What’s New Around Here?

Taking the pressure off myself to write on Bullfrogs and Bulldogs was a great decision. Now, I come back not because I feel like I have to but because I really want to. My heart and soul long to share what’s been going on and I’m finally getting back into some DIY project that I am proud to share :)

When I decided to go back to school last February, I felt like I had to completely drop everything else in my life and just dive into my Nutrition + Wellness Coaching practice. However, I wasn’t practicing what I preach. Not in the slightest bit and was quickly becoming unhappy and felt like something was missing.

One of the things I gave up was working on projects around the house. Even small ones. On our most recent trip to India, Cambodia and Thailand, I got pretty sick and had a lot of time to sit around and think about what I wanted in my life and what I felt was currently missing. What I realized was that when I’m not getting my creative juices flowing, everything else in my life feels stagnate. I’m a creative person and I need to feed that part of myself in order to feel totally fulfilled. This is something I teach my clients.

So much has changed in the (almost) three years that I have had this blog. When I started it I had just moved down to Oregon from Seattle and it was an outlet for me, a way to push myself into this new way of life. Now, things have grown, in many ways.

Our family business, a winery and vineyard called Omero Cellars is picking up steam and my hubs is busier then he ever has been. I started Savoury Soul Wellness, a Nutrition and Wellness Coaching practice and starting your own business is a lot of work. It’s totally worth it but everything, right now, is on me. I teach more throughout the community and friendships have been formed and I feel so much more apart of this community of ours but I still want to dive in deeper and that is what I am doing.

I’ll be sharing more here because that is something I’ve been missing. I’m going to dive back into projects and will be sharing more of that as well. My recipes, if you love those, are going to only be shared on my other blog and coaching website, Savoury Soul Wellness.

Something else that has changed is my style. What I leaned towards before, more of a vintage country no longer gets me excited and what I am loving is more mid-century charm. It should be interesting as I try to incorporate more of that into what we have.

Back in December we had a major water leak in our kitchen which has allowed us to remodel parts, changing our countertops, backsplash and paint color. It’s feeling more like us. I am really excited to finish incorporating a few more things and will be happy to show it to you in a few weeks (waiting on some prints to come). Then I think I am going to start on our main floor bathroom and give it a major facelift as it is still living in the 1980′s.

Oh, and I haven’t shared one of the most exciting things! We have welcomed a new family member. Please give a warm welcome to Bernard, or Bernie as I call him.

Bernard the Llama

If you read my last post from back in November we were having some major Coyote issue and so I got Bernie because they are great at protecting flocks of sheep. I’ll share that story soon.

Anyway, it feels great to be back. I’ve missed being here.

 

 

Things that go bump in the night…AND the day.

Yesterday was one of those days. The kind of day when everything you had planned gets flipped on it’s head and you realize you have to just roll with it instead of trying to control every last bit.

It also happened to be one of the most dramatic days where animals are concerned in a long time. Sometimes I think God just does stuff so that I have something to write about on this blog.

It all started as I was driving to McMinnville to teach my Thursday morning yoga class. I was driving down the long country road that leads from my house to the small town of Carlton. The fog was thick, like pea soup, and I reminded myself to slow down because this is the country and anything could dart across the road and then I’d have to live with the fact that I hit something because I wasn’t being a responsible driver.

As I turned down the windy part of the road, right before you enter civilization again, I approached a sight that struck me as unusual. As I drove by, three giant black cows stood on the side of the road grazing within inches of where my tires hit the pavement.

I continued driving, cranking my head to take in what I was observing. My first thought was, ‘that seems awful close to the road for someone to let their cows graze,” and within seconds my senses came crashing back and I realized the reality of the situation. I made a u-turn the first opportunity I had and drove back in the opposite direction. These cows weren’t put there by their owner, they had gotten out of their pasture. I knew that if I just kept driving one, if not all, of these bovid mammals would probably become roadkill. Especially with the way people drive around these parts.

Just as I drove back up to the house they were settling in front of, another women has pulled in the driveway and was already at the front door of the home. I parked and jumped out of my car to hear the woman inside tell the other woman that the cows were not hers and close the door.

Not knowing exactly what to do, we decided that we needed to get a hold of someone from the non-emergency hotline (even though in my book, this was CLEARLY an emergency).  I told her that I would drive down to the Carlton City Hall and ask them for help but first we needed to get the cows off the side of the road.

I puffed up my chest and straightened my stance so that I appeared bigger then I was and began galloping at them ,waving my hands and shouting for them to get back. Slowly,  they started to back away, every so often turning around to glare.

Once I was satisfied with where they were I told the other woman that I would head to City Hall and she said she would head to where she thought they might belong.

