Wonder and beauty make up some of the most joyful motors of our Pond House School. The space and tempo enables a life of embracing the little things that await us at many corners: they're right there, but in a quiet sort of way. There are no ads to bombard their message. They don't even cost money to experience. They aren't hard to get to by car. How can something so astonishing be so accessible?
They are our state, county and town parks. A riot of color in October and November, perhaps equally striking post-foliage, when the bare willowy branches contrast the crisp azure sky.
Here are some shots of recent weekend trips to Belmont Lake State Park (North Babylon) and Bill Richards Park (Town of Smithtown).
I was in awe of how close we got to this Catbird.
To watch one's child take in the beauty of creation drives it all the more home...
Happy Sunday, Long Island!
You know those crazy cat people? We are slowly becoming the crazy squash people. Instead of cats, we collect squashes. We eat the squash, but we also use them as a centerpiece. Can't wait to roast the two kabocha (the big guys in the picture--- one is deep orange, and other sage green). Isn't it amazing the different colors they come in? They bring such cheer and vitality to our dining room.
The squashes and more are products of beloved Amber Waves Farm (367 Main Street, Amagansett, NY, amberwavesfarm.org) Our delight at renewing our CSA membership has only amplified in the face of the many ups and downs 2020 has brought. A connection with the outdoors, nature, nutrition, and where our food comes from is a huge part of our homeschool life in the fall. U-pick is back for CSA members, with social distancing/asking protocols in place. To say that our family has enjoyed heaps of sungold and cherry tomatoes, lunchbox peppers and purslane (which has a habit of growing all over the place, particularly near the irrigation) over the past few weeks would be an understatement. One of my favorite uses for the tomatoes has been a recipe of East Hampton's own, Ina Garten. You can find it here: www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/summer-garden-pasta-recipe-1925046 Even this turns-food-into-carbon cook could manage making it with minimal disaster. Disclaimer: after I halved the tomatoes, I put the oil mix in the fridge for the 4 hours. I've been told not to leave tomatoes out in the open air once they’re cut into (for safety reasons).
Our personal favorites this season so far include:
- kale, mustard and dandelion greens (K's vote--- I love 'em braised with a little EVOO, apple cider vinegar, chopped garlic, salt, pepper. Tossed at the end with some bacon and cannellini beans, the more bitter greens become a simple and splendid one-dish meal)
-all manner and varieties of squash (J dubs: "Superb!!!" The chef of the house makes some mean delicata squash fries. Can't wait to see what he'll do with the kabocha...)
-Japanese radishes (a rather surprising two cents of S, because as beautiful as the radishes are, they have a fair amount of heat. When roasted into chips, however, their sweetness really comes out and makes them really appealing for snacking.)
As the fall CSA box draws closer to its end, each pickup becomes sweeter. Jane at Amber Waves has been a joyful sight each week. She channels her decades of experience as an educator into an enthusiasm for the farm during her interactions with the youngest CSA members like S.
With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we are looking forward to a highly-regarded Fossil Farms turkey. Amber Waves is making available for advance pick-up. (A full report to follow...)
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