Return to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

So apparently it’s been 10 years since Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was published, and there is a new edition of the book out with some new chapters! I’ll have to try to get it on Overdrive. I went on, though, and saw what the Kingsolver clan has been up to: namely, opening a farm-to-table restaurant and a farm co-op in their small town of Meadowview, Virginia. Since then I have been toying with the idea of a pilgrimage to Meadowview, just for the heck of it. It would be a nice school-is-over-let’s-just-bust-out-of-here kind of trip. I have not mentioned this to hubs yet. (Click here for more about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and me.)

But one thing that news did inspire me to do is to start a master list of grocery purchases and the best way to buy them: organic or not, local or not, what season, what store, etc. This would be helpful for me to refer back to and maybe could help others. I’ll give a little example down below.

In other farm news, I signed Gemma up for a week of farm camp in July. It sounds like the cutest thing in the world: they tend animals, play in the creek, do little lessons related to farm life. I wish I could go. Also, on Mother’s Day, my mom and I are going to a brunch at that same farm (it’s about a half hour away). I don’t think I’ve ever actually been there before.

At night, Sebastian and I have been reading Charlotte’s Web, so he is getting his dose of farm goodness right there.

Aaand, locally, the question of allowing backyard chickens in my town has gone to the public for debate, via an article in the town newspaper. Important step in the hopefully eventual approval. If you live locally and support chickens, please send an email to Mayor Maley letting him know! (


We’re in the swing of spring. Nights spent at the park, at baseball games or soccer practice. I come home to my dried laundry on the line in twilight; I take it down and then get out the hose to water all the plants. So much easier this year with my extra-long hose and new nozzle with different settings. If we’re not at the park, we’re all playing catch outside or jumping on the trampoline. I bought a used glove for Aidan at Play It Again Sports so now we all have mitts that fit. (I tried to get a used batter’s helmet for Sebastian there but ended up having to get new.) Gemma also plays a lot with her two little friends across the street, switching back and forth between our two houses.


Saturday was the first farmers’ market. I wandered happily (alone!) through the whole thing, checking out what was new. I picked up my preorder of cheddar cheese, ribs, chicken and ground beef from Hillacres Pride. I also bought asparagus, potatoes (not local, I don’t think), sourdough bread and eggs. Forgive the crappy picture; lately the phone camera is hit or miss.


Better ones:




Sunday night’s dinner was almost all from the market: ground beef patties in homemade gravy, roasted asparagus, mashed potatoes, plus homemade lemonade (and canned corn). The asparagus and the beef smelled so darn good while they were cooking. Everyone ate the beef, which may be a first!

I also used the asparagus in a delicious omelette Monday night, along with some mushrooms. Somewhere in there I also made The Best Grilled Cheese Ever tm, with the sourdough bread, the Hillacres extra sharp cheddar, and mushrooms.

Got some pumpkin muffins made last Wednesday, using up all my frozen pumpkin.


Why have one to-do list when you can have five?

I received a couple Wawa gift cards for my birthday, from friends and family who know me so well, as well as other gifts. I had a great time celebrating my birthday with friends at a relatively new restaurant with a pretty beer garden overlooking Cooper River, called Cooper House. Forty ain’t so bad 🙂

Williams-Sonoma saw fit to send me a $25 gift certificate for my birthday. That plus other gift certs I have earned from them (I have a WS Visa card that I had no choice but to use earlier this year) meant that I could order a new, double-the-size food processor for only $30. And it just arrived. I had a four-cup one, which is just too small to really get anything done properly.

In the garden, I’ve added russet potatoes to empty spots in the snap peas bed. We’ll see how that goes. And everything save one bed is in full plant prison. Hardware cloth plus bird netting. Nothing gets in or out except sun and water! Carrots have sprouted and everything else looks good. I need to get in there today and thin the arugula and lettuce (salad time). (Click on pictures for captions)



OK, so, quickly, because I have like 36 other things I’m supposed to be doing right now, I’m going to use my most recent shopping list as a starter for this master list of how/where/when to buy food and other items. Then if I really get the master list done, I will make it like a pinned post or something.

Here is the list I took with me to Shop Rite on Monday (of course, I bought more than this):

Matches, butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pickles, cat litter, cat food, napkins, sausage, cereal, Slim-Fast, paper towels, saltine crackers, shampoo and conditioner, hummus, waffles, Cocoa Pebbles, Goldfish, Cheez Its, sugar, milk, bread, corn (canned)

Matches? Ha. I couldn’t find them.

Butter: I actually got this a few days before at Whole Foods. After reading an article about how certain organic dairy brands may not be so at all, in the Washington Post, I am rededicating myself to buying Organic Valley brand dairy, and will start to look for more local options.

Garlic: I usually will buy organic garlic if it’s available. But not so fast! A quick Internet search tells me this is dumb because garlic, onions etc. don’t need pesticides because their strong smell keeps pests away. (And, this article says, same for broccoli and cauliflower). Hmmm. So, I guess I would say best options are 1. grow your own, 2. buy from a local farm in season, and buy in bulk from them to store it all winter, and then last resort 3. regular grocery store garlic from California.



This is interesting, but exhausting, because the “g” and “h” keys still only work sporadically, so I have to type a bunch of gibberish, then wait for those letters to start working and go back and fill them in. More next time.


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