Sadly, this blog is a bit sleepier than I'd like these days. Pop over here if you'd like to know why.

Friday, November 28, 2008


A photo I took this past September at the Hollywood Farmer's Market was selected to be in the Portland Schmap! Guide. That's a little bit cool. You can view the actual page here.


Click to view larger

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's my contribution to the Thanksgiving table today.

Bean Dip Provencale

Bean Dip Provencale
15 oz can of white kidney beans, drained with 1/3 liquid reserved
1 clove chopped garlic
1/3 cup fresh or 1 1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

Put everything but the olives in the food processor and whiz.
Pour into a small bowl.
Stir in olives
Serve with breadsticks, crackers, anything you like

Originally from The Big Book of Vegetarian

And really, I can't mention Thanksgiving without bringing up the 40,000,000 animals that were slaughtered in honor of today. Someone else pointed out that's more than the human population of California. Eek! I wouldn't mind hugging a turkey today. They are really quite interesting creatures.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I discovered one of the easiest classroom management tools is to challenge students to guess what kind of pet I have. Guaranteed it will take them all day to come up with it, even with hints. Such as: "I have so many of them that I can't count them." Honestly, the next guess after that clue was, "Kangaroos!?" No.

Worms! Red wigglers. Composting with worms is absolutely fascinating... to me. I've found it takes a certain sort of conversation partner to really let me blabble on to my heart's content. Especially now that I've read this book, I have a whole new understanding of these creatures.

Since yesterday was a sunny day, I took advantage of the lighting and dumped out my worm bin. Although worms can't see the light, they can sense it and will scurry deeper down into the compost. All you have to do is scrape off the top at 10 minute intervals. Eventually you will have collected as much compost as you can get without harming the wigglers. Did you know... that a worm can die if left exposed to light and heat for as little as 3 minutes? Yikes!


I also discovered that my worms are going to have babies! There were tons of little worm pods getting ready to hatch. If anybody needs worms... my bin will soon be overcrowded.


While I waited for my worms to scurry down deeper, I planted crocuses and ranunculus around my front yard. I was really excited to finally get the bulbs I purchased in September into the ground. However, this morning I found that the squirrels were equally excited. Every single hole I dug for the flowers had been riffled through! Now, I like urban wildlife, but come on little squirrels... you've already ravaged my daffodils and tulips!

And something else exciting in front yard news... cosmos appeared in my yard out of nowhere this month. Since when do cosmos bloom in November?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

"It's okay to make mistakes!"

That was probably the most cherished mantra of my undergraduate studies. As well as something I'm getting more and more comfortable with as I grow. It's also probably a little overstated for this "mistake."

It's not really a mistake, but sorta-kinda a mistake.

My aim was to make the lovely Julia one of these in exchange for another new masthead. I went and bought the yarn. (Got a super deal which was bitter sweet considering the yarn shop was going out of business). Well, turns out I bought twice as much yarn as I needed. Then, I finished the knit... only to discover that my calculations were mistaken. The headband just barely fit around my head. I couldn't take the chance of sending it states away only to be too small for Julia's.


I just had to keep it for myself. So it ended up being a good thing I bought double the yarn. Now Julia and I can be headband twins.


Maybe that's all I really wanted in the first place?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Here Comes The Rain Again

At last, at last... the power to harness the PNW's most abundant natural resource, rain!

This little project has been in the works for sometime but finally came to be a few weekends ago. I was originally planning on making my own rain barrel with help from my dad. However, we heard word of a rain barrel workshop through our local extension unit. I'm so glad we opted to attend the workshop instead of making our own. Not only were all the supplies provided for us and the proper holes drilled, we were also provided with excellent information regarding rain barrels, water, and water use.

Rain Barrel

Here's how it works: (Ok maybe it's obvious but my neighbors thought I was using it to make

We turned my rain spot out of the way and used a flex tube to direct the water from the gutter to the barrel. At the entrance of the barrel is a grate to catch large pieces of debris as well as a tight net to catch fine debris and prevent mosquitoes from breeding. The water enters the barrel. The spigot can be attached to a hose for watering, or used to fill watering cans. The hose coming off the side is for the overflow. The higher up the barrel sits the more water pressure you'll get. It's all genius really.

Rain Barrel

One of my favorite aspects of the rain barrel is the barrel itself. It used to hold soy sauce! Now, that didn't smell so good in the car bringing it home... but what a way to recycle!

Of course, as soon as I set my rain barrel up... it stopped raining. The rain returned a few days ago and when I checked it this morning the barrel was already full!

For more rain barrel resources:
The Rain Barrel Man (saw him the other day on Alberta)
Rain Barrel Guide

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I knit something for myself, actually. I think the last item I knit but didn't gift or exchange away was this very happy hat. And even though I have plenty of projects lined up for others, I decided to jump queue with something for me. But it's ok because it was crazy easy and fast.

I thought a bright green cowl would look nice with my navy coat. Something different. After a quick search for patterns, I picked this little one.


The yarn is Misti Alpaca Chunky in Chartreuse Melange.

You can't really see the yarn overs (the holes) very well in my finished product. Not sure what happened there.


The happy ending is that I sewed the cowl up and promptly took it out for crepes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Speaking of Food...

I ate a lot of deliciousness this weekend. Like, really. Having a friend come to visit is the perfect excuse to seek out new eateries. In addition, I picked up a copy of Edible Portland and I'm a little obsessed about all things food right now.

For example, wouldn't you just want to hug and squeeze Obama a little tighter if he planted a vegetable garden at the White House? These people certainly think so. The premise is that presidents have had gardens in the past... the new president should rally the nation to produce their own food and eat locally. Sign the petition to give Obama a nudge. And this video is too adorable.