Once I reached City Hall I got out of my car and headed in. The woman at the front desk said that she believed she knew who they belonged to and called the non-emergency hotline and  told me that they would take care of it. Feeling satisfied with the outcome, I headed back to my car and the other women pulled up and said that she had found the owner and they were on it.

We both patted ourselves on our own backs, wished each other a nice day and got back in our cars, continuing on to our destinations.

As I was driving however I had a thought. As proud as I was from preventing potential roadkill, maybe they were trying to escape their impending doom of becoming ground beef?! Crap!

_____________________________________________

When I got home from my class and the two meetings I had following I was standing at my kitchen sink washing the dishes that were left from last nights dinner, something that rarely happens as I can’t sleep if their are dirty dishes in the sink (thanks mom). I was going over, in my head, what I needed to get done today for work when I happened to glance up and out onto the property. The weather has been incredible here in Oregon, unlike any I have experienced since moving here two and a half years ago. The warm sun lit up the sky and the leaves the color of fire and gold.

As I was admiring this place I get to call home my grateful thoughts were disrupted by something out by the dock that sits over our pond. I squinted my eyes to get a better look. “Is that a dog?” I thought to myself. I looked around to see all three of my furry companions resting on the deck. Maddy, our brown Pitbull was sitting upright starring straight out at the pond. I leaned forward as if that would help me get a clearer view. Tthe dog-like animal turned to the side and that was when I made the realization. It wasn’t a dog however, it WAS a dog-like creature. It was a coyote!

winter-coyote-319x348

Now I’ve written about coyotes on the property before and all those stories had been exciting at the time but none were as much so as this particular day.

Usually I only see them in passing, way out by the back pasture walking the perimeter of the vineyard but today, today was different. This coyote was braver, more determined and from the looks of it, he was hungry and had his sights on my flock.

After my momentary paralysis wore off, I realized that I needed to do something. This guy was way too close for comfort. He was about 50 yards from from the electric fence. I’m sure he could taste the warm blood of my favorite sheep, Money, who was grazing just on the other side.

I quickly ran out onto the deck, once again waving my arms and screaming obscenities and insults unsuitable for most ears at the top of my lung. I took off from the deck, running down the grassy knoll that leads out to the open grassy lawn. The coyote, obviously not disturbed  by my antics, cautiously turned around and began prancing away melting into the canopy of the golden leaves that make up the vineyard. Looking back to size me up, I swear he gave me a “f-you glare” that only made me angrier.

I ran back to the barn, grabbed some wooden stakes and a hammer and jumped in our RTV and drove around the vineyard to patch up any wholes under the fence he may have gotten under. Ha ha ha, see if you get through there you little bastard, I thought to myself as I slammed down on each wooden post. Satisfied with my job, I headed back to the house to finish the dishes and press on with my day.

What felt like five minutes but was actually about and hour and a half later, I was once again at the kitchen sink (sometimes I actually DO spend all day in the kitchen!). I had been keeping pretty good tabs of my sheep and knew that they were out in the far pasture and that the goats were with them. For some reason I always feel better when the goats who have big, powerful horns are flanking my flocks side. I know they can do damage to some puny coyote.

As I just finished up chopping an onion for the beet burgers I was making for dinner I went to the kitchen sink to wash the knife. I glanced back up and out the window as I always do, just to make sure everything was okay.  I noticed something way out on the grassy knoll in the middle pasture. I tilted my head to one side, squinting my eyes again to get a better look. Obviously it’s time for me to get new glasses.

The pastures are broken into three sections which is hard to describe in writing but there is the piece of land by the barn, closest to our house and it feds back to a small forested area with a grassy knoll in front and then weaves it’s way back to the far pasture by the vineyard. There was an old tree that feel down last winter that Joel, my husband’s cousin had just chopped up and left in a huge pile out in the middle pasture. To the the left of that I could make out a silhouette of something, obviously and animal.

I headed out onto the deck to get a better look. It looked, from a distance, like one of our Jacob sheep, Doris who has two horns that curve back toward her neck. However, with the days earlier event, I decided to put on my boots and head out that way to get a better look. As soon as I hit the grassy slope that lead out to the pasture I realized exactly what it was. The coyote had somehow made it’s way INTO the pasture that was surrounded by an electric fence. At this point I flipped my shit. I took off at full speed, hurdling the electric fence with height that I will admit was pretty damn impressive. At this point the coyote stood up and turned to run into the wooded area within the pasture. “Shit, shit shit shit…f&%K, f#$k, f**K” came flying out of my mouth. I ran out to the far pasture at which point I realized my flock and the goats are way smarter then they seem as that they had gathered into a tight circle.

