Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Wind

The wind doth blow! It's been blowing since yesterday making all the pollen go crazy. My roses are looking a bit abused hanging limp from the bushes. Today is cleaning day and Molly will be folding laundry and changing out the dead flowers while Oliver will be taking out recycling, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom. I'm in charge of the kitchen as well as helping with what they can't finish. I love that they are helping even if it's only because they want to go to the store to spend the twenty dollars they got for Easter. We are picking up my sister Melanie in Sonoma tomorrow, she's visiting from Alabama and I can't wait to see her. I think strawberry picking is in our future! Margaritas?Jam?PIE!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pic's from Sutter's Fort

Molly and her friend were ready to go!

Oliver as Joe Meek

The big door I guarded

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sutter's Fort

Oliver was decked out in his trapper gear, going as Joe Meek for his overnight at Sutter's Fort in Sacramento. He was beyond excited with his raccoon hat and suede jacket. They start off in Old Sacramento getting to ride in a "wagon train" all the way to the fort where everyone, including the parents, are in period attire working with hot wax for candles, blacksmithing etc. I get to join them tonight for dinner and contra dancing! What an amazing field trip! I can't wait to post some pics!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back to the Bike

It's been weeks since we've ridden to school and finally we have the time today. It should be beautiful with all the flowers along the path. Keeping the kids moving this morning is the difficult part. You have to repeat yourself so many times that you start to wonder if it's worth all the effort. But, it is! I always feel better after a good morning ride and it sets me up for a healthier day inside and out. Need to find that happy place again and I think this morning ride will get me on my way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer Garden

Our summer garden is mostly in now and it's so exciting to see all the different things we'll be harvesting. We've planted six tomatoes, peppers, both Thai and sweet basil, eggplant, Italian parsley, thyme, cantaloupe and Logan berries given to us by our neighbor. We pulled out six of our chard plants to make room so guess what we'll be eating this week! I went out to the big garden to pick a couple onions to saute with the chard to toss into pasta for dinner. Our cherries will be ripe before we know it and all the kids will swarm to our yard. There's a path of clouds through the sky I wish I could follow and see where it leads. The rest is a perfect blue.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cloudy Day

The sky is such a pretty shade of purple and blue. A little rain drizzles down on all the spring flowers, refreshing. The kids go back to school today and they're reluctantly getting out of bed to eat cold cereal. They are not thrilled about the getting up part but are thrilled about going back to school. I love that they love school. Isn't that the goal, to learn to love to learn? Well, they are learning to love to learn. A gift that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. So many people wait until college to invest in education and it seems backwards to me. Many may not make it to college and, if they do, are burnt out from the rat race of testing that goes on in public schools nowadays. It's really unfortunate for all the great and giving teachers in the public school system that are stuck with government BS! So, we chose the waldorf school and my kids don't look forward to weekends or vacations. This week, Oliver's class will spend the night at Sutter's Fort! All dressed in costume, they'll work and guard through the night. School is almost out for the summer and things are getting busy!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Peace Prevails

The sky's are blue, the birds are singing, children play in the distance and the smell of my roses blows in through the open door. Easter is over and the kids are sufficiently sugared. The morning began with finding their baskets filled with a few goodies and plants to put into our garden. Then Michael helped hide the eggs up and down the paths with neighbors. All the children gathered teeming with excitement, running to hunt for colorful eggs. After the hunt ended we all gathered on the lawn to share a potluck brunch. I love this place. Children in hats with flowers and little dresses, one child in a bunny suit with the little cottontail, just too cute. The flowers are blooming, the people are friendly and the food was fabulous! A new baby was welcomed by eager mom's wanting to share stories and advice. Now everything has quieted down and the stillness offers an enchanted feel as little white flies float through the air like little faeries and lulls us into slumber on the couch. Happy Easter

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Too Many

So tomorrow is Easter and my to do list is long. No matter how much I'm able to get done, it seems that nothing will be done "enough" to please all. I'm supposed to bake lemon meringue pies for my aunts dinner, dye eggs with the kids, shop for Easter basket stuff, dishes, laundry, replace dead flowers to make the house look pretty, help Oliver finish a report, go to Yuba City to see my mom and neighbors, make something for the early morning egg hunt and brunch here in the Shire, and by the way Michael works until about 5 today so he can't help me. Realistically then, I'll be buying a pie to take to Claudia's and that will have to be good enough. It's one of those things where you really want to be able to take in the beauty of the experience with your kids and instead you end up overwhelmed, snappy and wishing you lived in Australia! :) It is wonderful to have so many people that love you and your children, I just wonder if anyone realizes how much pressure is placed on our little family to drive around making sure everyone gets a piece of us. As hard as it is on me, I know how happy my kids are to spend time with everyone and so I will run around like a mad woman trying to make sure we meet every ones expectations. I'll look forward to Monday when school starts back up again!

