Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An ordinary day

I wake to the strum of harp. Snooze it a few times for measure and gradually, carefully, open my eyes. The morning light was dimmed by clouds. Imagine my delight. No blazing sun to begin the day. That is merciful. Wednesday is a harvest day and I would have to jump out of bed if it was sunny with no clouds just to beat the heat.
The creator's beautiful brush strokes across the sky were the first blessing this morning. (The second blessing was that first coffee sip)! Through the day I gazed as the formations changed and danced in front of the sun. Alternating blazing heat with just the right temperature.

We go through the tomato beds and find some great treasures for our restaurant customer. Tomato fights ensue. Joe's a great shot. We toss tomatoes into the chicken's area. They think that they fall from the heavens.
Our neighbor's turkey has been mooching for a few days and try as I might it still got back over to our side of the fence. Such a bizarre bird to watch having only raised chickens for all these years. It's slower and more deliberate with its steps. The sound it makes is hushed.
As I collect the peppers and eggplants I see the damage from Monday's heat. It was at least 108 and even though I had water going we lost some plants. It was so very dry that all the moisture was sucked right out of them. Amazing. The camellia had a bit of a toasting as well.
Just for fun I counted 10 different items for the CSA shares today. Sometimes my head says there is not enough to harvest. There is always food in those baskets though and I remember about the bounty that we are growing. (That critic again. Shh! Go away. I am doing this right).

I met a man at Lily's school's open house last night. Rather than the usual pleasantries he said "blessings". One simple word with so much energy. I carried the blessing through the night and all the way through today. I kept thinking "How am I a blessing to Life?" All day today I got answers to that question.
I live in a parallel world. Right alongside the madness, driving on the same streets, going through the same checkout lines and sitting at the same tables in restaurants, there I am. I see it all through a lens of curiosity and cooperation is. My desire is to engage in the world from a place of reverence and some kind of happiness. The contagious kind.


Lot's of them

They are all around the eyes of my eyes are opened.
ee cummings

Monday, September 27, 2010

Deep heat

Stepping out of the van in Fallbrook yesterday was a delicious experience. It was so hot that my marrow was heated. Deep heat. I stood there embracing it and breathing it in...for about two minutes.
Then I dashed into the nice cool air conditioned building. I call it the blessing of living in the first world.
We finally have some heat. The kind that makes tomatoes juicy and sweet... and drives me inside the house to my computer and note pads. Planning and recording.
Last year we slept with the slider open and one sheet on the bed for weeks and weeks. This weekend was the first time for that!

Seeds are ordered...finally! It took me two full weeks to sit down and get the order done. Do I procrastinate? Perhaps. Do I put too many things on my to do list that have priority? Oh! yes. No need to be mad at myself. I rest in the notion that all things are Good and that I am moving forward with happy little seedlings coming along in my greenhouse.
Seeds are the pure potential of autumn and winter meals! Some girls like catalogues with shoes. Some like home decor. I love seed catalogues. My mouth waters in anticipation. The experience of planting those seeds and just a few weeks later harvesting the food is beyond words.

For four years I lived in a house where my cranky landlord was not interested in having his lawn be torn out to produce food. This guy was happy to microwave his frozen dinners and deep down I don't think he had any respect for farmers. He's a plumber. Just sayin'! We all have our contribution to make.
Living in that house was the time that I focused my farming energy and picked up a lot of information from conferences and colleagues. I knew that I would find a great piece of land and make a go of it. I was yearning for exactly what we have going on now. Enough food for us, although I think that I still shop a little too much for staples, and enough for our friends and some restaurants. I just had to keep myself focused on what I wanted.
It's idyllic and it's hard work.

I love it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bringing it forth

My big long day yesterday kept me from writing. It didn't keep me from thinking though! I have volumes that could be written about the day. You see, somewhere in my DNA I have it is encoded to live each day so fully and completely so that not a breath is wasted or a thought unreviewed.

