on the upstairs patio at Pure Wine Cafe.

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I’m inclined to buy those lovely rockfish tacos. Maybe with a side of truffle fries. A nice light white wine.

I also have been known to stock up on summer wines at the Wine Bin, like this goody.

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A good boxed wine from Spain. Trust me on this one. You want it in your fridge.

My other favorite activity in Old Town. The Saturday morning farmer’s market.

People who are lucky enough to live there. They get the best of small town and “city” living. In a walkable community.

If we could only get this rain to go away.

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Some Enchanted Evening

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One of my very favorite evenings to enjoy the beauty of Mt. Pleasant. And the Conservancy where I volunteer.

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Wandering around the Honors Garden, sampling wine and food from a large number of caterers. Mussels. Shrimp and grits. Lovely little mini caprese salads.

Heading up to the barn, for the Jailbreak beer.

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And Mission BBQ, and Elkridge Furnace Inn.

It was a fun evening. The only fundraiser the Conservancy does. Close to 500 people pre-registered and there were many more walk up purchases of tickets.

Makes for a great event, for a treasure in our county.

The wine was great, too. Thanks to Cindy’s Liquors for that.

Now, I get to put together those community garden baskets for the winners of the silent auction.

Shopping at Friends and Farms

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Somewhere along the line, we reduced our reliance on grocery stores and increased what we bought from our CSA and our regional food bag.

Like our combinations at Friends and Farms.

The Protein and Dairy bag.

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Today we got monkfish, ground chuck, eggs, cheese and turkey filets. Instead of milk, I pick extra produce. Today it was arugula.

Arugula was also in my sample produce bag, which I went on line to choose. My CSA doesn’t start until next week so I went on line to order a produce bag.

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One with a protein option. Shrimp.

You can customize all kinds of combinations with this company. And buy extras at the warehouse.

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Like yogurt and ice cream and apples and rice. Meat options too, which I saw on the blackboard. Whole chickens. Beef brisket. Specials every week as they try to keep the inventory in the freezer at a minimum.

Most of our food comes from here, and our CSA. No recalled foods from small local suppliers. No vegetables with possible listeria contamination. No meat products with wood, metal, plastic or whatever in them. I am a true believer in buying from small local companies, and knowing who processes your food.

Just to show how easy it is to come home and make an awesome dinner.

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I sautéed that monkfish. Added it to a skillet of rice and vegetables.

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Made a fish stew that will go into my regular rotation. It was that good.

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This was simple. Yesterday I made a couple of cups of rice in my rice cooker. The leftovers from dinner become an addition to tonight’s dinner. I sautéed onions, garlic, and asparagus in olive oil. Added a container of crushed tomatoes. A container or spicy kale and bean soup. A teaspoon of sugar. A half teaspoon of salt. A splash of wine. After sautéing the monkfish I finished it in this mix.

Served with this.

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A locally produced merlot.

Between the local markets, farms, CSAs and Friends and Farms, I don’t need to go to grocery stores. Unless I need toilet paper.

Yeah I forgot to photograph the final dish. It was served over arugula. Which was in my produce bag and my sample bag.

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A double dose of arugula.

Tractor Supply Chicks and Brighton Azalea Garden Update

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The new most searched topics for this blog. How much are those chicks? Are the azaleas blooming?

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First, the azaleas. Yesterday I was told out at the gardens that they are at the 35-40% mark for blooms. Tomorrow should be a good day to go, or next week, as more varieties respond to this warmer weather.

Oh, and take money. $6 per person to tour the gardens. Under 16, and 65 and over, don’t pay. This is new. I don’t know how rigorously they will enforce it during the week, but on weekends, they will be collecting money. I understand it. The gardens needed lots of work. Older plants died, and they have replanted extensively the last few years. The gardens are still lovely. Worth taking the time to visit.

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As for those baby chicks, not many left at the Mt. Airy store today, and they are on sale for a buck a bird. Yep, $1 each. Minimum of six chicks, unless there are just a few left. A couple of the tubs had sold signs on all the chicks in them. I suppose that when they get a few weeks older, they are eating more and the profit margin is shrinking.

While we were there today, I did pick up shallots for my garden. And, a bag of snap peas to plant. Tomorrow I will head up to my garden to continue planting. Not quite ready for the tomatoes for two more weeks, and the zukes and cukes won’t go in until the end of May. Too much of a risk. They don’t like any cold nights.

Spring is definitely hitting us hard now. If only the pollen would go away.

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Sharp’s Farm is Open

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The greenhouses opened today.

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If you have never visited the farm at Waterford, you have missed a great opportunity to purchase seedlings and plugs of heirloom and hybrid herbs, vegetables and flowers.

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Most of my perennial herbs behind my kitchen came from them. I buy my heirloom tomatoes there. They are conveniently located. A simple drive using scenic back roads. Head north on the Homewood, Folly Quarter, Triadelphia intercounty connector. Take a right on Sharp Road (named for the original family farm) and bear left onto Dorsey Mill which becomes Roxbury, and ends at Rte. 97. Head south (left) for just a few miles to Jennings Chapel. The alternative is the interstate but I find it more interesting to take that scenic route near the old location of the farm.

The farm itself is lovely.

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You may even spot the eagles nesting out by the lake.

I also buy my heavy row cover for my garden there. They have many unusual vegetables too. Like Malabar spinach. Or artichokes.

Not a bad way to spend a spring morning. We’ll be there sometime in the next two days to get tomatoes, herbs, cukes, zucchini and some supplies.

Wednesday Wisdom

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As opposed to Tidbit Tuesday. Just a few odds and ends about things happening around here.

Like a very special event this weekend at the Conservancy. How to build bee houses to attract bees into your habitat. To help the pollination process, for your flowers and vegetables. Build Bee Boxes with Paula Becker. Human beings have depended upon animal pollinators for millennia. With the loss of natural habitat for insects, birds, and other animals, we now have the opportunity to return the favor. Explore some ways in which our natural communities overlap, opportunities for conflict and co-existence, and discuss our perceptions and expectations of the natural world. We’ll also share ways we can adjust our landscaping so everyone benefits (and lawn care is reduced!). We will also make some easy bee housing, which doesn’t involve stinging.

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Bees are amazing.

The program, rain or shine, takes place Saturday morning at Mt. Pleasant in Woodstock. You can make your own bee box to take home and hang.

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