Sunday, December 19, 2010
Future Banana Bread or Artistic Still Life Display??
My house will smell lovely with the scent of freshly baked banana bread. My taste buds will thrill at the sweetness and delicate crunch of that first warm bite.
That is if I can make the time to actually get into my kitchen and bake it.
Soon, say I. I will do it "soon".
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Monday, December 13, 2010
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Whispering Jessie Noble
October 1, 1992 – December 12, 2010
My sweet, precious kitten. My very best friend, confidant, and companion. She is the most beautiful of kitties in the whole Universe of kitties, and I told her so every chance I got. She is a sweet, strong and brave girl. She loves me so much, she trusts me with everything, and I love her with all of my heart. There will never be another kitty quite like my sweet Jessie. There is a huge hole in my heart today. A very sad day for me. I will be sad for a long, long time to come. I miss her so.
I named her Whispering Jessie after the John Denver song. Jessie always purred very loudly when happy or when comforting me, but she mewed and meowed in a very soft, whispering voice. Her quiet gentle movements around our home will be missed. Her presence in my daily life filled my heart with love, light and warmth. She taught me so much about love and life. About friendship and commitment, even when times got tough. She taught me to play and to laugh and be happy. She always comforted me when I was sad, upset or crying. She would come to me and purr and rub her face on me, my leg, my hand or my face. Any part of me that she could reach. She was strong and a fighter when it came to adversity. She loved me and trusted me so. Her eyes were bright and deep. Her sweet soul radiated for all to see.
She went quickly and died in my arms. Rest and be at peace now my sweet baby. I love you with all of my heart and soul. Come to me in my dreams and meditations. Visit with me and comfort me. Guide me and love me for all of my days and nights. I know we will be together again. Please let me know it is you when you come to me again. I love you, I love you, I love you more than anyone will ever know. You are the most beautiful of kitties in all of the Universe of kitties. Ever there was.
All my Love Forever,
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
My Sweet Friend and Companion
This is an important issue to me, even more important today since now two of my kitty Jessie’s medications are compounded and created specifically for her. “Standard” pills or capsules in “standard” doses will not work for her or many other pets.
I’ve copied this email letter from the compounding pharmacists organization, and printed it below for you to read. I have forwarded their letter to my main veterinarian and to my pet loving friends. I plan to forward it on to other local vets here in the mountain area.
It's easy to follow their instructions on how to send an email form letter to your congressmen as there is a link at the bottom of the email that takes you to a form letter that we can send. Just fill in the blanks provided at the website with your own name and address and they will send an email letter from you to your local congressmen. It only takes about 1 minute to complete this. You can tell them to send you a copy of the letter they send out for your records.
Please join me in supporting and protecting our compounding pharmacies. I use their services and products for my own hormone supplements too. They have improved my life and now my sweet Jessie’s more than I can express.
We need to have the flexibility and convenience of specially prepared medicines for ourselves and for our pets who trust us to take care of them.
Thanks & Love,
Farmer Jen & Whispering Jessie
Here’s the link to use if the one below doesn’t work: https://secure2.convio.net/iacprx/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=219
Text from the compounding pharmacists email letter:
Protect Your Pet's Medications and Help Save Your Best Friends Life
Do you share your home with a pet? Whether feathered or furry, you know they’re an important part of your family and depend on you for love and care.
Part of that care is making sure your pet has access to the medicines and healthcare that’s right for them whenever illness strikes. The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) wants you to know that there’s something you can do – TODAY – to help guarantee that.
Over the past several months, IACP has worked with Congress to correct a discrepancy in the Food and Drug Administration’s policies on prescriptions for pets. The FDA has declared that preparing compounded medicines from pure pharmaceutical ingredients is inappropriate and even illegal. Why they have that policy is unclear, especially since the Agency recognizes the necessity and appropriateness of pure ingredients for human prescriptions.
And that doesn’t make sense. Your pharmacist needs to be able to use bulk products to customize the right dose for your pet. After all, a small kitten has markedly different medicine needs than a large dog, a parakeet has different needs than an iguana.