I own my farming business and of course I have a job. A job that supports my farming habit!
I worked at that job all day yesterday. Visiting with people whose lives are all across the spectrum of,!
The common thing is that we are all seeking happiness. We just don't always get to that thought. There are way too many thoughts and activities in the way that cloud the view.
Take these two guys I saw yesterday. I'll call em Mack and Jack. Mack and Jack are deeply engrained in the conversation about how bad government and regulations are. So bad that they started giving me grief about it. Well, baybee. They had something coming if they thought that I was gonna be their punching bag or that I was gonna jump into agreement and a lousy feeling conversation about it.
So, being the polite goddess that I am I excused myself to the restroom and prayed. Oh! ya, I did! Bring it forth and let's enjoy this time together. Let's find happiness. And why not? I don't have time to be grumpy. There is an adequate amount of that going around and I can be a mighty big domino for joy.
As the meeting rolled on things were lighter and efficient...I was working you know! It ended well and I didn't get to be their enemy. We became colleagues working together to grow yummy food.
Click, there goes another domino.
Lookout grumps. I've got an army of positive thinkers in cahoots with me. We are living our own constitution......Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This is no trivial pursuit. It takes focus!

Now, imagine this.

You move to a new neighborhood and you keep trying the key to your house. It won't work. Why? Because the houses look the same and you can't remember which one is yours!
Biggest laugh of my day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Last breaths of summer

Dear gracious goodness.
It's on the horizon, around to corner, I can feel it.
Another of my favorite seasons.

This summer was tremendous. Overflowing with deliciousness, joyful conversations, rich experiences and more knowledge about how to grow delicious food.

Thank you Summer 2010. You rock.

I'm heading out the door to get some more tomatoes harvested for the Slow Food restaurant. There are a few there and still, waaay tooooo many on my kitchen counter.
Didn't get them canned yet.

Something wonderful is happening today.
Sam woke up to his Mr. A-Z play list. That's a good sign.
Not an underground hip hop morning.
And he bought me a cup of Italian Roast smack-your-head-awake yumminess.

He and I had a primal bonding pioneer day yesterday that I will never forget. He is ahead of his time and a true jewel in my life. All of his passions, moods and opinions are wonderful to watch. He teaches me.

An odd thing is happening in the hood that we can't quite figure out.
We have been enjoying watching the activities on a rose nursery that is by the northeast corner of our farm. It's beautiful when all of the blooms are open. Peach, red, yellow. I like looking over there to see the staff dressed in a similar fashion to me....long sleeve shirts and wide brimmed hats. We wave and smile to each other in a kindly and knowing way. We see the beauty in each other's activities.
For three days all of the potted plants have been loaded onto trucks and off they go. What I'm not seeing are replacement plants standing in their place. That's the part that is odd. We love seeing the roses and I love knowing those lovely people are working. I want my suspicions to be wrong. What if it's closing? Did the owner sell all the plants and it's going to be a skeleton of what it once was? I haven't seen the staff for a few days. Odd. That's what it is. Kind of unnerving.
Maybe I don't need to figure it out.

Go harvest. Listen to the chicken symphony. Feel the last breaths of summer blowing across my little patch of Goodness.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My valise

I have a valise. It's virtual at this moment. It isn't something that I can carry on my arm.
It looks like an overnight bag. The most lovely one my imagination can think up.
Tan in colour.
I know, that's a u. It's included due to my upbringing. Deal.

It's the same colour as my coffee. The valise that is. The straps allow me to carry it on my arm or my shoulder. The straps are similar to those of a satchel. There have embossed buckles, silver mind you, and they fit just so into their clasps.
Open the bag and inside there is a record, evidence actually. It's a page by page declaration of Good things. All of the times that I have been taken care of. All of the times that I have been fed...on all levels. There are pictures of how I have continually had great advantages provided to me.
The record counters all of the mind games that my head can play.

I keep this valise handy.

Anytime I am looking for something. Something really Good and juicy, I open it up.
I find just the right thing. A nibble to keep me going.

Come on imagination.....
Bring it on!

Today's the Day!

