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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Alright foodies, let's get it on.

 When a tomato and a persimmon really love one another, they lie verrrry close to one another and something special takes place. It's called salsa!!! I had the incredible luck in the form of a foraging adventure at a friends house. She had more of these than she could handle and I was more than willing to take as many as I could off her hands. Or tree rather.

Fuyu Persimmon

  For those of you unfamiliar with this super strangely delicious ( and hella expensive ) fruit, here is a little info I gathered from various interweb nerd sources for you.

 Like the tomato, persimmons are not popularly considered to be berries, but in terms of botanical morphology the fruit is in fact a berry.

Commercially and in general, there are two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent.
The heart-shaped Hachiya is the most common variety of astringent persimmon. This variety has a bitter taste unless fully ripened which is a soft, squishy consistency.

The non-astringent persimmon is squat like a tomato and is most commonly sold as fuyu. Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannic quality sooner. Non-astringent persimmons may be consumed when still very firm, and remain edible when very soft.

In my opinion the flavor is bright and so rewarding this time of year when very few tree fruits are still pickable.

Persimmon Salsa

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 firm persimmons peeled and chopped ( I used freshly picked fuyu )
  • 5 large ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 2 green tomatoes or tomatillos chopped
  • 2 peppers of your favorite strength finely chopped ( I like yellow chili peppers or jalapenos for this recipe)
  • 1 handful of cilantro chopped or minced ( your preference. I like it chunky)
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cumin 
  • salt and pepper
  I like to refrigerate all of these ingredients mixed together overnight, taste, then can them for gifts using water bath canning method. Just so I can see how the strength of flavors marry before making a permanent commitment. Gives you room to season a bit if necessary.

 This recipe yields a metric ton with the intention of sharing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The pants that never traveled

  I have been wearing Dads pants for days now. That's a lie, weeks. I wash them and put on my jeans to go to work but I switch right back to these pants when I get home. I have a sweatshirt from the 70's of his that I pilfered when I was 11 and that doesn't get the wear that these pants do. His never worn-size large-heather grey sweatpants. I found them in his laundry pile freshly washed the day I came for his address book. I don't know why but I had to take them with me and sleep in them all the time forever. They are just big enough to be crazy comfortable and comically enough so that they will remain house pants only. They don't make me miss him any harder and they don't heal anything by being worn. But it's a strange comfort knowing they were his. My youngest brother is clinging to every paper and every shoelace found with a sentimentally orphaned mentality. I thought I would be the same if not worse. It's strange how different people in the exact same moment handle these things.

  I haven't been drawn to write since my last very unhinged entry. The summer came and went with a madness and chaos that filled all of time and sapped all my energy. Too tired to be stressed. Too stressed to sleep. Busy is good for me though. No space to let my mind adventure into all the mystery of other peoples behaviors. I have had to come to terms with things I cannot change once again. This is my hardest life lesson and I am never graduated from it. I cannot make people be different. I can only accept how it makes me feel and move on.

 I miss my father every single day. Multiple times a day. I have called his phone to hear his voice on his machine and cried because of the finality in unplugging that phone to pack it in a box. I can never ever get rid of the voice mails remaining on my phone. I can never lose these pants. I play his music to myself on my drives in to work. I catch myself reliving the stories of all his insane antics. I read his journals and every song that was penned but never strummed breaks my heart.

  I don't know why today was my reentry to blogging it out but it is. It's nice to be back. Things will get better. Very different and hopefully better.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The seriously serious from the most sarcastic.

