Category Archives: Our Weekends

the secret of life


After a busy, hectic, too much on my tiny plate sort of week, we are headed to this place for a while.

I saw this quote the other day and I plan on making it ‘my theme’ for our time away:

“if you learn to use a perfect afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned the secret of life. -lin yutang”

Sending you peace and relaxation! -xoxo-


Filed under Our Weekends

On love, honey, wool and clams


In seemingly an instant the Love in a Mists went from their feathering seeding stage to up and blooming, then petals falling and their great seed heads forming, signalling that we’ve been here on this property for one full year.

I finished my mittens, and now onto my naturally dyed sweater. I dove right in without much forethought as I knew that if ever I start to research and plan I’ll get stuck in details. The sweater will be based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s fair isle yoke sweater. I can’t wait to see how this progresses. I have no idea if any of the above colors are colorfast. I used a mordant in each case, but I’ve heard that is no guarantee. If all fails I’ll throw the whole sweater into a vat of RIT dye and call it a day. Oh and I finally got a passable green, you can see in the upper left, it’s artichoke! My friend Jen told me about getting blue with black beans! If I have anymore white left over after the sweater I’m trying that for sure!

In other news of ‘Kendra dives in without over thinking things’ the bees seem quite happy. I need to open them back up for the third time and see if Hive Left needs a super yet. Why they are so slow to build when their sister hive is three tall and I’m expecting will need yet another super is a mystery to me.

When Scott’s not been busy digging or building or working, he’s been out salmon fishing and taking the boys crabbing and clamming. Grilled salmon, homemade lox, crab cakes and clam chowder have been on the menu the past week.

I hope all is well in your world!


Filed under Our Weekends

Growings On…


The tractor works, the field got mowed.

Unfortunately the tractor does not differentiate between grass and mustard and it all got plowed down. At least our field is too big to mow in one sitting and a patch got saved.

She’s growing too. Walking and toppling all over the place.

The felco’s were sharpened and all the fruit trees have been pruned.

What a job!


Filed under Fruit Trees, Our Weekends

Notes from Our Weekend

Thrifted Typewriter
pig tails
The number of weekend days we’ve spent in our new house relaxing and being productive in that purely enjoyable weekend way, we can count on one hand I think. But today marked the end of the last big project (the roof) and therefore, hopefully, a bit of relaxation. Just a few images of this weekend….
:: a thrifted typewriter for the boys
:: a girl in pig tails for the first time! (why didn’t you tell me it’s so fun to have a girl?)
:: my virgo-ness meets my holiday cookie obsession and results in exactly 2″ square cookies
:: very fancy weekend appetizers with a very fancy martini (local gin, we sacrifice for local eating/drinking you know)
:: just arrived christmas cards around the big mirror and little boys behind me cutting snowflakes. a very good day.
(just realized that this picture of me looks exactly like the one to the left. that was three + years ago and i’m still going without shampoo…should write about that more some day)


Filed under Our Weekends

at least there’s…


It’s been a long week or two around here but the air is starting to clear. We got into this vicious cycle of fixing one thing and as a result having two other things break, you know those cycles. For instance take the car in for an oil change and find out it needs a full day of servicing. Make pear cider for the enjoyment of all, only to see that half of it explodes all over your garage covering all your belongings in a thin coat of sugary stickiness (can’t wait to see the ant infiltration after this!). Indulge in having some new flooring installed only to realize the reality of having to shorten all the doors and cut/paint/install all new baseboard. Light bulbs keep burning out. One kid got strep. You know the drill.

But at least there is seeing your little ones learn how to fish.


And walks in a fall vineyard.

And foggy concerts in Golden Gate Park.

And lomography.

Hope all is well functioning in your world!

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Filed under Life in Sonoma, Our Weekends

Plants & Marmalade


This weekend was marmalade weekend (a view of last year’s marmalade weekend)! My favorite kind of weekend, as marmalade is one of my favorite things. We had a fantastic bounty of oranges from our little tree this year. It was about one paper grocery bag full of oranges. We ate quite a few, but most were saved for marmalade.

It amazes me that we are able to grow oranges. They just seem like such tropical little gems. Have you read The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow? It is one of our favorites. As the story goes, a little boy named Danny drops an orange out of his lunch box in a Swedish forest. The creatures of the forest think that the sun laid an egg until a bird corrects them that it is an orange. When winter comes and the birds migrate south, they take the little wood fairy with them to see the oranges grow and she gets a little straw and sucks the juice out of the oranges. So if ever you get a dry orange it is because the fairy had a drink of it’s juice, and really, you don’t mind sharing, do you? It seems the fairy skipped our yard this year, because all were juicy and delicious.


We did more work clearing out and harvesting what was in the ground in order to make room for new things.

New Plants

We had a few hours without boys on Saturday and were able to take the baby girl with us to the nursery to casually walk and browse. It was so luxurious and reminded us of our pre-child days when those slow visits to the nursery were commonplace. We indulged and bought a whole slew of new plants, kale, half-priced onions, romanesco broccoli, blueberries(!) and a handful of flowers for my flowerbeds which are getting a major redo this year. Two hydrangeas for in front of the cottage, a new rudbeckia, a tea tree for a sunny hot spot and a few penstemon to make my bed more water wise.

Oh, I’ve been experimenting around a bit, both in the kitchen & with body care things that I can’t wait to share! To come soon.


