From Our Kitchen . . . and Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
I'm not feeling the Halloween spirit this year, and since my almost 14-year old is going to a house party with some 9th-graders, and my girls are meeting up with friends, I'm going to spend the evening at home for the first time since Sam's first Halloween back in 2005.

A few chopped ingredients, including the rub for the chicken, for Asopao de Pollo.
I made Asopao de Pollo from Joy of Cooking for dinner last night--it was sooo good (pg. 135).  I substituted fresh corn for peas, and we actually spooned this over rice, as well as added rice to it as the recipe calls for.  Even the kids liked it, though the girls are not too keen on peppers and onions.  Here is the recipe:

Chicken Rice Soup (Asopao de Pollo)
About 9 cups

Combine in a small bowl:
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

Rub the spices into the skin of:
3 pounds chicken parts

Heat in a soup pot over medium-low heat:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add and cook, stirring until tender but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes:
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup diced ham
1 Scotch bonnet pepper or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced

Stir in the chicken, along with:
6 cups water
One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
(2 teaspoons ground annatto seeds)

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.  Stir in:
1/2 cup long-grain white rice

Simmer until the chicken and rice are cooked, about 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat, remove the chicken, and let cool slightly.  Discard the skin and bones, and dice or shred the meat.  Return it to the soup and stir in:
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup pimiento strips or sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives

Salt to taste

Simmer gently 2 to 3 minutes.

Tonight I made the Johnny Marzetti Spaghetti Pie (x 2 so we have one for the freezer) from Joy of Cooking (pg. 95).  It was really good, and I served it with fresh sourdough bread.  I tripled the bay leaves, and loosely doubled everything.  It was soooo good.  Lots of leftovers for my work shifts this weekend that can be easily reheated.

And now the house is quiet, this wolf and cat are off to trick-or-treat in Sellwood, and Sam has safely arrived at his Halloween Party.  I planted several ferns today, and I'm a little tired.  Going to take it easy tonight, pack lunches for the kids and myself for the morning, and get to bed early.  I, for one, am going to try to stay away from the Halloween candy.  I'm treating myself to a glass of Iced Hibiscus Tea--my new favorite!  Also, from Joy of Cooking (pg. 35).

Iced Hibiscus Tea
1 1/2 quarts

Bring to a boil in a large saucepan:
3 cups water

Add and stir until dissolved:
7 tea bags (I used black tea + loose leaf Nettles)
1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers (I am also placing these around the house--they are beautiful!)
1/2 cup sugar (I used raw, organic sugar)

Let stand 10 minutes, then strain into a pitcher.  Stir in:
3 cups ice water (I used filtered water)

Pour over ice in tall glasses.  Garnish with:
Orange slices or raspberries (or orange triple sec  . . . shhh!)


Work cited:
Rombauer, I. S., Becker, M. R., & Becker, E. (2006). Joy of cooking. New York: Scribner.

Mature Sword Ferns Find a New Home

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
This is the second time this year that I have acquired sword ferns when an old property was purchased with the intent of either demolition and rebuild or a quick flip.  The amount of waste is heartbreaking, but when I have approached the flipper or demo guys, they have been more than accommodating in allowing me to take what I want.  Portland Nursery or Bosky Dell Natives sells starter sword ferns for about $20--mature ones this big I'm assuming go for a lot more. 

My dear husband hauled about 12-15 mature sword ferns from a site around the corner that is being flipped. The owner had to move to an assisted living facility, and her old garden was completely ripped up, including mature rhododendron and azaleas, which we are also going to attempt to replant, but not sure if they'll make it as they were not dug up with the intent of transplanting, so their root systems are pretty mangled.

My challenge is to not only think through where I place these in our garden due to their size, but also to remove the English Ivy that runs through their root system.  Unfortunately, they came from a lot where this invasive species was allowed to run rampant, but that doesn't mean these sword ferns need to be tossed.

My husband laid them out in a long row, and I'm going through and meticulously removing the ivy from the roots of the sword ferns.  I'm sure there will be a few strands I miss, but we already work hard at removing preexisting English Ivy from our lot, so will just check these from time to time to make sure it isn't coming back!

But don't they look nice?  Here are a few of the smaller sword ferns I placed here and there beneath our large Deodar cedar.  There are native bulbs, perennials, as well as a native honeysuckle that are starting out here.  It's also home to one of my two shepherd's poles, which attracts many native birds.  As the plants mature, it will create refuge and habitat for the birds as they flit to and from the feeders.

Here is one of my favorite corners, coming along quite nicely.  I placed two of the mature sword ferns, and we will be placing a birch stump between them as another place to sit or for a pot in Spring.  The tree is a blue elderberry, native to the Pacific Northwest.  I wrote a post about this tree back in February.  Elders typically grow on the edge of gardens, regarded as protectors, watching over the other plants of the garden.  I love that ours will do the same from this Southeastern-most corner of the garden.  It's a lovely spot, and our garden continues to evolve into a beautiful native backyard habitat for beetles, bees, birds, squirrels, and other creepy-crawly things.  These sword ferns are a lovely addition, and it always feels good to protect those plants from gardens that were loved for many years.

Eight Years Without You, Dad

Monday, October 29, 2018
Eight years ago, my Dad died, and our lives have never been the same. Yes, life goes on, but I never stop wishing he was here to experience it with us. John Muir, a Scottish-born American naturalist, once wrote, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find that it is bound fast, by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything else in the Universe" (Lipsky & Burk, 2009, p. 245).

(My Dad with Samuel, Fall, 2010)
Though my Dad is no longer with us, he is still a part of everything we do. He is in our DNA. He taught me a lot about working hard and never giving up. I don't know why some people's lives are cut short, and I sure wish my Dad hadn't been one of them. I wouldn't ever want to relive October 29, 2010 again, but will always be grateful I was there by my Dad's side when he took his last breath, and that our last words to each other earlier that day were "I love you" and "I love you, too."