 I have been MIA lately. In blog, in happiness, in life. I have a few humbling admissions to make and I am venting for myself more than anything. But also if it helps anyone else in a funk I am glad to commiserate. I have been in a bit of a hole for a while. Even the happiest smile may have real life issues they dwell on when they lay their head down at night. Being a rock for my family has always come first and foremost. I do it like it's my job. Because it is. And then sometimes life piles shovel full after shovel full of shit on your doorstep and you can't just simply sweep it away and keep smiling. Sometimes you stop answering the door. Sometimes you don't want to get out of bed. I have been pretty deeply depressed inside my heart for a while. I will tell you why. And what I am doing about it. Mostly to hold myself accountable and make myself figure it all out the right way.
  1. ADULT BULLIES ARE REAL. I have had a constant irritant in my life for several years now. Even the strongest person can only ignore so much and keep their chin up. Lies and manipulations for sheer sport really are things that some sick grown ups find amusing. Not all authority can protect you from an adult bully. Because grown ups should be just that. Grown the fuck up. Adult bullies have some screws loose in my opinion and really get off on making others feel badly. Its disgusting and shameful and I personally have been dealing with it from one source on so many angles for so many years that it stated to just feel normal. But in reality it is an actual stress in my life. I am not saying they win. I am saying they are the biggest type of loser. And I can protect myself by getting counseling about how it all makes me feel. And adults who bully should get help about their own feelings instead of lashing out and making others uncomfortable. I do know it must come from jealousy, self loathing, paranoia, and a very low self esteem. But that doesn't make it right for anyone to reach out in evil ways to contact with hate or malice. No person at any age should target someone with hate and slander. Even when you know for certain that none of the information being spewed is based on fact, it does not make it less hurtful or confusing or upsetting. It is harassment and some bullying can require legal action. If you or someone you know is a victim on adult bullying here are some links with more info. 
  2. EVERYONE GETS OLD AND EVERYONE HAS TO DEAL WITH DYING. My dad isn't well. He has been slowing fighting all of the diagnosis he has ever been given. His life has been so full of amazing moments and stories that in my heart of hearts I know he has lived more than a thousand lives put together. He has been my best friend my whole life and I would be lost without him. And so, I am already feeling lost without him. His mind has started to go a while ago. We had to move him into a senior living facility where he is very well looked after. I just miss him being right downstairs where I can bring him a snack if I want to. And I worry Aidan won't really have great memories of his love. We now know when forever is supposedly predicted to end. That is too much for my heart. Though he has been the man who beats all the odds has outlasted a few things so far, I still have a heavy heart about it. 
  3. BEING A SPECIAL NEEDS PARENT TOTALLY BLOWS. For so many reasons really. I could choose any of them to dwell on. But the kicker recently is the wall we face with therapies. I have been  fighting the good fight and applying for everything under the sun to help the boy. But we are that horrible middle ground. That financial bracket that can barely survive right now. The crossroads of  "do I work just to pay for daycare?" and "We don't qualify for state assistance". I have never been in a place like this. When you are a single person you can make unique sacrifices to make ends meet or choose happiness/sanity in the way of forgoing a new pair of shoes so you can go to a movie with a friend. I miss the days that those were my stresses with money. Today we are looking at the dollar amounts for special needs swim lessons or gymnastics and feeling like it's just so unfair because we choose groceries. It's a constant sadness this category. I wish I could give Aidan the moon and I wish it would fix something. 
  4. THAT MOMENT WHEN YOUR PLATE OVERFLOWS. And you lose your shit. And you cry. And you feel worthless and judged and weak and miserable because all those things point back to you not cutting it as a human. Sometimes you can't delegate feelings. And you can't punch some coward cyber lurking asshole in the face. And you can't make your son "normal". And you can grow the best fucking garden in the world to sit and cry in. And it still doesn't help.

 So then what?

You can dig a giant hole and get in it. Or you can completely scare yourself with all your thoughts and feelings and you can tell on yourself. Tell your husband and worry he will look at you like you are weak and pitiful. But he won't. He will cry and hold you because he is sad you are so sad. And you can call your sister. And know that she doesn't even need all the details to wish she was there to hold you and feel all the things with you. And you can tell your friend. Who will come over immediately and let you fall apart, reminding you she would kill anyone who ever makes you feel this way. And you can start seeing a therapist even if you hate the idea because you know you need an unbiased person to remind you that you are important and valid.

 You have to tell someone something to even start feeling better. It's the only way to undo the thoughts of all the bads and sads. I promise.

 If you or someone you know is in need of help for depression please call. 



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Momcation 2.0 - Hit me baby one more time!

 So yeah, that thing we were going to do like, every year? If possible? Is now a biannual thing. Because apparently we cannot and will not live without one another in person for that long. I am so glad because I was really missing every last one of their laughs and smiles and talks and stories. You get the picture. I won't bore you with all the epic details of this go round. Because this time we have a video montage!! Thanks to Chelsea the video sniper!

Love you bishes.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sitting still is just so boring.

 The horizon is looking awesome as it does every spring. The air is sort of electric and it's way harder to hermit inside like a lazy lump. Blogging has been in the back of my mind and of course I have dozens of false starts on my phone saved to post asap. Always. But life is just happening and if my nose is in my computer I am doomed to miss it. There are some personal events that have come to pass even this early in 2015 that start to feel like forecasting a shitty year. But things like the impending doom of a special needs kindergarten class or Hal making poor choices and following bad leads, will not be allowed to set the tone. there are just too many great things that if ignored, would just be criminal. I am about to give you some good and bad like I used to. Which is my favorite way to just lay out the trash and the joy. Then I can just close this cyber beast and get back to l-i-v-i-n! I promise the good stuff will make you happy for me and also having you totally hooked in for the recap posts to follow in a month or so.

