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The search is on for Copake NY Horse Killer

Isn't she beautiful?

This healthy horse was named Luna and was just 9 years old. My friend Heather White rescued her from a slaughterhouse auction last year, saw her through a major rehabilitation period, and simply adored this sweet, loving horse. This past Sunday while she was away for the day Luna was grazing peacefully in her Copake, NY, pasture with four other rescue horses... until someone aimed their rifle from the road and shot her dead in the neck. Police say she fell on the spot, and that it is unlikely to have been an out-of-season hunting accident given the precision of the shot. Neighbors alerted Heather and the Police shortly after the event.

This killing was mean, criminal, and the sort of thing I suspect a young serial killer in the making would think is just dandy. A reward is being offfered for any info that leads to the prosecution of the killer -- call:
Copake Police Department at (518) 329-2727
The reward is currently at $3000 and growing every minute. If you know people in the Columbia County NY area, or any horse networks, please share this story with them. We're all hoping the killer is found before it happens to someone else.

Here's a link to a news video about Luna: http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/560054/horse-shot-to-death-in-copake/ and a photo to use for resposting:


Clean Clothes, Fast and Energy Free

I think this is just awesome. An easy to use laundry machine that uses zero energy, except your arms, and gets two people's laundry from the day clean in under 10 minutes. Old washers were never so efficient or easy to use -- or lightweight and easy to store! Of course, I haven't actually used one... But boy, do I want to.




Shine on!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson


Night Serenade

We've been house-sitting for my mother a lot over the last 6 months, and so our cats have been over there almost full time... In the meantime, some rats have noticed our chicken feed and lack of resident predators, and decided the woodpile near the coop is a great place to build a burrow. Ugh. After I found a rat dropping in my basement, I decided it was time to take serious action. Three nights later, still waiting for my awesome rat zapper trap to arrive from amazon, found me sitting on my porch watching the wood pile with an air rifle in hand. Of course, NOW the little vermin decide to be shy. Every other day they've been quite brave in the early evening, at least enough so we've seen one or two each day... Or wait. Are they shy? Or is something else picking them off? 

Behold, the eastern screech owl. I knew they were around because I see and hear them a couple times every year. I even found a red morph last winter frozen in the snow on the dirt road by my house -- a hit-and-run victim. 

So last night there I am on the porch when something light swoops down in front of me at lightning speed and grabs something from near the wood-pile. A minute later, and more times throughout the evening, I heard this noise in the pine above the woodpile:

Why yes, that is a screech owl song, one of it's lesser known sounds. Eerie and beautiful.

And hooray -- they do hunt rats, even though they're practically the same size! Oh, I am so happy to have you as my neighbor, Mr & Mrs Screech Owl. Feel free to invite some of your friends over to dinner anytime ;)

Timeless Inspiration


It's amazing...

I love my home. I love my life. Since we have returned from vacation there have been storms and floods and power outtages, and yet life has seemed so easy, so full, so quiet and good. My son started Kindergarten last week and he loves it. My daughter's speech is developing rapidly and she is astounding me every day with something new she has learned at 19 months. Everything we are wanting is coming to us easily and in a nice flow of appreciation and abundance.

To show my own appreciation for this time of harvest, I've been putting up all kinds of foods: dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, frozen peaches, canned peaches in a light syrup with Cointreau and orange mint leaves, red pepper jam, canned nectarines and nectarine jam.

Life is good!


2 Weeks in France: A Photostream

Waiting for the plane at JFK

The view from our Paris apt in the Bastille. Yes, that's Notre Dame Cathedral on the left (lit up) and the Eiffel Tower on the right.

More view from the apt our first night. No effects added!

Notre Dame, our fave cathedral de la monde.

Learning Chess
The home we stayed at in Angers

Some of the (very) fine wines we enjoyed on our trip

Learning to play Boules

The largest slugs I have ever seen -- these were four-five inches long!! Found on our nature walks in the woods...

