Portland


Press Publish ~ Portland. Celi’s there you know. Hers was the first blog I followed when first starting mine in May of 2011. Her blog is a treat. If you haven’t already you should check it out. Some sessions will be live streamed, you have to register for tickets. Her session will begin at 1:45. There will also be so many helpful sessions, I hope to catch this one, as I am new to WordPress Premium.  I am a little excited. crab apples in a bunch Here is my very first post, have you read it? It seems so long ago, so much has happened since that day in May. There have been failures and unexpected successes. Moments to embrace and lessons in letting go. Through it all, I have laughed, cried, and learned. Delightfully alive. Be well, Jess

Barns of the mid-west at 55 mph…


“I have found out that there ain’t any surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

I know good team work when I see it.

In the future, I may need to make it a point to embark, with friends on a trip to test our compatibility. Because if you can make it on the road dealing with logistic snafus, idiosyncratic nuances, digestive challenges, utilizing your Travel IQ, overcoming car breath (ya, know, the I have been in this car for 24 hours with no tooth-brush breath) and physical dissimulation, well, you can deal with the more mundane daily issues of life. And I firmly believe that. But, no, there was no test drive, so, let’s just do this!

We (8) were heading to Iowa from NH, Connecticut and the Capital Region of New York. The logistics of that alone may be staggering to some, hold on though, we had llamas in tow, they all had to get to Dakota Ridge Farm, then they had to fit in one trailer. One trailer, at one farm, so that we could leave at one time! They arrived in vans, well 2 vans, and a trailer; The Trailer. The one and only trailer. Do you see a problem yet?, Nope, me neither.

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We’ve all arrived at DRF, everyone with their llamas, showing paraphernalia, clothing, water bowls, llamas, hay, coolers, blow-dryers, tents, health certifications (the llamas, not ours), muck boots, llamas, show boots…pillows, don’t forget the pillows. Yes, all of this has to go in one trailer. No worries, I know a good team when I see one. Paul and Todd have the spatial relations to configure a viable traveling equipment formation – did you get all that? Of course, we were to leave by 8:00, it is now 10:00, but what are a few hours spent in the company of friends.

And Head ‘em out

This travel adventure takes extraordinary determination, chutzpah, daring, grit, and even some intestinal fortitude… Are you up for it? Well come along as we hit the road.

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What a wonderful trip, last June, with wonderful friends. We hope to do it again this year!

Jenn with her favorite girl(Llama) at the Iowa fair-grounds. (a very, very pregnant girl)
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Be well,
Jess

Blue and Gold


While I am not sad to see it go, (hopefully, it will go) snow does have its own beauty.

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The setting sun casts its long shadows across the crystalline field. I suppose we should appreciate these views, for mud season will soon be upon us.

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I think the animals can sense a change is near. Supper time now can happen in the light and my hands and feet are not quite frozen when the last one is watered and fed. I hope that we have seen the last of the negative temperatures, though morning before last was -17 at morning feed time.

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Revie, needs a good spring cleaning! I took her warming jacket off as its going to be in the high 30’s and 40’s this week. I haven’t seen her undressed since December.

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Revie’s Mom, never far from her first cria.
Looking at these photos, I get a bit excited thinking of shows and fairs.
Last year, we took KatDoll to a large national show in Iowa. A long haul for us; we live in Upstate New York. KatDoll seemed off, we thought it was just the trip. She hardly ever kushed (lied down) during the long the trailer ride, which was half way across the country. Weird right. She did ok at the fair, but she really wasn’t herself. We planned to board her at a friends farm, after the fair; to breed with her beautiful male. Off she went for her intimate vacation.

We were expecting a May baby of this year (2015).
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I really never gave it much more thought; until one morning before opening the shop, I went to the barn to collect eggs and to grain the animals. I looked though the open window at the girls. Looked back to the task at hand… suddenly it hit me. There is a baby in there! What? How can this be? The cria was standing almost under her Mom, so I knew whose baby it was instantly. I ran wildly back into the shop to tell Jenn. I think she thought I had finally lost it.

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A beautiful, baby she was. A young male had been precocious enough to set up a secret rendezvous. We knew who the cheeky suitor was. Though he wasn’t telling. Long story short; the reason KatDoll wasn’t herself, at the show was readily apparent; we had unknowingly trailered a her at 9 months pregnant half way across the country. Uggh. How awful. Luckily all was well.

