Monday, June 23, 2008

June Photo Exchange ::Black & White::

Thank you to all those who participated! There were 19 people signed up, in 4 countries. I really appreciate the thought people have been putting into their photos and the stories they have to share. Here are the photos that were submitted so far:

Future plans for the exchange...

I am thinking about going ahead with July but the days might be a little different. There is a lot going on this summer, I am sure a lot of people are busy. I will send out an email about it soon, but let me know if you are interested in keeping it going.

If this little exchange goes for a few months, with the amount of people that have been participating, I am thinking about making a little book with all the photos. It will either be Booklet/Magazine type of thing printed at my work, or a real-deal book printed on demand. We'll see, I am just dreaming for now, but dreamin' don't hurt no one.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Urban Homestead & M.E.T.

I came across this video... (through Ben's blog post today, thanks for sharing!) and it is AMAZING! ... This family is so great. I am sure some will think they are a bunch of hippies but I really think they have a lot of good examples and knowledge to share (and I love hippies!). I WANT TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS SOOO BAD. I wish we had more space, or at least a little yard. But, what this family does is challenge you to use what you have... So, I will try.

The Dervaes' Family grows their own fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, etc., (their goal for this year is 10,000lbs, and they do this all in a 1/10 of an acre!). They use alternative forms of energy: clay ovens, bicycle run blender, solar panels, solar heated outdoor shower, solar ovens, biofuel, etc. And they practice composting, vermiculture, permaculture and so on.

This is the sort of thing we were trying to accomplish in Tacna, Peru with the Moviemento Ecological project. We started a composting business using the deseschos from the juice ladies, and old grass clippings from the city. We built a green house out of recycled plastic bottles. We started a nursery business that is flourishing! (see photo below) An eco-park was created using reclaimed water. Over 3000 trees have been planted. **I say "we started" because we were there in the very beginning, but really its been the Peruvians who have made it into something incredible.

A small report from Jake's visit a couple of weeks ago:

"The park is green, full, and well taken care of. The plants continue to take root, transforming not only the look of the town but it continues to awaken community. The nursery business is slowly growing towards independence and sustainability.

The group has put together quite a proposal to obtain 10 hectares of arable land several miles from the project. The president of the land committee was so impressed with their organization and ideas that he was awarded them 20 hectares instead of 10—the only thing the committee is asking is $700 for documentation and processing (if you would like to participate in such a need, please let us know). What they will be doing with this land includes fish and chicken farms, olive, mango, and other fruit tree groves, and a great expansion of the nursery's capabilities.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Native Plants

Lately we have been getting into identifying the plants of Eaton Canyon. What might appear to be a normal plant becomes so much more interesting once you know it's name, family and potential uses, or toxicity. I didn't realize how many cool plants were in the Canyon! And I didn't know how many of them were edible or medicinal. If Justin and I ever end up stranded out in the canyon, maybe we can use our knowledge of plants to feed us. Although, knowing my memory I would get a perfectly edible plant confused with an entirely toxic plant.

On our hike the other day we tried a few of the plants, we ate a couple of berries, one of which had a tomato-y taste, not bad. And we also ate the seed of a yucca plant. It was ok tasting, sort of bitter.

White Sage
(great smell!)

(almost all of this plant is edible)

We haven't identified this one yet, but it looks similar to a Sticky Monkey Flower, which happens to be my favorite plant name, ever.

Holly Leaf Cherry
(the berries are edible)

Haven't figured out what this is yet, but I really like it.

(If you happen to know the names of the missing plants, let me know, please!)

Monday, June 09, 2008

kodak Duaflex II

I got a new / old camera. I am still trying to figure out how to use it. But so far, I love it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Holy Cashews!

I am so excited about this. Yes, a completely raw, vegan, sugar-free dessert, (sounds boring huh?) that is AMAZING! ... I was so overly excited to write about this that I haven't written the recipe down yet, but I will figure it out soon enough, and post if wanted.

The other day I tried making a raw peaches and cream pie. And, well, it came out ok. The ingredients and recipe were great, its just that I didn't blend the cashews enough so the texture was all wrong, and texture is important. The texture was so bad that I actually started to gag.

Well, then I found this recipe for Cashew Cream. Soaking cashews then blending them with water to make a heavy cream-like substitute, and its wonderful. I can't wait to put it in coffee... and other heavy-cream friendly things. It's creamy, flavorful, and slightly sweet.

From there I decided to try the peaches and cream pie again - with lots of changes, and no peaches. What came from that was a cheese-cake like dessert, that honestly, is INCREDIBLE. The crust is made with pecans, maple syrup, vanilla and cacao, the filling is soaked cashews blended with honey. And I am very excited about it, can you tell?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A highlight from our camping trip this weekend: The Pinnacles

It had been 5 years since I've done this hike, 5 long years. I still remembered parts of it, I remembered how to get there, where to park, the rifle range, the duckies, the eagle rock, the markers, to take a left at the first fork.. etc.  But I didn't remember how hard and long it was (about 6-7 miles)! ...

When I worked at Alpine I would get off work at 5pm at the ropes course, we would quickly grab some water and food then drive out to the pinnacles, fly through the hike to make it just in time to catch the sunset at the peak, and then hike back in the dark. We did this almost weekly. It was glorious, such a great time in my life. 

This time the hike was just as glorious.  Although, we kept thinking it was the nearest peak, "it's just at the top of this hill..." ... "ok, I am certain this time, its at the top of this next hill..." ... Three hills later we almost gave up, thinking that we had gotten lost. But sure enough, we had some good sports there, they wanted to keep going on this wild goose chase. Finally we reached the peak, and thank God we did, it was worth it. To go all the way there and not reach the pinnacles, how disappointing. 

My Seven Second Video Tribute: