Tag Archives: California

Scrapbook: Little Icicles

23 Jan

I raise the blinds as I do every morning when I notice the entire yard is hung with crystals. Every branch, leaf, and blade of grass is coated in sparkly points of light. A hard freeze isn’t uncommon. But enough moisture for icicles is.

I pull on a sweater, scarf and coat and knot my tangled hair on top of my head. I pull rain boots on my feet that stop halfway up my pajama pants. My neighbors have seen me in pajama pants before. I decide not to worry about it. I grab my camera and shut the screen door so Isobel can see see and hear me. Absorbed in her game of tea all morning, I figured she wouldn’t miss me, but as soon as I step into the flower bed she starts to whine.

“Do you want to come outside with Mommy?”

More whining. A nod yes.

“It’s really cold. Are you sure?”

“I want to go outside with Mommy.”

I hurry back in. Already the morning is warming up. I have only a few minutes before the frozen diamonds melt and turn the ground to mud. Isobel is still in her pajamas, too, but I throw on some rain boots, a sweater and a coat before grabbing her hand to lead her outside.

“My pink purse!” she cries. We can’t forget that.

We step outside and I show her the icicles. The frozen grass crunches under our feet. We explore the flower bed and find unexpected bit of ice that sparkle like shards of glass scattered over the ground.

“The plants are coated with ice. Ice is what happens to water when it gets very cold. Water is ice and ice is water.”

“It’s pretty, mommy!”

“We have to enjoy it now because it won’t last.” I look at Isobel’s hand with her perfect, miniature nails, caressing a branch. I notice her expression, full of concentration. Her tiny body, engulfed by the jacket, little fist clutching her pink purse.

“We have to enjoy it. Because it won’t last.”

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Happy Thanksgiving

24 Nov


Scrapbook: Hunting Acorns

10 Oct

Since fall doesn’t really get started here for another couple months, I decided to take Isobel acorn hunting as a way to learn about nature, get outside with the family, and add to our cache of thrifty autumn decorations. I want to make it a yearly tradition as it’s a fall-like thing we can do even if we’re wearing shorts and tank tops and contemplating

The Valley oak would be a natural native choice for acorn hunting, and provided a substantial part of the diet of the native people who lived in California long ago, but lacking access to those venerable trees we went to a stand of Cork oak that I happen to be familiar with. I grew up under these trees.

Years and years ago, these trees were a daily fixture in my life during elementary school. Not one for sports or anything more complicated than monkey bars, friends and I would wander under the polka-dotted shade of the canopy of these trees at recess, imagining we were our own world and collecting the ever-present acorns that littered the ground. Acorns would be collected into piles as if we could survive off them in the winter.  One day we planned to pound them to mush and rinse them in changes of water to remove the toxin, like the Native Americans. We probably created a nice nest egg for the birds to find later.

As we walked with Isobel under these trees we pointed out partially eaten acorns and talked about the birds that ate them. We don’t really have squirrels in town, though I’ve seen one or two on occasion. Every now and then the wind would blow an a scattering of acorns would fall all around us, like plump raindrops.

We looked at fat acorns and skinny ones, we marveled that some had “hats” but some came bald, many were shades of green, and yellow, or a rich hearty brown.

We talked about the trees as we walked, too. Eventually the joy of acorns wore off and Isobel became extremely fascinated by a mud puddle.

By the time we were ready to go home Isobel had dumped all her acorns into the mud. Which was totally fine as I collected my own bunch and anyway, I wasn’t going to let her keep them.  She might decide she’s a bird and start munching.

Sometimes making your own fun isn’t about what you get. It’s about the hunt.

Scrapbook: The Fair

26 Sep

We go to the fair every year. I love the weird shit, the competitions, and the animals. When I was younger and less concerned over the safety of rides put together overnight by the obviously high, I loved the rides, too.  I really think the people you go with really affect how much fun you have. We live in a small town, where we learned from a young age you either make your own fun or you make your own meth. And the market’s kind of flooded for meth.

'Sup, tortoise.

