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soup days

2014 November 5
by Rachel Turiel



Suddenly everything has come clear, in terms of what I’m doing with my life. It’s crunch time in the garden, too cold at night for even the free-love advocates like kale and arugula. Everything needs a suitable place to come in from the night chill. My relationship with cabbage has taken an obligatory turn (Dan and my post-bedtime discussions now sound like this: Ok, those five heads of cabbage will last a week or so in the root cellar, tops. How many in the fridge do we still need to eat? The romance is killing me). What I’m saying is that when all you have is a hammer, you know what the world looks like…well, when you have a storehouse brimming with vegetables, you make soup. That’s what I’m now doing with my life; what a relief. Pots and vats and barrels of soup; days and weeks and winters of soup. Each pot of soup is the melting pot of the nation of our homestead, the edible scrapbook of our lives.

Soup Recipe:

First, make bone broth with some marrow-rich bones that were recently ambling through the forest as a deer or elk. Throw in a handful of dried porcinis (popping on the very forest floor those hooves once sailed through). Simmer for 48 hours to extract all the minerals, gelatin, glucosamine, amino acids and chondroiton into the broth.

Next, pour the garden and root cellar through a funnel, scrubbed and trimmed, into the bubbling pot of broth: red-skinned potatoes, knobby carrots, overgrown and splitting turnips, a scrabbly chunk of cabbage picked free of slugs recently hoboing inside purple layers, garlic, onions, frilly-edged kale, and some bright, indomitable November heads of broccoli.

Salt heavily.

The deer and elk sausage that we made last weekend goes in last, seeping flavor into every nook and cranny.

Col, Dan and I will eat this soup (which is always slightly different, owing to the addition of ginger or roasted tomatoes, or a handful of split peas) for several meals a day. We three seem to have the opposite of the novelty-seeking gene, expressed by ladling up bowl #56 with boringly cheerful enthusiasm ,while Rose is sharing her latest flamboyant dreams, all of us awash in the curious sensation of deja vu.


Halloween blinked by, we opted out of trick-or-treating for the 2nd year, and no one got scarred. The kids rated the whole shebang a 4 out of 5 stars, which is enough for me to put it away for another year without too much over-analyzing.

outakesDorothy and Roro (Like Toto, but a rodent).

Dan and Col acted in this year’s (2nd annual!) Halloween play. Dan was the Falconer and Col his bumbling though earnest apprentice, Milton. I know I am terribly, utterly biased, being completely in love with the both of them, but I’m quite certain they stole the show.


The Falconer looks for his trained falcon in the sky, while Milton demonstrates what a hunting falcon does. Notice, on Dan: rabbit skin glove made by Dan’s brother, Cory. Rose likes to put her rat inside the rabbit skin glove and announce, “Mae found her mommy!” ???

Finally all travelers meet up with the Queen and her mime, hoping the two can solve the mystery.


Luckily, one of the merry band of travelers stepped in to give the Queen back her ring…which was stolen by a mouse, the mouse then nabbed by a falcon, who carried the mouse over the bakery, where the ring was dropped in a sack of flour, made into a bun, eaten (ouch!) by the baker’s daughter, spit in the slops bucket….oh it’s a long story.for mel

Now, onto potluck treats and fire-side celebrations! Huge thank you to all the parents who made this happen. And endless gratitude to Sparkle Stories for the free Halloween script.


Rose and my contribution to mainstream American holidays: Spiders, goddammit. Not Halloween ticks.


The butchering is done. The freezer is stuffed. Thanks is given. (You think you’ve come over for a playdate…)


Magpies, on the “grab and go” garden arch perch, onto which Dan wedges deer fat, calling in nine magpies at a time. This is our morning breakfast entertainment and another annual tradition that brings us great (non-novelty seeking) joy. We had a raven swoop down the other day! outtakes9

Chokecherry-applesauce, following soup for dessert.


Where is the headspace? Yikes! Avert your eyes, Marisa.

Have I told you about our Little Free Library? This is an international thing, ours is #17,168. It sits in front of our house (Dan built it) and is curated by Rose. People leave books, take books and it’s totally dynamic and constantly changing. I feel like I’m getting a secret look at the literature preferences of the neighborhood (hey, who left those romance books?) There is an adult shelf and a kid shelf. I recently found The Rosie Project in there, a book I’ve been waiting for at our library (apparently I’m #350 on the waiting list). I loved it and now it’s back in the little free library, come get it!outakes11

Rose, practicing to be a grandma:outtakes7

With love,


p.s. Seeking cabbage recipes.

