Saturday, August 26, 2023

end of Summer is approaching

As we approach the last weeks of Summer, evidence of the upcoming transition are upon us.  Maple leaves are turning, the neighbor's cherry tree leaves are dropping, mornings are cooler with the hint of dew in the air, and my little world is rejoicing. There is still wildfire smoke in the air, but hopefully not for too much longer. 

I love the changing seasons, and here in the pacific northwest, man do they swing!  It's supposed to be upper 90's here today, the last weekend of my pool, the last weekend of August.

As I look back and reminisce of the past month or so, I gotta say I feel pretty accomplished.   My garden is in one of those in-between phases.  Tomatoes are still mostly green, but turning pinkish (gotta stop watering them now).  My greens are looking heat stressed, but swiss chard is a trooper.  It's been pretty tolerant so far of the high temps. The broccoli is looking like I'm going to get a good fall crop, so long as I keep the cabbage moth larvae from eating it all (gotta spray again). All my flowers are showing off their beauty, and we have 4 pumpkins (or are they pumpkins??).  We have so much cross polination here on our half-acre that sometimes second year varieties are their own breed.

We had a great Gumbo night here a week ago.   My back was in pain and I almost wanted to call it off - but like my swiss chard, I'm a trooper.   We offered both Regular and  Gluten-Free Gumbo this year, and I don't mind saying it, the GF version was so good, and it holds up better in the fridge the next day. One of these years I'm going to get a photographer, or designate someone, so we can make a mini cookbook of our event. I am here to say, that Manny's GF flour can make a great roux, it just takes time, patience and a little bit of bacon grease too!
Menu always consists of Gumbo, rice, fried green tomatoes  ( which a friend who doesn't like raw tomatoes really liked), potato salad, green beans, green salad, bread, and sweet tea.  We provide plenty of fixings, ask folks bring a dessert (so fun to sample them all) and BYOB.  There is no admission fee, just the gift of your presence.  
Looking forward, this weekend is pickling time, with fabulous field run cucumbers from Schuh's Farm in Mount Vernon, WA (thanks Jen & Farmer Steve!), crossed with some pool time, and maybe some baking (maybe, if the temps don't get too hot) as I want to use my new bread recipe to toss up a fresh pesto / mozzellea sour-french braided bread (bake now, freeze for later).   But if it's too hot, I also have no problem grabbing a book, a glass of iced tea, and sitting and enjoying the last weekend in August.

So whatever you do this weekend, make it something to remember.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

it's not the 4th of July without ....

To say we are blessed is an understatement.   Family, friends, compassion, a home, food, a garden, skills, forgiveness,  love, and an environment where all are accepted to live life in the pursuit of your own happiness without fear of repercussions for not conforming to someone else's set of views. 

Independence Day in the USA can be celebrated in different ways.  For us it's a reminder that all are created equal, we all are borne, bleed and die and each human deserves to choose their own path. Whether that path leads you, hopefully we travel the same way for a while and when we veer off - we wish you the best in life.  There are folks we'll see again and those that cross a bridge and burn it down later.
It takes too much energy anymore to keep hatred aflame, so wish them well and keep moving down your path in life.

In true fashion, we celebrated with family and friends, our dogs and the catch B brought home from a day out with friends.

How blessed are we?  Immensely. 

Crab salad and bratwurst.
Dungeness crab meat, caught fresh.
Garden greens, leftover roasted corn, tomatoes and radish.
Served alongside a cheddar brat, sodo  style  (cream cheese and relish).

Make the best of the path you are on.   

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Time for Summer

Summer is officially here. 
Bring on the berries, the garden bounty, warm nights, and flip flops!

Wishing all a wonderful Summer filled with great memories! 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

A day for the dogs, happy Mother's day.

Mother's day.   A day I thought that I would one day celebrate as a mom, to someone else I birthed and watched grow.   Life doesn't care about your wants and desires and some things are just not meant to be.   I struggled through years of depression, suffering in silence where only my husband saw my lows.  He has been my rock, my shoulder, my confidant thru all of my dark days.   A few years back my own mom gave me a mother's day card, as she said that our dog Sauk was lucky to have me as his dogmom.     I don't thi k I ever told her (surprise if you're reading this mom), but I cried so hard that night and a few nights after.  My life long dream of having children was kaput.  But as fate and luck would have it, I had a dog who was like a kid.   So every year when I wish her happy mothers day, she says it back and means it.   Slowly but surely my depression stays at bay.  

