"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

30 July 2011

Frick Park Lushness!

Recent visits to the park. Loads of lush, thick greenery from so much rain and lots of butterflies gathering on the damp paths. The one in the picture I snapped above is a Red-Spotted Purple. :)

Peaceful as always. I need to go more often. Posting some video, too, just to share the forest sounds- have a listen!

29 July 2011

Easy Bean & Veggie Burritos

This is a throw-in-the-kitchen-sink kind of dish, so be experimental and throw in any leftovers that you think might work. :) We have added sweet potatoes, grilled or steamed veggies, rice, mango, etc.

Measurements are approximate, so adjust to taste. I err on the side of caution here to leave room for correcting mistakes- it's far easier to add more than dilute or reduce. This dish also lends itself to fresh goodies from the garden, like herbs, squash, peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Super Easy Bean & Veggie Burritos (Serves 2)


olive oil
1 14.5oz can beans, any type, rinsed well
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, any color, sliced thin
1 c fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels
1/2 - 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into chunks
garlic clove (or 2 or 3), minced
1 jalapeno or other chile pepper, seeds removed and minced
1-2 T chile powder (start with a little, then increase to taste)
nice pinch of dried cumin
1/2 - 1 T or more juice from fresh lime (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh avocado, chopped or sliced
fresh tomato, chopped
fresh lettuce greens, shredded
fresh cilantro, chopped
cheddar cheese, dairy or vegan (I prefer Daiya vegan shreds or Sheese Cheddar)
flour or corn tortillas (I prefer whole wheat)

Have fresh ingredients chopped ahead of time, as well as lime juice squeezed. Add olive oil to a skillet or wok and heat over medium heat. Toss in onions, peppers, jalapeno, and garlic. Saute until onions are slightly translucent and garlic is browning slightly. Add dried spices and stir a few minutes until fragrant. Add corn and squash, as well as other produce ingredients you may be adding on your own. Stir in beans (and rice, if adding) and heat through. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

After beans are added, turn oven on to 300 degrees F. Distribute tortillas onto oven rack to warm for a few minutes.

To serve, sprinkle cheese (if using) onto warm tortilla, then layer bean and veggie mixture, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, herbs and avocado.

Eat'em up yum! :)

28 July 2011

Hanging On

During one of our recent crazy-wind-whirling-debris-flash downpours, we spied this little nutty buddy hanging on for dear life to a huge tree in our yard. His ears were back, his fur soaked and dripping, and he was getting pounded and drenched by heavy drops and runoff. Why he didn't seek shelter and chose to cling desperately to the tree for the duration of the storm is a mystery. Seems like there should be a lesson in there somewhere. :)

27 July 2011


Yesterday, we had our first green bean harvest from this year's crop! Delicious, sweet, crunchy beans lightly steamed with a touch of vegan butter. YUM!

Past years' gardening adventures didn't lead to very satisfying results. If you followed my posts last summer, you may remember we had our soil tested by the local cooperative extension and had been trying for years to build up the soil with compost, rototilling, planting, fertilizing. Not much success, and lots of hard work and heart invested to see very disappointing crops.

This year we decided to opt for raised beds, after seeing our upstairs neighbors have some positive results last year. We used our neighbors' bed from last year and built two additional 4x4' beds where our bed was last in years past. We used untreated wood to build our boxes, lined the space of each with grass clippings, then a layer of compost, then loads of organic soil (we purchased bags). I'm delighted to share that growth has been explosive since we planted at the very end of May! YAY!

Here are some pictures taken just after our first planting:

Herbs and greens! The sage, mint, one dill plant, and chives showed up from last year.

Our new raised 4x4' beds. So cute!

Two heirloom tomatoes in the back (one red, one pink- wish I could find those name cards- doh!). Beans and eggplant in front.

Zucchini, golden raspberry, and carrots in front!

And just 1 month later- we couldn't believe the growth! Have a look! We swear these photos have not been altered, and all growth is hormone- and steroid-free. :)

Here's our garden today (below), just after a fresh composting, weeding, staking, and watering. Tomatoes newly supported from fallen tree branches, squash caged happily, beans growing around expanded poles, carrots thinned. Dill and cilantro, as well as a lettuce and chard plant lost. We added a rogue pumpkin plant that had sprouted among the oregano- gave it its own spot among the greens. Lots of tomatoes, several eggplants, lots of squash blossoms but so far no squash. Excited at the prospects!

Needless to say, we are thrilled, and tending and watching our little veggies and herbs grow every day adds sweet little jolts of peace and joy to my day. :)

25 July 2011

Quote of the Week- Tales & Dreams

"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."

Neil Gaiman, A Midsummer Night's Dream

06 July 2011

Quote of the Week: Eating Animals is Immoral

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”

~Leo Tolstoy