Monthly Archives: April 2014

Shorn Off, Pt. 2

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But first, a central Illinois sunset.

Much has happened since I was in Sidney, IL at 7 Sisters Farm, but recent footage review brought it all back. Most alarming: Spring has been so slow in arriving – we shot over a month ago and the landscape is only now starting to noticeably change. I wonder when the trees will fully leaf out; we’re a couple weeks away, still, from flowering trees.

Anyway. While my philosophy with BYI has always been to participate as much as possible in whatever’s going on, I was feeling a little weird about attempting to shear a sheep.

[When my son was little, I used to shave his head using electric clippers, and the shearing tool we were going to be using was basically a (much) larger version of those, but the clippers were heavy, and sheep’s wool, I discovered when I met “my” sheep, Dawn, is super-thick and springy. Shaving a head is pretty basic – it’s nice and round. Sheep’s bodies are not one shape – they’re many shapes. There are bony parts sticking out as well as super-smooth round parts. There are folds of skin and there are places where you have to be really careful. Also? Dawn was pregnant. I worried about her lamb in there.]

When Dick, one of the instructors, presented Dawn, waiting gamely on her stand, to me and my shearing partner Roxanne, I almost – ALMOST – asked Roxanne to do the job herself. Roxanne (you’ll meet her in the video) is young, interested in farming and livestock, and seemed quite fearless. She would have been great on her own. However, I a) did not want to disappoint Dick and the other instructor, Harold, by crapping out and b) did not want to disappoint myself by passing up a chance to learn something awesome from these amazing gentlemen. So when Dick told me it was my turn after Roxanne had hers, I grasped the (huge) clippers and gingerly had a go at Dawn’s wool along her flank. I won’t give anything else away, but the story ends with Dawn being safely shorn and Roxanne and I both feeling exhilarated, almost, that we had shorn (most of) a sheep and had not injured it or ourselves, plus… we had contributed, in some small way, to the gathering of the wool for the season.

Dawn

Work has begun on putting this episode (BYI2) together for a release date in early May. We just pre-interviewed the subject of BYI3 and will shoot this week for a release date TBD, and BYIr83 will air this week. Here’s a clue as to its subject matter:

Worms

More soon!

Remiss

I love blogging so much – it is, for me, my original social media, really, after the various message boards from the days of yore – but it’s been really difficult to find time to get in here and write. I hate excuses, so I’ll just leave it at that. I’m here. I’m back. Hi.

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We went on vacation, too.

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I’m always looking for interesting food when we visit our beloved little FL island hangout. Poppo’s Tacos was thriving; Anna Maria Donuts (see above) was always busy; we discovered (well, we didn’t really discover it as much as we finally went in after years of going past it) a cafe/high-end 2nd hand store located in an old IGA grocery store called Ginny’s and Jane E’s that made the best americanos, had killer biscuit sandwiches and waffles, and offered cinnamon rolls the size of your head (seriously). The Grouper Reuben at the Rod and Reel was spectacular, as it usually is, and the mullet and the grits at the Starfish blew my mind. We found some Jamaican food at Jamaican Breeze, which was good, but my dish was way too salty for my taste. And we pretty much bought all the Jai Alai IPA (made by Cigar City Brewing in Tampa) on AMI to bring home.

I know. I make it sound like paradise. And when you’re basically on a beach and eating out a lot and you know where the good stuff is, it’s pretty paradise-y. But a few things are missing (or aren’t easy to find). There’s a farmers market, but it’s small and we’re never there when it’s open. It’s impossible to find interesting/unusual citrus fruit, something I thought would be everywhere. No visible food co-ops, and if there’s a lot of support for local food/local endeavors, it’s pretty under the radar. I think things are changing, though. I’d love to have more time down there to actually talk to some of the people running the new businesses, in particular Poppo’s Tacos. They seem to be very tapped in to whatever’s going on food-wise there. Next year.

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“Ramen Shaman” was released while I was away, which we knew would probably happen. None of us were sure what to expect in terms of a response. We sent it to our pals at PBS Digital Services, did some promotion on our end, and waited. I’m happy to say the video was very well-received, picking up social media promotion from PBS and PBS Food (!) in addition to the folks at PBSDS. We’re closing in on 2000 views and could not be more stoked about the response. If you’ve watched it, thank you! I hope it was edifying and entertaining and got you thinking about finding some upgraded ramen somewhere… or making your own.

What’s next: “Shorn Off, Pt. 2”, how 100# of worms doesn’t really look like much when you actually get them together, How My Garlic Survived the Winter (I’m actually not really sure), etc…