The baby blues were hitting again, so we adopted a puppy. It took a week and now our boys are best buddies.  
Diesel came to us by way of Texas, just a boxer / hound mix that has nothing but love to give. We hope to give him all of that and more for however long his life is.

My heart still hurts for my imagined life where we had two happy kids.  Instead I'll spend the money on what would have been a college fund on some travel plans, living the best life we can, giving love to dogs, cats, chickens, and whatever other critter needs a loving home.

Happy nurturing day.   Mother them all with love, kindness, humility, and most importantly  forgiveness.  ❤️ 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

last of the old range, spring 23

I finally did it.  I bought a new range for our house, a nice new Samsung with all the bells and whistles!  
This last Sunday we made our last meal, Easter dinner.   It turned out good, as I'm used to the old beast. 
Ham, roasted whole potatoes, pull apart bread, deviled eggs, roasted veggies, and heavenly ambrosia.

You know you are getting older when you buy smaller plates (9 inch) and have a lot of space left! 

The new gas line will be completed today, inspected then we'll see how many meals I burn at first. 

we are all ready for the new range to be installed, we even have the hood in.

Life is too short to struggle with old kitchen appliances! 

Meanwhile I'm taking more time outs, so I can read, garden, and relax.   I started following Nora Roberts on social. In doing so I reminded myself that there has been a lot of time passed since some books originally were read.  I went thru my book stacks and decided my to be re-read list was a goal for the spring.

I am looking forward to doing some reading in the greenhouse this spring.

Wishing all who read this a good spring, time to read, and time to cook a good meal.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Mid-Winter blues 2023

I think I'm startting to suffer from the mid-winter blues.   I cleaned up the greenhouse, planted a fruit tree, pruned back some other shrubs, and started my hydro-garden (including a tomato).  I am ready for the pops of green of spring, but last night the mid-winter blues set in along with the gray skies and stormy weather.  It happens this time of year.  When you need somthing that provides comfort, but also satiates your palate and fulfils those wants and desires.   I'm talking brownies of course.   

Since early January we've been on a low wheat kick.  I don't need to be gluten free, but I've found that living a low wheat lifestyle helps my sinuses from not constantly dripping.  I was hoping kicking almost all wheat would also help my psoriasis - but that  still remains. 
Next up is a tough one - dairy.   Specifically no cheese or milk products.  I dont drink milk any longer, but sour cream is a staple around here!   Thankfully, thanks for Grain in Snohomish, WA - where my BFF and I took a little intro to GF baking, I learned some neat tricks for making - you guessed it - Brownies!!   We sampled 6 brownies, all made with a variety of flours / flour blends that are GF and some were vegan / dairy free.  It was a wonderful experience and a great way to immerse yourself into the culture that is saying no to the over processed wheat treats that tend to get shoved in your face at all times of the day.  It's nice to know I don't have to give up brownies in my pursuit of a lifestyle change to manage my PCOS.  I was very thankful to Grain's owner Lauren for guiding me in answering my question of - what GF flour would make the best roux to make the best GF gumbo?  I've got some trials coming up!!

So, with today being Mardi Gras, tomorrow Ash Wednedday and the start of Lent - I figured today was the day to induldge.  I am in no way a practicing catholic.  But I have family who are.  So live it up today, its Mardi Gras!  Brownies for us tonight!!

Celebrate with some freezer gumbo, some fresh bread (if you can), and know that if you give something up for Lent - it's not forever, but it's for now.  And just maybe you can find a way that satisfies what you are removing by finding a replacement item which is healthier for you.

Monday, January 9, 2023


I don't create resolutions.   But, a new month, week, year is a great way to try something new!

This year the focus is balance.  Less stress and more fun.   Less wheat and more fiber.  Less drama and more laughter. 

I began 2023 knowing I had to ditch wheat to heal some gut issues.   My nose drip was slowing, and I fell off the wagon in a drive thru, and felt ill for 2 days.   That cheeseburger was NOT worth it!  It just reminds me that in order to heal and then maintain, there are consequences to food choices.

Why wheat free, do I mean gluten free? No.    To be gluten free I'd need to make sure there is no gluten anything in all household items, and I've never had to be that strict ( I know folks who do).  So just avoiding wheat products (bread, cereals, pastas, takeout, ets) for about 30 days reduces my inflammation issues.   If that doesn't solve all, then dairy goes out the window too.  

I am going to stumble, but I'm going to keep trucking forward! 

What are planning to try, do, experience this year?