Posts tagged: summer

Make a Fruit Fly Trap!

By , August 11, 2012

Is your kitchen full of fruit flies?

Try this handy little trap:

1. ) Roll a piece of paper into a cone shape, and secure with tape. The opening should only be large enough for a fruit fly to fit through.

2.) Place a piece of fruit into a tall jar.

3.) Set the paper cone into the jar. Tape the paper to the jar so the flies can’t escape around the edges.

4.) The flies will fly in, but can’t get back out. Release them outside, or dream up your own creative way of getting rid of them.

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Summertime Manifesto

By , July 24, 2012

Different from a to-do list, a manifesto is the ‘long view.’ It reminds me of my priorities at present.

And rather than a lengthy list, I feel that simpler is better.

If you wrote a Summertime Manifesto, what would it say?

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Mine says:

– Slow. It. Down…

– Do more art.

– Above all, simplicity.

– Lie down more.

– Body first. Give it the chance to heal.

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Around the Garden – July 19th

By , July 20, 2012

Yesterday was a special day. July 19th is the official death date of my best friend Sonja. It will forever be “that day.” It’s been eight years since her death, and finally it doesn’t hurt anything like it used to. That awful pain has released its grip on me. I acknowledge the date with sadness, of course…but the sting of it has largely gone. If I pause to remember that terrible phone call, and the sequence of it all and how I felt, it still hurts very much. Of course it does. I’m sure it always will. But it doesn’t clutch me and drag me to the underworld like it used to; I feel so much more in control of the memories and my emotions about it all.

If you are currently toiling through grief, it is a very hard path. And it will get easier. It doesn’t seem like it ever will, but it will.

When I was in the middle of that searing grief, I was convinced it would never end. It did. You will never be the same person after a journey like that (you’ll be stronger, for one thing), but the pain will let up.

So yesterday I spent my July 19th working in my flourishing garden. What an uplifting, life-affirming way to spend that day! It was very hot, in the upper 90s, but the clouds moved in which made it much more bearable. And my strong, healing body held up so nicely, even in that heat… even through six hours of hard physical work. Instead of feeling miserable in my body, I felt strong and healthy and agile. After more than two solid years of feeling like absolute shite, I had sadly forgotten what “normal” feels like. I’m getting re-acquainted with normal!! It was so enjoyable!

Anyway, here are some pictures:

[left to right] Jaune Flamme, Black Russian, and Black Cherry heirloom tomatoes:

The peach on my 3-year-old tree is getting bigger!

I grew some Black Kabouli bush garbanzo beans this year as an experiment. It was a success, and it told me what I needed to know. They’re very easy to grow, even in areas of lower soil fertility and water levels. I haven’t yet cooked them up, but overall I’d rate them as ‘8.5/10, would grow again.’

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Everybody needs… places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength…

– John Muir

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The Magical Bee Sting Cure

By , July 16, 2012

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Lavender essential oil!

It’s a shame this isn’t more common knowledge. Maybe you already know about it but if not, I want to tell you that lavender essential oil is the most magical treatment for a bee sting (or wasp, etc.). I’ve been treating stings this way for many years and it’s truly incredible. The pain disappears! As do the redness and swelling. Very soon your sting is a distant memory. Every single time I use this remedy I am completely blown away by its efficacy.

Just apply some lavender essential oil, neat (undiluted), to the bee sting. Lavender oil is gentle enough to be used neat for most folks, unlike some other essential oils.

Lavender oil is a great thing to keep in your first aid kit, if only for this reason alone.

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Do you know of other magical uses for lavender oil? Do share!

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And a Few More…

By , July 12, 2012

Here are a few more garden pictures that I wanted to show you, since I was over there yesterday. It was a brilliant weather day — not too hot, not windy, and just humid enough to make the air delicious and soft. Mentally and physically however, it was a total bummer day, so being in the garden felt vitally important! It’s such a grounding and life-affirming space, that wild and abundant garden. There’s some really intense energy flying around right now to put it diplomatically. Can you feel it? Intense situations, frustrations, and pivotal decisions abound! Nature spaces are the antidote — I’d make time to visit one if I were you.

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So what you have here are the first tomatoes of the year — Black Cherry, and the orange one further down is Jaune Flamme, both heirlooms, and both really awesome. The Jaune Flammes are always my earliest and most reliable tomatoes; Black Cherry is a new one this year, but so far I’m definitely impressed.

I put up this bean trellis on Sunday; I really love it. It creates the feeling of a cozy outdoor room, and maybe if the beans get big enough they’ll provide some welcome shade from the afternoon sun.

And here this is our living room right now. In flux you might say!

