Monday, June 30, 2008

Farm Day

Saturday, Apifera Farm held a Pino Pie Farm Day. Beth and I went to join the fun. We drove into the wine and lavender country of Yamhill County with high expectations of finally seeing the farm and artist we had read about for months. Finally we saw the farm sign. "We're finally here!" we laughed. "MMMM! Smell the lavender!" We drove by the field Katherine and Martyn grow. It's a lovely haze of varying shades of lavender. We parked and walked to the party.
Right there in front of everything is a table of pies. Katherine and her donkey, Pino, encourage us to take pies to ones in need of cheer. So many brought pies in Pino's honor. Pino and company were on hand to pet. The children hugged and pet the donkeys. They stood for hours receiving their tribute.
Hanging on the fences were all the aprons people have sent, some from as far away as France. Beth bought the French Laundry Bag Apron.
Katherine is using the money from the sale of aprons and art to help in her work with caring for animals and helping people. Read her blog to find out all she does.
How often do you get to see the studio of an artist? What kind of magical place would it be?
A small peek. Your have to come to the next farm day to see. People from as far away as New York Kentucky, and Washington, came to enjoy the art and lavender. The studio was very inspiring. Art everywhere. It is very evident that Katherine derives her inspiration from what is outside the studio door. The connection between plant, animal, and person, and the messages she sees come through in her art.

They are creating drought tolerant gardens around their home. They are lush and vibrant. Martyn was a great resource about gardening. I could have talked for hours.
Thank you Katherine and Martyn for a wonderful day. We enjoyed it so much. It was a day that has lasting impressions. The nurturing care that you freely give is something to emulate.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Palvilion

It's what we call it. It may not be the dictionaries definition, but then, it's our whimsy to name. Wow, I hope I don't sound like a brat when I say that. Anyway....When we moved here, the back was a garbage heap.....literally. The only green growing were blackberries, morning glory, and ivy. All invasive. I still have lots of ivy growing in some places, that's a project for another year. Starts of blackberry still keep wanting to grow, so I keep a watchful eye out for it to cut it back before it gets growing too much. The morning glory.......... That is where most of my effort goes in the yard. It grows everywhere, and chokes everything out. It winds around the stock of a plant. If the plant is lush, you may not see it until it is sticking over the top of the plant. Then you have to unwind it trying not to strip off all the leave and blooms in the process. I know many places it isn't invasive, and people enjoy the vines and flowers, but here........well, it the stuff that induces nightmares for gardeners. Back to the Pavilion. This circle was the burn pile. People had burned here for years. The garbage I pulled out of this pile; car batteries, shocks, cans, broken bottles, to name a few. I didn't think much would grow in this spot, and I didn't want to be digging around in a lot of broken glass. So we created this spot.

We laid brick in a circle. We added the posts. I hang jars with candles in them between the posts. We found this door and added it to the circle. Then planted lavender around. The sand between the bricks is ideal for the lavender seeds to grow. I get ten or twelve new baby plants each year. Moss and alisym grow on the bricks too. It's a great place to sit and have lunch, or a glass of lemon aid when working out. At night, it's very magical with all the candles and lanterns in the yard.

This is one of our favorite spots to enjoy in our yard. The lavender smells wonderful. Soon it will be time to harvest. Later, I'll share how I use lavender, not only in dried bunches, but in laundry, cleaning, skin care, and in cooking.

Tomorrow, I'll be going to Apifera Farm. I'll see their lavender farm and all her animals I've been reading about. I'll take a couple of pies with me for her donkey Pino. Read about it and her efforts helping people on her blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Bag

I go back and forth, small bag, large bag, small bag, large bag. It might be the seasons. I tend to carry more with me in the summer. With trying not to accept plastic bags when I get something at the store, I need more room or just another bag. I don't want to carry another bag unless I'm doing a large shopping. I just put whatever in my bag and go. Did you know some stores are not letting customers do this, you have to carry out whatever you purchase in their bag. So.... yesterday I made this bag, using upholstery remnants from my stash.
I fused stabilizer to the back of the outer and lining fabrics with heavy heat bond. This gave the bag a firm body, so it doesn't collapse into a fabric puddle, yet soft and flexible. It has three large pocket inside.
I used this pattern from Sweet Treasures. The pattern has three bag sizes and three cuff finishes. The instructions were simple and clear. I think I'll make another bag in a smaller size. I was fun to make and took about 1 1/2 hours to make, start to finish. What is your favorite bag to make?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Strawberry Season

Strawberries! YUMMMM! I love it when strawberry season is here. They have been around in the stores for several months. But really........who wants to eat red stryo???? When the local berries ripen, mmmm, they are sooo juicy, they smell so good, and taste sooooo wonderful. When strawberries ripen, summer is here. I don't have enough room in my yard to grow as many strawberries as I want, so I go to a local farmer and spend an hour picking. This year I picked 30 pounds.
Have you ever wondered how much one of the little baskets weighs? How much are you buying? Right there.......10.6 ounces.
After picking, going home, making a strawberry smoothie, it's time to "put up the berries". Some of the caps are still on the berries. I've never been able to make the little berry huler thingies work right. I would aways take half of the berry off. I wasn't much better with a knife. My solution? Right here....
My mom was given this tip from a friend several years ago. A grapefruit spoon. It works great! The point goes under the cap, and pulls it right out. The edge cuts out any spot, if needed. I have 30 bags for the freezer. The label says 2 C, but it's more like 2 1/2 C.

