January 16, 2017

Durham Hub Farm

by Laura Fieselman April 14, 2015 It’s a balmy Friday afternoon at 2:30. There’s a rooster crowing, a nest of baby bunnies in the strawberry patch, and apple trees and school buses in the distance. The outdoor education students studying orienteering have just left. This is the Hub Farm of Durham Public Schools, a 30-acre school-system farm and network of wooded trails. Here, students, teachers, and the … [Read more...]

Exploring Ramps

by Laura Fieselman I had the great pleasure of joining friends for a weekend near the Carolina-Virginia line in early May. One of these friends happens to be a forester by training and she offered us a very special gift while we were there: "I know a patch of ramps," she said. "Want to go?" Of course I wanted to go. Of course I wanted a chance to see these famed wild leeks in their native habitat. The plants … [Read more...]

A Valentine’s Day Tea Party

By Laura Fieselman The women in my family cultivate an aesthetic at the dining table that calls into question even the best decorating and food magazines. Name an occasion and serving bowls surface from hidden cupboards, table linens appear from closets in the back of the house, and flatware arrives from drawers I’ve never seen. Menus are considered and reconsidered, preparatory work begins months in advance, and … [Read more...]

Pepper Preservation: Two Experiments

by Laura Fieselman Tomorrow is the new moon, and for those who plant by tradition the Farmers' Almanac indicates it's time to set out the very first plants of the season (which would be peas). But this year it seems like the frosts just keep on coming and coming and coming ... we're sharing a post by Laura Fieselman harkening back to that first frost of winter, reminding us that no matter the season, you've got to … [Read more...]

Christmas Cookies at Nana’s

by Laura Fieselman This is a ritual of the finest sort. It begins with dutiful contemplation and moves slowly through a prescribed set of dance moves. It requires specific equipment and traditional music. It crescendos with a pile of dishes in the sink and closes with the same narration each year. This is Christmas cookies at Nana's house. Nana, you must know, is my adopted grandmother. I have had the great … [Read more...]

What’s for Lunch?

by Laura Fieselman Trowels and leather work-gloves litter the scene. A few folks wearing overalls tack lathing to the exterior walls, their confident stances and the nail guns that hang from their belts proclaiming that they have done this a time or two. I help another group shove clumps of piedmont clay through a square screen built from hardware cloth. Several others focus on the lunchtime spread, the rest of us … [Read more...]

Apples and a Pioneer Cabin in Cedar Mountain

By Laura Fieselman There is a front porch, rocking chairs, and a wood-burning cookstove. But look closely and you will see there are also blowtorches, an electric food processor, and plastic mixing bowls. It is the Pioneer Cabin at the Green River Preserve, a summer camp for the bright, curious, and creative in Cedar Mountain, North Carolina. Campers carve wooden spoons and shape soap-stone pendants here. They … [Read more...]