Weekly Roundup

WVPCO Images | Bird is the Word (230 of 232)

Is it fall yet!? With a week’s forecast full of numbers that start with 6 and 7, I’m thinking it almost is. And I’m determined to make my first ever pumpkin pie this year. When you marry into a family that owns a pie company, you rarely find occasion to actually bake pies from scratch, but this year it’s happening!

Recipes that caught my eye this week: Kale + Pear Salad, Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins and Lemon Ricotta Loaves. Are you detecting a theme?

I’m in love with this wreath and feel like it would look so great on our front door, but would rather figure out how to make it than endure the $68 price tag. Terrain, why do you tease me so? And anyone have any flax they wanna share?

I’ve been obsessing over all the Shaker peg racks I’ve seen on Instagram and finally found the perfect ones at The Container Store yesterday. Now to bribe my husband to hang them for me…

My SIL gave me this cookbook for my birthday and I’ve really been enjoying it.

Happy Friday all! Fall, let’s do this thing.

Weekly Roundup

FIshing the North Umpqau | Kali Ramey Martin (4 of 9)

Early this week a friend and I traveled down to the North Umpqua river to do some interviews and shoot photos for a couple fly fishing magazines. We also managed to sneak some fishing in Tuesday morning, and I have to tell you there’s not a whole lot more I want out of life than being able to watch the sun come up with a fly rod in my hand. After fishing most of the morning we stopped and had an incredible breakfast at Steamboat Inn. Taylor and I have plans to celebrate our anniversary there in October and I. Can. Not. Wait.

While we’re on the topic of fishing, I listened to a really great podcast (second one down- August 5th) this week by one of my fly-fishing heroes and outspoken conservationist, April Vokey. Going in with no preconceived notions about hatcheries, listening to this podcast really cleared a few things up for me. Such a good reminder to pay attention to the world around us.

I’ve survived most of the summer on fresh fruit for breakfast but this sandwich is totally calling my name.

The new bed Taylor (and his parents!) gave me for my birthday, and our recent Craigslist dresser has inspired me to get our bedroom finished once and for all. I’ve been looking for the perfect wall sconces and found these at World Market. Hoping the whole thing will end up looking something like this.

Been wondering if you should clear out those dead pea plants and cucumber vines and plant a few fall crops? Here’s a few tips on getting your garden ready for autumn.

I think that’s all for now. Happy Friday everyone!

How does your Garden Grow?

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Early this spring I sat down with the latest volume of the Territorial Seed Company catalog and planned my garden. I used their Garden Planner to plot everything out perfectly, and ordered my seeds and starts according to the numbers and sizes they recommended. Taylor built me three big, beautiful raised beds (6′ x 12′) that we placed out between the fruit trees on the edge of the yard. I bought a giant stack of those seed starting trays, a couple bags of organic potting soil and as the seeds arrived in their designated months, sowed them with love and care.

Unfortunately, whether it was my lack of experience, inconsistent watering or insufficient light and heat, most of my seeds never made it past infant hood. The only starts I ended up planting in the garden were peas, which did quite well thank you very much.

After licking my wounds from my seed starting experience, I got a new wave of motivation and planned a trip with my mother-in-law to her favorite local nursery. I filled my cart with already established shoots and starts and felt confident I could keep them alive and thriving. I took them home, threw caution and my Garden Planner to the wind and did my best to plant everything with correct spacing, as designated on the little garden tags they came with.

Here’s what we ended up with:
6 Yukon Gold Potato Plants
6 Lacinato Kale Plants
6 Kale Plants
1 Butternut Squash
1 Delicate Squash
1 Acorn Squash
1 Burbank Slicing Tomatoes
1 Sungold Cherry Tomato
1 Brandywine Tomato
1 Jalapeño Plants
2 Red Peppers
5 Spinach Plants
6 Pickling Cucumbers
2 Yellow Summer Squash
1 Pole Bean
1 Green Bean
3 English Peas
12 Lettuce Plants (Mix of Romaine, Italian Blend and Red Leaf)
12 Corn Stalks
6 Walla Walla Sweet Onions
1 Strawberry Plant
1 Rhubarb Plant
Assortment of Herbs (Basil, Chives, Thyme, Lemon Verbena, Lavender, Mint, Bay, Rosemary, Cilantro)

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While we’ve done pretty well, and I’ve got tomatoes coming out the wazoo, there’s a few things I’ll change up when I go to plan things out next year.

