Tuesday, May 28, 2013

soylovely; down on the farm

 Disclosure: The following post is all about the Bean2Blog event, during which P. Allen Smith and the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board  fed me lunch, gave me a t-shirt and showed me a good time. All opinions are my own.


To say that the last few weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, would be an understatement.
Changes at work, a mini-media blitz for the book, too many weekends in a row spent working on promotions, news of friends moving, news of family moving,  a medicine refill snafu, plus a couple of other hiccups here and there, (exasperated by not enough rest to properly absorb it all,) had left me so drained and exhausted, that by last Monday night I was seriously considering calling in sick to one of my most favorite events ever: Bean 2 Blog. 


In the end, I didn't call in sick.
Partly because Jeanetta told me to go anyway. That it would be restful. And that she wanted to live vicariously  through my Instagram feed, so I should just buck up and go. 
Which is what I did.
And of course it was soylovely.
Yes, I said soylovely. Because the day was mostly all about soy. And it was lovely. And we had to each make up our own soy-inspired word, and that was what I came up with. I think I should trademark it, don't you?


Moss Mountain Farm is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. When I am there I feel as if everything will always be okay, no matter what.
Because this was my second trip to the farm, I felt like I was able to go slower and breathe in tranquility a little bit deeper, and to notice things a little bit closer. I was tempted to slip away from the group, walk through this gate, and just sit on the hill the rest of the day mulling over the shapes of the clouds.



Recently Miles saw a hillside covered in tall grass, similar to this one, and he announced that if we ever get a farm, he wants to grow hay so that he can just watch it blow in the breeze.
Gotta love that kid. He has a poets heart underneath it all.
Also, he would flip out over Moss Mountain.




Even though the weather was a mixed bag- sun, rain, humidity, and a breeze all showed their faces- nothing could spoil our plans and we all had a blast tromping through Allen's gardens and fields.


This year we were able to visit with more of the livestock than before.
A few of us even managed to call the sheep down from the hill.
I have been around goats fairly often, but never sheep.
They are too cute. Especially the babies.
I wondered if Allen would notice if one or two of them went missing? 
Don't you think Maizy needs some sheep to herd? 




I feel like this picture is a great example of what it is like to hang out with all the Arkansas Women Blogger gals. Or what it is like to go to an event with bloggers period.
Lots of cameras.
Lots of cute outfits.
Lots of smiles.
Lots of Instagraming.
Lots of boots.
And Paige seemed to always be in this pose, getting down and dirty to get the best shots of the day.



Love, love Alison's fishtail braid of her dreads.
Gonna miss this gal when she heads to Scotland for 3 YEARS (I can barely speak of it) so very much.
Can't quite get my mind- or heart- around it yet.
I think I need a sponsor to send A Homemade Year to Edinburgh.


Miss JoBeth here (aka Boots) is rocking the denim and the pearls. 
This lady has great style and a HUGE heart.
So much fun to get to spend a day with her.


Love Lyndi's gingham and Stephanie's yellow skirt. 
Such sweet gals.


This is Mimi San Pedro, our fearless leader during Bean2Blog. She is P. Allen's Chief Marketing and Operating Officer and an absolute hoot. Mimi keeps us bloggers in line with her fierce mixture of humor and no-nonsense direction. There is never a dull moment when Mimi is in charge!


This was Sarabeth's first trip to Moss Mountain, and therefore we had to surgically remove her camera from her hands at the end of the day.
Cannot wait to see what shots she got of the day.

I forgot my camera (that shows how tired was- a blogger forgetting her camera? Insane.) and my phone kept running out of battery (thank goodness for helpful folks that have chargers on hand) so I did not get any pictures inside Allen's Garden Home - but luckily I have ALL those pictures from last year. And really, not much has changed on that front. The entire house is as dreamy as I remembered it.

There are two buildings in the backyard garden area that are octagonal shaped. They often use these rooms when they host cocktail parties on the grounds. The wooden candelabras is on a pulley system so that they can raise and lower it to light the candles. And all the little ledges on the inside of the walls can also hold candles or flowers depending on the time of day the party takes place. I would love to see these rooms all lit up at night.


One of the new additions from last years visit are the new public bathrooms, which are located next to the gift shop. In typical Moss Mountain style, even the bathrooms are farm-chic!


