It’s been awhile since I’ve added a recipe and I know the kiddos love this carnitas recipe.


  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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4-5 lb. pork shoulder
2  green bell peppers, diced or thinly sliced
1  red bell pepper, diced or thinly sliced
3-5 Jalapeno peppers, diced
2 medium brown onions
1 lb. chorizo
3 juice of lemons
2 cups orange juice (may substitute papaya, guava, mango, pineapple)

1.  Brown pork on all sides in a dutch oven.  Salt and pepper while browning.
2.  Cover top of browned meat with chorizo and lemon juice.  Smother with onions and peppers.  Add orange juice.  Cover and bake in 350 degree oven and bake for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
3.  When meat is done, remove from pot and shred, removing any fat or gristle.  
4.  Return meat to pot with vegetables and mix together until well blended.  If there is too much liquid it can be drained off at this time.

Serve with corn or flour tortillas as tacos or burritos.
Also makes a great tamale filler with less veggies.

Sourdough Waffles

I’ve been making sourdough for a few months now. It has pretty much changed my life.  With a little planning (feeding and rising overnight), I have a fresh loaf of this fermented goodness.  

In feeding my sourdough starter every day, I need to discard part of the starter.  Sometimes I feed it to the chickens (who go crazy for it) and sometimes I use the discard in baking. Let me just say that sourdough discard makes the best waffles ever! I like this recipe because I don’t need to let the batter rise overnight. Keep in mind that if you need to double the recipe, you will want to feed your starter and not discard for a couple days to have 2 cups.

Sourdough Waffles

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup discarded sourdough starter (unfed)
1/4 cup grape seed oil (or whatever oil you have ie, sunflower, coconut)
3/4 cup milk

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg and then mix in the sourdough starter, oil and milk.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Sometimes I will need to add a little more milk to get the right consistency.
  5. Pour the batter on the waffle iron and cook until golden brown.  

    Notes: Store leftovers and pop in the toaster to refresh.

Lavender Lemonade

Peaceful moments: On a warm day make this lavender lemonade and then sit on your porch and enjoy the sounds of spring/summer while sipping this wonderful concoction over a tall glass of ice.

Lavender Lemonade

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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5 cups waterphoto
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. dried lavender buds
1 cup lemon juice

1. Boil 2 1/2 cups water and add sugar until dissolved. Add lavender buds, cover, and steep for 15-20 minutes.

2. In a pitcher, add 2 1/2 cups water and lemon juice. Strain lavender mixture to remove buds and add liquid to pitcher.

Serve chilled over ice.

Is it spring yet?

I wish! It’s so deceiving because the sun is out and all I want to do is get into the gardens but it’s still too cold for planting. I know it’s just around the corner because the daffodils are beginning to pop up and are just about to bloom.  I planted about 300 daffodil bulbs in 2016 and then another 200 in 2017.  I sort have forgotten all the places I planted so this will be a fun surprise.

So check this out!  I didn’t come up with this one my own.  Thank you, Pinterest!


I know, right?!  I had to share.  The perfect solution and re-use for a pallet.  I trimmed off about a foot and a half off the top, painted it for fun, and then screwed it into the studs.  Viola!  I can’t even tell you how much space this saves.  If you’re like me, you have the Sahara Desert of garden tools that somehow expands further and further out.  No more trying to line up the holes on the tools with the nails on the wall, either.  You know what I’m talking about.  I think because I can just plop it into the pallet bin, it will remain tidy.

I still have the trimmed off piece and I think I’m going to paint it and use it on the workbench.  I’ll come back and let you know what I come up with.

Have a great day, y’all!

In the garden: Growing Loofah

I’ve had some people ask questions in a garden group about growing loofah and I promised I’d share my experience.  It seems like loofah should come from the ocean, right?  Well, it’s actually from the cucumber family and grows on a vine with a beautiful yellow flower.

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I was having trouble with the pollination of some gourds in my garden the previous year, so I pollinated these myself.  It’s a very long growing season so start as soon as your frost ends.  Since I am now in the Pacific Northwest, I think I’ll grow in my greenhouse for the heat.

Let the loofah dry on the vine until the outer membrane is brown.


The ribs in the membrane have a string-like thread running along the length.  Pull the thread and remove the membrane.  Some of the seeds will begin to fall out so have a cloth spread out to catch them.

