Monday, October 27, 2014

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Jeff Selle
Journalist at the Coeur d'Alene Press
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jeff Selle's invitation is awaiting your response

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Jeff Selle
Journalist at the Coeur d'Alene Press
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Friday, October 17, 2014

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn

Jeff Selle
Journalist at the Coeur d'Alene Press
Spokane, Washington Area
I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
- Jeff
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Catching up

It's hard to believe that its been nearly 7 months since our last blog post (probably around the same time this lettuce was ready to be harvested.) I love blogging and really miss keeping up with all my blogger friends but sometimes life just gets in the way. It's time to play catch up now so here's what's been happening this past year:

We had a very successful growing season at the Community Roots CSA where we filled 30 weekly family share boxes over a 16 week period and also provided fresh pesticide-free produce to our local food banks and shelters. In addition to fresh produce, we were excited to offer a few new options to our shareholders. We added a "breakfast share" which consists of fresh locally farmed eggs and fresh coffee beans from  Doma Coffee Roasting Co.  as well as honey from several local beekeepers. A unique aspect of Roots is our ability to offer discounted shares to families that can't afford the cost of a full share. This is accomplished through generous folks in the community willing to sponsor a discounted family. In turn, the discounted shareholders agree to work on the farm on a regular basis to compensate for their discounted rate. Check out our link for more info on the Roots program here Community Roots .

 In addition to farming at the CSA I continued to run my produce stand (Mostly Sunny) at the Kootenai County Farmer's Market through July and then sadly I got far too busy to keep up with it. With a new plan in place for the market (I hope to have my kids managing the market stand) things should go more smoothly this coming season. And it's a good thing because this is going to be a very busy summer.

At Roots, we consider ourselves very fortunate to be busy because this means our Community Roots CSA program has gained considerable popularity from its inception in 2009-2010. With over 50 families on the waiting list we are in expansion mode once again. We were recently granted a 3 year land lease with North Idaho College and plans are in the works to build yet another growing area. The new area will be part growing area and part community and education area. We are expanding our shares to approximately 66 shares this season at the original property in Dalton and will eventually "ease" into our new space at the college. I say "ease" into our new space because the land needs a lot of work before we can even begin to think about growing there.

On the home front, we have fired up the grow lights and sown many seeds. We have several hundred pepper, tomato and celery starts that are doing great. The next seeds to be sown are broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage along with various herbs. I have held back on planting too many seedlings until the end of March as my husband and I are taking a long needed vacation before the real craziness of gardening and barbecue ramps up again. When we get back from our trip it will be time to fire up the greenhouse and make room for more seedlings in the grow room...and this cycle will continue through April....or longer depending on the weather.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Roots CSA garden pics

These are some pics from the local Roots CSA where I farm. As you can see, we have lots of lettuce to provide to our shareholders and then some.

 We have lots of cucumber plants as well. I lost count but we have some cool varieties such as Dragon's Egg, Lemon, Hmong, Diva, Straight Eight, and yes, we have lots of pickling cukes.

The 100+ tomato plants are now a jungle but doing very well...Each year I  tell myself I will get them all staked before they get out of control....oh well...maybe next year.

I never realized how good Swiss Chard is if you know how to prepare it...I am a huge fan now!

This is one of our basil smells fabulous!

The asian greens are one green I never really paid much attention to until now. I had some seed from the previous farmer's supply and decided to give them a try. I am impressed. Of course you can stir-fry them but they are most excellent lightly blended with lettuce greens, some finely sliced radish, and a tad bit of Arugula. The blend also makes a fantastic filler for wraps. I like to add a little ranch dressing and some pulled chicken.

Every Friday is harvest day! Check out the beautiful beets harvested last week.  The lovely ladies in the last two pics are Korrine and Kara..the garden gals : )

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bent knees ... Both ways

I was talking to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago at a picnic, and he asked me how in the world I wound up in the place I am at today... he was referring to my BBQ ventures and the success I have been enjoying .

