Weekend Roundup: Resilience, Debt Emergencies, and the Inimitable, Wendell Berry

Things I’m digging this week:

“To take what there is, and use it, without waiting forever in vain for the preconceived — to dig deep into the actual and get something out of that — this doubtless is the right way to live.”  – Henry James


What do you think?  Do you think resilience can have a marked impact on the quality of our lives?  And do you see debt (mortgage debt largely notwithstanding) as something to be dealt with like an emergency?  Does the quote from Henry James resonate with you the same way it resonated with me?  While I’m in this period of transition and constant flux, I try to remind myself of this daily.  Instead of waiting until we’re settled, we have a home, we have a routine, and on an on, I’m trying to do what I can with what I have to build the life I want.








Free Admission to Over 1,000 Museums – This Saturday

Are you looking for something fun to do this Saturday?  If you live near one of over 1,000 museums across the country that is participating in Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live! (and chances are you do), you have the opportunity to check out a great nearby museum for free.  Go online here to check out which museums are participating and to obtain your free tickets.  Keep in mind that you have to obtain your tickets in advance online and that there is a limit of two tickets per person.  This is a great opportunity to visit that museum you’ve always thought of checking out, but that never quite made the cut when you planned your excursions.

We’ll be headed to Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont this Saturday.  Museum Day Live! happens to coincide with the connected Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park’s Forest Festival, so I’m sure it will be a full day.  We’ve already spent two days exploring the National Historic Park (and Van has a junior ranger badge to prove it), so we’ll spend more time at the farm and museum and are very grateful to have the opportunity to visit this great museum at no cost.

Will you be headed to one of these museums this Saturday?  If so, where will you be exploring?  Let us know in the comments if it’s a museum you’d recommend to others.

Book Review: The Nourished Kitchen

Although the past nine months have been radically different from the nine months before, we are now approaching the official 18 month mark for our nomadic lifestyle.  Friends often ask what the most difficult part of traveling like this has been.  The answer is easy – food and friends.  Sourcing and cooking good and healthful food while traveling (especially camping) is much harder than when you have a home.  Thankfully, the past nine months of slow travel (staying in one place for a couple of weeks to a month or more) has made the food situation somewhat better, but still not ideal.  Not seeing friends regularly is by far the most difficult part of traveling.  Though we’ve been fortunate to see many friends through our journey, we typically see them for a day or few and then move on.  It has been amazing to see friends in far-flung corners of the country who I don’t see regularly, but I’d love to have a friend or two that I can see each week or couple of weeks.  Our time in Western Mass was amazing for that reason.  This will be one of the things I’ll most appreciate when we settle down somewhere.

To improve our eating habits while traveling, I picked up The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther through my affiliation with Blogging for Books.  It is subtitled “Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle.”  Perfect, I thought!  And it is truly a beautiful book.  The photography, layout, fonts, all of it, make this a book you just want to curl up with.  From that perspective, it is a fantastic book.  But, since I wanted this book for the recipes, I quickly decided to put it to the test.  Unfortunately, the recipes, though good, did not live up to the beauty of the pages.


The book is divided into eight sections: from the garden; from the pasture; from the range; from the waters; from the fields; from the wild; from the orchard; and from the larder.  The recipes range from the simple – delicious looking salads and dressings – to the adventurous – stewed beef heart with root vegetables and porcini mushrooms looks particularly interesting.  I may have to try the chicken foot broth after Van gobbled down chicken feet a few weeks ago when enjoying Chinatown dim sum with our friend, Gina. Given Van’s broad palate, there’s not much in here that he would turn his nose up at, but it’s not for those with a more restrictive palate.

I’ve given it a good go, making six of the recipes in the book with easier to source ingredients (be aware if you buy this book, some of the recipes look great, but call for harder to find ingredients).  This evening my family enjoyed the cider-brined slow-roasted chicken, which probably came out the best of the set.  My problem was less with the end results, but more with the actual recipes themselves.  I’ve come across several glaring mistakes.  For example, the caption under a recipe photo mentions as a main ingredient, something that is not in the recipe.  If it were only one typo, I wouldn’t even mention it.  But for a book of this caliber, I wouldn’t have expected repeated errors.  I’ve also noticed that several of the recipes leave out steps; I’m assuming under the assumption that they’re obvious and do not need to be stated.  However, to a novice chef, this will only cause confusion and a less than complete meal.

That being said, I’m still very happy to have this book in my library given the breadth of recipes that, though traditional, are hardly traditional in today’s society (stinging nettle soup with cream, anyone?).  I look forward to trying many of the recipes while we travel, and some of the more complicated recipes once we have a home.  I’m definitely excited to try my hand at making kombucha.  While camping, my treat to myself (when I could find it) was lavender kombucha.  An acquired taste for some, but I think it is absolutely divine.  It will be fun to experiment with the aid of this book and a proper kitchen.

If this beautiful, interesting, but less than perfect book sounds like it may be up your alley, you can check out a few excerpts here.  If you want to find out more about the author and her take on food, check out her blog, Nourished Kitchen.


Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.