As I write you this, I’m eating a beet that I pulled out of the garden yesterday. Steamed whole and eaten plain with just a bit of sea salt, how can something BE so delicious!?

Writing to you!…

Wishing you well on this beautiful, summery night!

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A few from the garden…

By , July 10, 2012

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Today…

By , July 4, 2012

Today, I am:

…enjoying that sweet bouquet of flowers plucked from the garden…

…noticing that Queen Anne’s Lace was probably not the best choice for an indoor bouquet because it’s dropping stuff all over the table…

…enjoying a very delicious breakfast salad of lettuce, green onions, cucumbers, avocado, and fresh pineapple, with salt and cracked pepper, lemon juice, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar…

…drinking a hot mug of pu-erh tea even though there’s 90-degree air breezing through the open window next to me…

…glad that Mountain Rose got pu-erh back in stock! I’ve missed it very much and just ordered more…

…noticing how good it feels to place an order the old fashioned way and send a check to Mountain Rose, instead of paying via credit card online…

…packing up treasures…

…taking time out to get re-inspired by this book, Lillian Too’s 168 Feng Shui Ways to Declutter Your Home. It gets me back into the mindset I like to be in when attacking piles of possessions: “Do I love this and absolutely want it? Does it pertain to who I am now?”

…looking at messes and piles that seem to breed in the night…

…glad that my Honey has the day off from work today; he deserves it…

…remembering that I have some soaked & solar-cooked quinoa in the fridge, waiting to be made into tabbouleh

…thinking it’s nearly time to close up the windows in favor of the comfort of our little air conditioner. It’s gonna be another hot one today…

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♥ I hope you all have a relaxing holiday today ♥

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Make a Bug Bath!

By , May 16, 2012

If you’re an organic vegetable gardener, or just a lazy cheapskate-type gardener (or both like me), then beneficial insects are at the top of your list. They’re easy, they’re free, they do the work for you. For example, I’ve never found a better way of controlling aphids than relaxing in the shade with a cup of tea and letting the wasps eat them off one by one.

All you need to do is lure the beneficials in by making your garden as irresistible as possible. One good way is to make sure you have a variety of flowers blooming amongst your vegetables. I’ve noticed they especially like herb flowers and wildflowers.

Another good way is to provide a reliable source of fresh water — just like a bird bath, only for bugs.

To make a bug bath:

1. Find a dish and some rocks; the rocks will stick up above the water and provide islands for bugs to land on.

2. Locate the bug bath somewhere in your garden. Feel free to have multiple bug baths throughout your garden.

3. Keep the water fresh; I dump it and re-fill when I water the garden.

4. It may take a bit for the bugs to discover their new bath; have patience — they’ll find it!

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Homemade Concord Grape Fruit Leather

By , October 17, 2011

I wish I could give you all a piece of this fruit leather to eat right this minute! It has the best, truest grape flavor I think I’ve ever tasted. This leather is sugar free and made with nothing but ripe concord (or “wild”) grapes. And although the process is really easy — and you need nothing except the grapes themselves — it takes time. This is special stuff; the taste is so worth it, and when you take a bite and think about the process from start to finish, you’ll appreciate this fruit leather even more.

I find that it feels really good to deeply savor each morsel of food like this; so different from mindlessly feeding our faces, isn’t it. I bet if we were the ones responsible for the extensive work required to prepare everything we ate, we’d slow right down and savor every single bite!

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Concord Grape Fruit Leather

Concord grapes (that’s the only ingredient!)

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1. Begin by making my Grape Freezer Jam with your concord grapes. But go ahead and leave it unfrozen…or, thaw it out if it’s already frozen.

2. Preheat oven to 200°F. (You could also use a dehydrator.)

3. Tear off a piece of parchment paper the size of your cookie sheet. You could also generously oil your cookie sheet, but parchment is a lot easier to peel the leather off of.

4. Using a spatula, spread your Freezer Jam onto the cookie sheet, taking the extra time to spread as thinly and evenly as possible; it takes a few minutes to get it just right. Spreading it as evenly as possible is important because otherwise some parts will be overdone and other parts will be underdone.

5. Put into the oven and let it dehydrate until the fruit leather is pliable…not wet, but not hard & brittle either. Mine usually takes about 2 1/2 hours.

6. Remove from the oven, cool for a while, peel your fruit leather off the parchment, roll it up, and cut into strips! Store either at room temperature or in the fridge. I like to keep mine in a mason jar in the pantry.

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When I’m on the go and need a good snack, I’ll often pack a roll or two of this fruit leather, along with a bag of homemade kale chips. It’s perfect!

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