Tuesday, July 31, 2012

...just where the sea and sky come down to mingle...

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of my mother. To those who knew her, please take a moment to remember and reflect on the love and life of Angela Carol Bauer (December 12, 1957 - July 18, 2012).


At 10:45pm (Pacific) on the evening of July 17, 2012, Pearl and I sat together in ritual and said our goodbyes to my mother, sending strength and peace of mind her way. Upon the conclusion of the ritual, we received word that she had just passed away in her sleep and was finally at rest.

We wanted to take a moment to thank each one of you--our friends, family and community--so very much for your unending support and kind words throughout these last six years as she bravely fought for another month, another day, another moment. We consider ourselves so lucky to have had her in our lives and also to have you in our lives now.

We flew into Boston last weekend for her service and it was wonderful to see how many friends, old and new, were there to celebrate her life. At the burial, as the pastor declared that she was finally free of the cancer that had been attacking her for so long, a large and colorful butterfly took flight, hovered momentarily in front of the pastor and then flew in amongst the watching crowd. It was as if she were saying that she was with us still and would be forevermore.

Goodbye, Mom. You will be much missed, though we will carry you in our hearts and thoughts always.

Christopher and Pearl


A reading from the church service (from Victor Hugo/Bishop Brent)

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then some one at my side says: ‘There, she is gone!’
‘Gone where?’
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.  Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when some one at my side says: There, she is gone!’ there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: ‘Here she comes!’


Bauer, Angela C.
Angela Carol Bauer of Westwood died Wednesday, July 18, 2012 following a 6-year battle with chondrosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Raised in Newton, MA, Angela devoted her life to caring and advocating for children. A mother of 5, she and her husband Chris were foster parents for 13 years, and very proud adoptive parents. In addition she worked in a variety of child-care settings, and for 10 years ran a family daycare from her home in Newton. She succeeded in her life's mission of making every child she cared for feel like a part of her family. She was, simply, a mom at heart. She is survived by her husband Chris, her children Christopher, Tanya (Rossner), Jessica, Kelvin, and Diana. She leaves her parents Ralph and Barbara Zani of Boston, and her siblings Susanna (Suggs), William, Felicia, Anthony, Nathan, Monica, Nicholas, and Alexandra (Trudo). A Funeral Service will be held at the Congregational Church of Needham, 1154 Great Plain Ave Needham, on Saturday July 21st at 11:30am, to be followed by a burial service at the New Westwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Heifer International, one of Angela's favorite charities. For obit, directions or to share a memory of Angela please visit www.eatonandmackay.com

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring 2012

Last weekend we had a visit from Candice and our god-son Chayce. We wanted to share some photos from the trip.
The highlight of Chayce's trip was seeing him playing in our garden. He picked a lot of carrots, peas, and made lemonade from our lemon tree. With Chayce's help, we planted some cucumbers, corn, lettuce, carrots, radish and tomatoes.
Here are some photos of our garden as it looks now. We've started to harvest beets, peas, onions, carrots, lettuce, celery, broccoli, collards, strawberries and are currently drying some fresh oregano. We are patiently waiting on peppers, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers and spinach.
And this was today's bounty, including our first ever strawberry!
We also wanted to share some photos from previous weekends. Recently, we made homemade mustard...
...explored the Marin farmer's market in San Rafael (where Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Civic Center)...
...and went on a hike in the Berkeley Hills where we found some turtles sitting on a log enjoying the sunshine...
That's all for now as it's time to get back to the garden...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Urban Homesteading

So far this year, a lot of our personal growth has been centered around urban homesteading, working in the garden and playing in the kitchen.

Last weekend, we planted our Spring crops: strawberries, peas, carrots, parsnips, beets and radish. We pulled a lot of the winter crops (mostly greens), leaving only a few behind that continue to produce (mustard greens, cabbage), and those which we hope will over-winter and produce next year (habanero and jalapeno peppers). The blueberry and goji berry bushes continue to grow (slowly), the herb garden is looking healthy, the camelia is starting to bloom, and it appears as though some self-sown tomato plants are trying to get an early start to the season.

Mustard Greens and Cabbage

Strawberries in a wine half barrel

Recently, we made granola for the first time: a blueberry macadamia granola, and a cranberry almond granola. Both turned out amazing, much better than store-bought granola. Here's the recipe we used:


3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweeteend
3 tablespoons flax seeds
1 cup toasted mixed nuts, chopped
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
4 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups mixed dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the dried fruit. Stir well to incorporate.

Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the depth of goldenness you’re looking for), stirring every 10 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and and cool completely, in its pan. Once the granola is cool, mix in the dried fruit, and serve.

Cranberry Almond granola

We also made a Serrano pepper hot sauce (which will be stored in a cool dark place for six weeks before use), and apple butter. Apple butter and almond butter on a rice cake or toast is divine.

Hot Sauce

Apple Butter

OK, that's all for now. It's time to decant the kombucha, and soon the kim chee will be ready, and isn't it about time we went on another mushroom hunt, and then it will be time to try the hot sauce, and what about…

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our Favorite Bay Area Hikes

In the last 5 weeks we've been on two fantastic hikes, one in the East Bay and one in the North Bay. This lead us to start thinking about our favorite hikes since moving to the Bay Area. By limiting the list to the Bay Area, we're leaving out fantastic hikes that we've done further abroad (Yosemite, Mendocino, Napa, Santa Cruz, etc), but perhaps we'll save those for another post, another day.

