Saturday, July 4, 2020

Dam

  



  We returned last week from spending time at the cabin, a place I go and visit in my head at least a few times a week, and as often as we can in "reality". 
  
  The cabin is the place that I ground myself to like no other. I have visited here many, many times since my first visit in 1961...when I was just a little bitty girl. 
  
  We share this very special place with several family members, so we all try to 'book' our times around each other's schedules. How was I to know, way back in January, that the world would be an entirely different place in June? I assumed back then that we would be in Umbria for the spring, return to work for awhile, and take off again for a week at the cabin... before settling into a busy summer at the gallery. Ha ha. What a hoot. 
  We decided to go anyway, just to connect with this special place, and have a different 'view' on this crazy Covid 19 life we are living. It was a very perfect thing to do, I must say.

  We had many wonderful experiences in our way too short time there, including hikes, reading for hours, bbq's, sleeping under the stars, seeing a coyote and a bear in the same day, playing gorilla badminton while enjoying Campari and soda....man, it was great.
  But...my all time favorite thing to do when I am at the cabin is to play in the nearby creek and build a dam with river rocks. It's great way to stay cool, get some upper body exercise, and get the hell outta my head for a couple of hours.
  Perfection. Absolute perfection.

  I've built many a dam on this particular creek, and it never, ever gets old.
  In past years I've gotten creative by using only pink or red hued rocks, to create a special effect:


  


Up close it was really cool...
2016



...and even from way above, I was pretty proud of it.


  Many, many years ago, I gave a nod to Andy Goldsworthy, by creating an 18' diameter circle of stones just under the surface of the stream. It took me 3 days, and I couldn't get over how perfect it came out:



2008




  This trip, I just wanted to enjoy the feeling of being in the cool water, using my aging body to move stones, and just get lost in the work. We went to this spot 4 days in a row, at around 3pm, and stayed for a couple of hours, until it got chilly and the sun was low in the sky.
  Johnny brings a beach chair and a book...I just want to be in the water. We brought a bottle of wine and snacks, and enjoyed the sounds of the natural world. So different from our daily life of noisy cars, sirens, dogs barking, etc....It was/is heaven.  
  Our Grandma Dottie always called this area 'God's Country'. I'm down with that.

  The water was wicked cold at first, but I got used to it really fast, and loved being right there in the middle of the creek, doing my thing.
  This time, I made a jig-jag sort of dam, just going with the flow of the water. I wan't trying to stop the river, just make some sort of 'pools' along the way....
  






  First off, the water isn't deep at all, it's just fast moving, so I had to be careful not to slip on the stones and fall. Of course I did, several times, and have the bruises to prove it. You fall hard on river rocks, and it's painful!
  I wanted to make a spot that I could actually get down into and swim a bit. This would be my dam- making goal for the week.








I'm so glad Johnny was taking photos. I had no idea.


  
  So, here's the thing. I worry about everything. It's a constant noise in my head. Like someone busted open a yellow jacket nest in my brain. Buzz, buzz, buzz...all the bloody time.
  What can I say? It's a big part of who I am, and I try to work hard to make it go away. Not easy.
  But, when I was in that water, it all went away. All the stress, anxiety, worry...gone. All I thought about was finding the next rock to put in place. That, and not slipping and falling in the water.
  It was just the therapy I needed. It is the therapy I always crave. Me, the water and the rocks. Basta. 
  I need nothing else. I want to bottle this remedy to take everyday, somehow.
  (note to self: bottle that remedy and take it everyday...don't ask, just figure it the f^#* out!)


Getting some sunshine was pretty sweet, too.



I ended up with three little 'pools'.



  I worked at it until I thought it was time to take a dip, and so I did...







  I decided to add more rocks here and there, and then it was pretty damn perfect.



One more here, another one there, and we be done!






Just deep enough to swim in!



  Though I was able to swim, actually swim, the current was so fast, it was an upstream battle royale. You can't tell from these photos how deep or how fast the water was. I did get a big old kick out of getting myself 'all in', though, and laughed my ass off in the process. 
  I made a good dam, man!
 



Sun heading down, end of the work day.







  It was a real good lesson for me. Do what makes you happy, girl. Get dirty, get wet, get exhausted while you're at it. Enjoy a glass of wine while you revel in what you've created. Afterwards, sleep under the stars you remember sleeping under all your life.
  Wake up the next day and do it all over again.
  And...for god's sake...don't forget the child within.






  (p.s. stop worrying so much!!)

Friday, June 12, 2020

More From The Garden...And Musings On Life During Covid 19


  Wow.
  I was just starting a new blog post about the garden, now in late May/early June, and I came across this post from some weeks ago that I never published to the blog...
  A lot has changed since I wrote this, but one thing has not. My garden is my retreat, my solace, my peace.