This is the party barn, which is where we ate lunch, learned about soy farming in Arkansas, and saw a demo on making soy candles from LockStars Soy Candles.
One day I will have my own party barn. I just know it!
One day...



As many of you know, one of our families dreams is to someday, somehow,  live on a small farm. And even though that day may be later rather than sooner, I am continually interested in Arkansas agriculture on both the large and small scale. Soy is second highest agriculture commodity in Arkansas and is called the "miracle bean" for it's wide range of uses.  During our day on Moss Mountain, we were able to talk to West Higginbothom, who is a third generation Arkansas farmer. West was very easy to talk to, answered all our questions frankly and without hesitation (even the ones about GMO's, organic farming and so on,) and gave us insight into the daily challenges, duties and rewards of farming soybeans here in the Natural State.



Sitting at home on the kitchen table are several little packets of Edamame seeds and soil similar to these, just waiting for me to get them started for our garden. I would just love to be able to grow all of the vegetables needed to make Edamame Succotash

In addition to  getting to bring some Edamame seeds home to plant in our own gardens, we got to plant some soy in Allen's 1 acre garden. Here Sarabeth demonstrates how to kick dirt over the seed using her fab red boot.




We also got to try a variety of soy food-products, which were all yummy.
Including Soy blueberry muffins and Edamame hummus.




Allen also gave a cooking demo, teaching us that the best way to flavor tofu is to slice it, dry-fry it, and then place it in a zip lock bag to marinate, covered with the seasonings or sauce that you want it to taste like.
When the boys were babies we blended tofu with all sorts of veggies in the food processor, but since then we have not used it so much.  I am eager to try this new technique, and also to make some of the soy spinach artichoke dip that we enjoyed before we headed home (once I track down the recipe I will pinnterest it for you.)


I have to give a huge thanks to Allen, Team Moss Mountain, the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, West, LockStars, Mimi and everyone who made this day so wonderful. Their hospitality and attention to detail really makes an event like this a treat.

As usual, Jeanetta was right, I did have a blast, and it was so restful to get away for a day, to do something outside of myself and my agenda, to learn about part of the world that I admire but know a limited amount about, and to soak up the wide open spaces and friendly faces that greeted me at every turn.
I guess you could say that it was soylovely. (I'm killing you aren't I?)
But don't just take my word for it- visit all the other bloggers who have begun posting about their experiences as well- Click here to see the Link-Up Bean2Blog Party. 

Also you can visit all the gals from the day over on their home turfs:
Angie – A Growing Season
Debbie – Dining with Debbie
Stephanie – The Park Wife
Alison – Alison Chino
Lyndi – NWA Foodie
Lauren – In Arkansas
Sarabeth – The Dramatic
Gina – Desperately Seeking Gina
Julie – Eggs and Herbs
JoBeth – Boots McBlog
Blair – In Arkansas
Paige – Approaching Joy
Anita – Aunt Nubby’s Kitchen
Beth – The Food Adventuress
Melissa – A Familiar Path
Karen – Ting’s Mom



8 comments:

  1. I hope you're feeling better and more rested. It was nice to see you for a few minutes at the beginning! I was looking forward to seeing you and then I got all shy and didn't start a conversation. Loved your outfit and apron, by the way.

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    1. Yes, I am feeling much better! And I feel bad that we didn't get to visit more. Would love to find a way to hang out again soon- or at least hang out more at the AWBU conference this fall!

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  2. I'm with Gina- I hope you're feeling better and much more balanced.
    One of my prettiest memories of the day was when you sat down on one of the pretty couches on the 3rd floor of Moss Mountain and declared this as your new space in the world. So glad you could find a restful place (mentally and physically).

    p.s. That squat pose really is signature Paige- I may just use it as my newest avatar. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Paige! I really could have stayed on that couch all day : ) And yes, you need to trademark your photo taking pose!

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  3. Awesome job sharing your trip - thank you!

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  4. Love this post and I loved getting to spend some time with you! And I guess the cheesiest smile ever on my face only kind of alludes to the giddiness I felt to escape office walls for farm time. I think Moss Mountain is definitely good for the soul. :)

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    Replies
    1. yes it is! and your smile is BEAUTIFUL!

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ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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