Monday, May 21, 2007

Today - In Our Native Garden...

Click on photo composite to enlarge - © 2007 jim otterstrom
These pictures were taken this morning* in the native plant garden as spring begins to bloom toward summer.
Top left to bottom right:
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei)
Wild Geranium (Geranium richardsonii)
Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum)-orange variety
Blue Flax (Linum lewisii)
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Creeping Oregon Grape (Mahonia (Berberis) aquifolium var. repens)
Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum)-yellow variety
Grape Soda Lupine (Lupinus excubitus)
Desert Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia)
*Except for the Wild Geranium picture, top center, which was taken last week, and there are several more in bloom today.
And, speaking of today, I hope you are all enjoying the gift that each day is, and the incredible beauty of the nature all around us.
I'm going back outside now...

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yesterday's Recipe, Today's Dinner...

Click on photo to enlarge - © 2007 jim otterstrom

While I was putting yesterday's post together my mouth was watering as I wrote about this soup, so today I decided to make it for dinner.

It's every bit as good as I remember, if not better.

The beautiful placemat is one of a pair that was made for us by a wonderful and talented blogfriend thousands of miles from here.

And, I repeat...

Yum! There's nothin' like a good pot of beans...

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kale & White Bean Soup - For Christa

Click on cover to enlarge - © 1985 Edward Espe Brown/Shambala

Click on recipe to enlarge © 1985 Edward Espe Brown/Shambala

Our Mother's Day post brought a question from Christa, at the Calendula & Concrete blog, about how we use kale, so I thought I'd post one of our all-time favorite bean soup recipes. This delicious soup is just one great way to make use of kale. Try it once and you'll be hooked. We don't use the "cream to finish" option, it's creamy enough as is.

Yum! There's nothin' like a good pot of beans...

We're not vegetarians but we have stacks of vegetarian cookbooks and the Tassajara Recipe Book is full of healthful tasty dishes that please our down-home natural-food loving palates.

Addendum-10 A.M.

We also use kale sauteed or stir-fried with garlic & spices in a similar fashion to the delicious sounding suggestions Roger, of the Dharma Bums blog, left in his comment here, and we often add seeds & nuts (sunflower seeds, shelled pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts, etc.) to our greens, sometimes serving them with red quinoa, brown rice, millet, or Indian Rice Grass (when we can get it).

The youngest tenderest leaves of kale are aslo a tasty addition to fresh green salads, where we might combine them with several lettuces and spinach from our garden, as well as with young dandelion leaves (before they flower because they become bitter after flowering), lamb's quarters/goosefoot (chenopodium), or amaranth leaves---three very edible, tasty, and highly nutritional 'weeds' growing in our native plant garden.

Two other cookbooks we often refer to, which might be relevant here, are, 'Greens Glorious GREENS!', by Johnna Albi & Catherine Walthers, and, 'Hot & Spicy & Meatless', by Dave DeWitt, Mary Jane Wilan, and Melissa T. Stock.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Harvest

Click on photo to enlarge - © 2007 jim otterstrom

Peggy, the loving Mother of my kids, holds a basket full of gifts from Mother Earth, freshly harvested from the garden and the chicken coop. Today's bounty was lots of spinach, chard, kale, rhubarb, several types of lettuce, and, of course, eggs. We had superb "melt in your mouth" steamed spinach with hard-boiled eggs for lunch, followed by Peggy's home-made Rhubarb Cobbler.

We shared about half of today's harvest with our friends Bill and Kathy yet still had plenty for today's lunch, tonight's salad, and greens for tomorrow's meals too.

And, we've called our Mothers, and our kids have called Peggy.

Most of our day was spent working in the garden but I've also been assembling photos I took at our niece Sara's wedding to send off to the family.

We attended Sara and Luca's simply beautiful wedding and reception in Santa Barbara over Earth Day week-end. But that's a whole nuther post which I hope to get to soon.

I'm way, way behind...


And wouldn't it be a better world if we thought of very day is Mother's Day and Earth Day?

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Avalon, Catalina - May 10th 2007

Click on photo to enlarge - © 2007 by Jeff Stanford/L.A. Times
Most of you know that our son Jimmy lives in Avalon, on Catalina Island, with his girlfriend Sandra. Jimmy was out fishing Thursday when he first saw the smoke and I believe Sandra was at a ranch or stable outside of Avalon working with some horses. We talked with Jimmy about dusk Thursday evening as he was waiting at the pier with Sandra's brother Gregor. They had her cat and bird there with them, in cages, but didn't know exactly where Sandra was at the time. Apparently she showed up at the pier somewhat later and they were all evacuated on a Catalina Express boat at 11 P.M. They're staying with Sandra's sister in Southgate, so, everybody's safe & well, thankfully, and the beautiful historic town of Avalon has now been spared too.
I was also happy to learn that the first Bald Eagle chicks to hatch naturally on Catalina (earlier this year) since DDT wiped out the native populations decades ago were not harmed in the fire. However, it is not yet known what effects the fire will have on the endangered Island Kit Fox population, which is hanging on by a thread.
Fire season is upon us very early this year and Southern California, including our San Benardino Mountains, is a tinder box. Big Bear is in a virtual tie for its driest winter on record with 5.63 inches of precipitation when our average is 20.68 inches.
I'm just hoping for a good Monsoon Summer that gets us so wet the lightning can't ignite anything.
I don't know how life is going for all you other folks but there never seems to be a dull moment in our lives anymore. I'm reminded again of the old Roman curse, "May you live in interesting times". And it looks to me like times are getting more interesting by the day!
Now, where have we been all these weeks???
More computer problems! Somehow a piece of malignant high-risk spyware (one which I could find no way to remove) got past Norton and infected my computer. When I bought this computer in January it came with a free upgrade to Windows Vista which I was leary of installing because of possible compatibilty problems with some of my older software. Well, the spyware spurred me on to wipe my drive and start clean with Vista, and, just as I suspected, several of my programs were not compatible. I'm still rebuilding files and re-installing updated versions of my software. I finally have Photoshop installed again so maybe I can catch up a bit now on what's been going on around here.

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