Monthly Archives: September 2012

10 Years Ago


10 years ago we were married, on a roasting hot day here in Sonoma. We tried to keep it a simple affair a mid-day gathering at a local restaurant. We didn’t want our friends and family and ourselves to be caught in a sea of terrible expense or stress. It was a lovely day. My mom made my dress. While we were scheming on the design, my grandma found a box from her mom, it had a handwritten note inside that said, ‘For Kendra’s wedding dress.’ I was the first great-granddaughter for 10 years, you see, and I’m sure when she, a masterful seamstress, wrote that there was no question that of course a wedding dress was to be handmade! It was a section of beading from her wedding dress from 1918. That then became the central theme of the dress, matching beaded material was found. My mom’s wedding dress buttons were reused on the back. It was gorgeous!

10 years ago we just had heads full of dreams. We wanted a house and some children and a thriving garden and certainly chickens. We wanted to travel, cook good meals and entertain friends. On our honeymoon we broke ground on our first garden together. We’ve had many successes and failures, droughts and floods, births and deaths both in the garden and in life these 10 years. It’s an epic journey, life and marriage. And I can’t wait to find out where it takes us next.


Filed under Musings

A Peek at The National Heirloom Expo


What a great time we had at The Nation Heirloom Expo on Thursday! As their website says, “The National Heirloom Exposition is a not-for-profit event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism.”  We really didn’t know what to expect, but we walked into this hall first and were blown away at how much there was to look at and how inspiring it would be.

It was so hard to not pick one of these apples up and take a bite! We might have to join the California Rare Fruit Growers so we can get access to some of the more rare apples trees.


This picture doesn’t do this tower justice, this was about a 10 foot tower of winter squash!

13oo lb pumpkins!

Mindblowingly beautiful beehives by Gaia’s Bees.

Must buy some goldenrod for the bees!

I regret not buying one of these self watering, hand made terracotta seed trays. Anne, the designer and maker said they’d have them for sale on their website soon. I have a feeling they’ll be selling like hotcakes, they are so beautiful!

This birthday girl, in all her rainbow regalia, caught the eye of the Gettles and she ended up having a little photo session with Sasha with a Baker Creek photographer. Very cute!

Great music to listen to at lunchtime by Poor Old Shine.

Other highlights:

: : Running into our neighbor and her aunt

: :  Then running into our uncle and his partner Jane, who runs a farm & CSA in the foothills

: : The amazing vendor hall that I could have spent another hour in had I not had a tired two year old on my hands

: : But I did manage to buy a hand thrown serving bowl and pitcher

: : Great food was served there. We had a delicious BLT and strawberry/rhubarb pie for dessert

: : Talking to Rebecca Burgess and telling her how she inspired me on my naturally dyed fair isle sweater

: : Looking forward to next year when hopefully I can hear some speakers as well!


Filed under beekeeping, Life in Sonoma, what we've learned

two :: happy to you


I’ve been at this parenting gig long enough to know that some birthdays are harder to take than others. Oh, the wee one turning two is one of those. One of those that turns you into a big heap of weepy nostalgia. I spent a good part of yesterday morning going through my daily chores of watering, laundry, and catching up on design work in my weepy state, thinking I’d never get it together to make a cake. Remember when she was such a tiny little thing? After my second cup of coffee and a good walk through the garden I pulled out The Village Baker’s Wife and got inspired. (If you are looking for a new baking cookbook, hands down that is my very favorite!)

She wrote in the book that the only white cake they make at their bakery is a vanilla genoise cake. I’d never made a genoise before and it’s so different from anything I’ve made before. You warm the sugar & eggs and then whisk away until tripled in volume.  (and if you happen to be making this for a very sweet little girl, add a dash of pink food coloring)

Dust in only a cup of flour.

Add some melted butter and vanilla and you’re all set to pour and bake.

As the cake baked, weepiness set back in and instead of scrubbing the bathroom, I made this tiny little banner to put as a cake topping. I’m thinking a whipped cream frosting and maybe strawberries between layers.

Since the wee one is too wee to vocalize wanting a party (instead at any mention of birthday or cake or ‘two’ she says ‘happy to you!’), we’re taking her with us to The National Heirloom Exposition. Because what two year old doesn’t want to run amok at an agricultural festival? I’ll bring my camera and tell you all about it when we get home.


Filed under Life in Sonoma

Chili Pepper Season


While this may be our second summer here, we are considering this our first real growing season. It’s been a real delight to discover what does well here and we can say with certainty that peppers are high on the list. We’ve never had such a pepper season.

When it’s pepper season, it also means it’s chili relleno season too. My favorite season! Early on in our relationship, Scott made me chili relleno from some Poblanos we’d bought at the farmers market. Hands down, that was the spiciest meal I’d eaten to date, but they were so good I ate every last bite. We aren’t growing Poblanos, despite the fact that’s what I bought, instead it turned out to be a Big Jim pepper and a few of those are Anaheims too.

He still has the knack for making the best chili rellenos, which is why this plate never got photographed when it was decorated with sour cream and salsa, because who could remember to take a picture with that in front of them?

And now that the corn is ready for harvest, corn kernel have been making their way into the stuffing. Delicious!

We planted only one Padron pepper this year and that was more than plenty. We are all Padroned out! One afternoon the boys came inside from playing with a shirt full of Padrons asking if they could make some as a snack.

As I’m sure you well know, when a young child comes to you asking if they can eat a green vegetable, please!, you immediately say ‘yes!’ Seconds later four hands were putting them into the hot skillet.

Their choice of salt? Pink Himalayan Sea Salt of course. Only because it comes packaged with a little grater. They ate every one!

What’s doing the best in your garden this growing season?


Filed under In the Kitchen

Early Morning Walk


Happy Weekend Friends!


Filed under State of the Garden

September’s Harvest


We’ve been harvesting green beans like crazy around here. We did a big long row of bush beans, both green and yellow and also purple pole beans which has yielded countless dinners, four frozen quarts and five pints of pickled green beans, with yet another heaping pile in the fridge. In years past we’ve grown a handful of bush bean plants that have provided enough for a few dinners. This year we feel incredibly spoiled.

The melons have grown so that it’s now a lush carpet of vines. Be careful of where you step!

The flowers are enjoying a fall resurgence, school starts today for our boys and I hope that means blogging will become more a part of the routine again.

Happy September!


Filed under State of the Garden