Archive for September, 2009

Skagit River Poetry Project and Festival

September 23, 2009

Dear Friends of the Skagit River Poetry Project and Festival:

It is a sunny May day in LaConner Washington. The streets are filled with excited students from 6 school districts and two colleges, scurrying to get to the next poetry venue on time, so they do not miss: Kurt Lambkin singing poems and playing his Kora, Jimmy Santiago-Baca tells stories and reading poems about inner-city times, Lorna Crozier talking about the writer’s life and how her poems get made, not to mention Sam Green, our Washington State Poet Laureate, coaxing the poem from unsuspecting students.

I’m sure you have your own stories of who you’ve seen and heard, and had memorable conversations with, over the eleven years the Skagit River Poetry Project has been bringing poets to the valley and into our schools. Your children have come home inspired to write, to perform, moved by the life of a poet.

During the 2008-2009 school year the SRP project put poets into five school districts from Concrete to Bellingham, for seventy-five days, with over 10,000 students involved. Poets went into classrooms, were guests at assemblies, reading, talking, teaching. Students listened, read, wrote and dreamed. Perspectives changed. This is magic.

Well, dear friend, all this is in danger of dying.

Many of our fine supporters from years past are having to work under the same economic difficulties as the rest of the nation. School districts, private and state foundations are tightening their budgets. These institutions know how important the SRPP is yet must make cuts. So please, in the last eleven years, if you came home from the Skagit River Poetry Festival invigorated, enlightened, inspired, buzzed about Billy Collins or any other poet, please donate to the project now, today.

The Project and Festival website will be up and running soon, where you can check out current poetry in the school examples and the line up for Festival 2010.

You can send checks, made out to the Skagit River Poetry Project, to:

Attn: David Cram, Financial Officer

LaConner School District

POBOX 2103

LaConner, Wa. 98257

Thank you on behalf of all the students and board members who work so hard to make poetry happen.

Georgia Johnson

Board Member


Hedlin Farms Eat Local Picnic

September 22, 2009

Last Sunday, folks all around the Skagit Valley attended their neighborly eat-local, eat home made, picnic. Us LaConnerainians (rhymes with Pommeranian) went out to the Hedlin Farms Stand. David and Company provided the accoutramont, hay bales and picnic tables, beverages, fresh cooked corn from the fields. The rest of us gleaned from our gardens, our CSA boxes, roamed the many local stands, to fulfill our part of the bargain. There were fresh crudite platters and home made dips, salads showing every conceivable color and shape, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Kai’s fresh salsa with home made pita was not to be missed. There was delicata squash stuffed with an incredible nut mixture, tabouli with more tomatoes, lovely scalloped potatoes, several recipes of this, I had Janna’s. And the desserts……pear crisp, apple crisp, stewed Italian Plums, (WOW!) and…..fresh pumpkin ice cream. This is just a sampling. If I missed your dish….I know I am sorry!

Here’s a few photos of the day and the Hedlin Produce Stand:








thank you Serena, David, Mary, Lauren, Kai, and everyone else at the farm, and all my neighbors.

The Tuscan Tomato Bread Salad Revisited

September 20, 2009

Here it is once again…..traveling to the local garden pot luck this time. I added two ears of fresh uncooked white corn off the cob. A touch of sweetness, and maybe a bit more balsamic.


Please post a comment below on how you liked this salad. I would love to know what you would add from your garden. Thanks!

Autumn and the Spiders are in the House

September 20, 2009


This Just IN – Zucchini Eating Dog

September 20, 2009

The bigger the more tasty he says. Monk, the vegetable  connoisseur enjoys his fresh picked zucchini. He prefers the stem end as appetizer, eventually delicately leaving the outside skin, devouring the meaty inside.


Real People Eating Real Food Revisited

September 19, 2009

My first concern, 5 years ago, when accepting the role of food services manager at the school district, was reviewing /enhancing the menus to include more nutrition and beauty to what was already being offered.

