Raindrops on Roses and Warm Woolen Mittens

I got into work early this morning…like 25 minutes early! This is monumental for me considering I balance that scale out by arriving 25 minutes late most other mornings. I waltzed into the office waiting to see my boss’s eyeballs fall out and he isnt even here! and now it is my usual arrival time and he still isnt here…in fact no one is here. hmmm am i supposed to be somewhere for a meeting? damnit!

well since no one is here and it relatively quiet, i am going to write about a blog entery i read from my friend Sami this morning. She is a fabulous writer by the way and well worth a second cup of coffee in the morning.

She wrote about what makes her happy. Seriously how often does one sit down and write out a list of things that makes one happy?? Of course i immediately start singing the song from the Sounds of Music and have visions of that HUGE mushy bed Maria gets to sleep in and the big storm outside and all the big and little critters nestled under her covers while she sings of her favorite things…yeah, you know what i am talking about. how could i not do it too. What i think would be most fun is to do this once a year and see how many things change. i could make a whole list solely based on food too

  • my garden humming with fat bumble bees
  • Gladys jumping straight up to eat blueberries from my hand
  • going to bed on friday night and not setting the alarm
  • buying gossip magazines for a day by the pool
  • mr big snoring
  • the perfect bite
  • getting a free copy of the paper on my doorstep (especially on a sunday morning)
  • coffee with cream
  • a letter in the mail
  • gatherings with good friends
  • paying my bills and having money left over for a treat
  • a good haircut
  • planning a trip
  • live music
  • a clean house
  • planning how to spend my tax returns
  • catalogs
  • fall mornings
  • campfires

OK this list could go on and on and on! GEEZE Sami, how do you know when to stop???

I am signing out before i get caught up in a day of favorite things. oh, and it is now 9am and still no boss…you would think it was his birthday or something :)

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Dinner with Friends

Last night i had a couple of friends over for dinner. I knew everyone was feeling the pinch (literally) from lots of bbqs and potato salad this summer soi wanted to make something really good, using things i could from the garden and something healthy too.

The best part was when Shell brought over a huge bag of treats from her garden! I have Bok Choi, a squash, 2 huge onions, piles of fresh herbs, elephant garlic and purple garlic and a bag of  lettuces. to that i added my grape tomatoes, lemon cukes and basil.

All of this made me think of those great services offered from local farms: pay a bit of money each month and get a pile of fresh produce. It makes cooking so much more fun when you are given the ingredients and then you have to make something with them! kind of like a Slow Food Iron Chef. Made me think i should start cooking like that to keep it new and interesting. Maybe i need to get in with some other gardeners and we can trade produce with each other.

OK back to my meal. This is what i made…so simple and painless and they LOVED it

Chicken breasts enough to feed the people who are eating (you are the best to decided this)
Your favorite olives chopped
Your Favorite Feta crumbled
Grape Tomatoes sliced
Bunch of fresh Basil chopped

I like to pound the chicken breasts so they are super thing and tender and cook them your favorite way. I did them in a skillet with a drizzle of oil

Then in a seperate bowl i mixed the crumbled feta, chopped basil, sliced tomatoes and olives and drizzled it with olive oil and cracked pepper.

after the chicken is done, dump the bowl of goodies over the top and serve. YUM!
We had this with a huge salad from the garden delights and a couple of bottles of wine.

New Projects Again

homemade soaps

 

I am so glad that there was no  diagnosis for ADHD when i was a child. i am pretty sure my parents would have been forced to put me on some drug to “mellow” me out and make me concentrate better in school. Now i am an adult and still go 100 different directions at once but have done so happily, and relatively successfully, without  psychotropic residual from a drug induced childhood.

That being said; in between sewing some oddly shaped cushion covers for my newly inherited patio set (thank you dear Hansons) out of hand dyed shower curtains…long story,  I discovered this website(thank you dear Sami) this woman is amazing! She does it all and explains it with great pictures (see above) and to the point details as well. I am specifically interested in the Soap Making Page. I have done the thing where you buy the soap at a craft store and melt it and add colors and smells and maybe a bit of lavender stick it in a mold and voila! but i always felt like that was kind of lame and it never really smelled or felt right…it also turned into mush on the side of the sink. Now the real soap making business deals with toxic chemicals that can burn holes in your floor. Now  we’re talking! I also found this webpage regarding goat’s milk soaps. SO FUN!  I think this would be a great project to try outside in the open air, away from my floors and see if i have some grand christmas presents in the making :)

stay tuned…

Pugs like Costumes

…So i have heard and read from every possible resource. I, being the happy owner of a dear little pug, refused to dress Mr Big up in anything. I hoped it would release me from the weirdos i had met with pugs in the past.

