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We did it: we took our semi annual trip to Sardinia Ohio to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers, a small family owned mill that processes our sheep’s raw fleeces into gorgeous wool roving and yarn. By now you probably all know that is is not easy for us to get off the farm. Getting everything set up so we can leave the gardens and livestock is really not an easy feat. With our 2007 apprentice Katie tending an urban garden in the Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati and our 2006 apprentice Megan farming with her husband and two children in Henry County Kentucky, just an hour on our side of Ohio, it was hard to put off the trip any longer. The journey was not too long, a delightful mix of old friends and exciting new places. We departed at the crack of dawn on Monday morning, leaving Sasha, Charlotte and Deanna with a long well explained list of tasks to do in our absence. We made it to Cambellsburg, KY in time for breakfast and a tour of Megan and Todd’s Facing West Farm. With 2 young boys, there was no shortage of wheeled toys to keep our toddler happy for the leisurely time spent dining al fresco and touring their operation. With hopes for future visits, we left in time for William to nap the final hour away as we crossed the Ohio River into Cincinnati and climbed on of her amazing hills to pick up Katie and speed east of the city to the fiber mill. The time there was brief and friendly, dropping our van load into the capable hands of the ladies at the mill. Our last trip here was longer and included a tour, but now we are regular customers: they know our sheep, our wool, our order.

We returned to the city and left the rest of our stay in Katie’s capable hands. A Cincinnati native, she had a perfect list for us. We spent the rest of Monday afternoon touring the many gardens that comprise Enright Ridge Urban Eco Village, Katie’s home and job. An amazing array of personal home gardens, publicly managed spaces and true community spirit, the whole project was quite inspiring. When we were all ready for refreshment, we headed to the edge of Price Hill to the former spot of an incline. Prior to the roads that carried people up and down these hills, there were public inclines to transport the city’s residents from the banks of the Ohio to the surrounding hills. A restaurant with a view of the river, the city, the rail yardsand bridges welcomed this travel weary farm family with an amazing view and scrumptous fare. Day one, complete. Our second and last day had us at Findlay Market for breakfast and coffee. This market place dates back to the late 1800’s and has been beautifully revitalized. Currently thriving, it is so nice to see such renewal in urban neigborhoods. A stop to play at Washington Park, also restored in the most progressive way, led us to believe that this city was redefining herself radically. Wow. Ice cream at the local Graeter’s and we were ready to head back to the farm. There is nothing like a 24 hour urban stint to remind us how much we love our rural life. On the home front, wet is the theme, back to back storms have left our hollow soggy as spring. But with a fresh eye from a trip away, we were more able to see things for the better and not get stuck in the mud!

Roasted Beet and Onion Salad

2 pounds beets, roasted

1 small onion, sliced very thin

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp vinegar

3/4 tsp salt, or more to taste

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp pepper, or more to taste

Remove knobs and tails from the roasted beets and peel off skins. Cut into 1/2 inch square cubes and place in a salad bowl. Add red onion slices to the bowl. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and cumin. Pour mixture over the onions and beets. Stir gently until beets and onions are evenly coated with the oil mixture. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature, then serve.

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