Last year I was super excited to take Isobel to the county fair, but I knew this year would be even better:  she was old enough now to really enjoy it, we were going with her good buddy Kingston, and, to top it all off, high school slow dance favorites Boyz II Men was headlining! Actually, we were neutral about  Boyz II Men, but we did happen to go on the night they were performing. The show started just as we were leaving, and I suddenly remembered that my friend Melynda planned on going. I  turned to Anthony and said, “Hey! Maybe we’ll see Melynda!” Anthony looked over the crowd of thousands dubiously.

“There is no way we’ll find Melynda,” he said confidently.

“Oh look! There she is!” I replied. Not twenty feet from my stroller, there she was. It was a moment of total serendipity.

First stop: the heart booth. Always the heart booth. Each year our local hospital sets up a booth including a giant, anatomically correct heart that you can walk through, complete with wooshing blood-noises.  Like a snuggle nest! Anyway, it’s by far the best booth at the fair for two reasons: my bestie volunteers there, and it’s air-conditioned.

What we didn’t realize is how much the kids would love the heart booth, to the point that as soon as we exited one ventricle the kids would immediately try to to circulate back in. There were two kids and four adults yet somehow they were so crazy for the heart booth we could hardly contain them. In the photo below, for example, Kingston is being escorted out of the heart for about the seventeenth time.

It was total mayhem.

They would not be deterred, even as the heart booth filled with strangers. My normally timid child followed Kingston’s bold lead and steamrolled their way through the innocents trying to learn about anatomy. Kingston favored brute force, pushing his way in and weaving through legs, while Isobel was more sneaky. At one point she  pulled a fast one on me and ran around the back of the heart, searching in vain for a extra ventricle that she could circulate through. No such luck.

Anthony did take this picture, though, and I realized I could have won a blue ribbon for Whitest Legs in the County had I only thought to enter them in the fair.

Once we were able to pry the kids away from the heart, we visited the photo-op area, which is a yearly tradition. Seeing as how we’ve done it twice now.

(Click here to see photos of Doctor Baby Isobel and Buxom Nurse Anthony.)

Then we headed over to the rainforest area where I took my favorite photo of the night. Too bad it wasn’t of my kid!

(It was of Kingston, though, so that is totally okay:)

Last year Isobel couldn’t navigate this bridge on her own.

Taking toddlers through areas like this takes a bit longer, especially if your kid is Kingston. You have to fight his natural impulse to be set loose in the rainforest so he can Break All The Things and have a great time.

Previously the mantis was just kind of hanging out, but this year they added mangled butterflies. The carnage is a nice touch.

So here is the part where I think to myself, “Let’s take a sweet photo of the kids together, holding still and smiling and looking directly at the camera nicely, so that we can always remember all the good times we had at the fair.”

Cheese!

Touching, isn’t it? It came out about as well as the photo I took of Isobel and Victoria at Yo Gabba Gabba.

I did get a photo of Isobel sitting on the mushrooms to compare to last year’s, though, and that made me happy.

This year:

Last year:

"Oh hi! Just trying to cause grave bodily harm to myself or others!"

Hey Kingston! Kingston! I want to take a picture of you, dude!

That’s better.

So my favorite part, even better than all of the weird things you can see in the exhibit hall, is the animals. Specifically, the bunnies, the chickens, and my personal, all-time, most-favorite-ever: the goats.

The thing about the goats is that they are always trying to eat their own signs. Always. It’s hilarious. One time in high school I went to the fair and I was wearing a pair  jeans that were ripped in the knees an the goat tried to eat the pants clean off my body. True. Another time, back when I was a toddler, my parents were at a farm when they needed to consult their map for directions home. A goat wandered by and started eating the map. How can you not love an animal like that?

You can tell from this photo how excited I am to see bunnies. I look more enthusiastic than Isobel. But she was actually flipping out with glee. Here she is telling Anthony that she wants Dada to “put this bunny in her hand.”

That girl is like, “Hell no. Mr. Fluffernutters is MINE.”