1. Order starts instead of seeds, but still go through Territorial Seed Company as they have more variety and it’s easier to get the exact number of plants you want. The local nursery has no organic selections and lots of the starts come in a six-pack.

2. Speaking of six packs, I ended up with waaaaaay too much kale, lettuce and summer squash. We love our greens as much as the next person, but one or two kale plants (both of the lacinato variety next year) and 4 lettuce plants should do the trick. I also goofed and only grabbed summer squash instead of zucchini, and for some reason the green version seems so much more versatile.

3. More peas and beans. Peas and beans are easy to pick, eat and freeze. We use peas and beans in cooking all year long and it would have been nice to have enough to put up for winter instead of barely having enough for a dinner or two.

4. I forgot to get parsley! One of the most commonly used herbs ever. Doh! I’ve felt so miffed every time I have to buy it at the store this summer, meanwhile being able to cut the rest of my herbs from the back porch.

5. Plant more cilantro. I only had one little pot, and it just didn’t last through the heat wave. Ideally, I’d love to add at least one more raised bed (maybe two!) next year, and devote that one entirely to herbs so they can expand a bit.

6. Plant more corn. I’m not sure how that’s going to work, but maybe we just need to find a spot to designate as a corn field because my 12 stalks just did not quite pollinate properly. All the husks I’ve picked so far have a serious snaggletooth situation going on.

7. To try next year: Hard-necked garlic, carrots and radishes. And whatever else strikes my fancy between now and then!

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A few weeks ago, I read this article from Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings, written in February 1918 by Laura Ingalls Wilder and it totally cracked me up.

Anyone can be a successful gardener at this time of year, and I know of no pleasanter occupation these cold, snowy days than to sit warm and snug by the fire, making garden with a pencil–in a seed catalog.

What perfect vegetables we do raise in that way and so many of them! Our radishes are crisp and sweet, our lettuce tender, and our tomatoes smooth and beautifully colored. Best of all, there is not a bug or worm in the whole garden, and the work is so easily done.

That Laura Ingalls. Always nailing it right on the head. How have your gardens been this year? Any genius insights to share? Do tell!

Slice of Life

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Last month I did a shoot and shared a recipe with local online men’s magazine, Classfare. We prepped and shot my favorite Corn Chowder, and despite the nerves I always have before cooking in front of the camera, I could not be more thrilled with how the photos turned out. James perfectly captured the moody light in my old farmhouse kitchen and what it feels like to hunker down in there on an overcast morning and just cook. Which is, no doubt, one of my very favorite things to do. Even Cash got his moment in the spotlight, which was so special to me because he is always underfoot while I’m cooking, hoping for a scrap. I love that his handsome little mug made it into the article. You can read it here.

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The other thing I love so dearly about these photos is this little slice of my life they are capturing. This first sweet, quiet year on the farm. The fleeting bit of solitude before we are joined by another little human this winter. The finding out about and preparing for a new season of life.

I’ll never forget the morning we learned of our newest family member. Sitting at the kitchen table in this very same light, eating breakfast together, drinking coffee and exchanging smirks, wondering if it was real.

I’ll never forget the first few months spent napping daily on our soft, gray-green couch, learning to co-exist with the exhaustion that comes with creating life. Peaceful days spent with enough time and space to know my own mind. Simple days filled with morning walks, puppy snuggles and usually, a good deal of just thinking.

I’ve done a lot of work to get here.

Spending the better part of the last two years listening, learning, reading and researching. Preparing my heart, my mind, my marriage, my body. Doing the work to understand myself so I can perform the maintenance that needs to be done to keep things running healthily. Determined that I wouldn’t be caught off guard by motherhood the way I was when I became a wife. Even though this babe was a bit of surprise, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the timing of things. We’ve done our time, put in the work to get to a place where we trust each other, and ourselves, enough to move forward and here we are.

Here we are in this place that has felt, from the beginning, so very personal. Despite the fact that my dearest friends have all gone through this experience in the last few years, and such a large majority of the female population gives birth, from day one, it’s felt like there’s no one but the three of us in this whole wide world. We kept our sweet little secret until a sibling’s wedding plans prompted the news around a third of the way in, but I think I could have happily kept my mouth shut until folks started to wonder whether I’d eaten one too many doughnuts.

