Together at last!!



This is the latest love of my life, name yet to be determined!!  She was the second doll I have made, this one for my niece who turned 3 yesterday.  She was special from the beginning, as what is not special about a little doll for a little one?  I worked on her for weeks, and my son would often remind me,

“Mama we have to work on Juni’s doll!”  So be both wove our love & time into her. IMG_6289

Every step was a learning process, but I was so pleased with the results I carried her around for days myself.  The clothes hand-made, tailor fit, the hair made to match that of her new little mama’s.  She even got to play with my son’s doll, who now looks extremely odd next to her….IMG_6286

Though it was a little hard to pack her in a box and send her far, far away, I waited for patiently for her to arrive into my niece’s arms.  And sure enough, she was well received!!  “She looks like me!” was exclaimed with glee!  What could be better than hard work so well received!! IMG_0304


So, as this crafting season is upon us and the pressure of gifts, made or bought is upon us, I am trying to really connect with the spirit of giving really is.  Letting the spirit of who people are, what the need and what they love guide me to create things that will reach from my heart to theirs.  I truly hope that the gift giving frenzy can be warded off with slow steady gestures of connection & love.  Nothing more scary than a crazed, crafty mama, now is there?!  So my friends let the crafting begin!!




Planting into pallets

Is there anything you can’t make out of an old pallet?  Yes, it does take more time and a bit more know-how to upcycle a pallet into a totally different and functional thing, but luckily I have an expert on my side.  Yep, Joel does it again.  This time he made me a new seed planting flat out of recycled pallet wood.

(Note: I do also do make these out new wood too, see here)




Cool Huh?  Want to try? Here is how he did it.

First, he tore the pallet apart with a flat bar to get the the lumber in order. Image

Then he used the cross pieces which were 3.5inches wide and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick.  There was mix of oak (harder, longer lasting, heavier) & pine (softer, easier to work with lighter)


Then he cut off the split tips with the nails in them- to have clean, split free ends and not to bother with pulling out the nails.Image

Then he cut 2 pieces at 1ft long and 6pieces at 2ft long

He nailed 2 of the 2footers & 2 of 1footers into a rectangular box.  The 2 footer edges over lapped the edges of the 1 footers.  Unfortunately he moved so fast I didn’t get to photograph every step… but I hope you follow.


Then he nailed the remaining 4 2footers to the bottom of the box using 4d galvanized nails. These are rust resistant and small enough that they will keep the wood from splitting, but large enough to hold your box together when it is full of heavy, wet soil.  Because the wood was irregular enough he just pushed the bottom slats together and nailed…but it is important to note during this step to leave a little space between the slats for water to drain out, but not soil.  I usually stick a quarter between the slats which has always proven to be just right.


And there you have it.  Here is one I made from Redwood and screws in 2010 (in front) and the new Pallet one (in back).  Image

Similar—-but there are few subtle differences.

*The new one is a bit wider than the other.  As far as size go, I pretty much try to maximize my table space.  If you table is a 3×6 (which many tables are) you can fit 9 2×1 flats on it.  That should be more than enough (much more in fact) for all your seedling needs.  Remembering, when you start seeds in wooden planting flats you will need to divide them or thin them before they reach the garden, so leave space in you table(s) for transplants.  This is basically bio-intensive gardening, but more on that later…here is the next step if you are eager.

*The other difference is that my new flat is mostly oak and the older one is Redwood.  Both have their pros and cons

Oak- Hard, Heavy, Durable,Rot Resistant, Brittle-(Available in Pallets)

Pine- Soft, Not Rot resistant, Light weight, Cheap or free-(Available in Pallets)

Redwood- Light weight, doesn’t spilt easily, VERY Rot Resistant-(Must buy)

Wooden Flats are a great thing to add to your garden shed if you find yourself starting seeds every year.  They are pretty simple to make, relatively cheap and last many years, not to mention they are NOT plastic.  They work beautifully to hold moisture and give ample space for those babies to grow.  Many farms use them, which is where I learned about them.  Here are a few I stumble across while ambling through a sleepy farm in Colorado last spring.


Yes, I take pictures of other people’s planting flats, I told you I was a farm tourist.

Good Luck and I hope you help rescue one more lonely pallet from the back of your hardware store and put it to good use.

When you are ready here is a link to how to make potting soil for the flats and one on how to plant into them properly.  Let the sowing begin!!

Our Daily Bread

Mmmmm, Nothing like warm fresh bread on a Saturday morning in December.  With butter and Jam, oh baby, so darn good!!  I know a lot of people don’t eat Gluten these days, but Sourdough actually pre-digests wheat so it is easier for us to stomach, according to this article in Weston Price’s Nourishing Traditions.

So, I say, “Bread and butter– yes please!!”


One of my fist loaves in my terra cotta chicken pot

As anyone who has ever tried  to bake their own bread knows, it truly is an art. There are books after book published on the simple art of bread, centuries of experienced bakers with more than enough information to share.  In my quest I read, I went to a workshop at a friends, I watched numerous U tube video (some very odd!!)….But I must say– there is nothing like practice to teach the hands what they need to know.

