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WHY Pie? Part One,

Because I have a long and memorable relationship with the making and baking and eating of pie. Here’s part of my story….

My first pie was made when I was about 13 years old, for the Clinton County 4-H Fair. I was a scrawny little kid that liked to draw and make things, and in the summer I enrolled in Baking with Mrs. Baker (no kidding) as my leader in our Victor Twp. 4-H Club.

I wanted my fair entry to be special, artistic and get a blue ribbon, and so, I decided to make a Pecan Pie. It was my grandmother’s recipe, that I intended to improve upon.

Bless her heart for inspiring me to become a baker, but my Grandma Lois Laverne Crider was lousy at what she taught. My mother would cringe when Grandma showed up at our house with pies or cookies or candy or cakes….Her main problem was adding TOO much sugar. Even as a sugar-loving kid I’d have to agree. Most of Grandma Crider’s baked goods made me cringe too, BUT…….what my Grandma did teach me was to bring a fearlessness and fierceness into the kitchen when I began my baking work. Even though her baked goods sucked, she had an attitude that was impressive.

The way she taught me how to make pie crust, was to just stick your hand in the flour pot and grab out two or three handfuls of flour and throw it into the mixing bowl. She wasn’t just tossing it, or dropping it in the bowl—she was slamming it down into the bowl with a strong “YEAH, that’s right” once it hit the spot. The first time I saw her do this, my jaw dropped and I grabbed the edge of the counter to steady myself. Not in a million years would my mom put her hands in the flour pot.

My grandma stood there in her apron, all white haired and blue-eyed, and from then on, to me she was like a big-time Baking Wrestler She-ro. Then she’d look at me and smile a teeny bit on one side of her mouth, and say nothing. But it was almost like she was on the verge of snarling and telling me and everyone in our family “Who cares if my pies suck? Have you got the guts to NOT use a measuring cup?”

So here I am, thank you very much Grandma Crider, finding my powerful self and courage everytime I bake a pie!

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Harvest Festival is happening at the Art-Farm & Community Gardens

HARVEST FESTIVAL Saturday, October 11 Noon to 5pm At the Historic Barns A fabulous fundraiser for a new irrigation well at the Community Gardens!

Join us for a community picnic, farmers market, music, dancing, arts and creative crafts, pie social, Moomers ice cream, sensational silent auction, and so much more! Zero Waste Event ~ Pack it in, pack it out. Bring your own picnic! $5 person, $20 family Bay Bucks accepted. See attached flyer for more info & directions.

Look at the music and entertainment line-up:
11:30-12 Noon, Pat Ivory
12:10-1:00, Seth Bernard and Daisy May
1:00-1:20, Helio Conceicao of Ondas Cultural Arts
1:20-2:05ish, Harriet and the Love Fossils
2:15- 2:45, Susan Fawcett
3:00-3:50, Cap’n Crunch and the Cereal Killers
4:00-4:45, Soul Patch
4:45 until the party is over, Dede Alderman

Want to help?
Great! !
~Click here to see a list of volunteer needs. You can sign up online! Volunteers get into the festival free!

~Want to donate goods & services to the silent auction? This can be artwork, crafts, toys, baked goods, gift baskets, gift certificates for your services…anything you can think of. The more varied the better! See the attached sponsor packet.

OR simply respond to this email ([email protected]) to donate your time, money, goods or services. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks! We’ll see you there!!!

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Art-Farm news….TC Harvest Festival, OCTOBER 11, 2008,,,with another Pie Social and Rolling Pin Toss!


Garlic growing in May in our Community Garden… about a Garlic and Onion Pie????

AND now, the garlic has been dug and it’s time for our 2nd Annual Harvest Festival! We are planning for a fine, fall afternoon at the Art-Farm Workshop and Community Garden near the Barns–Saturday, OCTOBER 11th, 12 noon until 5 PM—Join us! It’s going to be a great gathering of friends, Village neighbors, farmers, Community-gardeners and your family! What a wonderful gardening and growing season it has been— so, let’s celebrate!
Here are our plans so far: Community Picnic and Harvest Feast(bring your own tableware, blankets and chairs); fantastic Farmers Market; Walking, Talking & Really Good Auction; Pie-Social and Rolling Pin Tossing Contest; the Little a Art-Farm Treasure Hunt; Garden Tours by the Market Garden interns and apprentices; Family art activities; wonderful music-making by our beloved, and talented local musicians; PLUS, Near the Barns Dancing with Helio Conceicao and Alita Townsend of Ondas Cultural Arts Studio….and MORE!

This is a ZERO-Waste event—-EVERYONE packs it in and packs it out—-only compost bins will be provided —learn more about ZERO-waste—-as we practice sustainable ways to care-take our 54-acre Barns property home-place!

