Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fall Fun

Oh my, oh my, how the end of the year flies by.

In October, with help from Ciana, we transitioned our garden from Spring/Summer to Autumn/Winter: pulling out the tomatoes, chard, beans and herbs and planting beets, peas, carrots, tatsoi, spinach, and Brussels sprouts.

On Hallow's Eve eve, we dined at the Tenz's, newly arrived from Germany. We had a lovely dinner cooked by Courtney & Melissa and carved pumpkins, Pearl's first ever jack-o-lantern!

The following night, we stayed home to greet the Trick-or-Treaters. As we've never had a single Trick-or-Treater knock on our door before (in SF, NY, PA or anywhere else we've lived together), we were excited to watch the bowl of chocolates disappear as the night progressed. Our favorite was a 3-year-old girl dressed in a Mickey Mouse outfit (a rare classic costume among all the new superheroes and unknown cartoon characters).

Two weeks later, we traveled to Mass. to visit the Bauers. It was great to see the family, and Pearl even got to test the new body scan at the airport.

In late November, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner (vegan style). It was a plentiful meal consisting of the usual holiday suspects minus the turkey. Kristin even treated us to a trio of pies: vegan apple, vegan pumpkin and vegan chocolate pecan. Delicious.

Pearl's mom came to visit and we threw her an Asian-themed potluck party (sushi by Sascha, eggrolls, miso soup, and more), which we capped off with a round of Celebrity. Everyone who came to the party had to write up a "Ten activities for 2011" list, goals they wish to accomplish in the coming year. Here are our lists ~ if you wish to join us for any of the activities on our lists, let us know!

1. Go sky diving in Monterey
2. Go lawn-bowling in Berkeley
3. Go camping in Stewart Mineral Springs Retreat, Mount Shasta
4. Go to mud-baths in Calistoga
5. Go to Octoberfest in Marin
6. Attempt a blue ribbon win at the June CA State Fair
7. Pass my Qualifying Exams
8. Run Bay-to-Breakers
9. Attend Fire Arts Festival in Oakland
10. See Elvis Costello in concert

1. Continue to practice guitar
2. Finish draft of my screenplay
3. Get a tattoo
4. Get my motorcycle license
5. Go fire walking [Fire]
6. Go surfing [Water]
7. Ride in a Hot air balloon [Air]
8. Take a mudbath, preferably in a natural spring [Earth]
9. Run Bay-to-Breakers or a 5K Fun Run
10. Begin studying French
11. Read 3 new books from the Modern Library Top 100

(Thanks to Tony for taking photos of the food)

Thanksgiving weekend ended with a trip to Salt Point in Jenner where we went mushroom hunting. We didn't find many mushrooms worth eating, though we learned a lot about mushroom picking and identification.

That just about brings us up to the present. Stay tuned for further adventures involving gingerbread houses, ugly Christmas jumpers, family reunions and more.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Hotel Bauer

Chris and Pearl Among the Vines (Photo Courtesy of Lily)

Every year, there seems to be one month where our home turns into The Hotel Bauer (which is slightly different than Camp Bauer), and September was such a month. It started off with a trip home to see Chris' family, followed immediately by a series of hosting: friends, family friends, friends-of-friends, plus a visit from Micah and Sharon who were in town from Denver, finishing up with a visit from our most frequent visitor, the lovely Miss Pia.

And in between these visits from friends old and new, we:

* Welcomed new Berkeley-ites Blair (who just moved from Davis, CA), and Dustin (who moved from Germany).

* Took another edibles walk with Feral Kevin, this time in Lafayette, which commenced at the Community Center and ended at his school’s garden, where he manages an after-school program teaching kids how to farm. We are very excited to take his daylong mushroom foray in Northern California later this year.

* Helped Sascha revamp his website to include acupuncture, moxa and herb photos, with help from Dustin, Ciana and Krista.

* Planted and landscaped the front yard making the house appear lived-in and well-loved (it had been unattended for years prior to our moving here).

