Wednesday, August 26, 2009

marmalade at Sea Ranch

The children and I went with and met 4 mamas + children at Sea Ranch the final week before beginning school for last hooray. The first morning I baked ginger walnut scones and was taking them to the beach for a mid-morning snack. I'm glad I took this photos because moments later I missed my step on to a stone and did a face-plant in to the sand, with my body being broken by the basket of goodies. The scones were squished and full of sand. This did not keep us all from picking through the remains and pouring the marmalade on to every bite.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

grapefruit marmalade

Could not wait to try my hand at the grapefruit marmalade from my canning class. I peeled, julienned the peel, sectioned, boiled all the incredients including the membranes/seeds to make pectin and processed the ingredients in a hot water bath. I was skeptical that the natural pectin would work but alas the marmalade began to thicken as it cooled and continued to do as for the next day on the counter. I knew I had a decent product when the empty pan went missing and found Eva scraping the leftovers with a spoon out in the hallway. Leon, Naomi, Enula and Marcel stopped by, all the children took turns licking the pan - thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

crafing for girls

Eva and I hosted our good friend Chloe for a long-over due visit. After the girls played at home, they wanted to go to my space. We barged in on Ro who was just finishing-up a rehearsal with Carol for their Landescape production. I put the girls to work painting quietly in the hall while I readied to finish my quota of counting bags for the first grade. The girls then came back in to work on embroidery. Eva and Eli are working on tags for a letter envelope, I got from Amanda Blake Soule's A Handmade Home , where they can store their letters, cards and sundries. They'll be able to tote their collection to a quiet corner and SOMEDAY read them at their leasure, of course this is after they learn to read in second grade! Until then they'll just be their trophy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

an exceptionally good saturday

while Art was home slaving over a hot stove and 14lbs of tomatoes, I was off sewing my heart out. When entering first grade at the SF Waldorf school, the teacher has a wish-list of items for the parents. A group of mothers and I, plus out children for a mass play-date, tackled the 35 counting bags needed for each student in Eva's class (these are used to hold treasure the children use to learn math.) It was quite a production line of scissors, patterns, machines and needles. There is nothing like the sound of a machine to bring a group of children to attention. I'm pretty certain they will be done by school.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

tomatoe sauce

I was inspired by my canning class last week which meant work for Art this week. I took the children for the day to sew for Eva's class, leaving Art with 14 lbs of Early Girl tomatoes I purchased from the farmer's market this morning. Before we left, Eli and Eva helped Art blanch the tomatoes and Eli took this photo from his point of view. There is not as much sauce as I thought there would be but boy oh boy am I looking forward to going to the shelf and grabbing fresh sauce in the winter. I'll can Monday afternoon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

aqua fresca

Today the children and I were at the local grocery at the bottom of the hill, when I saw packaged tamarind pulp for sale. I asked the clerk how you prepare it, I'm interested in recreating a drink from the Legion of Honor Museum we sampled in the Spring. we just winged it, boiling the tamarind, should have kept it in longer, adding pineapple/coconut juice and a few cubes of crystalized ginger + water in to the blender. The tamarind still had too many solids so we had fun straining it three times. A refreshind after a warm day at the park - wish could have joined us Nance!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

can can

I'm feeling a bit sheepish how much Jan-time I've had this week. Yesterday was another Jan day, Eva went to a birthday party, Eli and Art to the Academy of Science and I to a canning class as part of their Self-Sufficient Kitchen courses offered this summer at the Studio for Urban Projects. Nicole Lobue was an energetic ambitious teacher with a background as an accomplished chef/caterer/herbalist that made the process easy. Her recipes chosen were so creative. There were approx. 20 of us, 4 burners, pots o'plenty and the smells to entice anyone in to the space from the street. Nicole picked up the freshest, best ingredients in town that morning at the Ferry Building farmers market. The list of projects, some completed and some still on the burner, literally, included poached/pickled purple cauliflower/red onion/herbs/vinegar
(say that one three times quickly), preserved blackberries in red wine syrup infused with rose-geranium, preserved strawberries in sherry, blackberry jam, whole tomatoes, grapefruit/sweet lime marmalade, nectarine/caramelized onion/smoked ancho chile chutney. Our hand were working, pot boiling, jars sterilizing and conversation flowing. I left loving this city, ready to can.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A room of her own

An idea kept re-emerging as a theme back in the Spring, what I'm missing is a space of my own here in this 1,400 sq ft apartment. At first I considered reconfiguring our living room to accommodate a work space so I don't have to put every project away at the end of day to eat dinner. I realized this also went hand-in-hand with the fact that I've been longing for a place to go during the day while children are at school where I can sew, organize my photo film, scan the slides I've had of Susan Bender's for over a year or just craft my heart out, or the more important - do nothing. Virginia Wolf never got hers and look what happened. Art heard the plea and was supportive and I started bringing up the idea around friends. Well, Rowena was also looking for a space to dance. Two days before leaving for Va I went and checked out a space available downtown, the location was all wrong but the price if we had a third and the space itself was fine for the 6 months it'd be available. It's in one of the last true artists spaces left downtown, which is for sale, being cleaned=up as I write ready to hike up rents. Anyway, with much back and forth while I was in VA it worked out that we got it. Rowena said it right as I went from a room of my own, passed hers and mine, straight to three's company.

