It’s Gotta Start Somewhere…

Goldie covered with snow for web
Winter, that is.

And by the looks of things outside, it’s starting today.

So far, the flakes are light and we haven’t seen a snowplow yet.

But the Eye on the Sky guys up in the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury (the best local weather reports in the area) are forecasting 4 to 5 inches by the time this crystallized precipitation moves on.

This stuff’s gonna stick! And Goldie will be happy because snowball chasing season is about to begin!

Win, Win, Win

Most of the time, it’s difficult to tell where a great idea originates. But once in a while, you get to see one at birth.

And it’s exciting when you do.

About two weeks ago, a woman who was shopping in what’s arguably one of the greatest general stores on the planet—Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, Vermont—started up a conversation with a man named Dan Fraser. Dan is part of the family that owns and runs Dan & Whit’s.

The woman obviously has a good heart because she had just been at the Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction, one of the angel nonprofits that make this region so special. The Haven is a homeless shelter, food shelf, after-school program, etc. Great place, great people.

The Haven’s food shelf was nearly bare, the woman told Dan as she filled a grocery bag. As fast as food comes in, it goes out.

Dan was obviously one of those right people in the right place at the right time with the right idea. It wasn’t long before he was announcing on the Norwich listserv that Dan & Whit’s was prepared to donate 1% of its profits on sales in the store for the first 19 days of December to the Haven. And he hoped other businesses in town might want to do the same.

As the saying goes in this day and age, the idea went viral. Except in this case, it’s locally viral.

Soon other businesses in town pledged to do the same.

They started an online raffle on Dan & Whit’s FaceBook page and folks and organizations and businesses started donating prizes (including books from yours truly). Raffle tickets have been bought by folks from as far away as Hong Kong!

There’s been a food drive in town every weekend since, including the one pictured here by Boy Scout Troop 253 of Norwich.
Scout troop 253 for web
Two of the banks in town are preparing to make breakfast (Mascoma Savings Bank at the Norwich Grange) and lunch (Ledyard Bank at the Norwich Congregational Church) on December 21. Breakfast is free but since this is a fundraiser for the Haven, they will be asking for donations at the door. Lunch is $5 for kids & seniors, $10 for adults with all proceeds going to the Haven.

Graphic designer Doug Lufkin created the great yellow stickers that have sprouted all over town (see the picture above) and the idea of shopping local to support a local nonprofit just keep spreading.

Dan’s great about keeping us all informed about the spread of this incredibly good idea, about shopping and eating and using the services of the wonderful local businesses in Norwich while supporting a great nonprofit that’s working hard to help folks who have hit a rough patch in life.

It’s a win-win-win situation.

Doing my best to make sure it spreads.

Haven Hats

HHat-gree-white stripe-closeup-1 for web
I was out of the house early this morning to grocery shop and my first stop was at this great store in Norwich, Vermont called Dan & Whit’s. They are doing something very special this holiday season, and I’m planning to write about it over the next couple of days. But we’re going to start with hats.

Haven Hats, to be exact.

There’s a homeless shelter on Route 5 in White River Junction called the Upper Valley Haven. It’s an amazing place. They’re part of the Dan & Whit’s story so you’re going to learn more about them.

Back to the hats.

When you’re a maker, someone compelled to create with her or his hands, you have to have a place for your stuff to go. Some people are content with letting their creations pile up in totes under the bed.

But most of us need a reason to create.

I write books for people to read. I make quilts for people with Parkinson’s Disease. And when I’m itching to feel the pull of yarn between my fingers, I crochet.

I’m not a master crocheter and don’t have any desire to be. I just love the meditative quality of repeating stitches until there’s a hat or a scarf or a pair of slippers where there used to be a ball of yarn. So I gravitate to simple patterns, the kind you can make on autopilot.

I developed a hat pattern that I named the Haven Hat pattern because I make them to give to the Upper Valley Haven. (See, this all connects.) I put it all together in a PDF and if you crochet or know someone who does, I encourage you to download it, and make a few for someone in need

The picture below was taken in 2011 just before I took a batch of hats to the Haven. We had a lot of great snowball snow that winter.
Haven hat collection-1 for web

Tomatoes, Pesto, Carrots and Potatoes

Ripening cherry tomatoes for webIf you own a garden of any sort, you know this is a really busy time of year.

We’ve already had one light frost (that shrieking sound you heard was everyone with basil still in the ground), and there’s nothing like a little frozen precipitations for spurring yard cleanup, canning, cooking, and picking.

Here at Crow Town Bakery, we no longer grow the large tomatoes prized by so many. We switched to cherry tomatoes years ago, picking them as they ripen, using them in all sorts of salads, and eating them straight from the vines like candy.

When frost threatened, we picked them all—green and red—washed them then threw them whole into plastic bags and then into the freezer.

We use them all winter long in soups, stews, chili and sauces. Just take a handful out of the bag, put them in a bowl to let them thaw for five minutes or so then cut them in half. They cut easily if they are still a bit frozen. If you this when they’re straight from the freezer, you’ll be struggling more than you need to.

You’ll be amazed at how much flavor the green ones add to sauces and soups.

And it’s much easier than blanching and peeling those big ones.

We’ll be looking for you.
Little Crow’s Mom | September 19 | Categories: Local Food

The Golden Glow Days

Golden glow and purple morning glories on the fence in front of the Carding Academy of Traditional Arts
Golden glow and purple morning glories on the fence in front of the Carding Academy of Traditional Arts

by Edie Wolfe

I sometimes wonder at the compulsive human fascination with time. We strap clocks to our wrists. We adorn our walls with calendars. The computer-driven universe couldn’t run without the inaudible tick, tick, tick of its internal clocks.

And would someone please explain to me why Google thinks it important to announce how many nano-seconds it took to find a million pages on how to cook zucchini. Come to think of it, why are there a million pages about cooking zucchini?

No matter.

We could throw away all those clocks this minute and still understand that we’re nearing the receding edge of summer. The sun’s hitting the tops of the trees up on the hills before six. It takes longer for the morning mist to dissipate. And the tall, gangly form of the yellow golden glow is co-habitating with those purple morning glories that be such a pest when they get into a garden.

But aren’t they beautiful together?

In any event, the botanical calendar in the Carding Academy’s front garden tells me that our new fall schedule of classes will begin soon. We’ve added one new mosaic class with Carrie Fradkin and Chloe Cooper has added a quilt design class. If you’re interested, sign up quick. These teachers always fill up fast.

Edie Wolfe is the executive director of the Carding Academy of Traditional Arts.

Edie Wolfe | August 30 | Local Arts

Author of the Carding, Vermont novels, quilt books, and book publishing guides.