Google+ What I Made Today: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Proclamation of Power

Every day is a beautiful day, challenges, sunshine, joys, dark clouds and all.
Every day offers new beginnings and fresh starts.

I am reminded every "new year" just how detached we are - collectively, socially - from the Ever Present Now. So many folks hand over their Power to some arbitrary Man-Made linear measure of time, and I can't help but wonder why? This is not a judgement, it's an observation. And it's an opportunity.

If you're one of the fine folk who put stock in this calendar flip, I invite you to treat every single day of your life with the same Passion for clean slates, fresh starts and new beginnings as you do for this January first thing. I'm confident that you'll notice shift in your life, an empowering shift. Come on, give it a go.

All the same, to honor this shared calendar-space in our collective community I wish you a wonderful 2014! Whatever that means to you.


Monday, December 30, 2013

A Revisit to Uncontaminatable Essence

Yesterday marked a blog anniversary for me. It was on December 29, 2004 that my opening entry was posted and all I can really say is tempus fugit. I read my entry from 9 years ago today and laughed. 

Rather than ruminate about it here, I thought I'd take a shortcut and simply post it … 

Uncontaminatable Essence

"I am an enthusiastic Visionary with an uncontaminatable essence."~ Gaynor Linnecor

A precious friend shared these glorious words with me today and once I got past the physical challenge of pronouncing "uncontaminatable" out loud - I laughed out loud!

I laughed for two reasons.

One reason was the shear humor at hearing my own voice spitting and stumbling over what seemed an utterly unpronounceable word. Once I surrendered to simply speaking the word as I understood it and not trying to pronounce it as written, it was simple. I laughed again. Why do we make things so difficult for ourselves?

The other reason I laughed is the serendipity of the quote. In my quest for simple approaches to healing and wellness I have started (expanded, really) to experiment with making my own fermented foods, by simply working with the itsy-bitsy airborne fungi and bacteria that share my home and kitchen with me (and you with yours!). It is sad that we live in a world where simply hearing the words "bacteria and fungi" evoke thoughts of "enemy!"and "Contaminant!" Where product after product bombards us with antibacterial this and antibacterial that. A world that is pasturized and homogenized to death. 

Fear not contamination.

In my play and education with fermented foods I have learned and remembered that those little "germs" that cause fermentation have given us mighty gifts throughout our history. Not the least being simple survival! And wine! Those "contaminants" work magick for us - by preserving nutrients, creating new ones and transforming others into more digestible foods! Those pesky "contaminants" actually work to transform and remove toxins from foods!

Ahhh, how can I fear contamination when it comes to me as such a miracle as this? These contaminants are my friends. They are my newfound midwives and nurses, showing me old ways to do new things . . . showing me how unnecessary, wasteful and potentially detrimental arbitrary killing of them is . . . showing me wisdom practiced and handed down from the ancients that is life-sustaining - in both metaphor and practical application! Showing me, that pasteurization is not in the interest of my personal health and wellness, but rather that of an larger profit-oriented energy and that homogenization defies the mystery of Nature - of life itself - by only offering a consistent product time after time. That’’s just dull, and dulling - not words I associate with wellness.

So, I say - Make friends with your enemies! Learn from your contaminants! It certainly makes things simpler (less difficult). In doing so, you open yourself to becoming an uncontaminatable essence!

It’s silly, isn’t it? The simple practice of fermentation has reminded me that, from a holistic perspective, our enemies are usually our allies. So, yes - "I am an enthusiastic Visionary with an uncontaminatable essence" and you can be too! 

As I reread this I thought to myself, some things change, and some things don't. And I laughed again. As for now … I think I'll go ferment something. 

That's what I made today. Peace.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Deep Heart Connection

For those of you out there that go in for the "holiday" madness, may I wish you a wonderful holiday season (better late than never), a merry christmas, happy new year and all that jazz.

Me? I'm simply grateful that daylight is back in the race and, as much as I revel in the darkness, I offer the shrinking nights my blessings as I welcome with arms spread wide the waxing light of day. I revel in the Mystery of these cycles.

Over these next couple-few days, while so many folks are distracted with entertaining, consuming and (if they're plugged in at all) relaxing, restoring and renewing, I'll be leveraging this time of community preoccupation to unplug from the world, from my head, to connect deeply with my heart and follow it without the usual external activities, plans, schedules and assorted disruptions. I may even take a holiday from ::gasp:: heART journaling (though, that's bloody unlikely). I may pull out the fabric "yarn" I prepared last summer, lounge on the couch watch movies and crochet. I may pull down that almost-finished-quilt to see if I saved fabric to complete the binding. I may review my journals seeking potential poetry to edit and refine. I may do all of these things. I may do none of them. I may do something else all together.

