In My Garden

{In my garden is a weekly theme in which I share with you the progress of my vegetable garden. If you would like to join in please feel to share a link to your post or Flickr or Instagram images. Let’s inspire each other to grow food! }

IMG_0159 So I’m not a really silly person until I’m placed in front of the camera, then it really shows what a dork I actually am!

IMG_0157This week we are eating more kale and chard, rosemary on our potatoes, carrots and radishes.

in my gardenFinally after 15 weeks I had some issues come up with my plants. But thanks to my wonderful friend who has WAY more experience gardening than me, I was able to find a solution to the problem. The thing about gardening, which no one tells you, is that there is a humongous learning curve that is exasperated by living in the desert. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that most of my issues arise half way through a season when it’s time to add a bit of fertilizer. Now that I am aware of this fact I will be able to remedy it. But this realization only came to me this week after 5 years of gardening. That being said I will be getting some good locally made compost to add to these beds this weekend.

Here are a few more fun macro shots of the garden!

DSC04382 DSC04383 DSC04385 DSC04386 DSC04387 DSC04388

Happy Wednesday!

Posted in Garden | 4 Comments

More Dresses

handmade dress DSC04366 DSC04363 DSC04361 DSC04341 DSC04340 DSC04337Sorry about all the vertical images but these dresses we too cute not to show the whole thing. I did not use a pattern for these dresses, only a simple formula for measuring: measure the wearer’s waist then double the number. Shir away into you have the length you want. Add a hem and straps and voila!

I’ll let you in on a secret though, my Brother machine does not shir very well and I am too scared to tighten the bobbin case and too cheap to buy another one. So I shirred V’s dress and gathered S’s dress. Both dress were made from fabric I had in my stash. These girls are starting to grow so quickly and have outgrown all of last summer’s dresses.

The thing I love most about making clothing for my children is that they get a say in all the process of making the item of clothing. They pick out the fabric and the style and then watch it from a sheet to a dress. They take a lot of pride in these handmade clothes. Yay for handmade!

Posted in Handmade/homemade, Sewing and Crafts | 7 Comments

In My Garden

{In my garden is a weekly theme in which I share with you the progress of my vegetable garden. If you would like to join in please feel to share a link to your post or Flickr or Instagram images. Let’s inspire each other to grow food! }

In My Garden- Olive and OwlHere was last week.

In My Garden- Olive and OwlAnd this week. Notice how there is no change in the progress of the shorter bed? I’m not sure why the plants aren’t growing there. They really seem to be taking their time. It must be the lack of deep soil.

DSC04280I pulled out some carrots from that container which is barely containing that awesome tomato plant. These folks are indeed white carrots and not parsnips!

DSC04349DSC04346We’ve eaten every single last peapod, however new growth is coming in with lots of new flowers so I am hopeful for another round! The second round of radishes is almost ready too!

So many tomatoes on this plant. I have never had so many tomatoes grow before. In the last 5 years of gardening I’ve grown probably 5 tomatoes. But right now there are over 30 tomatoes growing with more and more flowers opening everyday! I’m so excited for the first tomato to turn red or yellow or pink. It is a rogue tomato plant after all so who know what it will be!



The cucumbers are flowering, just male flowers right now, but hopefully soon the females will come too. The zucchini is flowering, the tomatillos, the butternut squash and of course the strawberries too!


So soon we’ll be eating basil in our meals. I am so excited about the basil. I go out and smell it every morning. I dream of pesto!


Lastly I’ve been planting more things in containers: flowers, herbs, chili. I want to make the best use of the front porch as I can. Everything that is growing there is doing very well. I’ve considered moving the raised beds there for the fall and just putting a tarp down so the soil isn’t sitting on the tiles. It’s protected, shady in the afternoon but gets lots of sunlight in the morning.

We are up on a hill and this hill seems to get lots of wind. Too much wind sometimes for these plants. If this were my property I would build a lovely Ocotillo fence to protect the raised beds. But I’ll have to just improvise for now.

Chicken wire and found wood compost binLast, but not least, I thank you for your suggestions about the compost bin last week. I decided to go with the free option after much research. I already had the chicken wire and around here there are lots of dead tree branches; with D’s help we rigged up a compost “bin”. Already our trash has been reduced by half. Now if only I had grass clippings and some horse manure!

How are your gardens doing? Soggy I imagine with all the snow melt.

Posted in Garden | 11 Comments

Little Hikers

DSC03249If there is one thing I can give my girls, I hope it is a love of being outdoors.  A love using their own two feet to walk long distances to reach a goal and look out over the highest height knowing they accomplished something that was physically challenging. Because truly there is nothing more challenging than knowing you are 5 miles out into the wilderness and the only that will get you back to your car is your own two feet and willpower.

DSC03253DSC02942I started them early, like in the womb early! I hiked and camped through both pregnancies and as soon as I could, I started hiking again postpartum, taking each babe with me.


Each time we go out they are capable of hiking further and further. This past weekend they walked two miles up and back with an elevation change of 700 feet. With only one complaint of hunger. I was so  proud of them. 

DSC04323When we had almost reached the saddle (the highest point in the mountain pass) V says to me, “Mama when I am big I want to hike the Grand Canyon all by myself.” I smiled at her and squeezed her hand knowing that one day she would indeed hike without me and that in this moment she just wanted to hike without holding my hand. She wanted to be a grown up hiker!

Posted in Travels | 10 Comments

Desert Spring

DSC04324 DSC04317 DSC04309 DSC04304 DSC04298 DSC04296Spring has come and I wanted to share with you all how pretty it can be. We may not have snow drops or tulips or daffodils, but we have some really beautiful colors!

Happy Monday my friends!