  Let's kick it off with the bad shall we?

  • The stepchild has chosen to side primarily with material things and pretty promises. I can't and won't let it bother me because I know she will mature at her pace and life will play out as it does for a teen. When all hell breaks loose and real parenting is needed, I am sure we all know who she will call.
  •  Aidan is being placed at a school really far away from our home. I am unsettled about it all. Everything about it.
  •  I am getting old and tweaked my back which knocked me out of work and on my ass for a couple weeks. I refuse to be one of those hypochondriac pill poppers so I am finding it annoying to sift through home remedies to feel comfortable.

Ok, now the better, longer list.

  • Our little farm is way ahead of schedule and just rocking with happy healthy veggies! 
  • I met another one of my food/nutrition heroes and had a super fun fangirl moment when she posted on IG how much she loved my pickles! mind.blown. Now if I could meet Alton Brown and be on Chopped my culinary bucket list would be complete.
  •  I am marinating on a new career path and there are all sorts of amazing things lining up for me now that I took the time to pause and look up. 
  • I am soon to be a published author. I will post and of course shamelessly plug the finished product asap but I will allow you to wonder; Is it an autobiography? Is it a sci-fi version of my life as a tormented step parent with a creepy single-white-female plot twist? ( lmao) Is it a RomCom? Is it an instruction manual that would be read like stereo instructions? Yeah right on the last one. TBA ya'll
  •  Two of my favorite people are to be wed this fall and I got all butterflies for them when I picked up my bridesmaid dress and it fits like a dream. Yep I will be dolled up in a dress. I will be in one wedding. This one is special to my heart because I set them up on a blind date. Just like a beloved friend set Kelly and I up all those years ago.
  • I get to see my klan, my crew, my crazy bitches from the west coast mafia that is #oceanssixteen!!!!! The next momcation is coming up soon and it really could not be a better time to unwind. Big shout out to the husbands who know this is necessary for our lady souls and thanks men for being so supportive and also for keeping our children alive while we are gone.

 Too much life goodness right now. I will always be happy when the lists are off balance in this way. Now back to sip my coffee in my garden and then do a little yoga. And frankly I am still going to post when I feel like I want to and not abandon the bloggity world completely. And if you don't like it Voldemort, don't read it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Chicken littles.

  The flock on our mini farm has been growing for a while now. But this year we had a snafu. One of my broody hens gave up in protest for some reason. Abandoning her share of eggs and the chill hadn't left the air quite yet. Ming was on her own with way too many eggs and she hopped back and forth with no real way of covering all of them at one time.

 With worry of false starts and development problems I barrowed an incubator to salvage what we could. This round was special because it contained the coveted chocolate colored egg layers called Black Copper Marans. Beautiful hens and even more adorable as chicks looking just like baby penguins. Also in this hatch were several of Fancy the rooster and Mings babies. Our first Feltifarm breed stock attempt. I left Ming with a couple of each and brought the rest indoors and hoped for the best.

  Candling revealed movement and development which gave me hope we would have at least one or two of Ming/Fancy babies. But the dark Marans shells are impossible to see into so they were a gamble and a mystery.

 Twenty one days and nothing. Twenty two and we had one single pip in the tiniest egg in the incubator. Twenty three and we had our first chick. Typically chicks will hatch on day twenty one give or take a day. So one baby was not a good number. And not a single sign of life under Ming outside.

Then finally a chocolate egg pipped. Then hatched quickly into a sweet tired penguin.

 And still none under Momma Ming. So I prepared to clean out the duds from the incubator and under my hen, trying to feel glad for the two that made it. Thinking that we have been lucky with past hatches because the broody girls did such a great job mothering. And then my husband checked the incubator just in case and saw another pipped egg. Which also hatched into a marans baby. Giving us a perfectly healthy trio.

 Counting your chickens before they are hatched is really stupid after all it would seem. Because when I went out to clean up the dud from under Ming there was an Easter baby. Which was very shocking considering that was at about 28 days!

 She knew something I didn't because she still wasn't getting up. And we let her be. She hatched one of her own and one penguin for me like a good momma. And then chased those busy babies around leaving the nest cold.

 Last night when I came home I had to be what my hilariously accurate friend dubbed the "chicken doula". And our last little miracle babe was born.

( science can be graphic ya'll) 

 So crazy and magical that I can't recall even speaking during this so I sound funny to myself. I have watched the four minute version of this about a hundred times now. 

She hatched and dried and is perfect. I feel very lucky to have caught that pipped egg and I feel lucky that my husband put it in the brooder box under the heat lap with our incubator babies even though he was sure she was a goner from being cold.

