Monday, December 17, 2012

Soggy Saggitarian

At long last, winter is near! The gray days make the colors of little flowers and house sparrows pouncing on the deck pop out. I also peeped a flock of male robins in an orange leafed tree giving a good show to an onlooking female. It is awfully cold in this old building. The season is already biting. My Saggitarian heart is bursting! 

Despite the chills, the garden keeps blooming:

 

Rainbow Party mishap: a shoe stomped through a rotten drawer planter? The cabbage looks root bound.

Amaranth in three shades are still spotting and ready for an experimental harvest this week.


Alyssum and other teeny white flowers make a mini-meadow of this old sink. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soap!

Just a quick note to show you the soap I made from glycerin, melted, added herbs from the garden, flowers for show, lemon zest, essential oils, and thats it! 





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Three Cowls

Fall is here! The nights are colder, my hands are frozen from bicycling, and knitting season is in full swing to keep this fingers warm enough to bend and squeeze. This year I am all about the cowls. They are a quick project with lots of options and are more practical for being on 2 wheels than a scarf (think: scarf tangling in the spokes!) The last thing I need is another crash this month. 

This first warm and fuzzy is a mixture of purple/maroon bucle yarn and regular black acrylic, the second two different skeins: one blue, one multi-colored, the third cowl from maroon and white acrylic (for mom). Little ends sticking out! 






Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oakland Museum of California

Every first Sunday of the month, the Oakland Museum of California opens for free perusing. I have gone a few months in a row. One of my favorite artists in the permanent gallery is John Ehn, who created statues of his family and friends in Woodland Hills, CA, after a career as a wildlife trapper in Michigan. The museum also shows a memory jar and memory board he created, which look like junk collages but in a most beautiful and grotesque way. The photo below is his work. 


The two following photos I don't remember who painted but am certain they are 20th century, and the final photo: well, that was me in 2011 in one car with too many things trekking through the great unknown of west Texas and beyond. 






the same as... 



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shimmery Shit

These sparkly treasures came from the very best Goodwill store, in Fruitvale, back in June. 

For Jeff's firey birthday we all went out to see Sharon Needles and Peaches Christ perform Silence of the Trans at the Castro Theater. It was an evening of heels + hilarity. I wore these pink plastic knockers as Miami Party Girl Realness and the bag was a gift for Jeff, the original Shady Lady aka Anita Cupcake. So you see how this unfolded into monikers and glitter galore.




Jeff is a graphic designer, artist, and farm mystic. His website is here. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baked Eggs

Good morning! Or it is in the Bay, anyway. Fridays there is a farmer's market near Chinatown in downtown Oakland where a man sells chicken eggs for $3 a dozen - the best price around for humanely raised birds. And they crack open bright orange and have a pungency to them. A far cry from the drippy pale yellow-white eggs that I grew up on, from the grocery store, from a factory farm, from who knows where. 


Baked Eggs!

2 eggs
5 swiss chard leaves
1/2 C young arugula
1/2 tomato
1/2 C cheese curds
3 cloves garlic
tsp. salt
tsp. cayenne
any flat bread


Turn oven to 275f. 
Start garlic, salt, cayenne in a cast-iron pan with olive oil, then add tomato, arugula, chard. Add a tbsp. of water to keep chard leaves hydrated. Crack eggs over top of greens, careful not to break the yolk. After 5 minutes, using a spatula to hold the greens + eggs, place two pieces of flat bread under, cheese curds on top, and transfer pan to heated oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes, depending on how hard you want your yolks. I like runny yolks so I bake only for about 5 minutes. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cold on the horizon

Palms + pines,
kudzu cover. 
Swamp thing in a fire.



It is knitting season already! This maroon (darker than photographed) piece will become a cowl neck after I had a thick stripe of mottled white and another row of purl/knit alternating. 



