Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Pumpkin Feast

The Holidays are upon us! Can you believe it? How this year has flown by and with so little activity here on the blog. I do apologize. This baby growing gig has me plum tuckered me out. Just another two months and I will be chalking it up to a babe in arms! So with the giving season fast approaching, I have been casting about for that special present to make for folks.

With the current economy and life being what it is, I knew I was going to have to get creative. Enter the lovely pumpkin! Many of you long time readers may remember my banana score back in June. So you know what a free food scavenger I am. That combined with my need not to waste anything brought me to this years holiday gift.

After Halloween, what happens to all of those lovely pumpkins that aren't sold? Well many of them are just abandoned in their lots. Sad, forlorn, and looking for purpose! For our Harvest Festival at the Waldorf school, we gathered about 30 of these cast offs and scattered them about. They looked lovely! At the end of the fair, I piled them all up in the back of the Blue Ox and carted them home.

Some have gone to the pig and chickens. I have roasted tons of seeds, so very yummy but most of that delicious roasted pumpkin flesh is headed for my freezer. Later I will process it with the following recipe and give it out to friends and family!

Pumpkin Butter

3 1/2 cups fresh ground pumpkin or canned pumpkin purée
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 lemon, juice and grated rind
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice

If using fresh pumpkin, mix with sugar, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature 8 to 10 hours

Transfer to a heavy saucepan, add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat, stirring often, for 40 to 60 minutes, to desired consistency. (With canned pumpkin, mix ingredients in heavy saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer on low about 20 minutes, to thicken.)

Pour mixture into hot, sterile, 6-ounce canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal with sterile, 2-part lids and rings, as manufacturer directs, processing 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Cool; adjust seals.

Makes five 6-ounce jars.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

and the winner is......

Lucky number three!

Karen, you have won!

Please contact me @

To claim your lovely lavender basket!

thank you everyone!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The View From Here

When you say POOP? I say Hooray!
Today we put the truck to work and hauled a load of horse manure home!

Happy Garden!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stocking up for the Holidays - A Give-a-way!

Can you believe it is only 3 months until Christmas?????? How did the year fly by so fast!!!! In honor of the approaching season, I am giving away a Lavender Zen Gift set from the soap shop.

The set includes one of the yummy lavender eye pillows pictured above.

one of these sweet little bottles of Lavender perfume oil.

and two bars of the creamy lavender oatmeal soap!

Wait! There is one more surprise, a solid lavender lotion bar. So yummy but so shy. No photos yet. I said it was a surprise.

Just leave a comment and I will draw a winner on Monday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Persephone's Pomegranate

Do you know the story of Persephone and the seeds of the pomegranate? Kidnapped by Hades and held in the underworld, she was tricked into eating seven seeds of a pomegranate. This doomed Persephone to spend those months as the Queen of Hades court. Poor Demeter was so heartbroken without her daughter that she allowed the world to fade and die. Only when Persephone emerges again in the spring, is the earth reborn.

In honor of our decent into the dark months, I am offering a special pomegranate soap for a special price. Simply become a fan of Sacred Waters Soap Co on facebook and type FBfan into the notes on your etsy order and the soap will be yours for 4.00 instead of the regular 4.50.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The View From Here

Babe, my new blue burb!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Day of Outdoor Service

Make a Difference: 9/11 Day of Outdoor Service

Every day is filled with a chance to make a difference, today even more so with the ability to communicate in seconds through a virtual world. We can transfer money to a cause, virtually sign a petition, and spread the word to hundreds of people in our personal networks. Yet, at the end of the day, the challenge lies where words meet action. Where people connect to each other in their communities, to their roots, and create one family. Change is but a single combination of letters unless it is founded in action.

September 11th is a deep wound and just like any other wound either physical or within our soul, one of the cures is found in nature. I think about my Mom’s garden and how it provides Aloe Vera for our cuts and burns. So too can we find healing, hope, and joy in joining together to serve our communities on 9/11. The joy of rolling in the grass, fishing, hiking, or gardening should not be taken for granted just as the simple act of rolling up sleeves and digging within our hearts to rebuild America.

Join us in remembering and honoring 9/11 by hosting a service event in your community.