The chateau of Angers

Le Mans -- the 24 hour race track!

Cute cars that have won at the track

My favorite car. So pretty!


The Chateau of Plessis Bouris, where the elderly tour guide is hard of hearing and exceedingly rude. And no,  I do not think French people in general are rude. I find them very friendly and helpful usually, whether they believe you are french or not. But oh. That man. He was SO rude. We opted out of the tour.

The dolmen "Pierre Cesee" new Briollay. Wonderful inside. I adore neolithic sites like this.


Books I Read on Vacation

We had a wonderful trip to France to see my father and extended family this August. I loaded up my Kindle before we left, and also found some good books in my father's house. I won't list them all here (I read at least a book a day) but here are the best ones across several genres:

My Year of Meat. The author of this book, Ruth Ozeki, is a friend of my dad's and he's been trying to get me to read it for a couple years. When we got to his house there was a copy on my dresser, along with other English books he's been saving for me. Wow -- this is a great book. Fast paced, well written, slightly activistic and environmental, but mostly about Japanese and American lifestyles, it was a very interesting read. It's a book suitable for both vegetarians and meat-eaters. I'm looking forward to more books from this woman!

Where the Hell is Matt? Matt Harding has great dance (I use this term loosely, as does he) videos of him around the world posted on Youtube.com that bring a smile to everyone's face. This book chronicles his journey from accidental tourist to paid dancer and world-traveler. his insights are both humble and inspirational. The writing is basic, almost blog-style writing but in the end he has a decent message. His writing, like his dancing, will make you smile.

Today We are Rich. This is a great book that I got on the Kindle for free. It has tips for how to become a more fulfilled, "richer" person both spiritual and through work. It's a very nice read, with mentions of God and prayer without being preachy or denominational. Much of this motivational speaker's advice comes from his grandmother, whom I would love to meet someday.

The Golden Acorn. A nice youth fiction book, wonderful for any child that is feeling a little "but I can't do that" or "I'm not worthy."

Living Off the Grid: A Simple Guide... This was another free Kindle book that I am almost finished with. It is much better written than most books of its genre: even the parts about electrical engineering are written so well that I can stand to read them. I'm really enjoying this one (as is my husband whenever he can wrest the kindle from my grasp.)


The Call of the Trees

I've been spending the last several days getting ready for a vacation to visit family in France, and in between buying coloring books for the airplane ride and weighing our suitcases to ensure the comply with the new low weight-limits, I read  fabulous book by Dorothy Maclean, one of the founders of Findhorn in Scotland. This book, Call of the Trees, is populated with her conversations with mature trees around the world and various tree devas, or angels. It's a beautiful book, with very nice photos of the trees and wonderful messages about how important the spiritual effect of trees is to the well-being of both this planet and the human race. The describe themselves as the "skin" of the planet. After reading the book I was inspired to make some new flower essences for Earth Lodge and combination remedies for stress, sleeplessness, and trauma.

This process has helped me enormously with my own stress and distress regarding Europe at this moment. I am a little worried about traveling with two small children on an airplane. I've never done that before! I know it will be OK, I have flown hundreds of times on my own, but I find flying as a family a bit daunting, especially in this day and age with so many security restrictions coupled with smaller seating arrangements. And, of course, there are the mobs in Philadelphia and London and Milwaukee. I find all three situations absolutely disgusting. I don't care what you think has been done to you -- this sort of reactionary behavior against innocent people is simply not OK.  *Sigh*

I seriously hope that this violence does not spread to any other cities this month. It's horrible. Not to mention - as all you conspiracy buffs out there know -- if riots happen more US cities FEMA and the President can disband congress and put the whole country under martial law for a minimum of 6 months. Oooh, wouldn't that be fun?? I guess I could stay in France. How awful would that be? Pastries and fine cheeses every day. Fine wines for just dollars. Family. Hmmmmm........


