Monday, May 23, 2016

spring weekends

 Spring weekends can't be all yard work, right? Time for another day trip! At first, we considered going to an antique and garden show in Wisconsin, but good thing I looked on Facebook beforehand: There were many posts about how crowded the place was. The police even shut down the main intersection near the farm and were turning people away. So, we chose to go to Evanston - one of our favorite day trip towns. 

We started out with a stop at Hewn. I got a strawberry muffin and Brian got a walnut scone. We sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed our goodies while people-watching. We also bought a loaf of their homemade bread to bring home. I think it's a good thing we don't live close to this place. We could really get into trouble! 

From their web site..."Everything at Hewn is made in-house, from scratch daily. We source local and seasonal ingredients from small, local farmers when their flavors are at their peak. All of our breads are hand-mixed, hand-shaped and naturally fermented without commercial yeast. Allowing bread to ferment with wild yeast allows a richer, more complex flavor to develop. It also allows the gluten proteins to slowly and naturally break down over time. The starter (levain/sourdough) was initially created by Ellen (owner) several years ago. Our bakers all work to feed and maintain the starter every day.

Each day our bakers mix the dough by hand, turning it every 30 minutes over a four hour period. The dough is then shaped and placed into bannetons, where it rests overnight to rise naturally. In the morning, the bakers fire up the oven and bake the bread. From the start of the mix to the bake, the bread is fermented approximately 20 hours."

We walked around the neighborhood, popping into different shops and stopping to listen to a street band. I loved this planter I saw in front of one of the stores.

Cool street art...

We also visited a farmer's market. Not much going on just yet at farmer's markets here...mostly a lot of plants and spring veggies such as rhubarb and kale. At one booth, I pointed to the rhubarb and mentioned to Brian that "my rhubarb isn't this big and beautiful." The lady in the booth overheard me and remarked, "That's because you don't know what you're doing, my dear." Quite presumptuous, don't you think? Needless to say, I didn't buy anything from Rude Rhubarb Lady. ;-) I did buy a pound of fingerling potatoes from another vendor, which I roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper last night. Then I tossed them with some of my fresh herbs. We agreed that they were the best potatoes we'd ever had. Garden-fresh makes all the difference. I also bought beef bones from another organic farmer so that I can make bone broth. 

We saw this sign on the side of the library and loved it. We talked about how kids merely go through Google and click on links to do research nowadays. And how we used to have to go to the library, use the card catalog (remember those?) to look for appropriate books and periodicals, then look through and read said material. This banner is part of a project from Libraries Transform if you're interested in reading more about the Libraries Transform campaign.

I've mentioned before about Evanston that one of the many things I love about this town is the gorgeous houses. This one is the Oscar Mayer mansion - currently undergoing renovation.

Our last stop of the day was the lakefront. This has always been one of my favorite views looking toward Chicago. See the tiny building on the far right? That's the John Hancock Center

We spread out a blanket in the grass area of the park in front of the lake. We brought our books with us, too ~ after all, our intention was to relax and read. Well, intentions are just that. I think my body wanted to nap off the Indian cuisine we had for lunch. ;-)

It was back to the yard work and gardening on Sunday and most of the day today, too. We've been blessed with beautiful weather, but looks like rain is moving in for the rest of the week. Catch you later with some garden updates! 


  1. Looks like a wonderful outing (except for rude rhubarb lady...what's up with her?)
    So nice the two of you can do little getaways like that!

  2. Melanie, what a great day out! Wish I'd been there. After having completely missed last year's all too brief rhubarb season, I probably would've gone ahead and bought rhubarb from that woman no matter how rude she was! :D

  3. Jeez, rhubarb lady. Be nice. I'm glad you had such a nice day out together. I would have loved that bakery too. I could eat bread pretty much all day. :)

  4. You must have had a great time! And you look tired out from all of that gallivanting around! Nice weather here too and I spent the weekend outside too!

  5. From start to finish looks like the perfect day. Evanston looks like a lovely place to visit. Nothing better than fresh baked bread. Yumm! Rude Rhubarb Lady could be running off potential customers with that kind of talk.

  6. What an awesome day you had! I am due for a day trip soon....thanks for the nudge! Oh, that rude rhubarb lady....are you kidding me? She's got nerve!!!

  7. What a fun outing except for rude rhubarb lady. I love visiting new towns and just strolling along the street. Fun!

  8. That is a day well spent! I'll take some days like that please!

  9. I love that little HELLO box and I'm wondering what I have on hand (trying not to bring in more stuff) to create a similar one.

  10. I would have loved that 'bread store'.

    I wonder what helpful tips the rhubarb lady might have had for growing better rhubarb. I'm curious and I can't even grow rhubarb down here in s.e. FL. Did she grow and sell her own?

    Glad you didn't let her ruin your day out. Love that picture your hubby got of you. You look totally relaxed.

    Enjoy the rest of this week ~ FlowerLady

  11. That last picture makes me happy, you were relaxing and snoozing in the sunshine--a very good day! Sometimes a day trip can bring you more relaxation than a long one, can't it? You included all kinds of things that I love in this one.

  12. What? You mean you really can do other things on weekends other than yard work? How is that possible? Looks like you had a nice day, and that bread sounds awesome!

  13. Lovely pictures

  14. It looks like a perfect day.

  15. Our farmers' market doesn't open until the 1st Wednesday in June...wish they started earlier! It looks like the two of you have a good day and you also got in a good nap!

  16. Sounds like a most delightful day in a charming town. I think I could have spent the whole day by the lake...beautiful view.
    Mary Alice

  17. Love that view of the water but that SIGN has me craving fresh baked bread ...yum! It's turned quite hot here...from one extreme to another. I just watered seeds that I'd planted everywhere, wondering if the poor things will scorch when they pop up ! high eighties right now and no relief in sight.

    I have to say that last photo captures the spirit of summer ! :)

  18. I had to read Rude Rhubarb lady's comment a few times, I was so surprised by it. I would have asked her what her secret is, though. LOL.
    Rain forecast every day here, too. I'd like to be working in the garden, but it's way too soggy now...

  19. Mel,
    These photos are glorious and so is the article-very magazine like:)
    You had me smiling over the RUDE Rhubarb lady!
    I am planning on our Farmers Market this weekend myself-we went while the kids were visiting and I found the best vendor with Tamales!
    Have a wonderful day and this is such a nourishing post.


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