This is the story of our adventures -- every day and extraordinary; our dreams -- tiny and grand; our gardens -- ornamental and sustaining; this is the story of our journey.  We are a family of four living a mindful, simple life here in Los Angeles County.  We are green, conscious, and forward thinking.  We keep an eye on the past because some of the best things have already been done and bear repeating.  Walk and talk with us, have a glass of wine, taste a peach or a tomato, blow some bubbles and watch them drift up over the canyon ridge.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just a lot of little things...

Alex loves to paint herself and pretend she is a Native American princess.
She also likes to just plain play princess.

Both girls are extremely helpful pulling up carpet!

They are also great hikers.
And painters.
I love this painting because it is a collaborative effort -- Alex did the left side, Gregorie the right.

They both also love to pick me little bouquets.
They have made their own swim club.
They enjoy making mud.

And just climbing around on our property.

While my happy children play outside I can get some finishing touches done inside.  I found this mirror in the garage, repaired its crack, covered the seam with a "tree", and hung the finished product in the sunset bathroom.
I also finished installing the molding in the living room and got the art back on the wall.

In the living room, I found a croc-o-pile.
And was reminded that we all need someone to lean on.
Then I made some sun yogurt.
Gregg brought us a bountiful tomato harvest -- this is but a sample.
Now that he is back, Gregg is working on some projects of his own -- like moving and stacking the piles of wood.  He gets to take a beer break now and then.

These are just some of the little joys, the little moments, the little accomplishments that make up our GREAT BIG LIFE!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Preserving the Harvest, Part 2

The girls and I are spending a few weeks at the cabin.  They have been taking some wonderful swim lessons in Portola and we have been generally just enjoying being on summer vacation!  Cold nights, hot days, Sierra skies.  We have also squeezed in some cabin renovations.  Gregg, Mr. Bubble, has been back and forth -- visiting us and mountain biking and then returning to Topanga for a few days.  The call to south has been two-fold:  a cool August has made it possible for him to brew many new batches of beer; AND it is harvest time!  The girls and I are hold up here, waiting for Daddy to bring us the ripe round orbs to enjoy for dinner and to can and concoct into all our tomato-ist glories!

In the Spring of the Summer two years ago we planted lots of cherry and grape tomatoes.  At the time, our almost 2-year old loved the little gems.  By the end of that summer, she was gemmed out -- and so were we.  I could not believe how many fruits those plants produced.  We never planted a cherry or grape or tear drop again.  Well, we don't have to.  For the last two summers we have had more than enough volunteers.  It works out fine -- Gregorie gets her fill of gems and we don't sweat not picking since we didn't plant them!   But Mr. Bubble did bring us a big batch on his last trip up. I know these work particularly well for tomato jam/preserves/chutney so I planned to make some.  I had read a recipe for a lacto fermented peach chutney in Jessica Prentice's Full Moon Feast that could be substituted with tomatoes.  I used that as inspiration.

I halved the little tomatoes and also cored and chopped a few romas and added a couple super ripe pluots, well, because they were there.
Then I chopped half of a sweet onion and an annaheim pepper, grated some ginger, and squeezed a lemon on top.
Next I added some salt and spices --just what I had on hand up here -- this panty is NOT the Topanga pantry!  (turmeric and cardamon would have gone in if I had them)
I poured in a 1/2 cup of whey and decided that it needed some raisins too.
After everything was well stirred I put the mixture into quart jars and put a 1/2 pint jar full of water in each to press the fruits down under the liquids.  Now we just wait 48 hours to taste (oh, I already tasted the mix and it was super yum!  It's going to be a great accompaniment to some Indian style lamb or chicken!).