IMG_7433Whack the gourd into a bucket and catch all the seeds.  Yay!  More loofah seeds to plant and share with your friends.  Your friends are definitely going to want to plant when they see your amazing loofah.

IMG_7435Rinse the loofah well.

One of the most amazing things I’ve noticed is that this homegrown and unprocessed loofa doesn’t mildew like store bought.  I cut up with a good pair of scissors and place a piece in every bathroom shower.  Don’t forget to put a few in the kitchen to scrub pots and pans.  If you are a soap maker, pour soap to harden inside slices of loofa.  Search Pinterest for more uses of this wonderful garden sponge.

You will have plenty to last the year or two and enough to share with all your friends.


Juneau ~ Juno ~ Junebug ~ JuJu-B

Meet my little pup, Juno.  Those eyes did it.  When I saw her looking at me I knew I was going to bring her home.  She was eight weeks old and the last one of the litter.



This little pup is smart, inquisitive, confident, sweet, and definitely a mind of her own.  I’ve read all Siberian Huskies have these traits so when she looks at me and continues to run away from me, I tell myself she’s not only a puppy, but she’s a husky.  And huskies love to run!

IMG_7553She’s growing so fast!


We’ve got a nice little routine going.  She gets me up early, I let her out, feed her, and then we go back to bed until the sun comes up.  We have tea, let the chickens out, and then at about 10:00 a.m. she cannot take it anymore and begs for me to take her to the dog park.  I call Juno the princess of the park.  When she arrives, her friends greet her at the gate ready to run.  Preferring to play in the “big dog” area of the park (or maybe she thinks she’s a “big dog”), she has no problem taunting the larger dogs to chase her.  The humans all agree that she is one confident girl.  She loves all dogs and will give each one a play pose until they play with her.  There are her favorites playmates and she usually leaves the park tired, happy and muddy.

IMG_7897What’s amazing is that within a hour or two, she is completely white again with no sign of mud.  This little girl’s silky and soft fur is like a non-stick pan and she cleans herself like a cat.  Also a husky trait.

People ask me all the time if she’s a white German Shepard.  You know, I just don’t know. I’m told she’s a purebred white husky and I have pictures of her husky parents, but who really knows?  She could have some German Shepard in her.  She has short hair for a typical husky, but huskies can have short, medium or long hair.  She does sometimes look like a white Shepard.  But she definitely looks like her mom, who is a pure white husky with those beautiful blue eyes.

She’s smart and catches on very quickly, mastering “sit,” “down,” “up,” look at “me,” “bed,” “wait,” “leave it,” “touch,” and about 75% of the time “come.”  Her prey drive is so strong that if there’s a bird to chase or another dog to play with, she will not “come” easily.  We are working on that.

Huskies are happiest when they are working, which means  weights and pulling.  When she’s a little bigger she’ll start wearing a weighted pack and I’d love to buy a Terra Trike so she can pull me on the trails.  We don’t have enough snow for sledding but pulling a three-wheeled bike would be ideal here.  Next commands to learn “Gee” for right, “Haw” for left and “Hike” for get going.


This five-month-old beauty is quite something.  Warm and loving and my constant companion.

Lasagna Soup

I was browsing through Pinterest and lasagna soup came up in the feed.  This sounded so good to me on this rainy day!  I started searching through all of the lasagna soup recipes and combined a few of my favorite parts into this lasagna soup.  So simple.  Make this one for a quick meal on a cold night.

Lasagna Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Olive oil
1/2 lb. lean ground beefIMG_7732
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
32 oz. chicken broth
1 – 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 – 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
10 lasagna noodles
1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
8 oz. ricotta cheese

1.  Start water to boil with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions.  You can cut into bite-sized pieces at this time or after cooking.
2.  Meanwhile, pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large cook pot (I use a Dutch oven) and fry ground beef and sausage until there is no longer any pink in the meat.  Remove meat and set aside.
3.  Add onions and garlic to pot.  You may need to add a little olive oil.  Saute until softened.
4.  Add cooked ground meat, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and all spices.  Simmer over low heat.
5.  Your lasagna noodles should be done.  Cut into bite-sized pieces if you haven’t already.  Add to your cook pot.  At this time you may want to add some lasagna noodle water (about a cup) to cook pot to reach desired consistency of your soup.  Let simmer until nice and hot.
6.  In a medium bowl, mix together shredded mozzarella, shredded parmesan, and ricotta cheeses.  Add a few tablespoons of chopped parsley or basil to the mixture, if desired.
7.  Serve soup in shallow bowls with a dollop or two of the cheese mixture on top.