Housemate and photographer, Ben, took this today at the 5th Ave. Marina teahouse, a special place made of post-commercial waste and raw materials, nailed together around a smoldering concrete slab. This is one of my favorite places in Oakland because it feels like the end of the world. There is a shack on the water shadowing a hut made entirely of turn-of-the-century pianos and piano guts like the one that rests in our foyer. 

You can boil water, drink some tea, and watch the boats sway as the sun goes down. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Museum of Craft and Folk Art

Did you know last weekend was the Smithsonian free museum day? I went to the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in Yerba Buena Gardens in SF which is a small one-room gallery. The exhibit was of Japanese fiber artists called Textile Pioneers. Gallery fee being only $5 anyway, it may have been a silly choice to take advantage of the free day, but the works were gorgeous, and the museum is actually closing in December permanently. Below are all but a few of the works shown.


The artists's statement said that these flowers were intended to evoke the womb and being birthed.




This quilt reminded me of the 19th century "Crazy Quilt" which was a fad among quilters, who could use last scraps and patches of faded and darned socks and broken hems, etc. to create something memorable. My roommate and I spent one craft night piecing together bits of pajamas and shirts to create our own crazy quilt. It is not completed yet because I intend to sew tons of little appliques. I will post photos once the front is completed. (Adding backing and edging is my least favorite part!)

I read about the Crazy Quilt in a book called How to Make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto. The book was later made into a movie but I haven't seen it. 







Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rose Clothes the Blossom Grows


A woman whose blog I love and read regularly challenges her crowd to spend an hour a day for a whole week sewing clothes for kids. After years of being scared of patterns, measuring, and any other sort of accuracy in creation I'm excited to take part - and hopefully post the creations here. 


In other news - the summer crop is dying down, the squash having produced a whopping 5 zucchini but endless blossoms, tomatoes from Zach which produced 4 beautiful red and purple, sweet and savory fruits, and radish which have mites and are being harvested early. Fall crops have been planted: lettuce, onion, beets. They are sprouting and hopefully will spurt before the December cold. This evening has a chill to it, like autumn is settling in but I know next month will be warm as we carve our pumpkins and wait for an excuse to costume and throw a party for all ghouls. 

I visited the rose garden by the lake a few weekends ago: one photo below, and more here. 





    A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
    Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
    By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
    He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

    How can those terrified vague fingers push
    The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
    And how can body, laid in that white rush,
    But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

    A shudder in the loins engenders there
    The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
    And Agamemnon dead.

                        Being so caught up,

    So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
    Did she put on his knowledge with his power
    Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

-Yeats, Leda and the Swan

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fort Desoto



Visiting home always feels like a mad dash to see everything I love and everyone I want to hug all at once and then before I know it I'm stuck in the terminal with a two-hour delay because of an approaching hurricane, or I'm leaving New Orleans in a daze of lactic acid and gin and tonic overkill sitting all strapped in, or connecting in LAX when the steward announces that we are grounded for thirty minutes while the fog in San Fran passes over the airport. As if it is ever going to stop.  


Click the photo for more! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Baby Blanket Pillow Pal

Last year when I was in a lakeside apartment I could hear tweets and squawks out my window from a half mile down the hill and made infinite pillows to keep myself from rolling off the bedframe and onto the floor. I gave some away as birthday gifts, one to keep a new home warm, one to keep a bench butt-safe, and others stuck around and were patched and washed and slept on by many guests. I like making simple quick projects because it serves utility and makes me feel accomplished at the same time. Instant pillowfication, you know?

Cousins with more baking buns need a new blanket to add to their stash, I'm sure, and baby might like the soft backing on this (courtesy of the now depleted free box), finished a few days ago:




And two more pillows for the collection, thanks to a ripped sheet, blue and white mimic-eyelit stash from long ago, leftovers from a roommate's project, and a torn and discarded pillow case from the middle room.




Oh, and it just rained for two minutes! What is going on, cloud cover?


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Zucchini und rettich








The gladiolas from last year came back bright purple again, and in a day I will plant found dried bulbs from the tool room and a few tulip bulbs to try for a summer bloom. The rest I will probably plant at the end of November for a spring crop.