Filed under Our Weekends, Preserving

The First Spring Weekend

Oh what a glorious way to enter into spring. The first tulip bloomed on the first day of spring. There were rain showers, blue, blue skies, billowy white clouds, March breezes, drinks with a new friend, dinner with an old, dear friend and days spent together outside.
First day of Spring, First open tulip
Spring Tulip
Spring Mustard
The mustard is just starting to fade.
Soon to be Cherries
Soon to be cherries.
Soon to be peaches
Soon to be peaches.
Muscari growing wild below our apple trees.
Did you have a good first weekend of spring too?


Filed under Fruit Trees, Life in Sonoma, Our Weekends, State of the Garden, What's Blooming

Insulating our House

Our Family Room Ceiling
This is why my blogging frequency has decreased, because we are making swiss cheese of our house. When we bought this house, it was our first home purchase so we didn’t take into consideration somethings that we would consider now. Seven years ago, we wanted a unique (as in not cookie cutter) three bedroom house with a bit of character, within walking distance to town and with a big backyard. This house had all of those features. But it also had a few features which we completely overlooked. Like single paned windows that were painted shut, walls and floors that weren’t insulated, doors with gaps at the base so large that we could see if someone was standing behind it, a flat top tar & gravel roof with no western shade and no air conditioning. Needless to say, our house got mighty uncomfortable during the summer heat waves. It was like living in an oven. On the 100+ degree heat waves it would easily be 95+ degrees, inside(!). And I made the wise decision of being at my most pregnant through our oven like summers. Twice. Not smart!
Swiss Cheese Room
So we started with the windows. We replaced them with double paned windows that we could actually open. Glory Be! That helped a bit. The next year we installed ceiling fans in every room, which was lovely. The following year we replaced the doors with weather tight solid doors. That made a considerable difference. But it still got bloody hot in here during the summer. So with a crummy real estate economy and the realization that we are going nowhere soon, we decided to take the plunge and have the house insulated yesterday. After less than 24 hours we’ve already noticed a difference. This morning I didn’t go running straight for my slippers when my feet hit the ground and the walls that faced the outside weren’t bitter cold like they used to be.
New/Old Insulation
Because we never like to keep things easy nor simple, we decided to have an electrician come and replace all of our old brittle wires with new ones and also to install some overhead lighting and a new ceiling fan box in our family room. We took down the old yucky ceiling tile and took the opportunity to take out the 65 year old rock wool insulation and add not only new insulation but also new radiant barrier. Have you heard of that before? It’s like bubble wrap encased in aluminum foil and it’s supposed to keep the heat of your attic off of your insulation, so that the insulation has less of a chance of heating up and therefore transferring that heat to the room. It was fairly inexpensive and easy to install and is supposed to make a world of difference. In fact our electrician said that one of his friends installed it in her attic and she actually got rid of her air conditioner! I can only hope.
Needing new trim
And while we were at it, I decided that I didn’t like the baseboard nor the trim around the doors so we’ve been taking it all off, room by room to be replaced by nicer wider trim and baseboard. Oh, and since we’re at it the doors have 65 years worth of paint jobs on it, so we’re stripping the doors down to bare wood and giving them a clean coat of off white paint. It’s a huge laundry list of projects, but I can’t wait until they are all done. And I’m even looking forward to our summer heat for once to see if this new insulation really works.

Summer? I’m ready for it!


Filed under Our Weekends

Pretty Good
Pretty Good

It has been a very long time since I’ve last posted, hasn’t it? But the truth is, that it has rained pretty much every day since I last wrote that post the our drought and besides being insanely busy, I’ve been feeling like maybe it might jinx things if I wrote over that drought post. I think today might be the last of the rain though, so I’m taking my chances. It hasn’t been just a little rain either. The newsman said last night that in the previous 48 hours Sonoma has received 4.53″ of rain. And it rained all night long and it’s raining now still. So while I think water restriction is still a certainty, maybe we won’t have to cut back quite so much.

Meanwhile, since we can’t be outside, we’ve come up with an almost impossible to-do list inside the house. How does one simple little project, like having insulation blown into our walls (we have none!) turn into an almost all house renovation? We spent our long weekend taking off 65 year old stuck-like-glue baseboard, door trim, ripping out parts of the ceiling and sending it in for asbestos testing (negative!), talking to electritians…oh my. Just what have we gotten ourselves into.

But I will be back soon with more garden talk. The hens are going a little nutty with staying in the coop for so long and so are we! We have new Baker Creek seeds to discuss and so much more. I hope your long weekend was a good one.
Pretty Good


Filed under Our Weekends

He Hunted Down a Few Porcinis

He went mushroom hunting
After those rains we had the other week Scott was itching to go mushroom hunting along the Sonoma coast. The first time I ever heard mention of this Scott fellow was from some mutual friends who said that their friend was going mushroom hunting that weekend. I was fascinated, who was this mysterious mushroom hunting guy? Well fast forward a year or so and there I was with him accompanying him after each first fall rain and every spring into the woods along the coast.

You have to put your mushroom eyes on to see them. They grow up under the grasses many times so you have to train your eyes to be able to see these slight bumps in the ground. I was never very good at spotting them, so I mostly went along for the scenery and the fresh ocean/mountain air. Now that we have a house full of chores and two young boys who put everything in their mouths, our mushroom hunting days have dwindled. I’m not quite ready to teach the boys that picking wild mushrooms and eating them is okay. They are too young to understand that some could kill them and some are just fine. We’ll wait a few more years for that.

But Scott went with a friend. They went a full week after the rains which was a little too long to wait. He found lots of cut off white porcini stumps from previous hunters and the ones that were left had many bug bites, but he did get a few. We haven’t eaten these yet, but we are looking forward to nice risotto and porcini dinner sometime soon. And if you don’t see a post from me in a while….well, then maybe you should call poison control for us, would you? Thanks.

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Filed under In the Kitchen, Our Weekends