Saturday, January 31, 2015

my daily reminders

The post-its on my computer - they apply to everyone:

- Every problem is an opportunity in disguise
- There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, 
and that's your own self (Aldous Huxley)
- Fuck the naysayers, 'cause they don't mean a thing (311 lyric)
- trust your struggle

Friday, January 30, 2015

Michigan spirit

Had some visitors from a new distillery out of Lansing last week - American Fifth are doing Michigan sourced and distilled spirits, and their beautifully packaged vodka is their first product to hit the market.  Super nice guys making a great Michigan product - here's to American Fifth

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Small Farming Conference

I could have posted a million pictures from this past weekend's Small Farming Conference, but instead just chose these two.  Jamiroquai was there.  Just kidding, this was some young Mennonite man who made his own clothing from fur and hides.  He was accompanied by two women who were dressed like pilgrims, with their hair covered in long white cloth. I tried to ask him why they had to dress so conservatively and he got to dress like a pimp, but he didn't get it.  He was 17.

This was a time machine that transported you to the land of garish carpet and drapery.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

bionic woman

I went to visit my yoga sister and magic farmer Laurie, who had her knee replaced a couple of weeks ago.  She is healing up well and being vigilant about her physical therapy - she looked beautiful

Jenny said but love me for love's sake, that evermore, thou mayest love on, through love's eternity

Laurie always makes whole series' of things from her kitchen, and she presented me with not one or two, but six infused olive oils that she made

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I'm a pepper too

Big & baby wheels of pepper jack, with my home grown pickles peppers

Friday, January 23, 2015

Boss Charcuterie

I have been a vegetarian for 25 years and will never change my diet.  A friend of mine recently killed a deer this past hunting season and asked if I would make her some charcuterie, the type which needs an aging cave to cure.  I was ethically  conflicted about the project, but accepted as I love her and like trying new crafty things in the kitchen.  I live in a  rural place where virtually everyone hunts and eats wild game, so while it was strange to sink my hands into meat, I gave it a go.

Here is a 6 pound link, as well as some smaller pieces of Spanish hunter's sausage, a fermented, cured venison sausage with spices and a hilarious ingredient used in sausage making called 'Fermento'.  Brand new territory for me, I will post pictures of their progress.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

rooster & son

This is the little peep that was born in July, who has now grown into a handsome rooter - he is a gentleman just like his Daddy, and I don't have a proper name for him, so I call him "the other rooster".  His cock-a-doodle-doo is getting stronger each day

His Papa, the stunning and gigantic Roosty - shake a tail feather!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunday supper

The menu from the Sunday Supper series at 9 Bean Rows Restaurant in Sutton's Bay, Michigan

now in green

the new apple flavor comes in a snazzy green bag!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


We happened to have 26 students in our yoga class the other day, so we all did one of the 26 Bikram postures for a panoramic picture - I'm almost right in the middle, standing on one leg

