Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Chestnut picking

Even though I have been singing “…chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” for as long as I can remember, I have never really known much about chestnuts. A few weeks ago my friend Sallie told me that one of their family traditions was driving to the Skyline Chestnut Orchard in the Santa Cruz mountains to pick them. The kids had the day off of school so we decided to go and check it out. I am so glad we did! The orchard is located on a very steep hill right off of Skyline Drive. When we arrived, we were given thick leather gloves (chestnuts are covered in a very dangerous needle like outer shell) and buckets for our findings. We were also told to only pick the chestnuts off of the ground, not off of the tree because those are not ready yet. We found the best ones on a super steep hill which included spectacular views of the mountains. We also came away with our yearly Christmas card picture. A win-win for sure. We have tried several methods for cooking the chestnuts, none of which I am quite happy with. If anyone has a recipe that they like, we would love to hear about it! We gathered four pounds and still have plenty left…


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This weekend was Avery’s birthday party. She invited five friends over to make fairy gardens. during the past few weeks, I collected vintage planters from thrift stores, colorful glass pebbles, mosses, picket fences etc. My mom helped out by sending little items that she has collected over the years to add to the mix (Thanks Mom!). I set the patio up into stations. One station had the soil, sand, rocks and shells. Another had a little table filled with small animal figurines. The work table had Irish moss, baby tears and reindeer moss. Of course there was a snack station as well with fruit, candy, brie and crackers to keep the designers in top form. I made mushrooms by spray painting rocks with a red gloss then adding white polka dots. Here are some pictures from this fun day! I was over the moon with how cute these turned out. The girls really seemed to have a fun time too. Happy birthday to my Elfin Queen!

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This summer we spent a few fun days at my aunt and uncle’s house in Pennsylvania. They live on a large piece of property (compared to California standards) and have an amazing garden and quite a few animals including eight or nine chickens (which by the way provide the most delicious eggs). As a thank you for my aunt Jackie’s hospitality, my mom commissioned me to make her a tote bag. I knew exactly which embroidery I was going to use for this one! I got this piece at the Oakland White Elephant Sale in January. I loved the mid-century look of the design and the odd color combination. I had the corduroy in my stash as well as the unlikely floral fabric. Somehow they all went together in a fun way.

p.s. Here are Jackie’s chickens and the breakfast she made for me!

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Rock sculptures

This summer we went camping at Memorial Park near Pescadero, CA. There is a stream that runs through the woods close to the campsites so we spent some time there swimming and hanging out on the rocky beach. Avery has been a rock collector for as long as I can remember and she collected various rocks and brought them back to our site. She started stacking them creating these beautiful little sculptures. Pretty soon most of us were joining in. Who needs t.v. or cell phones when you have a pile of rocks to play with?!

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Blossoms at Dusk

Yesterday was gorgeous so I did a bit of patio clean-up. Planted, transplanted, thinned, raked etc. We planted a flowering plum along the patio fence a little over a year ago and it has started to bloom again. I love the way the pink blossoms look against the twilight sky. Dreamy…

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Almond blossoms and red bud. Spring is on the way!

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Fairy Bed

Yesterday Avery made a fairy bed of twigs, nandina branches, daphne leaves and blossoms. Oh, if I were only two inches tall…

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