Most of my friends know me as a  former hard rock miner, a journalist or a government affairs specialist. Not many people knew my hobby and passion for grilling and BBQ -- let alone my passion for brewing beer. A little more than a year ago that changed when my brother Bobby asked me to share some BBQ secrets on a blog he wanted to start... until then, I pretty much kept that stuff to myself. Sure, I blogged about it occasionally over the past few tears, but it was nothing really.

Well, as some of you know, Bobby and I took it to the next level and decided to enter into a season of competitive BBQing, and then that led to a crazy winter of cooking for friends and friends of friends, which then led to me securing some equipment, commercial kitchen space, a catering and vending license and insurance in an effort to make a little money at this thing ... and now that has become a little uncomfortable because now I have an investment to maintain -- or, if you like -- this animal to tame ... but, however you choose to look at it... it's both exciting and terrifying.

So, I answered my friend with an explanation of how I was feeling about everything and the best way to explain it was to refer to the forward of one of my favorite books: "Illusions" by Richard Bach. (I think I told my friend the passage was in "One" another great Richard Bach book, but I was drinking beer... which is an allowable foul because it was a picnic and I was cooking for fun, but anyway)... the forward starts out with Bach explaining how he felt like the book illusions came through the wall like animal grabbing him by the throat and refusing to let go until he put the words to paper.

My new business is doing that to me...

Bach goes on with hand written notes -- presumably an outline for chapters the book -- that detail a process of giving in and letting go to the forces of *whatever* and riding the current with grace and ease to wherever it takes you. In this outline process Bach creates a character who masters the process of letting go and becomes the Messiah who tries desperately to explain to his followers the simplicity of the process ...  the Messiah speaking to crowd uses the analogy of life in a river...

To make a long story short: the life at the bottom of a river clings to rocks for survival. It's a tough life yet survival instinct will hold you back if you give it all the power you can muster, but eventually all creatures loosen their grip to the rocks and get swept away in the current -- some at the beginning of life and some at the end.

At first it looks painful as the creatures are swept downstream banging violently against the rocks, but they are soon pulled into the current and away from all that and then it's just a matter of riding it out and taking on each new thing as it comes your way... (well that's what I took away from that forward years ago.... I was going to re-read the passage tonight, but one of my kids probably has my copy, and amazon only let me read so far without buying a new copy).

So what does this have to do with Bent knees?

I can count the times I have ridden a horse on one hand, but every time I did, the horse always tried to get the best of me... one time my uncle Larry put me up on a pregnant horse who wasn't too happy about giving me a ride, when I got on her she took off across the pasture like a scalded ape. I was bouncing so bad I was terrified... then I heard my uncle cry out "Bend your knees to absorb the shock" and I managed to do just that. My whole ride changed at that moment... I was in heaven and gliding across a pasture at lightning speed...

Well, that was until I realized that mare had bloated her stomach when we tightened the saddle, then she relaxed at full gallop, the saddle slid down and I fell off that horse and rolled for about 50 yards... as that accident played itself out I went from Bent knees for shock to Bent knees in prayer...

That's kind of where I am at right now... full gallop, full prayer and knees fully Bent... BOTH ways ;-)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Community Root's growing update.

June has been a busy month at the Community Roots CSA. We started out by planting pumpkins with several first grade classes from Dalton Elementary School. The kids started their pumpkin seeds in their classroom and later transported the seedlings to the CSA. Albeit, many of the poor transplants did not survive the short trek to the garden but that was anticipated so we had extra seedlings on hand to cover for any pumpkin casualties. For the most part, the kids were excited to get out and play in the dirt but I could tell for some it was a foreign experience. One child found a worm while digging a hole for their seedling and thought it was "gross" when I picked it up and offered it to him to hold. Another child was thoroughly into the whole farming experience. He said he was going home to tell his mom that he wanted to be a farmer when he grows up...that totally made my day!

Then there was the annual Community Roots yard sale fundraiser which was a huge success. Thanks to all who supported our cause!