She adored the fair. Her tiny body reverberated with excitement all night. She loved it so much we ended up going again on a free day for more pig petting and goat snuggling, and and would have gone a few more times at least (admission and all) but that was the week we went out of town to visit Jose and Lupe. She even loved the bus ride we took from our parking spot to the fair on the park and ride. She might even love the fair more than I do, if that’s possible. Her favorite part, by far, was the animals. Even now when I tell her we have to go somewhere she begs me to take to the fair to “go see the animals.” She was in heaven. All night I heard the refrain “I love amimols!”

"I love amimols!"

"I love amimols!"

When we went to the petting zoo to see the goats I realized she either picked up on my love of the creatures or inherited it, because she was terrified of all the animals in the petting zoo except the goats. In fact, she told me that this goat was hers, all hers, hinting that no one else could pet it. She spent the better part of the next 2o minutes hugging it.

"I love amimols!"

We saw the chickens, which she loved but later told me were “too loud.” Other things she said were too loud: turkeys, cows, and Kingston.

Kingston, for his part, was also having a blast. When he wasn’t initiating headbutt competitions with the goats he was playing in…

CORNS! Which I’m sure Angel found in his diaper later.

I love this photo. He’s like, “I have the power. OF CORN.”

Isobel went straight to the farm equipment, which, if she ever saw in real life would definitely be deemed, “too loud.”

She must have known this, because as she played with them she made truck noises.

After baby Kingston left we toured the exhibit hall for a while before heading out. I was looking at artwork and photography while Anthony was indulging in parkour for parents: stroller tricks.

Aaaand because I can’t write a post about the fair without including one strange thing I found in the exhibit hall, I shall leave you with this epic cat lady painting. Not pictured: her 300 other cats. Until next time, county fair.

Scrapbook: Goodbye Summer

25 Sep

Scrapbook: Yosemite

5 Sep

I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend! Right now we are just getting back from watching one of our oldest friends marry another good friend. Recently, though, we took a trip to Yosemite. As I mentioned earlier, we’re not going to be doing this again until she’s older. We had a good time, but herding her around and making sure she wasn’t discovering creative new ways to injure herself took all of our energy. We felt like the Secret Service, clearing the perimeter, ensuring at least one of us had a visual at all times, and trying to convince our VIP that she shouldn’t wander into the bike lane. It was exhausting.

But we had fun! Our favorite parts involved water, and not just because Isobel enjoyed it so much: the temperature was in the high nineties and I wanted to keel over every time I ventured into the sun. I’m used to this baking, relentless heat in my home in the Valley as it’s a part of living here. But there’s something demoralizing about getting excited to visit a lush forest, a national treasure,  and finding you’d prefer to sit in the car with the air conditioning on full blast. Sacrilege, I know.

We found solace in the Yosemite river twice. First, before our picnic we stopped by the lower portion of Yosemite Falls. The river was so low families were climbing in to cool off their toes and wade as deeply into the frigid water as they could stand. We climbed down to the river bed and the water was as shockingly cold as the sun was scorching. Usually venturing into the water at Yosemite Falls is only for those with a death wish, but this late in summer the river is more rock than water.

After our picnic, which was punctuated with constant requests from Isobel to “go pet the squirrels,” we hiked down river and found shady little spot just right for exploring. This was the most relaxed we were the whole trip, and it was nice to sit on the cool rocks and listen to the shushsush of the water and watch Isobel contentedly pretend her stick was a fishing pole. The best part (and you can see this in some of the pictures on my flickr) is that after we got there some dude decided that this spot on the river was the perfect place to stop and meditate among the beauty of nature. Which, I’m sure it was, but nature’s splendor had to compete with the joyous cries of my daughter repeatedly saying, “HOLA! I’M ISOBEL! DO YOU WANT TO GO FISHING WITH ME? YAY, I LIKE FISHING! ME TOO!”

I mean, we were there first, so he had to know what he was getting into when he plunked down into the lotus position. If he was actually able to tune out Isobel’s voice then we may have been in the presence of a Buddha himself. Also, while she was singing and shouting and splashing she was also wading into the river up to her shins. It’s a good thing I packed extra clothes.

If you’re interested, you can see more photos from our trip to Yosemite here, including a shot of the smoke from the wildfire that detoured our route by a good forty minutes.  I hope your weekend was long and relaxing.

