Tag Archives: Traverse City

#98 ~ Donate my Hair (or, Locks of Love)

One of the scariest goals I set for myself on my 101 in 1001 was #98, Donate my hair. If you have noticed, I have had really long hair.  I’ve nearly always had long hair. Once, when I was in middle school, I decided that I should get a “cute”, short haircut. It wasn’t cute. I have really thick, coarse and slightly wavy hair. The girl who cut my hair didn’t bother to tell me that the cute haircut I picked out wouldn’t work with my hair. I suffered through that haircut until it grew out and, scarred by the experience, didn’t cut my hair much after that.

My hair became part of my identity. I was my hair. It even seemed to be part of my derby persona. It’s kind of silly if you think about it, identifying with your hair. My hair has nothing to do with who I am or what I do. Still, parting with all of it was a scary prospect. What if I got another horrible, short haircut? What if I looked stupid? What if? What if? What if? What if I were a six-year-old girl who lost all her hair to cancer or leukemia?? My hair is just hair. Like solar energy and lumber, my hair is a renewable resource, and parting with eleven inches of it won’t kill me even if it makes me look stupid for a year while it grows out.

Resolved to cut my hair and donate it, I started talking with my friend JoKnee Busta about it. She had really long hair and wanted to do it too! The more we discussed it, the more derby girls we got involved. Carrie “T-Bone” Hart is a stylist at Regis Salon in the Grand Traverse Mall. She got permission for us to hold the event at her salon and got her friend, Kari to help give haircuts. JuJu Kitty and Alanis-More-A-Threat decided to donate their hair as well. All together, we donated over 40 inches of hair to Locks of Love.

Joanie, me, Jewell and LisaCutting off my hair was scary, but it feels really good to check another thing off my list, help kids who have been dealt an unfortunate hand, and have a really cute (and much cooler) haircut. Who knows, maybe St. Baldrick’s is in my future.

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#94 Have a Date Night With my Hubby Every Month

Mr. Hippie doesn’t like to run. Or hike. Or read. Or, do a lot of the things that I enjoy. He doesn’t hang out with me at derby. Mr. Hippie does like to watch TV. And play video games. And play solitaire on the computer. He likes to watch sports and drink beer and be a regular guy.

When I added this goal to my 101, I anticipated that Mr. Hippie and I would be having a “formal” date night every month. I tried at first to make that happen. We went to the Winter Microbrew and Music Festival. We saw Lewis Black at the City Opera House (on the same stage we got married on in 1998.) We went bowling and even went out to dinner a couple of times but what I realized, is that despite our different interests, we do a lot together.

We have a fairly regular shopping “date”. We get groceries, chicken food, run errands, whatever. We talk. We hold hands. We enjoy each other’s company.  A couple weeks ago we ran out to the feed store to order two new chickens. On the way home we stopped at Traverse City’s newest brew pub, The Filling Station and had a beer together.

Most Friday nights we make pizza. He rolls the dough, I make the sauce. He cuts up ingredients, I dress pizzas. Sometimes while we eat pizza we watch a movie. Other nights, we play Scrabble.

Although hubby doesn’t like to hike for the sake of hiking, he likes to hunt morels. In the spring we go out two or three times a week in search of the elusive fungi.

Recently Mr. Hippie has taken up frisbee golfing. I’m not good at it, but sometimes we do that. I’m more in it for the hike and the alone time with Mr. Hippie, but throwing the frisbee is fun too.

Last week was spring break. Our Traverse City State Theatre shows FREE movies all week. The kids and I went to several matinees, but Mr. Hippie and I saw three movies last week on the big screen. We ate popcorn, drank soda and enjoyed our dates.

My point is, I’m crossing this goal off the list. It might be different if my kids were younger and we had to arrange childcare in order to leave the house alone, but after seventeen years, we are still best friends. Sure, we irritate each other sometimes, but mostly, it’s all good. We have a date night almost every week, and we don’t have to work at it; it’s natural.


