Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

A River Runs Through It

Don't be distracted by the incredibly adorable dog. DON'T DO IT! Focus on that river of tumbled glass she's laying upon. See how it seems to flow from the fountains behind her? Ah yes. It's one of my favorite tricks in the garden.
Wink in her river
Okay now you can just give in to the cuteness. Go ahead. Talk baby talk if you need to. I do. And if you're wondering about Wink's progress, it's one day at a time here. Do you know how brave a dog must be to go up and down stairs when you're blind? I'd say that's one brave little dog. Proud of her.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Link Love: July edition

I find the genius on the interwebz for you....

This is how we freeze large beautiful berries: especially raspberries and strawberries. But the genius is at the end of the post: I love the technique for Poor Man's Vacuum Seal.

Do you love homemade pie but don't want to make a whole one? Or perhaps your family doesn't love pie as much as you do (Jodi, I'm talking to you). Check out these adorable single serving pies, made in canning jars, and frozen prior to baking. Pop one in the oven when you need your pie fix. Genius.

Speaking of pie, check out the Cherry Republic, and all of the beautiful photos of this place over at MattBites. Wow. Now that's cherry pie, and gorgeous fruit to make it with.

Thanks to Canvolution for the tweet sharing this...reusable canning lids. Now you can reuse the jars, rings and even the lids, without having to buy more and more every year. Finally!

Herbal sun teas? She reads my mind. Why pay $2 a bottle for mint flavored water when you can create your own? I foresee lemon verbena waters in my future. And pineapple sage!

Monday, July 26, 2010

What does your garden sound like?

Living in the city, when we're in our garden we can hear kids playing, car stereos, laughter, and sometimes many different languages of the people walking by. Early this morning I heard nearby chickens squawking at each other. But when a breeze comes through the backyard, there's a new sound we're hearing.

Last week was the Cracked Pots show at Edgefield, one of my favorite gardening sales of the year, and it's not about the plants. This is one of two items I purchased at the show. I love John Glasser's eco-chimes for several reasons....the transparency of glass is an ongoing theme in our garden, and I'm just a sucker for this color of blue. He's taken something we'd throw into the recycling bin and made a great piece of art with it....and the sound is great. For me, wind chimes can border on the irritating if the sound is off or too much, but the sound of this glass-on-glass is wonderful.

I thought it only appropriate that it hang above the very location we most like to enjoy a cocktail.

Hope you're enjoying great sounds in your garden this summer!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grass vs Garden: The Great Debate

i love summer
You might be familiar with this conversation...
"I want to expand the back bed."

"What, and take out more grass?"

"Yes, but the grass back there looks horrible anyway."

"So you're going to plant even more plants, and more of my grass is going away."

"But honey, the grass is a pain, and it would look so nice with a purple perennial border and a little height in the background...I'm thinking one of those new hydrangeas. We could put a hosta, your favorite plant, remember? in there too."

"Over my dead body will I let you take away more of my grass."

Does this sound familiar? Maybe? A little bit? Kinda? Variations of this conversation have ensued over the past 12 years as my partner and I have built our garden. In the early days there may have been some stomping from the room and/or tears involved. Maybe. Nowadays? Not so much.

I thought I'd bring up the topic and record it for you for a recent show. Brave, I know. And in the end? It wasn't so heated. We have some humor about it. And it's not like my partner loves the grass. In fact, you might even be on her side after listening to my latest show. Listen in on our friendly discussion of expanding the garden and getting rid of some more grass....

Listen to the latest Lelo Homemade here.

You can listen to other episodes here.

Or subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New canning label design available

Introducing, gingham.
Tay tay tayberry

Tayberry Jams

This beauty is now available in my Etsy store if you'd like me to create a customized label for you in this design for your canned goods. Get the new Gingham label here. Like I say in the product description, finally, you have a label worthy of the beauty, work and time you put into that jar in the first place.

And, if you're looking for the classic series I originally created, you can get those here:
In red
In purple
In green
In orange

I never would have thought when I first made these for myself, that I'd get so many comments on my canning posts about my labels. Offering these up on Etsy has been a fun side project, and I love how popular they are with so many of you. I've had over 90 orders and created over 200 custom labels. You go you food preservers!

Thank you for all of the wonderful feedback and inside view on all of the great products you're canning: your work is inspiring!

There's something naughty in my front yard

Naughty Nineties Poppy
And her name is Papaver 'Naughty Nineties.' Can't say we go for subtle here.

I'm looking forward to her reseeding and providing plenty for next year. Our front yard trollop garden. Perfect.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The real queen of our household

Behold, she is holding court today...
The real queen of the household
Picasso is 17 or so, and definitely the ruler of this household. She likes to survey her subjects from afar, and at a higher height. She is a queen, you know. That jasmine behind her smells amazing right now, by the way. The queen approves.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Summer time means berry time in Oregon

Berries and berries
Rise and shine, it's berry time. And that means it's time when my partner gets to play "row boss" and relive her childhood of picking berries. But now it comes with discovering we actually love picking berries, being among the rows of juicy orbs, taking our dog with us, and checking to see if we've arrived on The Perfect Day of Harvest.

