Archive of ‘Home & Garden’ category

A Good Seed

Seeds2 Pictured above: (Johnny’s Selected Seeds), (Territorial Seed Company), (High Country Gardens), (Kitazawa Seed Company), Edible magazine (Shasta-Butte & East Bay), (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds)

From Esther:
I sowed my first seeds of the season a few weeks ago – mainly arugula, radish and carrots. The weather here in Northern California has been hot and dry and not the norm, so I did have to resort to using my drip system. But I just could no longer hold myself back. My small greenhouse is at the ready if I was too hasty in planting seeds outside.

The influx of all the luscious seed catalogues made me throw caution to the wind. I prefer to buy organic non-GMO varieties, and the catalogues shown are all organic. I recommend all of the growers shown, my particular favourite is Kitazawa. They are located in Oakland, California, and have been operating since 1917. *They had to abandon the business from 1942 to 1945 due to WWII and internment with all other Japanese-Americans. Their catalogue is not flashy, or filled with colour. It is plain, well written and contains an extraordinary amount of unique seeds. They even include recipes on the back.

I rarely buy new pots, in fact I usually return the plastic ones to the growers if I am purchasing from them. I tend to buy from Sawmill Creek Farm here in Paradise. I also make newspaper pots and reuse egg-cartons for planting – this has worked rather well for me. And of course, it’s good to re-use instead of adding to the landfill.

I recommend keeping these little gems by your special chair and on those horrid cold and damp days when you’re house bound, dream and plan about the arrival of spring.

About Edible:
Edible Communities Publications is a company that creates editorially rich, community-based, local-foods publications in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada. The regional and city publications, supporting websites, and events, that connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds. These regional magazines can be found at local businesses in your area, and nearly always are lurking at your local Farmer’s Market (well, they are in Paradise, CA, at least). The regional magazines can also be found online if you are not fortunate enough to be near a Farmer’s Market.


Handmade gifts from bits and bobs


This was such a difficult project! I had to drink copious amounts of inexpensive plonk so that I could use the corks.

Not exactly true but it does sound fun in an odd way.

Last year, I scavenged many succulents from my son-in-law and daughter’s San Francisco garden. There were so many varieties, I knew I had to take a lot since I live in the dry lower Sierra to see what would grow and what wouldn’t. Surprisingly, everything adjusted to the climate and now I have my own bounty of succulents.

This year, I’m making little holiday gifts for dear friends. I have decided to combine the succulents with wine corks. I’ve seen these little gems all over the internet so it’s not an original creative idea of my own (just working with what I have in the garden). I must admit, I really think they are precious …recycle, reuse and give!

How To:

-Hollow out the cork about 2.5 inches. (I used my Dad’s old knife to hollow out the hole in the wine cork)

-I placed moist earth from the garden and the clippings from the acquired SF cuttings.

-I pushed the soil down with a long nail to the bottom of the hole in the cork.

-After I inserted the cuttings and earth, I put the corks in a bowl that was half filled with water (I wanted the new plants to have moisture to encourage new growth). These will stay in the water for 2 days then I’ll remove and nurture them until the holiday season.

I think I’ll wrap copper wire around the upper part of the cork, make a loop so that they can be hung up, or just sit on a window sill. If I do that I’ll take another photo and post it.


Enjoying Autumn

Fig leaf circle path, inspired by Andrew Goldworthy

Somehow in Northern California autumn arrives in a flash overnight. One moment, we’re sauntering around in sandals and short sleeves, enjoying the long indian summer, sipping cucumber water and mulling if lavendar or calendula blossoms work best in frozen ice cubes…then bam! The trees drop every leaf, and cold nights turn into blanket tugging wars.

The best feeling is when the leaves fall into multi-coloured puddles under the trees and bushes. Time to pop on the wellies, wrap a scarf around the neck and enjoy a very brief season that will be followed by the long (much needed) rainy season. Wishing you all happy autumn days.


Wooden Spoons with Attitude

spoons_2up spoons_paint I’ve been wanting to do this little project for a while. Of course, when I finally had time to do it, I couldn’t find the blue painters tape (and I know for a fact that there are at least 3 rolls somewhere in this darn house!). But that wasn’t going to stop me. After looking for 20 minutes, I finally decided to MacGyver the project and use invisible tape (and crossed my fingers that it would work). IT DID!

These spoons are so cheery and fun.

I think I’m going to make a bunch of them and add some words (any special requests?). If you’re interested in ordering some, just drop us a line.

-I used acrylic paint and finished the dried product off with a high-gloss gel.
-These are not dishwasher friendly.
-If you are going to do this yourself, go easy on the paint! You don’t want it to get too gloppy. (yes, that’s a technical term).


Eating Alfresco


It’s that time of year again in San Francisco….it’s finally Summer (in October). I’m looking forward to one more glorious evening where it doesn’t dip below 60 degrees after 3pm. I’m eyeballing the week by week forecast so we can enjoy one last evening in yard – hopefully with our recent lemon tree harvest!