Today, tomorrow and forever: I’m choosing to build a life of abundance, centered around deep gratitude and shared joy.
Rest, rise, rinse, repeat.
Today, tomorrow and forever: I’m choosing to build a life of abundance, centered around deep gratitude and shared joy.
Rest, rise, rinse, repeat.
Some Campfire's Love Poem Weary child, as evening casts your shadow long across this pebbled bank the sun, who held your face in daytime, selfless omnipotent illuminator who only told you true for all of your life who kissed your cheeks and showed you how to plant your feet down and how to lift them up again weary child, the sun is fading. Draw near me now in reflection and be held almost whole in this unsettling hour. Elizabeth Keefer, May 2021
If the title of this post looks familiar to you, you are very observant and deserve a high five.
Back at the beginning of this year (January 2nd to be exact) I shared some very different pictures of this tree in a post called LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA IN SNOW
Well, it’s May…
The snow has melted, the hot sun is making regular appearances again, and wouldn’t you know it, this Tulip Tree is now in full spring bloom.
Liriodendron tulipifera, aka Tulip Tree or Yellow Poplar, is native to Eastern North America (far from where this one is planted) and is the state tree of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.
Tulip Trees bloom May through June.
Big showy yellow flowers banded in bright orange at the base of each petal.
What a gift to witness these blooms! Almost surreal looking.
Generous cups of cold sherbet, vanilla and orange…
Perhaps a shaded feast for some lucky pollinators on a hot day.
As colorful as they are, it’s easy to scan the tree and not see the flowers because they don’t open up until after the leaves are fully formed, and by then they are fairly tucked in and hidden.
I’m glad I got a chance to snap these photos; I’ve never seen a Tulip Tree bloom and I was excited to share it with you. 🙂 For reference (for myself as much as anyone else) I took these with my old Pentax K-500 with an inexpensive CPL filter.
What’s blooming in your world? 🙂
Long before I opened my eyes to the calm blue light of tent walls dotted with sunlit glassy raindrops, the honking of geese overhead stirred me to consciousness and a sleepy smile spread across my slightly chapped lips.
These early morning moments are what I camp for.
Waking up in a tent to the smell of wet earth.
Crisp air nips at my cheeks and reminds me of my vitality.
The sounds of animals bustling around me on a thick carpet of damp ponderosa pine needles reminds me I am but one part of a large web of deeply connected beings.
Waking up to a new day alongside non-human siblings – the grasses, the trees, the bugs, the birds, the deer, the rocks. Whew! What a privilege.
First camping trip of the year… CHECK!
How beautiful is that fog rolling off the lake? 🙂
Stay curious, friends! ~ EK
I squatted down to adjust the height of the lawnmower and the entire butt of my pants split right out! Down the middle and to the side in the shape of a crooked “Y” – I wasn’t mad, I look forward to big mends like this.
I used a pocket from a retired pair of light blue linen pants that belonged to my husband and a handful of colors of linen thread. The pocket was a nice upgrade from a regular fabric patch; now I have a good place to tuck my gardening gloves in a pinch.
I loosely reinforced the edge of the hole with running stitches before pinning the pocket over top, edges folded under and pinned flat. I worked the perimeter of the pocket with hand-stitching until satisfied. Simple enough!
Below is a recent picture of the original knee patches after about a million washes and rough wears…
On an average day I’m wearing an outfit like this: heavily patched pants, long sleeves to protect my arms from the sun, no-frills Casio watch, wool socks with sandals or boots (depending on the tasks of the day) and a me-made wool sun protection hat. It doesn’t get more “me” than this look right here. 🙂
These pants have developed a spirit of their own. I can’t head out into the yard to work, or pack my bag for a camping trip without them saying, “Hey! I want to play, too!”
And who am I to deny them the rigors and grit they so crave?
Shucks… a pair of pants after my own heart ❤
With love! ~ EK
My primary interests this spring put me outside for long stretches of time, subsequently exposing my skin to the sun more than I’d like: hiking, camping, landscape photography, fishing, gardening, etc.
I wanted to create a custom-fit sun protection hat for myself that ticked all of my “must have” boxes:
Crocheting is old hat for me (har har! I’ll never pass up a good pun) – I picked up some of my favorite wool yarn and a hook, threw a few stitches into a magic ring, and an hour later we had the start of something promising…
Once I was satisfied with the fit of the cap portion, I moved on to the brim with the intention to try the hat on every few rounds until I was satisfied with the width of the brim and the amount of sun protection coverage for my face and neck.
My goal was to finish the hat completely in time to bring it with me on a weekend camping trip.
I finished just before bed the night before we left and snapped a window-lit selfie as the sun went down to commemorate.
This hat is a delight! Truly one of the best things I’ve ever made, all crafts considered.
It fits my outdoor needs exactly, which means I will treasure it and wear it for years to come.
This feeling; this is whole point of slow craft. ❤
As it turns out, an unintended benefit of my new wool sun hat is that it helps me hid from neighbors and sip my tea in peace…
Anti-social sun protection…
But as always, my anti-social inclinations are betrayed by a big grin and friendly disposition. 🙂
My new hat even matches my favorite self-drafted knit shawl.
This look is giving me amateur mycologist, forest dwelling Carmen Sandiego vibes and I love it.
*singing to myself* – “Where in the woods is, EK Sandiego?”
‘Til we chat again, EK
February Self-care care packages are now listed in my shop. A short video detailing what all is included in this month’s care package can be found below.
I might do these monthly or seasonally as I have time and resources, and depending on the response.
All the best, Bette
Last weekend I noticed snow had collected in the dried remains of the fruit on this Tulipwood Tree. I was struck by how much they looked like tiny snow cones and attempted to capture their adorableness with my old-but-new-to-me 75-300mm zoom lens.
Liriodendron tulipifera aka Tulip Tree, Tulipwood Tree or Yellow Poplar produces a cone shaped fruit comprised of many samaras – dry, single cell fruit which are dispersed by the wind.
Too charming not to share 🙂
Happy New Year and all the best, Bette
My beloved, albeit painfully needy rescue pup woke me up at 3 o’clock Sunday morning to investigate a mysterious sound, again. I’m an all-or-nothing sleeper so once I’m up–that’s it for me. I try to be sympathetic in these moments. How do I teach her which sounds are inconsequential – the clicking of the ice maker in the kitchen – and which sounds might be raccoons rummaging through the kitchen, or aliens beaming up the whole damn house?
I got dressed, washed my face, and brewed myself a hot mug of spiced apple cider. I wrapped up in a blanket and plopped down on the couch in the dark. My mind wandered to the quart of buttermilk idling in the fridge. “Why yes, Stevie,” I said to the dog now contentedly snoring beside me, “buttermilk pancakes do sound good.”
I googled “buttermilk pancakes” and the first recipe to pop up was Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes. I had all the ingredients on hand so I went with it. NYT Cooking recipes tend to be consistently O.K. with a couple of modifications – in this case I added a tablespoon of vanilla and a 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, incorporated the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls before combining everything together in one large bowl, I let the batter rest at room temperature for nearly an hour, and I opted for avocado oil in a cast iron skillet for perfectly golden pancakes.
While watching the sunrise over frozen hills from my kitchen window, I ate a single perfect pancake, complete with a cartoon quality pat of melting butter and a hefty glug of real maple syrup. I cleaned up while the leftover pancakes cooled, used a cookie cutter to cut them into several small circles, and dusted them with powdered sugar before tossing them into a travel container. I then brewed two thermoses of coffee and patiently waited for K to wake up.
We try to get out for a hike or at least a long walk every weekend.
Sunday was crisp and gray, and I layered up in fluorescent knits against the chill.