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Be well, Enjoy the day.
Jess

Just One Tiny Seed…


Spring, opportunity, hope, I think these three words belong together. It all starts with one tiny seed, sown with hope, and if by magic, it becomes a towering sunflower, a a clambering vine of beans, a 40 pound pumpkin, or a sweet smelling sweet pea, isn’t that hard to believe?
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Yet, it happens; reminding us with hope, and determination anything is possible. Nurture your even the tiniest seed of a dream, and with work and perseverance it can be. I still have to pinch myself at times as I look around this Shoppe. It was a lot of work, and many, many hours of work; it still is, but, is worth it.
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If a seed can burst into life in NYC, it can grown anywhere!

Following your dreams is not for the faint of heart, if your want it, really, really, want it. You must put in the work. Some folks, think if you dream hard enough, it will fall into your lap. Nope, that’s not how this works. [Well, I guess you can dream of winning the lottery. That’s not much work..] But, you get what I’m saying right?
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Right now, I’m dreaming of making a really fresh sweet dessert. I noticed this morning there are lots of rhubarb stalks ready to be picked. So, I’m thinking Strawberry- Rhubarb Squares, a shortbread type of dough… I will work on the recipe today, pick the stalks tomorrow…and I am a little excited now. I will share photos tomorrow.

Be Well,
Jess

You may need a weed. or dandelions, not just sunny face.


At the start of this years garden and yard cleaning season; I am thinking of all of the chemicals folks think they need. To have perfect lawn is not so perfect anymore, it come with its fair share of guilt. Doesn’t it? Round up, the most publicized weed killer, kills more than just the weeds, so we are finding out. It has been doing a number on bee populations as well. I was never one to use chemicals much anyway. Have you ever sat and watched your toddlers and young children frolicking on your freshly mowed lawn; only to have the sinking feeling come over you with a gust of hot air? Oh how lovely, look at my children rolling around in the poisons I just spread all over, is not a picture of parental bliss. Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah, weeds. Some how we have the silly notion that nature has this all wrong, and we need to correct this mistake. . How dare Mother Nature throw weeds willy nilly all over our lawns! For crying out loud.

Weeds need love too and weeds can be beneficial; they can add fertilizer to your soil, increase moisture content, attract insects, and repel insects. Some are good to eat, some have medicinal benefits, some have both. Take the dandelion for instance, honey bees love them, they are a natural diuretic, and they can be eaten in salads or cooked. You can even use the to make dandelion wine, for goodness sake. THey help less hardy plants as well, their tough tap roots bring nutrients to the surface for neighboring plants to use.
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Dandelion greens are packed with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, E, & K, and calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium & copper. Dandelion greens are also about 14% protein, which is MORE protein per serving than spinach, Popeye’s favorite muscle-building food. Dandelion greens are especially beneficial for the liver and aid in flushing out toxins and remineralizing the body. It’s high beta carotene and flavonoid content also benefits the immune system and cardiovascular system. Dandelion greens are also one of the richest sources of plant-based Vitamin K and Vitamin A . If you pick them from a back yard, just make sure they have not been sprayed with any pesticides and wash in cold water before using. The leaves can also be dried and later used as a medicinal tea. So, go ahead, add a few dandelion leaves to your soup, salad, green juice, or smoothie.
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Or how about Purslane? I swear this stuff can grown in concrete! Purslane is eaten throughout much of Europe and Mexico. It contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. It can be eaten in salad, stir-fried, or cooked like spinach. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicines to treat infections and topically to soothe and heal sores. A great companion plant for tomatoes and peppers. It breaks up hard soil and hardpan, brings nutrients and water up from deeper than crops can reach, provides healthy ground cover, stabilizing soil moisture.
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Alright, could someone please help me down form this soap box? I’m done, I’m done, I swear don’t leave me here…
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Pint Sized Gardening.


I was asked a few days back for ideas around children’s gardens and gardening with children. Do reserve a space for “their” garden, do they help with small parts of the whole shebang, or do they have specific tasks? time to pull

My children helped with the whole thing. they helped start the seeds, they helped plant; well until they got tired. or hot, or thirsty, or hungry, or a butterfly fluttered past. You get the way things worked, right?
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downMy eldest daughter adored sunflowers, many were planted at our home and in her Poppa’s garden. She could not wait to pose for a picture with the humongous flowers towering over her diminutive, but oh so coordinated person. She was all of about 26 pounds upon entering kindergarten. Tiny but make no mistake – there is not a person or thing she was afraid of and she had a patented mad-walk to prove it.I think she could have registered that, holeh.