Follow Friday: Our Garden

26 Aug

Our garden is so enormous now the pumpkin and butternut squash vines my friend Jake gave me have taken over the back corner completely and are growing over the lawn. It’s crazy. These photos were from when they decided to be serious about being squash vines instead of just little baby plants, as Isobel likes to call them. One of her favorite things to do still is to hang out in the garden and paint with water. A while ago we had a get together in the back yard and it was still going strong even after the sun went down. Kingston and Isobel stood in the garden, knee-deep in squash vines, each drinking their sippy cup full of milk and shouting “MOON! MOON! MOON!”

I love summer.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

JerryThomas I wish I loved anything as much as Ren Faire people love the word “huzzah.”

markos God is punishing Virginia for not allowing gay marriage.

iasshole Oh nooo today is still happening every time I look.

theleanover Worst dressed particles: tachyons.

kerrianne Overheard: “I probably shouldn’t say these things out loud because someone will take me seriously if one of them turns up dead.”

BenTallen Together there are more of us than if there were only one of us! #GenericActivism

Hornpipe2 We support Posterboard and Magic Marker! #GenericActivism

thebremely It’s important to remember. #GenericActivism

peachgrenade All over the world there are people. Won’t you help? #GenericActivism

johnmoe If none of us can, which of us will? Please send money to an email. #GenericActivism

johnbiggs For the price of a cup of coffee you can buy someone a cup of coffee. #GenericActivism

Unept “If we don’t stop now, then who will?” #GenericActivism

slackmistress “Home is where the hearts are.” – Serial Killer Needlepoint Sampler

palinode My out-of-office email has been on. For the last five years.

shinyinfo @exlibris Goofus was like Tyler Durden to Gallant.

eshep Text “Sorry you spilled your chai latte” to 90999 to donate $1 to the victims of the U.S. East Coast earthquake.

joeinverarity Just installed a rope to swing from my balcony into my car through the passenger window. This will make every morning epic!

InfiniteChicken ‘Little Rascals’ never made sense to me until I realized they were all in Purgatory.

theleanover My fantasy football league still involves helmets and a grassy field but also a lot more Victoria’s Secret models and pillow fights.

LIFECOACHERS Try waving goodbye with five fingers instead of just the middle one.

YourAuntDiane I’m against harmful emissions but LOVE the smell of gasoline. Ugh! Copulate with ONE Bolivian on a riding mower and it haunts you for years.

goodinthestacks If my car’s a rockin’ it’s probably an earthquake. Or the engine mounts.

WordShore Earthquakes, droughts, 100F+ heat, hurricanes, tornados, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, fried butter on a stick. Still want to live here, though.

matt_T EAST COAST QUAKES HAVE STARTED A RAP BEEF WITH WEST COAST QUAKES LAST TIME THIS HAPPENED BIGGIE AND TUPAC DIED.

BillCorbett Giant earthquakes. THAT is what wall-to-wall coverage of a Kardashian wedding will get you, America.

rob_sheridan The collective eye-rolling of everyone in California is probably moving the earth more than the east coast.

joeljohnson New York earthquakes are better because of our thinner crust.

gabedelahaye Change your avatar to green in support of the Earthquake! #swineflu

johnmoe I like earlier earthquakes before everyone found out about them. I felt a tiny earthquake in Olympia, Washington once at a house party.

BillableBarbie That wasn’t an earthquake. That was just me getting out of my chair. #pregnant

JerryThomas Since the earthquake, I can’t make a call on my AT&T phone. So, no different from normal.

xzqx Confirmed 5.8 earthquake in Virginia. Casualties include my productivity for the rest of the day as I continually refresh twitter.

FakeeEtiquette Politely respond to online friends who make duckfaces in every picture by throwing bread crumbs at them when you meet in real life.

badbanana Wore my Lucky Meeting Pants today and all three of my meetings got cancelled. See, they work.

morninggloria I knew that “Gettin Jiggy Wit It” would lead to nothing but pain.

shariv67 Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Eve? Thou art more douchey and more desperate.

theRratedBull One very important lesson I’ve learned is that no matter how smart your phone is it still won’t know how to swim.

massagebyted Just a hunch, but I’m beginning to suspect that some of these DMV employees are not pillars of the motor-vehicle professional community.

