Recipe for January. Well, Evening of December 31st to Be Exact.

Every month we will feature a recipe from our Almanac No. 1. January’s is a soup of magic and good fortune to be made for your New Year!
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Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Stew

My grandmother would fix two special things for our dinner every New Year’s Eve: collared greens and black eyed peas. And every year they were terrible. We would yell and complain and she would retort that at least one bite must be taken for wealth and good fortune finding us in our year to come. I’m from Kansas, but I believe this is a southern tradition. Apparently it dates all the way back to the Civil War.

I’ve wanted to keep the tradition alive, but make sure the food was not only palpable, but delicious. I present to you a wonderful recipe, “Black-eyed pea and collared green stew”.
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May your new year be blessed with wealth and good fortune. At least you’ll start it with a great meal.

2 Cups dried black-eyed peas

1 Tbs. canola oil

3/4 C. finely chopped yellow onion

8 oz. kielbasa sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 C. chicken broth

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 bunch collard greens – chopped

1. Sort and wash peas; set Aside.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Add sausage; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

3. Stir in broth; bring to a simmer, scraping pan to loosen yummy browned bits. Stir in peas, salt, peppers, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until peas begin to soften. Uncover and cook 15 minutes or until liquid begins to thicken.

4. Stir in vinegar, tomatoes, and greens; simmer 10 minutes or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Serve with warm cornbread drizzled with honey.

 

-Betony of Giants & Pilgrims
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Our January Almanac theme: “Begin”

Each month as Giants & Pilgrims creates all the content and stories and art for  Almanac No. 1, a theme will be chosen that resonates with the month and the place we find ourselves in this year. For January our theme is “Begin”.
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January is a blank canvas. A snowy field. Untouched clay.

Now is the time to reflect and be resolute again.

The resolutions we make now guide and direct our new year.

So here’s to new beginnings.

May the fresh start find you this season.

And now

we

Begin

family

Beginning “Almanac No. 1”

This is a project a year in the making. And one that’s close to Betony and I’s heart.

January of last year Betony and I talked about doing an art project together; one that would involve music, paintings, and anything else we felt was worth doing. What resulted was a big work we’re calling “Almanac No. 1”.

We did a successful Kickstarter in the fall and now we are releasing a monthly subscription, a series of paintings, and an album. All this will be found here in the coming months, slowly, like a good garden.

As for the publication, we are full of subscribers for the year, but plan on making this site a place to engage in the rhythms of our Almanac. As for the paintings, a full gallery will be posted in February. As for the album, we are doing pre-sales in January with a digital release January 18th!

Thank you for all of your support. We hope this art, music, and adventure enriches your whole year with the same goodness we’ve experienced in making it!

Tim Coons of

Giants & Pilgrims

Almanac Adventure: November “Family Tree”

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On October 31st we celebrated a very well-known holiday. Halloween was a blast this year for the Coons family. We dressed up, trick-or-treated with lots of friends, and had way too much candy.

November 1st, however, we also celebrated a holiday not nearly as well-known. The day after Halloween, or All-Hallows-Eve, is All Saints Day.

All Saints Day is a holiday in the Western-Christian calendar set aside to honor all of the saints, known and unknown. A friend of mine, K.J. Tencza, several years ago came up with a way of celebrating this holiday in a very non-traditional way. We gathered together on the Friday night of All Saints Day and lit candles for those who have been a light in our lives- people that God has used in significant ways to shine and guide us. As people lit the candles they shared stories of those who have meant so much to them and how deeply they’ve impacted their lives.

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It was a really incredible time. By the end of the night I felt this wonderful sense of gratitude; I am so thankful for the people in my life. And the lives of others. Encouragers, supporters, teachers, family.

We didn’t want to stop there, though. Betony made a “Family Tree” chart for people to take home and fill out how they liked. You could write in family members or take a more creative approach: who has deeply impacted your roots? Who are the people- family, writers, friends, teachers, people from camps, retreats, etc, who have been a part of your lineage as a human being? Who has truly shaped your soul? And write those names in.

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We are providing here  the same “Family Tree” chart for download here. Print it off and take some time to reflect as you fill it in. And let it enrich your November! Here’s to the Adventure!
Click the small thumbnail below to download the large size file.
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Much love,

Tim (Giants & Pilgrims)

Almanac Adventure: September “Capes and Crowns”

Giants & Pilgrims were invited to  a church down in Denver to lead an Almanac Adventure. St. Andrews United Methodist was so kind to have us! Betony Coons brought lots of supplies- felt stickers, old curtain rod samples, antique buttons, plastic “bling”, etc. Somehow, when you throw all these together with some scissors, a glue gun, and children’s creativity you get: Capes and Crowns.
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Both the young and old fabricated a cape and a crown or two. Those who love such fashions wore theirs the entire night.
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We also did something a little different during the making. With a felt pen special messages were written into the materials- on the underside of the cape or the tie-strings of the crown. These hidden proclamations came out almost like prayers. Things were written like,

“You are braver than you believe”.