So, I decided to try to sneak these sweeties in under momma and hope she accepts the whole bunch as her own. I would say so far so good. And I took a moment to capture these 6 lucky little peepers in something frame worthy for the mom den. Because I am now officially the crazy chicken lady who posted a birth story about chickens. And I love it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I think Jesus would rather you went to a petting zoo.

  This time of year always makes me cringe for one reason alone. People who buy animals for Easter gifts. Having raised rabbits as a kid and now chickens as an adult it really matters that people stop doing this. Animals are not disposable. It's a living, breathing responsibility. One that an impulse buyer has no forethought about. Let me make this easy. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you are on the brink of losing it because of all the cute you are more than likely face to face with at a bin of snuggly critters:
  1. Did you ever have thoughts of purchasing a baby chick or tiny bunny before this minute? 
  2. Do you know anything more about this animal than what you just now googled this second? 
  3. Do you have time in your daily life to care for this creature? 
  4. Do you actually believe your child when they plead that " you won't have to do anything Mommy/Daddy. I will feed it and clean up everything I promise"?
 If you answered NO to any of these, put down the baby animal and back away. Now run to your car, drive home and feed the cat who now lives outside because it's easier. Hey, pets are not for everyone.

 I am not trying to crush your lifelong dream of farm living. I am just asking everyone to stop the mass hysteria of owning a baby animal. I am guilty of getting super giddy about baby piglets. My voice raises into octaves only dogs can hear. I barely make sense and "OOoooooommmmgeeeeee its sooooooo cuddleeeeeeeee" is all I can muster. But then I chill the hell out and remember baby pigs become giant bacon hogs. I lack any and all accommodations for that type of animal. I feel like I am reminding apartment dwellers not to buy a mini horse and yes this should all be common sense. But I know the season sweeps us off our feet with pictures like this.


   Those of us farm people even set up cute pics with plastic Easter Eggs and all the cuteness that Spring can offer. But in all honesty, baby animals all grow up to be adults. And truthfully rabbits can grow up to be mean spirited and wild if they are not loved on constantly and treated sweetly. Chickens can lose their charm for some through those super awkward "teenager" phases of nearly no feathers an bad attitudes. The novelty does fade and a stuffed bun-bun really will do the trick for your heart eyed kiddo. Between that and the chocolate they will survive. Let's not adopt a pet we aren't actually in the market for. Would you give an Easter kitten? Exactly.There many local farms to visit for the Spring baby fix I swear.

 There are many many animals given away or neglected because they were bought on impulse. I myself have adopted grown hens that folks were just over the idea of having anymore. It's also a terrible example to set for our kids, that animals are a thing and not a life. That they are disposable or unimportant. We should be adopting loved new family members no matter what the breed. A pet is a chosen chore that we should be more mindful of.

::getting down off my soapbox now::

Around the nation there are rescue organizations for animal adoption. Excellent resources can be found here

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

FeltiFarm 2015 Part 1

 This year is big. I mean like, huge. I have a few personal fires burning or smoldering rather and I do this thing every spring where I full on pour my heart and soul into my garden instead of stress. Winter can suck it. It's spring!! And it's on like donkey kong. I would like to take a moment to review the evolution of this epic food growing journey thus far.

Before it all began.

  Another little blast from the past, Chickenlandia at the start.

Handmade with so much love. This yard has been one of my most cherished challenges and my proudest work in progress, Always growing and exceeding my ideas. I am a very lucky girl for all I have. Today I will go out and get my hands dirty with a wide smile. I need you all to see this amazing reveal for this years beauty. It's incredible if I do say so myself. Farm photo update as soon as things are ready.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Life after Whole 30

  So the end of 30 days without all those things has come and gone. By the time it was day 30 I had in fact stopped counting and just ritualistically gone about my day. It is truer than true that old saying about a month to make or break a habit. And I broke so many. How do I feel? Amazing still. How do I look? Less boated, more energized, not puffy eyed in the morning, skin clear, sun shining birds chirping yadda yadda yadda the whole 9 ( pun intended). The major point I would like to make is that all these whole 30 survivors have the same end story to tell. And we all can't be wrong. There is something in our processed foods that is seriously wrong for us to put into our bodies. Sugar does not need to be added to every single solitary item of edibles. We can aim for a much healthier life. Period.