Yet, the FDA thinks the only “right” way to customizes medicines for pets is to make pharmacists use commercially available tablets or capsules that may contain other ingredients, fillers, or dyes that your pet can’t tolerate.
What can you do to help fix this problem?
Thanks to IACP’s work on your behalf as a pet owner, we have a formal letter from Congress going to the FDA. IACP has worked hard to secure bipartisan support of this inquiry. Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have agreed to be the lead sponsors and have already begun working with their Congressional colleagues to obtain as many signatures as possible. The more Congressmen that sign the letter, the more powerful it will be.
As soon as you can, contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives and ask them to sign onto the Gonzalez/Blackburn Veterinary Compounding Letter. Tell them to contact either Cara Dalmolin in Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s office at (202) 225-2811 or Julie Hart in Congressman Charlie Gonzalez’s office at (202) 225-3236.
To make this as easy as possible for you, IACP has also prepared an Action Alert e-mail that will automatically send this request to your Congressman. You and your family can each send an individual e-mail by going to the following link – URL here
It only takes a few minutes to call or send an e-mail about this important issue. With your support, we will have as many Congressional signatures as possible. That will show the FDA that their unfounded and questionable position on the use of bulk chemicals/APIs in veterinary compounding is under serious legislative scrutiny.
Background About This Issue
The FDA has asserted (and in one case issued an injunction against a pharmacy on this issue) that custom preparations of medicine made pursuant to a veterinarian’s prescription cannot use active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), also referred to as bulk ingredients. They insist that compounding for animals must be done from finished (not bulk) product, even if this eliminates treatment options or negatively affects the quality of the medication. This interpretation will have a direct impact on your ability to compound veterinary products from APIs.
This position has far-reaching and negative implications for animal health as this would mean that most compounding could not be done or could not be done effectively. For example, converting a medication into a sterile injectable for a dog that is unable to swallow medication cannot be done from a finished pill; making a cream that is rubbed and absorbed into a cat’s ear must be made from API; and preparing medication for tropical fish eliminates the option of using finished product that has fillers that would contaminate their living environment.
The letter being developed asks that FDA withdraw their earlier guidance on this issue and allow an open comment period before its provisions are finalized. It is imperative that affected parties (veterinarians, pharmacists, pet owners, etc.) have an opportunity to comment on such a far-reaching guidance document.
FDA’s current position on this issue adversely affects pet and animal owners and veterinarians. It also adversely affects compounding pharmacies that make these veterinary medicines per prescription, the vast majority of which are small, family-owned businesses.
Click here to take action!
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
*Note ~ this post was originally written in November 2009 and is reposted here from my MotherHen Jen bread blog because I don't have time to write anything new today, and I wanted to share this easy and fresh bread stuffing recipe with you for Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
For many years I purchased the box of dried up bread pieces marketed as "seasoned bread stuffing mix" and added my own fresh ingredients to make a bread stuffing casserole to serve at Thanksgiving dinner. It was tasty enough to please my guests who liked bread stuffing. Me, I never much liked bread stuffing. It didn't have the fresh homemade flavor that I thought it should have. It was either too dry or too mushy for my taste.
Well, this year I decided I could do better than the boxed stuffing mix. So I created a recipe using my own MotherHen Jen artisan breads as the base and then added my other fresh ingredients to make a wonderful and tasty bread stuffing casserole. You can also stuff the turkey with it, but I prefer it as a casserole side dish as I usually stuff my turkeys with a rice & meat based stuffing recipe that was handed down to me from my Mom.
This recipe is flexible on the amounts of fruits, nuts and vegetables that you add in. Add more of what you like best. The broth and juice can be adjusted to your liking as well, depending on whether you like a more moist or a drier stuffing.
It tastes great straight from the oven, warm & moist with a crisp top, but I think it tastes best when served with some nice turkey meat and good homemade turkey gravy ladled over the top.
