It really is a blessing to be able to walk around the yard, basket in hand, and harvest all my meals for the day. It’s like grocery shopping in my own home, and it’s my absolute favorite thing about having an edible garden.
While this can be done almost any time of year, the shoulder season between summer and fall is an especially good time for putting together a homegrown meal. The chickens are still laying eggs before they turn in for the year; the summer crops are hanging on for one last hurrah; and the pantry is fully stocked with freshly cured onions and garlic.
This is what I had for breakfast yesterday, and I do some variation on it all season. You can’t get much more fresh than this!
I lost one of my chickens last week. It was devastating to find her so sick and not be able to save her.
It was also the first time I had a chicken in distress, and I tried to act as best I could in that situation. Nothing could’ve prepared me for her passing, and while it’s all fresh in my mind, I wanted to share some somber advice with fellow chicken-keepers, whether you’ve been keeping chickens for a while or you’re looking into keeping chickens.
I couldn’t muster the energy to post a Five Things Friday two days ago. I needed to mourn… but I realized that writing also helps me remember the small things that I’m thankful for. I know most people say it gets easier, but I think it gets harder because initially you’re in shock… then it starts to sink in. Evenings are the most difficult, those quiet and contemplative hours when you’re not as occupied with the daily buzz of life.
But through my deep sadness over the much-too-soon passing of our chicken, Gisele, I try to be optimistic because I really do believe that this short life we all live should be celebrated. I’m thankful for the two fun and wonderful years I had with Gisele, and for everything she has taught me. I can say, without a doubt, that having the rare and awesome opportunity to raise her (and her sisters) has changed my life profoundly. And realizing that is the Number One thing that made my week.
Here are five more things that made my week last week (actually last weekend, on our drive through the Arizona desert… more on that soon!).
Today was supposed to be a Five Things Friday post, but I couldn’t bear to think about the five things that made my week when one terribly sad event overshadowed them.
On Wednesday, we made the very difficult decision to euthanize our Easter Egger hen, Gisele. She was two years old.
It’s hard to prepare for the death of a pet when death comes so suddenly, and I certainly didn’t expect to be as affected as I was/am. People without backyard chickens might think, Oh, she’s just a chicken, but Gisele had become such a special part of our family — and this blog — that the loss has been very hard for me.
This spicy salsa is what I like to call the Harvest Special. If you planned it right this summer — and started those first sets of seeds last fall, however early that may seem — everything that goes into this salsa can come straight from your garden right now, from the garlic to the tomatoes!
But why fermented salsa? Why not normal salsa like you’ve always made?
I’ve used this same recipe for non-fermented salsa and it’s fine. Great, actually. But fermentation pushes it over the line to fantastic. The same bacteria and yeasts that give kraut and kimchi their distinctive flavor also give this salsa a bright and tangy note. It’s lively on the tastebuds without being too sour or too salty.
Fermented salsa undergoes the same process of lacto-fermentation as sauerkraut. Simply by letting your salsa sit out for a few days, you’ll encourage all kinds of beneficial bacteria in the mix, creating a powerful probiotic that you can’t nearly get enough of (the jar I made was gone in two days!). And while many recipes for fermented salsa call for the addition of whey or starter culture, this one lets the existing bacteria (already found in all your vegetables) do the work. It may take a day or two longer to ferment, but the ease is worth the wait.
I want to take a moment and admit something here, something that I didn’t believe could be true until I was married.
As last mentioned in the story of Will’s proposal, I didn’t consider myself the marrying kind. I was never one to dream about my wedding day, I never tore out magazine pages of my dream wedding dresses or imagined life as a Mrs. when I was a wee one.
Quite simply, I felt commitment was more (most) important, and the deep commitment that Will and I shared outweighed anything a piece of paper could say about us. We were husband and wife before the State of California ever said we were husband and wife.
I still remember that day — that whole weekend — quite vividly. I get goosebumps thinking about it. December 31, 2012.
That was the best day of my life (thus far) and it was filled with so much joy, love, laughter, tears, and of course, tequila. Because you can’t have a wedding in Mexico without tequila, and that alone brought both laughter and tears (the latter, mostly the morning after).
I had hinted last year that my then-fiancé and I were searching the Gold Coast of Northern Baja for an appropriate venue that felt very us — us meaning no highrise hotels, no grand resorts, no churches or courthouses. We’re surfers and snowboarders, climbers and kayakers — in short, a casual couple with a love for being outside. But finding an outside venue in the middle of winter was hit or miss.
The Gold Coast is not too far south of the San Diego border, so its weather is similar to San Diego year-round. December can be sunny and warm or cool and cloudy — usually both, and often in the same day. We took our chances with a bohemian-inspired beach wedding on a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline that sees few other visitors, which made it the perfect setting for us.