The summer garden is still happy and shooting off some little green blobs that will eventually look and taste like tomatoes. The seeds for this heirloom variety came from a friend, Zach. (You can look at his flickr here). 



Thanks to some advice from the Master Gardeners, and now weekly fertilization, my zucchini are doing much better, producing fruit that grows instead of shriveling. I have been using Buddha Grow leftover from another gardening project last year. It contains Bat Guano, Worm Castings, Soy Protein Hydrolysate, Kelp Extract, Molasses, and Yucca Extract and packs a phosphate/nitrate punch! Below are the radishes that roommate Crystal planted from seed, sandwiched between a few onion and tomato sprouts (from seed). The onion stalks grow extremely quickly. 

So, other than watching things grow there has been a lot  of summer happenings, including celebrating Echo's birthday last night by dressing up at home and packing 6-to-a-mini-cooper across the Bay to the Castro Theater to watch Sharon Needles perform Silence of the Trans live on stage! You can read Echo's blog about summer camp in Hidden Villa here. Hidden Villa is an education farm and garden in Los Altos Hills, CA. During the spring it is flocked by baby animals thanks to the husbandry team, during summer it is swarming with children making nature crafts. Sunset magazine just did a typical bourgeois article on how farming vacation are trendy, and wrote about Hidden Villa. You can read the article here




Renzo recently made salve in the kitchen. I have a lot of glycerin soap block that I got from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse  and am thinking of making lavender soap with the bursting bush downstairs. Sometimes lavender makes me skin break out so I might just save the soap for gifts or to use in our house. Echo also posted a recipe for making magic potion salve in the blog linked above. 

The sun breaks through the bamboo cover on the porch all day, drying out the soil and our skin. Sam and her dance company, Blind Tiger Society, in part, bathing in the rays on a midsummers midmorning. They are performing in a piece mid-August called Sunk in Sleep which resembles Alice in Wonderland. Our lovely Sam being the madhatter, herself. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bharatanatyam

video

Summer Camp is in full swing with cultural information, whale crafts, Salam / Bonjour / Hola / Aloha greetings abounding, cookies and jello, and in the midst of it all this traditional Indian dance to punctuate the kids total fascination with otherness. It is amazing and wonderful to tell a group of kids about cultures so unlike their own, yet very similar in many other ways. This year is kicking last year's ass in awesomeness. 

Garden update: radish sprouted 1 inch high, beets radically rooted, air plant transplants in the middle bathroom just this morning, succulents sufficiently transplanted, and squash still blossoming with the help of force pollinating. I read an article in Organic Gardening about this: take pollen from male blossom (with brush / finger) and lightly rub onto budding female ends. Voila! Zucchini never tasted so unconsenting. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Clap Your Hands

More photos from my spring trip to the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.





As time alone stands still for some
                                           Stuffed sailor up with eyeball sun
And if by castle ship should stray
It has like you no chosen fate for 
It's tongue-tied caboose that leads
This ragged lad, this finger-flipping
Mom and dad (for what is worth some aimless steer?)
And should mouth confuse my foggy mirror and reveal what is not there 
I shall take this unbound train away

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Orangina

In a truly-summer thematic effort, here are only pictures of orange things from the garden. It is harvest season, and while we are not producing as much as I hoped, I have learned a lot from experimenting with lunar planting, building beds, etc.



The nasturtium has volunteered itself back in a big way, this being the third flower harvest, and all through spring I have been mixing the clover-like leaves into stir fries that can hold up to the bitterness of the greens.

