Friday, October 21, 2011

Walnuts & Catepillers

Catepillers eating my walnut tree leaves

So can anyone out there tell me what kind of catepillers these are in the photo above? What kind of moth/butterfly do they turn into when mature?

They appear this time of year and eat as many of my walnut tree leaves that they can before I find them. They literally devour the leaves off the tree. I am left with just the skeletal veins of the leaves.

I'd like to know what they are and how to prevent them from eating my walnut tree leaves, if possible. I don't spray my plants and trees with pesticides (or anything), so maybe I'll just have to pick them off each time I see them.

2011 Walnut Harvest ~ with protective husks

The photo of the 3 walnuts above shows my entire walnut harvest for 2011! There were 3 or 4 more nuts on the tree, but the squirrels got to them before I did.

Washed Walnut Harvest

So I cleaned them up and am waiting for them to dry a bit before I eat them. What should I feed my tree to get a bigger crop? I want lots. Not just a handful.


© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Friday, September 2, 2011

I lost some weight today!

Little braids keepsakes...

Maybe 1/2 pound total?

Here's what I looked like a couple of days ago:

Looking like I have looked for the past 10 years or so.

I found it kind of difficult to take a good picture of myself. My arms aren't quite long enough to hold the camera out and get everything in focus. Still, this photo of me with my long straight hair isn't too bad in my own opinion. I liked my long hair. It was soft and flowing. Very natural and for the most part, easy to take care of. I really didn't have to do anything with it except to wash it and comb the many tangles out. I liked how it looked flowing over my shoulders.

It did get in my way frequently, however. Causing me to push it back into a low, unflattering single ponytail. It was hot in the summertime and took forever to dry naturally in the cold wintertime we have here. I was always getting it caught underneath me, or in the car door.

It was time to make a change.

So a few months ago I started thinking about getting it cut shorter. Like when I lived in the big city and got curly perms every few months, only this time I knew I didn't want the perms. I have become a more "natural" girl, not wanting chemicals on my hair or skin or even in my home.

So a bit scared and nervous. Not sure whether I'd like it or not. I made an appt with my local hairstylist to get my hair cut and shaped. She told me to look on the internet to find a picture of a haircut that I liked.

I really liked the way Amy Adams' hair looked when she was playing the role of Julie Powell in the movie Julie & Julia. So I printed some photos and brought them to my stylist.

Now I realize that I am never going to look as cute and young as Amy Adams, but I was hoping that her hairstyle would fit me well and make me look good. I also realized that Ms Adams had a team of hairstylists and makeup artists on hand to make sure she was beautiful, but I figured I'd just have to wing it on my own. Oh well.

So here is a photo of me right after getting my hair cut short today:

Not exactly Amy Adams, but the hair is still cute and perky. It will take some getting used to for me to be comfortable with my new lack of hair. I still feel like I have the long heavy hair flowing down my back. I keep flicking my head to one side to move the hair out of my eyes, but it is not there to move. A weird feeling. Like a limb being missing, sort of.

After I wash it the next time, it will likely feel more comfortable to me.

In this photo below, I can see my Mom looking back at me. I have her eyes and her mouth. Kind of weird seeing Mom in the mirror. Her hair was kind of cut like this late in her life.

This photo is my favorite so far, because it has my sweet kitty Sarah's cute furry face next to mine:

I look kind of odd in this photo, but she is always a cutie.

So that's my personal adventure for today. Till next time...

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fresh Figs!

That's all.

Just Fresh Figs.

Juicy and sweet.

A summertime treat!

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strawberry Pies

Luscious Strawberries, Sweet Glaze and Flaky Crust

So I bought a flat (12 pints) of fresh, locally grown, organic, ripe strawberries. Washed them and hulled them:

Fresh. Ripe. Juicy.

Made a couple of flaky pie crusts:

Ugly but flaky!

Cooked up some strawberry glaze and made two very tasty fresh strawberry pies!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I also had some berries left over to use in my yogurt and smoothies. Next batch of strawberries will be used to make some homemade jam. Yum!

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Friday, July 15, 2011

Furry Purry Princess

Going home with Mama Jen

This past Tuesday while buying cat food at our local feed store, I met a cute grey tabby kitten that they had there for adoption. She was all alone in her cage. Her brother had just left to go live with his adopted family literally moments before.

I held this little kitten in my arms as she immediately started to purr very loudly. I talked with her and walked with her for about 20 minutes while Jack found and purchased our case of cat food and loaded it into the car.

Her energy was very sweet. She reminded me of my sweet Jessie in many ways. I just didn't think I was ready to get a new kitten yet. It has been 7 months since Jessie passed away, and I still miss her dearly every single day. My belief is that she will return to me in a new, healthy, young kitten body, sometime soon, but not quite yet. I checked that sense with my inner Guidance and realized that this new kitten was not, in fact, my Jessie reincarnated, but nevertheless, she was definitely meant to come home to live with us.

I left her at the feed store overnight and came home to think, meditate, pray and worry as I tried to decide if adopting a new kitten right now was in my best interest and the best interest of my household.