The Harvest Festival is being organized by a bunch of good folks and Little Artshram supporters including: Rolling Centuries Farms, Michigan Land Use Institute, SEEDS, The Botanic Gardens of Northwest Michigan, Spireworks, …and others….

Proceeds will go towards: Putting a well down in the Community Gardens, Little Artshram’s Art-Farm and Market-Garden/C.S.A. programs, and the Family portion of the 2008 Great Lakes Bioneers conference!

Lots of ways for you to get involved:

Join any of our Harvest Fest Crews:

Volunteer and help us prepare the week of, or join us the day of the Festival….there are many tasks and roles involved in each HF Crew…contact Sarna…[email protected]

Become a Sponsor of the Harvest Festival, from Stupendous Scare-Crow levels to a Precious Pea-Pod we’ll graciously accept anything you can give….Contact Kristyn…[email protected]

Set up a table of your harvested garden goods at our Farmers’ Market….Contact Diane…[email protected]

Donate an item for our Really Good Auction….last year’s auction was so much fun and really, truly good….Contact Jenny…[email protected]

Bring your favorite, home-made pie and a recipe to share for our Pie-Social, and a rolling pin for our tossing contest….contact Alex and family….[email protected]

Donate pumpkins, squash, and gourds for our Pumpkin Sculpture project…contact Dan…[email protected]

Help us spread the word—-Word of Mouth is a great way to connect local families to this local gathering and CHECK BACK SOON, to download our poster and press releases! For more info: 231-510-3491

[email protected]

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Join the O’k C.S.A.

I’ve started a C.S.A., Community Supported ARTiculture….and you might consider becoming either a working, non-working member, or to figure out what level of membership you can support.

August is the O’k C.S.A. membership drive month, with the “growing season” beginning this September through May 2009. All the details are attached in the two documents below, and you can also get updates on my continued work with Little Artshram and my O’k C.S.A. at the web addresses below. If you would like me to snail mail this information to you, please send me a quick email and I’d be happy to. I haven’t sold out completely to techno communications.

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About to be a Fat-Pie for the Biker….

Matt’s Fat-Pie

10 inch pie, baked at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then 350 for 40 minutes.

2 cups of organic, white flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup/ladle of lard
cold water

3 cups pitted organic, sour cherries
1 1/2 cup fresh picked mulberries (with stems cause it’s too much work to remove them)
1 1/2 cup fresh picked black raspberries
3 tablespoons of modified tapioca
and, 1/3 cup organic sugar

Mix all the filling ingredients together and let stand for 20-30 minutes before filling pie shell.
I always put 5-6 chunks of butter on top of the filling, before putting on the top crust.

This pie looked WONDERFUL when I packed it up to send it to Washington, express mail. It’s supposed to arrive by 3:00 Wednesday, and I sure hope they don’t toss it around on the plane or drop anything on it. This is a serious, good pie for a special occasion, and I’m trusting the U.S. Post to come through for me…..

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Special delivery!! Cherry, Mulberry & Black Raspberry going to Duvall, Washington

My first special, fat-pie delivery is baking in the oven and later today will be boxed up and shipped 3000 miles across the country to my dear-heart friend and bike-rider, Matt.

All along on his journey–which began here in Traverse City, on June 5th, I promised him a pie when he got where he needed to be and had a mailing address…. a supportive form of encouragement to keep him pedaling on.

I’d planned on sending him one while he was heading across Montana, tangling with the wind, across the Great Plains of North Dakota. He may have been on the verge of giving me a mailing address, when he began with this description, “Penny, I’m standing on the edge of a canyon, there’s sheep all around me and I’m looking at the Rocky Mountains…..” Then his phone went dead. I didn’t hear from him for almost two weeks!

During that time, I baked a few pies for our weekly Farmer’s Market and was keeping myself busy in our Teaching and Market gardens, and with the Art-Farm camps. Almost every evening I’d pedal my bike across town to a wild, urban place where I discovered a nice patch of black raspberries. I harvested LOT’S over the course of two weeks, and packed them away in my freezer.

I also harvested a bunch of mulberries, which grow abundantly in many places around TC, with a particularly wonderful tree near McGoughs’ Feed Store and Oryana Co-op. I discovered a GIANT Mulberry tree down the alley from my house–something I walk or ride my bike under almost every day. It’s a little tricky to pick from, because the city keeps it trimmed high….but there was no missing it as the berries became ripe and dropped down all over the street.

Matt arrived in Washington state a week or so back, and with a mailing address in Duvall, WA, now it’s time to test out the mail-ability of my good, fat-pie and celebrate his strong legs and amazing accomplishment. I’m packing up a 10 inch, organic cherry, & hand-picked mulberry and black raspberry fat-pie today.

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Some O’k Art stories and a C.S.A.

