Montana Saturday Night: Watching Grizzlies

Montana Saturday Night: Watching Grizzlies

Himself called from the cabin yesterday evening. “I have an idea,” he said. “Let’s drive up to Tom Miner and see if we can see bears.” I was in the middle of a project — I took on some freelance work that overlaps with the job-I’ve-quit-but-am-still-working-out-my-notice. I wasn’t at a great stopping place, and today is going to be a crunch, but when your person calls to ask if you want to go bear watching, you say “Great idea!” and…

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Wild in the Garden, Garden in the Wild

Wild in the Garden, Garden in the Wild

The backside of the garden has gone a bit feral on me this summer. Actually, the whole veggie garden is pretty feral — there’s way too much grass, and weeds, and because I’ve been experimenting with broadcast sowing, things are just coming up where they will, or not. Domenica Marchetti, of the new book Preserving Italy (blog posts to come), has been using the hashtag #gardenofneglect, and that’s kind of how I feel about mine this summer. Or do I?…

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When the Fruit Comes to Town, We Make Jam

When the Fruit Comes to Town, We Make Jam

I’ve been waiting and waiting for “the Utah Fruit Guys”  to come to town, and Wednesday evening, there they were at the Farmer’s Market. I did my graduate work at UC Davis, and the University of Utah, both of which are located in the midst of serious orchard country — and it ruined me for grocery-store stone fruit. So I wait. Every year, I wait and wait for the Utah guys, or sometimes we really luck out and get a…

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Theory of Minor Demons

Theory of Minor Demons

Himself has a theory about minor demons — minor demons are what beset you when you are unduly annoyed by other people, usually other people who are just going about being the other people that they are, without any intention of bothering anyone. The first time we encountered minor demons was years ago, when we were hiking in the Columbia Gorge on a trip to Portland, and we Could Not Get Away from these two chattery teenage girls on the trail….

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Making Stuff: Dilly Beans

Making Stuff: Dilly Beans

Enough talking about making, let’s get to work — it’s summer, and our Hutterite neighbors are filling the local grocery with their lovely green beans — so today it’s dilly beans. They’re so easy, and they’re a huge improvement on the sludgy canned green beans I grew up on (if you want to preserve plain beans for winter, I’d go with the blanch-and-freeze method. They stay much nicer than the pressure canned ones.) So, I use Michael Symon’s pickling brine recipe…

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How Routine is a Creative Practice

How Routine is a Creative Practice

I’ve been walking this same two mile stretch of road every morning pretty much since Hank-dog came to live with me two years ago. It’s a quick drive out of town, and there’s usually no one else there, which is important. Despite having made most of my close friends upon moving here through our dogs, at this point, I don’t want to chat on my dog walk.  Also,  there aren’t many cars. Hank and I are still working on the concept…

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Building A Creative Life

Building A Creative Life

For many years, I thought of my maker projects and my writing as separate. More than that, actually,  I got into a bad habit of thinking of them as oppositional — as if my making was only a kind of procrastination or evasion from writing. I felt guilty about it. As if spending time in my garden, or putting up a batch of jam, or making a shirt, or learning to knit socks was somehow betraying my “real” creative work, which…

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