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By Amy Wheeler

SEX, POWER AND SPEAKING TRUTH

“I will not stand by silently and allow him, in his anger, to reinvent me.”

~ Anita Hill, in response to Clarence Thomas’ 2007 autobiography

Two decades ago, a young female attorney with humble Oklahoma roots held America spellbound as she “spoke truth to power” on national television.

The year was 1991 and Anita Hill’s courageous testimony, delivered during the nominations process for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, raised the country’s awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace.

I remember being riveted to the television for the duration of the hearings, being shocked by the lewd comments and come-ons Hill reported Thomas making while she worked with him. But my outrage flared when the panel of all-white, all-male Senators began interrogating Hill, as if she were on trial.   Read more

By Cathy Bruemmer

From the Kitchen: Curry Carrot Soup

I love growing carrots. They are such a common and simple root vegetable, but the smell when they’re freshly pulled from the earth is amazing. The carrot rust fly makes it a bit challenging. It lays it’s eggs at the base of the greenery and the larva burrow tunnels as it feeds on the tip of the root. An effective and simple solution is to cover the carrot bed with a floating row cover. It denies access to the adult fly. It has the added benefit of helping keep the bed moist. Carrots take about three weeks to germinate and cannot dry out during that time.

I use metal hoops to keep the row cover above the foliage. My method of securing the cloth is to hold the edges down with bricks. Clips are available for a less rustic look. Both sunlight and water penetrate the fabric so it’s not necessary to remove the cloth for watering. The only drawback for me is that I sometimes forget to check on carrots needing to be thinned. When the “to do” list is long it’s easy to overlook the hidden veggies.

Today I checked the Washington State University extension site and was surprised to find out that theses flies also attack parsley. I’d been wondering for a couple of years what was damaging my curly parsley. The Italian flat leaf seems unbothered but the curly would start to yellow and then pull from the ground with very little of it’s root system left. Another problem solved! Recipe…   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Zen and the Art of Llamaturgy

For several years now, I’ve been on a joy kick. I’ve wanted to really understand the nature of it, to get inside it, to unpack it. Last summer at the LMDA conference (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas), at an open-session conference, we were adding topics onto a big board with a list of offered sessions. These topics ranged from “How to build and diversify your audience” in room 3D to “Recent adaptations of classics” in 4F to, well, everything from A-Z. All very interesting and worthwhile topics, but not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about J.O.Y. and I needed to talk about it outside. We were in BANFF, for Pete’s sake! You don’t talk about joy in a windowless room when a view of mountains bathed in sunlight was just on the other side, waiting to be embraced. So I posted my three-letter word, said it was taking place outside, and set up a couple of chairs on the patio, hoping that I’d have at least a few attendees at my party, if not quite enough for a minivan. (Can you guess where this is going? I didn’t…)   Read more

By Julie Rosten

My Dream Job

I love to cook and I love dinner parties. It becomes expensive when you are single and on a budget so the dinner parties have become rare occasions.  Denise, the head chef at Hedgebrook, who is a dear friend of mine, kept after me about joining the kitchen staff at Hedgebrook.  Little did I know that it would become my “dream job”!

Not only can I have dinner parties with some of the most interesting women from all over the planet, but I have access to one of the best designed and well equipped kitchens on the island.  Not only that–I have access to local grass fed beef and pigs (finished on apples) and local Spring lambs and organic chickens and fresh seafood from right out of the surrounding waters of Puget Sound.  To top it all off, I have my own gardener! Cathy, who lets me poor over her seed catalogs and will grow whatever my heart desires (within our climate limitations anyway). Yes, it is the best job ever…  And my dinner guests?  They are the most appreciative and gracious guests ever – after all they are women who know how to express themselves.

I feel very fortunate to be part of the Hedgebrook family.  Thank you for allowing me to express myself (my art form) in the Hedgebrook kitchen.

 

 

By Amy Wheeler

Hedgebrook Writes

The six cottages in the woods at Hedgebrook are situated in pairs, so that at night, when a writer is burning the midnight oil, she can see the lights from another cottage glowing through the trees and know that she’s not alone.

Writing is a solitary act. But for me, just knowing that someone is nearby when I’m floating in that creative space gives me a sense of being tethered. I can relax and focus. I always get more writing done when my wife is in the next room!

This balance – of being in solitude and in community with a small group of other women writers – is one of the unexpected gifts of a Hedgebrook residency. Alumnae often talk about how to recapture and recreate that experience in their life-after-Hedgebrook.

So we tried an experiment over Memorial Day weekend:   Read more

By Cathy Bruemmer

An Update from the Hedgebrook Garden

The growth in June is outrageous.  We have gone from famine to feasting and I’ve renewed my job as vegetable pusher.  Actually I’m pretty much just a salad pusher (keep reading for Denise’s amazing Caesar dressing), but at least the greens are abundant.  The pea vines are FINALLY flowering and I hope by next week we can start picking.  Strawberries began ripening this week and the first bulbing fennel are beginning to fatten up.  Mustard greens and baby bok choy are making their way into the kitchen and the first big bundle of carrots wound up in Julies Indian stew.   Read more

By Vito Zingarelli

2012 Writers in Residence Application Now Available Online!

Hedgebrook’s 2012 residency season application is now available.

