Posts tagged: summer

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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Message from Nature: LOVE

By , September 10, 2011

Love.

Can you see it spelled there on the cucumber leaf?

Love…

Movie Time! Garden Tour + Afternoon Thunderstorm

By , September 3, 2011

I was relaxing over at my parents’ house yesterday after a meeting, and decided to take you on a little garden tour! In addition to the utterly scintillating subject matter, the tour features two bonus soundtracks — Ambulance Siren and Thunder:

 

And here’s the rainstorm that had just happened right before the tour!

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Gazpacho & Garden Shopping List

By , August 30, 2011

I love this time of the year because meals can be made almost entirely out of the garden! Today I made one of my faaaaaavorite dishes, Gazpacho. How can a combination of vegetables taste so good?!

And since the gazpacho used up almost all the produce I picked last week at my garden, I was really tickled to be writing up a “shopping list” for the things I need to get when I go back in the next couple days. Going shopping in one’s own garden is way too much fun!

Late August Garden Tour

These photos are from my visit to the garden last week. It’s definitely not as much of a jungle this year as other years (or more accurately, the jungle isn’t as tall)…it was pretty late in getting going, but that’s all right. At least it’s not the worst year those raised beds have seen! That honor, I believe, went to Summer 2007. 😉

So what’s your garden been up to?

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Farmer’s Market Finds

By , August 13, 2011

I went to the farmer’s market earlier this week and got some nice stuff! I’ve long ago written off the farmer’s market because a.) despite the name, there are hardly any actual farmers there — mostly it’s prepared food and other things I don’t need, b.) it’s usually a mob scene and I really have to be in the right mood to go, otherwise I get grouchy dodging enormous strollers and having people reach over me as I pick my produce, c.) the prices are often even more expensive than getting my organic produce at the grocery store, and the grocery store is so much calmer, and d.) I get flustered paying the vendors because it’s usually a variation of the same scene, where they wait impatiently while I balance my wallet on a mound of peaches and dig for one dollar bills while having my change spill into the crevices between the fruit.

So it’s unusual that I went in the first place, but I was trying to hunt down some really small cucumbers to make my Hubby a new batch of Bubbies pickles. And I found them! Organic, for $2 a pound. I also got some nice spray-free Colorado Palisade peaches, organic parsley, organic raspberries & blueberries, freshly roasted still-warm Hatch chiles (oh yessss it’s chile season!!!), and my most exciting purchase of all…pastured chicken feet for making stock!!! I’ve been wanting to find a local source for pastured chicken; we get pastured eggs from a lady at my former employer (I still go there for eggs & contract work…in that order), but pastured chicken I had yet to find until this week. I was really excited! And pastured chicken feet! I realize how non-normal it sounds that chicken feet were the highlight of my day. But if you own a copy of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, turn to page 124 and read through the Chicken Stock recipe, where it says “By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them — they are full of gelatin. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.).”

And the stock turned out great! I’ll write more about it soon! (Edit: Click here to read more.)

In the mean time, have a wonderful evening and see you tomorrow for Gratitude Sunday~

 

 

Quiet Summer Night at Our House

By , July 31, 2011

I took this video tonight…the beautiful clouds against the sky drew me to the bedroom window with my camera.

Just a quiet Sunday summer night with crickets. The traffic’s not quiet, exactly, but it’s lighter than usual. And it’s hot out still, 85° and it’s past 9:30pm. The crickets are going fast! After an oven-like day, this is the time to be out and about!

Hope your night is peaceful…

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