Lavender Lemon Zucchini Cake

FullSizeRender 46.jpgSo your garden is overflowing with zucchini and you’re wondering what to do with it all.  Or maybe a few of your neighbors have gardens that are overflowing with zucchini and they brought you their zucchini…and pretty soon your counter is overflowing with giant zucchini.  Either way, this lavender lemon zucchini loaf can make quick work in freeing up your countertop and providing a winter’s worth of delicious mini treats.  Bake it and freeze it.  Or maybe give a mini loaf back to your kind neighbors.  This recipe makes two loaves OR six mini loaves.

Lavender Lemon Zucchini Cake

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (or substitute 1 cup applesauce instead of the oil)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded zucchini
zest of 2 lemons (reserve 1 tsp. lemon zest for glaze)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. dried lavender, chopped finely (optional)

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. lemon zest

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.   Prepare 2 loaf pans with cooking spray and a dusting of flour.  Alternatively, you can make six mini loaves.  I love the mini paper loaf containers if I’m giving them away.  Check the packaging on the mini paper loaf containers for prepping instructions.  Mine didn’t need spray nor flour.

2.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and lavender buds.  Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat eggs until smooth.  Add oil (or applesauce) and sugar until smooth.  Add buttermilk, zucchini, lemon zest (minus reserved 1 tsp.) and lemon juice.  Mix well.

4.  Slowly add dry mixture into the batter until thoroughly combined.

5.  Pour batter into your prepared loaf pans.

6.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

While loaves are cooling, prepare the glaze.

For the glaze: Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk and lemon zest together.

Drizzle over each loaf.  Let cool before serving.

Note about shredding zucchini:  I use a spiralizer made by Veggiespize.  I like that it has an easy-to-use hand crank and it has three interchangeable blades.  I use the shredding blade that makes noodles like angel hair pasta.

The Beauty of the Olympic Peninsula

This week I want to share the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula.  I’ve traveled a lot throughout this scenic country and have spent time in many communities on our way to explore our state and national parks.  While traveling in an RV caravan on our vacations, I have fond memories of my friend Brenda calling over the CB radio and saying, “Deb, how about here?”  She was, of course, talking about our chatter of finding a beautiful place to retire.  I would have a lavender farm and she would have an animal rescue or farm next door.  Maybe grow some grapes…  These are the planted seeds that gave birth to my desire to live someplace beautiful.  And beautiful to me is no traffic, no tall buildings (except grain silos), a small town, fresh fruits and vegetables are grown within a few miles or my own garden, a small town with community events, no worries of leaving a bicycle outside overnight.  You get the idea.  I have found that place on the Olympic Peninsula.

My little town lies where the majestic Olympic mountains meet the ocean (technically, the Strait of San Juan Fuca) with a big river and many creeks.  I’m told the pioneers diverted the melting snow from the mountains throughout the valley and the reason why we have so many “creeks” every couple of miles.  I have a year-round creek that runs along my property and then there is another creek on the other side of me about an acre over.  The Dungeness River is the larger river here and is located about two miles from me.  I’m inland a couple of miles from the ocean so I can hear the fog horns, but I don’t usually get the fog.  I’m also a couple miles down from the foothills so while they may get a couple of feet of snow, I only get a dusting that lasts a day.

All of the photos shared in this post were taken by me except the photo above of Lavender Mills, which was taken by my neighbor under an incredible sky.  I love our skies.






The wildlife here is incredible.  Almost every day I see something amazing.



Bald Eagles















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Swans and Elk




Happy Cows


The many family farms provide everything one could need.  I love that some farms have kiosks out front with produce, eggs, and even trees for sale on the honor system.









A few more scenic photos because I can’t just leave them out!




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I almost forgot the dynamic skies.  They change from minute to minute.







It’s a lovely place and I still cannot believe I actually live here.  I used to think as I drove through little towns what the people did for a living and how they liked living there.  As I drive through downtown, especially during the tourist season, I remember that feeling and now I am one of those that live here and I love being here.