The Pergola Arrives

We put up a pergola this weekend -- we thought of it at 10am on Sunday, designed it and went to Home Depot by 11, and had it done by 3:30 -- just in time to go to the beach! This 2x6 anchors it to the house, and the two 2x4 posts are sunk into concrete pre-formed footings. It is incredibly strong and solid, yet easily taken down if ever needed.
While my husband worked on the top, I worked on the bottom -- digging and installing the concrete footers.
My husband drills better than any man I know ;)
It was exceptionally hot and sunny that afternoon -- here you can see we stayed very hydrated and sunscreened. We went through at least two pitchers of water boosted with himalyan salts and agave nectar.
All done! Jocelyn woke up just in time from her nap to see the finished product. Yes -- she slept through the drilling and sawing, just 10 feet from her bedroom (open) window).
Lucas admires our handiwork. "Can we go to the beach now??" YES!

(the beach was awesome)
The next day I painted a creamy yellow stain on the treated wood and hung up a mature concord grapevine I found by our driveway. Fed the vine with rooting hormone and fertilizer, hope it recovers from the move!
Love it! We've since added a couple chairs in the corner, perfect for sitting after dinner.
And here we rested in our teepee after all was said and done.


Pesto Presto

 My farm co-op said everyone is welcome to as much basil as they want this week. Ha ha ha! I jammed an entire huge bag full of it, packed down tight, and came home to make mountains of pesto. I made about 14 cups of the stuff, and froze it all in individual baggies for winter enjoyment. My recipe was simple: in a food processor I ground up 1 pound of walnuts, 5 bulbs of garlic, 10 garlic scapes, a ton of olive oil, salt, and of course batch after batch of basil with any woody stems removed. By the end of the half hour or so it took to make, I could literally feel basil essential oil coming out my pores. MMMmmm yummy! Then I mixed it all up in bowl together and put in small baggies to freeze. I didn't have cheese on hand, so will add the grated parmesean cheese fresh whenever we use the pesto... or not, as the recipe may call for.


July 28 Photostream - Paintings, Kids, Canning

A custom piece for a 20-year anniversary -- an adoring Pan and a water nymph.
Finished and given to the happy couple.
I SOLD this over the weekend on etsy.com -- so excited!! I love this painting, and it's going to a great home in Texas. The goddess Nut, reclining on her earthly husband, Geb.

Jocelyn, pulling out every puzzle in the house and with her "I'm trouble" face on :)
Watching the Phantom Menace... or Jocelyn?
Homemade Tomato Sauce from Local tomatoes. YUM YUM YUM
My husband found this old canvas on the side of the road, beat up and abandoned. Here it is at the beginning of the week with some sketching already done, ready to be upcycled and given new life.
The MesoAmerican Goddess, Water Panther, with her jaguar totem and Temple of the Jaguar behind her. This is the "first draft" that I began painting today while the wee one had her nap. Finished product will have more glazes and layers, be darker - she does, after all, hunt at night ;)


French Classics Made Easy - 250 Great Recipes Simplified for the Modern Kitchen

This month I've really been enjoying experimenting with european cooking, which provides the perfect foil for my light Japanese-style lunches. One cookbook that I've been especially pleased with is French Classics Made Easy. This book by Richard Grausman was sent to me a few months ago for review, and is an updated version to his well-known book At Home with the French Classics. The updated version not only simplifies and shortens cooking processes for the home chef, but many recipes have been trimmed down from their traditional French counterparts.

Now, Richard is one of the country's top cooking teachers and the founder of C-Cap, the non-profit Careers through Culinary Arts Program, so he is very concerned with the final result. His students go on to become top chefs in restaurants around the country, and are expected to understand French processes and produce authentic tasting cuisine. So his recipes, although often trimmed of excess fat or carbs, have lost none of the taste and richness of sensation that one expects from French food.