And these people over here think we'd all be better off with a healthy food system. I think so too.
Here are the 12 main principles of the Food Declaration:

We believe that the following twelve principles should frame food and agriculture policy, to ensure that it will contribute to the health and wealth of the nation and the world. A healthy food and agriculture policy:
  1. Forms the foundation of secure and prosperous societies, healthy communities, and healthy people.

  2. Provides access to affordable, nutritious food to everyone.

  3. Prevents the exploitation of farmers, workers, and natural resources; the domination of genomes and markets; and the cruel treatment of animals, by any nation, corporation or individual.

  4. Upholds the dignity, safety, and quality of life for all who work to feed us.

  5. Commits resources to teach children the skills and knowledge essential to food production, preparation, nutrition, and enjoyment.

  6. Protects the finite resources of productive soils, fresh water, and biological diversity.

  7. Strives to remove fossil fuel from every link in the food chain and replace it with renewable resources and energy.

  8. Originates from a biological rather than an industrial framework.

  9. Fosters diversity in all its relevant forms: diversity of domestic and wild species; diversity of foods, flavors and traditions; diversity of ownership.

  10. Requires a national dialog concerning technologies used in production, and allows regions to adopt their own respective guidelines on such matters.

  11. Enforces transparency so that citizens know how their food is produced, where it comes from, and what it contains.

  12. Promotes economic structures and supports programs to nurture the development of just and sustainable regional farm and food networks.

If you agree, pop on over and sign this petition. Then tell your friend to tell a friend, you know.

I'll leave you with some photos of my food from the weekend.

Black Bean Cakes
Black Bean Cakes with Mango Salsa from Bread and Ink on Hawthorne. I need to learn how to make these.

Apple, Basil Pesto, and Jack Crepe from Tour de Crepes on Alberta. Unusual yet amazing flavor.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How To Make Applesauce

Step One: Find a friend.


Step Two: Pick some apples.


Our apples came from Stoney Ridge Farm and a friend's family's orchard.

Applesauce soon.

Make sure you get a variety, at least three different kinds, to create an interesting flavor. We used jonagold, golden delicious, and melrose.

Step Three: Wash, peel, and slice the apples.



Step Four: Combine apples, apple cider, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a large pot. Simmer for about twenty minutes, until the apples are soft but not mushy. Smash it all up.


Step Five: Take it outside to cool. (We were under a time crunch).


Step Six: Invest time to make cute little labels.



Step Seven: Pour into jars.


Step Eight: Add the labels and enjoy a Farm Wife morning.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Trying To Be Greener / Shampoo Update

I came across an interesting new blog the other day. I got so excited I added it to my "Delights" list right away.

Trying To Be Greener
is dedicated to the pursuit of being eco-friendly... not at all what you expected from the name, right? (Nikki I think it will interest you, minus the baby/mommy references.) A few posts immediately caught my attention and seemed applicable to me and my pursuit of late- going shampoo free.

Here's the deal. There's a site out there, Skin Deep, that has done all the work classifying products and the chemicals that claim to make our lives easier but really just slowly kill us. You can enter products you use and see how safe they are considered on a 0-10 scale (10 is deadliest). It even breaks down the dangers for you into the following categories:


Developmental/reproductive toxicity

Violations, restrictions & warnings


Other concerns for ingredients used in this product:
Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns
What an awesome resource! Visit here to read a much more eloquent and informational lead in.

Products I Use:
Burts Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser - low hazard (2)
Burts Bees Moisturizing Cream - moderate hazard (4)
Tom's of Maine Spearmint Toothpaste - low hazard (1)

When Trying To Be Greener pointed out that one of the most hazardous shampoos was L’Oreal Kids 2 in 1 Shampoo, (Extra Gentle, Burst of Fruity Apricot)... I was even happier that I decided to drop that whole shampoo business. And here's how it's going:

It has been a full month of being shampoo free... and I still love the baking soda. My hair (almost always) dries very clean and natural feeling. There have been a few bad days but I think I've caught on to the problem. If the water I rinse with is too hot, my hair will feel a little stiff. Using the vinegar rinse makes it super soft. I plan on using it more frequently (I've only done it two or three times). My only complaint is that my hair is starting to carry a lot of static... and I kind of do miss the lather.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, click here!

In short, drop in at Trying To Be Greener. I think you'll learn something.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cherry On Top / Halloween Recap

I think dressing up and making costumes is fun! It always makes me sad to see people in little cheap (but actually expensive!) store bought costumes (or slutty costumes). I know not everyone has the time and energy to sink into an outfit for just one evening... but it's such a fun chance to be creative!

This year my costume idea came to me one night when I couldn't sleep. Just popped in my head. It took some time and effort, but it was well worth it to celebrate Halloween as an ice cream cone.


I used a red hat and pipe cleaner for the cherry, tulle for whip cream, puff paint for sprinkles, and an embroidery hoop with painted fabric for the cone.

The night was memorable involving friends, a few parties, rude bicyclists, jazz squares, Holman's, and a ferris wheel. A few shots:



Jenny and Kevin went as Publisher Clearing House's prize patrol (him) and the lucky winner (her). Sadly, I didn't get a photo of the giant check, and Kevin lost his official nametag!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Time Friendly Fall Weekend

After a few lousy weekends in a row, I was ready for the weekend that I now refer to as "Good Time Friendly Fall Weekend." There's a story behind the name, but it's not actually related to the weekend itself... so I'll spare you.

In short, last weekend I headed back up to Bellingham to visit my "roommate" Molly, celebrate Taune's birthday, and have a conversation with Annie. Of course, there were happy incidents and encounters in between all that.

Here are some highlights:

Barrel Bonanza



More photos here.