Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two posts a month isn't so bad...

But it's not good either. And I am just barely getting the second in before the deadline! Life has been busy the past few weeks, very busy, but a good busy, the kind that makes you eager for the next week (even if you are a little tired from the previous).

In early October, my students created mini greenhouses for micro greens, and last week, we harvested them. It's a really easy task--plant seeds in recycled plastic containers (with holes, like those for berries) and after two weeks, the sprouts are ready to be harvested. Trendy sprouts (a staple for fancy farm to table restaurants this year) are oft referred to as micro greens, but they are one in the same. We planted radish, carrot, lettuce, sugar snap peas, turnips, and beets, and we used ours as a garnish for a tomato mozzarella salad. It was a great experience for the kids, and they enjoyed the flavor of the raw greens; there's something to be said about growing your own food! It makes it all the more delectable.

The micro green harvest coincided with a visit from a writer and researcher from Johns Hopkins Public Health School Magazine. They wanted to feature our cooking program in a slide show to promote a piece on the obesity landscape. I'm eager to see the final product--photographing and interviewing first and second grade "chefs" proved comical and chaotic at times. But then, that's all teaching :) My dear friend and first roomie in Baltimore, Attia (who is a PhD student in nutrition at JHSPH) came to take part as well; it was wonderful to have her company and support, especially since we started this teaching journey together as hopeful TFA corps members back in 2004. I don't think either of us knew exactly where we would be career-wise six years later, but I am so glad we are still in Baltimore together :)

Last Sunday, Megan and I took the ponies to Loch Moy to school their amazing competition course. It really is a treat both to compete and school at the facility, and the weather was perfect! Both Wyatt and Caesar were very well behaved and obedient on course. Caesar was controllable and correct to the fences, and I think a lot of that had to do with my improved position; when I am correct, he's so much easier to ride. The week prior I had spent some dedicated time working on my two point at the trot on the galloping path as well as working on pace. Clearly, it paid off! That means I must continue that work and get my legs stronger!

Here are a few photos (I'll post a short video clip soon, no luck with that application today???)

That's all for now, but I have jewelry updates and photos to share soon--there's not enough time in the day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's that smell?

Last week was a stinker. Between boiling vinegar for pickling, riding more than once in the pouring rain (fun while it lasts, terrible on the drive home), and over using paste wax in the jewelry studio, it was quite the smelly week. In cooking class, we made our first foray into the world of canning; we kept it simple (and avoided any threat of botulism) by making pickles. I was quite impressed with the results, and the kids were perhaps even more pleased. Success! It's so funny what they like--who would think the smell of simmering vinegar would be appetizing to children?

Quavel shows off the pickles!

Caesar and I had a few great dressage workouts last week but a dousy of a jump session on Wednesday (creeping left leg strikes again). I made some important corrections on Friday, and today I improved on that a bit more to have a much better lesson. Basically, I have to use those legs and ride the jumps, not just assume he'll do the work (yep, still working on that). We'll be schooling at An Otherwise Perfect Farm on Saturday to prepare for a horse trial next week, our first since June! I am trying to get excited, but in all honesty, I am feeling more than a little nervous. Eesh!

Jewelry class is kicking my butt; I love love love it, but the assignments are quite challenging and the work is even more time-consuming than I had imagined. The design element of the course is perhaps my weak point. I have no problem generating ideas, it's the act of honing those ideas into sketches that are feasible. I'm getting better with practice, but I expect this will always be a challenge for me. On the upswing, my skills are improving, and I am learning how to perfect basic techniques. Our first piece had pretty tight parameters: make a pierced (read: sawed) piece out of one piece of sheet metal (no layering, too bad!) that expresses an element of your identity. An identity assignment! Cringe, I always hate those! But it gave me a chance to work on something horsey; here's the final result:

I included a little hound and deer in the lower left hand corner as an homage to Caesar (ahem, Hound Deer); the piece is a bit big for me, but it actually looks decent on. A conversation starter at least!

I am working on lots of tiny cut-outs for a garden themed piece at the moment. I have decided that what I really love is creating tiny vestiges of domesticity. I have a slew of ideas for simple pendants and earrings; time will tell if I have the capacity (well, the time really) to complete a handful of them along with my big assignments. In any case, I am really loving the studio time; I would have never fancied myself a metal smith, but I couldn't be more pleased with this new hobby! Hopefully there will be more photos to come soon :)