Monday, July 18, 2011

Notes from the (sometimes) French and Food and Weird Happenings Front

I recently attended the 3rd annual Urban Craft Uprising. Held at least twice per year (always summer and during the holiday season, but the uprising is expanding), this is an artist's and DIY-er's dream. All kinds of handcrafted items are curated at each show, and since one can usually speak directly with the artist, there's usually an up-close-and-personal kind of feeling to each show.

This year was no different. Along with my usual stop at the Yarnia booth (where I picked up this cone of salmon-colored yarny goodness), I discovered a new treat - preserves from Deluxe Foods. Using a traditional French method (basically, no pectin), Deluxe produces preserves and fruit butters that let the fruit flavor shine through. Given that it's berry season, they had two different types of strawberry preserves to taste. I instantly swooned at the slightly sweet-tart taste of the strawberry balsamic preserves, so I scooped it, along with some apple butter, up for a treat on my morning toast.

However, there was more French goodness going on outside right near the UCU, as the weekend Bastille Day celebration was taking place. Any excuse to get food, wine and music together is just fine by me. I did attempt the ring toss for a bottle of wine. My ring tossing skills need improvement.

Additionally, I have been enjoying the initial bounty of the summer harvest at my local farmers' markets. I have a bunch of fresh rhubarb from which I'm going to attempt to make chutney. If it's successful (aw heck, even if it's not), you'll hear more about it. In the meantime, if any of you have fresh rhubarb and are looking for recipes, I'd suggest checking out The Rhubarb Compendium. Who would have thought that rhubarb would inspire such a website?

Finally, I leave you with a note from the "You've Got To Be Kidding Me!!!!" file. A Ms. Bass in Michigan, after receiving a warning and a ticket, was charged with a misdemeanor for growing vegetables in her front yard. It seems growing vegetables in one's front yard is a potential violation of a local municipal law indicating that one must cover the yard with "grass ground cover, shrubbery, or other suitable live plant material". Hmmm - I wonder how the municipality might miss the fact that veggies seem to fall within the "suitable live plant material" part of the law.

Anyway, an actual trial date was set for next week, but when a gale force of negative press blew through the local prosecutor's office, the charges were dropped. Mr. Bass described it as something akin to finding "some judge in his pajamas" to dismiss the charges in the middle of the night.

It would seem the summer heat is getting to some folks. Do enjoy the summer food bounty - but, hey, let's be careful out there!

Dipping toes in this small wading walk might help alleviate some
of the summertime weirdness gripping certain Midwest law enforcement


  1. What an awesome festival to attend! Glad you find some goodies.
    Yeah, can't believe that case. Crazy! Isn't the front yard one's property?

  2. This festival seems like a place where I'd have no trouble spending my monthly salary :) And never regretting it :)

  3. I wish we had one of those festivals here, it sounds like great fun!

    I once lived in a townhouse which had small pation in back, which ended at a giant, steep drop off into a wooded gulch. Needless to say, people rarely walked through the back "yard". But the apartment complex once wrote me a letter telling me that I couldn't leave my planters back there empty -- if I didn't plant something, I needed to take the planters inside. Surely we all have better things to do than monitor such things? It is (as in the Midwest case) a good example of how we try to get around living close together by putting up walls made of rules.

  4. @Heklika: Don't get me started. Restraint was the key word for that day!

    @Marushka: Well ... I see both sides of the townhouse argument, especially if it was a co-op or condo. There are requirements everyone must agree to in advance. Of course, in the big scheme of things ... :)

    However, when local law enforcement start charging people with misdemeanors for growing veggies, what's wrong with this picture?

  5. I've heard of homeowners associations forbidding edible plants in the yard...but I think a lot of people's attitudes are changing as DIY projects (like DIY veggies!) become more popular.