Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Acres USA conference in Omaha, NE. It was a great trip! I love long drives, and the 8 hours from Champaign to Omaha was perfect!
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I'd like to welcome all returning (and new prospective) pyromaniacs to the 2nd installment of my blog on how to heat your home with wood. Now that we have kindling out of the way, the next item we need to talk about is firewood. Having a few acres in the country in Central Illinois doesn't automatically come with a woodlot (or trees in most cases), so you have to be a bit creative. Of course, you could buy your firewood, but really, wh
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what a better time to reflect on how thankful we all are for our farmers, putting in long hours, hard labor, and their resources to give us amazing and delicious food. It's important to remember our farmers and be thankful for all they do to reduce food insecurity, but let's take it another step this year by actually supporting our farmers this season and purchasing ingredients for the big feast locally.
The weather may not feel like it, but November is indeed upon us. Which sadly means the end of outdoor farmers' market season in this neck of the woods. The Champaign Farmers' Market concluded its sophomore season on October 25, which means it's now time to reflect on the past six months and dive into planning Season Three.
When I left the house this morning, I exhaled in the last rays of moonlight and gazed as the mist of my breath dissipated in the gentle breeze. I was cold and grateful. I was grateful that I had everything I need to survive the morning in that frigid air. I had a full belly of the morning's breakfast. I was well hydrated. I was breathing the oxygen rich morning air. And, I was clothed in the heavy winter sweater I recently pulled from summer storage. The organism of my body was supported.
I sat in the back the class with my notebook, camera, and the day’s agenda on my lap, and took in the warmth of the room that was lit with crisscrossing strings of globe lights--the kind that you might see on a patio in the summer--and the smell of coffee and freshly baked scones.
Some of you are only excited about the coming of winter in the context of a certain HBO series; however, there are others that love sitting by a roaring fire on a cold day. I enjoy both a great deal, and luckily, we have a roaring fire most days in the winter because we prefer to heat our home with wood. A quote from Aldo Leopold comes to mind when I think about what many would consider to be our somewhat odd (or at least labor intensive) choice: “There are two
Learning how to preserve your harvest is one of the most rewarding triumphs of growing your own food and/or supporting local farmers. Whether you preserve through canning, freezing, dry storage, dehydrating or placing items in the fridge, there's a preserving method that will fit your fancy. As we start to move into the fall and winter months, and are approaching the end of farmers market season, it is important to know how to savor this year's harvest all winter long.
Last week I got to witness a perfect storm moment: all the things I've been working so hard to accomplish with our farmers' market wrapped up in one family encounter. We had held a promotional drawing the previous week to draw more Parkland College students out to the market. One reason I had worked so hard to get Parkland students out was knowing that a significant number of the student body receive SNAP benefits.