 My husband the carbavore has been changed too. He actually told me with his own mouthparts and no gun to his head, that he would like to do whole 30 a few times a year and also to eat mostly paleo from here on out. I was in awe. But that shows me he really felt the changes too. He and I started this challenge with our own personal goals and hurdles mapped out and I think that is the best approach. Personal strides in a group of people trying the same approach. My team of friends and strangers were amazing because we were all on the same mental road cheering one another on and giving tips and feedback freely without risk of judgement. All encouraging and not even an ounce of all knowing behavior. Celebrating all the scale and non scale victories and trouble shooting the mysteries. Some ahead on the calendar and some later made for a great balance of timeline prediction in human form not just the actual whole 30 timeline on paper. Every personal story celebrated.

 The journey is real. The sugar dragon is real. The weight I lost is secondary to how I feel. All the same things you are reading from blogger to blogger that has taken this challenge. It's all real. Real food is the best thing for any person. That should never even be a question but just a simple fact. If you want to simplify your habits, try it. If you want to stalk my food pics, that's cool too.

 Reintroduction Captain's log: My body wants nothing to do with grains. My joint pain that went completely away at week two? It came on back with a vengeance. So I do know what to avoid and my suspicions were spot on. I have had soy, cheese, and legumes with no problems at all. I will enjoy these in light moderation as I have in the past. Grains however can kiss my much smaller ass.

 Wine and I are seeing eachother again as well. Distance did make the heart grow fonder. Though we wont be going steady again any time soon, we both know my love is unconditional.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Whole30 - A spoonful of sugar does NOT make the medicine go down.

  The last week has been odd. I am so very sick with a sinus bug that has literally invaded my whole face and now my chest a bit. I get really death and dying sick about once every one or two years. I have a healthy immune system and my family does as well. It would seem this is the killer right on schedule and I think I can thank my current eating habits for the way I am feeling. Yes, this is kicking my ass and I have a porcupine in my throat ( remember that commercial? So classic) but I still have energy. So Tigers Blood has really come in at the clutch moment I needed it. I am a solid week from day 30 and I feel great even while sick as hell. Crazy awesome. We have made it through Superbowl, Bunco and I think it's safe to say Valentines Day will be easy peasy. We normally take the girl child out to a fancy Italian restaurant and have our family Valentine's date night but she is at her bio Moms for the holiday this year and we can celebrate the following weekend just fine. And at day 35 and into the reintroduction stage, heavy pasta dishes sound like a nightmare so I will be doing some picking and choosing carefully but I'm sure it will be wonderful.

 One thing that has blown my mind totally is that amount of sugar in medicine. This may be next level Whole30 shit but I just cannot justify a stupid cold being the ruin of all my hard work. Have I mentioned this is hard work? Oh ok cool. Anyway I was sitting cross sit on the floor of Safeway like a weirdo reading package after package and just completely in awe of all the different ways you can say sugar, for one. But for two, just the sheer quantity of it in medicine. Most sad the fizzy instant fix I have come to relay on and sadly I will go back to in the future because it really works for my sinusitis I tend to get sick with. I found three maybe four out of what seems like hundreds of remedy options. How sad. No wonder our kids get jacked up and wild every time we give them a simple syrupy cough does of that grape stuff, it's actually a simple syrup base! I do tend to go homeopathic for Aidan because he responds fine to that and he takes it no prob.

 So, update is: Hella sick. Avoided any added sugar in my cold medication choices. Eating all the spices to burn this off. And feeling really healthy happy and good. Mind, body and soul. Life is Aiiiiiiiiight.

 Recipe time. Here are a few of the most drooled over posted food items. Starting with one I have got to get out there and all praise my husband for the Mexican food whole30 hack success of all time.

Kelly's Taco Seasoning

  Besides seasoning 1 lb of ground meat of your choosing with salt and pepper, brown that and make this: 

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons compliant ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon compliant yellow mustard 
  • 1/4 cup water 
Add to browned meat. Simmer for about 5 minutes. We make tacos with guacamole, and a zillion salsas on a fresh lettuce leaf and they are seriously inhaled.

That Beet Slaw Tho

This has been a family favorite which is shocking because if I juice a beet they all turn green and run. It's great with red meat but really it has worked with everything. I even piled chicken salad on top and ate it in a lettuce leaf and wowzers. I mean. Gah.

  • 1 medium green apple
  • 2 medium beets
  • 2 medium turnips (parsnips will do also)
  • the juice from one orange
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  cracked pepper to taste
  •  chopped macadamias, almonds or pecans
Use a mandolin or vagetti shred all produce and toss with remaining ingredients coating evenly. Chill until serving and to let flavors marry. 

I know I have been posting about food mostly and yes real life is going on behind the curtains. I have some major things with each kid to address in the next week or so and the drafts on both topics are in like the eight revisions. I mean, we have tween drama and Kindergarten planning. Yeah, there's your teasers. I promise it's coming.