Tuesday Morning Disclaimer: This post will contain information that may be uncomfortable for my vegetarian friends to read. Just sayin'! You may not want to read today. Come back tomorrow or the next day.

OK, that said. It's harvest day. Sam has been raising chickens from, well, eggs. His first flock which began hatching over Mother's Day weekend is getting pretty dang big. So today is the day we give thanks for the abundance of the Great Creator and take responsibility for our own production.
You see, I prefer more laying hens than roosters. They are so dang noisy and aggressive. And so yummy! When you raise your own flocks you get about 50% roosters. The balance is that the roosters can be on our table or in our freezer and the hens can keep on producing eggs for us. And man are those eggs yummy!
I am not gonna post photos 'cuz that's just gross and if you want to do this yourself there are plenty of places on the internet that show you how. The process is pretty easily done as long as I am organized. Well, we are organized. Sam will do most of the work and Scott and I will support.
This is a great big step for us. We have been talking about growing most of our food for a long time. We accomplished a lot this summer including growing chickens for food. This is tremendous. Our forebears thought nothing of it. Some people have been grossed out when I have told them. What's gross is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Ewwww!
Ah! yes. The industiral food model is my inspiration. Just say no and gimme some land and I will grow delicious nutritious food. Now I'd like more land. Seems I could have more families enjoying this so I am calling forth my next plot of land with water and plenty of room to grow and cultivate.
Oh! Oh! Now I've done it. Seatbelts everyone. Here comes more Good!!!

Blessings for your day and the gift of these beautiful chickens. I am grateful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday-making it a fun day

Some mornings I wake up in great anticipation of the day's activities. Today was not one of those days. Maybe it's because I have so many activities thatI don't know where to start. A to do list...that'll set my head straight. And maybe another cup of coffee. Or is it a tea day? I'll put that on the list too. I am the decider today. Deciding where to go with my business and subsequently my life's activities.
Having a home based business that involves growing food seems like a great thing, right? Happy customers, happy farmer. Food galore equals yummy dinners and lunches and breakfasts. It is an all consuming thing. The food I don't share, needs to be cooked, preserved or...or what? I have platters and platters of tomatoes on the counter with slight blemishes that are wanting to be made into salsa and sauce for winter. I can get to that this week. That's going on the list.
We have finished our third quarter of growing and it was wildly successful. I am calling it that! So there! (I'm mentally spanking the voice in my head. It is never quite enough for that voice so I gotta smack it down). We grew the most delicious tomatoes and oh! man were they beautiful too. Now the peppers are bursting forth and I am blown away at how beautiful they are.
I love this sweet little farm on the edge of the city. It is lovely to be on this patch of fertile ground. Now it's time to move summer's crops out and get into the juiciness of creating cool weather crops. Thus the to do list. What do I grow? How much space do I have. How can I grow enough for all of the people that want our food.
I am stretching my imagination today. I am gonna put some wild things on my to do list. And....they will get done. I proved that to myself this summer. I am building a good strong business and it is wildly successful.
Time for tea. I decided.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

To Market We Go

The most fun that I can have on my farm:
Showing the food off to curious children. It's a blast to see their little eyes light up and the wheels start spinning.
Yesterday my friends brought their sweet children to check out where their food grows...a little bit of it anyway. We picked their order together and everyone had a great visit. The boy wants to raise horses, goats and hogs. A compassionate farmer in the making...with deference to my vegetarian readers. Later in the evening they sent me a photo of their dinner! I love it. My family takes so many photos of our food. Glad we are not alone in enjoying sharing the fun of a yummy meal. I could practically smell it!
Girl child is cooking up her third dinner for 50 tomorrow so we headed to the farmers market today for some ingredients. We are growing so much food but its not on this month's menu. It's great to see her intuitive cooking skills come out. She'll make potato leek soup and yummy salad with her four friends and the adults will be awed.
The farmers market was a festival today. Said hi to my other fave blue eyed farmer, Peter. He raises yummy shallots and onions and was kind enough to sell us our Thanksgiving turkey last year. Kudos. We waited in a long line of cars to get into the market. How cool is that? So may cars in the parking lot means that lots of the townsfolk are enjoying good fresh local and regional food.
So, I am in an interesting place with this experience of my life. I have stepped into a quasi-public arena with this blog and I am ruminating on the purpose of it. That's my high minded way of saying that I think I have a calling to share some ideas on how to live in this modern world. So that's what you are in for. My intention is to entertain myself and if you are entertained and perhaps inspired in the process, fantastic!
My friends have been encouraging me to get this going....for years actually. They feel that I have some ideas and tidbits to share. One person's way of life that is mindful. Well, for sure my mind is full. Way too full! So, filter and process and delight and inspire. I am so deeply into my life of parenting that I must inspire! It's just a big part of what I do.
Sending love and compassion out into this beautiful diverse and magnificent world.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dust Bunnies