  Enjoy, and know that more posts are on the way, after a long 'down time'...



  I think this was written in late April....

Anyway, I sure am enjoying my time in the garden. 
  Every day I have something to do. Leave it to a pandemic to give me the freedom to spend days and days, weeks and weeks enjoying being home and working in my garden...it's a gift that just keeps on giving. 
  
  When I started planning and planting this garden, some twenty+ years ago, I had no idea that I'd be here 24/7 'sheltering in place' in 2020. I feel so lucky to have my garden to find solace in. I have something to look forward to every day during this time of stress and uncertainty. 
  I can honestly say that my garden is saving me right now...emotionally and physically. I work myself to the bone each day. Most nights I can sleep the whole night through. Almost. 
  Thank god I have something to look forward to doing every day. I honestly don't know what I would do right now if didn't have my garden.

 I am one of those people that depends on a daily routine, and I have readjusted pretty well over the last few weeks. I mean, really...what else can I do? I write this little blog, not knowing if anyone even reads it...which is fine, honestly...because I'd still write it... writing and sharing my photos gives me a lot of pleasure. It's my creative outlet, and thank god I have one. Two, including my garden.

  Ok...moving on.
  The garden is coming into spring, showing off like the winner of this season of RuPaul's Drag Race! All dressed up in her finest! She's such a queen, and I'm proud to be in her court!


Texture and little details...



It's a 'Cottage Garden', for sure...







This bench was a birthday present for Johnny many years ago...
The bowls are baths for the birds...




One of our favorite places to sit and read.




And now, we actually have time to sit and read!





Love my Cercis' Forest Pansy'...the leaves are like little hearts...



See? So sweet!




This Viburnum just knocks me out!



I think I have a crush on my garden...is that ok?




Our little 'compound'...it's not a bad place to shelter.


Rose 'Sombreuil' gets better every day.


David Austin Rose 'Tamara'...great fragrance, too.

Can't live without herbs...


Another rose gone wild.


  I'm going to keep posting garden stuff. It's my life right now, and I'm loving it, so there you go.
  Stay safe, Dear Readers. We don't know what tomorrow, or next week, next month...will bring. I hope you have something in your life that brings you peace and joy during these trying times...


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Drive In The Country



  This will be a post of very few words....

  I knew there were gorgeous fields of lupine (local wild flowers) out there, and yesterday was just so beautiful, we took a drive into the nearby hills.
  It's been years since we've been here to see this yearly show, so off we went. (stayed in the car for most of it, had masks, just in case!)

  Hope you enjoy it, too!




















  Came across this sweet sight, as well-





Other varieties of wild flowers are blooming, too.






  The views of large swaths of lupine on the green hills were magic-

























  Just being out there was nice. The sun felt so good, and there were  few cars on this country road. I really enjoyed this little 'getaway'....














  Soon these hills will turn golden as the rains dry up and summer comes on. It was joy to see, and I realize we are so  lucky to live  here on the Central Coast of California. 





























  Thanks, Covid 19! We may not have had the time to enjoy a little mini-vacation like this, without you.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

And Then There Is The Cooking


  While being at home 'sheltering in place', I've been spending almost all day every day in my garden. I'm loving it, for sure...but I've been cooking some, too, and the last couple of days have been pretty tasty.

  I made a delightfully decadent pappardelle last night.
  Leeks, peas, goat cheese, and cream? What could be better?





Add the pappardelle. This was store bought.



Mix that all together, until the goat cheese melts well...



...and yum!

  

I've been threatening to make focaccia for weeks, and today was the day. It wasn't nice out, grey and a bit chilly, so a perfect time. 

  I made the dough with bread flour, yeast, honey, salt and olive oil, then let it rise.






  After forming it to the well oiled sheet pan, I let it rise again. Don't be stingy with the oil.





  Next, I mixed equal parts olive oil and water into a slurry, and poured it on top. I read about this step, and it really made a difference in the finished product.






 After pressing gently with my fingers all over....





 ...I topped with chopped fresh rosemary and good flakey sea salt. Don't be stingy with the salt.






 Bake on lower rack at 425-450 degrees, and you'll be in heaven!















  Not a bad attempt at all! You can't skimp on the olive oil or salt if you want it to be like what you get in Italy, especially Liguria, where it's like a religion.

  It was a bit too thin, and got a little burnt on the edges, but it was really tasty, and almost perfect. I'll do this again, only I'll use a smaller sheet pan, so I don't spread it out too thin. I'll add more rosemary, too, I think. 
  I made Johnny really happy. He's a man who loves his focaccia...

  I wonder what the next kitchen adventure will be. Thanks, Covid 19!