family

A Thanksgiving Story

Genevieve "Neve" Sophia Lawlor, born October 25th, 2016 to her adoring Mum, Dad, and big brother Life

Genevieve "Neve" Sophia Lawlor, born October 25th, 2016 to her adoring Mum, Dad, and big brother Life

So much can happen in just 3 years. 3 years ago, I summoned my extended family to our Thanksgiving table, filled not with a brined and roasted turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, buttery mashed potatoes and bacon glazed brussel sprouts...but with cases upon cases of the inaugural Girl Meets Dirt jams - handmade by me, with local fruit handpicked by me, in a borrowed kitchen, with all the love I could muster - with all the love I couldn't expend on a little baby, which I so desperately wanted. This little company that could, was launched in the midst of loss- in between miscarriages number 4 and 5 - in between bouts of grief and intense moments of longing - but after a bountiful fruit season that taught me to have faith in renewal, and rebirth - and to await the blossoms of spring.

Around my Thanksgiving table that year, piled with rolls of our original labels (they seem vintage now!), we made something real together, and gave each other hope (husband, mom, dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law, friends). Jar by jar, each by hand, picking up one single jar, affixing a crooked label, removing a crooked label, trying again with steadier hands, passing them to my mother who ended up being quite adept at affixing a straight label in just the right position, we launched Girl Meets Dirt into the world. It was a small gesture, a small launch, but it meant something big.

Sitting here today, 3 years later, with a toddler sleeping in his big boy bed, a 4-week old napping in my arms, and my mother baking Thanksgiving pies and wondering what cheese to serve with the Fig with Bay preserves I've brought her - this business is life as usual around here, in the best of ways.  Things change. Sometimes in very big ways. We often don't know why, or how. And yet we can and do adapt. We make do. We love even more deeply. We squeeze harder, lean longer. We give thanks for the things going right. We give thanks to those who've stood by us in the worst of days (label by label), and in the best.

And around here, we eat jam, together. My son, who I doubted would ever come, had it in his yogurt this morning- a recipe I'd made yearning badly for him, spilling love into hot sugar, a copper pot, and hand chopped pears. And now, he has a sister, and I feel like I have no words anymore. And that's a very, very beautiful thing.

Happy Thanksgiving.     

xo Audra

Genevieve & big brother Life

Genevieve & big brother Life

Chocolate & zucchini: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I started writing this nearly a month ago--days before my sister's wedding, when the summer gourds were reproducing like mad in my garden. Well, things went pear shaped (me, the misshapen zucchini, but thankfully not the wedding) and the post went on hold. My sister still got married (hallelujah!) and it's mid September and the zucchini continue to fornicate like rabbits. So I'm in luck, and so are you if you've got pounds of the stuff sitting on your counter or growing like wildfire in the backyard (or on fire sale at the farmer's market). With chocolate is the best way to eat zucchini...or in the dead of winter curried up on a grilled cheese sandwich when the bounty of summer squash dances in your head like a vision (that recipe up next). Until then, I dread a few days away for fear of monster zucchini hiding under the vines, discovered and begging not to be wasted.

It could have been otherwise: Smoky Cauliflower Frittata

I'm in the middle of a spinning vortex of business planning (I'm legal!), fruit sourcing, fall and winter garden sowing, preserving summer's excess, and trying to enjoy the bountiful fruits of our labor with garden curated meals as often as possible.  As much as I'm stressed, it feels really good not to have a case of the Monday's come Sunday night.  Instead, I'm excited for the week ahead and what I will learn, cook, harvest, and sow.  And in times of heaviness, of which we've had plenty this year, I appreciate the lightness --the laughter, the humor, gaggling chickens, and the "I still can't believe we live on an island and raise ducks" and "Am I really starting a jam business?!" Exciting, yes, but do I often throw myself into tizzy of radical doubt still?  Absolutely.

Unexpected harvests: Grilled Asparagus with Sage Butter

In one year of my life I have felt the nervous rustle of joy that comes from seeing two little pink lines on an over the counter plastic stick, three times.  And three times I have felt the uncontrollable urge to free-fall that comes from losing them.  I've had three miscarriages over the course of one small year.  I've been hesitant to write about this - in fact, after my second miscarriage in December, I felt completely blocked, unable to find the words to express how I was feeling, and consequently unable to write about anything.  What I needed most desperately, was to just 'get on with it'.

Growing pains

We've had an incredible Spring rise from the dirt here on Minnow Creek Lane -- the wisteria is in full bloom, arching over our stone patio.  The jewel pink roses I inherited have begun to blossom, and the blushing peonies have opened their pom pom eyes.  We've been eating gorgeous greens for over a month now - Bordeaux Spinach, with its red-wine stems, sautéed over toast and topped with a poached egg; Roquette Arugula pureed with walnuts, garlic, and parmesan for a refreshing pesto; French Sorrel gratineed with potatoes, cream and gruyere; baby Valmaine Romaine tossed in a mustard vinaigrette and topped with blackened Coho Salmon; Lacinato Kale stewed with shallots and finished with apple cider butter; baby Rainbow Chards with sesame soy glaze over soba noodles; and countless mixed green salads with garden radishes and a simple vinaigrette.  I'm thankful this season for the distraction of an armful of greens and thinnings.  Greens are good for the body, but lately, they've been feeding my soul.