In other exciting news, yet another gracious community landowner in Dalton has agreed to let us use their property to grow even more vegetables. As many of you know,  there is a waiting list of 50 families who want to become shareholders at Community Roots and while we are not adding shares this year it certainly opens the door for future expansion. This year will be a trial run to see how successful we are (and it's been a challenging growing season to boot!). Currently, we are only growing several varieties of squash and potatoes on the new land but it certainly opens up  a lot of growing space for a diverse range of crops at the main CSA location. Below is a pic of volunteer Linda Michael and CSA crew member, Kara Carleton hard at work planting potatoes at our new space. With the new land, there was much to be accomplished as far as fencing and irrigation lines. Thanks to all the volunteers who spent countless hours helping make that happen. You are greatly appreciated!

Now some info and photos of what's growing...As you all know, the weather thus far has been a bit challenging for everyone. Nevertheless, we are anticipating a great season of wonderful veggies. To date (and I am estimating on my last formal count) we have over 100 tomato plants (several varieties, which include Roma, Amish Paste, Sungold, Early Girl, Cherokee Purple, Nyagous, Stupice, Siberian, Oregon Spring, Riesentribe Grape, Red Cherry, Yellow Pear, Trophy, Granadero, Beefsteak and Sweetpea Currant.) Next we transplanted peppers. Bell varieties include Orange Sun, Chocolate, Purple, Apple and Karma. For those that like hot peppers we have Serrano, Jalapeno, Thai, Cayenne, Georgia Flame and Red Habanero. (all great for spicing up your pickled vegetables). Other transplants include broccoli, cauliflower, red and green cabbage, celery, basil, lettuce, eggplant and cukes. Directly sown seed includes carrots, beets, kohlrabi, radish, lettuce, sugar peas, spinach, several bush bean varieties, onions, parsnips, kale, arugula, basil, corn, asian greens, swiss chard and many different herbs. I'm probably forgetting a few, but you get the idea....diversity is good!  As the weather warms up (and I'm sure it will) watch for weekly photo updates to see more of what's growing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

He thinks my rototiller's sexy

Today, Jeff and I spent the day preparing the family garden for our planting day. It was going to be my first lesson in using the "big" rototiller. My dad thought I should have the guys do all the tilling.... but if you know me then you will know that when I set my mind to doing something there is no stopping me...So, Jeff patiently explained the gears and taught me all the ins and outs of operating the beast. I had a procedure down in no time and actually thought it was quite fun. Every once in a while, Jeff would stop raking to watch how I was doing and give me a grin and a thumbs up. When he would give me "the look" I had to laugh to myself because I could only think of that country song called "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy."

Many of you already know that Jeff and I were high school sweethearts. We both graduated from Coeur d' Alene High School in 1983...Initially, Jeff was forced to quit school to keep his full-time kitchen job at "The Other Place" so he was in his senior year and I was a junior. He later came back to CHS during my senior year to get his diploma and that's when we first met. From the beginning I could tell we were meant to be together. He was definitely trouble..but that's what appealed to me...that and his big teddy bear heart.  : )

We were actually just friends first....and we skipped many a class together to go to Denny's (for nasty, watered-down coffee and french fries smothered in tarter sauce.) Although, my mom kept insisting "that boy has a thing for you". Turns out that mom was right because shortly after graduation, our friendship quickly turned into a serious relationship and we were married on May 25th 1985. Within 2 years we were proud parents of two beautiful little girls, Brittany and Tylah, and a few years later we were blessed with our baby boy, Dustin. On our ten year anniversary, Meghan Sue, our fourth child was born. This May 25th will be her Sweet Sixteen birthday and our 26th Anniversary.

