Early Garden Prep

We’ve been having a record-breaking cold and rainy spring so far but it’s still time to start with gardening prep, both ornamental and vegetable. It might seem strange to those not from Maine to think of people flocking to the plant nurseries in wet and blustery cold weather to buy annuals that will only live for a short season. It makes complete sense, however! Summer in Maine is a Very Special Occasion deserving of festive flowers and the planting beautiful life forms. It’s still too early to plant, but never too soon to buy as long as you can keep the plants warm.

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A Simple Truth: Dairy Farming is the Veal Industry.

I’ve previously mentioned on my blog that I once lived down the road from a lovely (now defunct) small family-owned dairy with very happy-looking cows. I enjoyed gazing out at them as they grazed on grass. Sometimes when they were close to the fence by the road I would talk to them. (No one else was around.) This image of dairy cows stuck with me and was a model of everything that industrial factory farming is not. However, it wasn’t until a local news story came out about Peace Ridge Sanctuary that provides a forever home and care for formerly abused and neglected farm animals that I learned that veal production is the “byproduct” of dairy farming. Cows give birth to both bull calves and heifers, but only the female calves will go on to produce milk. So what happens to the baby bull calves, and does buying organic or from a small farm make a difference in their fate? 

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My Repurposed Antique Cedar Chest Coffee Table

I had purchased our previous coffee table at an estate sale about ten years ago straight from an in-law house with early 1970s furnishings. I liked it at the time (never loved it) up until this past weekend after I visited an acquaintance living in a 200 plus year old home. I loved the look of an antique blanket chest as a coffee table which they had in their living room, so much so that when I got home I decided I wanted a “new” coffee table. Antique blanket chests can be quite expensive and I don’t see them often at estate sales. Then I remembered the cedar chest in the sunroom!

When I bought it (also at an estate sale and it was packed with vintage linens) it was covered with watered down white paint, so we had covered it up and been using for storage and gardening supplies. Inspired, I went into the sunroom with a scouring pad, sponge and soapy water.

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Recipe: Traditional Maine Baked Beans

Baked beans and church bean “suppahs” are a staple of Maine’s food culture. They are healthy, wholesome, nutritious, economical and delicious. Using a few simple inexpensive ingredients you can make a large pot of beans to serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

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Happy Easter!

Buster was out early this morning before the rain and feasted on a slice of Mandarin orange and sunflower seeds. We went to church, enjoyed a lovely service and coffee hour before we came home to a simple Easter luncheon, the menu for which is now a tradition since we enjoyed it so much last year.

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Beautiful Maine Made Cotton & Wool Blankets

Many of my long-time readers know how much I love vintage linens and changing up our bedding to create different looks. I broke from tradition last fall and bought a new (as in not new old stock but NEW new) wool blanket online that was made in France. Other than being a drab color like most every wool blanket on the market it seemed nice enough until I realized that the French on the label said it had been mothproofed! I do NOT want to have a chemical-treated blanket against my skin! I sent it back.

Wayne and I took a ride up to Freeport last weekend to buy him a few things at Brooks Brothers. Afterward we stopped in the Maine Woolens outlet. I had never been in it before and assumed they were selling ubiquitous made in China blankets perhaps with added kitschy lighthouses or starfish on them. I was not anticipating the wonderful surprise inside!

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Be a Rebel. Eat a Potato!

I’m naughty, according to many “experts”. I eat a lot of potatoes! Potatoes have an unscientific and undeserved bad reputation among many who recoil at consuming carbohydrates. When I wrote my first vintage diet book I received some feedback from people stating that the wholesome foods I mentioned in the book, like potatoes, make people fat! They will give you diabetes! (Fact: the American Diabetes Association states you CAN have potatoes even when you have diabetes!)

The humble potato, instead of being branded as bad for you or any weight loss program, should have rock star food status. It’s subversive yet secretly healthy! Potatoes in raw form are inexpensive, simple to prepare, delicious and readily available at most grocery stores. They are also a Maine diet staple. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

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Grace Before Meals For This Recovering Ingrate

When I first started “eating retro” and lost weight over ten years ago I was leaving behind the tyranny of an insatiable appetite which seemingly stemmed from two issues: my relationship to food and eating junk. Underlying the usual analysis of overeating and weight loss was that I was feeling sorry for myself. Why? Because I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted when I wanted without consequences. I was also attached to the illusion that a lifestyle of eating too much, especially sugar and refined carbs was somehow good for my soul. I mistook edible artifice for nourishment. I was always “hungry” but was feeding the wrong appetite. I was focused on eating all the things instead of seeing all the gifts from a healthy relationship to and with food. Why would I, right? Shouldn’t I be entitled to unlimited access to what was mine? Did God put food on my table? No! I worked hard to put that food on the table, and why even talk about God when all I wanted was an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

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My Outdated Vintage Eat-In Kitchen

We live in a culture of RENOVATE! UPDATE! BE ON TREND! with the specific dictates changing frequently. We’re confronted with TV shows where a perfectly serviceable kitchen is perceived as some sort of ugly moral failing followed by gleeful smashing it to pieces (instead of salvaging and donating it) to make room for whatever their sponsor/producer/unchecked budget is providing them. Online “influencers” show off their HGTV-worthy homes that are often renovated with a high frequency.  It can be easy to feel like there’s something wrong with good enough if it’s not fashionable.

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