* Visited Jason’s uncle and aunt’s vineyard, Pasterick, in Sonoma during crush season, where we got to see the harvesting and crushing of grapes for the new vintage. We also walked through the magical forest, ate a lovely picnic and played a few friendly rounds of Petanque. We’re very excited to visit the Gerry and Diane again, as they have a lovely vineyard and are the most wonderful hosts.

Now, as summer turns quickly to fall, we have started to make plans for our next round of planting. We are thinking of planting lettuce and a bunch of underground vegetables, roots, bulbs and tubers, such as potatoes, beets, yams, and garlic. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

With October well underway, we're excited to go apple picking and having many children ring our doorbell for treats on Halloween. Happy "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" season, everyone!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcoming our new front yard

Hey folks,

We've been hard at work on the front yard. Thanks to Lisa, Dustin,
Sascha, Krista and Pia, we've turned our front yard from:


I know! We can't believe the magical change ourselves. The flagstones
look like they've been there for a while and the ground cover and
rocks work well to give our mound a bit of texture. But best of all,
we love how the purple petals from the princess flower off-sets well
with the red mulch.

Come on over and check it out!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Santa Cruz to Sausalito to San Francisco

Stephen just left after his annual visit. His visits often mean new adventures, and this year we decided on a zip-line adventure to go with the usual assortment hikes and restaurant sampling.

Last weekend, we drove up to Sausalito and toured the seaside village by way of the "Sausalito Secret Stairs" - a series of steep, underused staircases that lead to a beautiful hill overlooking the Bay. Climbing the stairs was an adventure in itself -- it's been 8 months now since we moved out of San Francisco so the coastal hills were quite a challenge -- but the view made it all worthwhile.

This most recent weekend, Steve, Ally and Sascha joined us for a walk along the Bay to Chrissy Field and to check out the Wave Organ, an environmental art sculpture comprised of listening tubes that stick out of the water like periscopes. It's like a giant man-made symphonic sea shell. We heard subtle sounds of drums, cymbals and flowing water rumbling up the pipes as little waves slapped against the sculpture.

The view from Chrissy Field

Pearl listens to the music of the Bay

The highlight of the week was the redwood canopy tour, an amazing ziplines and rope bridge course just outside of Santa Cruz, where we flew through redwood trees at up to 150 feet up from the ground. The longest zip-line we zipped through was 450 feet long, and we got great rushes when cannon-balling through it (we were told that one can move up to 35 miles per hour!). Check out the video of Pearl coming in to land after the final zipline.

Pearl on her practice run at the zipline course

A rope bridge between two redwoods, 140 feet above ground level

Pearl completes the course

Pearl and Stephen, back at ground level

Garden Update: In addition to the lettuce and basil which we've continued to harvest, we've started picking the kale (for kale chips), cilantro (for guacamole), and radish (for salads). The beans have started climbing the ladder Sascha and Chris built. The tomatoes and peppers have started to ripen on the vine and change color.

A close-up of the beans climbing the ladder

The tomatoes are almost ripe

Our first homegrown radish

This past weekend we planted the blueberry bushes and hope to get another round of planting in before Labor Day. September will be busy, starting with a trip east to visit family, two baseball games, another fruits-of-the-forest hike with Feral Kevin, a visit from Pia, an exploratory trip to the tattoo studio, a housemate search, Pearl's return to school, and lots and lots of planting, gardening and harvesting. Phew.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Garden - Part 2

We've been hard at work in the garden all summer long, and we're already seeing so many wonderful changes ~ it's amazing how much happens in the span of a month.

We've been growing vegetables from both seeds and starters; the seeds are starting to sprout and the starters are beginning to fruit. Last weekend, we harvested some basil leaves for a roasted tomato dish that we served for a dinner party, and in the coming weeks, we should have the makings for a salad!

We just finished putting together two more raised beds and are on the hunt for some organic blueberry bushes. The blueberry season is over for this year but we hope to have three large (fruiting) bushes by next summer.

Here are our plans and some photos of our growing garden.

lettuce, cucumbers, celery, carrots, radish

Salad? Gazpacho? Salsa?

