I'm off chasing what's left of summer, and feeling caught by the first of autumn's sniffles...
I'll be back in this space after Labor Day.
Wishing you healthy, happy, sunshine-filled days.
~ There sits the first real evidence of autumn's proximity, held in one single bowl on the kitchen counter, ten pounds of Gala apples picked just this weekend. I, do so, look forward to the warm days of autumn, the abundance of picking-journeys to the orchard, and all the canning that follows, but....hmn...here already?
~ I see more baking in the near future, we are now in the season of the apple, after all.
Teff bread recipe from Flying Apron's Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book.
~ Feeling gifted by the bounty of the sea, and skill of my fishing husband!
~ Enjoyed a Belt boy tortilla making party, followed by the first of many fish taco feasts planned for this week.
~ Loving the most productive acorn squash plants I have ever had.....45+ pounds harvested so far and much more to come.
Cook cut side down, with an orange wedge inside, in about a quarter inch of water until a fork inserts easily, turn cut side up and fill with goodies, we enjoyed chopped apples, dried cherries, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Delicious. I'm not sure if it's dinner or dessert.
~ Enjoyed the last of the ollalieberries mixed with nectarines for a cobbler twist.
~ Liking the idea of 'Dessert Sunday' followed by family game evening.....I'll hold on to the intention until it happens smoothly, each week.
What's new in your kitchen?
It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to share with you, today, a bit about sunny-side-up-mama sponsor, Wishing Well School. Born out of the truest intentions to bring a three-fold education, that of the head, heart, and hands, to the children of California's central coast community, Wishing Well a Waldorf-inspired Education, was formed. Now three years later, with a strong, enthusiastic, and fast growing, group of families, the school is moving to a new home.
As with any move to a new home there is much to be done prior to official move in day, or in this case, the start of a new school year. Many mothers, fathers, and children have come together to lend their talented hands in the creation of a beautiful space for the children.
The children are visibly excited about their new school. Those that have attended previous years, feeling already securely held in the school community, are as enthusiastic and proud as any other. Happy to lend a helping hand in this project, and play the rest of the time, the children are becoming comfortable with their new school-home, while building a connection to the space as their friends and families work side by side, to ready it for their official arrival.
The walls are in the process of being painted in the method of Lazure, which takes a great deal of time and talent, but will no doubt foster a wonderful atmosphere, full of depth and life, inside the classroom.
(More about the process of Lazure painting to come.)
(natural beeswax crayons with their sweet aroma and stunning color being cleaned and sorted for the coming year.)
A strong preference for natural materials is exhibited in all phases of the school construction. From the crayons to the cubbies, and curtains, the connection to nature through the once living materials is palpable.
(Paint jar holders being cleaned and sanded for a new year of color experience thorough wet-on-wet watercolor painting.)
(cubbies being sanded down to natural wood.)
(new cubbies, garden beds, tables, signs, play structures, and more, in the making.)
I am taken by the care and love that is being put into each and every detail of this space, but beyond the incredible attention to quality and detail here, I am taken by the dedication of this community. Through the sizable task of moving and growing a school, a strong community is also in the making.
For more information contact Wishing Well School:
on-line at: https://waldorfwish.com/
by phone: (805)235-1521
Thank you, Wishing Well School!
Travis and I were married five years ago today. Though there were many chapters written in our book prior, and there have been many more since, it is fun and important to pause and remember this particularly special day in our history.
So many loved ones came from near and far to help us create the celebration of our union. Our wedding was truly a home-spun event. Our family and friends all chipped in to make a spectacular day for us. From the cooking of a feast, to the flowers and dishes on the tables, carving of a "guest book" and construction of wooden wagons for beverages..the list goes on, and we are still thankful!
Beyond the celebratory day of our marriage, we are thankful to all who continue to stand by us, lend their support, and love as life rambles through many phases, both delightful and trying.
To my husband...Happy Anniversary! Looking forward to a day of celebrating today, and tomorrow!