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Having just crossed over the halfway mark, I think I’ve finally given myself permission to believe this is all real. I’ve had a tsunami sized wave of that silly thing they call “nesting” and no corner of this old house is safe from my sponge. We’ve slowly, verrrry slowly, started to gather tiny, little things and make lists of to-do’s to get done around the house.

It seems I’ve also finally given myself permission to feel a little something. For the longest time I had such a hard time answering the question, “Are you excited?” I didn’t feel excited. I  know what babies entail. Labor, healing, rigorous feeding and sleep schedules, and overall physical and emotional exhaustion. Excited just never seemed like the right word to me. I wanted people (and probably myself, too) to know I was being practical about this whole situation. That I knew what I was getting into. Excited just didn’t cut it. Rather, there was this warmth. This quiet happiness buried way down deep in my heart. I couldn’t find the words to describe it, I just kept thinking of this verse:

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. -Luke 2:19

For the longest time, I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to make plans. I didn’t want to share with people. I didn’t want to buy stuff. I didn’t want to read about pregnancy, labor or birth and I didn’t want any voices in my head besides my own. I just wanted to store up every moment and ponder it in my heart. Really, truly live in the moment and experience it as deeply and genuinely as I could.

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I really wanted to be able to write about it. At least, I felt like I should want to write about it. Writing is my therapy, clarity, perspective. But I just couldn’t. I felt like words would cheapen my experience. Like I couldn’t possibly put into words this like monumentally life-changing thing that was happening.

But now, I feel like I’ve finally settled in. I’ve finally gotten comfortable in this place that I’m in, at least internally. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it feels like a corner has been turned. I don’t know if it was seeing that little 20 week old for the first time on the ultrasound screen, or starting to feel the flutters as he/she kicks and squirms and moves around in there. Maybe it was the first time Taylor felt a kick against his hand as it lay on my stomach. Whatever it was, I’m finally making peace with the word, “mama,” and entertaining little day dreams of what my life will be life this winter, fully immersed in a newborn haze.

I probably still seem pretty shy about this whole thing to the outside observer. I do feel a bit self-conscious about my ever changing form. And I always feel like I disappoint people who approach me with questions, having to answer “we’re not finding out. we’re not sharing names. we don’t need much.” I’m not overly enthusiastic about teeny baby clothes, nursery decor, or even the word “nursery” really, and much to the dismay of many, have begged to avoid the seemingly universal experience of a baby shower. I’ve put off buying much maternity wear, trying to hang on to the things that make me feel like myself and I’ve tried to stay away from complaining about the various side effects of pregnancy. I think I’m kind of a disappointing expectant mother. Ha! But deep down, deep where it really, really matters, I feel good, steady, sure and confident.

Not confident that I’m “ready,” or that I know it all, or that I even know what the next month ahead holds for me. But confident that I have what it takes to grow, meet and love this little person we made. Confident that I know when to give myself the time and space to work through things on my own. And confident that even if I feel bashful on the outside, I’ll be storing all these things like treasures in my heart.

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All photos by James FitzgeraldCorn Chowder on Classfare.

Weekly Roundup

Cameron Winery Photos | Kali Ramey Martin (20 of 26)

After a good long break from the Internet and in an effort to show up here on a more regular basis, I thought I’d give a weekly roundup post a shot. Try to share all the things that pique my interest throughout the week. We all spend hours getting lost in internet rabbit holes, whether we care to admit it or not, so why not jump into the ones we know won’t disappoint?

Lately I’ve been getting lost in the blog archives of some of my Instagram “friends.” This Olive Oil Potato Gratin from Amelia has been calling my name.

I also spent a decent amount of time this week scouring Etsy for the perfect infant beanie, and I’m pretty sure this one by StarSeventeen is it.

Does anyone else stalk Craigslist for the perfect desk, dresser, rocking chair, etc.? After watching my mother-in-law come home with treasure after treasure, I’ve learned my lesson and check in on things every few days. I was thrilled to find this dresser for our bedroom this week and I’m hoping before I’m through with it, it’ll end up looking something like this.

The hutch of my dreams was a Craigslist find. CRAIGSLIST FOREVER!

Michelle’s Bourbon and Brown Sugar Peach Pie is totally calling my name. We bought and canned a whole box of peaches last week, but I went back to the farm stand and grabbed another box because they are just SO good this year. I’m averaging four per day. Don’t judge me.