So while i was sitting in my car one warm saturday morning waiting on a friend, i noticed this little gem left in my car by my friend’s son and i was bored. I have to admit, the pug likes his costumes. He barely moved, fearing it would fall off….or he thought a huge bird had landed on his head and would eat his eyeballs if he moved. He was also hot and might not have noticed it was even there. Whatever the reason, i wont do it again so here you go

Mr Big and His Big Bird Hat

 

Tour de Coop 2008

 
I  have been waiting for this day for a year! Last year i missed the Portland Tour De Coop for reasons i cant even remember now but i vowed i would not miss it this time around. it was so great! I learned a lot about my own girls and what i should and should not stop worrying about.

there were coops of every shape and size and material. I was impressed at how inventive people were and how happy their girls were in any environment. i also realized that my ladies are pretty darn lucky!

here is what i learned

  1. the girls LIKE dirty water and mud
  2. They LIKE to eat things in the mud.
  3. They DO NOT like to get wet and it is really bad for them.
  4. For Melanie, who asked me about hens that roll over on their sides and dont move, i took this picture for you of a pullet. They LIKE to roll over on their sides and scare the crap out of us…it makes them happy.

    kicking it sideways

  5. I can start feeding them laying feed now and one lady told me her eggs were so hard they would roll off the hen house roof and hit the ground and bounce, not crack. Poster children for the strong bones calcium commercials i say!
  6. They can live in some pretty nasty little coops and still lay eggs. Although i would never treat my girls with such disrespect.
  7. my girls are pretty darn spoiled

We also went to the egg co-op out at Zenger Farm. It was really great and a gorgeous farm. They take really good care of their space out there.

the girls

They have lots of girls who are all the same breed. I had seen pictures of their coop before but in person it is really beautiful. The 8 nests were full of layers and each nest had at least 2 eggs in it from previous visits that morning.

Zenger Farm

The volunteers there also had lots fo experience with the ups and downs of chicken maintenance. I learned first had what to look for in a hen vent…i think it would be considered hen porn so i felt wrong taking pictures. sorry

A Sense of Place

home

 

When i recently returned from my trip, it took me awhile to readjust to the daily routines i had left behind. It seemed the typical pattern upon my return home  always included some horrible cold or sinus infection that forced me to sleep and re-coop for at least a week. Well this time, i refused to get sick and took lots of bee propolis to help my immune system along. In exchange for good health, I became a complete hermit crab. I didn’t want to leave my house. I spent days basking in the sunshine in my jammies, rooting around in the garden in my jammies and poking around the house in you guessed it, my jammies. I would talk on the phone to all the people i love but dodged reasons to leave the comfort of my cocoon. Now dont get me wrong, i was really excited to see everyone and find out what everyone had been up to and tell travel stories and just enjoy my friends again. But not yet. It took me about 2 weeks to come out of my little pod and release myself upon the world again.

The weird thing is, I am not an anti-social person at all. I LOVE being with my friends as much as being home. But it was a little disarming to just not want to re-enter the world again. I would periodically  think there was something wrong with me. I think the pets loved me being home after such a long absence but i was a little surprised at my complete lack of interest in “anything outside the green bean”. Hind-site being the greatest gift of all has now allowed me to appreciate my little retreat and I totally look forward to its return someday. I discovered it was all part of the process. I was being gentle with myself and my old routines. This had been something forced upon me by my traveling colds. So what broke me out?
Our local farmer’s market!

On my first Saturday morning home, it was a gorgeous out! The early hours (thanks to harriet) were crisp and sunny. I put on my white cotton sundress, a pair of cute flip flops and my Audrey Hepburn glasses and headed downtown to the farmer’s market. I had a total of $27 to spend and a hankering for fava beans. As soon as i turned the corner to the market, i giggled with glee. Our market was in full glory a good 30 minutes before the bell rang. I got myself a strong cup of coffee and began to wander through the stalls mentally checking off all the goodies I would pick up. I found my fava beans and apricots for $1 a lb! shallots and my favorite goat cheese covered in fresh chantrelles and garlic. YUM! (side note: this cheese with arugula and my walnut oil is all i need((ever))

After my purchases i used my last couple dollars to pick up a Pinestate buttermilk biscuit with fresh butter and whipped honey on top. I went to find a place to sit down and ended up front and center for the rogue river string band.  They were just fantastic and it occurred to me that this is our music and it was good to be home! I really love Bluegrass and it makes me think of my roots and my family and all the pictures i have of them with mandolins and pianos and guitars and instruments i cant even identify anymore.

This day  encompassed everything I love about living here in Oregon. I have such a pride for this place and the people who also call it home. Just like that, snap, i was back and wtih a huge grin on my face…and a lot of honey butter. I raced home to bake an apricot pie for the BBQ i would go to and cook up some fava beans. (recipe at the bottom if you want it)

Here are some pictures of the incredible markets i visited in France…no bluegrass though! too bad for them!

Slab of meat anyone?

  
San Tropez Market

 
Sarlat Market
 


Aix en Provence Market
 
 
Sarlat Market