Here's the recipe:
Bread Stuffing Casserole ~ by MotherHen Jen
for Thanksgiving or Anytime
12-14 oz MHJ Rustic Wheat Bread, (1 small loaf) day old, cut/crumbled into ½ inch cubes
1 C (2 ribs) Celery, chopped
1 C Apple, unpeeled & chopped
½ C Walnuts, chopped
3 Tbs Butter, melted
2 Tbs Olive Oil
½ C Chicken or Turkey Broth
¼-½ C Apple Juice, Apple Cider, Orange Juice or Water
Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Oregano, Basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Butter or Oil a 2 Quart Casserole Dish
1. In a large bowl, gently toss together bread cubes, celery, apple & walnuts.
2. Stir together melted butter and olive oil. Pour over bread mixture and toss gently to coat.
3. Season to taste with black pepper, cinnamon, herbs (fresh or dried)
4. Add egg to cool chicken broth and stir to mix. Add juice and stir again.
5. Drizzle broth mixture over bread mixture and toss lightly to coat.
6. Spoon (use hands) stuffing into the prepared 2 qt casserole dish and bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes for a crisp top. Serve with turkey or chicken and gravy.
Substitute other nuts for walnuts or omit nuts
Add raisins, dried cranberries or other chopped dried fruit
Use MHJ Artisan White Bread or Egg Bread instead of Rustic Wheat Bread (or any other loaf of your favorite artisan bread)
To make the savory version, substitute chopped onion for the apples, substitute water or broth for the juice, season with garlic powder instead of cinnamon.
Please tell me about any other delicious variations you create for this stuffing recipe or any recipes using MotherHen Jen artisan bread.
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Monday, November 1, 2010
Leaky, but luscious, Cherry Pie
First off, this is a VERY belated blog post. I made this cherry pie way back in mid July at the peak of the summer fruit season. Hot days and balmy nights. The whole summer thing. I've just been so busy since then, that today, over 3 months later, is the first chance I got to compose this post.
I've made cherry pies before, but only from canned tart cherries. This is the first time I have ever made a cherry pie from fresh cherries. This time I had enough fresh fruit available and a very handy cherry pitter to make the best cherry pie I have ever tasted. Ever.
This is the first year that I could use fresh sour cherries from my young Montmorency Cherry tree. (I call her Mary Montmorency.) She gave me just over one cup of fresh tart cherries.
(Mary) Montmorency Tart Cherry Harvest 2010
Well, one cup of cherries is not enough to make a whole pie, so I also used a combination of Bing Cherries and Van Cherries from my sweet dual graft cherry tree. Usually I just eat these nice sweet cherries out of hand for snacking, but this year my dual graft tree produced enough for snacking and some baking projects. I had a bit over 3 cups of fresh cherries, tart and sweet ones combined, for my pie.
Combination of Montmorency, Bing & Van Cherries for pie
For some reason my pie crust turned out especially flaky (not sure what I did right to make it that way), and the combination of cherries made this pie taste wonderful. I can only hope to bake another one just as good as this one with next summer's cherry harvest. If not, well, I have my cherry pie memories to savor.
Looks good enough to eat!
Till next summer's cherry harvest these photo memories will have to do!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Look at this beautiful personalized Critter Farm birthday card! Just wow!
About a week after my birthday, I received a package in the mail postmarked Oregon. It was from my blog friend Danni, Farmgirl dk of Critter Farm. She had mentioned via email that she would be sending me a little something in honor of my birthday. So I kept a watchful eye on my mailbox.
It arrived at exactly the right time. I was having a bad day, feeling tired and not having much of anything go well. Then this package arrived from Danni. It perked me right up. A friend reaching across the miles to wish me happiness. So wonderful to have friends like this.
So I opened the box to find this dried flower lying atop the packing paper:
Not sure what kind of flower it is, but I was pleased to have a bit of Oregon's nature sent to me. I am saving the seed head and will plant the seeds to grow Oregon flowers of my own. How cool.