I pulled out my phone to call my husband. Oh, did I mention that I was, once again, home alone? Read some of my other stories from the farm to see why this is so funny.

He picked up on the second ring and I proceeded, in between gasps for air,to  tell him what was going on. He said I needed to gather all the animals and get them to the barn and to call Joel. I hung up and thankfully the sheep and goats followed me with no problems. Maybe it was the little talk I had about how their was a hungry beast ready to lung at their jugular and eat their entrails OR the fact that I have been giving them lots of treats lately, but they followed in a mad rush as I led them back to the bar.

After about an hour and one phone call to a coyote trapper for advice later, I finally got ahold of Joel and he came home from the winery to help try and find the coyote. Now, you all know that I don’t believe in killing animals. If it were up to me we would all coexist peacefully…as vegans. But this one is extremely aggressive and will most likely hang around since it knows their is fresh meat on the property. Not too mention, we have two cats, three dogs and four chickens and it’s our responsibility to protect them.

So, Joel proceeded to walk the property ‘looking’ for the coyote. After about thirty minutes and no sign of the coyote, I headed out to talk to Joel. As were were standing on the dirt road that passes the pasture, I looked up onto the grassy knoll and out darts the coyote, running back into the woods, before Joel could get a good look at where it went. The mangy bastard is taunting me now.

David got home about 30 minutes later and they both searched for about another thirty minutes to no avail. By this time it was nearing 6PM and we were hungry. We decided that the sheep and goats were smart and would stay in the barn. They knew that something was out there, they are very instinctual animals, and there was nothing more we could do tonight.

However, I had put a call into a neighbor who breeds and raises sheep knowing that they had had some experiences with coyotes. She told me there really isn’t a whole lot we can do. Coyotes are going to get on the property, they can dig under fence lines, and that our best bet was to get a mean llama with great protective instincts.

Sounds good to me! I told David the news and informed him that he really didn’t get a say and he simple said, “I know.”

Needless to say, neither of us slept well last night. We left the sliding glass door open so we could hear if anything happened out in the pasture. When first sight of morning drew near I leaped out of bed and put my boots on, walking with a quick gate out to the barn. Holding my breath I stepped over the electric fence and peered around the corner. No blood, no guts, no entrails, good sign. All accounted for and present and I let out a big sign.

So, today I’m going llama shopping. It’s never boring living on a farm, that’s for sure.

 

Our Close Encounter with Rabies, Zombies and the Infected

(Disclaimer: It’s a long one but sure to make you laugh!)

Bats

When I first met David, one of the things I found adorable about him was his mild interest (for lack of a better word) with apocalyptic topics like zombies and the infected. I know, stay with me here. One part joke and the other part half series, David would often make me laugh at some of the ridiculous things that would come out of his mouth in regards to the walking dead and needing to be prepared.

I now know that most of the things he said was to get a laugh out of me and over time, it had become an inside joke between the two of us. We look forward to Sunday evenings when we get sit on the couch, popcorn in hand, and watch the gore and in my opinion, way too graphic TV show, The Walking Dead. We joke about how we should ‘get prepared’ for the day the dead come knocking on our door and devise plans of where we would go and what we would do…all in jest I assure you.

Until we had a mere encounter with a possible infected last week.

I remember a story David told me about the only person who actually lived with rabies and how she went mad and people, namely my husband, called her the infected. The story goes that this young girl was sitting in her church on sunny Sunday morning and in flew a rabid bat which happened to swoop down and bit the young girl somewhere on her  arm.

Her parents didn’t take her to the hospital to get the rabies shot because she didn’t think she had actually been bitten, only scratch. However, almost a month later, her parents rushed her to emergency because she was starting to show symptoms of rabies,  fluctuating consciousness, slurred speech and other symptoms typical of full-blown rabies. The short of the long is, the video attached to the article David showed me resembled someone who was very much infected by something that had completely altered her state of consciousness and she was shaking her head back and forth and screaming. Very much like those you see in horror films whom have been ‘infected’ themselves.

I tell you all of this so you have a little back story, so you can paint a better picture in your head of how David and I reacted to what happened to us last Friday evening.

With the long hot summer days, David and I like to leave the french doors leading onto our deck open until it’s cool enough in the house to close them, usually right around the time we go up to bed. The french doors lead right into our living space. Our dining area, living room and my office are all  an open concept with huge 30-40 foot ceiling (I’m guessing) so everything is very exposed.

We had just said good-bye to some friends that had come over for an evening of drinks on the deck and decided to sit down on the couch for a bit of brain numbing before we headed up to bed. Like normal, I got tired first, leaned over and gave David a kiss, and headed up to bed, knowing that by the time I had washed my face and brushed my teeth David would be up as well. Pretty typical pattern for us.