“You are loved.”

“Do not be afraid. You are never alone.”

DSC_0114Extra capes and crowns were made by everyone who participated with these words of encouragement written into them. We took the surplus collection and are donating them to A Woman’s Shelter here in our home city of Greeley. Our hope is that there in the play area of the shelter, kids who are going through difficult times will play dress up, donning these capes and crowns. That they’d feel in this moment adventurous and strong and beautiful. That they’d experience an extra touch of human dignity in their play. And that our secret messages hidden in the capes and crowns would speak courage and strength over them.

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Kickstarter Adventure: Coming Soon

Giants & Pilgrims (Tim and Betony Coons and all co-conspirators) are launching a Kickstarter campaign this Wednesday. We hope to raise funds to create our first ever project together: ALMANAC No. 1.

ALMANAC No. 1 will be a three part project of an album, art series, and monthly publication dedicated to navigating our seasons and working the fields together.

You took us up on our invitation to come by. Thank you. You are welcome here. Take your time and enjoy yourself as you explore the new site.

You’ll see we have some videos up and some accounts of Almanac Adventures. These are creative endeavors that attempt thoughtful love by involving making something with others. They also tie into the season. If you can help us come up with a better definition for Almanac Adventures, please leave a comment below!

Almanac Adventure: August “Gourmet Lemonade Stand”

 

At Atlas Church here in Colorado a school supply drive was going on. There is a huge population of refugees from several different countries that come to Greeley looking for work and often they arrive in emergency mode, still learning the ropes of the new culture.

 

So Giants & Pilgrims decided to do a creative fundraiser we thought would be easy, involve our daughter Lucy who loves to play chef, and really fun on a hot August afternoon. We made a Gourmet Lemonade Stand!

 

lemonsBetony Coons is a foodie. And when she uses this power for good she is unstoppable. She first created infusions in the morning with Lucy and Hattie’s help- lavender, basil, lemon balm, and mint . Next some fruit puree’s were made- Strawberry, Watermelon, and blueberry. Lastly fresh lemons were crushed with copious amounts of sugar, but no water was added. This was a lemonade concentrate.

 

mint 3DSC_0084And this, my friends, is how the world is changed through the pallet. Gourmet lemonade was born.

 

For a few hours on a Friday afternoon we set up shop in our front yard. People came! Neighbors, Facebook invites, passers-by all experienced some goodness.
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First we (Lucy, who’s 4, and whoever was helping) would make a base of club soda and lemonade concentrate, then the customer would choose what fruit puree and infusion they’d like. Some big hits? Watermelon/Mint Sparkling Lemonade. Blueberry/Lavender Sparkling Lemonade. Strawberry/Basil Sparkling Lemonade (who knew!?).

 

Below are pictures from our afternoon. And some recipes!

 

Many thanks to everyone who came by. We raised over a hundred dollars for the school supply drive! All in a couple hours doing something fun and loving!

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Almanac Adventure: July “Summer Boats”

We were asked to play at the first ever festival put on by “Under the Radar”, an internet radio station that plays more thoughtful, creative music, often of a spiritual bent. They called the event “Under the Radar: Escape to the Lake”.

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It was such an amazing experience, not just because of the people and the music and the opportunities, but also because we got to take the family!

 

Betony,  Lucy, and Harriet got to come. And then we brought friends (musician Craig Basarich, photographer Thomas Nash, artist Kathryn Buncik) to help with the trip. It was a Circus Caravan of Fun wherever we pulled up!
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On one of the days we were there Betony led an Almanac Adventure. Together with some other folks they made boats together and asked the question, “What do you need to let go of this season? What are the things you want to load into this boat and leave at the lake- lightening the weight of life off your shoulders and into this vessel?”

 

People really got into it and took the creating seriously. Well, not too seriously. A ton of fun was still had. It made for a special moment during this get away to Wisconsin.

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Giants & Pilgrims One Take Video “Rally Those Hopes”

This September we put on a show at Atlas Church called “I Walk Slow”. It was a series of songs, stories, and meditations on Psalm 23. Photographer Jared Reno was at our first rehearsal and captured this. So beautiful. I love the energy and raw feel.

This song will be featured on our ALMANAC album. It was written with the idea of “working the fields” in mind. My favorite line is,

“Lift the veil on the summer night

House is hot, filled with dynamite

Set the table just to set us free

I’ll stay with you if you stay with me”

Just about working through those struggles. That’s the best love. The love that stays and digs in the dirt with the full hope that life will come from the messy soil.

Almanac Adventure: April “All Day”

We sent out a request for video clips of kids dancing. We have two girls of their own and have loved the absolute joy that erupts when the dancing begins. The invitation was for parents to enjoy capturing that magic and then send clips to the artists, us.
This video is a testament to that joy and seemingly unending energy. It was an amazing Adventure to pursue and put together. Enjoy!