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Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice

for a moment
the typewriters will stop clicking,
the wheels stop rolling
the computers desist from computing,
and a hush will fall over the city.
For an instant, in the stillness,
the chiming of the celestial spheres will be heard
as earth hangs poised
in the crystalline darkness, and then
Let there be a season
when holiness is heard, and
the splendor of living is revealed.
Stunned to stillness by beauty
we remember who we are and why we are here.
There are inexplicable mysteries.
We are not alone.
In the universe there moves a Wild One
whose gestures alter earth's axis
toward love.
In the immense darkness
everything spins with joy.
The cosmos enfolds us.
We are caught in a web of stars,
cradled in a swaying embrace,
rocked by the holy night,
babes of the universe.
Let this be the time
we wake to life,
like spring wakes, in the moment
of winter solstice.

Rebecca Parker

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010.

                  Happy Halloween and a Merry Samhain  to All! 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Stomach Flu Post

We all got it. However when my oldest daughter started to get sick, I made a tea. And that tea was incredible. I'm the only one who drank it. I'm the only one who did not vomit or had diarrhea even though I was queasy for 3 days. I drank it twice a day and each time I drank it the queasiness would go away for hours. You can take it no problem while nursing and toddlers can drink it too. It is very simple and the ingredients are very easy to find.

1 chamomile tea bag.
1 fairly big branch of catnip... maybe 20 leaves? 1 teaspoon dried.
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.

Yep that's it. It doesn't even taste bad :). Steep the herbs covered for 15 mns, then take them out and add the lemon.
One of the other problems was how to feed everybody when some of us were really sick, some of us were fine while others were recovering. I decided to cook a whole chicken for at least 6 hours with a lot of carrots, bay leaves, thyme and cloves. Cover with water. In the end you are left with chicken and vegetables + a lot of broth. You can add cooked rice in the broth for a light soup that  is good for the stomach. You can do many things with the chicken including putting it in tortillas, quiche or just serve with a strong mustard. Everybody in various states of queasiness should be happy with something ;)

Ah, also, cinnamon is good for this type of ailment so I made cinnamon toast. Yum.

Catnip and a busy bee.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27th 2010.

A few weeks ago I was at the nursery to buy vegetables seedlings and I saw that they had potato seeds. I was looking at them when the owner approched me. I told him that it was the first year that I was growing potatoes because they take up a lot of room. But this year was the year. I really really wanted potatoes. He excitedly told me to come with me. He had something he wanted to show me. He has all sorts of edible stuff growing in raised beds around the nursery and he showed me a round wire cage he had made. He prepared the soil at the bottom, put the potato seeds in, covered with 4 in. of soil and compost. When the potato vine reaches 6 in. above the soil, put more soil (without covering the vine completely, leave about 1/3 of the vine uncovered) and repeat until the whole thing reaches 30 in. high. each time you cover the vine more potatoes will grow from the same plant.
We did it a little differently to make the harvesting of potatoes easier. We build an 18 by 18 in. frame and SCREWED planks on each side. As the vines will grow we will add planks and soil. And  if we want to harvest potatoes from the bottom we will just unscrew the planks, take the potaoes we want and put back the planks. Supposedly you can grow 100 lbs of potatoes in an 18x18 wide, 30 in. high box. I hope it works well!

So easy a toddler can do it :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24th 2010.

The stomach flu is rampaging through my house so I'll just do a week in photo today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15th, 2010.

One month has passed. We got sick. Twice. Baby girl turned 20 months old.

 We have been eating figs.

A lot of figs... Not that I'm complaining!

 We did a lot of picnics. I don't like lawns. I think it shows. Ha!

 I bought a non edible plant. now that's a shocker. I love it, I had never seen a flower so hot pink before!

 And we worked a lot in the garden and came up, ok, I came up with several new garden plans. My family is thrilled. Well, maybe thrilled is not the right word...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 9th, 2010.

 A beautiful fall kind of day today with temps in the 80's, blue skies and leaves starting to fall. Unfortunately I'm feeling sick so I didn't enjoy it as much as I could. Hopefully I'll be better tomorrow. Maybe the right kind of dinner will set me right!

On the menu today:

Potatoes, Brussels sprouts and bacon. And Eggs.