And so it came to be, we popped in at the local farm to just pick two pints of raspberries for the raspberry sherbet I wanted to make. Lo and behold, it was The Perfect Day of Harvest and though we hadn't planned on picking and jamming that day, it was meant to be. So off we went. Wink and I picked a few. But the Master Picker I was with picked buckets. Buckets! See photo above. All kinds of berries were ripe; raspberries, blackberries and currants. We sampled and picked, and here is what we know....
Raspberries taste as bright as they look, but they're delicate and gorgeous. Delightfully sweet they deliver a tang right on the middle of your tongue. I think they might be my favorite. If I were to have a favorite.

Sylvan Blackberry
Sylvan blackberries are juicy explosions that burst in your mouth. To me, they taste like summer. Firm and plump, they're tart and rumor is, they make a fantastic pie. I think if you look up blackberry in a dictionary, a photo of a Sylvan blackberry would be there. Side note: some of the Sylvan's we picked in the field were super sweet, almost as sweet as a Chester, I was told by my row boss.

Loganberries are soft, pastel, and taste very much as if influenced by the raspberries. They almost dissolve in your mouth and are fleeting and delicate. Summer magic.

Tayberries? Tayberries. These are the berries we've used the past several years for our jam making, and this season's crop did not let us down. Tayberries are subtle and juicy, sweet without being cloyingly so. They are amazingly floral, giving depth to the jam. I made a little side batch of Tayberry jam with lavender: those flavors were just meant to go together.

As the season continues, there will be more Oregon berries to pick. I'm not sure which is more fun: picking berries on a sunkissed day with someone you love, or sharing a jam scone with the one you love in February made with jam from berries you picked together on a sunkissed summer day. For now? I'll choose summer.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

To relax

Someone is on vacation
Summer is....
to relax
to soak in the sun
to eat berries fresh from the vine
to giggle
and big laugh
til you cry and your sides hurt
to explore
to try things you've never done before
to feel the cool grass between your bare toes
for pedicures
for flip flops
to dance with hummingbirds
and dragon flies
and big huge mosquito eating spiders
to stand at the sink and eat fresh tomatoes
to hold hands
to swim in ice cold rivers
to smell like bonfire the next morning
for pigtails
and buns
skirts that flounce
while walking your dog around the block
for piles of books to read
and giving yourself a break.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

As easy as pie

I used to think the key to success in crafting food in my kitchen as about following a recipe. The more ingredients, the more sophisticated, right?

Oh what a long way I've come. Because I've discovered it's not how fancy the recipe is, but the quality of the products you put into it. And the real secret? The fewer ingredients, the better your food can be.

Talk about full circle huh?

And that leads us to this...

Polka dot pie

Polka Dot Pie, made with fresh strawberries, and blueberries and blackberries frozen from last summer's harvest. I have to tell you something. I've kind of stopped using recipes when it comes to making pie.


Because they are simple. And the key to good pie is simplicity, and really good, fresh product. I've been using local butter from an Oregon dairy, and the good folks at Stone-Buhr recently dropped off a bag of their certified sustainable flour on my doorstep. Yes, I came home with a bag of flour on my doorstep. I love saying that. Their flour has been making some pretty wonderful pies and pizzas. Both things, which are best with fewer items. Check out the cool thing with Stone-Buhr: at FindTheFarmer.Com you can trace back to the exact farm where your flour was grown and harvested. Stone-Buhr uses wheat sourced through Shepherd's Grain, a small collective of Food Alliance-certified wheat farmers in Oregon, Washing and Idaho. Stone-Buhr is available at New Seasons and Safeway.

For a lot of folks pie isn't easy to make and there's a lot of nervousness about making your own crust, etc., but in the end? The key to good pie is simplicity, and that is easy as pie.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

Fourth of July Favorites
I have this thing for taking photos of our fireworks stash. See photos above. These are 3 years worth of photos, but trust me, there are more. Don't ask me why, I do not know. It is just something I do. But then, I also like red white and blue jello on the Fourth of July, so go figure.

Have a great holiday.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Too cool not to share: some link love

I've been admiring some things lately and thought I should share them with you...

Kelly Wilkinson has been making all kinds of cool things over at MakeGrowGather, and you should check out her fun blog. I especially am liking her ode to lazy summers. But she recently achieved genius status with her tomato cage lanterns. I love this idea, especially since I have an old tomato cage with bent feet that would be perfect for this purpose. And don't even get me started on how cool these are.

I've been rejoicing in one of my favorite produce farms and stands out on Sauvie Island has opened a satellite stand in a parking lot not far from my house here in North Portland. Thank you Kruger's and welcome to N. Lombard! And concerts are back on this summer out at the farm, so make sure to add this calendar to yours.

Berry season is upon us and as she always captures little moments like berry picking so well, Chiot's Run has some lovely photos and an ode to berries. See her post here. Aah, she's making me remember the days of ollalieberries.

Raspberry ice cream? Someone's been reading my mind lately. I have some planned. A review like this should be listened to, and acted upon.

What does your garden sound like? No, really sound like? Mr. Brown Thumb posted this and it just blew me away. Be inspired and see if you can open your ears to the sounds in your garden next time you're in it.

This has me written all over it. You know how I love the margarita pie. Booze + dessert item = Perfect.