The megalopolis and the ancient oaks. My preference is the latter!

I could collect the dust bunnies and turn them into something. Something valuable. Isn't that a delightful thought? Making something out of nothing. I could be doing that today...
The pope sez that the secular world needs to honor Britian's Christian roots. I think he needs a ancient history class. Those roots are pagan, man! Christianity washed up on the shores of my ancestor's motherland rather recently! Come on now! There's no monopoly for the sons and daughters of Abraham.

This week's commutes have been beautifully incongruent. I started the week in the hills with the ancient oaks. Yesterday I sat with the sad commuters on the freeways in Orange County. Yep, I'm grateful for my life. The farms I saw were in all the possible places left to grow food, given the developmentia that is the OC!
Back to the dust bunnies. My house is pretty much lived through and lived in. I have not made time to keep it ready for Martha Stewart or Betty Battenburg to visit. I've got lots of things going on. I muse that if I have 2 solid days I could rock this place to the next level. Yep, right after I can some more salsa, give a tour of the farm to some lovely children, water the get the picture. So, I have a strategy of keeping the main room, the great room as it were, in some semblance of niceness....acceptability in case of drop ins. Just as long as there's a place for Betty to put her purse down and share a nice cuppa.
Figured out who Betty is? She used to be the richest woman in .....Wait! that's too much hinting!
Today I will pace myself. I will get just enough done for one day on this beautiful farm. Keep the transplants damp and get something done from my list of 10,000 things to do!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Seeds screaming "PLANT ME".
Chickens screaming "FEED ME"
Roosters just showing off!
The last week of summer is dawning and I know that the real summer heat is on its way. That's how it happens here. Indian Summer might as well be renamed SoCal summer. It's a wardrobe challenge each morning. I want to wear long sleeves and don't need 'em by 10:30! But I have to keep the long sleeves on so that my arms don't become one huge freckle! I am happy to have a great hat collection to shade my eyes.
I am headed outside for a tomato treasure hunt. The high grade fruits are gone and I get to peer through all those vines to find my gold, red and orange treasure! I do yoga and stretching while I am working on all these farm tasks. It's the only away I can get myself to exercise regularly.
I am learning how to put photos on here so you can see the deliciousness. Today's photo shows a recent harvest for our favorite Slow Food restaurant. Boxes of yumminess and potential in the hands of a great chef and his staff.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday the fourteenth.