I turned the water on to let it start warming up. It usually takes about 5 minutes to get to a temperature that is suitable for me to wash my face with. I brushed my teeth and changed into my pajamas which consist of a tank top and comfy sweat like pants. Pretty much the standard since I was a teenager. Poor David.

As I headed back into the bathroom I heard David call out to me from downstairs. “Baaabbbe!” He yelled with a shaky voice.

“What?” I cried back in annoyance. I really don’t like when he yells for me from another room.

“Baaabbbe, there’s a bat in here!”

Confused and in mild disbelief, wondering if David was just seeing things considering the amount of Whiskey that had just been consumed between him and the other two gentlemen that were here, I decided I should go downstairs and make sure that he wasn’t confusing my cat for a fanged, blood sucking blind bat.

I turned off the water and headed down the 10 stairs that lead to the landing before the three stairs that lead into the living room. We live in one of the really awkwardly designed 1970′s homes where there is a room or two on every level. We technically have four levels in our house.

I stood on the landing with my hands on my hips, typical stance for me when I’m mildly annoyed, and asked where this ‘bat’ was. David pointed at the top of our river rock fireplace and low and behold, there sat a small, black  bat.

With wide eyes and mouth agape, paralyzed momentarily by fear, I quickly came to and jumped back and into the safety of the en-cove leading up to our bedroom. All the while David just sat on the couch laughing at me.

“David! What the f$%* are we going to do? How the F$*& do we get a BAT out of the house?” (I don’t typically swear. I really don’t like to and reserve it for times like these and then go balls to the wall with it)

“I don’t know.” David confessed as he started to pick up shoes that were randomly laying around the living room. For some reason, shoes seem to accumulate in that space. At any given time, unless I’m cleaning house, we have several pairs of shoes hanging out in the living room. I suppose subconsciously it’s for situations like this.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to throw these at the bat.” He said matter of fact like I was silly to have not thought of it first.

“I don’t want bat guts all over my fireplace.” I love how whenever we are in a prickly situation all of the sudden everything becomes mine. :)

“No, I’m just going to scare it so it flies out the door.”

“Oh, okay. Well just make sure you don’t kill it. That’s a very un-vegan thing to do.”

“I wont. I’m just going to scare it so it goes out the back doors. Watch.”

David proceeds to throw the first shoe coming within inches of the Edward. That’s the bat. If you’ve seen or heard of Twilight (and really, who hasn’t?) then you will know the reference.

Nothing. Not even a flinch. He throws the next shoe and WHAM! Smack dab in the face and the bat takes off.

Now, at this point I’m screaming at the top of my lungs curled into a little ball  in the corner with my hands over my head, visions of either me or David foaming at the mouth flooding my mind. After about a minute I managed to muster up enough courage and peak around the corner. The bat, in a fit of rage, was flying in circles trying to escape out of every window in the house. However, they all have screens. Never mind the doors that are open.

Dumb bat. I guess I finally understand that say, ‘blind as a bat.’

The bat finally settles down and finds it’s spot on the fireplace again and I settle down too, managing to regain my composure. So much so that I actually step out from behind my protective barrier to watch David’s second, third and fourth attempt.

“Okay” I say once again annoyed and frightened, ‘this is obviously not working.’

“Just go to bed. I’ll take care of it.”

“Oh yeah right! And wake up to a rabid husband lying on the living room floor? I think not. I’m calling Joel!”

Joel’s always the answer to any problem.

Now, if you’ve been following this blog for awhile you know that Joel is David’s cousin who lives on the property in the manufactured home at the top of the road. He is the ‘grounds keeper, handyman, jack of all trades– and now, thanks to me, bat trapper.

I pick up my phone and call Joel. “Joel! We need you!” I cried. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called Joel saying those exact words. “There’s a BAT in the mother f#$%ing house!” See, balls to the wall, no hold barred

“Just use a broom.” He replied in his cool, calm, monotone voice.

“No Joel, you don’t understand. There. IS. A. BAT in the house!” I say as if he didn’t quite understand the consequences involved if either David or I were to get bitten by said bat. At this point the bossy Amanda kicks in. If you know me then you know this side of me isn’t the most charming aspect of my personality.

“No, you need to come help us.” Meanwhile, David is still throwing shoes at the bat, every once in awhile screaming and running into the kitchen as the bat flaps around in his fit of rage.

“Okay, I’m coming.” He must of heard David in the background and understood the severity of it.