But whatever I do, I wish me well … as I wish the same for you. Whatever you do, enjoy it Deeply.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Preparations for the Whiting Mills Open Studios Event

Today I made my "final" plans and preparations for this weekend's Open Studios event at Whiting Mills in charming Winsted, Connecticut. I'll be heading to the studio later this evening to see what else I can do to fill my studio space with welcoming verve.

If you're in the area I invite you to stop by!

Not only will all the studios be open, but there will guest artisans showing off their handcrafts. You'll get to meet some great, creative folks, see their creations up close and personal, and learn about their wonderful offerings. Plus, the old mill is fascinating to wander.

If you find your way to this event, be sure to stop by my studio (#336) to say hello and to pause to create a little art! I have prepared little canvases for visitors to embellish with paint, pen, pencil or whatever … and as these canvases make manifest I will be stringing them together in a single piece of collaborative, community heART. I'm really looking forward to this communal, creative process and witnessing its evolution.

So if you find yourself in northwest Connecticut this weekend, or next, stop by Whiting Mills for this extraordinary event and maybe even get a little holiday shopping in, if you do that sort of thing. And hey ~ what a great way to support your local businesses and local economy!

As they say, "Buy Local or Bye Local!"


Saturday, November 30, 2013


Today I painted and drew in my art journal. A tree, of sorts, made manifest in the background, so I just doodled it in and filled it with color. I painted on canvases, too. It was a glorious day at the studio. Quiet with only my music blarin'. 

And earlier this week I managed these entries in my art journal. It's been fun. Life is Good.

That's what I made today … and then some.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Gem of Gratitude

This morning's reflections reminded me that this Thanksgiving holiday is the *first* Thanksgiving holiday that I've not "had" to travel in … some 34-ish years.

In these reflections I recognize that I miss Little Rita, my mom, in my own way … and yet, I do not miss all the traveling (and upheaval) that that relationship fostered. I also recognize the lengths that us two-leggeds will go to for LoVe. We're foolishly amazing. Or amazingly foolish. It all depends on the moment, methinks.

In this acknowledgement of shadow and light I walked into today's reality and into the mirror of this holiday week with a new gem of gratitude to light the path. And what a shiny gem it is.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Botanical Liqueurs

Today I started three small batches of botanical liqueurs, experiments all. Thus the small batches.

The first one I made is an adaptation of SNAP, made by Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. I measured a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rooibis, clove, astragalus  and vanilla beans, then covered it with brandy. The molasses and sugar will be added after these herbs have macerated for 6-8 weeks and I've had a chance to taste test without the sweetness.

After I got this going I looked through my shelves of dried botanicals and intuitively picked out herbs that might be interesting together. This throw-em-all-in-jar technique is "new" to me. I tend to make such things as "simples," one herb at a time, and then blend the finished products together to create libations. I have to admit that the risk in this approach is quite exciting! In any event, this blend held goji berries, cardamom seed, fennel, astragalus, vanilla beans, orange peel, lemon peel and, of course, brandy.

In the third jar I lovingly combined cocoa, banana chips, astragalus and vanilla beans, topped it off with the brandy, checked my notes, made sure they were all labeled, and shelved them in a place of honor, with lots of love and offered them a blessing before going on with my "weekend" tasks.

That's what I made today.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Flight of Dancing Fancy

Today I played in the studio with my Muse. I lit her incense, poured her some red wine and played her some music, and among other things this image showed up. She's a work in process and has already transformed since the photo was taken.

That's what I made today.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Dona Nobis Pacem

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Play with Paint

Today I multitasked on a few works in process. All creations are works in process, even after they're "completed," just like us. Though none of these near completed.

But a day to sip coffee and tea, mix colors, burn incense, throw paint all the while listening to music with the volume jacked up a bit is a swell way to make play on a Sunday afternoon. Yes. Yes it is.

And I Swooned with Effy.
Sunday Swoon!

That's what I made today.


Friday, November 1, 2013

A Mirror More Me

…work in process… 

For me this is a pivotal time of year. Holistically. Meaning: In a number ways that impact a number of aspects of me. But for now, for this post, I focus on one.

Historically, the month of October has been a time of linear reflection for me. A time to reflect back over the past year, consider what sustained me and what depleted me, what challenged me and what my annual evolution "looked like." This year I was not called to that particular mirror. Oh, I reflected back over the past year, but not with the fierce intensity of years past. This year the veracity of the process shifted—with me. Oh, I found myself paging through journals in preparation for workshops and in seeking inspiration for workshop development, but not to reflect back. Rather, to reflect into The Now and into the future.