UnicornFlavored My rice salad is even better the next day. It’s like all the flavors had an orgy overnight. A delicious, delicious orgy.

letsgetgizzy Oh, look who downloaded the Country Strong soundtrack off iTunes when she was drunk last night.

gabedelahaye Ladies, which do you find more romantic: “AWOOGA!” or “HUBBA HUBBA!”? Please be honest.

wordlust If I’m supposed to be loving my neighbor as I love myself, I guess I owe my neighbor 217,816 handjobs.

DogWearingAHat I saw the best minds of my generation post gay porn under other peoples’ accounts – that dude who wrote Howl.

BillCorbett Look Look Cool Jorts #CelebInitialsRevealed

apelad The first day of school is over, but the evening of signing every form ever is just beginning.

ProfessorSnack I send all of my followers a Terms & Conditions statement to accept. They just have to cross out “Fear Factor” and write in @ProfessorSnack.

smileydooby If I had a business I’d call it “mind your own” and we’d sell nothing but shut the hell up.

ProfessorSnack Welcome new followers. Many of you will deny and unfollow me before I tweet thrice. I’ll love you no less.

tommycm i always feel like my iphone is passing comment on my life when it states ‘nothing to undo’.

SpaghettiJesus I think it’s safe to say that Twitter’s trending topics are proof of the limits of humanity’s reach. This is as far as we go.

tommycm you know those awful misogynist hip-hop gigs where the group get all the sexy ladies onto the stage? how might i do something similar here?

adiopink Somewhere in the library, a patron with the perfect bass is quietly singing “Noooobody knows… the trouble I’ve seen.”

badbanana Pandora has gone from asking me “Are you still listening?” to “So, like, shouldn’t you go get some exercise or something?”

MyVogonPoetry Giraffes are actually horses who purchase the extension neck as an upgrade. Mainly to spy on the penguins. #MadeUpFacts

Pinochet I was much happier before i knew what truck nutz were.

lateandsoon Books in the STORM of Ice &Fire series include: A HOME FOR KNIVES, A PRIDE OF KNAVES, A GORGE OF SCONES, A STORM OF SONGS, & STABAPALLOOZA.

MmeSurly My teen angst should be worth something now because it’s vintage.

january_samurai My response to the poor service at the Dust Bowl Brewery -> non stop Tears for Fears on their music. You’re welcome.

notthatkendall I miss elementary school, when you could pick out the crazy people around you by whether or not they smelled funny.

sitrick2 @johnmoe hey now! Gaius Baltar! Seein’ cylons! In-yer brain! Go now! Tell Adama! You’re not! Insane! #smashedmouth

sgnp @johnmoe Pay now! For a small car! Buy a dayglo…toupee! Stray chow! Got a name tag? Look I’m James Caan! Olé!!! #SMASHEDMOUTH

InfiniteChicken Tina! Where’s the hand towel. Spilled my soda. Tina! #smashedmouth

johnmoe Hey now! It’s your mom’s car! Eat a crayon! Old grave! Goat chow! Where’s a snack bar! Move to Bayonne! Nice save! #SMASHEDMOUTH

InfiniteChicken @johnmoe All those quitters have toads! Only Hooter’s bars share the load. #SMASHEDMOUTH

johnmoe Hey now! Watch the Munsters! Bring some clams home! Okay! Nice cow! In the dumpster! Buy a lawn gnome! Bad play! #SMASHEDMOUTH

morninggloria Gold is all the rage, stylish youths are wearing overalls, and I predict a return of the pickaxe. Prospector chic is hot for fall 2011.

