They Call me a Catalyst

My teacher gave me a compliment of the highest order this afternoon. She told me that from our original conversation she had considered me a visionary. Think about that. It was intimidating and flattering and I handled it fairly awkwardly. Because I do. But, it really flattered me and I am feeling like a poser. Here’s to trying to connect the dots in order to strengthen the kingdom.
There are several overlapping areas of my life that light up my “happiness board”. Gardening. Geeking out. Anything my baby and my beautiful wife. Social Justice and intelligent resource allocation (Putting stuff where stuff goes best).
I went to a meeting the other day with a group of amazing individuals who are part of a larger local network, working so hard to bring about the changes I want to see in the world. It’s a mini-Nirvana.  They’re the Puyallup Watershed Initiative. (PWI). I’ll post more about the connections later. For now, you should see what they are doing to build Cascadia.
I am feeling the connective spark again and it’s a big sigh of relief.


A long time coming

I’m not quite ready to return to the writing-sphere, though I am itching to get back into it, specifically in regards to my permaculture/gardening blog Concrete Connection. Jae has been an awesome helpmate in getting the garden pushed further and further along. I’d lost a lot of motivation there, for a few months.

The one year anniversary of my mother’s death has recently passed, and we’re healing but it’s still fresh. The pumpkin is right on track, developmentally, to be a raging threenager. Ooh! Toddlers are a lot of work! And now we’re expecting a kiddo 2.0 for late January. I’m pretty sure if one kid is hard, two is insane, but we’re thrilled to open our hearts and our arms to another little life.
I’ve got some prioritizing and organizing to do. I’m working closely with my o.b. to keep my health and poppy’s in good shape. (I’m calling kiddo 1.4 “poppy” until we know more about his or her sex – (s)he was the size of a poppy seed when we found out I was pregnant.) But, I don’t have enough energy or hours in the day to tackle every project that sounds like an amazing idea, even with the beautiful and tireless wife’s help. I’m grateful for the harvest season and praying we can get a late harvest out of the garden and sow the seeds for an early start next year.

Grain-Free Birthday Cake

The pumpkin is turning 2 years old in 4 days. Part of me is terrified. Part of me is elated. In traditional NorthWestern American fashion, we’re holding a celebration at an indoor playground and we’re having lunch at the restaurant onsite.

I’ve decided no gifts, no party favor bags to send home with the guests but definitely I’ll be serving cupcakes for little hands. And, flasks of wine may feature. The moms were in! But, alas their kiddos are on a gluten-free diet. As many of you know, I’ve been talking myself up to being brave enough to attempt gluten-free/grain free/paleo/vegan baking. Luckily, it was a success!

A little dry, moderately sweet, nutty, definitely coconut-y, very fluffy and moist. the edges were dry. If you click on the first photograph (Grain-Free Cake Take: 1), it will lead you to the original blogged recipe we used.


QuarterCakeRecipe gfcakeMix   20141109_163750cakeboardinsidecake

Edited to add a photo of the finished mini cake. I’m pretty pleased with the results and I know that jr will love it for his birthday.

Note on the frosting – it seems to be an awesome 2nd day frosting. Much more rich and chocolatey. Also with more time and  better blending technique the frosting will become much more homogenous, but the green tint is worth the delicious frosting option.

Finished Cake

*PS thanks, Jae, for the artsy food porn. Crème fraîche! 🙂


This is my favorite transition period. Especially here in the PNW. The days are crisper, shorter and if you sit still for just a moment you can smell the earth settling. I harvested my cabbages, a cuke, the last of the beans, tomatoes and lots of kale/collard greens. I’m out of jars but pumpkin season is coming! I’m hoping to get one good glean in a pumpkin field to make enough puree for chilli, pies, lasagna, for the entire winter and spring…I heart pumpkins.

cabbage veg001


This is part of my backyard landscape – Wild roses. It’s nearly time to collect hips for jamming and drying.


You know what they say: No proof means it never happened….I have been gifted with a TON of delicious Italian plums. Ready to eat right NOW plums. So! I made fruit leather for the first time. I welded it to the aluminum foil and now I’ll try again with parchment paper. However, It was easy, time consuming and delicious. Here’s the welded first attempt. (I was able to salvage a lot of it)


But, word to the wise? It takes a lot more fruit than it says.

I’ve been geeking out over vegan kitchen witchery. I’m not saying we’re switching to 100% vegan, only that it’s expanding our diet significantly and allowing us to cook sapid, inexpensive meals.

It’s been a long week and I’ve run out of steam to get too involved here yet. I hope to share some Northern Lights photographs tomorrow…we’ll see if I can stay up that late.