Minutes later (however, what seemed like hours to me) Joel appeared at the front door with a broom in hand. Casually, he strolls in and we point out where the bat is. He walks over to the the fireplace, steps up on the ledge and swats at the bat, getting him the first try. The bat begins to flap around once again, flying into my office and back into the living room. Joel walk up the three steps and into office and proceeds to swat at the bat with the broom. A mixture of laughter and screams come from the kitchen. David’s hiding spot. I on the other hand, am back in my en cove curled in a little ball praying to the God’s that I don’t have to shoot my husband in his rabid, zombie-infected face.

This went on for several minutes. Growing bored, I decided to face my fears and ran from the en-cove down the three steps into the living room and right behind the glass french door for cover. At least this way I could see what was happening. Pausing for a moment, Joel and David stare at me puzzled then begin to laugh at my choice of ‘hiding’ places. I brush their rude antics off. At least I’m protected. We’ll see who’s laughing when one of them gets bitten.

Joel continues to swat at the bat, David ‘helps’ from the sidelines, I repeatedly shout “don’t kill him! He probably has a family!”

WHAM! In a split second, Joel hits the bat slamming him into the wall. I deflate from holding my breath and momentarily wonder if rabies can transfer from the blood that possibly has spattered all over the wall.

The bat, lying on the stair, is motionless. I guess Joel didn’t quite understand what I meant by ‘don’t kill him.’

David walks over to the hall closet and gets the dust pan and scoops the once rabid bat up. Joel opens the front door and calls for his cat in which I finally find my voice and scream, “NO! Do NOT feed that bat to your cat Joel!”

“Yeah” chums in David. “You never know if that thing has rabies and Buddy could possibly get them from eating him.”

Joel, shrugging off our comments decides to listen and  scoops the bat up once again, taking him off into the night and dumps his lifeless body, hopefully somewhere neither of the cats will find.

________________________________________________________________________

After cleaning up the array of shoes all over the house I headed back upstairs to finish the process of getting ready for bed. David, deciding he wanted to watch a little more TV, stayed downstairs.

“Baaabbbe!” He yells from below.

I pause, taking in a deep breath and let it go, wondering if he will ever believe me when I tell him that I really don’t like when he yells for me from the opposite side of the house.

“What?” I yell back.

There is a pause followed by:

“There’s another bat!”

I pause, lower my head shaking it back and forth. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

And then I headed back downstairs to watch as David and Joel, who returned once again, defend their honor in a raging war against the infected.

David and Joel -2

Bats- 0

The End

Image

 

I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling….but it’s creepin’ back

Here’s to the truth.

I love this blog.

Bullfrogs and Bulldogs has been a huge part of my life over the last two years and it means a lot to me. I love that I can go back and reflect on fun stories and projects and see so much of what I have done over the past two years on the property. The thing is, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, is that life gets busy and when you are trying to create a business from scratch, somethings fall to the wayside.

When David and I were first discussing my blog and what it could eventually be I got so much buzz from all the ideas I had. It was going to give you a first hand look at what it really is like to live in the country. What it looked like when a skinny jean and chuck wearing girl left her (somewhat) big city and found a new life in, what felt like, the middle of nowhere. Then, somewhere down the line, it became more about posting what would draw in the most viewers and less about the exciting and also difficult changes I was being faced with.

As you’ve probably noticed, this baby, my baby, has gotten away from me lately.  One part of that is the fact that I am juggling being back in school and starting my health and wellness coaching business, The Savoury Soul, and the other part is that I’m also juggling taking care of our home  and it being summer and we are always busy during the summer.

But I miss this part of my world. I did, however, get really sick and tired of feeling like I always had to work on projects. I felt myself constantly comparing myself to others instead of being grateful for what I am so fortunate to have.

This blog is a deep love of mine and I don’t want to post because I feel like I have to. I want to post because I feel a deep sense of wanting to share  my little corner of this world. I’m not sure how much or when I’ll post or what I will post about. I do know that I always will and I thank you for continuing to support Bullfrogs and Bulldogs.

Now I will leave you with some pictures of our garden. It’s completely gotten away with us this year and things that grew like weeds last year haven’t produced much of anything and vice versa. It drives us a little bonkers but I’m growing to love the guessing game. The will we or wont we get a harvest of this or that.

This year we are actually getting tons of white onion and squash of all kinds. Who wants some zucchini bread?

squash

Beans

onions

pickles

 

 

Pickled Snap Peas

Although summer officially started only about a week and a half ago, we are in full swing here in Oregon with temperatures reaching almost 100 degrees the last couple of days. There is an old joke that summer doesn’t officially start in the Pacific Northwest until after the fourth of July but I think it’s safe to say it’s come early this year.

Since our temperatures quickly went from mid-sixties to just right around 100 degrees, our spring crop is quickly coming to an end. Our broccoli rabe came and went with only yellow flowers to harvest, hardly edible. But the snap peas, those little green delicate looking veggies went from a few to an infestation over night.