Our Five Favorite Bay Area Hikes…

1. Abbot's Lagoon
January 14, 2012 with Sascha


Our most recent hike and our favorite. From marshland to lagoon to seaside, this was a beautiful hike even in winter. Lots of birds to see, including this brown pelican:

After reaching the dunes, we walked for about 1/2 mile along the
oceanfront with Pearl practicing cartwheels along the way.

On the day we went, there were hardly any people on the trail so we practically had the beach to ourselves.

We even heard elephant seals at the South end of the shore getting ready for their mating season. Towards the end of the hike, with skittish quail dodging about in the underbrush, a herd of deer moved down from the hills to graze at the trailside. Beautiful.

2. Tennessee Valley
May 17, 2009 with Pia and Dustin; July 3, 2009 with Jackie


Another hike through the marsh and past a lagoon that ends up at the ocean.

The weather in May was perfect (in July it was cold and windy). We saw quails and wild turkeys as we walked the trail, and were dive-bombed by an angry hummingbird. The cove at the end of this hike made for a lovely picnic spot.

3. Coyote Hills Regional Park (Fremont)
December 17, 2011 with Krista, Sascha, Tim, Travis


Coyote Hills Regional Park is located on the East side of the San Francisco Bay. We didn't see any coyote here, but we saw plenty of muskrats by the edge of the marsh. And there are lots of birds here, from ducks to hawks to egrets, we saw perhaps two dozen different bird species. There are some fantastic photos of the kinds of birds you can expect to see at the park on the Bay Area Hike website:

We definitely plan to return with binoculars and a high-def camera.

4. Coit Tower and the Filbert Steps
March 28, 2009, just the two of us; August 20, 2011 with Krista, Mags, Mark, Sascha, Stu.


We hiked Coit tower in 2009 shortly after seeing the documentary The Parrots of Telegraph Hill, about the colony of parrots that inhabit the trees on the Filbert Street side of the hill that leads up to the Tower.

The tower itself is worth seeing as a city landmark, though it's been very crowded both times we visited. Our favorite part about this hike is the 436-steps up Filbert to get up to Coit Tower. We have yet to see any parrots on our walks here (though we did get to see some from our deck in Noe Valley), but you can't miss their incessant squawking in the trees overhead. The gardens along the steps are not to be missed, and neither is the wonderful view of the city skyline from atop the hill.

5. Secret Sausalito Stairways
August 14, 2010 with Stephen


It was the Car-Free Outdoors website that introduced us to the Secret Sausalito Stairways, for which we are very grateful. The next time you're in Sausalito, try touring the seaside village by way of Jen's instructions in the link above. Climbing the stairs is quite an adventure but the views make it all worthwhile. Turns out, this trip was training for Pearl and Stephen's trip to Machu Picchu later this year.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Playing With Our Food

As we continue with food experimentation, we've added a new tool to our kitchen arsenal: a vita-mix! Check out this fabulous home-made nutella (chocolate/hazelnut spread) which tastes much better than the store-bought kind.

Chocolate/Hazelnut Spread

Our kombucha flavor list keeps growing, and we've recently been experimenting with a variety of different spices. Some of our more successful flavors include: cardamom apple, apple cinnamon, star anise and fennel, and espresso beans and vanilla pods. We are trying to prepare flavors that are in alignment with the current season, and we can't wait for the spring and summer as the berries and fruits of the new season will bring exciting flavors to our palate!

Red Date Kombucha, Rosemary Salt, Cardamom Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Fennel Anise Kombucha

We've also been in a pickling mood as of late, preserving daikon in sweet and spicy vinegar, and carrots in a spicy brine.

Lastly, our cabbage experiments are going very well: we made a successful cabbage, dill, garlic, and ginger sauerkraut and are currently fermenting our very own kim chee. The only problem with these is that the smell really takes over the house so we have to keep the door to the rear mudroom shut at all times.

Playing with our food is as much fun now as it was when we were kids!

Monday, January 02, 2012

The end of 2011; the beginning of 2012

The end of each year often brings about a flurry of activity as we endeavor to visit family and friends, participate in holiday activities, check off the remaining items on our annual To Do lists, and generally tie up loose ends. In the two months since our last entry we visited family on the East Coast 3 times, saw a beautiful ballet choreographed by Alonzo King (Alonza King Lines Ballet), made our annual trip down to the Shoreline Amphitheatre for the Bridge School Benefit Concert (this year's line-up included Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Eddie Vedder, Beck, Mumford & Sons and Norah Jones), did a number of hikes along the East Bay Trails (including the Claremont Canyon Hike and the Coyote Hills Trails, both of which we plan to do again soon), attended the opera (San Francisco Opera's performance of Carmen), and most recently hosted a New Year's gathering that concluded with a morning hike in Marin to welcome the year in nature.

As we did last year, we wanted to share a few of our goals for 2012 with you and invite you all along to participate...

Visit two new states
Attend two new festivals
Visit the Petaluma Seed Bank
Visit Orr & Wilbur Hot Springs
Hike Macchu Picchu
Camp in the Pacific Northwest
Take a preserves class
Experiment with making flavored salts
Experiment more with fermentation
Make five recipes from “Make the Bread”
Ride a tandem bike
Run Bay-to-Breakers or a 5K Fun Run
Complete 20 miles of EBParks hiking
Learn two songs on guitar

Happy new year to all of you. As the year changes, so does the season. It's been a little milder and a little wetter of late which means it's time to head out to tend the garden...