Projects from other Creatives

Wild Foods

This last Saturday I took a class over the river at Wild Craft Studio School. I should say I took another class in the studio, as I could honestly be there every Saturday for the wonderfully curated class schedule. This particular class was taught by Herbalist and wild foods educator Elise Krohn. I took a Tree Medicine class from her in the fall that blew my mind. If you ever have a chance to learn from her take a class. She approaches each subject in a unique way. The Spring Wild Foods class began with a trail walk near a stream bed. I took this with the understanding that I wasn't going to learn about new plants, just new ways to use them. Well that idea was dispelled in the first 5 minutes with the flowers of the Big Leaf Maple.IMG_2687 I've really never paid much attention to them other than the golden beauty of the trees in the spring against the evergreen background. It didn't occur to me that they were fragrant or that they were edible. Just like Elder or Hawthorn you can pick the flowers, batter them and fry them as fritters. And later that day we did. We had an afternoon tea of nettle liquor with our flower fritters and dandelion flower biscuits topped with nettle pesto. IMG_2690 Look how bright green that is! Mine tends to be much darker color. The group that worked on this added other wild greens we gathered on our walk. I was so happy that I was going to learn new information I was like the eager young school child always with her hand in the air. After a while I felt like I should probably have kept quiet, but I was just too excited all day.

I love learning! I love adding new knowledge to a subject (like nettles). The walk was beautiful--even on a rainy day. I saw old plant friends and met several new ones. Found that a fiddle head I'd eaten in the past should probably be passed up in the future. Back in the studio we made the pesto, pickled dandelion buds (to which I've added chive buds at home) and a nettle, sesame salt. Mainly I just plain had a blissed out day with like minded people that enjoy getting dirty outside with the plants.

I was very inspired by our discoveries and of course see a different kind of future class on this little spot of Mt Hood. I love the idea of mixing cultivated and wild foods. Of investigating the healing properties of food. Of bringing out the best flavors with minimal additional ingredients. And of course have this all be as pleasing to the eyes as well as to our taste buds. My little spot is not ready for prime time yet. But it will be eventually. I have a list of classes that will be back yard based. For me taking classes inspires me more and more. Some for teaching, some for my own writings (definitely not for prime time yet), all for learning  and keeping the brain juices flowing.

100 Days of Making

Today begins the #100DaysProject. Each participant creates (builds on) a project over a 100 day period. You chose your own project, medium and level of challenge. It is daily posted over at Instagram with your own # that dedicates a series of 100 photos to your individual project. I am documenting #100daysoffood. I'll be posting photos of food I've made, been inspired by, am eating while traveling. All food that speaks to me in some way. Here I will be doing some writing (prose or recipes) about what I feel about said food. Not all the writing will end up here, but this is a great way for me to jumpstart some getting recipes on paper. I love this kind of creative accountability. I need it on occasion. Here is a link to the original post about this project. And here is a link to Cynthia Morris from whom I found this project. Cynthia will be creating a painting each day for the next 100 days! It's not too late to join in the fun--Today is Day 1! What would your #100dayproject be? It can be absolutely anything. This is perfect timing as we began lunch service at Gino's Restaurant today. I am always food focused whether from the very beginning of that food still growing in the garden or placing a lovely plate of something in front of my guests. I love what we were serving today and I love that it might be totally different by Wednesday. Following along on Instagram will bring you lots of photos of tasty Gino's food.

However, as the 100 days progress there will be change of scenery as we will be traveling abroad for 5 weeks. I am excited to be inspired by new food experiences and traditional spring dishes that I haven't had in quite a few years.

