State of the Garden : : December

IMG_8855It appears that Mother Nature was sick of California whining about the drought, because we have been getting more rain that we could have imagined. While the drought isn’t officially over and we’ll need a lot more rain to recover, this is an incredible start towards feeling less guilty turning on the spiget. On rare dry moments I’ve snuck out into the garden to see what’s going on in the new raised beds. It’s so exciting to see things grow! We have most of the beds covered with agribond, thanks to the birds. Walking out there to see raised beds covered with white blankets isn’t really the way one hopes their garden to look. But it’s a matter of fact around these parts that in order to survive against the birds one must cover their beds. Luckily I’m in good company with other country gardening friends.

When you peek underneath though, it’s amazing how well things are growing.

Radishes and garlic


Breadseed PoppiesIMG_8901

Sweet peas standing like soldiersIMG_8902

Kale, spinach and onions
Almost a month ago the kids and I ransacked the tomato bed and ripped them out in a mad dash and threw a bunch of fava beans out before a rainstorm. We lightly raked them into the soil and hoped for the best. A month later this little field is flourishing in favas.IMG_8857
Further out into the fields artichokes and onions are peeping out along with those rows and rows of narcissus bulbs I thinned and replanted:IMG_8907
IMG_8858 IMG_8862IMG_8909 IMG_8910 IMG_8913IMG_8896 IMG_8904
The walk out to the chicken coop is a wet one with a little pond having surfaced right at their entrance, thanks to the rats who love to tunnel there.IMG_8866 IMG_8895

Of course, we are in essence starting from scratch in our new raised beds so everything is little and just starting out. To see what a late autumn garden in Sonoma County can produce in full swing can produce, go check out Melissa’s recent post.

How are things looking in your garden? Soggy? Snowy?

My Favorite Chai Recipe

my favorite chai tea recipe my favorite chai tea recipemy favorite nourshing chai tea recipeI really love drinking chai tea in the winter time, but I’m really picky about it. When I buy chai at coffee shops it’s often cloyingly sweet which I don’t like a bit. And buying chai tea bags just never seems strong enough. About two years ago I found this recipe and I haven’t looked back. To me it’s perfect. A well made chai feels nourishing when you drink it, you can feel those lovely spices warming up your insides and boosting your overall health. Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, are pretty amazing. Together they help stimulate in circulation, aid in digestion, lower cholesterol, strengthen your immunity, decrease the chance of blood clots, are anti-inflammatory, lower blood pressure, help with respiratory infections, and oh, yes, they taste fantastic too.

As seen above, you may package the ingredients up into little squares of cheesecloth to give as gifts. However if you choose to make this at home, I encourage you to let the spices float freely in the pan and then strain them into your mug to get a full extraction of flavor.

I like my chai with only a touch of sweetener, but you can sweeten this recipe as much as you like with honey or sugar or whatever sweetener you chose.

 My Favorite Nourishing Chai Tea Recipe

(serves 2)

2. T. loose leaf black tea
1 t. fresh or dried ginger
1 t. cardamom pods
1 t. cinnamon (or half a cinnamon stick)
1 t. peppercorns
1 t. whole cloves

Combine 1 1/2 c. milk and 1 1/2 c. water into small saucepan. Bring up to a simmer and add spices, simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Strain, add sweetener of choice and enjoy! (If you’d like to turn this into a frothy, foamy latte, after straining I put it into my Frabosk Milk Frother. Delicious!)
My favorite, nourishing, easy to make at home, chai latte recipe

Scotch Toffee Bars | My Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

Scotch Toffee Bars - my favorite christmas cookieScotch Toffee Bars - my favorite christmas cookie Scotch Toffee Bars - my favorite christmas cookie Scotch Toffee Bars - my favorite christmas cookieLast year the kids and I went on a baking bananza. Years ago when my oldest was one, he received a Dick & Jane Christmas book from my aunt. Year after year, for the past 9 years my boys have asked me to repeat that story over and over again to them. It’s such a simple little story as all Dick and Jane books are, but I realized last year, the reason they keep asking me to read it, is because of the cookies. The book is the story of three siblings and how they all take turns making cookies with their mother. At the end of the story they have an entire kitchen filled with different types of cookies. As you can imagine, this looked like pure paradise to my children. So last year I decided to try my best to bake all of our favorite cookies.

It was great fun. This year, I’ve scaled my baking efforts back quite a bit. I’ve scaled all my Christmas efforts back a bit. There are a lot of decorations still left in boxes at the top of the garage and I’m a-okay with that. What few things we have out make the house look festive enough.

This cookie recipe that I want to share with you today is sort of a must have Christmas cookie though. These will get made this year. They are my favorite cookie. And as noted in the corner of the recipe card, my grandfather stated that these were my mom’s favorite cookie too. They are seriously good. Toffee-oatmeal, chocolately goodness. You can’t go wrong. Enjoy!

Scotch Toffee Bars
Recipe type: Cookie
  • ⅓ c. melted butter
  • ¼ c. dark corn syrup
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • ½ c. packed brown sugar
  • 1½ t. vanilla
  • Topping:
  • 6oz. semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • ¼ c. chopped nuts
  1. Pour melted butter over oats. Mix thoroughly. Add sugar, syrup, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Pack firmly into a 7" x 11" pan that has been lined with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven, 450 degrees for 12 minutes.
  2. Cool completely. Spread melted chocolate over top and sprinkle with nuts. Chill. When chocolate is hard, pull foil with cookies in it out and onto a cutting board. Cut into squares.
  3. Stores well for a week in an air tight container.

Scotch Toffee Bar Recipe, easy to make, my favorite Christmas cookie
What’s your favorite Christmas cookie? Leave a link to the recipe if you have one!

An all natural honey almond body scrub that's oh so good for your skin

Honey & Almond Body Scrub

Thank you all for your support of my ebook. Thank you to all who entered the contest, gave encouraging comments, shared it with your friends. And thank you to those who bought the book too! We do have 5 winners (I used to pick the winners)! Sara, Lisa, Tyson, Diane & Brenda will all…

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Thanksgiving Weekend

Scenes from the Weekend

Hope you are having a good Thanksgiving weekend! I haven’t gotten the camera out much the past few days but I have taken a few shots that sort of sum up our weekend.  A real, true rain storm came last night and left us running around yesterday getting the yard ready for rain. Stacking firewood,…

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My first bottom whorl drop spindle yarn

Knitting & Reading about Blogging and Burgess Boys

I love that Ginny combines knitting and reading together in her weekly round ups. Not only do I love those things independent of each other, but I often liken knitting patterns to books. Some knitting patterns are exciting and I can’t wait to see how the next row is going to look, just like a…

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Four New Barred Rock Chicks

{ this moment }

. . . . . . . . . {this moment} ~ Joining Soulmama’s Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. . . . . . . . . . .

last of the tomatoes

Random Bits of Important Things

Rain, rain, glorious rain! We are currently awaiting the second of three storms to visit us. I don’t need to elaborate on the fact that we desperately need this. I’m working hard at relearning my fire building skills. My father did his job and taught me how to build a solid fire, but those lessons…

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