Friday, April 22, 2011


We are heading out to Winters today! My friend Trena has a cute little bungalow for her and her boys on a beautiful piece of country property. The kids tromp through the orchards, play with the chickens and sheep and climb in the trees. Such a nice way to spend an afternoon. Just up the hill is our little egg provider, Dezla. She and her family live on another gorgeous property that includes rolling hills, a pond that has a little island and boats, large gardens, vineyards, orchards and of course, chickens. Although it's only about 30 minutes away, you really feel removed. Michael is home sick today, I told him not to eat old beans! I'm hoping he feels better enough for me to leave and enjoy this beautiful day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fava Bean Pasta

After all the hard work with the fava beans, I overcooked them! Not to worry, I made a delicious pasta sauce! I sauteed olive oil, garlic and onion then added the beans. After they had a chance to mingle I added some chicken stock and then pureed them in a food processor until creamy. I tossed the sauce into some bow tie pasta with a little of the pasta water and of course salt and pepper. Serve with a good parmigiana and next time I'll add some thinly sliced young onion for added flavor! Besides being a beautiful green color, it was really tasty!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rain, Green

We woke this morning to spring showers that left everything feeling more green and the red long stem roses lusciously red. Why do I want to take a bike ride when yesterday I was paralyzed on the couch? Yesterday was mostly sunny and today is grey but needing to be explored. It's the kind of weather that reminds you the heat will soon come, enjoy this last bit of relief. Not too long from now we'll be taking walks down to the swimming pool slathered in sunscreen and loaded up with snacks and drinks. I will stay active, be in these moments and enjoy. Whats happening today: check-in about Jill's little nephew (he fell from a changing table and fractured his skull), vacuum tick powder from Molly's floor (don't ask, YUCK!), Molly's baking popover's for breakfast (assist her), playdate for Oliver, tea with a sweet friend and chat about exciting possibilities, pull chicken out for Denise for dinner and most importantly be available to my dear friend Trena. Now I can't forget anything! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


There's a light fog misting the Shire this morning. I've opened the back door to let in some of the cool air that carries the scent of earth and roses. Oliver's finishing up some matzo ball soup with challah that Michael made for dinner last night. Our tender little grape leaves are once again urging me to pickle and wrap little bundles of rice, spices and pine nuts. I've yet to make dolmas and I just love them. I have a recipe in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook that I will try this spring. Maybe I'll do this with my little cooking class on Thursday's. This Sunday the neighborhood gathers on the grass in front of the house next door for an Easter brunch and egg hunt for all the children. The adults hide the eggs up and down the green belt and it doesn't matter that a good portion, including the family hosting, are Jewish. Everyone just enjoys this very pagan ritual in their little dresses and colorful baskets. The children walk out their back doors into a magical garden filled with flowers and friendly faces. I am a lucky woman.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Molly with Poppies

Some of our "weeds" from the big garden


The fava's have been picked, washed, shelled and peeled. These beans are too much work! It was nice to sit on the back patio with Michael and just chat while we shelled. The kids played on the green hill and neighbors worked in their yards. We worked out in the big garden yesterday, now everything is weeded and ready for summer crops. Our garlic and onions that we planted in the fall should be ready to harvest at the end of May making more room for new veggies. We have to plant things that aren't too prized as theft in the main garden is common. It's so frustrating to work so hard planting only to find gaps in your rows or a luscious tomato you were waiting on missing in action. No, even in this ideal community things aren't perfect. Considering what a lot of the world has to deal with I think that veggie theft and bike-jacking are things we can deal with.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Love It!

The little girl next door shows up at the back door and joins the kids for breakfast. A German "pancake" with lots of butter, lemon and powdered sugar. She's back from Hawaii with some macadamia nuts, YUM! We're hitting the garden with Denise today to weed out beds and sink some bean poles. I'll pull out some more beets and make a salad with tangy goat cheese to accompany our fava bean risotto. A delicious garden bounty to hopefully share with friends or family. Have a scrumptious day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Good Morning

Coffee is in the french press and the curtains are open to let in the morning light. I've filled my house with roses and iris's from our garden, color and The clock ticks on the wall and the coffee is ready to be poured. Do I add some of the delicious honey my neighbor Jill gave me for my birthday? A huge jar of the liquid gold sits on my counter wrapped in ribbon. Today we are all riding bikes to the campus for picnic day! We'll pack our snacks and our sunscreen to join the action and listen to the marching bands battle it out but first we must pull some more weeds!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grandpa's Beans

Hawks are soaring in circular patterns over the shire. At times they seem to stay in one place, so calming to watch. The artichoke plant grows taller by the minute! Not much longer until the thistles begin to appear, shooting up on their long stems. I love artichokes dipped in good mayonnaise, cold or hot. We will pull out all the fava beans this weekend to begin the task of preparing the beds for our summer yummies! Peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and basil are the priorities. We might even get some of my grandfathers beans in this year. He passed away a few years ago but my aunt Denise has kept up the tradition of planting and then saving the seeds she harvested from his backyard in San Mateo. I remember him telling us to never pick his prized pods that contained more than five beans. He would even take us through the rows to point them out to us. I can still picture his large, strong hands delicately holding the bean and his voice seems so clear and gentle with just a touch of "don't you dare"! He wasn't always the most patient man but in the garden or nature walks his spirit could convey just how important it all was and you were compelled to listen. Never pick a flower, leave it better than the way you found it and look closely, pay attention, things change quickly and you don't want to miss any of the wonders this earth has to offer. As my friend Jill told me the other day " it's later than you think". Enjoy this time around and that's what we plan to do!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shire Update

Things are changing quickly around here! The blossoms have almost all disappeared from the trees and little fuzzy fruits are beginning to form. Daffodils have been replaced with brightly colored tulips and iris. The weeds are waist high! Children are back in the sunshine. So much needs to be done to get the garden ready for summer. I'm looking forward to juicy tomatoes warming in the sun and spicy basil. We have 2 weeks off from school that will be filled with bike rides, market trips and marching bands at UC Davis's picnic day. What fun!