I am pleased and excited to share with you that we have now shifted to an online application process and I can’t say I will miss the mountains of paper I hosted in my office for months.  After last year’s beta-dabble into an on-line process with our application, it became clear that a full transition was warranted.  If I had any doubts, they were quickly dispelled when the tubs of application packets avalanched into my office with close to 800 applicants last year.  The environmental impacts involved with the creation, shipping and recycling of such an incredible volume of paper were clearly excessive and unnecessary.

So began the transition to create an on-line process that would provide an uncomplicated experience for our writers. To accomplish this, we partnered with SlideRoom, a leading online applicant management system, and believe that we have been successful in our efforts.
I hope you find the process smooth and simple.  We have certainly worked to make it so. 

For more information about the 2012 Writers in Residence Application, please visit the application page on our website.

By Vito Zingarelli

Spring Arrives at the Retreat

The sun has finally begun to grace us with more than an occasional appearance here at Hedgebrook.  The result is that beauty abounds and the blossoming of orchard, garden and forest brings forth both bounty and sustenance for all the residents of our 48 acres.

It is always around this time, end of April/early May, coinciding with the Hedgebrook

Women Playwrights FestivalTM, where we hope and expect the sun to return, allowing us the pleasure of al fresco dining and dramaturgical exchanges around the retreat grounds.  This year was no exception, although it was touch and go right up to the last minute, and we enjoyed a glorious opening weekend of play readings and community here for this year’s five playwrights and our theatre guests from around the country.

This week saw the departure of our playwrights and dramaturgs-in-residence and we have once again welcomed a new roster of writers of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir and screenwriting.  The writers-in-residence program is once again back in full swing and the cottages are filled with the diverse creative energies fueled by brisk sun-filled late spring days that are elongating towards the solstice when the last light of day here in the pacific northwest lingers until 11pm.  Perhaps a month away but the inevitability is apparent.

We have long awaited the ‘great drying-out’ from this year’s record rains and will now bid farewell to the overflowing ponds and running brook that came alive this year as Nancy, our founder, had envisioned 24 years ago.  It seems these wet days are now ending and we welcome the lush aftermath of such intense moisture now encouraged by the returning sun.

Hedgebrook is in a full court press to summer………….

By Cathy Bruemmer

Slow Spring

Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide refers to April as the month of the slug. If you’re at Hedgebrook it’s the month of the snail. They are everywhere. I hunt in the mornings, watching for their slime tracks and looking under leaves. The rhubarb is an especially popular hangout. Sorry to those of you who are squeamish, but I’m merciless with my boot stomping. I feel a bit like the momma bear out there protecting my young. Given the cold weather and slow growth, the seedlings need all the help they can get. Fortunately, there’s Sluggo, an organic slug and snail bait that I buy in the giant 10-pound jug. Between the boots and the bait I think the garden has a chance.

There’s not much to harvest yet. This past fall I decided to put the garden to rest and cover crop every bed that wasn’t planted in garlic. I dug the cover crop into about half the beds in late February. Those have been planted in peas, salad and cooking greens, herbs, beets, spinach, carrots, fennel… Today I hope to finish the second round of bed prep. I grow starts at home on my sunporch, and it’s about time to move some flats out.

Two years ago I discovered a new pest in the garden: root weevils. They are tiny, the color of dry dirt and they devour new seedlings. I’ve always preferred direct seeding. It’s a labor-saving choice, and I find transplanting tedious. Twice I’ve added parasitic nematodes to the garden beds hoping they’ll eventually win out over the weevils.

Between the cold and the pests it’s been a slow start this year. My usual springtime optimism seemed to finally return, along with the swallows, last week. A little sunshine and a few degree increase on the thermometer makes for a happy gardener.

 

By Denise Barr

Rhubarb Cake

Each spring, when the rhubarb begins to flourish, this recipe is a hit with staff and residents at the retreat. It’s just one example of the way Hedgebrook features the bounty of the land and garden in the kitchen and at the table. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Cake

Preheat oven 350
Butter and flour baking dish (9×9 or 7×11)

½ C butter (soft)
1 C sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ C unbleached flour
3 tea baking powder
¼ tea salt
½ cup milk
1 tea vanilla extract
2 ½ C chopped rhubarb (¾ to 1 in pieces, about 4 stalks)

Cream butter and sugar until light
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beat well
In separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt
In separate bowl combine milk and vanilla
Alternate adding wet and dry ingredients to butter mixture
Spread 1/2 batter into buttered and floured baking dish
Sprinkle on rhubarb (do not press rhubarb down)
Top with rest of batter

Back 35-40 min. plus (test with a tooth pick, should come out clean)

Variation: May replace rhubarb with 2 ½ C blueberries or 2 ½ C raspberries

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