Today’s “work” included driving out to Cameron Winery where I got to poke around the wine cellar, take photos of their beautiful farm and learn about dry farming practices. Have I mentioned I think farmers are just about the coolest people ever? The photo above is from this morning’s shoot. Happiest chicken in the world right there, I’m tellin’ ya.

I’ve done a pretty good job avoiding most of the “top ten lists of baby things,” but really enjoyed Amanda’s simple list of what to throw in your hospital bag. Much less anxiety inducing than anything I’ve tried to ignore on Pinterest. I’ll definitely be revisiting that post come December.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Is it Fall yet?

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I don’t know if it’s my weariness of the ever-present summer heat, the sad death of everything living around me, or just anticipation for the season ahead, but all I want to do is think about fall. To cook things with squash and cinnamon, to brew a steaming cup of tea on a cold morning and take a long walk in the crisp morning air. Listen to moody music as the rain falls and settle into the couch with a cozy blanket and a good book. Head for the hills to take slow hikes amongst crunchy leaves and finally get my fly rod back on the water.

I’ve got it bad for autumn this year.

I’m suddenly finding knitting terribly romantic, thinking I don’t own nearly enough oversized sweaters or wool socks, and opening my pajama drawer to stare longingly at my favorite men’s flannel pjs. My Bean boots haven’t been worn in months and I think they are starting to get an abandonment complex.

Am I the only one? Anyone else totally burned out on this crazy summer?

It’s supposed to rain this weekend and you’d better believe I’ll be ready with my saddest record, softest blanket and a stack full of fall recipes to drool over.

Some of my favorite Fall recipes:
Stuffed Acorn Squash
White Bean Chili
Cottage Pie
Smoked Caramel Pear Cakes

Sub-Soiling

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Friday afternoon, right in the heat of the day, I got a text message that said “you should come over if you have a sec. And bring some water.” This had better be good, I thought to myself as I looked out at the hot, dry field, while dutifully filling a bottle and waking the pup from his afternoon nap. I grabbed my camera, hopped in the car and drove out to the middle of the field where my husband was enthusiastically sub-soiling the blueberries. Sub-soiling stirs up the soil to avoid it becoming too compact, but it’s really kind of a freaky process because as the tractor rolls by, the bushes lift up and fall again, like Bugs Bunny is tunneling beneath them. He shoulda taken that left at Albuquerque.

A mid-afternoon invitation from my dude to join him in the field, just because he was doing something cool and wanted to show me. These are the moments where my heart tells me we’re doing something right.


It appears I’ve unofficially and unintentionally taken some time off from this space. I’ve been in kind of a private state of mind and needed some time to process through the pieces of myself I choose to share online. I also just needed some time to get to know myself again. Life has included a great deal of transition in the last year and I realized I just needed to hibernate and figure some shiz out, you know what I mean?

Taylor and I had a conversation the other night about what we do during a day and it occurred to me just how drastically different my life is than it was a year ago. I’ve somehow sashayed my way in to a pretty traditional domestic life, and I’ve needed some time to process that. Especially since I spent so many years looking down on stay-at-home-whatevers, claiming I’d never want to be “stuck” at home like that and vowing to resist the stereotypical gender role that seemed so oppressive. But as we talked, I realize that I’ve not only enjoyed my new daily routine, but have found an incredible amount of joy and freedom in it.

Sure, from the outside looking in I’m keeping house, making beds, folding laundry, buying groceries, doing load after load of dishes, cooking two to three meals a day and taking care of a wildly overgrown yard. I have a garden. I own more than one apron. I put makeup on my face maybe once or twice a week. My social life pretty much consists of Cash and whatever family members happen to drive by in a truck or tractor. From the outside looking in, my life seems pretty simple and maybe even a little dull.

But man, this has been one of the best summers I’ve had in a long time. This may sound a little cheesy, blame it on my romantic nature, but when I’m doing laundry, I’m washing the clothes of the person that I love the most who is currently out working 16+ hour days to provide for our family. When I’m planning the week’s dinners, I’m thinking of the meal times we will share which currently make up the majority of our time together. When I’m dragging a hose around the garden, I’m watering the cucumbers and pears that I’ll can later in the summer, and nourishing the winter squash that will go into soup and pie and chili in autumn. It’s a pretty basic idea, really, but man, anything done with love and joy and care, turns out to be fundamentally satisfying and fulfilling.