I’m a creature of the PNW and the smell of wet, rotting leaves soothes me. If I look at this picture, then close my eyes, I can smell them now.
Once we reached the peak of our outing, we stopped to sit and enjoy some tiny buttermilk pancakes and hot coffee.
I added hot cocoa powder to the coffees; a poor man’s mocha. We quietly ate more pancakes and I audaciously wiped my sticky fingers on the cuff of my pants. Stevie sat inches from my face attempting to showcase her self-mastery and obedience in exchange for a tiny pancake of her very own.
Of course I obliged, I’m not a monster.
I’m an equal opportunity hiking guide – everyone gets a pancake at the summit, no questions asked.
I felt so grounded here by this gushing stream, I took a selfie to commemorate the moment.
Escaping to nature is the best antidote against the “too muchness” of contemporary life.
The stream doesn’t grind, it flows.
Best xx Bette
I finally did it. I followed the recipe in Le Creuset Cookbook: A Collection of Recipes From Our French Table and made French Croissants from scratch.
Despite a brief period of cold, creeping self-doubt around the third touch and go, dicey repeat of “roll dough out into a 8″x12″ rectangle and fold into thirds like a business letter” I feel this bake went extremely well.
I started the dough on Friday afternoon which required overnight refrigeration. I worked the dough throughout the morning Saturday, alternating between rolling, folding, and chilling again and again. Next came cutting rolling, forming, then leaving to rise until doubled in size. Lastly this recipe called for brushing the top of each croissant with a wash of whole milk and egg yolk just before baking, resulting in the distinctively shiny, golden exterior classic croissants are known for.
I baked the croissants late Saturday afternoon and woke up this morning, Sunday, excited to make myself a small breakfast and tuck into a new book for a couple of hours.
I’ve just started reading the book Real Life, a novel by Brandon Taylor which was a finalist for the 2020 Booker Prize and is so far bright, relatable, and poetically descriptive.
This is my ideal Sunday morning: bundled against the chill in a warm blanket, feet decked in colorful hand-knit wool socks, good candles burning, jazz records playing softly in the background, pecking at a tasty spread while reading a good book–unaffected by the snow falling gently outside.
I hope you are currently spending your Sunday nestled someplace equally cozy xx Bette
Continuing our household effort to dine more healthfully, ethically, and sustainably while attempting to reduce the number of trips we make into town to shop during the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been researching and exploring the big wide world of grocery delivery services.
The most notable delivery last week was our inaugural order from The Honest Bison.
The Honest Bison was founded on one very simple truth: we believe everyone deserves access to food they can trust. When we realized just how hard it was to find unprocessed, humanely raised, quality meats in today’s markets, The Honest Bison was born.
We started out with just 100% grassfed bison but have since branched out to include a curated selection of other high-quality meats as well. As we continue to expand, our mission still remains the same – to bring trust back into today’s food system.From The Honest Bison’s “about” page
I picked out a variety of cuts of grassfed bison, elk and venison, in addition to bison snack sticks, jerky, oxtails, ground meat and soup bones.
Bison meat is leaner and significantly lower in calories than a comparable serving of beef, and is a good source of protein, B vitamins, selenium, zinc and iron.
*** Please note: this order was purchase entirely out of pocket and this post is not an ad, I’m just a pleasantly surprised first time customer ***
Bison and Butternut Squash Stew – truncated recipe at the bottom of this post
I started this stew as I would any other, steeping some herbs in fat…
In this case I opted for rendered bacon fat and rosemary.
For a lean meat like bison, adding a rich fat to the pot helps keep things supple and moist during browning.
Warming woody herbs gently in fat first releases the aromatic oils for maximum flavor.
I removed the rosemary and added a one pound package of bison stew meat (thawed, patted dry and seasoned with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper) to the pot and cooked it for a few minutes over medium-low heat until gently browned.
I then removed the meat from the pot and added a diced medium-sized yellow onion and two finely sliced cloves of garlic to the fat, plus a tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of water.
