Monday, January 19, 2015

Forest of Photos...Woodsy Weekend

Howdy, forest friends!  Life has been good to me lately.  I've been savoring these slow days of simple pleasures this month, as I just got a new teaching job that I start next week!  Gotta make the most of these days while I can...

I hosted a little craft party at the park on Friday.  I wanted to try making edible terrariums I had seen on My Paper Crane, since my mom sometimes sends me chocolate rocks from Arizona.  My forest friends and I had fun making the tiny worlds in jars...

I used some of the decorations my mom got me for my birthday last year, like this sugar squirrel!

On Saturday, Ol' R came home with an antique pump organ from 1913!  We had ourselves a party that night, as we all gathered round to play songs on the organ.  The best part?  The organ is going to be gifted to Jesse and I as a wedding present and we get to keep it in our room!  Looks like my resolution to learn piano this year is being changed to pump organ!

I made a ton of snacks for the party, these days I like to make my own pesto and hummus with my new mortar & pestle.  I like to cook some simple potato flatbread (potato, flour, water...) and fry that up to go with it.  Gotta eat only forest foods!

Ol' R also got me a new squirrel bowl for my collection!  I got the large one in the lower left at Motherlode Thrift, then started finding the smaller ones over the years.  I received the cookie jar and bowl for Christmas from Jesse and his sis-in-law, & the new one I got from Ol' R has a grey squirrel and a teal unique!

At the end of the party on Saturday night, we went outside to hang out with our new critter friend, This lil' raccoon has been living in our backyard for four days now.  He took my laundry off the line and made a bed out of it!  We give him a few scraps at night.  (Please don't lecture me on feeding animals, I already know how to do it properly.  I have had to lecture others about it.  The streets are hard for animals these days, and someone needs to provide a safe space for them.)

All in all, it was a great weekend.  Sunday mornings I cook a big breakfast for everyone and we all pile up on the couch to watch old tv shoes like the Beverly Hillbillies or Have Gun, Will Travel but I don't really take pictures of that because his dad's area of the house is messy.  Just imagine us all sitting on a couch cracking up!

Music Monday: Lia Ices

One of my favorite songs of all time, Daphne by Lia Ices.  It is a re-telling of the Greek myth about the nymph who fled the god Apollo and turned into a tree.

"Feet so swift to root, arm to branch and hair to leaf
woman to tree..."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Yes There Are Two Paths in The Forest, But In The Long Run, There's Still Time To Change The Road You're On

These days I wander round the woods, contemplating my direction in the Forest.  As I sit under the trees, feeling the breeze, eating leaves, mushrooms and chocolate.  Why did I resist the call of the wild so long?  I have realized that the only things that really matter are peace, love and joy.  

  I never started this blog to make money.  I started it to save the forest.  But how can fashion save the forest?  I prefer to make my own clothes, and tend to wear the same brown and green garments every day, washing them in my barrel and hanging them to dry when needed.  The "lifestyle blog" format of daily outfits, friday favorites, and shopping hauls is not saving our planet.  The business model of selling advertising on your blog, sponsored posts...that was never my vision of the Forest.  Instead I saw a social network of forest friends, sharing how we can all go greener, crafting and cooking and making art.  So what happened?

My life changed in the blink of an eye.  I went from a working girl to a hobbit housewife.  Suddenly, I felt pressure not only to run a business; I was now responsible for the cooking, cleaning, and crafting of a whole household.  I would wake up and yell at everyone for making the house such a wreck when I had just spent hours cleaning it the day before.  I needed a picture-perfect home, something that would look good in blog photos.  My home never met my expectations, because I held them to other's standards.  After spending the morning cleaning I would frantically try to squeeze in a blog post, any blog post.  I felt like I needed to post daily, and found myself shoving crap content onto my "storyblog", as I once called it...

These days I take it easier.  (I know what you're thinking, "How much easier does she need to take it"?)  I believe we were not put on this earth to feel stress 99 % of the time.  I believe we are meant to live, love, and learn. My new goal is to create a work of art every day.  It could be something as small as a poem or a gourmet dinner.  If I blog about it, great, but I'm giving myself permission to just live.  To write plays, novels, and songs.  To lead my own life.

I feel like I'm at the crossroads in the forest trails, like I'm in the middle of a particularly good chapter of life.  Within three years, big changes will be taking place.  I need to stop and smell the rosemary once in a while.  Sit under a shady tree with a big book of Yeats, feeling the sun shining and playing with my cats and lying in the sun with my love.  I don't have time to cut the grass.  Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Recipe: The Green & White Delight

Friends of the Forest, I have a confession to make.  I love potatoes.  Maybe it's the Irish in me, the fact that they're so easy to grow, so cheap, and so versatile.  In fact, I often pride myself on knowing 100 ways to cook a potato (I've even considered writing a book about it!).  So when I grew tired of trying new recipes that required lots of expensive ingredients (I'm lookin' at you, asparagus tart!), I decided to rely on my old standby: a potato salad.  I never make the same salad twice, so this time I invented a really delicious one using ingredients that I had on hand.  You bet your bark I'll be cooking this at The Greenhaus on the regular!  

