Apples to apples.

I can vividly remember loving a Berenstain Bears book called Learn about Strangers when I was a kid.  I don’t remember the actual plot.  I just remember Mama teaching Sister about how things aren’t always what they seem by cutting into a misshapen, lumpy apple that was beautiful & juicy on the inside and then, a beautiful apple that was worm infested and brown in its center.  Highly likely the reference stuck because it was about food.  Very predictable, but regardless, it’s a good one.

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John’s art.

John’s latest short film recently aired on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday. If you don’t watch that show yet, you may want to check it out. I find it consistently inspiring and uplifting!

In case you missed it, here it is. I suggest turning your speakers up loud! (And, bear with the Cascade commercial opener!) This is one of my favorites…

I just told her so.

I started taking dance classes a little over a year ago, and I loove it. The desire comes from my heart; I can almost feel it burning.  Over five years ago, I started thinking I wanted to dance.  I used gaze through the windows of an advanced ballet studio near an office where John once worked.  So much grace and raw, composed effort.  Too newbie for that studio, I went by myself to this mildly depressing studio in a Pacific Palisades, CA strip mall.  A beginner’s jazz class, I walked in feeling awkward and left feeling worse.  The teacher was horrible; I don’t even think she looked at me once.  I didn’t know what to wear (fyi – not shorts), and I had the wrong shoes (fyi – not sneakers). I felt invisible, unwelcomed and absolutely talentless.  I unfortunately decided I was wrong about dance. 

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Peak of summertime.

Above from left –
Flo, from France
Melisa- from Columbia, South America
Garett – Full-time Volunteer Coordinator from Washington State
Chris – Chef Apprentice from Pennsylvania via the Culinary Institute of America

Look at these beautiful people!  One of the first things John put into place when he settled into the farm is our WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program.  We house lovely folks from all over the world who volunteer in exchange for food, shelter and learning about organic farming.  

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I heart.

When the barn is quiet and most are asleep, holding a baby lamb is simply heavenly.

Admittedly, hard to share.  Instead, maybe you’ll enjoy a few other recent favorites:

–  If you haven’t already, I just read and adored Marianne Williamson‘s classic A Return to Love

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The quack shack.

We’ve got a new mobile coop at Apricot Lane.  Introducing… The Quack Shack!  Congratulations Dave Schrecengost (my dad!) for the clever name.  The duck house naming competition was fierce.  The winner beat out, “The Quack Pearl”, “The Jolly Quacker” led by Captain Quack Sparrow (of course), “The Quackmobile”, “Moby Duck” and more. In the photo above, can you see one of the ducks taking in the view?   Quacks me up.

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Sunny days.

We’re on the back side of summer at the farm.  The days are still long, but they are growing shorter with each breathe.  Yesterday, I felt the first tiny glimpse of fall.  I know summer will still be here in all-encompassing stretches, but her underbelly is there, ready to bring us light sweaters and glowing pumpkins.


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Dog days of summer.

Whew, it’s been hot.  Makes things run like molasses, where each step feels like it’s stuck in concrete.  Times like these become more about filling up animal’s water and finding them shade, then large leaps towards new projects.  The guard dogs got a haircut to keep cool, and our dog Todd’s begun lying on the cool tile of the bathroom floor.  The heat does help our peaches, which are flying at us right now.  This year we’ve gotten the first taste of the varieties we spent so many hours selecting.  And so far, so good.  Thus far, we’ve tasted four varieties peaches, and I’d say three are knock-it-out-of-the-park delicious.  And, the fourth is pretty good, too.  We’ve been jamming, practicing for our future product lines.  This process makes my brain fire on all cylinders.  I love it.

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Eyes wide open.

Today’s my Mother’s day.  We’ve all got a mum, and we share a unique experience of this universal day.  When I was a kid, my mom was really good at nurturing.  My memories involve a cool, soft  sheet spread on the sofa when I was feeling puny.  Having to tell her “3 things that happened today” when I got home from school, and dinner on the table every night, a task that I can’t even begin to comprehend.  She helped me explore my imagination and took me to ballets.   She was and is a work in progress, but she’s become very honest about that fact.  She’s raw, creative and real.  She’s developed a resiliency that I think runs counter to how most age.  And, her ability to grow into acceptance of her sharp edges and imperfections is teaching me how to let go of my own battles with perfectionism.  I’ve found the personal growth of my parents’, even from my perspective as a 34-year old grown adult, teaches me faster than almost anything else.  Their willingness to adapt, learn, change, feel and grow sparks deep inspiration and even quiet skills to do the same within my own life.  I find it freeing to think that I don’t have to be perfect to parent.  I just have to keep living, accepting and becoming.

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Push send.

Back when my horrendous chef hat was still crisp white, I certainly wouldn’t have told you that I’d write a cookbook with my mother someday.

But, we just pressed “Send” on our full manuscript.  Praise heaven, earth and the extra brain-space that just freed up.

Now, I’m hardly saying we’re finished.  Mom and I have got many edits in front of us, covers to finalize and more, but it’s all on paper folks.  My brain feels lighter without carrying the weight of all those words.  Curled up next to whatever else is to come, the pages had been rattling, eager to get out and their birth feels like an enormous relief.  I celebrated by attending not one, but two dance classes today – a total luxury and my kind of celebration.

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