Visit Sierra Club Serve Outdoors for more information.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Out Of The Box

Every week we go and pick up a box overflowing from our local CSA farm. I can hardly wait to get it home and unpack, sometimes I can't wait. The children and I eagerly dig through the box in the back of the car, each one squealing over some anticipated treasure. It could be the amazing watermelon or perhaps the chalky green bundle of kale but every week there is something for each one of us.

A farm box you say, no control over what is coming? What are you supposed to do with all that stuff in there? How does one get through the whole box before the next box gets here? What was that purple thing in the box? I hear these queries and many more.
I treat it as a game, a challenge to get through all that amazing fresh veg.

This week the box had some really lovely cherry tomatoes, both red and yellow, as well as basil and fragrant bundle of thyme. Out come my favorite cookbooks and the search begins! In my go-to veggie book, How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, I found this marvelous recipe for a simple tomato salad. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Cherry Tomato Salad
with soy sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce
pinch of sugar
2 tsp dark sesame oil
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
1/2 cup basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
freshly ground black pepper

COmbine the soy sauce, sugar and oil in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and basil and sprinkle liberally with black pepper. Toss gently to coat. Let it stand at room temp. for a little bit, stir and taste. If needed adjust the dressing and eat:)

Now what to do with all that Thyme?????

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ready to go!

Back to school that is. He is so happy the day is finally here.
He has been asking since the week after school let out
for summer vacation. For me it will mean some rare time alone.
Time to work, and a little to play just for mama.

The View From Here

Labor Day on the farm.
Doesn't look like any work is getting done.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The View From Here

The crowd is gathering for the second annual backyard concert.
A lovely spaghetti dinner and music performed by all of the teachers
at the Maple Village Waldorf School.

pssst.....that is my backyard!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The View From Here

Yosemite, where I wish I was today!
Look at my darling girl.
When did she get so big?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Polishing a Star

Guess I owe you all a post as to where the heck I have been. Child number three will be joining our ranks in January. So needless to say, the last three months are lost is a foggy haze of first trimester exhaustion and barfiness ( yes that is now a real word). What an adventure the road to our third child continues to be. We are all very excited to meet the tiny being that is busy polishing her star right now, waiting for the right moment to arrive.

Friday, June 4, 2010

our new furry friend

This tiny lump of cuteness was found all alone on our garden path.
No sign of mama or whence he came from.
Poor little buddy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Urban Farming....City Kids

busy exploring the compost piles and the greenhouse

It seems to me that urban farming is all the rage these days. My backyard chicken lecture was very well attended. This blog and that blog are shouting out their message of bringing the food security right to your own back yard or community garden! Yet I wonder if this is just the bubble I choose to live in? Is this message of slowing down and working to feed and bring your family together really getting that far?

mini lecture from farmer Sasha

The children in these photos are kids who live mostly live in apartments and spend their days inside a classroom. No green or even open space is available. Most of them have no pets. How are you supposed to connect with humanity without a deep connection to the natural world around you.

my oldest in the lower left corner looking on

It was nothing short of awe inspiring to watch these children squeal with delight at the sight of the chicken flock, marvel at each unique egg, run from bed to bed anxious to see what was growing and if they could eat it.

My own children were present and rather dumbfounded by the school childrens reactions. This is all old hat for my kids but as the moments ticked by I saw the deep appreciation dawn in my daughters eyes. What a gift. What awesome teachers who work so hard to connect with these kids and give them a different view of the world.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The View From Here

Chicken Ambassadors At The Farmers Market

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The View From Here

Chino Air Show

Favorite Quote of the Day as the B-17s flew over
"That, Ladies & Gentleman is the sound of American freedom"

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nasturtium Blessings

Around here the nasturtiums are always working overtime. There is always a lovely drift just inside the garden gate welcoming you in with their sunny faces. Besides being beautiful and a lovely home for our resident fairies, they are dead useful!

nasturtium pod waiting to be picked

By this time I think you all know about eating the lovely blossoms. And I am sure quite a few of you are eating the deliciously peppery leaves. They are a bit like cress and make lovely additions to your salads and pretty tea sandwiches. There just might be those among you who know about pickling the seed pods. Once finished they can be used just like capers!

sitting in their brine waiting to be rinsed and packed in white wine vinegar

I can hear you now. You are thinking who has time to pick nasturtium seed pods! You do! It only took me about 15 minutes to gather enough to process. 15 lovely sunny, bird song filled minutes communing with my garden and grabbing a bit of sanity from the bees.