6 potatoes
1 cup of peas
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 green onions, chopped
half a white onion, chopped
2 heads of garlic
1/8 cup hemp oil
salt + pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Chop the tops off of each head of garlic and drizzle oil over them.  Add salt and pepper, and wrap in tinfoil.  Wrap your potatoes while you're at it.  While the spuds get nice and soft, chop up the onion, green onions, and bell pepper.  Put all that in a big bowl.  Now add your peas and garbanzo beands.  I chose there ingredients because I had them on hand, canned.  If you prefer not to use canned food, soak the beans before starting this recipe.  When the oven goods are done, cut each potato in half and set aside to cool for a while.  Remove the roasted garlic from their skins and mash them in a separate bowl until they turn to jam. Add oil, salt, pepper and herbs to the mix and stir!  When it has made a good sauce, set aside.  The potatoes should be cool enough to cut into cubes.  Add all the ingredients together and mix well.  Put it in the fridge for a while or just leave out so the flavors mingle.  The peas should mix with the sauce, turning it  a gorgous green.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Words of Wisdom: Voice of the Trees

The voices of the trees whispered through the leaves
Your life is a speck of dust in the breeze
Listen to us, pay heed to us trees

For you are a human, and one so young
And your song is a good one, though it has not yet been sung

For we have lived long lives of oak and decay
And you, who dance in the sun, must live for today

Monday, January 5, 2015

Tea Time!

I was recently tagged by a blogging buddy, Blue-Eyed Night Owl to do the tea tag challenge!  Thank you Laura, it was very fun filling out the survey and reading everyone else's challenges.  I felt like I was at a virtual tea party discussing these things with everyone!

What was the first kind of tea you ever had?
Probably green tea, as my mother is crazy about it and raised me to drink it.

Where is the best place to have tea - At home or in a coffee shop?
Definitely at home.  There aren't many coffee shops in my town other than Starbucks, I like being able to make it with my cute tea accessories.  I have an electric kettle in my room, so I don't even have to go to the kitchen for tea!

Do you prefer hot or cold tea?
I actually love cold tea in the summer, and enjoy making a big batch to drink all day.

When do you drink tea - Morning, afternoon or evening?
Anytime is tea time!

What is your go-to tea?
Green.  I'm also very fond of berry teas.

What is your favourite seasonal tea?
Jesse and I love the pumpkin spice and apple cider teas that come out in autumn.

What do you put in your tea?
Honey, honey!

Do you prefer your tea strong or weak?
A bit weak for green tea.  I have a sensitive stomach.

How did you get started in the wonderful world of teas?
I grew up with a tea-loving mother!  She still sends me new teas to try around holidays...

What kind of tea are you most keen to try?
More ceremonial teas foraged from forest herbs.

What is the worst tea you've ever tasted?
Gunpowder tea.  I just can't/  It's so strong.

Do you prefer loose tea or teabags?

Teabags, since I lost my tea steeper :(

Teacup or mug?
Mugs, mugs, mugs!  I own too many cute ones...

Best night-time tea?
Sleepytime tea by Celestial Seasonings brings back memories of coziness.

What is the number one tea you would recommend?
Yerba Mate.  It is a rainforest tea brewed in South America traditionally drunk from a gourd.

2015 is Going to be so Green!

The year flew by like a sparrow in the sky
I turned twenty four
but there's so much more
I'm growing old like an oak
is this some kind of joke?
well I wiped my hands clean
of the grass stains of 2013
and now I'm looking down the trail
at a new year I hope will go well
2015 is going to be so green
I will be leaner, cleaner, greener
and a whole lot less meaner

It is a new year today.  Last year I lived life to the forest, this year I want to get back to my roots as well as branch out.  Here are my goals and resolutions for the year:

master my antique sewing machine, record one song per week, sell more on my etsy shop, eat mostly forest foods, learn one word in three different languages a day, write at least once a week, craft one new thing a day, go on a daily bike ride, finish my play, and more goals I have in the back of my mind.  I tried not to set the bar too high this year. (last year I had a resolution to lose weight.  ha!)
I'm confident in my abilities to achieve these goals.  I hope my friends of the forest can accomplish whatever they set their hearts to this year, as well!