Monthly Archives: October 2012

Rain & Herbal Remedies


It’s been raining off and on the past couple of days and we couldn’t be happier. What’s made this knitting mama even happier is that, thanks to knitting lessons in school from another knitting mama and friend, the boys are hooked on knitting! I’ve walked past their classroom to find them sitting around their teacher giving a lesson, with them all knitting and listening. So sweet. However they are seriously raiding my yarn stash, I may have to establish a Little Boy Yarn Stash for them to work freely from. No more turning my Peace Fleece into a mile long finger knitting chain!

Scott hung up his fishing pole as salmon season ended. He did great this year, filling up our freezer with salmon fillets, smoked salmon and he even dabbled in making caviar too! Who knew you could make caviar. We felt quite indulgent and elegant while eating it.

In other news, during those two weeks of havoc, I also learned what happens when you spill coffee and cream on your lap top. First your ‘L’ key stops working. Then the next day it starts spontaneously ‘L’-ing all over the place. A few days later everything returns back to normal until, when you think you are in the clear, your hard drive begins to corrode away. While my poor laptop was at my trusty Mac Doctor, I missed out on a very limited opportunity to take part in Rosemary Gladstar’s video courses, which John Gallagher of Learning Herbs put together. Rosemary formed Traditional Medicinals many decades back in neighboring Sebastapol. I am a big fan of that line of teas. Especially Mother’s Milk, which I drink when nursing or not. They’ve put together something like 23 videos on how to make different herbal remedies and recipes along with tours of her herb gardens and a two hour class on woman’s health.

At first John only opened the course up for about three days and closed it and I stewed all weekend about how I didn’t get to sign up. However John opened it up for two more days. He’s closing it back down Thursday, Oct. 25th at Midnight. Want to take it with me? Click here to sign up. Let me know if you sign up, I’m going to tonight!


Filed under Body Care

Harvesting Calm Amongst our Chaos & Body Care Recipes in the Works

Harvest Day
The days around here have been non-stop the past two weeks. The Littlest got sick, then the Biggest, followed by the Middle one. The Middle one had a birthday, which he was sick for, the next day the Biggest broke his toe at TaeKwonDo practice. After a full afternoon at the Doctors getting x-rays and waiting for hours with a potty-training, non-napping two year old alongside, we were told there is nothing you can do about a broken toe. So we went home. The next morning I took the Middle one back to the Doctor for an eye exam to find he needs glasses. ‘Oh good!’ I said excitedly, ‘We’ll be twins now!’ Eager to pick out some adorable little boy glasses we headed to the kids glasses display where the Littlest had a potty training accident right there on the carpet and then immediately spilled her apple juice that the seemingly well intentioned nurse gave her. What followed was a classic body twisting tantrum of epic proportions. We couldn’t pick out frames fast enough and get out of there!
Harvest Day
Through the chaos, we’ve been able to gather together the past two weekends as a family for harvesting walnuts. It’s a pretty nice few moments, after a whirlwind week, to work together under shady trees finding and hulling walnuts. Walnuts usually lead to picking tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, squash, one thing leads to the next.
Harvest Day
Harvest Day
And of course a bit more honey. These couple frames of honey tastes so much different from the last. It’s strong in flavor and we are in debate about whether we like the taste at all. What have they been feasting on the past couple of weeks?
Honey Harvesting
Honey & Lavender

(Honey laden beeswax for the girls to clean off and lavender stalks for the bees to perch on for drinking water. All in my new top feeder)

Luckily the days have slowed down back to their normal pace. The toe is almost back to normal, the glasses turned out to be cute as a bug on him and the Littlest one is back to napping. The potty training is going pretty well.

I’ve gotten back to work on some more body care recipes I can’t wait to share with you. I’m hoping to develop five solid recipes into a little booklet with labels to print. Hopefully it will be perfect for Holiday present making. How does that sound? I have a new lip balm recipe that only calls for 3 ingredients and I’m seriously addicted to! It’s really incredible. I’m putting the finishing touches on a face scrub that has my skin feeling like silk and I figured out how to turn my trusty Beeswax Lotion recipe into a body butter that goes on just like, well, butter. And there is a little something for the men in our lives I’m trying to perfect too. I’m excited about all of them. I’ll keep you updated!


Filed under beekeeping, Body Care, just picked

The Beginning of Autumn

Welcome autumn! Oh yes, I know technically autumn started a few weeks ago, but to us, this weekend seemed like the very beginning of fall. The temperatures finally cooled, leaves started dropping and everything seems bathed in that warm sunlight. As I was preparing to finish painting our current kitchen this morning, I was delighted to find that our old kitchen has received a much needed facelift and was featured on Remodelista. You must go take a look!

Around here the walnuts are starting to drop. Since I work well against deadline, I called the boys outside to sit and crack the last bag of last years walnuts before we have to start collecting this years. And I will certainly have to collect some hulls for more walnut dye.

Turns out we did grow a banana squash this year. Though with our late start they haven’t gotten as big in years past. That’s a bit of a relief to be honest!

The grapes have been picked.

A portion of a shrub up and died on us for no good reason. Which meant this little bird nest got to come inside. The egg I collected and saved from a few months ago. The bowl is a relic from my days as an aspiring potter.

Scott harvested up our Smoke Signals popcorn on Sunday. We need to let it sit out for 4-6 weeks until it dried properly and then we can pop away.

Happy Autumn!


Filed under just picked, State of the Garden

Putting Food Up


Putting food up is a lot of work. These pears along with a couple more bags sat in the kitchen a week until I summoned the courage to sit and cut them all, lug out the heavier than heck cider press, grind them, press them and then make pear butter from the pressings.

Meanwhile Scott’s been slowly plugging away at making marinaras with the tomatoes. 5 quarts are in the pantry, only 19 more to make! A few years ago we made it a goal to put 24 quarts up, which would give us a spaghetti dinner every other week or so until the next tomato season. Just thinking about 19 more makes me want to take a nap. It’s so worth it though when you taste it. Home canned marinara is so much more delicious than anything you can buy. We upped our canning ability this year by investing in a pressure canner. Our first pressure canned experiment was salsa.

The corn was all harvested, but that’s easy to put up. Just cut it off the cob and into ziplocks for the freezer. I think this year our harvest should carry us most of the way through the winter.

I had to do a little surgery in one of my hives last week. Somehow, somewhere along the line, someone left a one inch gap between frames in the bottom box and the ladies filled that space up with comb. I spent all summer fretting over having to deal with it. At a recent beekeeping get together a wiser beekeeper encouraged me to just get in and take care of business and I did. Not only did the lovely ladies create an easy to pop out full wall of comb between the frames, but it was almost entirely empty of brood. Phew!

Last weekend my younger son and I went to a bee harvesting event where we helped harvest honey from three different colonies, all in different locations. We started with the honey from the Sonoma Garden Park. See the color above?

Well, we ended with honey from Glen Ellen, the next town north, just a few miles up the road for those not familiar with the area. Look how much darker it is! It’s a nice group of beekeepers we have here in Sonoma. Such interesting people. It was a good day.


Filed under beekeeping, Preserving