Note to self: You're not in Alaska so skip the socks, long sleeve shirt and down vest. Really, you won't need them!
I drove on one of my favorite roads today. It's my luck to have ancient oak trees line the narrow commuter roads of Northern-most San Diego County! I love to roll the window down and listen to all of the birds in their glory. Spectacular! Yes, I do have to work out in the world to support my farming habit. So it goes.
Summer's end is visible throughout my farm. It's turnaround time which loosely translates into lots to be done. In the late winter we planted a lot of our summer crops-the peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. Those were the days for the down vest and socks! The tomatoes need just the right amount of tending and they will kick out a tremendous crop. (I am not giving away any trade secrets here so just forget about it). Now that the colour has all gone and the vines are oh! so finished, we get to pull them out. My head is making it up as more work than the actual growing of the crop but I think I have it all wrong. I just gotta get out there and start!!
I hope I didn't miss my next canning window. I want to fill those jars with sunshine. January pasta sauce is a prize that is worth the effort. Yummy.
I am extremely passionate about food. Growing it is supreme joy. Preparing it for some sort of meal is sometimes where I get hung up. I do a good job. Once in a while, though, I'd really like to hit it out of the park, you know? I love food that takes me to a new level of deliciousness. I scour my cookbooks and imagination and have a great time with it.
Tonight we ate stuffed peppers with two colours of tomato sauce, orange and bright sunshine yellow. Oh! yea.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I am re-wrapping my brain around my deeply ingrained Southern California sensibilities this morning. I know that I live in a crowded area full of cars and people and all that stuff. Where I am with all of this today, though is culture shock, or how did I choose this?
I was immersed in the natural splendor of trees and beautiful clouds and glaciers for God's sake!! Glaciers. I traded the trees in for cars.
Flying over LA in the daylight on a Sunday afternoon looked really gray. The sun was shining and the reflection from the ground was miles and miles of concrete. Industrial buildings and freeways. People love it there. The images always show the swaying palms in Beverly Hills. I think a shot above Crenshaw is more like the complete picture. Lots of energy of all kinds stuffed into a few hundred square miles. Its like some horrible sausage without any flavor. Blech.....
To put the smile back into my heart I just look across the San Luis Rey Valley and see the farm fields. Newly covered and ready for the fall strawberry planting. The huge tomato farm is bright green with the late crop. None of that food compares to the flavor we are growing's just great to be looking at it again and growing my sweet little spot 'o God.
The progeny team did a spectacular job of keeping things rolling forward. I am crazy about them and deeply grateful to be home with them. Autumn is a magical time for renewal after all the summer's craziness.
The melons are delicious. My first foray into sweet water packages. The one pictured was split on the ground and I can take a hint!!
O! yea. So I can forget and get it over with. The Rogue was on our flight from Anchorage to Portland. That is really all I wanna say about it. Here, anyway. Buy me a beer and we can discuss!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Rollin' through the Anchorage airport and it's almost Sunday here. For some reason Alaska Airlines enjoys gathering people for flight arrivals and departures after 12 midnight. Curious indeed. We are flying out when I should be dreaming. So I'll dream while I'm awake. I'll dream about getting back to Alaska for another trip. The scenery here is so extremely beautiful. The words cannot even describe the splendor. Another day to fall in love with the Creator's handiwork.
I forced myself out of bed this morning to watch the sunrise. I like the potential of being upright so early. Upright, bundled up against the cold and walking is even better. The trail was insanely steep and I was sporting my new rubber boots so it was a bit sketchy in a few spots! The glacier had been hiding all week under various cloud formations. Not today. It was splendid as the sun slowly rose above the mountains. One of the most beautiful sights of my life. Thanks for bringing me along Scott.
We grazed at the farmer's market today and had a great time watching the locals shop and chat with the growers. The food was great, plentiful and beautiful. A fiddler played a tune for us all called "Liberty". Lovely to walk through the market with sweet music playing above the din of the activities.
Liberty...a great thought on this date.
I have been considering some liberties of mine these last few days:
Driving in a car by myself, wearing my choice of head covering, eating at a table in a restaurant, separation of church and state, traveling alone, making decisions about my business, disagreeing with my husband, living spiritually rather than religiously (am I? I have to give more consideration to that thought)
Living without tyranny. That is liberty.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sunshine and glaciers