Photography by Ira Amerson - Left Coast Photo
Floral and event design by: Mariah Floral Design
With fall just around the bend, I thought we could chat a bit about compost today. At the changing of seasons I begin to plan for the replenishing and replanting of my garden beds. Here in California we are fortunate to be preparing for the next crop while others are looking at putting their gardens to bed for the winter. Either way, fall is a perfect time to look to the compost pile as the next project on tap. I know, you're saying...."wait! it's not fall yet", and so am I, but we're talking about planning for it, right?
I get just as excited about a well functioning compost pile as I do a beautiful crop of strawberries. One might be sweet right off the vine today, but the other is growing soil, and will ensure much more goodness tomorrow. Not to mention it is a fascinating process to watch twigs, leaves, grass, kitchen scraps and much more become perfect soil-enhancing balanced plant food. In addition to having a thriving vermicompost system I am happy to also be composting the excess that my worms can not, while building soil structure, increasing my gardens soil capacity to hold moisture and air, reduce the need for waste transport, and the need for purchased fertilizers.
There are many composting techniques that have been widely studied and written about. I have grown fond of a relatively easy no-turn method of composting built of layers. The compost pile itself can be created in exactly that, a pile, or a bin of sorts. I like to contain my compost for several reasons, it allows me to keep it to a designated location with the mass building upward and not sprawling. In an ideal situation I would build a wood bin that had two or more side by side stalls and a removable slatted front allowing for closure as the pile grows upward. Once one side is full the second is put into place and the first rests, cures, cooks and finishes its composting process.
Currently we have too much that is not yet known or finished here on our little bit of land, so a quick, easy, and removable wire cage is perfect. My compost containment is simply a wire circular cage in about a four foot diameter ring.
Compost construction begins with a really springy mat of sticks and twigs. The stick layer is placed first to create a built in aeration system, especially necessary in a pile that is not going to be turned manually. A compost pile requires three main components to operate, air, water and food.
The second layer is a dry or brown material layer. I used leftover straw from my potato tower construction that didn't work out so well. The straw provided a nice thick layer to begin without letting small bits of kitchen scraps slip between the cracks of the twigs, and block the air flow. Brown material such as dry grass and dry fall leaves, are high in carbon. Optimally the compost pile will be two thirds to three quarters brown material.
Kitchen scraps and green material, such as fresh discarded garden waste, comprise the other one third or so of the compost pile. Greens are high in nitrogen, and are typically the culprit of a stinky pile. If you notice an oder that is unpleasant coming from your compost try adjusting your ratio of browns to greens.
While I can be seen pulling spent crops from the garden, and tossing them directly into the compost pile, it is generally a good rule of thumb to plan for a big heap of small pieces. The smaller the pieces in the big heap the quicker each piece can be broken down, thus creating the desired finished compost that much faster. I shoot for small chopped up bits coming from the kitchen and various sizes of garden waste and browns so that I maintain a healthy air flow while still allowing for a quick devouring of the bits and pieces. The bigger piles are able to reach and maintain a higher internal temperature which also assists along that desired path to quick decomposition. If you feel so inclined there are compost thermometers on the market and can be purchased at your local nursery or hardware store.
There are mixed reviews about using paper products in your compost. The primary concern is that the ink from the paper will become part of the overall compost make up, and ultimately add an undesirable chemical component to your soil. I however, use a lot of eggs in the kitchen, all of which are for now purchased in an egg carton. The eggs we buy have little ink on the cartons and I feel fine about adding it to the heap, but this is something you might want to consider for yourself. One of my primary motivations for composting here at home, opposed to partaking in a city or county program, is that I am looking to reduce the transportation of disposable. As much as possible I try to deal with my waste here at home. For me, composting some of our paper products feels like the right thing to do, not to mention it makes a great brown layer, and reduces insect attraction to the pile as well as odor. I try to always keep a "cap" on the pile, a layer of something over the kitchen waste, be it soil, leaves, or shredded egg cartons, and so far this is all we need to do to keep our heap operating with out detectable odor. On the topic of odor I will say that you never want to add meat products of any type or anything containing fats or oils as these will create a foul smell, and will attract unwanted critters to your yard.
I would love to hear about your composting adventures. How do you tend your soil as the seasons turn?
(above images from our shared garden on the ranch. What magic father sun works, eh?)
(Images below from our gardens here at home on the coast, the wonders of a cool summer; carrots, beats, lettuce...)
Happy! Need I say more?