Today is strawberry preserve making day.  The strawberries were beautiful at the farmers market, so I impulse bought a flat of them.  I think that I am going to make two batches.  The first one is a basic recipe but the other is pretty fancy sounding, Strawberry Preserves with Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar.  I am really looking forward to having some homemade jams around, because it has been a while since I’ve done any preserving.

Strawberry rinsed and ready for preserve-making.

Other fun food preservation experiments:


For a long time I’ve been reading about people deciding to chuck it all and go back to living a self-sustainable life on their own land. Supposedly this is a trend, but I didn’t believe it until it hit the Wall Street Journal. You know the biggest, baddest, pro-huge business regardless of the real costs newspaper.

Peggy Noonan’s column last Friday, Goodbye Bland Affluence, was all about moving back to the farm and being sustainable. Giving up the finer (read more expensive) things in life, to live in a more holistic, less driven manner.

Now, I am obviously a big proponent of living within your means, and I love the idea of us all giving up most conspicuous consumption. I think that when we focus on our stuff, we loose sight of the things that are actually important to us.  Getting sometimes becomes more important than time with family and friends, and we forget that we can have fun without spending money.

The problem is that it is hard not to focus on our stuff.  This is how we judge others in our society.  It is also how we have been trained to use our free time. We go shopping more than we need to, and we almost always find things at the store that we never knew we always needed.

All this goes back to my initial surprise at reading this post in the Wall Street Journal.  For the record, I actually like this paper, but arguably they have a vested interest in furthering conspicuous consumption based just on their name alone.  Not the ones that you would imagine to be advocating for a simpler life.


For more on conspicuous consumption, or the lack of it:

Whenever a newly pregnant woman tells someone that they are planning on cloth diapering their baby, they are inevitably met with the same response: a disbelieving smirk. Trust me on this one, I have been on the receiving end of this very annoying gaze more times than I care to count for almost a year now.

At first, I was on the fence about cloth diapering; mainly because of the common perception that disposables are so much easier that has completely pervaded our culture. Then I actually researched it.

Modern cloth diapering is really very simple, especially for the first six months if the baby is exclusively breastfed. My hubby jokes that breastmilk poo is this magical substance. Supposedly, it doesn’t smell bad and it completely dissolves in water, making it safe to just throw the dirty diapers into the washing machine. As to the smell, it’s not horrible, but I find it funny that sweet smelling breastmilk poo is listed often as a benefit of breastfeeding. I can, however, attest to the fact that it does seem to magically disappear in the washing machine.

Once I found out about this magical disappearing act, I was sold. I figured that even if I only use cloth diapers for the first six months, that is still saving the world from at least a thousand dirty disposables in the landfills.

So far, I have been completely happy with the results. We haven’t had one case of diaper rash, which judging from all the diaper rash advertisements, seems like a national epidemic. I also haven’t had to send hubby out at 2:00 am because we ran out of diapers. All this and the cloth diapers these days work the same as disposables, meaning no pins and very few leaks (certainly no more than we have had the few times that we’ve used disposables).


Baby stuff galore:

I know that I’ve been sadly remiss on this blog. We welcomed our new little boy in late December, and I have had my hands full. The last trimester and the first three months of his life have been quite a whirlwind, and I hadn’t been feeling all that new old-fashioned-y.

I’ve settled into my new role as a new old-fashioned mama though, and am now ready to get back on the horse. Albeit, at a somewhat slower pace than I used to. I am planning on writing about once a week, child permitting.

I am throughly enjoying motherhood, and I believe that Little Joey is throughly enjoying babyhood. He is a great kid. He has slept well (for an infant), he is very interested in his surroundings, and he loves chatting with us. I can’t wait to watch him learn to crawl, talk, and run.

I feel so blessed!

joey-in-the-amby joey-in-sling

joey-in-my-arms joey-in-bumbo

Isn’t it wonderful to read something and realize you are not the only one?  I love my all-natural stone ground flour from Wade’s Mill.  It tastes amazing, is relatively local, and I get all the wonderful nutrients of flour that are usually processed out and then chemically added back in.  I just finished an article that goes into other people’s quest for real flour, and I must say that I love that these issues are getting more and more national attention.

The article was in the New York Times, and it is called Flour That Has the Flavor of Home.  In it, the author looks at a couple of people that are trying to re-start the local wheat market in places that aren’t quite as conducive to growing the normal variety.  It is about re-learning what locals knew before they gave up growing wheat and grinding flour because everything became more standardized and homogenized.   I loved this article, because I love it when people realize that we’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater, and we sure did when our country switched over to a far inferior way of growing and processing flour, all for the sake of shelf life and maximized profits at the expense of nutrition, sustainability, and flavor.

The Beautiful Wade Mill

The Beautiful Wade Mill

Flour Adventures:

The pair is complete, and super cozy.  I’m so excited to wear these, probably everywhere, once the weather turns just a bit cooler.  I love the changing seasons, mainly because I love the change in wardrobe.  After a hot summer, it is so comforting to think of bundling up in a warm sweater and a lovely pair of wool socks.

My first finished pair of socks

My first finished pair of socks

The sock saga:

Off Again

As some of you may remember from my December and January posts about Iowa, hubby works in politics. That means that this coming week, we’re off to Denver for the Democrat’s convention. We leave tomorrow and don’t get back to DC until Saturday, so my blogging is going to be spotty. I’m really excited because this is the first convention that I’ve ever gone to, and the first time I’ve ever seen Denver.

I’ll be back and blogging about new old-fashioned things after Labor Day. Have a great last week of summer.


Beautiful Iowa: