Category Archives: Musings

Patching Holes


This winter I’ve spent a handful of evenings on the couch, not knitting, but patching. I go in and out of favor in terms of patching my two boys jeans. Last fall, when school began I ordered them all new jeans. When December rolled around there were holes ripped in almost every single pair. These are rough and tumble boys, these boys of mine. With Christmas in full swing there was no time to be had patching, so I ordered them a whole new round of jeans. They had holes in them within 6 weeks. This time I took to patching. It seems rather silly in a way to spend an hour patching a hole in a $10 pair of pants. It’s so much simpler to buy them, but as I’m sure you well know, there is a worldwide price to pay in buying cheap clothes, so if I have extra time on my hands I enjoy patching them. If not for thrift or political statement then for the beauty of a little handmade on their factory made pants.

My hand knit socks had taken a beating on the heels. Unfortunately for me, these socks had been sitting in the mending basket all winter and now that the weather has turned warm, I finally found time to patch them. Since I hand knit them, there was no way I was going to toss these into the trash without trying my hand at fixing them. I had never repaired knit socks before, but I just retraced my original knitting stitches with a new strand of sock yarn and I think I found success. I’ll be all set for cozy autumn weather next October.

Patching things in this day and age seems sort of a luxury as it takes time. And not too many people have that sort of time on their hands. Usually I don’t. And I think a fair amount of people, maybe the majority of people, would rather go out shopping than sitting under a bright light with a needle and thread. I can understand that. And at certain times, I feel that way too. But most of the time I really don’t like either on-line shopping or in person shopping and I would much, much prefer to sit at home on my couch and repair what I already have. It’s a satisfying feeling to use your mind and your hands to fix and mend a broken thing that no amount of shopping could ever recreate.


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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.


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Tending to the House

Slowly, ever so slowly this house is becoming our house. Maybe I had forgotten or maybe I never felt that ‘stranger in my own house’ way with our first house. We were so much younger and newlyweds when we bought that house. We were more used to living in funky rental situations, but we worked hard to transform that house into ours and to leave that all behind and enter a new house to start from scratch was an adjustment. The memories of the previous owners were packed up in boxes and taken away and with our memories yet to be made, we moved into a very empty house. This house always had a warm feeling to it, but with all white walls and not a picture hung on them it lacked life & personality. I promised the boys that we’d add life to their room first. While I nixed their ideas of a black and red painted room, we all agreed on a nice blue, the color of both the water and the sky, as they said. And we added red accents from a little bit of a splurge at Purlsoho. Walking into their room now makes me very happy, it gives me hope that this soon will be our house. That we’ll add the life back into this warm house.

With a big hesitant sigh, I put my very favorite, always saved at the back of the linen cabinet, tablecloth on our kitchen table as an everyday tablecloth. It was a brave move with two boys who seems to put more food on the table and floor than in their mouths, but I did it. Of course it hasn’t been without it’s consequences, it is now stained with catsup and who knows what else, but I needed to see something I loved on the table when I walked into the kitchen, to make it feel more like home.


As I’ve been busy trying to make this house a home, Scott has been incredibly busy making this house a more sound house. We aren’t schooled in construction or in any trade at all, but where we lack training, at least Scott, makes up for in gumption. In our years of homeownership we’ve gotten ourselves into a few head scratching situations, as was this one pictured. I mean, really, what do you do with this? Well, through a series of phone calls and educated guesses and executive decisions, this is now all taken care of and our house is more sound. And the deck almost all ready, we are under deadline after all, we have a boy who’s about to turn a year older and no house is a home without it’s first party.


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15 Minutes to Slow Down

Resolution : Draw More

I made a resolution to draw more this year. And it is one that I plan on sticking to, come hell or high water. I was an art major at one time, I drew as an outlet my entire life, but then I grew up and my daily life got filled with all sorts of things. Drawing took a back seat. So this year I’ve vowed to sit down for 15 minutes each Wednesday morning and draw, something, anything. 15 minutes isn’t very long, just time for a quick sketch really, but I wanted it to be an obtainable goal and I can do 15 minutes.

This day I drew a leaf of a scented geranium that grows outside our dining room window. I started drawing plants my senior year of high school when we had to do senior reports. Did you have to do one of those too? Well, I grew up at the base of Mount Diablo and spent a lot of time hiking all around it as I grew up. So when senior report time came up, I decided to create a book called, The Urban Dweller’s Guide to Mount Diablo. To call it a ‘book’ is really stretching it, it was more like a hand bound booklet. I delved into the flora and fauna of the area and started drawing and writing it all out. Ever since I’ve been fascinated with drawing plants and leaves. It is so soothing and meditative to try and replicate a simple little leaf. And you learn so much about the botany of it all when you draw it. I was always terrible at sciences but when I draw it things start to make sense to me.

Even if you think you can’t draw, I encourage you to try sitting down one day and drawing a leaf. Maybe even trace the leaf, if the idea of drawing the outline of the leaf seems overwhelming and then slowly fill it up with the veins and other lines you find inside. It is a nice thing to do when your shoulders are up to your ears with stress. Slows you down.

Sea Ranch Cards

Cards I made using my print gocco from drawings of grasses up at Sea Ranch.

And I don’t know about you, but I can always appreciate something to slow me down!


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A reminder to eat well

Broken Arm

We got to see inside our oldest sons hand last week. And if you remember from the last post, when we last got to see inside his hand we saw among other things that his young hand were still in the process of growing. This time we saw that we’ve been doing something right because his hand is growing in the most normal of ways, well at least until he broke it. Fascinating to see the changes that have happened, and fascinating to see the obvious break. And so we go about our job of feeding him even more healthy and nutritious foods in hopes of helping him heal a little bit faster. Which promptly began with a treat of ice cream and a t-rex illustration as soon as the cast was put on.
In the very same week they looked inside of my grandma and saw how her kidneys are slowly starting to break down and lose function as is the normal coarse of action when your body gets so old. And they looked inside my sister and saw that her baby is growing well and is expected to arrive next month. It’s not often that we get to use modern technology to look inside of ourselves and our loved ones but it is always a good reminder that one of most important reasons we grow food is to nourish ourselves so that we can help the little ones grow, keep ourselves strong, and help the older ones live as long as they healthfully can.


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My No-Shampoo Hair Saga

This is the first time I’ve shown myself on my blog. Here I am, unshampooed hair and all.

When I first heard about people not shampoo-ing their hair, I immediately thought of the worst…that somewhere out there was a group of yucky greasy haired folks walking around. This was about three years ago when I first discovered the Mothering forums. There was a post link with hundreds of replies to this whole ‘No Poo’ thing. Gross, I thought.

Then last summer I started noticing a trend in bloggers who also decided to stop using shampoo. Amy of Angry Chicken is someone whom I admire so when she gave up using shampoo I became curious. Then I noticed that Meg of Sew Liberated converted too. If these beautiful, crafty woman were doing it, maybe I should try it too?

I first started noticing that maybe you didn’t need shampoo when I had my first son. He was born with very little hair and what precious hair he did have all fell out and he was lacking in the hair department until he was about 18 months old. So I never bothered shampooing his hair because he barely had any. And it never looked bad at all, actually it looked great. In fact I only started shampooing his hair when we was just over two years old only out of peer pressure…everyone else was doing it.

Why Would You Ever Give up Shampoo?
Supposedly most shampoo is laden with terrible chemicals, which is truthfully not hard to believe. Plus going through bottle after bottle creates a lot of unneeded waste and expense. And if you were like me, if you go a day or (gasp) two without shampooing your hair does look like a big greasy mess. Am I right? The real reason I wanted to give up shampoo wasn’t so much for the chemicals or the landfill situation, but because isn’t it always nice to give up being dependent on something that we don’t even really need? Especially something that corporate culture insists we need everyday? It’s kind of a liberating feeling.

The way that shampoo works is that it strips your hair of it’s natural oils. So your body reacts from it’s oil shortage by making more. Then you wash it the next day and strip the oils again, which means that once again your body produces more oil, you see how the cycle works. But by not using shampoo you let the hair oil factory regulate it’s oil production levels to create a healthy balance.

Using baking soda instead of shampoo is a good way to cleanse your hair without stripping it of it’s oils. In fact some people claim that they don’t even use baking soda, they just rinse their hair!

My Entry into Being Shampoo Liberated
I first stopped shampooing last August and it was a total disaster. Maybe it’s because my hair was really long or maybe I didn’t wait long enough through the transition period (it can take a while for your oil glands to slow down their production). I went back to shampoo using. Then in October I cut my hair up to my shoulders and decided to give it a try again. This time I was successful. I started out by combining a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water in a little ramekin every two or three days and bringing that into the shower with me, but soon I got lazy and just combined the two in the same proportion into a large empty plastic bottle (an old Dr. Bronners bottle). I squirt out about half a cup onto the top of my head and give my hair/head a good massage with my fingertips. Then I flip my head over and repeat with the underside of my hair. Then I thoroughly rinse it all out. Some people follow that up with a rinse of diluted vinegar, but I haven’t really found a benefit to doing that with my hair. My hair afterwards is tangle free.

It did take about a week of transition where I had my hair in a pony tail everyday, but after that my hair actually gained more volume. Scott mentioned that he’s never seen my hair look so healthy.

But Then I Went Back to Shampoo for a Bit
But because there is a bit of ‘girly’ in me, I started to miss the nice shampoo smells and big soapy lather. So over the winter I started to shampoo every two week or so. Then I went for another haircut and loved the way my  hair felt after her shampooing that I went caved and brought out the shampoo bottles again. At first I hoped that I could shampoo just once a week, maybe every four days if need be. But I soon realized with shampoo it’s an everyday or nothing commitment. My hair got dependent on shampoo all over again.

So now I’m back to baking soda. And I really don’t think I’d ever switch back. And for those ladies who highlight or color their hair, using baking soda on colored hair is just fine. I highlight my hair (hey, I never said I was completely natural! I do have my vanities.) and the color hasn’t faded a bit. I do the baking soda routine about every four days now. Which means that those days in between I take shorter showers which helps with the whole drought situation. And the fact that I don’t have to keep buying shampoo helps with the whole financial/economy situation. And of course, Scott is back to complimenting my hair again, which is always incentive to keep going. See, it’s a win-win-win situation.

Are you also one of the crazy no shampoo-ers? Tell me your story.

Update: My hair was featured on MSNBC’s website. Check it out!

Update: A 16-Month Update.


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What you are doing in your garden

Spring in Sonoma
One thing that I’ve really enjoyed about having this blog is a realizing that it becomes a bit of a community. So I thought I’d take a moment to share with you what you are all up to, so you can click around and get to know each other too. I realize that this list is only a small fraction of those who visit A Sonoma Garden, but I promise to make this a regular feature so we can all meet each other.

Hortois at Garden Tips also wrote a great article on drought tolerant vegetables. If you are living in California, Australia or another dry summer place, doing anything you can to make your garden more drought tolerant is well worth the effort.

Compostings, who’s blog is always entertaining to read, is teaching us all about inoculants and how they may be necessary for your garden. Don’t know what inoculants are? Better click over to find out.

Maureen at Photos by Meg joined the Freedom Harvest Challenge put on by Path to Freedom. The challenge calls for backyard gardeners to collectively produce a million pounds of produce. 2500 people have signed up already and I’m thinking of adding our name to the list. Maureen has already produced over 48 lbs this year! Impressive!

Our own Sinfonian was featured in the Seattle Times on how to build a 2′ x 2′ potato bin. The great thing about Sinfonian’s potato bins is that they grow as the potatoes grow. As most of you know, as your potato plants grow you should mound more dirt up around the green plant to encourage more potatoes to grow. If you are looking for a compact place to grow potatoes, check out Sinfonian’s potato bin tutorial.

The Perfectly Imperfect has a beautiful picture of red daikon radish slices. Gorgeous vegetables. We are growing some this year and I can only hope they will turn out to be so pretty.

For your daily dose of cuteness, Laura just got in 100 baby chicks. So cute! Really, you must go see the pictures and the video she took of her new chicks.


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