Have I mentioned before how much I love Gretta’s Goats? (www.grettasgoats.com) The last time I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the goats it wasn’t quite warm enough for them to be able to frolic in the fields. Now, they happily graze on 5 acres of organic pasture and lead the happiest of goat lives. Aren’t goats the best?

Have I mentioned before how much I love Gretta’s Goats? (www.grettasgoats.com) The last time I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the goats it wasn’t quite warm enough for them to be able to frolic in the fields. Now, they happily graze on 5 acres of organic pasture and lead the happiest of goat lives. Aren’t goats the best?

Tags: goats

In the last month I have been doing a fair amount of work in Wisconsin near Madison and for as often as I have driven there, this past week was the first time I had made it to WI before sunset. As I drove I was struck by the sun setting behind a hill and how it hit this pasture of cows and went back and forth (very quickly) about whether I should stop. I finally turned around and got out of the car to snap a few pictures of the friendliest looking cows as they trotted over to the fence to meet me. That stop was the first of perhaps too many that delayed my arrival quite considerably, but it was totally worth it. Man, I love cows.

At the beginning of August I had the chance to visit Ireland for the first time. My dad got remarried and decided on a destination wedding in Ireland bringing all 5 kids along (3 of his, 2 of hers). It was certainly an experience. The country is extraordinary. The landscape is just beautiful with the rolling hills, the sheep and cows peppering the hillside and the lush greenery everywhere, it is truly spectacular. In order to transport all 7 of us, my dad rented a 9 person van (see picture) that might have been the largest vehicle on the road in the country (only a slight exaggeration— I did see some large trucks) I’m surprised—and impressed— we didn’t have any issues with motion sickness given the bouncing in the van, the narrow winding roads and the jolting of a manual transmission on the opposite side of the road.

Despite the transportation, we visited Dublin, Kilkenny and Galway among other stops along the way. Before the trip I was most looking forward to the Cliffs of Moher (of the Cliffs of Insanity for those Princess Bride fans) and I was certainly not disappointed. We could not have asked for more beautiful weather and I hope to visit again someday… but probably use a smaller car.

This post is long overdue! It amazes me how quickly summer seems to slip by. With so many outdoor activities to do in such a short window of time, there doesn’t seem to be a moment to catch up! I suppose it makes up for all the sitting around and moping we do when winter comes.


In mid July James, Catherine and I drove to Michigan to Joe’s Blues, a you-pick blueberry farm. I’ve met Frank the owner several times at various local food events in Chicago and was excited to finally find a day when schedules aligned and blueberries could be picked. We all probably walked away with a good few pounds of blueberries and of course, loads of memories. I have lofty plans for my berries. Since James and I were preparing for a move at the time, I put mine straight into the freezer. Now that we’re moved in, it’ll be pie time in no time!

GARDEN UPDATE: I have good news and bad news. The bad news is I only ever grew that one tiny pea and my broccoli, despite it’s abundant appearance, never yielded any broccoli crowns. The good news however, is I grew tiny carrots! Had I been able to leave them in the container for longer they may have grown larger but I needed to use the plastic tub to move so I had to evict my carrot tenants. Aren’t they just adorable? Next year I will plant them earlier and find more space for them to grow so I can have more substantial carrots. That or I just need to get a tiny bunny to eat them.

I’m growing things! Which might not seem like a revolutionary discovery to you, but historically I’m not the best with plants. About three years ago I decided as part of another project to grow lemons (see my lemon project). I planted 5 lemon seeds, 4 spouted and 3 are currently still growing in buckets on the patio. Getting lemons to grow from seeds was a huge turning point for me in my horticultural life because I had achieved success! (success is relative here, those plants won’t give me lemons for another 15 years.. check back with me then and we’ll redefine success) Since then, I want to grow more. I have all of these grand ideas of the gardens I’ll have and the vegetables I’ll pick and cook for dinner. The only problem is: I live in an apartment. A dark one too. I decided to take a chance and do some plastic tub gardening to see if this could be a viable growing option for those with limited space. So far, so GREAT! I planted (from left to right in the top picture) carrots, broccoli and peas. I started them in egg cartons and then transferred them to a bucket I had drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. I have no idea what is going to happen from here but I already have one pea so that’s saving me like 1/20th a trip to the grocery store. Boom! Nature. Is. Awesome.

More tiny baking! In addition to the tiny pie pans I used previous (see my earlier basil peach pie photo) I am borrowing tiny bundt pans and tiny layer cake pans. Everything looks more adorable when it’s tiny, am I right? I attempted to make a vegan blueberry bundt cake with a lemon glaze and a vegan vanilla layer cake with chocolate and peanut butter chips and chocolate frosting. I got a request to post the recipe for the pies and any other food images I put up but I’m not going to for this one only because I wasn’t super happy with the way the cake texture actually came out. I feel confident in my pie making abilities but my cakes need some work. I’ll post a recipe when I feel like I’ve nailed it!

Last weekend I visited my family in Pittsburgh for my cousin’s gender reveal party (she’s having a boy!). It’s nice to go back and visit because Pittsburgh has a special place in my heart and I have the chance to see both sides of my extended family when I go. While sitting on my grandma’s porch, I noticed the tree that has always been right in front of the house nestled between the porch and the sidewalk. This might be the first time I’ve ever really looked at the tree. I mean, it’s always been there and I don’t picture her house without it, but I’ve never really stopped to look at the blossoms. What interesting and awesome shapes the buds are before they bloom. My aunt pointed out that this is a Mountain Laurel— the state flower of Pennsylvania. I felt like a horrible native Pennsylvanian for never knowing that this was what the state flower really looked like. I always knew it by name, but couldn’t tell you what it actually looked like. Now I’m showing you! Well done, Pennsylvania!

Last weekend I visited my family in Pittsburgh for my cousin’s gender reveal party (she’s having a boy!). It’s nice to go back and visit because Pittsburgh has a special place in my heart and I have the chance to see both sides of my extended family when I go. While sitting on my grandma’s porch, I noticed the tree that has always been right in front of the house nestled between the porch and the sidewalk. This might be the first time I’ve ever really looked at the tree. I mean, it’s always been there and I don’t picture her house without it, but I’ve never really stopped to look at the blossoms. What interesting and awesome shapes the buds are before they bloom. My aunt pointed out that this is a Mountain Laurel— the state flower of Pennsylvania. I felt like a horrible native Pennsylvanian for never knowing that this was what the state flower really looked like. I always knew it by name, but couldn’t tell you what it actually looked like. Now I’m showing you! Well done, Pennsylvania!

I brought home two peaches the other day and just as they were starting to get a little too ripe, I baked them into two of the most adorable tiny pies maybe… ever. I think there should be more tiny pies in the world. This one is a super fantastic vegan peach basil pie recipe with an olive oil crust that is simply delicious.

I brought home two peaches the other day and just as they were starting to get a little too ripe, I baked them into two of the most adorable tiny pies maybe… ever. I think there should be more tiny pies in the world. This one is a super fantastic vegan peach basil pie recipe with an olive oil crust that is simply delicious.

This is Gretta and these are her goats. Her amazing adorable wonderful outstanding stupendous marvelous phenomenal radical terrific unreal smashing fantastic goats.