...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Back From Vacation

Dawn along the Tennessee River in Knoxville, TN
We returned late Sunday afternoon from a weeklong trip to Myrtle Beach, SC with my extended family: my parents, brother, sister, their spouses and a total of six kiddos ranging from three to 10 years old.  Two weekends of driving totaling 18 hours--with stopovers in Knoxville, TN on the trip down and Louisville, KY on the return--were worth it to spend time together on the beach, at the pool, cooking and eating, wine tasting, celebrating DIY Girls' Spa Night, Make-Your-Own Pizza Night, a family talent show, and lots of other fun.

Beach and Boardwalk at MB, SC
Urban Wild Edibles in Knoxville--Pokeweed
More Urban Wild Edibles--Pawpaws in the park in Louisville, KY
All the fixin's for DIY Pizza Night when Ben and I cooked
Fresh Papayas and Bananas for DIY Spa Night facials
I also celebrated my birthday while we were away.  My thoughtful brother-in-law made a gluten-free banana cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting that was delicious.  And my wonderful husband made sure my wishes were fulfilled by giving me a subscription to the all-new Taproot magazine and both a wide and narrow mouth Cuppow.  (I was just about to go buy a new travel coffee mug today when I realized I could just use any Mason jar in my current collection and possibly even turn the narrow mouth into a "sippy" cup for V who is trusted these days with glass drinking vessels, especially a sturdy, hard-to-break Mason jar.)

My cake and birthday dress
My bro-in-law did his best with two different size cake pans
Of course, I returned to a jungle in our backyard and had to get my "machete" out yesterday to whack through the grapevines and winter squash, get the powdery-mildewed coated zucchini back under control, pick a mess of very plump string beans from the raised bed, and give a couple tomato plants some extra support.  There's still a lot of work to be done before my garden party at the end of August, but yesterday was a good start.

Zuke mania!
Vera and I finally found time this morning to wash up all the shells we found on our beach trip and identify them as best we could with the Sea Shells of the World guide book I found on my last trip to the flea market.  Ever since reading the chapter book Junonia earlier this summer, V's been interested in finding shells.  While she was sorting them this morning she had fun counting and recounting them while comparing their textures, colors and shapes.  It appears these Atlantic treasures could make a fun natural "toy" for months to come.

Identifying our sea shells as best we could
Bucket of Atlantic Coquinas--some still alive!
I was so grateful for my Monday this week to recuperate from our trip.  Finished unpacking and reorganizing before attending our monthly Holistic Moms Network meeting last night where we welcomed Chad Turner who taught us about the Raw Foods Lifestyle.  During our icebreaker I admitted that I still have a lot to UNlearn from my conventional nutrition education.  He was a wealth of knowledge and a ball of energy in teaching us how to feel our best.  Can't wait to try some of his raw foods recipes and keep juicing and making smoothies.  My favorite line from Chad was that mothers should be considered endurance athletes and therefore should eat a diet to reflect that, one that gives them optimal energy.  Say no more, I'm hooked and will work towards incorporating even more raw foods into my diet and hopefully share some new recipes here.  


  1. You look so beautiful in your bday dress! I'm so impressed you made it!!!!

  2. My dad used to cook pokeweed and drove us all crazy with its strong smell. You know, he probably still does cook it to this day!