We are having a Big Stone Lake Area Farmers Market producer meeting and soup supper on Monday, January 31st at 5:30pm.  It’s going to be at the Ortonville Community Center, which is just up the hill from the main drag–400 Monroe Street.

Joanne S. is making some soup, and I said I’d make a couple loaves of bread for it.  I was hoping that I could pull off a couple of loaves of sourdough from the starter I thought I’d have bubbling in one of my new crocks by now.  Apparently there’s not enough wild yeast floating around my kitchen for that to work out.

I’m not sure if that’s an entirely bad thing.

So, I’m going to have to resort to commercial grade yeast for those loaves of bread, but I’m pining away in my mind for that delicious onion sourdough I bought at the Vermillion Area Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago.

The guy who was selling it had come from Hendricks, MN, and he’d baked it in a clay oven he built himself.  When someone asked where he got the clay, he got a sort of funny glint in his eye and said, “from graves.”

Now that kind of makes you stand up and pay attention, doesn’t it?  Apparently, the guy has a friend who is a gravedigger, and when they excavate a hole, there’s always material left over after they put the vault in the ground.

Since you don’t want to dump big clods of clay in on top of the poor soul in the hole, you have to do something else with that.  Like build bread ovens, I guess.


I’ve also been helping plan the SHIP Spring Forum for producers and schools and retailers and the like.  It’s going to take place on March 1st at the Milan School, and it’s going to focus on the nuts and bolts of local food and how to get it onto shelves and into menus throughout the region.

The panelists are going to focus on legal and logistical issues based on their own experiences, so it should be really helpful for everybody.  I know I am looking forward to checking out all the fun stuff Milan has got cookin’.

This afternoon, I talked to a staff person at a school over on the SD side of the border, and it sounds like there’s starting to be some interest in Farm to School (or F2S for the initiated) in the northeastern part of that state as well.  Good news…


The dog and I finally got out of the house this afternoon and took a stroll down the bike trail.  I was surprised there were no snowmobile tracks through there–the trail that existed was made by the deer.

With my snowshoes securely fastened, it was a little easier for me to break a trail, but the dog stubbornly considers herself the leader in such excursions even if it means floundering in the drifts.

We made it as far as the bridge before turning back–not a long hike by any measure, but a good deal farther than we made it a couple of weeks ago, when I stubbornly decided we were going to walk despite the twenty below windchill.

Unlike the dog, I know when my authority has been usurped.  We turned back quickly, acknowledging Mother Nature’s superiority–dog hopping on cold paws and me holding mittened hands over my stinging cheeks.

It looks from the weather reports like we’re heading into our January “thaw.”  Yesterday was in the twenties (albeit with snow and a wild, drift-producing wind)–today is again in the twenties (and there’s sun!), and tomorrow will be, too.

How is that a thaw, you ask?  Well, on Friday, we may just touch 32 degrees during the warmest part of the day.  So, however long that lasts is how long our January thaw will be this year.

I’m hoping for at least fifteen minutes.


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