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How To Do Things with Blacksmithing

Welcome to more of How To Do Things ThursdaysToday’s guest post is by our coal-dusted, blacksmithing daughterAnnie

handmade on stove

Homemade treasures on my 1930’s Royal Queen wood cookstove

There’s nothing that makes me feel more at home than being immersed in the handmade. Knowing that one of my cooking students made that wooden spoon I’m stirring supper with, that a neighbor wove that throw rug I’m standing on. That my mother hand-stitched that quilt on our bed, and that my uncle forged those hooks hanging in my kitchen. My morning coffee is ground in an old-timey crank grinder that my grandfather built, and the person who made the mug is a family friend.

Making something for someone is a love language. People put something of themselves into their craft, their heart, their vision, their time. Likewise, buying handcrafted wares from artists also spreads the love, as it shows that we still value the time of skills and trades passed down through the generations, that we are willing to pay more for this than something with a ‘Made in China’ sticker on it. Continue Reading →

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Buttermilk cornbread for stuffing and much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Sweater of resourcefulness

I have a story that is so profound, that I’m afraid it will be diminished by the telling of it. So I’ve been hoarding it. And to be honest, this is nothing new because my career/life’s work was all about being a repository for people’s profound stories. So many tales of suffering, triumph, and resolve invariably ended with the need to make the world a better place for the learning of some malignant and often unjust lesson. I was a family therapist, and those tales are not mine to tell, but as it turns out, I have a little piece of one to share from those who want it told. It’s about being thankful.

antique corn

It all started with corn. Italian corn. Just a month ago, I returned from visiting our daughter, Annie, who lives in the Italian Alpine town of Aosta. You can read her story here. Anyway, Annie’s obsessed with polenta as much as a human can be. So when I visited her in October, we went on a two week long polenta adventure across the far northern mountains and piemonte region. We called on antique corn experts, met with university academics, chatted with farmers & visited farms, ancient mills, and rural museums. There were Polenta sagre (festivals), a corn-husking party, lots of wine drinking, and accidental driving on blood-curdling half-lane gravel Alpine roads accompanied by screaming and cursing.

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Zuppa Valpellinese, (Black bread soup) Adventures in Aosta, Italy

I’m back from visiting my eldest, Alpine Annie in magic storybook land … Aosta, Italy. This is where she lives with her husband, Gianluca. We were on a quest to visit ancient community ovens in her region and in the Rhone-alps section of France and do we have tales to tell! First up is a post from Annie’s blog. I love her take on this adventure. Thanks, Annie!

A few days ago I took my mom and her friend Randy up to the village of Ozein.  It’s a paradise…there is no other word for it!  Well, a paradise for people who love ancient picturesque villages immersed in a sea of wildflowers, with breathtaking views of the tallest mountains of Europe.  It’s pretty spectacular.  As my momma says, better than a poke in the face.

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