Sunday, February 7, 2016

February wetlands

 Is this a view only a Northwesterner loves? I can't help but wonder; it's a bit bedraggled, and soggy, and marshy ... but that moody sky, those bare trees, those flooded fields. There's nowhere else I'd want to be on a late winter day than here, mucking through.

In the sloughs and creeks the reeds are already springing up again, and Pacific chorus frogs were singing in the hollows, even in the middle of the day (that happens on these dark-ish low-ceilinged days).

It's cooler this year than last, but the native plants still indicate that it's warmer than it ought to be. These are evergreen huckleberries; their fruits are typically ripe in August. Last year, I found some blooming in January - February still seems too soon.

And it's a bit early for Oregon Grape, too, for that matter. say nothing of red flowering currents (though, to be fair, this was the only one this far along, and it's positioned in a particularly sheltered - and therefore warmer - spot than its brethren in this park).

All day the sun was playing hide and seek in the clouds ....

...the moody skies threatening rain every half hour - but it never fell ...

... and in the relative warmth of these shadowy hollows, life is already springing forth, green and fresh from a short winter's nap.

Friday, February 5, 2016

good eats

 we've been eating a lot more vegan meals this year (so far); I have a suspicion that my own palette has been changing of late, that I'm growing less fond of eating animals and animal by-products. We still eat meat once or twice a week, though, and as I type this there's a big container of kheer in the fridge that my hubs brought home for me (and about which I'm positively ecstatic) so we haven't completely switched over yet!

We made this Thai soup from Kraut-Kopf this week; it was incredible. I made myself sick on it, alas (too much coconut milk!)

This carrot-turmeric-dill bread is a freewheeling improvisation on Twigg Studio's beetroot and walnut bread. I think I'll try combining parsnips with sumac and nigella in next week's loaf!

And last but not least is Pinch of Yum's winter bliss bowl; this Buddha bowl features lentil-based falafel (confession: this might be the first lentil-based recipe that I've ever really, truly, passionately loved), raw spinach and red cabbage (we substitute radicchio for a touch of bitter), and cumin-roasted cauliflower and carrots in a delicious tahini sauce (I use the proportions from this recipe for the dressing, but skip the garlic). I've been making these all winter; I'm crazy for them!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

working late

There are days when I feel like I'm just ... running 24/7. And I do admit, I seem to give myself less time these days to just sit and daydream. I'm quite sure I'm very overdue for some daydreaming time, in fact. But at the same time, part of the reason these days feel so long is because they really are packed: work, exercise, eating right, blogging more, and more creative time. I'm more conscientiously pursuing my goals this year. This book project is my dream project; I should be working on it every day. It is exactly how I want to be spending my time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

renew, anew

Imbolc tonight. And Punxatawney Phil did not see his shadow. Winter draws to a close - and it really feels that way, at least in this part of the country. We laid a fire, bright and crackling with sparks.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

tidy, tidy

It's definitely late winter in the Northwest, and the spring cleaning bug is hitting pretty hard. Did you ever buy a calendar that you loved so much, you just didn't want to give it up after the year was up? I'm thinking I'll cut some sheets of lightweight newsprint and stitch them to these inky/watercolor-y moon phases, to make a dozen pretty little notebooks. I'll still have to give them up eventually, but it's an excuse to keep them around a little longer, and get some more use and enjoyment out of them.

I still have the images from The Wild Unknown's calendar from two years ago, tucked into a box upstairs. I want to use them to make embroidered samplers; now that Solvy makes a printable, water-soluble stabilizer, it'll be easy to scan the images and print, stick on fabric, and stitch away. I can't wait to get started! I have a baby gift to make first, which is rather unfortunate as I'm far more in the mood to do hand work lately than to cut 80 feet of two-and-a-half-inch strips. Meh.

(Yes, the crow is done - I figured I'd post a picture when I got it framed, but if you'd like to see it now, feel free to say so.)

This spring catches us putting more than just the inside of our house together; we've worked about 12 yards of compost and planting mix into our little suburban yard, tearing out a patch lawn, massive laurel hedges, and ivy to build a native understory/shade garden, and sunny berms for a cottage garden of flowering and fruiting plants. This weekend we finally started to unpack some of the many plants we brought with us when we moved. It'll be lovely as everything starts to leaf out and bloom in the spring. (For reference, those smallish-looking black pots in the middle of the frame are quart-sized; I was lugging some seriously large and heavy characters around today!)

Friday, January 29, 2016

a little on my lately

Well that was a week. A new client needed me to put in extra hours; twice this week I came home and crashed on the couch. Hm. Maybe three times; I can't quite remember! (So tired!)  I knew it was going to be a bit intense.  I tried to ready everything to make it easier. Sunday saw some serious food prep going on (here are chickpeas soaking for the dish shown below, almonds soaking for our weekly half-gallon of almond milk, red cabbage slaw pickling, and shrimp marinating in lime juice and tequila for these really good tacos).

I did have a nice weekend last weekend, though. Ever walk into a shop to buy a bar of soap and then find yourself asking the proprietor, "Can I buy that print off your wall?" I'd never done it before! (The lino artist is Kate Powel. I can't find anything about her on the web. But I'm thinking of going back for her bee print this weekend.)

But now, blessedly, it's Friday again, and I'm back to my regular work-from-home Friday schedule  -which means getting all the laundry done and running the dishwasher while working; it makes such an impact on my weekend workload! Plus, I get so much more done in the quiet, especially when I've serious thinking-and-writing to do. I've just treated myself to a little pre-workout fuel-up, comprised of this Chickpea of the Sea tunaless tuna salad recipe (one of my husband's favorite vegan meals), with a nice slab of perfectly ripe avocado, on a butter lettuce leaf.

TGIF! Happy weekend!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

ceci n'est pas un sampler

It's one of those days. Actually, it's one of a series of those days, strung in succession like beads on a thread: pouring buckets, lowering sky, a bit too damp and drear for even us locals to bother with things like woodland walks and visits to the wetland pools (though they'd be wonderfully swollen with all this rain). As I type, the deep bank of clouds are taking on a rosy cast: sunset, observed from under our thick, wooly blanket of precipitation.

I'm curled up inside, making the most of it - working through this afternoon, then getting a bit of exercise before finishing this embroidery project off tonight.

This is more than a sampler; this is a ward and blessing for our first home, and once I finish it I'll have to find someone to cut glass for the antique, hand-carved frame that I created it for.