Stepping into a library and setting off a sensor with my book. Great way to break the silence. I like a grand entrance but somehow coming into a library it just seems a bit too much. Faux pas extraordinaire. A library is a hallowed place. A cathedral of quiet. I used to escape to the library when the children were small. I had an idea that it would be the quietest place I could find to soothe my soul....of course there were always noisy children there to remind me of my folly.
Our home in Homer is a funky house with creaky stairs. The mornings are so still it is noticeable. Absolute quiet. The roosters are on the other side of the house so no morning's-a-coming warning from them. At home the roosters go off and draw me from sleep earlier than I want!!
We toured yesterday. It's a tradition with these conferences to do two long days of meetings with a tour on the middle day. I experienced a long drive listening to a wind bag guy blah blah blah for waaaay tooo many miles. Then, Scott invited him to sit with us at lunch. Great googly moogly hadn't he been bored to death by this guy as well? Fortunately for me there was a presentation about the salmon cannery whilst we dined on sandwiches...Phew, that was a close call. Small talk would have become small listening, if you catch my drift! No chance to get a word in!
Homer is a "quaint drinking village with a fishing problem". Last night we enjoyed an evening at the Salty Dawg sipping the local Scottish Ale, listening to sea shanties and tall tales from the fisher folks who make their living from these waters. I felt honored to sit on the perimeter and listen to some amazing and funny tales. We sang along since the shanties were laced with easy-to-remember choruses. It was a kickoff to the Wooden Boat Festival this weekend. A last hurrah before the cold weather comes roaring in.
The tide this morning is nice and low. I gandered along the beach to grab some video footage. There are places along the beach here that are completely covered with water at high tide, impassable. And then at low tide the shorebirds can search for clams and crabs and such. My life is spent paying attention to the moon's influence in a completely different way. I know of moon rhythym lore for planting seeds. It gets turned on its head once in a while. My Peruvian friends plant during the full moon. I skip a few days around the full as an homage, really. Isn't that how I do everything, though, as an homage?
It's New Moon now. New beginnings with the approaching equinox. Summer and her bounty are drifting away.
Bird count for Friday morning: 3 adult Bald Eagles and 1 Juvenile. He flew across my path this morning. Thanks for that gift.
Peace and Blessings from the Kachemak Bay.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homing in

It's grand to visit somewhere far from home. A town can be full of great people and all you have to do is find 'em! I usually start at the local coffee house or eatery. If it's the same place all the better. Fill up on a good meal and some local info and off you go!
I found myself in a footwear fiasco today. The ground is so very wet and I had already put the Ugg in ugly. I hope they recover from the walks up and down the hill to our cabin.
We are visiting Homer, Alaska. Scott is conferencing and I am, well let's say today is all about dolce far niente. Doing nothing. It's a task I tell you. I have spent the last 8 months doing the exact opposite. So today I donned a new pair of rubber boots and set off on a walk around a beautiful slough. I lived near the one in Point Loma in the 80's. It's a beautiful waterway where one can enjoy the birds doing their birdy things.
I imagine this place has busier days than today. Just the same it was enjoyable. I saw swans.
Glaciers are part of the view here in Homer. Breathtaking. Awesome, yes in the real sense of the word. Great Spirit knows how to make beauty. It's everywhere I look. Just over this computer on which I type is, not the guy....the mountains and the ocean!!
This is my first official blog post. I am encouraged by my personal queen of bloggers, Poolie. She planted this seed the other day and since then I just couldn't get it off my mind. It's been brewing in me for a while anyway.
If you don't mind (like I want your permission...) I'll be writing the things that come up to share. I'll be all over the place because I am. Physically and mentally. I'm grateful for the plae to do this and ready to roll.
We are staying at a hostel on a farm outside of Homer. It's a suuuuper rustic little, emphasis on little, cabin where we barely fit onto the bed. The view is so magnificent I will not even attempt to find the words. I can see glaciers and amazing mountains. All the while watching the tide retreat in the Kechmak Bay at a rate so fast you can actually see it happening. You see it's new moon today and the tides are so extreme that they are stunning to witness.
Yesterday, after we arrived while sharing an Alaskan Stout, Scott looked over my shoulder and spotted a Bald Eagle. He was perched not 50 feet from us and there he stayed. We watched each other on and off for a long time. On the bay a sweet otter was enjoying his supper.
All of these things happened while the world spun and people rushed around in their fast paced lives.