I’ve always noticed the herded element found in most academic institutions and link this to a kind of lack of respect that flows both ways between students/staff of any kind, after a few years, say 8, in the k-12 system. Of course, in order to accomplish 500 meals in 4.5 hours there is much in the details that needs to be routine, simple, quick, no questions asked, deal with it.

After taking the pictures of our school lunches the last few days I have reconfirmed for myself just how ugly those trays are….and vow to do something about it……and I can through the blessed sense of possibility and purpose of our superintendent when he purchased china and serviceware for 250 people a few years back.

I will have to pick the menus that are easily held by a 10 inch plate, and serve the high school first to see how well they can handle the change with minimal breakage. Over time the esthetics will seep into their souls through their eyes, make them feel more human, more thought about, more cared for. Because I do.


The Happy School Lunch Tray

September 18, 2009

Lunch Menu on Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Garden Pizza, Salad, Oranges, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar, Access to the Salad Bar, your choice of Milk or Juice:

IMG_0132Here is the lunch for September 16, 2009

Taco Salad, Refried Beans with Salsa side, Fruit Salad, Access to Salad Bar, Milk or Juice, in this case the student brought bottled water:

IMG_0134We recycle as much plastic, glass and metal as we can corral. We compost all food, paper, and compostable food-ware, like the corn-based forks, pulp plates and trays. We are always looking for packaging that can be composted. We average about 1500 pounds of compost a week and have cut our garbage in half.¬† Thank you everyone in the district! Now, let’s bring the actual compost down by making sure we take as much as we can eat.

The Scone Test

September 18, 2009

It was lively and fragrant today in the Culinary Arts Room. Students were excited to bake on their own for the first time. This is a review of the ability to read and make sense of a recipe, to follow general kitchen protocols, to analyze some of the steps and ask pertinent questions, to create an acceptable product, and clean up in a timely manner.

I believe that all students did well, some have a higher skill level in reading and analysis of text, some have excellent recall of past baking observations. There is also the measure of how well they can work together, a skill unto itself.

Here are the results:

IMG_0144IMG_0142IMG_0152Chocolate chip with orange zest was the favorite mix of additions.

I find that students most often are confused by the T. and t., and are a bit unsure of which utensils to use at critical times. Don’t these look great? The recipe required 8 wedges and there they are! On each pan!

My Favorite Meal Of the Moment

September 18, 2009

This is the Tomato and Basil Sandwich with Cheese, on Fried Whole Grain French Style Bread. Be careful, sometimes I put just a bit too much olive oil in the saute pan, sometimes I use cream cheese, alot of it. Two pieces make one serving… just has to, because you need that second piece just to believe that it is as good…as it is.

Use 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 slices of bread, the heartier the better, 4 slices of tomato, 6 basil leaves in a chiffonade cut, and two slices of your favorite soft-ish cheese that works well with tomatoes: goat, cream cheese, jack or pepperjack, for instance.

Get the oil hot in a saute pan that the bread will fit into, fry bread for 2-3 minutes on each side, crunchy and golden. Take out of pan and place on serving plate. Put the cheese on, divide the chiffonade between them, place the tomatoes on top, add a bit of basil garnish. Eat before the bread loses it’s crunch.


This was the summer……

September 16, 2009

we ate home grown tomatoes everyday and gave them away like zucchini…

I slept outside all night more often than I can remember as an adult…..

we should have grown eggplant and pasilla peppers….

a bat flew in as we had all the windows and doors open….

the humpies were jumping in Skagit Bay…

Bruce tried canning pears for the first time….

the first without my mom….the longer she has been gone the more I miss her….is it supposed to be like this?

I finished every book I started…..

I was able to bring the boat to the dock in the channel without bashing into it…..

I came to a new understanding of grief and how to be with others in the midst of it….

i’ve loved drinking iced coffees with soymilk and vanilla in the afternoons….

i’ve felt clearly how precious each day has been, is, and not to sleep through any more of what time I have left in this body….

to celebrate every bit of every thing, all the yeses and nos, all the clarity and the fumbling….

Here’s the pears in a before and after scene:



some of the tomatoes we are eating….


some of the salmon….