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March Charcutepalooza: Brining

Once again, Mr. Hippie wholeheartedly participated in this month’s challenge. It would seem that if it involves meat, he’s onboard. 

I couldn’t decide what to brine this month, so I tried a couple of different things in basically the same marinade.  I started with Ruhlman’s All-purpose brine and adjusted the seasonings.  Ever since hubby and I came back from Jamaica on our honeymoon I have been in love with jerk.  I even jerked onions and wild leeks (to rave reviews) last year.   Jerk brine seemed like a natural match for both chicken and pork so I made a gallon of brine and brined two different chickens and a pork butt from Olds Farm.

A basic brine is pretty simple. 


Start with a half-gallon of water,

Salt and brown sugar

 add a cup of salt and  half a cup of (I used brown) sugar. 

Bring it to a boil and add the seasonings that you want.  I added:

Garlic, Scallion, Ginger

 a head of garlic, beaten with the rolling-pin, some onion tops (green sprouts) and a whole onion (also beaten with the rolling-pin), two minced, candied ginger medallions,


some thyme dug from under the snow,

Dried spices

a whole dried chili, a teaspoon or so of peppercorns and a similar amount of whole allspice (again, beaten with the rolling-pin).  After that all came to a boil I let it steep for a few minutes and then added another half-gallon of water and let it cool before brining the first chicken.

Smoked, brined chicken

The first chicken was brined about 9 hours as Ruhlman recommended and smoked.  The smoke flavor overpowered the seasonings but in the words of Mr. Hippie, “I think this is the most wonderful-est chicken we’ve ever made.”  It truly was delicious.   Served with beans and rice it was a magnificent dinner.

Brined chicken

 The second chicken was left in the brine even longer, about 12 hours, but not smoked, just baked.  It was equally delicious. 

Brined pork and mashed potatoes.

After two chickens we still had enough unused brine left to do a pork butt.  It was amazing.  We ate so much of it by cutting “samples” off the edges as it roasted that I barely put any on my plate when it was time to actually eat dinner. With local mashed potatoes and homemade gravy from freezer stock and pan drippings it was excellent.

What (little) that was left of the pork was simmered in stock all day to make delicious pulled-pork sandwiches for our dinner tonight.

Everything I brined was amazing.  Moist, flavorful and delicious.  I’ve brined another chicken since but reduced the recipe by a fourth so that I only ended up with a quart of brine.  It is just about the perfect amount for a whole chicken.  Brining takes a little advanced planning, but isn’t much work and the results are worth the effort.

Next up?

Buffalo flank.  I’m going to attempt to corn it.


Filed under Charcutepalooza

Why Have I Been So Busy Lately?? Part 1 ~ The Coop Loop

As I have gotten older, I have found myself getting involved with more things.  Only natural, right?  I’ve collected new hobbies and new friends, and along with them, more responsibility.  I’d stop volunteering for committees and boards, but I really enjoy helping out and being part of something bigger than me.  Plus I love the social connections I have formed as part of these groups.

Visitors checking out the coop

Chelsea and other visitors inspecting Hogwarts Home of Eggcraft and Hennery during the Coop Loop.


Saturday, June 12th was Traverse City’s very first Coop Loop.  I’m proud to say I was part of this event even though it meant adding more meetings to my busy calendar.  This chicken parade of homes was a huge success and If I had to wager on it I would guess that around 200 visitors passed through my yard to meet the girls and inspect my husband’s handiwork.  Luna, Hermione and Bella were in the chicken tractor in the front yard and Molly was in the coop since she’s recently taken to bullying the girls and needed a time-out.  The separation actually worked out well.  If the girls had all been in the coop, it would have been too crowded.  Having chicken viewing in two parts of the yard allowed better flow for the guests.

Tuesday we had a wrap up meeting to discuss how the tour went.  We discussed what was really great about the tour, what we can change and how to make next year’s tour even better.  So, for now my chicken meetings are done, but optional social meetings will be held monthly by the Coop Loop Founders until we start planning the next tour.  Mark your calendar; next year’s tour is scheduled for the third Saturday in June. 