Last week David and I harvested about what seemed like five pounds worth of snap pea. Personally, I can only eat them here and there. They are one of David’s favorites but even he can’t consume that many. Then, out of the blue, one of our employee’s who happens to love gardening as much,  if not more then David, sent him the recipe for pickled snap peas with a note that said we should try making them because they were delicious.

David mentioned this to me and though I had my reservations, when I popped one that had been sitting in the brine for about a week into my mouth, I was more than happy with what transpired in my mouth.

Pair this with a nice cold fresh lemonade, and by this I mean nothing more then lemons, water and a little stevia to sweeten, and you have yourself the perfect summertime treat or a mid-day snack when you need to get out of the heat.

Since I hate keeping anything like this a secret, here is the recipe for the pickled snap peas David made last week. Trust me, once you try  these,  pickles will be a thing of the past!

snap peas

 

Pickled  Snap Peas

1 1/4 cups white distilled vinegar
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed and strings removed
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 or 2 small dried chile peppers, slit lengthwise or a couple pinches dried red pepper flakes

1. In a  saucepan, heat the vinegar with the salt and sugar until they are dissolved. Remove from the heat, and add the cold water.

2. When the vinegar mixture is cool, either pack the sugar snaps, garlic and chile peppers or flakes into a 1-quart jar or pour into a bowl, and pour the brine over it. Cover with either a lid or plastic wrap.

3. You can eat them after 24 hours but I think the longer you wait the more delicious they will taste.

4. Enjoy!

 

 

Pacific Northwesterners and the Weather

If you grew up in the Pacific Northwest, you have a pretty good understanding of how the seasons work. The winter is long, rainy and wet, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) runs ramped from household to household and you often find yourself questioning your own sanity and why you live in ‘the good old P-N-W’.

Spring rarely exists, I’m not even sure you could call what we get spring. Summer is too short, lasting roughly 6-8 weeks and fall is celebrated because, well, we are Pacific Northwesterners after all .

We often complain of the rain and we complain of the heat. We are never truly content with any of it and the topic of the weather ALWAYS  is bound to come up in any conversation.

We just love to talk about the weather.

Those of us through the PNW had a dose of summer-like weather back in April and early May, which happens every year, causing mass confusion and too many smiling faces for that time of year.  The weather quickly turns from soggy and damp to bright, sunny and warm, and everyone pulls on their shorts, digs deep into the back of their closet to retrieve their flip flops and heads outside to get their first sunburn of the season. Because who ever remembers to put sunblock on in April or May?

Gardens are started, vegetables are planted, BBQ’s are smoking and then… WHAM! In strolls a forecast that has you cursing the weather Gods and questioning your memory. Why the hell did we plant our garden this early… again? Then, the soggy, wet, dreary rain starts again, lasting for  weeks.  Your burn quickly fades back into a translucent white and you are once again asking yourself why you didn’t take your dad up on his offer to move the family to Hawaii when you were a child.

However,  June is here and the weather is looking brighter and once again, it leaves us wondering if maybe this whole global warming thing IS actually happening. We are back in our garden, this time replanting what was planted too early. There is a new pinkish-red layer on our skin and once again, our flip flops have been moved to the front of our closet. Summer, just maybe, is here to stay.

I like to poke fun at the fact that, I too, fall for it every year. I am a born and raised Pacific North-westerner, who, like everyone else, is vitamin D deficient and cold.

When the sun comes out  so do the cut-off jean shorts  and bare feet in the grass.

barefoot

Sometimes you will even find me stopping and taking a little break underneath the big, old black walnut tree in our yard.

walnut tree

I’m desperate for signs of new life and I often walk the property looking for anything I can grasp onto that summer is in fact, right around the corner.

apples

Beets

cherries

grapes

I’m not the only one sun deprived.

Goats

But there are those that don’t always appreciate the sun. I suppose if I was covered in what I could only equate to wearing about five North Face puffy vests, I probably wouldn’t welcome the warmth with the open arms that I do.

Big Mama

jackie

Then it all brings me back to why I started this little ol’ blog. These little guys, crooning their songs on a warm summers night.

bullfrogs

There is life on the farm, lots of life. The proof is in the pudding, I think summer is here.

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My Mama’s World Famous Spicy Pickeled Asparagus

My mom and step-dad where recently down on the farm visiting for a few days and while doing so, my mom and I managed to get in the kitchen and make a bunch of jars of her world famous spicy pickled asparagus. If you loved pickled anything then you need to try these!

I have fond memories of opening the refrigerator, grabbing a jar of the green goodness and biting into the spicy spear. Delicious!