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Boss Press

Cheese industry poised for expansion in Michigan

Sue Kurta making Swiss.
Sue Kurta making Swiss.
Credit Tom Carr
Artisan cheesemaking is on the rise in Michigan, though it’s not an easy business to get into. The number of small, independent cheese producers in Michigan is expected to nearly double in the near future.
Sue Kurta is among those leading the way. As she stirs the curdling milk that will become Swiss cheese, you can see the colorful tattoos that cover her arms. They’re pictures of pineapples, a cruise ship and other upbeat things.
“It stirs for quite a long time like this and if you don’t give it a toss, it can mat together,” Kurta says.
Kurta’s business is called Boss Mouse Cheese, a memorable name that comes from an antique photo of her Aunt Julia as a child. In it, Julia wears an outsized bow in her hair that looks kind of like mouse ears.
“And so Boss Mouse to me is like BOSS -- but it’s a little mouse,” Kurta says. “And then she’s this sort of startled little Victorian girl with big mouse ears. The whole thing is so funny to me, and it’s fun to say.” 
Boss Mouse is one of about 20 small, artisan cheese makers in Michigan. Most are also dairy farmers.
“For the most part, it’s people who already have milking animals and decide to go into the production side of things,” says Terry Philibeck, deputy director of the Michigan agriculture department.
Boss Mouse is one of just a few that only make cheese. Leelanau Cheese Company of Suttons Bay is another. Kurta buys her milk from Moomer’s Dairy near Traverse City. Getting milk can be a challenge for somebody that wants to open a cheesery. 
“The problem with our dairy production today is that it’s in larger volumes," says Philibeck. "It’s difficult to purchase a smaller volume of milk.”
Kurta started Boss Mouse cheese as a part-time job out of her passion about two years ago. She’s full-time now and a regular at local farm markets, but also sells at upscale markets and restaurants downstate. She specializes in Montasio cheese, which is the base to which she adds flavors like Sriracha hot sauce, or the Frenchherbs du provence.
Her cheese curds are popular and so is an experiment she tried with smoked butter. The Rachael Ray Show, a cooking show on Food Network, has ordered some of her butter.
From Wall Street to cheese
Kurta lived in New York City and was a secretary for Wall Street bankers when she took a class in how to make cheese in her kitchen. Then, in the 1990s, she took a break from her job.
“I had a really great boss I had been with for a few years -- a really good man,” she says. “I asked if I could take a leave of absence from my job, unpaid, to go live in the country in Maine and go work on a cheese farm for about three months and I did. And then I really fell in love. Then it totally sealed the deal.”
That was several years before she moved back to Michigan and started making cheese to sell. Now, she works long days purchasing milk, making cheese, packaging it, distributing it and selling it face to face to customers.
The 20 artisan cheese makers already operating in Michigan may soon have more company, as another 15 or so are trying to get licensed. That process usually takes about two years, with numerous health regulations and other hurdles. Kurta has chosen to go even further and achieved state certification as an environmentally sound operation through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.
She says her formula for success is simple.
“No matter how cute your logo is or how cool you are, or whatever, if your cheese, if your food isn’t good, it doesn’t matter,” she says. “So I think the first thing is make a superior product. Make the best possible cheese you know how to make. And then be really nice to people.”
Kurta sells her cheeses through the winter at the Indoor Farmers Market at Grand Traverse Commons.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

good head

beautiful young lady with amazing blue & violet hair

this woman's Mom made her crochet & knitted hood

This lady at the grocery store had a baseball hat covered in angel pins, and let me take her picture.  She was really proud of a particular pin from France.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

bird food

serve with crackers at your next party

Friday, January 9, 2015

more Christmas hat style

the lovely ladies of Sleepy Hollow: Lucy, Amy & Julia

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Asian grocery graphic havoc

'erbody in the club gettin'....

I bought a bottle of this one

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Detroit, lift up your weary head!

*lyric by Sufjan Stevens

Rang in the New Year in beloved Detroit - Dave making asparagus risotto

I stopped at a gas station north of Detroit it Waterford, Michigan, and met this lovely young employee, who styled her hair in a complicated up-do, with black wig piece and ringlet sideburns.  She was also wearing a lot of glitter make-up.  She was outside smoking, and kindly let me take her picture.  I asked why she was styled so elaborately, had been in a pageant?  She said that she just liked to look that way every day.  She channelled steam-punk / Loretta Lynn / Martha Washington, and I thought she was beautiful, and appreciated such effort from a teenager working at a crappy gas station.  Indie fashion forever!

junior plaid on plaid at IKEA

bra from IKEA

Boss Mouse on the New Year's eve menu at Public House, Ferndale, MI

I started my fourth 60-day Bikram challenge on December 31st - practiced at the beautiful new studio in Midtown Detroit 

New Year's eve shopping

Mexican bakery raid with besties Greg & Raquel - La Gloria Bakery in Detroit

the haul featuring the Say What cookie

love this girl more than words can say

You should all watch the film Karate Robo Zaborgar - a hilarious Japanese transformers farce dream

wonder dog Caesar

cousin Kelly

pussycat Ken