This is the time of summer when an evening storm happens, as it did last night fierce, flashing like an angry sky-tiger with little rain. Marley, my good dog barked at the thunder-dogs most of the night. Today, the morning sun rises and the air is already regathering a level of humidity that makes me feel rushed into another potentially surley day. I imagined walking my good dog over to the gardens and giving her a little rub-down, scrub-down bath in the creek….but I wonder if it will be too much, too hot for her to walk the 3 miles there and back.

I worked at our community gardens, doing the daily, heavy task of filling our water barrels from the creek with Lou the bandonian playing tango, radio man, and Market garden manager Tuesday morning. This necessary, hand-watering and hauling watering task on a good day, with the generous use of another gardener’s truck and trailer (Lou and I are both bike-riders) is usually accomplished with the help of our younger, muscled market-garden interns and can take up to three and a half hours. We don’t have a well in our garden, but there is wetland and water all around it. the land is owned by the city and a Rec. authority and the powers that be are, just beginning to make decisions about what goes where and who is doing it….even though community gardens have been on the property for more than five years. when it rains, we catch water off our Little a workshop roof, in our cobbled together catchment system (an old garage when the farm was in full-use)….but we are not getting good steady soakers, just spatterings, which is helpful, but not enough. hello, rain, our sweet, earth-friend.

Yesterdays’ water hauling job was more like a five hour task, in that surley, humid pre-storm heat. In the presence of the creek, which is shaded by two champion, black willow trees, this hard work of five gallon-bucket-by-bucket hauling of water up and into our barrels is managable and in the company of another, a good time to chew on the fat. As Lou and I filled 12, 50-gallon barrels, we laid out a few more details and ideas(there will be a well and irrigation system next growing season) about our business plan for continuation and expansion of the market garden/c.s.a. work, and caught up on recent “confidential” developments unfolding in our home-lives with relationships and new living quarters. Lou is a good, a hard-worker, a self-starter, with lot’s of juggling of creative energy and projects, and sometimes hard-headed like me. So despite the tough, laborous work it was good. We call it our privileged, Northern Michigan, third-world reality check.

Came home ravenously hungry, fixed a cheese burger from Earthwork Farms beef, with a big slice of a wonderful heirloom tomato and mustard greens from the garden, drank a cold sweaty-betty beer and laid down for an afternoon nap with the fan whirring away. I don’t quite have my groove… I’m living another and different life in town with my transport system of bike and cart–a car-less human being—being out under and with the elements…spending most of my work-days outdoors… in the garden, at the art-farm workshop or biking from one errand/meeting/job to another. Good, character building challenges.

I move around a whole lot, and put on a lot of foot and biking miles. Much more than I have, with this 49-year old body in a good long while. My sitting still, slowing down yoga practice has been put aside. The most I sit is at this computer…usually in the earlier morning like now –or not quite like now…Anyways, I try to do a yoga version of the administrative tasks of Little a, which have increased greatly with the addition of the apprentice/intern market garden program, and, with the continuation of the planning/development of our permanent home-space on the 54-acre barns property.

As I continue to side-step my solo non-profit job of directressing Little a, and re-connect to my life-long creative efforts to fund my life as an artist and teacher, I’ve written a business plan, and had a pie-social to kick off the beginning of my O’k C.S.A., with a half-block section of the street party a few weeks ago. We had a plethora of pies, most of mine were fruit-filled and I even broke down and made a cherry pie, Bev brought a onion pie, there was a square-pie, and an amazing vegan-Fig and Coconut Milk pie….two, eight foot tables filled, and only one slice left at the end of the evening. Neighbor Nic and my son Zach started the music-making and singing with one my favorite Neil Young songs—Hello, Cowgirl in the Sand…. And then Zach went into a good lengthy set of his songs, which made my fat-pie heart swell. Anyways, you might have been there. And, it was a lovely evening, thank you.

So at a time when I’m side-stepping the management and solo-directing of a growing non-profit, I’m still sticking with the continued development of Little Artshram’s mission, both teaching/learning and spreading the Permaculture Art-Farming wisdom, and plan on continuing my work with curriculum planning and teaching. A new administrative, Exec. Directress will be taking over that growing position, within the next three months. My title presently is “Penny” or “O’k”…and I’m juggling the final weeks of our Summer Art-Farm camps and our weekly Market-Garden work and selling a few pies at the Friday Village Farmers Market across and inbetween, Pleasanton Bakery and Higher Grounds Coffee.

AND, this is where my life as a resident art-farmer has sprouted…..I’ve started a C.S.A., Community Supported ARTiculture….and you might consider becoming either a working, non-working member, or to figure out what level of membership you can support.

August is the O’k C.S.A. membership drive month, with the “growing season” beginning this September through May 2009. All the details are attached in the two documents below, and you can also get updates on my continued work with Little Artshram and my O’k C.S.A. at the web addresses below. If you would like me to snail mail this information to you, please send me a quick email and I’d be happy to. I haven’t sold out completely to techno communications.