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The struggle against the ravages of winter continues…

remedies brooklyn

I know that the traditional 14th wedding anniversary gift is roses, but we gave each other a lazy lunch and some herbal treats from Remedies Herb Shop instead…

My husband and I recently celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary! Hard to believe it’s been so long. I would say it feels like only yesterday that we were walking down the aisle together, but in reality it feels more like last week. Or maybe two weeks ago. Time has flown, but a lot has happened as well.

We had a glorious and slightly boozy lunch at Prime Meats, a meticulously wood paneled, slightly Germanic feeling, old New York kind of spot in Brooklyn’s Caroll Gardens. And then we wandered down Court Street and found ourselves in one of my current versions of heaven: a beautifully appointed herb shop.

Remedies has a long wall lined with jars of dried herbs, plus tinctures, creams, soaps, balms… you name it. I pretty much wanted everything. And the woman behind the counter (a friend of the owner’s) was a super knowledgeable practicing herbalist. Just the kind of angel one wishes were always a stone’s throw away.

We managed to escape with only 4 things (see the photo above) Burdock root to add to the bone broth I should have already made (but I swear I’m gonna do it this week!), some Hand to Hand salve for helping to repair dry heels and palms, a bundle of sage to burn for a little aromatherapy of the soul, and lastly, some charcoal soap with shea butter to purify as it moisturizes.

A lovely kit with which to begin year #14…

Yesterday, at some point…

catskills, NY

Meanwhile, back in the Catskills…

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Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day (or thereabouts). The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.

This Thursday, I’d like to throwback to the days of warmth and sunshine…

A rainbow over the bay on our last morning in Maui.

A rainbow over the bay on our last morning in Maui.

It’s the middle of “spring” break and we have ventured upstate to check out what’s going on in the Catskills. We foresaw days filled with brisk walks through the woods, mountain vistas and some interesting food.

We got cold, rain, fog, and some interesting food.

I’ll tell you more about the trip when we’re back at HQ, but today I find myself scrolling through photos from our year-end trip to Hawaii. I thought I’d share them with you guys in the desperate hopes that posting images filled with sunshine and warmth will convince Mother Nature to give us a break and usher in spring.

Welcome to 2015!

Photo by fellow whale watcher Tim Kohsman.

Photo by fellow whale watcher Tim Kohsman.

I spent the last days of 2014 and the first of this new year on the island of Maui, with my husband, daughter, my husband’s parents, his sister, her husband and their two girls. Extended multi-generational vacations can be perilous, but this particular one was set in paradise, and we had the wisdom to spend a few hours on a boat with the naturalists of the Pacific Whale Foundation, experiencing first hand the wonder of the humpback whale.

I didn’t take the picture above, because I was too busy gasping for air and being blown away by just how incredibly huge and powerful and graceful and majestic these creatures are- this one breached about 10 feet away from our boat- but luckily a fellow passenger had the presence of mind to capture it on film (or disc as the case may be).

We also listened to their ethereal songs when a crew member lowered a mic into the sea (you can listen to some here) and felt suddenly like a very small and largely ignorant part of a large and mysterious world. Like we were somewhat-tolerated guests in somebody else’s home.

That feeling of wonder is part of what I am hoping to nurture as this year matures, because it is that openness that allows us all to really be a part of the world we live in and motivates us to find ways to make it a better place.

So here’s to keeping our eyes open, to checking out the uncharted territories, both in our backyards and on the other side of the globe, and to remembering what an incredible magical place we all get to inhabit.

Happy New Year everybody!

Bye bye summer…

our sons and daughters farm camp

If only this little universe could be open (and sunny and warm…) all year round

Last week was the official end of farm camp for the summer, which always makes me a bit sad. Waldorf inspired and entirely outdoors, the kids sing and hike and compost and play and create and swing and eat and build and grow their way through the season, and I sit in front of my computer down the road at the Amagansett Library whilst secretly wishing I could be outside singing along with them.

It is a truly magical place, and one we will always return to… until that inevitable year when Ada is finally too old to take part. (Though who knows? Maybe there will be a junior counselor job waiting for her around that corner…) This year they have expanded their offerings, with a dedicated art camp for the older kids (6 to 10) in which the campers created all sorts of works of art that we will love and cherish and put in a pile and wonder what we’re going to do with them and eventually give some of them away to the grandparents and put the rest of them in a pile with all the other art-that-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with.

But in the meantime, I will photograph it all and put it up here for you all to enjoy. And to be inspired by, and to remember all of the various crafts you may have done when you were a kid (I’m sure I did all sorts of things, but my amazingly unsentimental parents have saved next to nothing– which makes their house far less cluttered than mine) Because while summer is almost over, we still have a bit of time left, so take out those toilet paper rolls and make dolls, paint boxes to put all of your treasures in, and sketch or paint a little something every day in order to preserve the memories of this present moment.

Because tomorrow is right around the corner and coming up fast.

In the meantime, as promised, the artwork:

Yesterday, at some point…

la fondita, amagansett

We had lunch at La Fondita in Amagansett, which is well worth a voyage down the over-travelled Montauk Highway if you are in this neck of the woods. Delicious street style Mexican food, picnic tables or blankets by the pond, cheese quesadillas for the little ones, watermelon juice…

This photo was taken while waiting very patiently for the number 15 to be called…

La Fondita
74 Montauk Highway
Amagansett, NY
631-267-8800
open every day

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Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day. The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.