View of the beans, kale, chard, cabbage garlic as seen through the bean ladder Sascha made

Close up of the chard

In the herb bed: lavender, rosemary, oregano, dill, chives, parsley, cilantro, garlic, shallots

View of the brick border around the herb bed

The mint, bell peppers and habaneros are all being grown in separate pots outside the beds

Close up of the mint

The broccoli was started indoors in a planter and will be transferred to the third bed in a few weeks

The layout of the three vegetable beds

The layout of the herb bed

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Garden Update

Thanks to Lily, Sascha, Stuart, and Lauren's help these last few weeks, we've gotten a great start on making the garden of our dreams come true. Soon, we hope to be making dinners with the fruits of our labor. If anybody is interested in getting dirty or trying their hands at gardening, there is still a lot to do and we welcome all helpers! Just email us and come on over!

Some photos of our starters and seedlings

View of cucumbers, lettuce, celery, summer squash, butternut squash, and garden peach variety tomatoes (not in view, carrots and radish seedlings).

View of green beans, kale, chard, and savoy cabbage (not in view, garlic and onions)

View of oregano, basil and parsley (still to come, coriander and rosemary)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

New photos of our home

We've been spending most of our free time setting up house, both indoors and out. With the help of Lily and Sascha this weekend, we finished construction of our raised beds and teepee stalks, prepared our herb garden, and planted our cacti. Finally, our house is turning into a home.

By request, here are some photos of our progress:

Our puzzle, music, and dining area

Where we wake up to yoga and meditation in the mornings and work/study in the evenings

Where we spend most of our time, cooking up the yummiest of mostly-vegan meals

Our bedroom altar faces the east

Before and After of the Front Yard - Lily and Pearl weeded the front and planted cacti this weekend ~ what a difference!

Chris put together these redwood planks (courtesy of Barry) and they are ready for veggies. Amazing work, eh?

Sascha dug up about a foot of old soil and Chris bricked the sides. In the next few days, we will compost the roses and add top soil and herbs.

It's been a busy weekend, and we are exhausted but seeing the progress we've made so far has us really excited. There is still a long way to go before we start harvesting but we'll send updates as the sprouts start to shoot up.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


It's the middle of June, and we're finally settling into our new home in Berkeley, just two blocks from where we've been subletting for the last six months. We're planning on staying put until Pearl graduates from school in a few years time; we have been doing way too much moving recently and and are ready to settle down, at least for the moment.

Our new home

We lucked out and found a newly renovated two-bedroom house with an open backyard that is perfect for a raised bed vegetable garden. This weekend, we started digging the beds for wildflowers and native plants in the front and started construction on the raised beds for the back. Soon we hope to have cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, peppers, broccoli, beets, squash, spinach and herbs.

Our back yard (the before pic)

Flowers from the yard

We've grown to love Berkeley-living so much more than we anticipated. We find that we don't cross the bridge into San Francisco as much as we thought we would; instead, we find ourselves exploring Berkeley, Oakland, and the East Bay. Last month, we went on a hike in Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in San Ramon with our friends Stu & Mags where we picnicked atop a large rock outcrop while watching a kaleidoscope of wildflowers blowing in the wind.

P&C at Las Trampas (courtesy of M. Chuang)

We also hiked with Sascha up in Marin to join the German Maifest celebration near Muir Woods where we were entertained by the Tourist Club SF in their traditional Bavarian outfits, dancing around a Maypole dance. Traditionally the maypole dance was an opportunity for young unmarried lads and lasses of the village to meet and pair up. The dancers at the Maifest were there to entertain rather than pitch woo, and were not so young, ranging from early twenties to, perhaps, late seventies, but all seemed to be having a grand time all the same. It was cute watching everyone get into the spirit of May!

Dancing around the pole at Maifest

Last weekend, Sascha graduated from American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine for his Masters in Acupuncture, and we attended the event with his father, Mickey, who flew in from Germany, and his uncle, Kirk, who flew in from Kentucky.

P&S&C at the graduation (courtesy of K. Schmidt)

For the coming months, our plans mainly include getting as much sun as possible in our backyard while we plant our garden, bbq and read on our new lawn chaises. We'll be visiting family in Boston in mid-July, and Pearl will be attending the Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz in the beginning of August.

If you find yourself in the Bay area or seeking a getaway weekend out West, come and relax in the sun with us! We always love guests :).