Underneath the packing paper I found two colorfully wrapped gifts:
Such cute wrapping paper. I especially like the one with the farm animals
I loved the wrapping paper. I saved the one with the farm animals on it and have shown it to everyone who has come into my home since I received the gifts. It's so Critter Farm. Such attention to the details makes the gifts even more special.
So what was inside the pretty papers? Totally cool gifts, that's what!
Totally cool gifts!
A custom made card, soft & chewy gummi bears and a great book that Danni tells me is one of her favorites. The title is "Peace at Heart" by Barbara Drake. The author has a farm in Oregon and she wrote about her experiences there. I haven't read very much of it yet, as I seldom sit down long enough to read these days, but what I've read so far has really pulled me in. Once I start reading a chapter, I can't seem to put it down till I finish it.
These gifts were perfect. And they arrived with perfect timing. A hand of friendship reaching out to me across the miles making a positive difference in my life. Thank you for your gifts Danni. You made my day so much brighter.
The book will continue to brighten my days. The gummis, well, they were half gone mere minutes after I received them. They are no more. Poor little gummis. All gone now.
Yummi Gummis! So soft & chewy.
I am thankful that I have such good friends.
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Look at those cool wavy neon candles! Love 'em!
So this birthday post is belated. Maybe I am moving more slowly since I turned 50. Oh well, here are the highlights of the big "five-oh" last month. It was a good day.
We had my birthday party and "cake ceremony" at Jack's home. This is how it looked when I walked in:
Helium Balloons and Piles 'o Presents!
I was seated at the table and then Jack brought in the flaming cake. The guys were singing the Happy Birthday song to me, so maybe that accounted for the dorky look on Jack's face in this photo (or maybe he just looked dorky):
Jack and the birthday cake he made ~ chocolate, of course
So here's the flaming cake:(Bob was standing by with a fire extinguisher, just in case)
Beautiful cake! Dangerous flames.
Here's me just after I blew out all the candles (Jack wasn't quite quick enough with the camera):
We saved the cake eating for after dinner and I went on to open that stack of gifts, but apparently I didn't take any pictures of that part of the celebration. I loved all of my gifts. The guys did a great job on wrapping and gifting.
First course was miso soup:
Then started the entertainment as well as the cooking of our meals:
Fueling up the onion volcano
Then he lit it on fire, and boy did it flame up!
Flaming onion volcano!
The volcano quieted down and started to smoke while he turned his attention to the preparation of our main courses:
Chicken, shrimp, calamari, scallops and a smokin' volcano
Next he chopped and cooked the veggies and finished the meats and seafood:
Our dinner, artfully prepared
This was my birthday dinner plate:
All the food, the singing, the balloons, the gifts and the love made my 50th birthday a perfect celebration. My thanks to my partners, Jack and Bob, for making my special days even more special.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Late Summer View ~ Dry & Hot
It is the third week in August. Late summer. Almost time for the kids to be back in school. Time to get in that last minute summer vacation.
Some call it the “dog days of summer”. Though the weather is still blazing hot, I know that autumn is just around the corner. Every August I realize this, and every August seems to sneak up on me suddenly as if I didn’t know it was coming. As if I couldn’t read my calendar.
Can you spy the veggies in between the weeds?
There are major weeds in my vegetable garden right now. I have really neglected it this year. I never even got most of it planted, and now it’s too late. For this year anyway. It’s just too hot out, and I have been too busy with other things to pay much attention to my beloved garden. The garden that feeds me. The garden that I enjoy so much.
The late summer season and my neglected garden seem to be metaphors for my own life. I feel as though I am entering my own late summer season, and I am aware that I have neglected many important areas of my life over the past few years.
Oh, I have been busy, not lazy at all. I always have something going on. Some project or plan on which I am working. It just seems that much of my time and energy have been siphoned off lately taking care of other people’s problems, cleaning up other’s messes and trying to find balance in my life that I swear I used to have. I haven’t spent enough time on the things that I love the most in this life. I need to focus more on the things (and beings!) that make me truly happy, that inspire me, that help me to grow and evolve my soul.