And I am feeling better. Not 100%, but at least 90%. I have been drinking a lot of medicinal teas and finally slowed myself down and just plain slept. I hope to be back to yoga by week's end. The best way not to get sick is to live the healthy life. Movement, drinking lots of good water, eating foods and herbs that are full of health, positive thoughts can't hurt either;)

A Chicken Coop of one's own

There comes a time for some of us when creative space is outgrown. I did that quite a while ago. I tend to be surrounded in my sunroom by piles of books, baskets of yarn, fiber and material; and then there are the bags and bags of dried plant materials that I use to create herbal products for myself, family and friends. I am one of those that can create amid chaos. However, I seem to be running out of table(s) space. My husband has been eyeing this sunroom for a while with his own ideas of a dining room on top of it all. So last fall when there was talk of building a new chicken coop for our birds I commented that I'd be perfectly happy with a chicken coop of my own. I didn't realize until the day the concrete truck pulled up that there were in fact two chicken coops being built. I was giddy with delight! I will finally have "A Room of One's Own" that Virginia Woolf wrote about so long ago. A place I have wanted for my entire adult life. I have been able to carve out space in many a home we've lived in and even had a wonderful shared studio space when Pico Accuardi Dyeworks was in business. But this entire (well small entirety) building will be my place to escape, create, bring the outdoors in. With the added bonus that it is just 25 feet from my house.

IMG_2321 The view from my front stoop will be up the meadow. Looking at my garden with Hunchback mountain in the background.

Since the beginning of last summer I have been asking myself-what's next? As soon as that floor was laid I immediately thought classes for the fiber arts. And that will happen a bit. However, the more time I have in my garden the more botanical projects have been popping into my brain. So, you'll notice a new title to this here blog--Chicken Coop Botanicals. Everything that I love to do comes back to plants and nature--dyeing fiber, foraging for mushrooms and herbs, cultivating plants in the garden, cooking. I'm even going to stick my sweet birds into that category as they are a big component in the health of our land here on this little bit of Mt Hood. In my early 20's I fell in love with the idea of being an herbalist. It didn't make sense in our lives at that time, but I have read, experimented and created ointments, teas and tonics over the years (it's great to have a husband that is a willing guinea pig). I've been creating body and medicinal products a lot of late, especially during the period my father lived with us. Last summer I created 23 Flower Essences from our property. I want to share some of these products with you sweet friends. I keep going back and forth on selling online. I always worry about liquids leaking in the mail. Today I received a Very fragrant package from my mail lady. At this point my plan is to host a few pop up shop or two in Portland until my coop is finished. At that point I will host a quarterly open house selling whatever I've been making during that period. I'm very excited that a greenhouse is also being built so there will also be a spring and fall plant sale by next year.

I have been remiss in public writing for quite some time. Mainly I just haven't wanted to say This or This is what I'm up to as by the next day it could change. But I really feel that I am where I need to be and I'm doing what I love! Not to say you won't see me at Gino's on the weekends, but there are 5 more days in a week;)

I also want to acknowledge those that have really inspired me in the last quarter of 2014. Learning is something that should happen everyday of your life. You might be surprised by a different layer in a subject you think you truly know:

Chelsea Heffner has created an amazing learning space at Wildcraft Studio School. The 2015 schedule will be up later this month. Take a class! Any class! I took two last fall. The first was with the ladies of Portland Apothecary teaching Autumn Herbals. Terrific teachers and a great resource of a Portland herbal CSA. I'd definitely take another class from them. My biggest take away was to put Astragulas root in everything! And now I do (teapot, soups, bone broth). Thank you ladies! The other class, with Elise Krohn, was a Forest Medicine class. This class blew my mind. I have cooked with pine, fir and spruce needles, but have never thought of the medicinal components. Duh. I've been playing with these ideas for the last few months and I'm now taking an ecourse Through Blue Turtle Botanicals. Where Elise comes from an Olympic Peninsula Native American background, Darcey Blue is from the southwest and comes to the table with Shamanic herbalism training. I found Darcey through Instagram. I've been inspired by several plant and nature lovers on Instagram lately. These are a few others whose products I love--One Willow Apothecaries, Kings Road Apothecary and Amrita Aromatics. What inspired you last year that you will be bringing with you into 2015?

I am so excited about 2015! I feel creative at a whole new level. We have a big spring European trip planned. A summer wedding for my step-son, Gino:) Another more local trailer trip planned for the fall. And writing. There will be writing. I've been thinking about the podcast quite a bit in the last few months. I do want to bring it back in 2015. Same title, but the content will reflect more of what I've got going on now (don't you worry, I'm still knitting and spinning daily). I am trying to decide if I want to continue at an audio level or if I will be changing it to a video podcast. Input appreciated.

I haven't posted in so long I realize that I could go on and on. But I should save something for tomorrow;)