Nasturtium Capers

Makes ½ cup

2 tablespoons salt

1 cup water

½ cup green nasturtium seedpods

¾ cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 fresh bay leaves, or 1 dried

2 3-inch sprigs fresh thyme

Bring the salt and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Separate the seeds from the pods, place the seeds in a half-pint glass jar and fill with boiling brine. Cover and let them soak at room temperature for three days.

Drain the nasturtium seeds in a fine sieve and return them to the jar. Combine vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and arugula flowers and bring to a boil in a small (1-quart) saucepan. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture over the seeds and let cool.

Refrigerate covered for three days before using. Store covered for up to six months in the refrigerator.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Yes, We Have No Bananas...

Yesterday, in my mission to save food from dumpsters everywhere, I liberated 50 lbs of "too old" bananas from Smart & Final. After seeing a shopping cart full near the check out I asked a few questions. The nice check out girl told me they were being sold at 50 % off. Anything left would just be thrown away. Needless to say I returned at the end of the day and made the manager an offer. I was able to buy the whole lot of them for $8.88.

What am I going to do with 50lbs of bananas you ask?
Well there is the obvious baking to be done and smoothies of course.

bananas ready to pop in the freezer

I will freeze a lot of them.

and many will find their way to my little black pig!
How I love her so!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Things to do

a big block of spicy lime soap waiting to be cut and my to-do list.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The View From Here

Mother's Day breakfast at the Farmer's Market.
Song's Crepes why are you so dang good!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Come one, Come All ...

It is time to fill the pocket lady's pockets!

with tiny speckled eggs just the right size for a fairy

miniature mushrooms just right for the gnomes hollow tree

and of course the gnomes themselves!

What is the pocket lady you ask???
Well she is a magical character that roams the May Fair.
She is covered in pockets,
each one containing a tiny treasure for the children.
Give her your ticket and you too, can have a turn.
No peeking!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

making peace with sand

sand to the left of me

sand to the right of me

amazing pelicans overhead

and one very happy little boy

running amok!

I guess I will make peace with the sand.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The View From Here

Out the front door of my studio into the vegetable garden.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

From the Garden

Still working on using the garden produce, I have a lovely crop of fava beans this year. Not sure if you do this, but I tend to get excited about planting food crops without really considering what I am going to do with them. So I have all these fava beans....Now What???

Well I found this really cool recipe called Fooll Mudammes. Actually I saw it for the first time when Anthony Bourdain was in Egypt. It is a traditional breakfast food in Egypt. Here is the recipe if anyone else wants to try it. It looks really good.

I will report back tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Using What You Have

I have instituted a big spending freeze for the time being. Not because of any dire circumstances or anything, just because I have a lot of stuff and it needs to be used or let go.

This includes all the wonderful growth out in my garden as well. I have been so bad at using what I grow. I tend to love to watch it grow and wait to long to harvest it. So with that in mind the lavender bushes are in full bloom right now. Aren't they amazing? I wanted to find a way to use them when I stumbled upon this project

It is called a lavender wand. They are fairly simple to make. Your hands just need to get used to the motions. All it takes is 39 stems of lavender and 3 yards of ribbon. They dry beautifully and stay fragrant. I love these!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Garden Fresh!

from here....

to here in 15 minutes.
Carrots and kale fresh from the garden in a light balsamic glaze.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Promises of plums to come

Carrots emerging

green bean seedling reaching for the sky

This year, one of our Easter activities was to start the many seeds we will need for our summer garden. It seemed like to perfect activity to connect the children with the many beginnings and endings of life. Plus I love any activity that gets them all to sit down and be together for a while. We had a grand time digging through the seed box to see what we had for the coming months. Starting our pumpkins generated grand discussions about Halloween plans and all the different things we like to make with our yummy pumpkins. While planting the eggplants, we remembered roasting these black beauties and making the best fritters ever! I felt such a thrill as we planted each thing and my children chatted happily about the memories each plant evoked. This is what I want for my family. This is the life I am striving for.