Recipe for Nasturtium Pesto:

In a food processor, mix:

clean, de-stemmed nasturtium flowers (2 C ideally)
1/2 C sauteed garlic
1/2 C olive oil




I love when volunteers appear - little orange flower unfurling from mysterious spotted leaves. More pictures of the garden and other summer happenings on my flickr, here



Happy Summer Solstice! In pagan tradition, a community would make a huge bon fire, testing their leaping skills by crossing the center. Couples would hold hands and leaping across the fire without letting go is a sign of longevity for their relationship. Single women wear floral garlands in their hair and traipse into the woods in search of the elusive flowered fern (biologically unproven to exist). 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer of Love, 2009

I wrote this three years ago after returning from an epic journey which changed my outlook, inspired new passions, and taught me to harvest and dance in an unplotted acre.


I was gone a long time, but it felt like longer. Honesty milled together with five gallon buckets of rye flour, a walk-in refrigerator reeking of peppers and Earth balance, dodging two inch long armored hornets, and spotting hummingbirds dipping their beaks in the purple, drooping sunflowers. Gingerly walking to my room because there is a creaky floorboard on the second floor and my roommate is asleep in her loft, I smell like tobacco and my fingers are stained yellow from smokes and nutritional yeast. I wrote letters home, drove across and across again the Mason-Dixon, and came back for another week of home away from home. Dreamed of cleaning carrots and clipping alliums, sat on good feelings until I fell asleep only to wake up to more.

A wicked week back and my thoughts drift elsewhere, to a higher altitude. Time to learn when to quit while I'm ahead, when to end on a good note, and when to chill the fuck out and appreciate singular experiences. Sandy beaches reminds me that life always flows, the river never stops, and all the water in the planet circulates itself whole again every day. You piss everyday, unless you got bad stones, and the same water that swirls down the toilet into the great unknown seas moistens our skins on humid Florida days. Piss out, piss in. And it is for this reason we should remain fluid and always moving with the currents, never getting stuck in a retention pond and never clogging the shitter.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tiny Dancer

Good morning, sunshine and soil finally up on the roof with sprouted corn and tomato seeds neatly bedded! Took a kraut/beet/ginger shot a the market this morning, cheers with a stranger who said "to your health." I said "kampai."


 This photo is from a series I took of roommate Sam at Lake Merritt last month (click link to photostream). I'd like to spend more time taking photographs but can't seem to find the time right now. In 3 weeks my mornings will be habitually mine again, hopefully filled with my bucket list of enjoyable things, more gardening, painting, collaging, photographing, biking, and studying. 






The front room mantel, and the second of two dried flower collages I made, another project to tackle in my spare time. I'm feeling incredible energized to begin a new chapter in my life, one of more leisure and pursuing my own wants...once I figure out what those truly are. Creating new things is paramount. 



Wine comes in at the mouth   
And love comes in at the eye;   
That’s all we shall know for truth   
Before we grow old and die.   
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

- A Drinking Song, W.B. Yeats



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garden Explosion!

I spent the weekend in Boulder with my dear friend Kathryn, went hiking at Chautauqua, saw some awesome art and music: 


like this project: lattice \ work and this one: glow forest


at a music festival, and a techno party at a parkour gym, drank some delicious beer, saw the Morley's, and now my parents are coming tomorrow to visit for a few days. Feeling very grateful for my friends and family right now! 







Over the weekend my spinach grew large enough to harvest a salad from, my peas grow long dangling pods, the squash tripled, and all the trees bloomed. Summer has arrived.... almost....

except for the clouds and rain. hmm.


There are more photos uploaded to my flickr here. 







Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Sprouts

Hello, blog!
It's been a long time.

A few full moons later and the garden beds hold little snoozing sprouts, seedling hopefuls, exploded other greens, and infinite possibilities thanks to ten people's worth of compost and the sun's motivational prowess.



Yesterday and today I also dropped some bean, tomato, and pepper seeds into pots. Meanwhile, the succulents are happy and flowering and the hummingbirds that nest in the bamboo across the lot are coming daily to suck nectar.

Indoors, more happy plants.

I'm also embarking on a motorcycle journey beginning with my first day of rider training tomorrow, and hopefully ending in about a month with me on two wheels perpetually.