Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Friday, May 17, 2013

making time for you

I have spent the better part of the last five years with having all kinds of time to do whatever I wanted, as long as I hit a few deadlines or showed up to a thing every now and then. Now that I am working and managing a night club, I am finding myself with not very much time on my hands these days to knit or get out into the garden.

That makes me a little sad.

However, I am really learning a lot about booking bands, ordering beer and wine, creating a drink menu with spirits, what it takes to run a bar and be a real bartender (something that was on my bucket list), manage staff, interface with other people in the community, promote events, participate in social media (I had to return to facebook), learn North Carolina liquor laws, deal with difficult customers, happily interact with nice customers, while cooperating with all the other people I work with in order to get my stuff done. In short, I am working my ass off these days and I am really learning a lot.

I thought I would have more time to write once we got past the BBQ Festival on the Neuse a few weeks ago, but that hasn't been the case. I'm amazed I get any laundry done but thank the heavens we bought me a front-loading washing machine a few weeks ago, as well as a clothes drying rack, so I am managing to stay on top of it.






Things are really happening in Kinston, and I am excited to be a part of it. Just before the festival was the opening of a new Asian restaurant called Ginger 108. They are in a sense part of of the Mother Earth family (or really the larger food and beverage community in downtown Kinston) and we have had the opportunity to go and sample menu selections they are considering, which is really fun. Of course Dan and I have lived in Asia and are from the Asian part of Canada (Vancouver/Victoria), so we have a good sense of what those flavors should be.

Another thing that happened recently is the opening of The Overland Gallery. (note: neither of these places has websites yet or I would link to them). Cynthia and Michael Dunn have renovated an historic building in downtown Kinston (which, incidentally, is not even two blocks from our house) and have thrown their doors open wide for artists and patrons to come and enjoy art that is produced locally. Recently they announced a call for submissions called the 4x4(x4) for anyone and everyone to make a tiny piece of art for display in August. The idea is to make art accessible to everyone and I think it's great. I went into the Gallery yesterday and Cynthia (who loves to brag about Dan) asked if we would be submitting. Of course! I said, but we don't know yet what to make. Dan can do any number of mediums (metal, wood, pen/ink, textile, clay, glass, or whatever he can get his hands on, really) and mine will very likely be textile. Cynthia gave me two 4x4 inch panels as a guide or the base for the submission. My mind has been chewing on this challenge since yesterday and I already have two ideas - one flat piece and one 3D (4x4x4). You'll see in August what I end up making!

Last week I attended a function called From Our Farm to Your Table, at which there were a number of people from the community who had tables with information and samples, and one of the farmers gave a talk about the importance of creating local food systems. Coming from a permaculture perspective, naturally I support this movement and I am excited that it is happening here and that I get to be a part of it. First I spoke to the lady at the Farmer's Market table. I am not a vendor (yet) but I would like to get involved, so she invited me to a function sometime in June. Kinston's farmer's market runs year round on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and they are looking to start occupying an indoor space in the winter. One of Kinston's two health food stores had a table there, and she is a fervent supporter of local farmers, even offers a CSA through her store.

Vivian from Chef and the Farmer was there with her sous chef. They were serving a spicy beef sampling on lettuce leaves with some fresh herbs, that alone made it worth the trip for me. So good. We talked about things I might be able to grow for her, as Vivian's mandate is to support local farmers and I want to be a local farmer. I am also hoping to collect their fruit and vegetable scraps for my compost bin; we'll have a conversation later in the month.

Vivian's sister Leraine owns Queen Street Deli, she too had a table there with some offerings of her shop. The staff at Queen Street are very familiar with everyone from the brewery, as we all go there at least once a week for lunch. It's to the point where, yesterday, when I ordered a sandwich for Dan (who wasn't with me), they knew he wanted his sandwich on pumpernickel and that he wanted potato salad on the side. I'm hoping to talk to them at some point about getting their coffee grounds for my compost.

Next to Leraine was Warren, the only vegetable farmer there. He recognized me from The Red Room (and this is happening more and more, gotta love small towns). I purchased from him some baby bok choi, kale, new potatoes and some broccolini. There was also a meat farmer and a poultry farmer. It struck me odd that out of the three farmers, that there was only one produce guy. There is room for growth, room for me to become a food producer and I bet I could find customers for my produce within 1000 yards of where I live.

This got me pretty excited. Now that my compost is going, I'm going to need sources of biomass to keep it going. I got my hair cut at Salon Steven last week and asked Kari if they would be okay if I took their hair trimmings for my compost pile. She said she would ask, and I think that would be a cool thing. Turns out there are slugs in North Carolina and hair makes a pretty good mulch around lettuces against slugs.

I have been invited to join both the Historic District Commission and the Mitchelltown Preservation Society. Unfortunately I am not eligible to vote in Lenoir County (or at all yet, not until I get citizenship) so I don't think I would be allowed to join the HDC, but the MPS is still an option. The neighborhood we live in is Mitchelltown, so I have a vested interest in keeping up with the Society.

I'll work tonight and tomorrow night at The Red Room, and then after closing Saturday night (Sunday morning) Dan and I will drive to Washington, DC, to visit an aunt he has not seen in more than ten years and whom I have never met. Dan has business in Philadelphia on Monday, we'll return on Tuesday. It will be quick trip but it will be nice to get out of town, do something different, meet more of Dan's family, and see more of the US! (Yes, we have someone looking after Sam).

So on the whole I will say that I am very busy these days, forced to be organized (which I enjoy), and while I don't get to spend much time with knitting or gardening at the moment, at some point the dust from the whirlwind will settle, I'll hit my stride and relax into a routine. It's good, I am happy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Three weeks, swallowed by the BBQ festival

We have been busy.

Last week was the biggest event that happens in Kinston, the Festival on the Neuse, also known as the BBQ festival. I spent all of last week preparing the Red Room for an Arts Council event on the Thursday night, then for Friday night and being open during the day on Saturday. There was the top-to-bottom scrubbing of the whole place, the assisting the Arts Council people with their set up, and actually working the event, serving beer and wine. It was an extremely busy week and I think we are all still recovering from it!










These were all taken before the Arts Council event Evening with the Stars. The place was just so shiny and clean I had to take photos!

I have a lot more photos to share with you, but I wanted to get this little post out while I had a few minutes to spare. Stay tuned!