Feijoa-white preserves on toast

I’ve been on a canning kick the whole summer, a new hobby that I forced myself to learn back in July. After harvesting 40 pounds of tomatoes in just one morning (with more taunting me on their vines) and freaking out about the tomatoes for breakfast-lunch-and-dinner that I’d have to feed the boyfriend every day for the following month, I Googled for options.

Luckily, a $30 canning kit from Target and an online canning tutorial spared him from yet another caprese salad and pasta sauce. (“Tomatoes again, hunny??”)

Within a few weeks, I had canned 24 jars of quartered tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes; and over 40 jars of fruit preserves and jams. (It was also the first time I had ever seen and used rhubarb, thanks to a Victoria rhubarb patch that was thriving when I moved in. I was on such a kick that I turned out apricot-rhubarb, strawberry-rhubarb, and ginger-rhubarb jam in a single weekend.)

Fresh feijoas

With canning jams being so easy, I knew it would be a good way to use up all the feijoas that have been dropping like crazy. These feijoa-white peach preserves have a fresh, sweet-tart flavor that taste delish on a slice of toasted rustic bread!

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September 25 2010      Leave a comment     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Frutas

Feijoa fruits

We have a mature feijoa tree in our garden which bloomed beautiful, white, edible flowers through the summer and is now dropping fruits by the bucketload every day — and I’m not exaggerating. My mornings are spent gathering fallen feijoas, usually dozens scattered all over the ground. I’m surprised there are still any fruits left on the tree.

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September 22 2010      4 comments     Linda Ly
Frutas   Jardín

Animal manure mixed with straw

I found a random ranch in the middle of an industrial section of Long Beach, set along the cesspool that is the Los Angeles River, that was giving away free manure, the compost of the garden gods. Armed with our shovels, bins and buckets, Will and I went on Mission: Manure on Sunday and loaded up the truck with a craptastic collection of chicken, horse, cow, llama, goat and rabbit droppings rolled in straw. It felt like we were on an episode of Dirty Jobs!

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September 20 2010      Leave a comment     Linda Ly
Mierda

Before moving into our micro farm by the sea, my typical day consisted of this: Wake up in “the cave” (an affectionate term for the windowless bedroom walled off with corrugated metal in our loft), stroll down the hallway to make a cup of coffee, sit down in front of the computer to tackle the day’s emails, go out to lunch, check off some errands, back to the loft to work, cook dinner, more emails, Netflix with the hunny. Next day, rinse and repeat.

Nowadays, in My New Life, I’ve fallen into a calming rhythm at the homestead that varies day by day. Wake up to birds chirping, sunlight filtering in through my windows; sit on the patio with coffee and homemade jam smothered on homemade toast; stroll through the garden, water my plants; bring in a basket or two of the day’s harvest; check emails from the porch with the pretty ocean view; check the waves and the tide, maybe surf; continue one of many house projects; make some tasty meals from the day’s harvest; swing in my hammock, make some calls; run around for errands and chores; take my pugs for a sunset stroll on the beach; and work in the evening until it’s time to soak in the hot tub with a beer.

House project

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September 18 2010      2 comments     Linda Ly
En La Casa

Wild zaatar oregano seeds

I am constantly amazed at how life can begin from something the size of a pinhead, or smaller. These teeeeeeny little seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds are Wild Zaatar (Origanum syriacum), a type of exotic herb said to be a cross of oregano, thyme and marjoram, which grows wild in the Lebanese countryside and surrounding areas. Ooh. Must. Try!

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September 15 2010      2 comments     Linda Ly
Hierbas   Semillas

New seeds for fall

Recently I started thinking about the vegetable garden as I was pulling the last of the tomato plants out of the ground, deciding what to plant this upcoming season… and I knew I wanted to stay true to heirloom varieties as much as possible and buy organic seeds if they were available. With the money and especially the time going into maintaining a micro farm, I wanted to avoid planting anything that I could easily find at the supermarket, or even the farmer’s market. Not to mention I have an affinity for the oddity: black tomatoes, purple beans, white beets, yellow carrots, orange eggplants, anything in an unconventional color or misshapen or looking like it belonged in the Mad Hatter’s kitchen. Somehow, it just tastes better.

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September 13 2010      1 comment     Linda Ly
Jardín   Semillas

From urbanite to urban homesteader

July 1, 2010, was the beginning of what would become My New Life. I moved into a new house in the middle of coastal suburbia, a hidden gem just minutes from uncrowded surf spots and amazing sunsets over the water. I had spent the last eight years living in a concrete loft downtown, so this new environment — in all its shades of blue and green (from the paint trim to the terraced gardens to the ocean views), its sounds (we traded sirens and party-goers for songbirds and foghorns), and its smells (salty breezes in place of diesel fumes) — was pure paradise. In an often-overlooked part of Los Angeles, of all places.

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September 9 2010      2 comments     Linda Ly
Jardín