Author, Richard Grausman
His book covers everything from appetizers to desserts, including sauces, glazes and sorbets. I was especially excited about his ice cream and sorbet directions, because they don't call for an ice cream maker. I had an ice cream maker for years but it never worked properly. I think my freezer just can't get quite cold enough for it. Richard teaches us that you simply make your frozen base and then smooth in in the food processor. Return to the freezer to re-firm for a few hours and VOILA! perfect ice cream or sorbet. This is so easy, and perfect for the current heat wave we've been experiencing.

If you are looking for a book that will allow you to wow your dinner guests, or recreate your french vacation at home without tearing your hair out, this is the book for you. Duck a l'Orange, Gnocchi a la Parisienne, Soup a L'Oignon, Tarte Tatin -- they're all here! Being half French, this book brings back all sorts of wonderful memories of family vacations for me. But I am also especially thankful to Richard for showing me a faster, juicier and tastier way to cook a whole chicken (on it's side!); how to make cream sauce for pasta or vegetables in less than a minute; and make my own glaze from fresh stock, a bouillion like gel that will keep for months in the fridge or freezer and add flavor to many, many meals.


Culinary Tea -- A Cookbook Review

Recently I had the absolute pleasure to receive a review copy of "Culinary Tea: More Than 100 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World", by Cynthia Gold and Lise Stern. This book is a treasure. The authors have taken tea outside its comfort zone and proceeded to create a repertoire of meals that dazzle both the mind and body.

As many of you know, I am an herbalist by trade, so when I think of "tea" I tend to think of what are actually healing infusions made from plants. Tea, in its true sense, refers only to the plant camellia sinensis -- that which produces what is commonly known as white tea, black tea, or green tea. The recipes in this book are dazzling, and the story and history included along with the recipes made it a real pleasure to read. Whether you actually plan to cook with tea or not, I urge everyone to read this book -- it will broaden your understanding of cooking in general, and tea in particular. It's a beautifully designed volume which would enrich any coffee -- ahem, shall we say tea? -- table.

Have I become more of a tea enthusiast? Well, I most definitely do own more varieties of green and black teas now, and I have been experimenting quite a bit with matcha, or green tea powder, in my food. There is always a pitcher of tea brewing in my fridge for these hot summer days, and I have begun to experiment with tea/herb combinations more (chamomile will naturally sweeten the pot without adding calories, and mint cools the blood.)

"Culinary Tea" is 288 pages with full-color photos. It is available from Running Press for $22.95.


"Dangerous" Heat

I find the idea that 94F is too dangerous to be outside laughable. I went to work every day in LA when temperatures were over 100F. Traffic jams and overheated cars -- now that was scary. I worked an entire Summer in Madrid, Spain, where three weeks straight of temperatures ranging 110-115F were the norm. THAT was hot. And we did it without AC. To cool off, I would take a couple baths each day in cool water.Those were blissful moments, followed by lots of water, fresh fruit, and salty tapas.

Dangerous heat index at 94F?? Too dangerous to go outside?? Really? We're heading to the local swimming hole that is a spring-fed pool, and I'm looking forward to my time outdoors today :) I can't imagine being anywhere nicer on a hot summer day.


Weekend Photo Stream

Our newly finished stone hearth behind the wood stove (awaiting a new flue) and flowers from the garden.

Alt-rock Fairy Princess, kicking it old school in Hawaii-style vans.

Gorgeous backyard discovery -- 3 inch Pandora Sphinx Moth on my Irises

 Baby Eastern Toads chilling in the terrarium. They recieve a daily diet of wild insects while their outdoor brethren are slowly picked off by local birds, bigger frogs, and yes, the dog.

Homemade Rye/Mochiko Rice Flour Noodle, ready to be added to white miso soup.

Homemade Miso Soup with Bonito Flakes, Carrot Flowers, Multiple Seaweeds, Garlic Scapes, Lemon Balm and Orange Mint.

Loving the tire swing at grandma's house.