Saturday, August 23, 2008

monterey county fair

My childhood fair, the one where I won countless ribbons on clothing I sewed and goodies I baked, as well as Dress Review and lamb lead contests. The one where one guy brings the ducks and tells ND, "If I don't bring the ducks [and geese], then how will the little kids know about the ducks?" ND wanted to get a runner duck right away.

The one where they pass out free salad in the agriculture room, and have great deals on vegetables to juice. The one where you can buy a cup of coffee and a piece of homemade cake in the Home Arts building. You can also clown around a little (see above).

And of course, this year's fish ritual. You knew it was coming. The team was serious with their ping pong ball throwing strategies.

This fair always comes on my birthday. That made it extremely special as a kid, and still does.

Princess #2 sizes up her options. I never really liked the midway part of the fair as a kid, but I really enjoyed the animals. As I recall, I received my first real kiss at this fair. I'm pretty sure I had braces.

Happiness is where you find it. I love the food at the fair, and enjoy all things piggish and indulging, like a barbecued chicken plate with beans and coleslaw and the spongy white roll. This girl loves chicken.

Here she comes, top one on the right. (I held the fish for her!). Big, big fun, and a nice ending to our summer.

Back to work!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

best birthday cake

I had a modest party with a ROCKIN' cake. I knew what I wanted to make two months ago. Homemade vanilla cake, lemon curd filling (three layers!) and perfect seven minute white frosting.

This lemon curd was made ever so tasty with the fresh grated organic lemon zest. SO creamy and tart.

L'assemblage, before the frosting. I will now take this moment to admit I blew the first round of frosting. My neighbor showed up to see the new mare, and in my excitement to lead him up and hang out with her I messed up the boiled white frosting originally intended and instead made caramel.

So Plan B went into action: classic seven minute frosting, effortlessly successful with the aid of our own extremely fresh egg whites and the yellow Kitchenaid inherited from my grandmother.

Oh man I had SO MUCH FUN with this cake. Here we have perfect fluffy virginal white highly sweet and creamy frosting. I can't wait to slather it on!!!

It's so perfect, I want to die.

Now I've pressed in the shredded sweetened coconut. That was a harder job requiring patience, but in the end I believe extended the stamina of the cake and created the perfect taste and texture experience.

Bombproof under its protective layer, this angel cake was later ripper open, flames lit, wishes made and sent into the universe on angel wings and then ravenously consumed within several hours, not a crumb to be had the next morning.

I'm 44. So be it! Blessed Be!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Who gives their 5 1/2 year old a Sharpie?

We got a new horse, and she is endless inspiration. Here is Victoria running along with Sparkey.

Victoria is a 16 year old black Morgan mare, very sweet, spirited, inquisitive, and exquisite.

Horses are running through our dreams!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

this life

One last baby chicken shot. Adorable, no? This one is easily hypnotized, closes her little eyes when the Princess strokes her tummy gently.

This year's garden. Here we have tomatoes, little squash and various herbs, easy to reach and enjoy. No fuss but maximum enjoyment. Next year: a real one.

Making buckwheat pancakes in her new green dress in the new green kitchen. I enjoyed making this one so much. I have had this fabric for, um, too long. It's a modified jumper pattern using vintage buttons and a swatch of antique ivory eyelet to fill in a too-low neckline

Still wearing it three days later. Success!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

pet tricks

My dog Whoopie is a clown dog. He is funny, cute, and silly. He will chase a ball - or anything spherical for that matter - for hours without stopping. He can run a long, long ways. He loves to swim in the lagoon. This is how he sleeps sometimes.

Lil' P. has taught the chicks to perch. Also to fly, which is quite a talent for a chicken. These guys have been moved out to the big coop and enjoy their own little cage under the nesting box.
But they come inside to play sometimes.

Jack Black is learning restraint, a remarkable talent for one so enthusiastic about hunting. Jack has brought a couple of birds in the house this summer, along with countless lizards and one really cool bug. Here he remains calmly observant....but I would not have left this scene unsupervised!

These plums are in jars now... Happy Lammas!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


We have returned from four days in Colorado. We stayed in a cabin in Del Norte, right by the Rio Grande. Here we have the view from our bedroom window.... what we witnessed upon awakening the first morning, after having arrived in the dark.

Little P. has been proudly announcing to everyone within earshot how she was "going fishing" in Colorado for the past month. We all gave it our best shot. N.D. even bought a license and a bunch of fancy gear, but no luck. I don't know how I would have felt if I had indeed caught one... elated at first maybe, but after that who knows.

Here we look upstream. The river is constant, fed by the patches of snow I spied still up a little higher. It was over 8,000 feet up there... on Sunday I felt woozy and had to lie down for a spell!

Downstream was just as pretty. I really appreciated the beautiful grass, so lush and clean. It really kept feet clean, I noticed the floors stayed nice so much longer than mine!

The mountains are beautiful, and N.D. is desperate to move back there. I think it would be a nice place to retire. It was definitely a slower pace, and not even a Starbucks.

Come to think of it, it was perfect.

Friday, August 08, 2008

the other green kitchen

OK, that was to encourage a comment from M. I love love love my kitchen now. It's so... different, and refreshing. Not to mention cleaner. It is very very dirty here out in the dirt. And all the pets don't help.

See the cute birdy drawer handles I got?! Under a baseball bat zucchini, a present from my neighbor that got juiced after the skinny end was sliced and fried up with tomatoes and olive oil.

Seems we are crazy about birds here. Speaking of pets, who can resist saying "yes" to your five and a half year old when she requests to take these two cuties from the feed store? Um, that would be Nice Dad.

Behold this summer's amusement. These babies have of course doubled in size since this pic was taken, but they had their share of dusty, stinky time inside behind the houseplants... they got rides on the trike, lessons on the balance beam, and watched cartoon in the morning sitting on a towel on the couch.

What a good sport.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

wedding majick

A beautiful wedding I attended last month, and hopefully some dear friends that were unable to attend will enjoy these pictures (hi, B!)

Here the daughters cast the circle for the ceremony. They just needed fairy wings to make this look complete.

Three sisters, in yellow, green and pink (the youngest). It felt very sweet.

It was an eclectic ceremony, hosted by a church that blends and includes all denominations. The bride placed her groom's ring first on her own index finger, then he took it as a symbol of her love and faith and placed it on his own ring finger. Then he did the same with hers. Kind of cool.

Later at the reception, held at the local Elk's Club, a group of stags hovered in this spot all night. These guys were the ultimate group of computer nerds. After a couple of rounds of drinks, we married but still cute teacher girls sashayed over and mortified them all by convincing them to dance to "Play That Funky Music White Girl." Fun!

The bride and I taught together for a couple of years, sharing a room and the ups and downs of our lives together, laughing and crying. We are very different, but somehow very similar as well... I guess we are both pretty romantic. Last year she moved to a new school and I miss her very much. I'm so happy she has found true love at last.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

princess gallery

This is what happens when you let your 5 1/2 use the camera.

Nice Dad looks scary here.

Jack the Black, the more he naps, the more he turns black.

Our only real neighbor, handy guy extraordinaire, true mountain man.

Don't forget a nice shot of the stove. See the "before" red here! "Afters" coming soon.

Jack tries to escape the camera.

I am SO outta here.

Horsey Girl and her pony tail.

Grrr, she never gives up.

How much does Mom love summer!?

All right, gimme that camera back.

We have returned from a trip to Colorado. Highlights coming up.
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