Then I make 2 batches of freezer jam. I put the jam in various size jars. Some jars are cute to use as gifts. Then I save some to eat fresh. We love strawberry shortcake. I made some, but ate it before I could take a picture. Maybe I'll get a picture with the next shortcake. It was just too delicious to wait.
I think I'll pick more. I want to infuse some in vodka and rum, and try dehydrating some. Have you ever done that? How did it work? I hope you get to enjoy some berries too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where are the Cherries?

You've heard the saying "Life's a bowl of cherries". Sometimes, like this week for me, we get soooooooooooo busy, and sooooooooo much happens, we don't enjoy the "cherries". Sooo, I'm taking a deep breath, and enjoying the "cherries" today, and will "visit" with you tomorrow"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Garden Visitor

Each spring the Crone Lady makes her appearance in the herb garden. Her arrival is a little later than usual this year. She prefers warmer weather, and likes to stay here after most of the rain is over. This year she is standing in the back corner, guarding her garden, by the blackberries, feverfew, Lemon balm, Valerian, and oregano. One day soon, she will start carrying a basket of flowers and herbs.
She looks out over the sage rosemary, fennel, marshmallow, and lavender.
The view from our back door is flagstone and brick path under the broad leaf Maple tree. The tree shades the house from the morning sun and keeps everything cool with it's far reaching branches. Unfortunately, disease has attacked the tree. I think this is it's last year. I'm saddened, it's a lovely tree and over 100 years old.
The walk on the other side of the tree goes by the raised beds, grapes, blueberries, red raspberries, and lovage. It's a rather wild place. The Crone Lady feels at home in this Wild Herbalist's garden.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Viking House

Come take a short tour with me. It's the Viking House. The Viking house class builds one every year. The students take woods, and construction classes as prerequisites. Then they apply to take this class. Not everyone is picked to be on the crew. They earn college credit along with their high school credit, and are able to go on to advanced building technologies at the college level of work in the field.
This is the 2008 house. They have built almost every part .
Before you go inside, you will see custom woodwork that is a hallmark throughout the house.
Wood floors throughout, this medallion greets you in the entry, and was a senior project of one of the students.
Painted wood paneling lines the hall.
Looking down the hall, to the great room, the wood floors and ceiling reflect the soft lighting.
The great room is dominated by the stone floor to ceiling fireplace. The ceiling sores 14' high in this part of the house, giving the feeling of space. The house has 7 skylights. You can see the light playing on the paneling and molding.
Custom kitchen, everyone's dream. There are so many unique features here and through the house. Every space is used for efficient storage.The spacious main bathroom. All the cabinetry in the house has been made by students also.
The tile walk in shower in the master bath. This is one small corner. No bumping your elbow on the wall here. It's huge!
It is all truly amazing work. Each room has built in custom features, all made by these students, this school year.
This is my son, who was part of this project. I'm so proud of him and the rest of the crew. He is a senior and graduating. I'm glad he has these skills to use as he takes this next big step in life.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Visiting Pendleton

Rarely do I make it to Southwest Portland to visit this store. It's a treat for woolen fabric lovers. Visitors are greeted by this well dressed sheep on the porch. Her personal blanket gives a forecast of what one will see inside.
A design you will see in many of their fabrics is also painted on the floor.

Long rows of blankets in dozens of patterns and colors are displayed.This international company started in Pendleton, Oregon. Most people know Pendleton for their wool clothing. In the beginning, the company made and sold blankets to the Indians in the area. Many of the motifs remind me of the Southwest, but they are designs from the tribes in this area. This location has a wonderful museum of tapestries, depicting many Northwest Native American scenes. They also sell finely woven light weight woven throws, and....

Stacks of wool remnants, any of their wool fabric by the yard.
Wool yard for weaving or knitting.
And ....what I came for. I know it doesn't look inspiring. These are trimming off the looms, where they have been weaving the heavy blankets. They are called worms. Weavers use then to weave rag rugs.
My loom is treaded and ready to go. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can show you a new rag rug.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What to do?

I found this old fireplace surround a while back. It's cast iron, with it's original finish. I think it surrounded a small room gas fire place. It's about 30'' tall and about 24'' wide.
It's more a gray color with rust spots growing. I really like the look of it as is. I love the flower detailing, and the flourish at the top. It's a piece I couldn't resist. Now, I'm not sure where and how to use it. It's really heavy, so I can't hang it on the wall.
I don't want to put it on the porch or in the garden, because I don't want it to become completely rusty, as it would do in Western Oregon. Any ideas?