Whispering Jessie ~ My Sweet Kitty
Jack & Bob
Each August I think about these things, but particularly so this third week in August of this particular year. This is a special time for me.
Today is my 50th birthday.
At exactly 10am today I turned 50 years old. That’s the big five-oh. A half century. I am a “semi-centenarian”, if there is such a thing.
I guess I am feeling this birthday much more than I felt my 40th or my 30th. With this birthday come many things that have to do with the aging process that I don’t really like.
Physical body changes. Sleep disturbances. Weight gain. Forgetfulness and distraction. Acute mental and emotional awareness that I am not a young woman anymore. These are some of the things that I don’t really like.
The medical people refer to me as a “post-menopausal woman”. Great label. Thanks. Thanks, so much. Accurate, but not very flattering.
Aches and pains seem to occur more frequently now. Stiffness. Especially in the morning upon waking. Waking, that is, if I even get any sleep at all during the night.
I went bra shopping the other day. I really needed some new ones as my old ones were so tattered and worn. This is not a chore that I look forward to. Standing there in the unflattering vaguely blue-green florescent lighting in the department store dressing room looking at that middle aged woman staring back from the mirror at me. That can’t be me, I think to myself. I don’t feel like that woman looks. Didn’t I just turn 20, like yesterday? This woman’s body is overweight and saggy! That can’t be me. And these bras don’t fit like they used to fit on my once thin and sexy young body. It depressed me for a few minutes. Not a long time, I recovered my good mood fairly quickly, but it’s still not a fun task to shop for clothes or intimate apparel these days. Forget about bathing suits.
I need to get in shape and lose some weight. I am not happy with how my body looks or performs. I need my strength and flexibility back. It will take work, but I must do it, and do it soon. I want to feel strong, vibrant and sexy.
When I look in my mirror these days, I see my Mom looking back at me. Now, I love my Mom dearly, and I think she was a very pretty woman, but I am not ready to look as old as she was when I last saw her at age 73 (she passed away 13 years ago). I see more and more of her in my mirror each passing day. I say “Hi Mom” and walk away from the mirror.
My 40th birthday seemed like it was going to be a milestone. A turning point. My entry into middle age. But it really didn’t have a major effect on my psyche. It came and went largely unnoticed.
I remember on my 30th birthday, I sent my Mom a bouquet of flowers with a special note attached saying “Mom, thank you for having me. I love you.” She loved all flowers, and my gift really touched her heart. She thanked me over and over again. I am so glad that I did that for my 30th and did not wait, because my Mom wasn’t here for my 40th. I am glad I got the chance to thank her for creating me, raising me and giving me her love and wisdom. I do still miss her so very much. Especially on my birthday. She always made my birthday very special with her fun gifts wrapped in colorful papers and ribbons.
My Mom ~ Jennie
I think maybe that’s why this 50th birthday is making me pause and think so much. Maybe I am just really missing my Mom right now. I miss her nurturing and her acceptance. I miss her passion for life, her laughter and her love.
A lot has been going on in my life this past year. A lot of changes. A lot of responsibilities. A lot of stress. I have had to deal with letting go of things that I had been holding onto for a very long time. Letting go of some things from my childhood, too. I’ll write more about these things another time, but for now, I guess I have been a bit too focused on my own aging because of having to let go of my childhood things. All at once. With me sort of kicking and screaming to keep hold of them. At age 50. Sheesh.
I need to learn which things to keep and which to let go freely. I need to get my balance back. My joy. My passion. My zest for life. I need to look forward to new chapters in my life. My fifties. OK. If I have to. There are worse things than growing older.
I actually like my life. I am loved. I have friends. I have family. My home is comfortable and pleasant. I have plenty to eat. (too much usually!) I really do have it good. I need to focus on those positive things more often.
This milestone 50th birthday has been a wake up call for me to actively improve the things in my life that need improving and to let go of the things that are not working to make me happy.
It’s time. I have much work to do.
