Saltwater Birds and Mountain Air

"She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together."  -J.D. Salinger

I was sitting at the dining room table the other day, alone in the quiet house and early afternoon light.  A memory came to me.  I thought about being a "driveway" kid; long slabs of sun-bleached concrete with wisps of palm tree shade, thick heat, citrus spritz, doing crazy eights on my sparkly bike with a banana seat.  Weekends and kids for days, up and down, down and up.  Evenings, running, cooling in the shade.  1970's coastal Florida houses did not have porches, not a one that I recall.  Scratchy, aluminum chairs set up in the driveway.  Parents, tan, highball in hand.

My children are porch children, and "courtyard" kids.  We do not have a driveway to speak of.  My watching chair is a step or perched on the side of a raised garden bed.  This air is less dense, bone-sucking dry.  I watch them run around in the grass and play rougher than I'd like them to.  Games of tag have begun, staring contests, and arm wrestling.  They fly by on scooters with light up wheels, looking like great herons standing in the salt flats, stick legs, wobbling.

One week from today, Theo will turn eight years old.  He is in what I think of as the thick of childhood, and Sullivan is not far behind.  My heart isn't on fast rewind these days like it was a year or so back, when I was still mourning the days of holding them in my arms more than the days of now when they walk by my side, hand-in-hand, closer to my heart, on their own feet.  I have enough years of mamahood tattooed on the hollows of my bones now to recognize that this time is purely for living in.  For inhaling and gathering up to make for good stock later.

In the middle, life is sweet and raw with truth.  It is the driveway and the courtyard.  It is the tides and mountains and the moon.  Right now, as Mary Oliver said, "I say to my heart: rave on."


Please meet Fergus and Flora.  They've been here three weeks today, and I'm falling in love.


Introducing Katie Neuman | Prints

I recently brought to life a dream and vision I've had for quite some time.

Last year was a wonderful time of growth for myself and for my photography business.  I could clearly distinguish the roots I'd been tending and the new shoots of growth - collaborations, portraits, and creative projects - taking on new and healthy shapes of their own.  

Starting this new year, I spent the better part of my days during January and February taking creative and entrepreneurial e-courses and reading companion books to the courses.  This is the year that I am focusing on my vision, and getting fully behind my quiet business style.  I also had to work hard at accepting a fact that has given me anxiety since the first day I decided to be paid for my work: I am a non-competitive creative.

And you know what?  Since I stopped worrying about what all the other photographers around me are doing, and how my un-branded approach to business is not the norm, I've gathered this amazing tribe around me. Like-minded creatives and entrepreneurs and mamas.  And doors for new editorial work and portraiture sessions keep opening in the most unexpected, blissfully welcomed ways.

But back to the dream that is now a real, tangible thing.  I opened a print shop!  A Web market of photographs that I have selected to sell in print.  In addition to my editorial and portraiture business, this is pure, creative fun for me.

I thoughtfully chose to begin small.  After looking through hundreds of my photographs, I realized that I did not want to work backwards.  I want to move forwards, so I plan on growing the shop from here on out, with just three prints to start, all taken within the last eleven months.  

I hope you'll have a visit to the Print Shop, and I'll update here when new prints come available - ocean and desert trips are on the horizon.

And I hope you, too, will continue whatever work is yours, in your very own way.  I believe wholly in staying true to the vision you have for your creative process.  There is enough for everyone.



Panna Cotta in Strawberry Soup with Thyme

Yesterday I had a couple of my friends over for lunch.  I made Ina Garten's Greek Panzanella - a recipe I have made many times, and for dessert I made panna cotta in strawberry soup with thyme - a recipe mostly of my own that I've also been making for years.

We chatted about The Goldfinch.  I just finished reading it yesterday morning, my jaw tense and my head aching from strained eyes.  I have blown off much of everything for the last four days and nights, this story took all of me along with it.  I will give nothing of it away in case you have not read it, but I will tell you that I loved it very much even though it gave me tears and anxiety and bizarre dreams.

We chatted about life and about gardening, of course.  We swapped seeds.  Speaking of, my seed starts have all sprouted; little green toothpicks with whales tales.  Inside, the light is spilling in throughout the day, casting a soft glow on everything.  And around five in the morning the robin's have begun chirping.

To say we're all so grateful for the longer days and warmer weather feels shallow to what we feel deep inside.  I keep reminding myself, you can wake up now; you can stretch now.

Panna Cotta in Strawberry Soup with Thyme

Panna Cotta
(adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste (or pure extract)

In a medium bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the milk.  Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and sugar.  Cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until small bubbles appear around the sides of the pan.  Slowly add the cream mixture to the milk and gelatin mixture, stirring until smooth.  Add the vanilla.

Divide the mixture among four 4 oz. ramekins.  Cover and refrigerate for as long as five hours or overnight.  (I always make a day ahead.)

Strawberry Soup with Fresh Thyme

3 cups of fresh strawberries, greens cut off
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine (sparkling works too)
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. heavy cream
a few sprigs of fresh thyme

Put all ingredients except for thyme in a blender and blend until smooth, or like "soup".

To serve, run a knife around the sides of the ramekins to loosen the panna cotta.  Turn panna cotta's out in a shallow bowl.  Spoon soup around the panna cotta and top with fresh thyme.

Serves four.