Today I went up to my boyfriend’s parents house and took 6 cuttings of their 100+ year old pear tree. We have no idea what kind it is, but we do know the tree is not as healthy as it used to be. Mark’s great-grandfather planted a pear orchard up on the property in about 1910 and this is the last remaining tree. We didn’t want it to die and have nothing left, so I decided to try my hand at rooting it. It’s something I have always wanted to do, but didn’t really have any major impetus. Here was my excuse to get my finger out and get moving :)
After a lot of research, and following these instructions (mostly), I bought perlite, peat moss and rooting hormone powder. I then checked out the pear tree to find the healthiest branches with tips growing upwards that were at least 8 inches long with lots of nodes on them. I ended up cutting six in total.
When I brought them home, I mixed perlite and peat moss with about a 1:4 ratio and wet it slightly. I found a spoon was the best mixing utensil. I then poured some rooting hormone into a small bowl to keep the rest sterile, and dipped the cut ends of the branches in the powder. Once the ends were coated, I put them into the mixed perlite and peat moss and tamped it down around so they were stable.
They need to be kept out of direct sunlight and also be kept from freezing, so they are inside the house and sitting in front of the fireplace. If we light a fire, they will be moved. I’m excited to see if some, or any, will root! If successful, I will probably put a few up on Craigslist as I’m sure a lot of people will want a 100+ year old pear cutting! It has to be heirloom…
Let me just preface this with how much I love the Foodie Penpal Swap. I received an amazing package from Emily of The Breukelen Life and I sent out my package to Ashley of Running my Way to a Full. My boyfriend Mark was laughing at how into my package I was getting. I was illustrating my labels, using my beautiful neon washi tape, and thinking of fun packaging. I had a blast putting it together. Ashley gave me some good criteria to work with, such as she is mostly healthy but has a sweet tooth, loves homemade and is training for a marathon and has lots of 1/2 marathons planned!
I tried to think of things that were local to Healdsburg (which is a lot) that combined make a total of less than $15 (not a lot). I raided my cupboards to contribute a few things, but mostly I made/shopped for the rest. I also wanted to make it seasonal and think of things that are fresh now and how to make them last for the winter.
Enter cherry vinegar. I love cherry vinegar made with balsamic. Super easy too – take beautiful ripe cherries that you would rather eat than do anything to, put them in a jar/bottle/etc mash them up, top with balsamic (even the cheap will do) let sit for a month, or to taste, and then strain out the cherries. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I loved making the label and attaching it with the tape.
The box was layered with – the black cherry vinegar (made with local cherries), Hawaiian black lava sea salt (not local, but looked too good to pass up), Kokomo winery Verjus (made in Healdsburg of semi-ripe and unfermented grapes – think vinegar). The next layer was made up of some homemade S’mores bars and some Gaterade gummy chews (for the running!). Mark was making fun of me when I was stressing that the orange of the chews didn’t match my black, white and pink theme.. Luckily that pink tape is just see-through enough to disguise the color and still let you see the packaging. Lastly came the written element – a welcome card as well as a card describing each item.
I loved putting the whole thing together and it felt especially good to actually use some creative skills again. I probably spent the majority of the time making the labels and cards, which I loved and now am feeling hooked! This is the salt label before it was inked:
I unfortunately won’t be participating in the August swap as I am in Canada at my family summer cottage (tough life, I know), but I am SO looking forward for September! We are going apple picking so that might be a theme… Getting excited and collecting ideas!
To get my blogging mojo back, I decided to participate in a Foodie Penpal swap that I found on Annika’s blog.
Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean blog organizes the whole thing and even though there are over 1000 participants in the US and Canada, it works seamlessly. So anyway, onto what I received from the lovely Emily of The Breukelen Life:
Do you have ANY IDEA how excited I was to receive a box full of yummy goodies?! Cookies, chips, chocolate, pretzels and more! Everything in the box was local food made in the Brooklyn area, which is cool because I very rarely make it all the way out to the East Coast/New York. It was all I could do to take a picture, let alone document.
The goods: Chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and sea salt – Enough said. They are SO GOOD!! Spicy chocolate bar – I love chocolate and chili. This has Ancho and Chipotle in it.. basically just went right to my California heart! Pretzels… Mmm.. Mark and I have been snacking on these while watching the Mindy Project.. perfectly crunchy with just the right amount of salt. Quince Jam – I am so excited to try this but I am waiting until we buy a toaster. Who knew researching/buying a toaster would be such an ordeal? McClure’s Potato chips in Spicy Pickle – This is what I am the most excited to try. I love chips probably more than anything in the world and could probably live off of them. I haven’t tried them yet as I thought it would be rude to my fellow flight sharers for me to chowing down on some crunchy snacks while they are not. Also, I now have something major (other than Mark and Newton..) to look forward to. Also is it weird for me to also be excited to eat these as my paternal grandma’s family were the McClures. My great-great-aunt or something actually wrote this book, which is kinda cool.
Lastly, the card that Emily included was right up my alley as well. Thick, textured paper, gold lining and rich, saturated color.
I love everything and can’t wait to participate in the next one! Stay tuned for what I sent and check it out on Ashley’s blog
Hi guys.. I’m still alive, for those of you who are left. It has been about 5 months since my last post.
I have no other excuse besides that this has been one hell of a past 5 months. I have started to write this, stopped, rewrote, deleted, wrote more, deleted, ignored it, thought about it constantly, and now I’m here. Rather than go into a lengthy post giving a blow-by-blow of October onwards, I’ll just do a chronological bullet-list. Ready? Here goes:
Visa was denied by British Consulate because they didn’t believe Gavin and I were together for 2+ years, despite joint bank accounts, lease agreements, bills to both of us at one address, emails, text messages, etc.
Went to Denver to visit one of my best friends from high school, drove back with a friend
Spent Thanksgiving with family and friends
Sent in appeal to British Consulate, very little hope at this point. No idea what or where Gavin and I stand
Plan trip to London, board flight to London, arrive in London, get deported from London, land in San Francisco exactly 48 hours after departing
British Consulate says that it will not give me a decision until May, 2013 (this was in December)
Decide I need to actually start living in Healdsburg, rather than wait around.
Get house, get dog(!!!), get real job, make plans
Get visa approved
Be confused about everything
So, basically, life is complicated and I’m not sure what my future holds at the moment. Right now I am living in a 3 bedroom house with no furniture – I feel like a college student again. All my stuff is in London in Gavin’s new flat, which I am dreading having shipped.. Hello huge bills!
But from here on out, I will blog consistently about what I am up to.. Which soon will be me refinishing my kitchen table, painting the insides of my kitchen cabinets and drawers, painting the house, buying furniture… eesh, this is making me tired already! Ha!
Today was hot in Healdsburg. I mean this is the thermometer on my parent’s back deck in the shade at 5.30 this evening.
It’s pretty warm, and I LOVE IT!!
I did what any normal person does and I walked into town. There is a great little fabric store right on our main square. I may have purchased a thing or two. Supporting the local economy and small businesses is what I call it..
Just one or two fabrics including Kaffe Fasset and some Alexander Henry! Yay! I love them all! I mean look at that little animal family – so cute!
They are all 1/2 yard cuts which makes me pretty happy. And don’t the colors just play so well together? Now I need to borrow a sewing machine so I can actually do more than stare and stroke…
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a glass of white wine by the pool!