I will start tomorrow.
Today we celebrate and eat cake & ice cream!
Happy Birthday to me! I love you all. Thank you for being in my life. ♥
Friday, July 16, 2010
I've loved this song (every word of it!) since this album came out way back in 1992. It just has such a good sound. My being totally resonates with it.
I really love her style, her voice, her energy. Such depth of emotion. She speaks my heart.
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Monday, July 5, 2010
French Breakfast Radishes, Radish Greens, Snow Peas & Baby Romaine Lettuce. That's all I could harvest today from my midsummer garden. Everything is growing so slowly this year. Except for the weeds! I seem to be able to grow huge, luxurious weeds very well indeed.
I just haven't had the time this year to get out there and pull out the weeds when they are small and easier to remove. I know better than to let them grow big, but have not had the time to address them. I will. I really will.
So except for the berries and cherries (I will write about those in another post) and the artichokes which I posted about toward the end of "Spring" last May, I really have not had a very productive garden yet this year. Got started late and things are growing slowly. I haven't even planted some of my summer crops yet! There is still time, but I do worry that summer will be over before I can gather my usual abundant veggie harvest.
I love my garden. I love growing and eating fresh vegetables and fruits. I just need to make more time for it in my life.
I need to be at one with my garden.
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sweet Strawberries ~ freshly picked
My strawberries have started to ripen. I have gathered those that the birds and bugs have left unsampled. Not many so far, but very nice ones.
Multiple artichokes have appeared! The most and the largest in the many years that I've had this artichoke plant. Must be due to our prolonged cold & wet weather. I am tired of the cold wet weather, but am loving the artichoke production.
I used to get many colors and many blooms in my iris beds. Not so much variety in recent years. This year I have many blue and some dark red blooms to enjoy. They do add cheer to my day. You can spy some golden California poppies sneaking in there between the irises.
I made an impromptu bouquet of Sweet Williams, Sage flowers and Lavender. You can't really see the lavender in this photo, but it's there. Really. Lovely scent and color to brighten my home.
Finally, it feels like Spring here today. Tomorrow it will suddenly be summer. Then I'll be complaining that it's too hot...
© Copyright 2010 Mountain Harvest Basket
Friday, May 21, 2010
From June/July 2010 Reader's Digest magazine page 39:
A born and bred New Yorker is in the country when he sees a field of animals and says to the farmer, "What a strange looking cow. Why doesn't it have horns?"
"Well, there are several reasons," the farmer replies. "Some cows get their horns late, while others have their horns cut off, and still others never even grow horns."
"And this cow?" the city man asks.
"Well, the reason this cow doesn't have any horns is that it's a horse."
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Third week in April. It's supposed to be springtime now, right?
My driveway ~ can you see the pear & apple blossoms covered in snow?
It's been a long, cold, wet winter. I am tired of the rain and snow now.
Cherry Tree & Bay Tree ~ snow frosted
CA Redbud Tree ~ in full bloom ~ snow frosted
Note my lounge chair in the photo above. The one I enjoy sunning myself in when it's warm outside. Covered in a thin layer of snow this morning. No sunning myself today!
That's the edge of my main raised bed garden to the right of the photo. Full of snow. Good thing I have been too busy to plant it yet. Only the over wintered garlic grows in there today. I normally have all of my cool weather crops in by the first week in April. Between the weather and my schedule this year, I have done almost nothing to ready my gardens. The guys did help me to weed it. So that's something.
Manzanita Trees ~ pretty when laced with snow
I long for the softness, warmth and sweet scents of Spring. I want to see my gardens grow. I love the little seedlings pushing up from the soil. So brave. So strong. So determined. I love how they grow big and produce much.
Butterflies and flowers. I am so ready for them.
Colorful Roses ~ picked April 18th
The beautiful, sweet smelling roses in this last photo, were picked at my Mom's old house located a couple of hundred miles from here in a warmer sea-level climate. It was actually almost hot there last Sunday when I collected them. They remind me of her.