Thursday was the day - I moved in with the hopes of setting up. Art and the children helped me move a load in and drove off for a day together, it was my first day on my own in 7 weeks. I started putting the Ikea furniture together that we'd bought for the kitchen but never used. I put in on Craigslist to sell several times and every time I could not get ride of it hoping I'd have a reason to set up shop. The last person who wanted to buy it was a woman who was crafting and setting up her space, that did it, I could not let it go.

Fortuitously I forgot a box of essential parts and could not put it together, instead I pulled out the little bed roll and read my Twyla Tharp self-help book and journaled all day. It was amazing, luxurious, spoiling and altogether the best day I'd had in years. I got a new book mid-morning from Chronicle books down the street on the crafting industry and now I'm inspired to get my craft on and organize some mama crafter mornings at the space or evenings. I've also been thinking how to process the recent move out of my childhood home, set a project in motion to help me through it all. I felt so alive and tingly all day. I ended my time alone by going to a yoga class before heading back to the homestead. I've felt patience re-enter my day, I cherish more moments with my children instead of snapping out of the blue.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

school shopping

sI'm not sure what happens over the summer but my children grow inches daily, I start to fret while away about having to replace all the clothes. I am lucky in that both my children do not mind high-water pants, sleeves that are too short and stains on their chests. Yesterday I took on the childrens' closet, another entry altogether, and weeded out the extremes, it left our shelves pretty low. I always shop by myself, except for the occasional thrift store run, and present the stash to the children. Today, I had to pick up the new key TO MY NEW STUDIO, also worthy of an entry. I took E+E with me and headed to H&M in the downtown Westfield Mall. This is the only store I go to in the Mall, I love the prices and mostly the boys clothes. I was so pleased how the entire exprience went. The children were so excited to be there, especially Eva. I told her this was her first mall, she said, no we go to see Santa every year but we just don't shop." This was so funny to me in that there could not be two malls more different than this fancy pants establishment and the grade d mall of my youth in Staunton where I did most of my shopping at Sears. She loved looking at the offerings, not expecting everything, taking my suggestions, and willing to forgo something for another mama-suggestion. It sound silly to say I was proud of how my daughter shopped but it was just how she conducted herself in general and it was one of those childhood moments - back-to-school shopping. Eva came home, thanked her daddy, adding that, "mommy made me say it." We got a fashion show and off she went to bed, commanding to to wash her clothes. They would not settle down tonight and I blew the romance of the day by pulling out of thin air, "this is the last time I'm coming back here tonight, your new clothes are going on a shelf until the first day of school." The words came out and alas I have to live up to it.

so much old to catch up on

Summer is winding down and I left off way back at the beginning of our trip to Virginia. I did not blog as I'd hoped, too much visiting and too little DSL. I will go back and make observations, remembering the fabulous time romping around the home-state that I love. I now bring my pulse-rate down a few notches thinking about my favorite aspect of my journey back, driving. Here in SF driving is the bane of my life here, driving through traffic, the resting at the 33 stop signs to school every morning, circling for parking. I just love driving through the country side of the Shennendoah and the Piedmont of Charlottesville. The drive at the top of my list is from Susan Bender's to my parents. I leave Susan's property and drive to the end of Old Lynchburg Road passing the simple homes, junkyard collections and old country church, ending at the old toll house now owned by the fiddle player for the Dave Matthew's Band. Plank road is strech of farms large and small, simple white clapboard houses lining the road and stretches of larger estates. We love to see if the cows have found hole in the fence, reaching their necks out to get the juicy grass at the edge of the road. Crossing 29, we're on Batesville Road, the geography is a bit different, the trees are bigger, estates get grander and the road a bit less traveled, barring the slow tractor or truck I seem to always find when I'm expected at either one relative's or another. Batesville is over in a blink of an eye but make sure you do not blink when the speed signs change from 45 to 25. I remember driving East bound on this road with my dad once and him remarking on this, "watch out or the constible will get you." At the end of Albemarle County you see get the most perfect view of the Blue Ridge before the asent. You can peek views of the the county through the trees as you climb. Once up on top, the view is of home. It's just as rewarding on the way home.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

weekend with friends

Ed took care of our laudromat empire while we were in VA, and let's just say that it was much more time-consuming than he expected. He did an amazing job and allowed us to really get away from the SFWash life. Anyway, he suggested that maybe we could take care of Skyla and Julias one weekend and we leapt at the chance to spend time with our buddies. So July 30 - August 1 we were a family of 6. I can honestly say that I would never have a relationship with my children if we were that many, I was too busy keeping then fed, in clothes and in fun. We spent Saturday out at at Lake Lagunitas hiking around the lake and spending hours playing in the creek. The hightlight of the day was Eva catching a newt. "Newtie" provided over and hour of enjoyment for the children, we hope he did not suffer and long-term ailments from so much love from our crew. I must say the dinner table is so quiet now we are back to being only 4.