I’m not just playing Suzy Homemaker, mind you, though some days I secretly wish I were. Despite my full-time farmer’s wife status, I’ve also been working pretty hard on my business. Catering has been steady and busy and consumed much of my waking (and sleeping) hours throughout the heat of the summer. I’ve been writing monthly columns for the local paper and working on a few other creative projects. Though I’ve taken a break from the blog, I’m taking stock of where I’d like it to go and making plans for the next few month’s content.

Life is somehow simultaneously quiet and full and I wake up every morning with this unquenchable hope in my chest. I’m old enough to know that life comes and goes in seasons, and this season of incredible sweetness probably won’t last forever, so I’m determined to soak up every minute to hold onto in the stormier times. And as I continue to figure things out, you’d better believe you’ll be the first to know.

Life on the Farm: Vol. 4

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I had a conversation a couple weeks ago about romanticism. A friend posed the question, “Do you think growing up with your head in a book hindered your ability to appreciate real life?” And though at first I could easily come up with a laundry list of situations where my romantic expectations had resulted in a significant letdown (ahem, prom), after thinking about her question for a few days, I realized I really feel my enthusiasm and appreciation for the more romantic aspects of life is a precious gift and not at all a burden.

Sure, real life is not especially romantic. The day to day, the routines, the have-to’s and the obligations. Arguments and errands, cleaning and finances. Sometimes the realness of it all feels heavy and crushes the soul just a little bit. But I think amidst those every day things, there are moments, simple pleasures, magical happenings that, if we are paying attention, can not only live up to but even surpass the lofty expectations we might have. That’s why I feel that having grown up in an assortment of fictional worlds where fantastical things happen and happy endings are always a possibility, is such a gift.

Because when those fleeting moments appear, we have the ability to appreciate their true magic.


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I get asked a lot if this rural farming life is as romantic as it seems. And of course the real answer is no. It is, especially this time of year, composed of long, hot days and a never-ending series of harvests. Working seven days a week, constantly battling the forces of nature and coming home at midnight just to head back out first thing the next morning. This year, being unseasonably hot has brought with it a whole different set of issues and our farmers have worked their tails off trying to keep up. It’s been weeks since Taylor and I have more than a couple waking hours together and the world around me has started to turn brown and dead, depressing me just a little. And yet, among the sweat and exhaustion, the days and nights apart and worries over berry prices, there is a certain magic to it all.

I went out with Taylor last night as he made his evening rounds, checking on the berry pickers and making sure everything was running right. I watched the huge, impressive machines load up with men and crates and prepare for a night of work. I meekly followed Taylor behind the fleet as they took off down their rows and hesitated when he started to climb up the ladder of one of the machines. He turned and motioned for me to join him, so up I went and felt like a queen riding the pickers through the field, a cool breeze hitting my face as the sunset glowed pink and the sweet smell of blackberries perfumed the air. High up above the rows I could see it all, and as the thousands of berries fell in purple waterfalls onto the conveyor belt behind me and traveled on into their crates, I felt a wave of awe.

While this life may not actually be romantic according to most people’s standards, it sure is to me. After months of preparation, weeding, watering, spraying, fretting and haggling over prices, when all is said and done, good year or bad, there is something to show for it. Something small, beautiful and delicious that you can hold in your hand. Something that can only exist because of the watchfulness and love and care of a few special folks, who rarely have the time to appreciate the incredible work they do.

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My heart swelled with pride as I watched my husband work last night. It takes a lot of courage to make a career change of any kind, much less diving into a field so very different from what you were doing before. He’s learned so much and devoted so much time and energy trying to wrap his mind around what he’s seen of farming so far and I just couldn’t possibly admire him any more. I love nothing more than the times when I get to tag a long and watch him in action, so don’t expect the bragging to stop any time soon.

As we drove away from the field, watching the pickers work their way back and forth across the rows, Taylor said, “Isn’t it cool that these guys will be out here all night, just working away while everybody sleeps?” And I couldn’t help but agree. So much of farming is unnoticed, often unappreciated, and people take for granted those little berries they buy in the store. When in reality, an entire year’s time, money, labor and a final all night effort go into making those little beauties available so easily.

Romantic? Well, probably not. But magical? I’m sure of it.

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