Farmhouse Construction Update #2

There have been setbacks and there have been some gloomy days.  It took a new project manager to really get this little farmhouse back on track and I am now the number one priority of the company, or so they say.  It’s about time!

IMG_0007See the dusting of snow?  Believe it or not, the weather has not been the cause of the delays.  After the concrete foundation was poured and the framers showed up and began framing, it was clear that the subcontractor who was hired to put in the concrete foundation did such a poor job that the homebuilder actually said they couldn’t continue and had to bulldoze the whole thing.  Yep, the house and barn were completely bulldozed and hauled off to the dump.  It was a terrible setback.  Even though I would not have to pay for the re-do, I was pretty upset.  The build was already extremely far behind for a variety of reasons and excuses.  Let’s just say that it took five months to get to this point.  Ugh.

IMG_0015Much better.  This was a solid, level pour.  The forms came off and the lumber arrived and ready for the framers.  In the mix, the excavators had to come back and clean up what the bulldozers took out and had to re-do all of the excavation and drainage around the house and barn.  All of this work has expanded the footprint and created a muddy mess.

IMG_0015 2The framers began to frame in the house.

IMG_0011Truss day! This is an exciting day because the trusses allow one to really start to see the shape of the house.

IMG_6234The roofers completed the entire roof in one morning.  Amazing!

IMG_0018It figures that this barn/shop gets the most attention.  Most of the male visitors want this barn.  I don’t blame them.  It’s one heck of a barn and super tall for drying all that lavender.

So, windows are in, plumbing is done (with showers/baths installed), gas is done, electrical is partially roughed in, cabinet maker has measured for cabinets and fireplace has been installed.  I had to refuse the exterior doors, twice.  The first time they came unwrapped and were completely covered in mud.  The second time they delivered in an enclosed truck.  However, two of the French doors fell over inside the truck onto the other two French doors in transit.  Glass everywhere and I had to refuse the doors, again.

IMG_0020In the meantime, I have been working on the property.  This slice of heaven was once pasture and has extremely furtile soil and no rocks.  Seriously, I have not found a single rock.  Lots of digging and prepping for the lavender fields.  I also decided to add a little kidney-shaped hill for some interest.  I had 16 yards of soil brought in and Blueberry Hill was born.  Three crabapple trees (above) and four blueberry bushes call it home so far.  Along the street and outside of the white fence, 16 cherry trees (8 Rainier and 8 Bing) were planted and 48 lavender bushes (Royal Velvet Lavender) were planted.  Cubby (Cadet) has been mowing, limbing up trees near the creek and moving lots of dirt.

IMG_0012  It’s a sunny and beautiful morning and my job today is to finish cleaning up the street and start to hack out brush toward some hidden and neglected mature fruit trees along the creek.  When I first moved here, I found two cherry (one tart and one sweet), a pear, an unknown, and two apples completely covered in blackberry bushes.  When everything went dormant for the winter, I discovered a plum and a few other unmarked fruit trees that I need to clear from the pesky blackberries.  I’ll have to share with you all the 10-foot crazy and invasive blackberries overgrown along the creek.  Debbie vs. Blackberries.  It should be interesting.

Happy Sunday, y’all!

Lemon Snowbars

I love this lemony bar and I challenge you to have just one bar.
I think I’ve had this recipe since high school.  A classic and easy lemon bar.

Lemon Snowbars

1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs. lemon juice – Meyer, if you have it
2 Tbs. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
powdered sugar for dusting on top

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8-inch square pan.
  3.  Sift together 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
  4.  Cut in butter to pea-sized pieces.  Pour into greased pan.  No need to press down.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until golden.
  6. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and lemon juice until it thickens a bit and smooth.  (About 8-10 minutes.)
  7. In a separate small bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. flour and baking powder.  Add to the egg mixture.
  8. Your crust should be ready.  Pour the egg mixture over the baked layer.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Sift powdered sugar over the top and cool.

Farmhouse Construction Update

Construction is finally starting to rev up.  There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing the trucks pull up in the early morning hours and men drinking coffee while discussing the day’s work in my driveway.

It all starts with the excavator.  This is part of the project that I am in charge of and luckily I found a great excavator.  He does a lot of the prep work.  He clears the footprint of the house and moves a lot of dirt around.  Like a lot of dirt!  (He’s also the trench digger so think septic, electricity, cable, telephone, water from well.)



