Monday, September 27, 2010

As It Looks Right Now

Autumn is here and as everyone who reads this knows, we are as likely to see our national bird in the sky over Tulin Road as we are to see it on currency. Still, Today was a really treat. On the run into town to pick up preserving supplies, I spied an young eagle sitting on the edge of the water, down at the slough. I pulled into the park and just watched him watch the world for several minutes until the youngster flew off into the backwoods to see if it offered better hunting. What a nice reminder of the beauty in our region.

Today we are reminded of why green surrounds us all year long- the veil of rain. With warm temperatures, I am off to gather art items for a printing project and a gluing  project -pictures later depending upon the success rate. Right now, a little proof of yesterdays efforts to stock pile the small fall garden harvest which is weighted heavily on the side of zucchini and chard. Yesterday I made pickles, relish and bread from the bountiful zucchini and still there are 4 medium large squash in my refrigerator. I also made a green tomato cake which was possitively reviewed by friends but only marginally successful in my book. I also made a great potato-chard ravioli. The filling will became gnocchi tonight. After all that time in the kitchen, today is a day for fun projects and maybe a walk on the beach if the rain stops.

But before I sign off, I will pass on a new study result. We all acknowledge that studies will say whatever the author want us to hear but this one I like. It seems that hugs, hand holding and other affectionate touching release chemicals in the body that reduce anxiety and stress! SO- do yourself a favor.Give all you friends and lovers hugs and  neck rubs. Shake hands when you meet people and endeavor to create positive physical bridges to improve your own health and reduce your levels of stress. There you have it- just like drinking wine and eating is all healthy living.

Have a great week ahead and live healthfully.

Love ,
Mama Llama

Happy Birthday!!

A day to celebrate the 60th birthday of a little lady with a huge heart, who makes every day brighter and everyone's life more than a little bit richer.

A huge toast to MOM! We love you more than words can say!

Friday, September 24, 2010

First days of Autumn

School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick
Music by Gus Edwards; Lyrics by Will D. Cobb, 1907
Just in case you are going on with your life and thinking this might be behind you, school has started! I am back substituting, although so far only a couple of days in the library - an easy transition. Colin and Susan are back to the classroom as well, although Susan pretended she was working while we adventured through California and Oregon. THAT was very fun and very interesting. Here are some of the highlights for your enjoyment and to remind us all that summer adventures stay in our hearts, to warm the winter


After a great wedding in San Mateo, we headed north up highway 101 towards an organic, bio-powered CSA in Mendocino County. The morning drive through the Sonoma wine country was beautiful and although we were rushed to get to the farm interview, we did stop for gas in Kyrsa and Dave's new home - Healdsburg.

Our destination for this day was an older CSA operated by a couple from my own my generation. They are committed to a social and economic ideal that makes their operation interesting, as well as being beautiful in its setting. As Susan interviewed, Colin and I watched the farm manager explain economics and agriculture while processing vats and vats of  tomatoes. She worked so fast we could not really see where she was getting these vast vats of ripe red beauties but we were mesmerized by the speed and efficiency of the process. One interesting concern she expressed was the negative impact of the illegal marijuana growing on Mendocino  farms and communities. She voiced this as the biggest challenge to small farmers in the area. I know we all hear about this but to realize the size of the problem was surprising to me.

Traveling north on highway 101,we talked about this and many other entertaining topics . The drive through the California redwoods is always awesome in the way that word is meant to be used.Coming out of the trees and into view of the Pacific Ocean is really the best of California on a summer evening.

Driving on into Oregon, listening to an audio-book on murder and mayhem in the Alaska's wilds and feeling removed from the everyday schedules and expectations! 

The next afternoon we were visiting a goat dairy in southwest Oregon. These small farmers have a lot of hard work and certainly don't get rich but they DO live in the most beautiful spaces! We had time to interview the goat dairy, hearing all about the social and economic concerns of its managers, visit the resident donkey and donkey-baby and taste local cheeses and chocolates made in southern Oregon. Not a bad day, especially when you include lunch by the Rogue River.

Our last day of farm adventures took us to Lake Oswego- What ? farming in Lake Oswego... I don't think so! But in this suburban enclave they has survived an original farm site, now part of a pea-patch style plot program and a city recreation district. Amazing use of Green Belt Space! As a celebration of a great road trip, we spent our last night in Portland celebrating the city of books and beer. What a wonderful opportunity it was for me to spend time with two of my favorite people and learn a little more about their world and my own.

Thank you, to Susan especially, for allowing me to peak into her world of changes and visions for a better tomorrow.
    Happy travels to you all.
    Mama Llama