Posted in Life Notes, Travels | 7 Comments

Welcome April Sponsors

This month I like to welcome back my current sponsors. Please checkout their wonderful shops and blogs.



Armadillo Dreams is a husband/wife shop run by Dustin and Amanda Cowell. They sell wonderful Waldorf inspired handmade wooden toys.


Sparkle Stories is an online resource for high-quality audio stories for children and families.

 MBE 150 button

My Bit Of Earth is a fantastic mama blog written by Meryl. She’s a writer, photographer, runner, mama, amazing cook and lover of chickens.

If you are interested in a sponsorship spot here on the blog please contact me for further information. 

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In My Garden

This week in my garden not much has changed except we’ve eaten all the peas. Humbug. I planted 40 pea plants and that was not nearly enough for a family of four with two growing girls who, when allowed to, will eat all the fresh veggies ready in the garden. I read that you need 40 plants per person to yield enough to eat and freeze for later. There is always the fall garden!

The butternut squash is blooming though no female flowers yet. Everyday I see new tiny tomatoes growing in the container tomato plant. Now if only the tomatoes in the backyard would take off in the same manner. It’s been a windy dry March and that makes it hard for plants to keep moist. We are due for some rain hopefully today and tomorrow. I’d like to for all the plants to get a good soaking.

I’ve been taking your suggestions to heart and have started to reuse containers as planters. I’m saving up containers to plant lots of chilies along with herbs and flowers.

I’m also looking into getting a larger compost bin (we are vermicomposting right now but I need more space then the little worms can handle.) What is your favorite method for containing compost? I tried a trash can two years ago but I found it hard to turn the compost.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Posted in Garden | 4 Comments

The Best Strawberry Rhubarb Pie I’ve Ever Made

20140330-222804.jpgThis was hands down the best pie I have ever made. No joke. I used a recipe from 1953 for the crust and the filling. I made a few tweaks to the recipe to make it slightly healthier without compromising taste. I substituted pastured butter for vegetable shortening and whole wheat for AP flour and arrowroot for thickener. Oh and I added apple cider vinegar to the crust. You can see I tweaked it a bit. The one interesting part about this recipe is that the recipe does not call for refrigerating the dough first before rolling it out. Instead it goes straight into the oven. No pre-bake either. The crust is light and flaky. The filling was sweet and tart and thick.



For the crust

  • 2 cups of very cold whole wheat pastry flour (had mine in the freezer)
  • 2/3 cup of  frozen unsalted butter, cubed
  • 8 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the filling

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb
  • 4 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 2/3 cup sugar/succanat


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor mix the flour and salt. Then add the butter and pulse until the butter is about the size of small peas. Then add the water and vinegar to the flour mixture and pulse again until the dough starts to come together in a ball. At this point pour the dough out on to a clean cool surface like a countertop. Working quickly shape the dough into a disk. Now here is where the recipe varies most (recipes tell you to refrigerate before rolling out the dough) just go ahead and roll out the dough now. You want to cut the dough in half and roll out one half until it’s large enough to cover the whole pan with some overhang and put it in an 8 in pie pan. The other half can wait until your filling is ready. Place the second half of the dough and the pie pan with the crust in it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling simply chop the rhubarb and strawberries (stems removed of course) into bit size pieces. In medium bowl toss the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and arrowroot all together. Now remove the pie crust from the fridge and pour the fruit mixture in. Roll out the second pie crust and put it on top of the other crust and filling. Crimp the edges together and cut slits is the top to allow steam to vent out. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. When the filling is bubbly and the crust golden brown it’s ready.

Allow to cool completely before serving. It will be gone in one sitting, that’s why I have no pictures of the inside! :)


Posted in Cooking and Food | 1 Comment

Shoes and Bulk Bin Bags

First I want to thank everyone who left suggestions to this post on Friday. You all are so wonderful to share your stories with me and suggests new ways to help put an end to recyclable trash.

IMG_3345Thursday after writing this post I had the idea of making some bulk bin bags. Knowing that my local natural foods store is not allowed to let their customers bring their own reusable bulk bin bags, I called up the co-op here in town which happens to be about a 30 minute drive away from my house. They of course allow you to have your own bulk bin bags, so I took about 30 minutes to cut and sew up ten or so muslin bags. I used the alphabet letter stamps that my daughter uses to learn her letters to write out cute labels.

bulk bin bags- olive and owl DSC04255Saturday afternoon I went to the co-op to test out the bags. They worked very well and I was complimented on the crafty fun look of then my checkout cashier. Boosting my ego -ahem-. I figure I can go to the co-op once a month to buy things in bulk like a rice and beans and herbs and use my bags. :) I can’t go down to the co-op every week but once a month would work out pretty well.


Note: if you love these bags I will be putting up a listing in my shop for made to order bulk bin bags. You can have any saying you like on the bag. I’ll post a note here and on the blog Facebook page when it’s up. :)

handmade in NY Last but not least, shoes! Back in January for my birthday I ordered a pair of handmade leather shoes from Aurora Shoe Company.  For over a year I thought about these shoes. I asked around on Facebook and Twitter to see who liked this company and if they had any experience with the shoes. All I got back was positive responses of how totally awesome these shoes are.  Having turned 30 in January I thought it would be a fitting time to get a nice pair of shoes that would last for years and years. Quality over quantity right? I was not disappointed. When these shoes arrived on Friday after waiting a month for them to be made I was overjoyed. They are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I’ve ever owned. Totally worth saving up $150 for! :) They complete my earthy, hippie mama look and that makes me happy. It’s the little things, right?

Wishing you all a happy week! And for gosh sake no more snow up north!

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Posted in Handmade/homemade, Sewing and Crafts | 22 Comments