Footprint cleared and ready for foundation.

Maybe it’s me, but there could be worse places to work while moving dirt around.  Check out the scenery!

FullSizeRender 7.jpg

I find it funny that rain doesn’t stop the work up here.  I have seen the rain halt all work in California on many occasions.  These guys are like the postal service.  Not rain, sleet, snow or frozen ground will keep these guys from working.  Out there in freezing temperatures like it’s no big deal.  You’ve got to admire that.


Rain + Sun  = Lots of Rainbows!

Next, the septic tanks went in and the pipes were connected to the drain field.  (I was lucky to find a property that already had a drain field that was put in by the previous owner.)  In my rural area, there is no city/county sewer or water system which is why I have a water well and my own septic/drain field.


Concrete septic tanks perfectly placed.

A huge crane had to place these concrete septic tanks.  If you don’t know how a septic system works, a pump will deliver waste from the house to the septic tanks.  The solids settle in one tank and the liquids spill over into the second tank, which in turn is pumped with fresh water to the drain field.  By the time the liquids get to the drain field through sand etc., it is absorbed and processed with microbes and Mother Nature.

On the other side of the house are these dry wells.  All of the rain downspouts will deliver the rain to the dry wells which are giant holes filled with river rock.  This prevents flooding.


Dry wells to prevent flooding.  These are much larger than they appear in this photo.

Then the foundation guys arrive.  These guys form up the foundation for the house and concrete is poured from a pumper.


After a couple of days, the concrete sets and it’s time for the “walls.”  My house will be built on top of these walls with a subfloor.


When they kept telling me the walls are going up, I thought, you know, real walls.  I finally figured out that these were not the walls I was thinking.

Yay!  Lumber delivery day, part one.




Offloading lumber.  You can see the concrete walls.

French drains going in around the house to deliver rainwater to the dry wells.

fullsizerender-37-copyMy construction zone.


Framing guys were here working on Saturday and they will return this week to begin putting up real walls.  Next load of lumber for the second story will be delivered on Thursday so expect to see an update with something that looks like a real house.

After all the delays I’m finally going to see my farmhouse take shape!  Stay tuned.

Pomegranate Linzer Cookies

Traditional jam-filled Linzer cookies for Christmas.  I make them with homemade pomegranate jelly but usually they are made with raspberry jam and almond flour.  Wilton makes a Linzer cutter and you can find the traditional recipe on the back of the packaging.  One more thing to note: Cookies are usually baked and then jelly added between the sandwich.  I like to add the jelly first and then bake.

Pomegranate Linzer Cookies

1 cup shorteningimg_4491
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour, sifted
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup of pomegranate jelly
Powdered sugar

In your mixer combine shortening and sugars until creamy.  On slow speed mix in egg yolks, milk, and vanilla and set aside.  In another bowl sift together all dry ingredients and then combine with your shortening and sugar mixture.  Chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Thinly roll out dough on a well-floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch.  Cut out cookies using your fluted cookie cutter.  In half of your cookie squares, cut out a small hole in the center.  Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of jelly onto each whole cookie.  Top with the cut-out cookie and gently press edges together.

Bake on parchment paper or an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies.



I couldn’t take it anymore!  I had to do something.  Anything.  So I built a fence.

I moved to Washington in May of this year and I had this crazy idea that I would be sleeping in my new farmhouse by Christmas.  Ha!  What I didn’t know is that nothing is done quickly on the Olympic Peninsula.  As I looked out the window of my 5th wheel and dreamed of what Lavender Mills Farm will one day look like, I felt discouraged.  Nothing had happened yet.


Yep, that’s my temporary home!

Well, something had happened: Apparently, I am the only one in Sequim that works quickly!  Within weeks of moving to Sequim, I had my new Washington state driver’s license, registered my car, applied for and received my new address, had temporary power installed and run to the 5th wheel, had the water lines run from the well to the 5th wheel, had internet and Dish tv installed.  Not long after that, I had the plans for my house and barn approved by the County and even had the excavators out to prepare the site for the house.  I completed all of this on my own and waited for the home builder to begin.  And waited.  And waited.