I don't have a bunch of money, and I already have two cats. Frieda is 18 now and needs special health care on a daily basis. So adding a kitten and all of the expense that goes with it, plus the time a new baby takes was a big decision for me. It's a long term commitment too, as my kitties are definitely my family members, not just my pets. Once they are adopted, they stay with me and they receive the very best of care.

Long story short, my meditation, anguish, worry and prayer produced the decision for me to go back to get her and bring her home to live with me.

She told me that she wanted to be called "Sarah". So that is her name.

Everyone, this is Sarah!

The name Sarah means "lady" or "princess" which seems to suit her personality, at least so far as I can tell. She is a gentle spirit.

She is calm and sweet, but also active and curious. She follows me everywhere and always wants to be under my feet or cuddled up on my chest.

Hi Mom!

My house is NOT kitten proofed! It's been 19 years since I have had a young kitten live in my home. Jessie was the only kitten I have ever had live with me. Frieda and Charity were young adult cats when they found me. So now I must go room to room and make my house safe for the new baby kitty and also for me.

She is about 9-10 weeks old and not quite 2.5 lbs. Counting backward week by week, that means she must have been born in early May. Which makes her a Taurus. My Frieda is also a Taurus. I have yet to see how the two of them will get along together, as the vet recommended I keep them separated for a couple of weeks in case Sarah, being a young kitten, has any kind of virus or infection that might harm Frieda in her more delicate health condition.

Bye Mom!

So I am sharing my bedroom and master bathroom with Sarah and all of her stuff. Litter box, food and water dishes, toy balls, toy mice, bed basket etc. That's not so unusual around here. I have frequently shared my bathroom and bedroom with my kitties. Usually Jessie or Charity when they needed to be doctored and separated from the others. Never one so tiny and constantly underfoot as this one is though. I really have to watch my step around her.

Cat nap time

Sometimes Sarah looks so much like Jessie, as in the photo above where she is curled up sleeping, that I must remind myself that this is a new kitty, a whole new life, my sweet Sarah.

She is a welcome addition to our family. Now you will know who Sarah is when I speak of her in future posts.

She is a gift of love that has brought healing joy to my heart.

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Montmorency Cherries for the 4th

Cherry Filled Bowl

Also known as "sour" cherries. These Montmorency cherries are best for cooking and baking rather than for eating fresh out of hand.

So far this season I have harvested about 1 quart of these sour cherries, which is about 4 times more than I harvested last year! And there are more still ripening on the tree. Yay!

And yes, of course, I will make my World Famous Cherry Pie with them and probably use the remainder of the Sweet Cherries to round out the taste too.

Summer is definitely here! Hot and sunny (and humid) here today.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend, everyone!

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just Peachy

Adult Smoothie!

Hot, humid, sunny weather combined with some beautiful, ripe, juicy organic peaches and nectarines:

Mixed with some creativity and a little rum, amaretto and local honey:

Add a couple of handfuls of ice cubes. Then poured into my favorite crystal goblet:

Made a refreshing "adult smoothie", also known as a Peach Nectarine Daquiri.

Hit the spot yesterday evening after working in my garden for a few hours. The fresh fruit really made the drink special.

Happy Summer Solstice today! Longest day of the year. Enjoy the sunshine if you have it where you are.

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cherry Flavored Life

Freshly picked Sweet Cherries from my own tree

Life is just a bowl of cherries! An interesting saying.

Today was a good day. It was finally sunny here, and warm. I wore shorts for the first time in many months. I ran errands. I deposited money. I picked 1.5 pounds of sweet cherries from my own cherry tree, with more on the tree that are ripening. This year I got to them before the birds, the deer and the squirrels did. Hurrah! Hurrah!

They taste very sweet and are filled with sunshine and sweet rainwater.

Some days are not a "just a bowl of cherries". One of my favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit, said it nicely in her work below. I have a copy of this very poster in my home. Helps me to laugh when I need it.

Now every time I see a "bowl of cherries" I think of this illustration. Cracks me up, it's so cute and colorful.

I need more cute and colorful things in my life.

And more sweet, fresh, sunshine cherries.

Happy Spring everyone!

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Saturday, April 30, 2011

She's a Hard Chick Now

But still very sweet...

Ha! I like 'em chewy.

I hope everyone had a happy Easter and is enjoying soft Spring weather now.

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Saturday, March 19, 2011

St Patrick's Day at My House

St Patrick's Day Dinner Table Dressed in Green

We all wore green.

To celebrate Spring.

To avoid getting pinched by loved ones.

To celebrate St. Patrick's Day at my house.

See the pretty Irish linen tea towel with shamrocks that my Mom gave me years ago?

Each year I bring out the official Irish Linen shamrock covered tea towel that my Mom gave me years and years ago. I have never used it as a towel. Too pretty for that. I have always kept it pristine and have never even washed it. It is still as crisp and clean as the day she gave it to me. I only use it one day per year for St Patrick's Day decor. I treasure it because it reminds me of her.