26 years seems like a long time but it sure flew by fast...I am extremely blessed to have a wonderful husband and awesome's really all the little things we do to support one another that has really made our relationship strong. It's the simple things like him helping me in the garden or me helping him with a big barbecue gig. Our love is strong because we support each other in all our endeavors. Plus, after all these years, he still thinks my rototiller is sexy!  : )

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bent's BBQ is Born

Well, it's not a sure thing yet, but I am working on deal to serve the best BBQ you've ever eaten on Saturday nights at a new brewery in Wallace, Idaho starting in June. So, it's about time I get licensed and insured to make this thing happen. I got my business registered today and I will be permitted and insured by sometime next week ...

As some of you know, the Bent family started a competitive BBQ team last year called Rub 'em Raw BBQ, and the whole BBQ thing unexpectedly took off like a wildfire. We started out winning grand champion at our first professional competition, while cooking the traditional four meats: beef brisket, pork butt, pork ribs and chicken. From there we won at least one category at every event we competed in last year.

This year is looking pretty good too, as I just won grand champion at Tim's Rib King competition on April 30th, where I placed first in spare ribs, second in pork belly and third in ribeye steak. the rest of the people cooking under our canopy won as well. Steve Everett tied for second place ribeye, and Denise Durflinger, a first time competitor mentored by Rub em Raw, took first place ribeye, and second place spare ribs. That is all three of us cutting up our steak entries in the picture above. (note: with the exception of a tie score for second, we swept the steak category using the Rub 'em Raw BBQ steak method, and we nearly swept the ribs category).  Below are pictures of the rib turn in and the pork belly turn in.
Above is myself, Denise and her husband slicing ribs for turn-in

This is my pork belly, and Steve is in the left of the frame slicing his

Anyway, back to the brewery in Wallace... It's called North Idaho Mountain Brewing Company... They are in the process of building a brewing pub, but they have no kitchen at the moment, so of course my rustic BBQ skills will come in handy up there...

I am talking with the owners about providing food service for them on Saturdays and possibly Sunday lunch at least through the summer months and we'll see how things go from there. I am in the process of developing a menu and a formal proposal now and I will post the latest as it progresses here... Rub 'em Raw is a great competition name, but I decided to tame my food service name to Bent's BBQ...

Oh, and you can be sure I'll be watching that commercial brewery process ... I can always amend the name to Bent's BBQ and Brew House later...

Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 Community Roots CSA - Garden in the making.

As I mentioned some time ago, I am extremely excited about being the new lead farmer at our local Community Roots CSA in Dalton Gardens. The following links explain both the history of our local CSA and what a CSA is all about : How Community Roots got started. , What is a CSA?

The Roots team, (or garden gals, as we call ourselves) is made up of Korrine Kreilkamp, Kara Carleton and myself. Korrine, with the help of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance, founded the Community Roots program back in 2007. Kara, is our Outreach and Education Coordinator and I am the farmer. For the past couple of months we (along with several volunteers) have been busy behind the scenes preparing the garden, building and repairing fences, starting seeds and brainstorming new ideas for the 2011 garden season. We were lucky enough to share some growing space with Shared Harvest at the Jewitt greenhouse this season. The Root's seedlings grown in the greenhouse will be available for sale at the Kootenai County Farmer's  Market sometime in May. I will keep you posted on those dates.
Follow this link for more pics and info on sowing seeds at the Jewitt greenhouse from the Kootenai Environmental Alliance blog:  Seed starting at the Jewitt greenhouse

Garden clean up day!
Flying the coop! We are sad that there won't be chickens at the CSA this year (however, they may be back next year) but there will be...drum roll please......


Thanks to our local honeybee expert, Evert Wilson, who will be placing and maintaining our hive at the CSA.

Thanks to my dad and my son for helping me build the bee fence! I can grow plants but I must admit I am constructively challenged. 

And no, the bees don't really need a is meant to keep people out...for their own safety of Evert says, bees are bees and yes they sting!
The bee fence is complete!
Thanks to Dustin for helping me rototill before the bees arrive.... Evert says the bees like their peace and quiet...I will take his word on that.
While it may not look like much now, in a few months this place will be be full of beautiful vegetables, flowers and herbs!