I simmered this all together while stirring occasionally over medium-low heat until softened and golden.
I returned the meat to the pot and added 14oz of crushed tomatoes, a bay leaf, cumin, red pepper flakes, and a tablespoon of good quality balsamic vinegar to mimic the red wine traditionally used in hearty red meat stews.
When stewing meats I like to add acidic elements like tomatoes and balsamic which can help tenderize meat and break down connective tissue.
I also added a tablespoon of red miso paste for maximum umami and enhanced complexity.
I then added approximately 16oz gelatinous, homemade, collagen-rich chicken bone broth concentrate made earlier in the week, in addition to enough water to allow everything to float around freely within the pot.
Next, I peeled and cubed half of a large butternut squash, roughly 2 cups total, and simmered everything together over medium-low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally until the liquid was significantly reduced and the contents of the pot were moderately homogeneous, seasoned to taste with more sea salt and more pepper once finished.
Butternut squash is one of my favorite ingredients to add to winter stews because it is inexpensive, abundant, nutritious, and when cooked slowly, surrenders beautifully to create a full-flavored, impossibly sumptuous gravy.
Served humbly over steamed rice, this bison stew was wonderfully rich and satisfying. The bison meat itself was so hearty and deeply comforting; we went to bed with full bellies and woke up with an urgent hankering to eat leftover stew for breakfast.
Bison and Butternut Squash Stew Recipe
In a large pot, combine bacon fat and rosemary and warm together over medium heat until fragrant. Remove the rosemary and add one pound of 1″ cubed bison stew meat. Cook 8 minutes or until gently browned. Remove meat from the pot and set aside on a spare plate. Add diced onion, finely sliced garlic, EVOO and water to the pot and simmer until golden and soft. Add meat back into the pot as well as any juices that collected on the plate.
Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, cumin, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar, and stir. Add red miso paste and stir well to dissolve. Add bone broth and water to the pot to suit your own taste, or until there is enough liquid in the pot for things to move around freely. Add cubed squash and stir. Bring the contents of the pot up to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally until the liquid is significantly reduced, meat is fork-tender, and contents of the pot are moderately homogeneous.
Serve over steamed rice, potatoes or boiled noodles.
One pot makes 4-6 servings depending on appetites and once cooled, the leftovers refrigerate, freeze and reheat well.
Enjoy in good health ~ Bette
This morning I began a massive mending feat: stitching two large Sashiko-inspired patches on to the knees of my well-loved, worn-nearly-into-the-ground Lucy and Yak organic cotton twill Dungarees.
Sashiko is the traditional Japanese method of decoratively mending or reinforcing textiles with cotton fabric and white or indigo-dyed thread. Sashiko is an expression of the traditional Japanese aesthetic Wabi-sabi, which is characterized by the appreciation of “imperfect beauty” and impermanence.
I plan to sew each patch down by hand in a grid pattern of small stitches using linen thread in a few different natural tones that remind me of wildflowers… the resulting mend should reinforce the knees and lower legs for at least another year of abruptly kneeling in dirt to spot cool bugs, and scooting across the living room rug while “playing dogs” with… the dog. Don’t ask, I’m an adult and this is just how I live my life.
I’ve had this same pair of dungarees since the early days of Lucy and Yak, and I have worn them more times than I could possibly count. I envision them 10 years from now, held together entirely by clever little hand-stitches and assorted patches cut from long-since-retired-yester-clothes.
In current food news ‘round these parts: I baked a lemon loaf cake today using this recipe and it turned out great, really great. My only deviation from Maria’s recipe was that I opted for a quick vanilla bean icing to douse the top instead of the suggested lemon glaze. Smash hit. Well done on the recipe, Maria. 🙂
I’ll continue to share the process of mending the knees of my dungarees as I go.
What was the last piece of clothing you brought back to life with a thoughtful mend? I’d love to continue the discussion in the comments below.
All the best ~