Sunday, November 29, 2009

The best kind of gift: it gives and gives again

What if you could give a gift that gave to both your recipient and to others who need it most? What if the extravagance of many of our holidays leaves you empty and wanting to do something else, more, to help others? What if I told you you could give the most delicious pears to the ones you love, while giving fruit to those who need it the most? Naumes fruit does exactly that.

I recently received a gift of Naumes’ pears and am so grateful to a company who believes in delivering such an excellent product while doing good.
The Naumes Family believes that farming is more than a business or occupation. It is the great responsibility of being a guardian of the land to feed the people of the world.
For every pound of fruit purchased, they donate a pound of fruit to a local food bank.

It’s so easy to assume that everyone has access to the abundance of fresh local produce that many of us enjoy. But the truth is, convenience foods are often priced and made available more often, and the simple joys of biting into a fresh, ripe piece of fruit isn’t always accessible to all.
We’ve had family visiting and my box of Oregon pears have been so popular and delicious for breakfast. But to know that others are able to enjoy these same fruit because of the gift? That means 1000x more.

I know there are a million kinds of gifts we can choose to give to those we love, but giving to those most in need is a special kind of gift. With Naumes Fruit you don’t have to choose.

I hope you’ll check out their gift boxes and consider giving a gift of delicious Oregon pears while supporting a local food bank. It’s the very best kind of gift, isn’t it?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I have Ewok feet

Ewok feet
It is Winter.
I live in an almost-100-year-old house.
I live in Oregon.
It is cold here.
My floors are cold.
Except for the bathroom floor with the extravagant radiant floor heat.
I work at home.
I shuffle around a lot.
My partner does the day-after-Thanksgiving sales.
At Fred Meyer.
I do not.
Though early on in our relationship, you could find me wandering the aisles of Fred Meyer at 5:30 am the day after Thanksgiving.
I don't do that anymore.
But someone else does.
And for that I am grateful.
Because I now have a year's worth of socks.
A new pillow.
She has some new tools.
And I have feet that look like Ewoks.
But they are so toasty
Happy ho ho holidays people.
Ewok feet and all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Glow on, Beautyberry, glow on.

Beautyberries are a trip
It was a cold grey day, sometime in November, maybe 8 years ago. I pulled into the parking lot of the nursery—I was doing some holiday shopping. My car is grey, the sky was grey, I wouldn't have been surprised if what I was wearing was grey. And as I pulled into the spot, I saw the weirdest plant ever. For a second I thought someone had pulled a fast one and had either wired these electric purple berries on this deciduous shrub, or had taken a can of spray paint to them. They were bright purple and in this land-to-sky Portland grey, I fell in love. Beautyberry, or, Callicarpa bodinieri, if you like.

Recently I came across a beautyberry in full beauty, and I had my camera with me. It was a whole row of them, and the color was triple-fold in mass like this.

Beautyberry is truly beautiful

I finally made a home for one in our garden this last year, planted just outside my office window so that I can keep my eye on it during the grey times. I just checked in on it and yes, it has a few beautyberries, shining that crazy neon purple. Crazy beautyberry.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My eye spies...

The Colonel is in the employees only room.
The colonel is in the employees only room

And evidently, he's not alone but with his doppelganger.
The colonel and his doppleganger

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oregon's only Frank Lloyd Wright building

IMG_3312 copy
The Gordon House at the Oregon Garden was up and moved from its rural farm property in 2001. It's the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed building in the state, and I've been meaning to visit it for awhile. In fact, it's the only Frank Lloyd Wright in the Pacific Northwest.

I've been to the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles: a stunning hilltop Wright home complete with his water + fire combination in the house. Seriously stunning. The Gordon House is very different, and is one of his Usonian designs, meant to be utilitarian and designed specifically for a middle-class family. Life Magazine commissioned Wright in the 1930's to design these homes, "Eight Houses for Modern Living." When the Gordon House was built in the 1960s with his Usonian design (Usonian means United States of North America) for Evelin and Conrad Gordon, it was quite the talk of the town. Visiting the home, it's obviously, and wonderfully, very different from the traditional farm houses in the area. I think I would have liked the Gordons.

While I didn't go inside, it was obvious in peeking around that Wright influenced current home design and the concept of the great room. His approach was to not create tiny mansions but to rethink how homes were used: built-ins, open living space, and another of his signature design elements, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors. The placement of the home, in an orchard of ancient oaks, is perfect.

The Gordon House website

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cute on cute

Watch out. This is so cute your teeth are going to rot and fall out of your mouth.

Cute on cute

Do you have family who take photos of things when they think of you?

Bungee jumping gnome
Yeah, me too. As evidenced by the gnome bungee jumping as seen by my parents while visiting New Zealand.

Those crazy New Zealand gnomes are hard core!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't buy into the crap

'Tis the season for crap, crap and more crap. Blankets sold as robes, 1001 decorations to glop all over your house and nic nacs you know you don't need but for some reason you get sucked into.


Don't do it. And don't buy into the spending tons of money on the holidays. Let go of the stress and the unreal expectations and enjoy some classic time together, make a new tradition of volunteering, or revel in the experience of trying something new. Like making a pie.

