Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Plan B

This past weekend I made it to Grand Rapids to check out Art Prize.  Art Prize made it's debut last year and was a hugh hit.  What a genius idea!  Gather artists and their work from around the world and set up different venues around the city to draw in masses of people.  Businesses benefit, the artists show their work, and thousands upon thousands of people experience a free art exhibit as big as a city.  The people vote on their favorites and the winning artist gets a fat check.
I've placed my vote for "Plan B"-- a collaborative project that several of my best friends have been involved with.  It is in Ah-Nab-Awen park near the Gerald R. Ford museum (seen on the left side of the photo below).

So what is it?  We are currently living in Plan A -- a world driven by oil and coal -- non-renewable resources.  Plan B explores the "post peak oil world where electricity is only intermittent and almost everything used to keep daily life humming along has been made out of preexisting products and materials. A combination of very old technologies with what can be patched together out of the rubble of what has been made before, fallen apart and left behind".

They have a functional kitchen, tents made of recycled billboards, a stage that runs by bicycle power, water filtration (also pumped by a bike), chickens, rabbits, a garden, and the Wonder Wagon.

People are living in Plan B Town for the entirety of the Art Prize exhibit.  My good friends have been spending most of their free time down there.

Here is a photo of my best guy friend (besides my husband of course) starting a fire to make tea.  

I wanted to stay longer, but had to make it home the same day.  Anyway, if you are anywhere near Grand Rapids right now -- you gotta check it out! 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scenery from Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Here are a few snapshots I took while coming home from Minnesota last weekend.  The first three photos were shot at Agate Falls.  The next photo (of Lake Superior) was shot near Au Train.  The last one (Lake Michigan) was shot from US-2 near St. Ignace.  It was a beautiful day and the trees were gorgeous!  Someday I am going back to Agate Falls to spend more time.  The U.P. is an enchanting place.  We both love being there!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zucchini bread

It has been a long time since my last post.  I am sorry about that.  I just got back from vacation in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I have a couple of photos that I hope to post soon.  For now, I wanted to get this post completed.  I made zucchini bread and wanted to give out the recipe.  

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini - grated (and peeled if you like) -- squeeze off excess juice
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
optional - 1 cup nuts (I don't use the nuts myself)

Beat eggs.  Add next four ingredients and mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix completely.  Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees.  Makes 2 loaves.

This recipe has been widely used by my family.  Zucchini bread is definitely a childhood favorite of mine.  
Whenever I have an over abundance of zucchini in my garden, I grate it up and freeze it in 2 cup portions.  That way I can have zucchini bread all year long.  Yum!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Easy compost bins

I put together a couple of compost bins last weekend and managed to fill them up this weekend.  They were really easy to make too.  I just bought some wire fencing from the tractor supply store and some zip ties.  I formed two round bins -- about 3 feet in diameter.  I used the zip ties to keep the bin closed.  I can easily snip those off to open it up and get the compost out.  

I placed them on the side of our property -- because compost piles are not exactly pretty to look at.  Last Fall when we moved into the home, we raked a HUGE pile of leaves into this area.  I stacked it up the best I could, but the wind and snow flattened my pile out over the winter.  Some of it has decomposed, but a bunch of the leaves look like they did last fall.  I'm hoping these compost bins help speed things up.  I also need more nitrogen to get things going faster (I don't have a good source for manure yet).  I may need to make another one to hold this year's leaves.  Anyway, I'm happy with how they turned out.  I'm looking forward to having all that gorgeous compost to use in my garden next year.

Farm tour and barn party

Saturday, we went to a dairy farm owned by one of Charlie's cousins and her husband.  Joan gave us a tour of their barns and showed us all the cows.  Later in the evening, they had a party for her husband's 50th birthday -- complete with a live Polka band and a large potluck (featuring cheese and chocolate milk).  Good times!  

got milk?

One of the younger cows

The bull -- and some of his ladies

Time to eat

Milking time

Cake by "Rose Knows Pastries"

The band -- "Polka Riot"

Let's polka!

Partying - late into the night

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fulton St. Farmers Market -- Grand Rapids, Michigan

Last weekend I went to Grand Rapids to visit my family.  My mother and I went to the Fulton street farmer's market.  This is the market that sparked my love for farmer's markets and produce stands.  We've gone to this market since I was a kid (which also brings up fond memories of making strawberry freezer jam with Mom and Grandma).  My best friends Jen and Rich and I even set up a stall once to sell our tie-dyed/hemp goods.  Now with the economy the way it has been lately, combined with the locavore movement and a yearning for a sense of community -- the market is packed!  It has artists and crafters, plants, meats/eggs/cheeses, and all of the fresh fruits and vegetables you can imagine.  I love playing with the repetition and color the displays create in my photos.