Steam the potatoes and Brussels sprouts together. Cook the bacon in pieces with a bit of olive oil. Add the cooked potatoes and Brussels sprouts with some sage. Cook together for 10-15 mns. Turn off the heat and add a few tomatoes. Serve with runny sunny side up eggs...

And brownies if I have the courage to make them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

september 8th 2010.

My son turned 15 this week end past. 15!! How can this be? It seems like just yesterday that I was at the hospital 15 days after his due date. And he still didn't want to come out. Baby I'm sorry we had to drag you out. But I was so happy to finally hold you. And kiss you. Over and over again. Ok, I'll stop now, sorry.

And on the menu tonight:

 Zucchini gratin:

We've got a zucchini problem, a big one. So here is another attempt at cooking it so that my family will eat it ... without moaning that is.

Cook lardons ( pieces of bacon ) in olive oil, add onions and zucchini. Lots of zucchini. And a bay leaf. Cook until it starts to get translucent then add herbes de Provence and sunflower seeds. Let cook at least half an hour, then transfer to a baking dish ( or if you started in a cast iron pan just leave it in there ). Then, add bechamelle sauce... melt 40g of butter ( 2 thick slices ) and add 2-3 tbsps of flour ( about 40g too ) and cook stirring for a minute or two. Add 60 cl of milk slowly and off the heat. Then return to the heat and cook stirring often until it thickens. Add to the zucchini and sprinkle mozzarella cheese and bread crumbs on top. Then sprinkle with pecorino cheese and put under the grill for a few minutes. Or like me, after you have assembled it, put it in the fridge and when you are ready reheat in a 400 oven.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31st.

Summer is waning, summer is going. We are spending as much time outside as we can. We have a lot of clean up to do still. A lot of canning. A lot. This morning alone we harvested 25 lbs of tomatoes. Leaving plenty more on the vine because really, where am I going to put that many tomatoes? I need to clean out my freezer, that's what I need to do.
The thing is, it just really doesn't sound that appealing when I could be watching this:

Or this:

And this:

Or that:

But especially these:

It was a fantastic summer and I'm ready for fall.

On the menu tonight:

A Tomato Salad ( what else could I possibly do when I have more than 25lbs of tomatoes on my kitchen counter?) with Feta, lots of Basil, Sunflower Seeds, lots of Pepper, salt, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.

And Corn on the Cob. And Ice Cream of course.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 22nd, 2010.

We went camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

It is a very wild beautiful place. Meadows covered in wildflowers that look like they are out of faery tales , peaks covered in snow, geo thermal vents with steam coming out, conifers and streams everywhere. It's hot during the day and very cold at night. Bring a good sleeping bag!
The lakes are crystal clear and cold but we all swam even baby girl.

In short, highly recommended if you don't mind some incomfort :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9th., 2010.

Now that was a busy week. Here are the 2 pics of the garden in august. A lot of the butternut squashes are ripe now and I get pounds after pounds of tomatoes every day. Speaking of tomatoes, we have a black rat that seems very very fond of heirloom tomatoes. But that will be for another day. I have to go make dinner now and can tomato sauce. A lot of tomato sauce.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 4th 2010.

What a difference a month makes! Here is the garden in the first week of July:

Beautiful Calendula :

At the Gate, looking Left :

Onion flower and Pickling Cucumbers :

Eggplants :

The Monster Plants, 4 different types of Squash on one Mound. Could be too much. Maybe :

Looking to the Chicken Coop in the Back :

Catnip and a Hard Working Bee :

My parsley, nicely going to Seed for Me :

The Peppers. Maybe next year I won't plant quite as many plants of it. I say that every year. Like with the Squash. I have, oh, 9 plants :

The Chamomile looking Tall and Pretty. Highly attractive to toddlers :

The Tomato Wall of Sacramento :

Sunflowers and Artichokes, both Tall and Yummy :

That was long. Tomorrow I'll show the garden as it looks now. In the mean time I have to be at 2 places at the same time today. Twice. With a toddler who will have to shorten her nap after a bad night. Fun, fun. And I have only 3 children. And school hasn't started yet. And I have no idea what's for dinner. And whatever it is I'll have only 20 mns to cook it. Help.