Only Soup, Every Soup

☆ October 24, 2016

Soup is my favorite food group. And lately, it’s the only thing I want to eat, which is fortuitous, as this is the best time of year for soup! I have made many, many vats.

Butternut Soup
My favorite soup; I’ve made it so often I don’t follow a recipe. I just throw stuff in a pot: one onion sauteed in butter, two peeled and cubed butternut squash, an apple or two, depending on their size (one if baseball-sized; two if raquetball-sized), broth to cover, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper. Simmer, covered, till butternut is very soft, then blend with an immersion blender. Stir in some cream (a cup? I just pour), taste, add more salt and nutmeg if needed. THE BEST.

Potato Soup with Roasted Garlic – Evelinas Ekologiska
I love the addition of white beans in this soup, but found the final product a bit bland, so I roasted a head of garlic and blended it in. A perfect addition, regardless! So rich, so autumnal! The page is Swedish but your browser will translate it for you.

Broccoli Soup – Smitten Kitchen
I prefer it with about 1/3 more broccoli and only 1/3 the of cheese. Mike has a thing against broccoli; when I make this soup, I never have to share.

Jambalaya – Gimme Some Oven
I subbed in local sausage and omitted the chicken. Really hearty without being heavy, soups are so wonderful that way!

Curried Cauliflower Soup – Cookie + Kate
Absolute perfection as is. This soup is SO SO GOOD.

What has made me really happy and excited, beyond all the soup itself, was realizing that 90% of the ingredients I’ve used for of all these soups came from my homestead or from people I know. I believe the coconut milk, shrimp, and spices are the only storebought items.

.  .  .

Farmily update: I took the pups out around 9 or 10pm as I do every night, and when I opened the door, there was Sid, on the deck, curled up on a rug that I’d accidentally left on the deck. The other calves were sleeping on the ground around him. He’s now big enough to sit on, but not so big he risks breaking the deck with his shenanigans (though that day will come….)

.  .  .

2017 Calendars are in the home stretch – I look at final proofs this week. Here’s a sneak peek of two pages from the surprise second calendar (there will also be Charlie’s Calendar)…. enjoy!


More on the Crystal Cave…

☆ October 11, 2016

Thank you to everyone who left suggestions/theories/advice regarding the mystery mineral! I studied your wise words and the landscape and the internet. Many of you were correct: it is selenite, which is a form of gypsum. We do have a lot of gypsum around here, but it’s usually in the form of powdery rocks. I’ve traversed dozens of square miles surrounding the crystal cave and it’s the only spot I’ve seen the crystals.

The name selenite comes from the Greek word σελήυη for moon. Google led me to the Naica caves in Mexico, home to spectacular, enormous selenite crystals… the magical big mama of crystal caves!

image source

Chloe showed no interest in the cave – she walked right past it. There is no evidence of animal use, past or present. It was definitely never used by humans – it is much too small! It is a fairy cave! {or, as JaneK posited, the Toothfairy’s branch office.}

.  .  .  .

I am so behind in correspondence. I can’t decide if it’s better (or worse) to start at the oldest email – which came in over the summer while I was out of town or otherwise focused on Star Brand Beef – and move forward (which makes the authors of new email wait WEEEKS) or start at the newest email and work backwards (which makes the authors of older email wait MONTHS) and I get paralyzed. I suck. At email. I’m sorry. I have never failed so consistently and for so long (years upon years!) at anything like I have at this. It is something I am still trying to master.

As my aptitude lies in the visual, I have TWO calendars in the works for you and they are AWESOME. One is Charlie, and one is one that will make everyone happy. Charlie also makes everyone happy, so….. prepare for a lot of happiness. I hope to debut them in the next week or so.

.  .  .  .

Weeding one’s mint patch is quite possibly the most wonderful-smelling chore.

.  .  .  .

The Crystal Cave

☆ September 27, 2016

I was on a hike with Chloe the other day, and happened upon this magical spot….


a small cave, created from an arched strata of crystals!

A closeup of the archway:


The crystals were dusted in dirt, but sparkled in the sun….


I have no idea what mineral this is.

If I decide I must know (as of now, “magic” is suffice for me), I will go back for a little piece.

Bits like this were scattered about on the ground:


Here is the cave in flat light:


The main cavern is about 18 inches deep, with tunneled hallways going deeper.

Two fairies agreed to pose for me ~ do you see them?


Tech Tot

☆ September 20, 2016

I’m always well behind the curve with tech stuff, and it wasn’t until halfway through my delivery drives that I finally figured out (or, rather, decided to figure out, because it took all of 3 minutes) how to put podcasts in my phone.

From that day forward, I guzzled podcasts during my drives. Here are a few of my favorite episodes – leave yours in the comment section, I’m on the hunt for more!

Lisa Dwan on Beckett & Not I (Here’s The Thing, it’s the second half of this podcast)

Rethinking Work (To The Best Of Our Knowledge)

From Tree To Shining Tree (RadioLab)

MSF’s (Médecins Sans Frontières, aka Doctors Without Borders) Joanne Liu Still Believes War Has Rules (Here’s The Thing)

Angela Kinsey (The JV Club)

{all links will let you listen via your computer, no downloads required}

A photo posted by Shreve Stockton (@dailycoyote) on

Snippets ~ Early Autumn Edition

☆ September 13, 2016

Daisy is our queen

It’s dark at 9pm and it’s dark at 6am – the light changed while I was gone. It’s not summer anymore, equinox schwequinox.


I’ve been home for a week since my final Star Brand Beef deliveries and, as always, it’s a little weird adjusting from my time as a turtle. My little red reefer truck was my home for three weeks, four delivery routes, 8181 miles – and I loved every second of it, despite the truck having issues every. single. day. (the truck kept me safe and all my beef safe, so, hooray for that). I absolutely love getting to spend time with my customers, long-time readers, email pals, and the opportunity to move beyond the veil of the internet into real life.


I think it might be time to hire seasonal help next year, spring and summer. Maybe even sooner. More details on that as soon as I get logistics worked out in my head. I would love to give someone from “the outside world” a chance to come in and work in agriculture and be part of sustainable, ethical food production…… so much to figure out, though!


Last night’s dinner: organic brown rice cooked in homemade bone broth, served with seared elk tenderloin. Does this sound like a special menu item at an elegant restaurant? Did I mention this was Charlie’s and Chloe’s dinner? Mike had a peanut butter sandwich and I had cereal.


I’ve been home for a matter of days and have already dove head first into a giant new project, which will debut next year and which I know you will LOVE. It is a love project. After 2014 and 2015, when I was barely functioning and just trying to keep myself and my businesses alive, it feels SO GOOD to work hard!


Farmily update: everyone is wonderful and happy and peaceful – Mike held down the fort while I was away, and, thanks to having my own truck, I got to spend time at home with the Farmily between each delivery trip. It made a world of difference for me and them!


AND, since I’ve been getting emails about this already: the 2017 CHARLIE CALENDAR is coming! I would never break tradition! It will be ready to share mid-October….

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