You see, bread baking has been part of my daily practice for a year or two– a brief time really, but after hundreds of loaves, I have honed in and refined it to a place I am very happy with.  I won’t say it is perfect, or the one true way.  In fact everyone I know who makes bread makes it a just a little different from one another.  That is the beautiful essence of homemade – you can taste everyone’s soul in their food, craft, home… What ever it may be, it can’t be mass-produced, as it has a life of it’s own as individual as it’s maker, which to me, makes it REAL & wonderful…
But I will say, in this bread baking practice in the high desert, I have learned some tricks of this art of flour, water and a few lively critters and have pleased a few folks along the way with a warm slice of bread, so this one is for you my friends & family, who love my bread and want to know the secrets, here you go, bake away and be sure to tell me what you learn along your journey, remember every loaf is different!

Fresh bread mmmmm

Sourdough Bread Recipe- Made with a Kitchen Aid mixer

Dry Ingredients

3 Cups Flour-  (I like 1 Cup Whole Wheat 1 Cup White and 1 Cup Rye)or

(1.5 Cups Whole Wheat and 1.5 cups White)

2 tsp Salt-             (or more if you like)

Wet Ingredients

1 Cup Starter

1 Cup Water

Mix flour and salt in the mixer with bread hook.  In a glass measuring cup mix starter and water with a spoon until blended well, much like the consistency of thick cream.

My sourdough starter is a bit goppy & sticky creating long strands as I pour

My sourdough starter is a bit goppy & sticky creating long strands as I pour

Turn on mixer on low and slowly pour in wet into dry.  Run the mixer until the dough is mixed well, it will be a bit sticky, but should come away from the sides of the bowl.

Not a great picture, but you can kind of see how the dough comes away from the bowl, but sticks a bit to the dough hook

Not a great picture, but you can kind of see how the dough comes away from the bowl, but sticks a bit to the dough hook

Take off dough hook and cover dough in bowl with a plastic bag and let sit over night.

Plastic over the mixing bowl and let sit over night

Plastic over the mixing bowl and let sit over night

In the morning (or 12 hours later) preheat oven to 500 with the baking vessel inside (I use a terra-cotta chicken pot, but anything should work that has a lid).

Flour hands and remove sticky dough from bowl, scraping the dough off the sides, make ball, tossing only a few times between your hands  and lay on a floured towel and wrap loosely while oven is preheating (My oven takes about 30 minutes to get that hot).

When your oven is at 500, take out the hot pot.  Open towel and place dough ball in the hot vessel, note dough will be mushy, so move quickly, just placing it in the vessel as gently as you can.  You can score the bread a few times with a knife if you like.

Cover vessel and bake bread for 30 min at 500.  At 30 min remove lid and bake for another 10-15 min ( brown to your liking).  When done, remove bread from vessel and cool on a rack.  Wait at least 30 min before slicing into, slathering with butter and devouring it will be worth the wait!!

So that is it– Try it and if you need starter I can share.

One nice thing about using the chicken pot is that is has these lines on the bottom which adds grip when slicing

One nice thing about using the chicken pot is that is has these lines on the bottom which adds grip when slicing

Happy Harvest Moon

Thus subtle shift in light, the slight tilt of this precious world seems to have changed everything in me and all around me.  The exhale at the end of our days are luminous and splendid

And first light, direct and perfectly focused through our east facing window, awakens me. Shining directly on our family alter, these rays bring me to each day with a reminder to be present with what I hold so dear.

The garden continues bestowing us with her generosity,

Reminding us of the deep nourishment of beauty so needed as we let go into this senescent season

And as the darkness comes, how important it will be to bring that beauty inside us for the long winter

The comfort of homegrown food warms us deeply as we eat together and share now three years of marriage under this bright, abundant moon.

We are blessed, so grateful and so humbly grown by yet another cycle around the sun, with the moon and all the power of the stars.

Happy Harvest Moon.

The Swing is now a Flying High Chair!!

So you saw the swing and seemed to love it as much as we do. THANKS, I was astounded at how many of you cheered us on!!  Jangy also loved it , so much in fact he didn’t want to get down for meal times, which we are enjoying outside on the porch just about every meal now…So daddy came up with this cool tray that comes on and off for meals.

Swinging through lunchtime

Now we sit across from him and all share our meals right here.  And the best part is, no more sweeping the floor!! Anything that falls the birds, ants and who knows else will get later.

Removable Feeding tray

Joel took some cherry he had from left over flooring in Jangy’s room and made the sides.  Drilled holes and cut out notches for the dowels to fit in.

Pine tray with little indentation so food won’t get away

The tray top is pine which he used a scorp on, (a tool that cuts in a U shape) to make the indentation so the food would roll off.)

Pictures of Scorps from
“A Musuem of Early American Tools” by Eric Sloane

Drilled the pieces together, made a little wooden lock so it would stay put.

Wooden lock

Sanded it then rubbed the whole thing with Walnut oil and Tada…so cool.

And there you have it, a flying high chair.  Then we gave him Kimchi I made from Carrots, Turnips, and Cabbage we grew and he gobbled it up…..Oh a parents pride!!

Jangy is munching on a Kimchied Turnip slice!! That’s our boy!!