(My Dad, Mom, and Samuel. Fall, 2005.)
Work Cited: 
Lipsky & Burk, Trauma stewardship: an everyday guide to caring for self while caring for others, 2009, p. 245.

Time For Yourself

Sunday, October 28, 2018
There have been times this past month that I've stolen away to Corkscrew for a glass of wine, just by myself, to think through things and spend time alone. I've always been someone who needs time to myself--what about you? Times have been tough lately, and I feel overwhelmed by the terrible things happening in our world today. What sort of world are we living in anymore? What will it be like for my children one day? I can't bear to think of it all, and the stakes are high.

More and more, I find it difficult to be present in the moment.  As a community activist in New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina once said, "One step, one foot in front of the other: That's how we're going to do it."  I remember hanging out with a Bourbon Street musician several years ago in New Orleans, who told me he lost his house and wife to Hurricane Katrina, but never stopped playing and bringing music to the people.  So, I find quiet time to myself, sip on a glass of French rosé wine, and visualize just that, putting one foot in front of the other, finding ways to bring about positive change in this world. 

I once went on a trip by myself to New Orleans, where I met my husband.

Here is a memory I wrote about from a few years ago (2014) regarding the Bourbon Street musician I mentioned above:

Smooth, a rub-board, percussionist-genius 46-years on Bourbon that I have run into two nights in a row.  Tonight, I walked with him to Lafitte's for a post- gig jam around a piano illuminated by candlelight, because the place has no electricity, and bought him two shots of Jack Daniels.  Smooth lost his wife and house to Katrina, but still plays his heart out every night. He also made sure I got back to my hotel safely.  What a fine night around the piano at Latiffe's tonight!!  The people, culture, art, and music here are amazing!!

A small clip of Smooth on sax from earlier in the week, days before I met Adam the night I bought him the shots of Jack Daniels. 

The night I met Adam (September 16, 2014)
And here is a clip from the night I met Adam, who was sitting at this very piano bar.  It is dark, because Lafitte's is a candlelit piano bar, and the oldest bar in America.  Smooth was there that night, drinking shots of Jack Daniels, and gathered around the piano with the other Bourbon Street musicians, who gathered there after their gigs to jam together.  x o, New Orleans.  Nothing but love!  And Smooth, if you're still out there, playing your heart out somewhere on Bourbon Street, I will find you again one day, old friend.

A Star Is Born

Saturday, October 27, 2018
Adam and I went down to Living Room Theaters the other night to see "A Star is Born" with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and . . . WOW.  I have been thinking about it ever since.

Beautifully written, wonderfully acted, this film tells a powerful love story remade after the 1937 film with the same name.  Original music, I highly recommend buying the soundtrack.  I have been meaning to take the girls to see Lady Gaga in concert, but this film seals the deal.  I think she's mostly in Vegas this winter, but we can't wait to see her LIVE one day.  See this film (and be prepared for tears). 

Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper 
Tell me somethin', girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin' else you're searchin' for?

I'm falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longin' for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

Tell me something, boy
Aren't you tired tryin' to fill that void?
Or do you need more?
Ain't it hard keeping it so hardcore?

I'm falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longing for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I'll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can't hurt us
We're far from the shallow now

In the shallow, shallow
In the shallow, shallow
In the shallow, shallow
We're far from the shallow now

Oh, oh, oh, oh

I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I'll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can't hurt us
We're far from the shallow now

In the shallow, shallow
In the shallow, shallow
In the shallow, shallow
We're far from the shallow now


I'll Never Love Again 
Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper

Wish I could, I could've said goodbye
I would've said what I wanted to
Maybe even cried for you
If I knew it would be the last time
I would've broke my heart in two
Tryin' to save a part of you
Don't wanna feel another touch
Don't wanna start another fire
Don't wanna know another kiss
No other name falling off my lips
Don't wanna give my heart away
To another stranger
Or let another day begin
Won't even let the sunlight in
No, I'll never love again
I'll never love again, oh, oh, oh, oh
When we first met
I never thought that I would fall
I never thought that I'd find myself
Lying in your arms
And I want to pretend that it's not true
Oh baby, that you're gone
'Cause my world keeps turning, and turning, and turning
And I'm not moving on
Don't wanna

Lingering Sunny Days of Fall

Friday, October 26, 2018

We had a beautiful October this year, and since I know the sun would soon disappear into the darkness and rain that cover the Pacific Northwest for much of the fall and winter months, I thought I'd take a few pictures in the garden to capture these last sunny, dry days.

Our backyard hens love October, and often follow me around the garden looking to see what grubs I might dig up when I'm weeding, planting, raking, etc.  I've always loved having hens, and can't imagine our backyard without their friendly, inquisitive manner and waddling ways.

The part-shade garden full of native plants is coming along nicely.  I'm starting to see little licorice fern shoots wake up from their summer slumbers.

Happy fall, dear readers.  x o, Karli

Hello, Dear Readers

Thursday, October 25, 2018
I'm back! 

I have just exited a very busy season in my life, but am committed to this space, and have so many exciting things to share with you, my friends!  I plan to start writing daily again, but for tonight, with the rain having returned back to the Northwest, I am off to a friend's house to share take-out and wine before I start back to work tomorrow. 

Seeded Eucalyptus and Hibiscus Pods
 We are over a month into the fall season now.  I am loving the warmth of the indoors and finding beauty in the small, everyday moments that make up our lives.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018
I remember when I was running you asked me to tell you more about the running, and I told you I ran around the casting pond over and over and over again, and I just know that when I told you about it, you ran with me in spirit.  You used a wheelchair, but your spirit ran.
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