InfiniteChicken I’m ‘clouding’ my entire music library to the Google. It’s inloading now!

bookishbella The good news is my bra padding burst and started leaking all over my shirt *before* I left the house.

nicpiper #ff @exlibris She’s a lady, whoa whoa whoa she’s a lady…except on #oversharewednesday when she is not a lady.

sarcasmically I just closed a convo with “word to yo’ mother”, in case anyone needs a ride back to 1998.

andrewtshaffer Today’s sex term: “pork sandwich.” Being tag-teamed by Jon Hamm and Kevin Bacon.

hazard Tweet not, lest ye be tweeted. #noideawhatthatwouldmean

lauracope all i need now are some studies that say watching Teen Mom and using Quora make you smarter. i’ll happily participate in trials for this.

rstevens Give me coffee or give me a minute to remember what the end of that sentence was.

BridgetCallahan I have named some of you My Circle of Jerks.

jenstatsky Just thinking bout how effin cool it would be to go to the original Panda Express in China.

Bookish_Bitch Today I had to explain to my father what a reach around was. It was special.

Handflapper I’m too drunk to even try to suck in my stomach. That’s pretty drunk, y’all.

CanuckLibrarian Wasn’t sure I’d have any luck finding linens here, but then there was a blanket with my name on it. (in marker, grandma wrote on it)

TheRedQueen Trying to pull up spanx while tipsy in very tall heels in small bathroom is adventure.

ohrebecca I’m 15% alcohol right now.

geekandahalf I love these Buick commercials with people under 80 in them. Spielberg is something else.

steenyweeny i’m holding out on you guys, i came up with all kinds of bread tweets this afternoon.

FlyteAphrodite *taps microphone* Let today be known as the most fucked up day in my recent history! *stumbles offstage* *passes out* *makes the front page*

oodja I thought Bing worked by saying “BING!”

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

The Meal-Planning Market

12 Jul

Since I’ve been buying part of each week’s groceries at the Farmer’s Market it’s totally changed the way I’ve been going about meal planning. Although I’ve been chipping away at my Life List goal of planning meals for a year I’ve only experienced limited success, but this new world local food has given me new inspiration and motivation in a way that supported my meal planning goals.

Each week I’ve been posting my Farmer’s Market finds each week in a flickr group called Farmer’s Market Hauls started originally by Jim of Sweet Juniper. I’ve also convinced two food-blogging, local-shopping friends to join in, the fabulous Lead Paint Cookbook and home cook extraordinaire, E of Outpost 505. If you shop at a fruit stand, flea market, farmer’s market or CSA, please snap a photo of your haul and add it to the group. I think it’s time we breathe new life into it. Clicking on the photos below will take you to my flickr where you can read notes describing each item in the picture.

What I’m loving is that while I’m at the market buying produce I’ll find other, nonfood-related but still very awesome things. I’ve so far grabbed a flier to tour an alpaca farm (friends, I’m going to arrange a trip for this–let me know if you want in), signed up for free books via Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and Isobel was able to plant a little sunflower in a peat pot. All of this, free, too.

We’ve been watering the little sunflower and watching it sprout. Last night it I decided it was large enough to put in the ground. That booth also gave us free seed packets: parsley and lettuce. I told her that seeds were tiny baby plants and she helped me water them. I can’t wait for them to sprout but I really hope she won’t love them too much.

In addition to the produce we’ve picked up some fabulous clam chowder from near San Jose, Dutch chocolate zucchini bread that is so good it haunts my dreams, endless varieties of hummus and fresh pita bread, and dried organic spices. Isobel often asks for pita and hummus for breakfast, and it makes me ridiculously proud when she does so.

Our farmer’s market is still pretty small. It was just started last year and buzz about it is only just taking off. There are still a lot of things not available at the market–no meat is sold and only one vendor sells cheese and offers only one kind. But I’ve still managed to make a wide variety of things with the selection of things I do bring home, and I feel I’ve only scratched the surface.

I’m still mulling over how to pull my Farmer’s Market shopping into a cohesive plan, but I’m getting there. For now I’d like to share a list of things I’ve made with the items from my haul:

* Spicy Eggplants in Honey Sauce from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

* Blanched wax beans with dill butter.

* Figs: Cut in half with market goat cheese and honey.

* Gazpacho with local bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olive oil and lemon.

* Crudites with wax beans, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and cucumber dipped in hummus.

* Zucchini ribbons dressed with oil and goat cheese.