Discussing my chicken tractor with Kate and some other guests.

"What kind of chickens are they?"

I didn’t get to see all the coops on the tour because I was acting as a docent in my own yard, but I hope to see the other coops soon.  Until then I’ll have to get by with the pictures Gary took of our coops.  You can see the rest of them at cooploop.com


Filed under Coop Loop, urban chickens

Random Drivel

If you are a regular reader, you have by now realized that I’ve been on a little hiatus.  Things are getting a little crazy around here and I haven’t had much time to devote to a “real” post. 

The craziness began with an amazing trip to Detroit (yes, I said “amazing” and “Detroit” in the same sentence) for the 5th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.  I was too cheap to spring for an internet connection while I was there so blogging was out.  Not to mention the fact that I was busy for three days and spent every spare moment with my family.  I have an amazing opportunity to write about the conference for one of my favorite local publications, but I’ll save that for its own post once an article has been written, approved (hopefully) and gone to print. 

When I returned from the conference I went straight back to work.  It was/is end-of-the-year-assessment time and I had missed three prime days.  Add to that the half day I missed last week to have a lost filling drilled out and temporarily replaced and now I’m knee-deep in paperwork and running out of days to finish it all.

In all my spare time, I’ve been working in the garden a ton; helping with Girls on the Run; finding and starting a summer job at the Mercato in exchange for my summer CSA share from 9 Bean Rows and trying to finish up the final details for the Coop Loop.   There are lots of exciting developments and eventually I’ll tell you more, but I’m still working on sifting my compost heap.  I love you all, but a girl has to prioritize. 

 I’ve had lots of thoughts and ideas, but  I haven’t had the time and energy to sit down and compose something meaningful to share.  I’ll be back to a more manageable schedule soon.  Until then you’ll have to make do with this collection of random drivel.


Filed under Coop Loop, gardening, Miscellaneous

Traverse City’s Most Famous Chickens

I’m joking, but only a little. Yesterday I overheard a familiar face at the Farmers’ Market say, “She has the most famous chickens in town.”  The ladies have already made the Northern Express and will soon be featured in Traverse City’s first Tour de Coop, but today the girls and I make our debut in the Record Eagle.  Pick up a copy.  Or ten.  I’m out to get mine now.


Filed under Coop Loop, urban chickens

Chicken Run

Okay, so really it’s a chicken tractor, but look what hubby built me today:

Brand new chicken run.

Isn’t it amazing?  The traditional anniversary gift for twelve years is silk and linen, but I’m diggin’ pvc and chicken wire. 

Now my dear Molly (and soon the chicks) can forage around the yard eating grass, weeds and bugs to their hearts’ contents.  Molly loves it. 

Molly enjoying the sunshine in her new run.

Even Dylan loves it!

Dylan and Molly in the "porto-coop".

And, if you haven’t read the comments here, guess what?  The girls are going to be in the Record Eagle on Sunday!


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A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

Urban Chicken Parade of Homes

Are you chicken enough?

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A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

Luna, Hermione and Bellatrix

Happy Easter!


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Got Chickens??

The finished backside of the coop~shingles and all!

Last September, Traverse City joined a number of forward thinking communities that allow city residents to raise chickens.  To celebrate, I’m joining a few other city chicken farmers and chicken enthusiasts to plan Traverse City’s first Tour de Coop.  Imagine, a parade of homes for chickens!  It’s sure to be a great time and is tentatively scheduled for June.   

Molly, the soon-to-arrive chicks and I are participating, but we’re on the lookout for other Traverse City Urban Chicken Farmers. 
Live in town?  Have chickens?  Want chickens?  Just like chickens and want to help?  Join us at Higher Grounds on Sat. March 20th at 10am for the first planning meeting.  This guy will be there.  So will this guyShe’ll be there too.  Will you?


Filed under urban chickens