So the table set in vibrant green colors, it was time to enjoy a green beverage as is tradition. We all have heard stories about drinking green colored beer on St Pat's Day, but this was dinner at home instead of a party in a bar, so we drank green colored wine instead:

Green Chardonnay ~ Pretty emerald color!

In past years I have made corned beef & cabbage in my crock pot, but this year I had a craving for something a bit more healthy and with less salt, fat and no nitrites/nitrates. So I purchased some inexpensive lamb shoulder chops/roasts (thin) and chunked them up to make my famous Irish/Greek Lamb Stew in my trusty crock pot instead. It was delicious, if I do say so myself!

Irish/Greek Lamb Stew

We each had two bowls full and between us we ate an entire loaf of homemade Caraway Seed bread that I had turned into warm garlic bread by slicing the loaf, adding fresh chopped garlic and olive oil and baking it in the oven until it was warm and crusty. I do think the men ate a bit more bread than I did. I only remember eating 2 slices. Note to self: must bake more bread.

I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful St Patrick's Day however and wherever you celebrated it. What traditions does your family have for St Pat's, if any?

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Saturday, February 5, 2011

From our Farm Store

Yukon Gold Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts

Got these fresh organic veggies yesterday at our local Farm Store. They just looked so good and fresh in my colander that I had to take a photo and share them with you. Also got some fresh leeks. The potatoes and leeks will be made into soup. The Brussels will be (and already have been) eaten lightly stir fried or steamed. Nice and fresh. Lovely veggies.

I am so grateful for our local organic farmers and their membership market store. Looking forward to Spring and my own garden veggies too.

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket

Friday, January 7, 2011

32 Years Ago Today

On January 7th 1979, 32 years ago today at 4pm, I, at the tender age of 18, married my high school sweetheart, "J". My first love. My first wedding.

It was a beautiful cold winter's day in the mountains just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Our ceremony and reception was held at 7700 ft above sea level at the beautiful and rustic Mt. Charleston Lodge. I just found their website, and much to my surprise, it looks the same as it did way back then! Now I want to go visit and check it out for myself. Have a drink, take in the view. Reminisce on my youth.

It was a casual wedding and reception held in their big open A-frame restaurant/bar room. Such a grand view of Kyle Canyon! Snow on the deck where the ceremony was held outside. Beautiful blue and white flowers adorned the wedding arch where we gathered and said our vows. Our family and friends huddled around us, shivering in the January cold.

My Mom cried and was joyful at the same time. My Dad was busy buying everyone drinks. My best friend "B" was my maid of honor. J's brother, "C" was our best man. That was the whole wedding party. Just the four of us. No drama. No trauma. Just 4 friends helping each other through life.

I wore a light blue gown (my favorite color at the time) that I made myself on an ancient long-bobbin sewing machine that I bought just for that purpose. My groom wore a white turtle-neck sweater and a spiffy blue sport coat and light blue trousers. He was so young and handsome! We were so in love!

I'd post photos of the wedding. I do have them, somewhere. But I can't find the album right now. It's here somewhere in my clutter.

It was the seventies! We were both in college. On winter break. In love with each other and in love with love itself.

Our wedding reflected ourselves, our tastes and our view of the world. Small and casual.

My maid of honor's father was a professional photographer, so his family's gift to us was his photography services, proofs and prints of our wedding. So nice.

A friend of my in-laws made wedding cakes. So her gift to us was our yummy chocolate wedding cake with white frosting decorated with bright blue flowers to match our wedding clothes and flowers. Best wedding cake I've ever tasted. So special to have a friend make it.

Our flowers were simple, inexpensive daisies. Daisies, some dyed blue, some natural white. I remember that the florist had to deliver them on Saturday, because they were not open on Sunday, our wedding day. We kept them in the cold garage overnight to keep them fresh.

Instead of a formal sit-down dinner we opted for a lovely (and delicious!) buffet line of hors d' oeuvres and sandwiches. It was great! Everyone loved it. Everyone could sit wherever they wanted. There was no seating chart. People mingled and gravitated to whomever they pleased.

The lodge had a band playing on the weekends, and this was a Sunday afternoon. So the band played for us and our guests. We took pictures. We danced. We ate, drank and laughed.

It started to snow. So many guests were concerned about getting back down the mountain safely. The party ended pretty early. Just our immediate families remained. Then we gathered our things and ventured out to a friend's cabin on the mountain for our wedding night. They let us have it for the night. A cozy, very small, rustic cabin. Perfect for us! We built a roaring fire in the fireplace, cuddled and celebrated the night away. We were young, in love and just married!

Our honeymoon was our drive back to Austin, Texas to go back to school. This time we took our time and visited all of the tourist places along the way. The Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, Carlsbad Caverns, Sandia Peak Tram. We had a wonderful trip and a wonderful time. Good memories for me.

Such memories. So young. So long ago. So much has changed since then. Seems like at least two lifetimes ago. A lot can happen in 32 years.

No regrets ♥.

© Copyright 2011 Mountain Harvest Basket