29 Responses leave one →
  1. Brenda permalink
    November 5, 2014

    Love, love this post….enough said….I just…really loved it! :) Especially love the “library” idea, but we live out in the country…not sure it would work here… :(

  2. Brenda permalink
    November 5, 2014

    Love, love this post….enough said….I just…really loved it! :) Especially love the “library” idea, but we live out in the country…not sure it would work here… :(

  3. Jennifer permalink
    November 5, 2014

    Deer fat for the magpies? What about deer tallow for frying French fries and making all veggies taste amazing?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      November 5, 2014

      Welllll…it’s not the same as beef tallow. We’ll have you over for some fatty deer ribs sometime, gamey taste fully in tact.

  4. Andrea permalink
    November 5, 2014

    oh, i how i love thee.

    cabbage recipes:
    slice and saute. or don’t.
    lay out and ‘wrap’ yummy deer tacos inside, or stuff with anything.
    peel off outer layers, tie with string, make bra top for Rose.
    saute with onions and top with eggs.
    eat in salad.
    eat in kraut.
    feed to rat.
    combine with other real foods.
    heavily salt.

    wink wink

  5. Laura Matthews permalink
    November 5, 2014

    I doesn’t get much richer than that! Was that all in a weeks work? Your life is full and beautiful!

  6. Baba permalink
    November 5, 2014

    What lucky children getting to be part of a creative Halloween adventure. I think they all will have fond memories of the community you all developed

  7. November 5, 2014

    I really want to put up a free library! What fun. :) My kale is still so small. I wish was as big as yours.

  8. Cait permalink
    November 5, 2014

    I’ve made this without the noodles, and about double the veggies/sauce, and it’s great.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      November 5, 2014

      We just ate this for dinner with sauteed cabbage instead of raw. It was a big hit all around, thanks!

      • Rachel Turiel permalink
        November 6, 2014

        p.s. One WHOLE cabbage used (with lunch leftovers)!

  9. Chelsie permalink
    November 5, 2014

    Curry Lentil Cabbage soup is a popular dish at the cafe I work at. No recipe really… just saute a bunch of onions and cabbage, cook up a bunch of lentils, chuck in some water, lots of salt (seeing a theme here… ;-)) dump in some curry powder and you’re well on your way!

  10. Meredith Pollick permalink
    November 5, 2014

    “…The edible scrapbook of our lives…”

    Excellent! Love it! Wish I could come use your little free library… will you let me know next time you come home? Love, Meredith

  11. Susan S permalink
    November 6, 2014

    One of the best things about fall is the return of pot-o’-something weather. Hooray for soup days!

  12. Melissa permalink
    November 6, 2014

    My favorite cabbage dish is cream braised cabbage, recipe from Molly of the weblog Orangette. Cut a cabbage into wedges, fry in butter for a few minutes each side (browning = awesomeness). Add a pint or so of heavy cream, salt a little, and simmer gently for 20 minutes covered. Uncover, flip wedges, and continue simmer for 20 more minutes, squirt a little lemon juice on, and it’s amazing.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      November 6, 2014

      So glad we’re starting to come out of the fat-free closet. This sounds amazing.

  13. November 7, 2014

    LOVED the Halloween Play!!!


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  15. November 11, 2014

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  16. judith ann henry permalink
    November 11, 2014

    Thank YE!!!!!!! thank YE!!!!!!!! sending autumn songs your way for making our mornings and days so lovely,,,,,,,, much care and gratitude, all of us down here on the trails~~~~~~~~

  17. Erin permalink
    November 12, 2014

    Do you know what I love most about your blog? It always makes me want to get up and get back to my real life. I hope that doesn’t sound strange. I mean it as the highest of compliments.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      November 12, 2014

      Erin, that absolutely feels like the highest of compliments. Thank you.

  18. Molly permalink
    November 14, 2014

    I scored a cruciferous victory in my child, which is that if I leave a bowl of roasted, oiled, salted broccoli in her vicinity, she eats it, even when roasted chicken and rice are also available. She doesn’t say it’s good, or salute its arrival in a positive way. She just eats it, no fanfare. We don’t do kale chips often. The deer saw to that. But she doesn’t like potato chips (my tuber victory), so even if she wouldn’t like kale chips, we’re even steven.

    I scored a music victory, in the I played some Emmylou Harris song in her vicinity, and she asked me to add it to her otherwise Katy Perry dominated playlist.

    Love is a battlefield?

    If our family ends up involved with a little free library or a rat, it will be entirely your doing.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      November 14, 2014

      Molly, I happen to know someone in the neighborhood breeding rats to sell, just in case you need a good source. xo

  19. November 17, 2014

    My eyes are duly averted! ;)

    Seriously though, chokecherry applesauce sounds amazing! And that color!

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