• Animals,  Bees,  Chickens,  Cob,  Compost,  Composting toilet,  Gardening adventures,  Health,  Heirloom Plants,  Herbs,  Natives,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Ponds,  Rain Catching,  Recipes,  Salads,  Soil,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian,  Worms

    Southern California Permaculture Convergence! Be there!

    Southern California Permaculture Convergence

    If you are interested in any aspect of permaculture, such as organic gardening, herbs, planting native plants, aquaponics, natural ponds, beekeeping, keeping chickens, and so much more, then you must come to the Southern California Permaculture Convergence.  It happens on March 9th and 10th at the Sky Mountain Institute in Escondido.  The keynote speaker will be Paul Wheaton, lecturer and permaculturalist extraordinaire of www.permies.com fame. Oh, and I’ll be one of the many speakers as well (cough cough).  The Early Bird special of only $50 for both days ends at the end of January, and then the price will rise, so buy your tickets now!

    Also, for a full-on demonstration of taking bare land and creating a permaculture garden, there will be a three-day intensive class taught by Paul Wheaton on site the three days prior to the Convergence.

    You can read about the convergence here at the official website, which will give you the link perm.eventbrite.com where you may purchase tickets.  Also visit the SD Permaculture Meetup page to see all the free workshops that happen monthly all over San Diego.

    This convergence is such a deal, you really shouldn’t miss it!  And such a bargain, too.  One of the best things I find that come out of these convergences is the exchange of ideas and networking among the attendees, and all the practical information you can take home and use right away.  One of the largest parts of permaculture is building community, which means sharing with and assisting others.

    Really.  Don’t miss this!  Tell your friends!

  • Herbs,  Recipes,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    When Is Tuna Fish Not Tuna Fish?


    No-kill “tuna” salad!

    Prior to being a vegetarian, many years ago, I did enjoy a tuna sandwich or salad now and then.  A perfect dish for a hot afternoon.  During my almost twenty years of vegetarianism I’ve sampled many tuna substitutes, with various results.  Most of them were discontinued, or were imported to a store on the East coast and then resold and shipped.  Have you ever noticed how foods that are marketed as substitutes for other foods either have quotations around their names as if someone was whispering it behind their hand?  Or else the names are spelled wrong, like Tuno or Bakon.  There is also the saner although still questionable method of placing the word ‘mock’ in front of the word, such as ‘mock-tuna’, which is better than misspelling.  Anyway, back to the topic, in trying to keep my carbon footprint low I’m eliminating the purchase of goods that require so much shipping. 

    This week I discovered a marvelous tuna substitute (I say, “discovered” when really I’m probably the last to know).  It is low calorie, high in protein and fiber, inexpensive, easy to prepare, doesn’t kill tuna or dolphins, and they grow here in California.  I can also buy them organic.  They are garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas. 

    Mash garbanzos (what a great name for a bean!) until they are almost smooth.

    The flavor of garbanzo beans is very mild and takes well to light seasoning.  Substitute mashed garbanzo beans in your favorite tuna salad or sandwich recipe.  If you use Veganase – a dairy-free mayonnaise substitute – then you have a mock tuna salad or sandwich that won’t be dangerous to eat at picnics because neither the beans nor Veganase spoil quickly.  Incorporating dill into the mix gives the mix a fishier flavor, since dill is so commonly paired with fish.  Simple, nutritious, inexpensive and very yummy.  Can’t go wrong with that!   

    Mock Tuna Salad
    Recipe type: Entree
    Prep time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 2-4
    A high-protein and fiber, low-cost tasty tuna substitute without any trace of mercury or dolphin!
    • One can organic garbanzo beans
    • 2-3 tablespoons Veganase or mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon minced dill, preferably fresh
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 2 -3 cups cooked, cooled small shaped pasta, such as shells
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Chilled iceberg lettuce
    1. Drain and empty canned garbanzos into a small bowl.
    2. Mash with a potato masher until almost smooth, keeping some of the lumps for texture.
    3. Stir in Veganase, dill, celery, cumin, salt and pepper.
    4. Stir chickpea mixture into cooled noodles until well mixed.
    5. Serve over iceberg lettuce with a dill pickle on the side.

  • Animals,  Chickens,  Gardening adventures,  Heirloom Plants,  Herbs,  Other Insects,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Photos,  Ponds,  Quail,  Vegetables

    What’s Happening in the July Garden

  • Gardening adventures,  Herbs,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Vegetarian

    What I Punch Now

    Sundial on the stump

    Its a Thyme Clock.  So clever of me, I can hardly stand it.  There is a sundial that I picked up at a thrift store, which sits on a stump.  Around it are planted fourteen kinds of thyme!  A Thyme Clock!  I don’t have to punch a time clock at work… I can ‘punch’ (theoretically speaking that is) a Thyme Clock in my yard!  (Or is the concept of a time clock too lost in history?).  Ha!!!!

    Sorry.  Too much time in the sun (or should I say Thyme in the sun!) preparing for the Garden Tour tomorrow.  I’m thinking its bedtime.  Or bedthyme!!!  No, it won’t stop anythyme soon.  But it must, somethyme.

    Sorry again.

    The Thyme Clock
  • Dessert,  Frosting,  Herbs,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Lavender Cookies with Rose Water Drizzle

    This is not the everyday, lunchbox type of cookie.  This is the cookie you put a sign next to with the name on it, and listen to the oohs and ahhs and hmmms when it is sampled. These coconut keto cookies are buttery and with no added extract have a very light lavender flavor.  The rose water icing and coconut oil should be added sparingly; it is better even to make the icing the day before to let the rose fragrance mellow some.  You don’t want cookies that taste like hand lotion.

    That said, these are fun to make, smell great, taste good, and are perfect for teatime or to bring to a ladie’s function.  Don’t forget the sign.

    Most lavender recipes require dried blossom.  This recipe calls for dried leaves.  If you don’t have dried leaves, you can set a few sprigs in the sunshine on a hot day, or dry them at lowest temperature in the oven or toaster oven.  My toaster oven has a ‘dehydrate’ setting, and it did an admirable job drying some fresh sprigs.  You don’t want nasty bits of leaf in your cookie.  Use a mortar and pestle to grind up the dried leaves.  The result should be like fluff.  Yep.  It doesn’t powder, it fluffs.

    Rose water can be found at International markets, some grocery stores, many liquer stores, or online.  If you can’t find it, or just don’t like the smell or taste of rose, then leave the icing unflavored, or add a drop of vanilla.

    Lavender Cookies with Rose Water Drizzle
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 4 dozen
    An English teatime-type cookie.
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons lavender, crushed until fluffy
    • 1½ cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • For icing:
    • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    • 5 - 6 teaspoons water
    • 6 teaspoons (or less... try it!) rose water
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
    3. Add the eggs.
    4. Add lavender, flour, baking powder and salt.
    5. Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Leave space between for spreading.
    6. Bake 10 -12 minutes, until edges begin to turn brown.
    7. Cool on racks.
    8. To prepare icing, mix the powdered sugar with water and rose water until it has a nice, non-globby drizzly consistency.
    9. Drizzle over cooled cookies.