Today, because I think everyone should have a jar of pickled asparagus in their refrigerator or pantry, I’m going to share her recipe with you!
finished asparagus 3

Here is what you’ll need:

12 one-quart glass jars with lids

Fresh (organic if possible) asparagus (it depends on how many jars you want to determine how many pounds you need)

Salt (we used table salt)

Distilled water

Spices (we used the following: mustard seed, chili flakes, pickling spice) You can really use whatever you like.

Fresh dill

4 garlic bulbs

Dried red chiles

You will begin by making the brine. Using the ingredients below, in a big stew/soup pot, bring to a boil on the stove.

2 Qts white vinegar

2 Qts water

10 Tbs salt or 1/2 a cup

You will also need to sanitize the jars and lids by boiling them.

canning supplies

While you are getting your brine heated on the stove you can begin getting your asparagus cut to the right size. It’s really quite simple. Measure the asparagus against the jar you will be stuffing it with and then cut to the appropriate size.

Asparagus 1

garlic, dill, chile

sizing asparagus

You may have to cut it a couple times but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

cutting asparagus

Since we used two different sized jars, we had to cut two different size groups of asparagus.

glass jars 3

Once the asparagus is cut you will need to blanch them. This will cook them slightly and retain the bright green color. Get all your spices together in separate bowls to make it a more efficient process.

spices

Then, if you are using two sizes of jars, take whichever one you want to start with and get them lined up to fill with the spices, dill, garlic and chiles. Start to fill them each with about a 1/4 of a teaspoon of  each of the spices, 2-3 garlic cloves, 3 red chiles, and a couple sprigs of dill.

spices in a jar

After you have done that, you will stuff the jars with the asparagus making sure they are pretty full. Once all the jars are full, take them over to the boiling brine and fill each to the top with the brine mixture.

stuffing asparagus

brine

When all the jars are filled with the brine, you will need to get your canning pot filled with water and get that boiling.  You may want to do that before you fill the jars with brine because it can take awhile to bring water to a boil. A canning pot looks like this: (sorry the image is so small!)

 

Place as many jars of the same size as you can in the canning pot. You want to make sure the lids on the jars aren’t all the way tight. They will seal when they are in the boiling water. Cover the pot with it’s lid and let boil for 10 minutes. Once done, using oven mitts, use the metal wire rack in the pot to lift the jars out and set them on a towel to cool.

Continue this until all jars are sealed and then let them sit out until they have cooled completely.

These guys will be ready to eat the next day but for more flavor and more of a kick, wait a while to open them!

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Heat Transfered Onsies & Homemade Burp Rags – The Perfect Baby Gift

My second nephew is due on July thirteenth and I am so excited to meet the little guy! My sister-in-law, Alexa, had her baby shower in Las Vegas, where she lives, this past weekend and unfortunately I couldn’t make it but I sent a cute little packaged her way with some homemade goodies for baby M.

I haven’t really used my Silhouette Cameo in the way I know I can and I’ve been wanting to heat transfer something so I decided to take this opportunity to make something for my soon-to-be nephew.  And this is what I came up with:

all three onsies

Alexa has such a cute style that I thought baby M should as well and I found some designs on Silhouette that I thought would be perfect. Alexa loves giraffes so I knew one of the designs was going to be that. I also wanted to make a ‘made in Las Vegas’ one because I think those are so cute. As for the arrows, well, I love arrows and think it’s a cute unisex design.

arrows

made in vegas

giraffe

Onsies

To go with the onesies, I made baby M some burp rags which I have shown how to make in a post found here. I chose a fabric with little blue whales and sewed a blue and white striped backing on it and then I also chose a fabric with black bicycles and a black chevron pattern for the backing on that one.

all three

bikes

whales

And to finish the gift off, I made little gift tags to show that these gifts were homemade and made with love.

supplies

gift tags

made by me

I love making homemade gifts and I can’t wait to see baby M in one of these onesies! What is your favorite thing to make?

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My Latest Endeavor: What is a Health Coach?

food quote

About three years ago I was working for a well-known athletic clothing company that strongly emphasizes personal growth and living the best life possible. I had the opportunity to meet some great people who were like having your own personal cheerleaders around you all the time.

I met my friend Rachel who happened to love to talk about food, nutrition and health as much as I did and she turned me on to a couple blogs that I follow religiously now. Not only did she expose me to these inspiring wellness leaders but one day as I was telling her what my ideal job would be like she told me about this program she was looking into doing and sent me the website.

The program was EXACTLY what I had been wanting to do with my life except, I had no idea it even existed!

I’m getting certified to be a Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, one of the most well-respected and well-rounded programs in the world.  What I love about this school is many things but mostly, how it emphasizes a holistic approach to health. I’m in the process of learning over 100 different dietary theories and they are teaching us how to combine traditional nutrition philosophies with the most current health concepts so we can help our clients in the most beneficial way possible.