Pie is simple, right? Right. And you certainly don't need this:
Just say no to pre-fab pie crust tops
This is Portland Pie Commissioner Gretchen, and she and I both agree, this is crap you don't need nor should you when making your pie.

Don't buy into the crap people!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Put out more wonderful in the world

Beauty above

I've been thinking about my footprint lately. Not my size 8 shoe footprint and not my environmental footprint. But about my wonderful footprint. How much wonderful do you put out in the world?

I'd like to thank the Portland Art Museum for putting out this wonderful footprint as seen above. Hundreds of Chinese lanterns strung above in the courtyard between buildings. Not permanent or lasting or "sustainable" but wonderfully ephemeral and enchanting.

Sometimes when the world gets me down, I think about putting out more wonderful in the world. It counteracts the mean and attracts more wonderful, multiplying and growing faster than anything negative can amass.

Seeing wonderful isn't pollyanna: it's acceptance and owning activity to counteract it, to insert oneself into the equation and to be a part of the change, not to sit idly by and snip and snipe.

To put out more wonderful into the world and let it catch on.

Monday, November 09, 2009

What the heck are you doing with all of that jam?

Before I started making my own jam, I wasn’t a big jam buyer. So when my pantry was stocked with berry, peach, and strawberry jam after my first year of food preserving, I did ask myself a few times, “What the heck are you going to do with all of that jam?” Yes, they’re perfect for giving as gifts, but still. So I thought it might be helpful to share with you a few ways I’m using all of that jam.

scone jammers

These are my favorite drop scones, you know the bones to this recipe. But instead of adding any nuts or dried fruit, I form the dough more into the shape of “jammers”, or scones with a center top pool of jam.

Big tablespoons of jam go into the specially shaped dough, and cook right along with the scone itself. In these photos I used my peach preserves: they’re pretty sweet and are perfect for this use.

scone jammers in the works

These scones were made for jammin’, and that’s just what they’ll do, these scones were made for jammin’ and they’ll jam all over you.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Travelin' Thru


Someone hitched a ride on an incoming bouquet. And check out the salvia it's riding on. My favorite fuzzy Mexican salvia: it may have taken all summer long until it began to bloom in October, but at least it bloomed.

And yes, this post has a soundtrack. I hum this song everytime I find an insect in the house. What? Don't you?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

For the love of doing it yourself

(and for the love of a good terrarium)
I love a good terrarium
I love to learn. To try something new. To figure it out. Thus, I'm a lover of doing it yourself, or, DIY. If you're a regular to my blog, you know that about me. It's the love of learning that drives me. It's in my creativity, using emotions and a little bit of intuitive tapping into bits and pieces, that drives me to create. To make. To grow.

So I have to tell you I love this podcast, Destination DIY, about other people who like to get things done themselves, too. And if you're in Portland? Lucky you: they're hosting a salon (oh how I love a salon!) this Friday night with live demonstrations and interviews about how to make radio, how to make bacon, and how to make a terrarium. TERRARIUM. Yes, a terrarium. And I believe it will even be offered up for a silent auction to help raise funds for the show. There's stop-motion animation, music and should be an all around good time.

You should go!
PDX Salon presents An Evening of DIY
8pm November 6, 2009 at The Woods
Admission sliding scale $10-20

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The hex

The flu descended on me

I’ve been fighting being sick. I didn’t know it, but it started to come on last week in the form of an eye infection and exhaustion. Evidently I fought it off, until yesterday, when it punched me in the gut and ran away laughing. I laid in bed curled up in a fetal position, shivering and miserable for the day. AdRi brought me 7-up, soup served on a tray in bed, and a gentle patting of my back. She’s the best caretaker ever. My body is tired, but I feel better today. I’m not sure what it was or is, but I’m hoping it’s on its way far, far away.

Hex be gone.

My gnome grows weeds

My gnome grew weeds

You may remember my friend Seymour of the Woods. He had a wonderful summer, and even took up a little bowling. Crazy Seymour. But looks like he's also taken to growing weeds. Of course it's a clover, being the gnome that he is. Lucky for him I haven't pulled it. But I'm tempted.

I am so done with the garden for the year. Done. There's work to be done out there but I have zero desire to do any of it. Yes, there are overly eager multipliers to dig up, plants to cut back, and old zucchini and corn plants to pull up. The seeded perennials and annuals I'm leaving for the birds. But I'm done for the year. Well, except for those carrots and leeks I need to harvest. There are those. But after that? That's it. And I mean it.

Someone needs to tell Seymour to pull his own weeds. He needs to start pulling his weight around here or in the words of Heidi Klum, "You're ought!"

Monday, November 02, 2009

Black peppers at the back door

Ornamental Pepper 'Black Pearl' have been greeting us at our back door all summer long.
Black peppers turned red

The peppers were a deep shiny black, until recently when they've turned this bright red. I love them and hope to find them again next year.

I think they'd look fetching with some airy green Asparagus Fern, or rising above some creeping golden thyme.

Their deep true black leaves don't lighten or show areas of green at all: this is a true black plant and definitely one of my favorites.

Black leaved peppers