Amber Waves of grain, and flowers, and tomatoes, and greens…

tomatoes at amber waves farm

These are some of the delicious tomatoes at Amber Waves just hanging there on the vine, waiting to be picked…

Amber Waves Farm is a little slice of heaven, located down a semi secret stone driveway behind the totally not secret, overpriced, full on Hamptons-stylie Amagansett Farmer’s Market which is actually an outpost of Eli Zabar’s in NYC. Now to be fair, Zabar’s swept in and saved the old market, which was poised to go out of business. I am genuinely happy that the local farmers still have a retail outlet for their goods and are able to keep on keeping on. But I am letting other people pay $15 for a small crate of plums. Me and my more limited bank account shop elsewhere, for the most part.

One of our options is the just new this year non publicized retail table at Amber Waves. They are, for the most part, a CSA serving up the most incredible looking boxes full of their lush organic produce. But this summer they have started to offer a few things for those of us non-members who may happen to make our way down the driveway. Some of the stuff is prepackaged, and some (like the tomatoes) we go pick ourselves!

This is far from a one stop shop, as the selection is super limited, but it makes a great place to begin, as the vegetables they have right now are well worth planning an entire meal around. Plus it makes the horrors of driving on the infamous Montauk Highway feel worthwhile. And there is a little play area with two mini houses that the kids can run around in should you decide to break down and buy a watermelon juice or lemonade from the market up front and want to sit down and enjoy it.

And then, when you get home, you should consider making one of these delicious gazpachos that the great Mark Bittman has written about in the New York Times recently. One of these, some bread and maybe a salad and you’re good to go!

Here are a few photos of the farm just to get you motivated to come out…

A temporary oasis

tipi havemeyer park brooklyn

This tipi is one of the defining features of the temporary but no less wonderful Havemeyer Park in Williamsburg.

The other day, a friend of mine took my daughter and me to Havemeyer Park, on the south side of Williamsburg. It’s technically only open on the weekends, but the gate was open and some of the farmers were in there tending their crops and getting ready for the weekend farmers market. No one seemed to object to our being there, so in we went.

It is one of those beautiful magic spots, a real oasis sprouting out from the rubble that was this abandoned lot across from the old Domino sugar factory that is now on it’s way to becoming yet another gigantic luxury condo building. The park will soon be a part of the development as well… though there is hope that at least the garden (run by North Brooklyn Farms) will find a permanent home in a space across the street. I guess even developers want organically grown produce these days.

We had such a nice time, exploring the tipi and yurt, looking at the produce, talking to the farmers and just playing on the grass. It is well worth checking out if you find yourself in that neck of the woods. They have all sorts of classes and events there as well… both the tipi project and North Brooklyn Farms have all sorts of fun things planned for the rest of August (like regular Wednesday and Saturday farmer’s markets, yoga and kids dance classes, etc) And of course, there is the by-now-famous dirt bike track, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 to 5.

But it all has to be enjoyed before September 1, when the park is slated to turn into a pumpkin (aka part of the new Domino condo complex) so now is the time!

A few more photos for you to enjoy…

A cure for what ails you

Brooklyn Farmacy

When all else fails, get in your car or on the train (or walk, if you are lucky enough to live nearby) to the Brooklyn Farmacy for some old school ice cream fountain goodness.

Summer is here big time. My brain is already wilting with the heat and the haze and the unplannedness of it all. But I am doing my damndest just to slow down and enjoy it, rather than fight through these absolutely-no-time-to-myself days.

I have decided that it’s ok to let my kid watch a movie a day if that is the only time I have to get anything done for myself. It’s also ok to let bedtime slip back to 9:45 (or 10:30 as was the case last night) if that means she sleeps in till 9 am. It’s like living in Spain without having to travel.

And above all, it’s ok to have ice cream for lunch… it just is. Especially if you make an adventure out of it and head over to Carroll Gardens (What?? Leave Williamsburg?) to the stupendous old fashioned perfection of a soda fountain called the Brooklyn Farmacy. So named for it’s location in a former pharmacy and decorated with all sorts of ephemera from said establishment, this place is an egg cream lover’s dream. And a mac & cheese lover’s, and and ice cream sundae lover’s and a grilled sandwich lover’s… In fact there is something for just about everyone here. Check out their current menu– it changes seasonally– if you need more evidence.

the inside of Brooklyn Farmacy

Located in a former pharmacy, the place feels more like a genuine old neighborhood spot than the Disney-esque tourist traps that seem to be sprouting up like weeds all over Brooklyn these days.

We started a recent visit off with a mountain of their mac and cheese, steaming hot with the most perfect crust on the top. Plenty for the three of us to share and then feel less guilty about the main course… the star attraction… the ice cream.

icecream_sand

I stayed super traditional and went for the homemade vanilla with chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich, though they (of course) have all sorts of other combinations to choose from. It is one of my all time favorite forms in which to ingest ice cream and I will almost always order one if the opportunity arises. (And if you’re really feeling ambitious, here’s how to make your own!)

Josh had a good old straight up chocolate egg cream, that was ingested too quickly for me to photograph.

pink_float

But the piece de resistance, and leave it to my daughter to order it up, was the divine Pink Poodle, an ice cream float made from their homemade hibiscus soda topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream.

By the time we left the place, it was as if nothing bad had ever happened to us ever and we lived in a universe filled with sunshine, sweetness and light.

And who doesn’t want to feel like that?

Yesterday, at some point…

rockaway_beach

Hard to believe this is Queens, but there it is.

We spent a glorious 24 hours in Rockaway yesterday (you’ll be hearing more about this in the next couple of days, I promise) and the Atlantic Ocean gracefully welcomed us to her shores.

Summer has really begun.

Sure there’s a huge crazy pipe that’s replenishing lost sand and sounds of post-Sandy construction everywhere. But the ocean is the ocean is the ocean.

And that’s all that matters.

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Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day. The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.