* Zucchini ribbons dressed with leftover Spicy Honey Eggplant sauce.

* Goat cheese slathered on baguette rounds, toasted, drizzled with honey and thyme from the garden. I could very easily eat this all day.

* The most amazing green salad with butter lettuce, cucumber, red Italian torpedo onions, heirloom tomatoes, and olive oil dressing. Even the oil was from the Farmer’s Market!

* Corn on the cob with cilantro and lime butter.

* Chopped up fresh fruit by the bucketful.

* Omelet with portabello mushroom and red onion.

* Scrambled eggs with cheese. Practically every day. Also, tastes so good with a side of spicy eggplants. I can’t explain this, but it works.

* New Hatten chowder with garlic herb pita chips.

* Pita bread spread with hummus and cucumber.

* Sliced cherry tomato salad with corn, red onion, and bell pepper and dotted with feta.

I’m looking forward to sharing detailed recipes and pictures with you (and maybe even meal plans, if I get my act together), and I really hope everyone joins me posting to Farmer’s Market Haul. I can’t wait to see what you’re bringing home.

What The Hell Is A Pergola

28 Jun

Now that I’m off and Anthony had some vacation time, we’ve been pouring a lot of time and energy this summer into the yard. The back yard, specifically, though the front yard’s time will come at some point. My FIL and our friend Jacob (winner of the previously mentioned Awesome Friend Award) helped Anthony put in sod a few weeks ago and our next big project is to build a pergola, all by ourselves. Or I should say “themselves” because I’m not helping beyond watching the baby and making sun tea. This is just not my field of expertise.

Right now you’re probably asking, “What the hell is a pergola?!” I’ve heard this question at least as many times as I’ve said, “I want a pergola,” which is a lot because I’ve been saying that repeatedly since we moved into this house and I noticed it had a nice, lawn-free gravelly area that used to hold a shed and how should be used for pergola-ing.

Right. So what is it? Let’s consult a vintage 1978 edition of Sunset Book’s Landscaping & Garden Remodeling to find out. (I found it while thrifting.) (Of course.)

Basically what I’m after is something that sort of looks like this structure above the pool boy in the photo below. It has posts but no walls, beams but no roof. It’s a pergola, and it’s awesome. It provides shade and will be a home for our overenthusiastic wisteria. After the structure is up we’re going to level out the dirt underneath and add some stone tiles and make a patio area for alfresco dining and a home for potted plants. It’s going to be awesome.

If you’re interested, here’s more information on the book.

While we’re at it, check out this douche bag on the opposite page as my pergola. Plaid AND a handlebar mustache? What a hipster!

So our pergola right now is not that impressive, and it’s taking a really long time to build. But that is fine by me–I’d rather have them take their time and construct it safely and accurately as opposed to quickly and dangerously. Since my kid is going to be playing under it and all.

She is loving the lawn and just being outside in general.

That orange plastic mold is over there because she was playing sandcastles with the soft, loose dirt. Well, she was playing sandcastles and pancakes. She likes to walk around holding a fist full of dirt and shouting “MMM! PANCAKES!”

She was kept quite busy shouting, “JUPEY! GET DOWN!”

Right now we have these two posts in the ground and that’s the extent of our construction. But it’s coming along.

On The Road

6 Apr

The weekend trip we took to Cayucos recently coincided with a large storm system that had moved into California. Virtually the whole state experienced rainstorms all weekend. That made the drive there and back eerily lovely. 

All these shots were taken from inside the car, obviously, which should explain the occasional strange glare.

To get to and from the seaside town of Cayucos you had to drive an 8 mile stretch of highway called Old Creek Road. It was also beautiful in a decidedly abandoned, creepy way.

 

During the drive home our way was clear for about a hundred miles, but we could see it pouring across the valley. This photo was taken by Anthony (I was driving).

As we neared home we drove from clear skies right into a hail storm. That was fun.

I don’t ever remember seeing snow on the Coastal Range before.

As I was taking pictures of the hills, their beauty struck me as oddly… familar.

Oh yes! It’s straight out of a Windows desktop wallpaper.