So what exactly IS a health coach?

A health and wellness coach is someone who guides you in assessing the behaviors that have lead you to where you are in your life today and helps you find some clarity on how to make positive changes to better yourself and your life.

I focus on primary and secondary foods, primary being your relationships, career, spirituality, and physical activity and secondary being what foods you put into your body. I focus on a plant-based diet that will leave you full of energy and glowing from the inside out and just a more compassionate person in general!

Most of the time we are eating to fill a void in our life and are not exactly sure how to achieve true, authentic happiness. That is where I step in.

Together, over the course of three-six months (depending on the program you pick), we will take small baby steps to figure out how you can achieve all that your heart desires.

It’s about your lifestyle and the wholesome goodies your feed it with.

Whether you are looking incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet,  to lose weight, learn how to eat to prevent illness and disease, or need motivation to take that leap of faith and try something new, I will help you find clarity so you can take the steps needed to find your authentic life.

So as you can see, it is much MORE then JUST what we put in our bodies. However, I absolutely believe what we feed our temples with is so important to living healthy and authentically.

Today, I’m sharing this with you because I am excited to announce that I have launched my business and blog, The Savoury Soul:Health & Wellness Coaching, and I want you to be the first to benefit from my services! I want to help YOU add more spice in your life.

 

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If you or someone you know could benefit from working with me I’d be so happy to give you a FREE consultation, a value of $75 dollars!

If we are a great fit, I will design a custom program just for YOU, focused on your personal goals and together we will slowly work towards achieving them and so many more!

You can find all the information you need on what the program(s) entail here. So don’t forget to check it out!

I would be SO honored to work with you and help you achieve your goals. Seeing people make positive changes that will shape their life into something incredible brings me so much happiness and joy!

Don’t forget to sign up for The Savoury Soul newsletter, The Spice of Life, to receive spicy tips that will help you improve your life and find health and happiness. Plus, I will be sharing some awesome vegan recipes that you wont find here :)

You can also find The Savoury Soul on Facebook and Twitter so don’t forget to follow along!

So what are you waiting for? Contact me today to receive your FREE consultation.

In health,

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Share this on facebook today and help others live their most authentic life too!

 

Lessons from Raising Farm Animals, RIP My Sweet Sweet Peter

There is no greater feeling
than to know you earned an animal’s trust.

~  Alison Stormwolf

To most people, sheep are just farm animals. Something that hang out in their pastures (if they are lucky enough to be free range), get fat, and then are butchered so that people can dine on their little chops over a candle lit dinner.

To me, sheep are so much more.

A year ago I was lucky to witness fourteen sweet lives being born. Wooly, knocked knee, beautiful lambs entered the world and changed my whole perspective on what it means to be a vegan, to live a kind life.

Yesterday, one of those sweet sweet babies I watched enter this world, fought for when his mom wouldn’t accept him as hers, nursed back to health when he was sick, and most importantly, loved, died. I will spare you the details of his death. It’s one though that makes you pray so hard for everything in this world to just die in their sleep.

peter

 

Sweet Peter was just that, sweet. The kindness little soul, so gentle and patient. He was fearless and independent and above all, looking into his eyes, he trusted and he loved.

He was the last lamb to be born and his mama, Big Mama, rejected him. He was small, the smallest of them all, and when his mama wanted nothing to do with him, I worked day and night doing everything I could to make sure he lived.

And he did.

I think, no, I know there was a trust he bestowed upon me from that moment on. I’d always do everything in my power to make sure he lived a happy, healthy life.

And I tried. I really tried.

Nothing is sweeter then when you earn the trust of an animal.

To the people that say animals don’t feel or have a personality I simply ask; have you every just sat with one for any extended period of time and watched the way they interact with the world and others? Have you ever looked deep into their eyes?

It’s so easy for us to walk into a grocery store, pick up our pre-cut meat, head home and throw it on the BBQ. It’s easy to disassociate ourselves from what it really is.

When you raise them, learning each ones little personalities, their favorite treats, where they liked to be scratched, it all becomes so real.

He had no fear when it came to David and I. When he’d see us approaching his little ears would perk up, he’d tilt his head, and upon recognition he trot over to us, waiting to be scratched between his ears.

He was, by far, the coolest sheep.

As I crouched over his lifeless body, sobbing wet tears, I reach out to close his eyes, for it was the last thing I could do to protect and honor his  his short little life. It was in that moment that  I realized how lucky he was because he was born on our farm. He was cared for deeply and treated with the respect he deserved as a living, breathing soul.

Today I shed tears not for the loss of a farm animal but for the loss of a pet.

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