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Justin loved the berries, luckily they grew wild, I could never have planted enough for him. WHen we went pay per pound berry picking at a nearby field, I always thought they should weigh him as he entered and disregard the basket he carried. The blue smile and belly clutching upon exiting was a tell tale sign.

garden carrots Jenn’s favorite was carrots, and we rarely had a carrot grow to maturity, she checked them so often to see if they were ready for her soup creations. These soups [and keep in mind at this point in time she was 4 – 5 years of age], contained any number of things, though not very much of anything, an underdeveloped string bean, a carrot the size of a pen cap, a few peas, some water, and maybe some lettuce. I always was granted a taste. You can only imagine the look of guarded enthusiasm as I partook of this culinary delight.

I think my point here is ,isn’t every garden a child’s garden if we let it be. If we let go of the controls for a bit, let them dig in, as little or as much as they wish. No your rows won’t be as straight, your harvest may not be the envy of the neighborhood; heck you may have tomatoes in your squash! Sometimes I stressed more than now I think prudent..with age comes wisdom so they say. I will be planting many raised beds her at the PIcasso’s , and I am yearning for those eager little hands to help. Childhood passes so quickly,but, I don’t wanna grow up!
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We did have some child-like structures in our gardens over the years, like sunflower forts, pole bean tee-pees, and plants to attract butterflies, there was one year this was particularly important. 097
Fairy gardens would be fun for little ones to create, I think. Or brightly painted tires, filled with salad or salsa fix ins; easy to weed and fun to do!

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I am eager to start spring specials, put the soup pots up to rest; fill our plates with spring’s fresh bright culinary delights. Peas anyone?

Asparagus. Asparagus? Yes, Asparagus.


An aphrodisiac. Yeah, you heard me; Nicholas Culpepper, a 17th century herbalist, wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman.”
In 19th century France, bridegrooms were served 3 courses of asparagus at their prenuptial dinners (not absolutely necessary, I hope, but asparagus lore nonetheless) to, well, you get the picture.

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Can you tell I’m in the mood ~ for Spring!

What is spring without asparagus?!Do you have asparagus growing in your garden? If not, it’s not hard to get started, you just have to be patient, well. for a couple years!spears

You can get asparagus crowns at most garden centers.
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Dig a furrow about 10 inches deep and wide and as long as you want your row to be. Fill the trench about halfway with compost and place your asparagus crowns on top, about 10 inches apart and cover loosely with soil and water. This is best done in the springtime as soon as the danger of frost has past.
You won’t get any spears your first year, but the fern-like foliage will still be pretty. Make sure you mulch well every autumn to keep weeds down and a steady stream of nutrients coming. Asparagus is a hungry plant.
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Do not harvest your asparagus until it’s at least three years old. This allows the plant to have time to build a strong root system. When your’s is ready; gather the asparagus and leave at least one stalk in the ground, for good luck, so the lore goes; actually it is common sense, it leaves seeds for sowing.
Asparagus is great for permaculture because it can live 15 years or more and keep providing you with tasty spears each spring.
It grows best in sandy, alkaline soil in full sun, but it’s not picky. It can handle a bit of shade and less than perfect soil too, as long as you fertilize it well.
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Your plants will start sending up shoots shortly after the frost has past and may continue well into June. Cut the shoots near the base when they are about 10 inches long and about as thick as your finger. If they are thinner than a pencil, your plant isn’t ready for harvesting yet, or it’s gotten tired of being harvested and needs to be let alone. Make sure the heads of the spears are tight and haven’t started to feather out. Once they’ve started to get ferny, it’s too late to harvest them.
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Asparagus is best eaten fresh, but if you want to save some for later, put it in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers and store it in the fridge. If you want to save some for a long time later, steam the stalks for about five minutes and then freeze them in a freezer bag.

Asparagus is a good diuretic and is full of nutrients to help build up strength. Asparagus is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you’ll find. It is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A, C and thiamin, contain no fat or cholesterol and are low in sodium.

It is best lightly steamed so that it is tender-crisp and bright. I like to serve it with a tangy lemon butter sauce.
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PS. It’s a good food to eat when you are doing a bodily cleansing, a great “spring tonic” kind of food.

Soup’s on…at Picasso’s: chicken noodle with kale, corn chowdah, and creamy carrot curry (vegan)
try a citrus salad on baby kale, or grilled pear and pork on mixed greens.
Turkey burger with vidalia balsamic jam!

Be well,
Jess