As my awareness on this shift came into focus I realized that this past year had been filled with a kind of high intensity verve that had linked me—quite consciously—throughout most of the ride. I had chewed, savored, swallowed, digested and assimilated all the vital and meaningful experiences throughout the year. All the nourishment, the savory and the bitter, were already integral. No need to reflect back.

I welcomed that change. I greet it today with open arms and heart. As I step into my 55th year, I feel (for lack of better phrasing) more whole and holy than I have felt in a very long time. Possibly ever. In this life, anyway.

But, hey, that could change too. And I'm cool with that. Because I know what I've known all along, consciously and not, that it is not the reflection that I seek that bolsters my evolution … it is the reflection I see. Now. Always Now.

So you, kind reader, pause now. Conjure your mirror, your reflection. What do you see? Now.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Simples and Up for "Lost" Time

This past weekend we moved the henhouse and run to its winter location, on the south side of our little hut in the main vegetable garden. Well, The Boy did most of the moving, but I did help! So now The Ladies are positioned for the coming of winter.

I invested creative time in my studio to get moving on some new mini journals. And some larger ones. And some canvas preparation for some intuitive paint play, too. Not to mention planning and plotting for 2014 workshops in creative expression and holistic herbal wellness.

And today, with the help of a lovely apprentice, thirty-three bottles of simples were prepared for the mini apothecary that will soon be making manifest in my studio at Whiting Mills.

That's what I made today … and then some.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chicken Stock for the Winter Pantry

For many, putting food by is a hobby, a task in which homemade preserves are made for transient enjoyment and gift giving, which, by the way, is wonderful. For me, though, it is vital, for it is one way in which I contribute to the household (and to Gaia) and, in essence, how I make (at least one aspect of) my living. For me it is consciously holistic choice, one that has the potential for ripples. Ripples through me, my tribe, my community, my world, and mama Gaia. Oh, I could on and on on this topic … even pull out the soap box. But I still have tomatoes to sort, beans and peppers to harvest and decisions to on how to preserve this latest batch of bounty.

But today, I strained that chicken stock, skimmed the fat (which will make some mighty nice matzo balls to go with some nice penicillin soup) and got ten quarts canned and ready for the winter pantry.

That's what I made today.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Canned Chicken, Frozen Chicken, a Pot of Chicken Stock

Yesterday afternoon I picked up my 20 chickens from Percy Thomson Meadows Farm in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Since then my world has been all things chicken. I have packages of thighs, legs, wings, livers, gizzards in the freezer … plus various scraps and whole heads for the dog, and all other scraps for the crows … and a few whole chickens too … about three gallons of stock on the stovetop … and these jars of canned chicken breast. Tomorrow I'll be canning the stock.

But now. Now I'm snaggin' an ale and going out on the deck to enjoy the waning day. And pick some beans if I can muster the ambition.

That's what I made.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fire Cider

Among other things I made a gallon batch of Fire Cider. The Boy had dug up quite a bit of our horseradish yesterday afternoon so today I set myself to peeling and cutting. I prepped several heads of garlic, a large ginger root and chopped them all in the food processor. It all went into a gallon jar along with hot pepper flakes, a handful of fresh jalapenos, astragalus root slices, ground turmeric and then covered with apple cider vinegar.

There's no measuring for me, but I tend to be generous and I did have a lot of horseradish. It already smells and tastes divine, but it will sit for six to eight weeks before I strain and bottle it for winter use.

I love this stuff. It's so good and good for you. I perceive it primarily as food and use it almost daily in salads, on veggies, in cooking, as a marinade, for deglazing, and in whatever way I'm inspired in the moment. I sometimes fill a small cordial glass to sip, or a shot glass to slam back, especially when I feel a first tickle of some pathogen trying to make a home in body.

So, yeah, that's what I made today.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Remarkable Medicine

My spouse was on vacation this past week, so I took some "time off" as well, so to speak. I was able to get out to New York state and finalize the move and storage of Little Rita's belongings, so now they are close by for me to sort and tend to with ease and at my convenience. The rest of the week has been filled with preserving garden harvests. I've dried egyptian onion tops, tomatillos, tomatoes, leeks and beans. My dehydrator is still working as I type.

I've started a number of ferments and have more than what's pictured here. I've got fermented red tomato juice, spicy green tomato juice, peppers, beans, beets all doing their thing, and others already put away in cool storage, and others already delved into! I love fermented foods.

I've harvested most of the winter squash and still have tomatoes, peppers, beans, basils and other "tenders" to get to before any frosts show up. The late crops are producing nicely and we'll have harvests of beets, turnips, rutabaga, peas, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, brussel sprouts, egyptian onions and assorted lettuce greens for some time.

Tending to the garden this autumn has been remarkable Medicine for me, for it is the first autumn in I-don't-know-how-long that I've been able to really focus on it.

This past week has been peppered with beginning the set-up of a wellness studio outside of my home, something that has been brewing in the depths of my cauldron for years … something that is now bubbling up and boiling over into a lovely manifestation. More remarkable Medicine.

As for today, I made another green tomato cake early this morning to bring along on a visit to a dear, dear friend, where three of us shared coffee, tea, cake, friendship and mutual support. That, too, is remarkable Medicine.

So that's what I've been making … this week … and today.


Monday, September 30, 2013

29 Faces in September

Boom. Done. Gotta run.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Face Twenty-six

I prepped today's journal entry with a face. Now all I need to do is add feeling in the form of words. Or whatever strikes me when the moment arrives. I've prepped similar blocks for the days ahead since I'm already aware that filling pages will be a challenge with all that's coming up in the next several days, and having "boxes" ready within the journal pages makes it easier to ensure a daily entry in image and in word.

As for 29 Faces, I have three more to go and I plan to capture some more gesture drawings while on the road tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get them posted too.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Faces 21 to 25

Face 21

Face 22

Faces 23, 24, 25

When pressed for time and space, quick gesture-style drawings work. Plus the challenge of drawing from life, barely glancing at the page to capture the gestures of folks who are moving and talking is great fun and a skill builder. So today I started catching up on 29 Faces in September.

That's what I made today.

Gotta run!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Green Tomato Cake

Today, among other things, I made a green tomato cake. That's right, a green tomato cake. It's an adaptation to a recipe from an old Connecticut Herb Association friend who I haven't seen in years. I wonder where she is? In any event, another member had the recipe and shared it with me. Score! It's as good as I remember it. And it's good!

Besides, in this season who isn't looking for something to do with green tomatoes besides pickles, relishes and salsa, right?

My adaptation …

Green Tomato Cake
3 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
½ cup olive oil
½ cup extra virgin coconut oil
1¼ cups cane sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raisins
2½ cups green tomato dices

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, add the nuts, raisins and tomatoes. Pour into a greased and parchment lined 10" springform pan and bake for 350°F for 1 hour.

I sprinkled a little extra sugar on the top before baking. The original recipe called for 2½ cups of sugar, so you might want yours sweeter. To me, this is plenty sweet enough. It had something like half the spices too, but I like big flavor, especially in a treat like this.

And by the way, in my first go at this the other day I forgot to add the oils and … that came out pretty good too! So, for a "fat free" option, don't be shy to experiment with my mistake!

Tomorrow I'll be catching up on my 29 Faces.

But for today, that's what I made. Peace.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Face, Fermented Tomato Juice and Green Tomato Preserves

29 Faces, #20

Green Tomato Preserves, not my favorite, but better than last year's batch.

It's been a crazy busy week, and I see the pace continuing, dare I say quickening, over the next two. In this moment I can say with confidence that I have neither time nor keystrokes to spare. So … that's what I made today. So far. Still more to get to. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A September Day Cornucopia

Today I started my first gallon batch of fermented tomato juice. I made a small batch of last year and promised to make more, much more this year. This fermentation was inspired by this fermented bloody mary cocktail. Need I say more? Except, perhaps, that this is so simple and so delicious, with or without the spirits!

I've been up to other things these past couple of days. After all, this is the season of urgency - in my corner of the world anyway.

Tomato puree was canned and kale dried, both from Dineberg's Farm. Another round of calendula infused coconut oil was strained and bottled, though this jar will get topped off with the next ready batch. I use this oil mostly for soaps, scrubs and assorted balms.

Peppers from Dineberg's were combined with carrots from my gardens and assorted herbs and spices to start a ferment. And fermented green tomato salsa and hot peppers are also percolating, so to speak, on the kitchen counter.

Peppers, also from Dineberg's, were chopped and dried to help see us through the winter months. 

More tomatoes were harvested along with assorted garden finds to add to this evening's salad and frittata, which The Boy is making with our backyard hen eggs, of course. And, I swear, one of our chooks laid an ostrich egg today. Biggest egg laid on my little acre so far. Could be a double yoker! 

I did manage a wee bit of time to art journal and prepare a new journal for the coming days. More on that another day.

As for today … and yesterday … that's what I made. Peace.