Back to daydreaming while looking out the window; I had that ah-ha moment.  It occurred to me that I don’t have to wait for the house, I can start on the farm right now.  Yes!  I am a woman of action and I am not waiting any longer.  What will be the first and easiest task?  A beautiful white fence.  After receiving a few estimates I had the fence installed within a couple of weeks.


What I didn’t expect was the psychological boost of a white fence.  I feel like I actually live SOMEPLACE.  That I’m not just squatting in a humongous open field.  This fence marks a location.  I have a driveway and pillars that welcome all to my place.  I have outlined my farm and now I can start to color it in.

So today I planted 200 yellow daffodil bulbs and that is another story…

The Beginning

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I am often asked the question: “What made you decide to move to Sequim?”

I visited Sequim many years ago on a family vacation and loved it.  Whenever I think about living someplace else other than Southern California, I would think of Sequim and it’s beautiful mountain views and valleys of lavender and farmlands.

FullSizeRender 6.jpg

Many things happened in my life at the same time: retirement, the end of a 30-year marriage, my children beginning their own lives with a wedding and both moving out of the house to follow their dreams.  I became an empty nester and I ended up living in a quiet, five-bedroom house by myself.  It became clear that I needed to make a change.  I didn’t have a direction and to be honest, it was a lonely time.  The family home became a burden and felt very heavy.

I was talking with my boyfriend and he said, “What do you want to do?”  I responded, “I don’t know…I always wanted to be a lavender farmer.”  He said, “So do it. Look at flights and let’s go to Sequim and check it out.”  What?  People don’t just book flights and go check out towns, do they?  He prompted me again and I booked a flight to Seattle and made a reservation at a hotel in Sequim.  I thought it would just be a fun vacation.  We spent the week exploring and talking over every detail.  Could I really do this?  Could I really move so far away from my family?  Could I really follow a dream?  After all, it was just a dream.

The more I looked at it, the more it made sense.  The affordability alone should convince one to make such a huge change.  Even if I didn’t make a profit on the farm, I would still come out ahead.  I kept running the numbers over and over.  I researched every detail.  At the same time, the 30-year-old house was making demands that 30-year-old houses do.  It was by far the hardest and scariest decision I’ve ever had to make.  I was on an emotional rollercoaster and I think I cried for weeks.

The next question I get is, “How can you leave your children?”  Yes, this one stings a little.  It reminds me when I was a working mother and my job demanded that I be present and I couldn’t chaperone a field trip and if I took a vacation day or was able to make an activity, the teachers would say to me, “So glad you can finally join us.”  Ouch.  There it is – that feeling of guilt that I should do more or give more.

My kids are grown adults now.  They are busy with their own careers and their own lives and that is as it should be.  I am so overwhelmingly proud of each of them.  They are successful and happy and that is all any parent can want for their child.  It is time for me to focus on my next chapter and that includes something I’ve always dreamed of doing and building a memorable destination for my kids and grandkids to visit.  The key here is FaceTime and quality visits, not quantity visits.


So, now that I am in Sequim it feels right.  This is where I am supposed to be.  I wake up every morning and look at the mountains and I pinch myself because I cannot believe I live here.  I cannot believe that I am actually doing something I only dreamed of doing.  I feel so fortunate that I put aside all of the reasons why I couldn’t (believe me, I made up a lot of reasons why I couldn’t/shouldn’t) and I tore down the wall.

We really can do whatever we put our minds to do.  My soul is happy that I made a change and I’m chasing a dream.

Haying vs. Mowing

IMG_2998.PNGOne of the first things I noticed when I arrived to Lavender Mills is how tall the grass had grown. How on earth do I get this stuff mowed? I can’t purchase a mower yet because I don’t have anywhere to store it. I made a phone call to the only person I know in Sequim and she gave me a referral number. She also told me that it is not “mowing,” but “haying.” Good to know.

I made the phone call and the guy on the other end said he would be over in the next couple of days to “hay” it. Feeling pretty good about myself because I was using the correct terminology, I showed my ignorance when I asked how he is paid. I never imagined that he hays it for free and in return keeps the hay. I’m pretty sure this would never happen in California; I imagine I would be charged for hauling away my perfect hay.

Sure enough a man that I call Hay Guy showed up in a tractor and started haying. I saw this same guy all over the valley the next week working on various lots. He keeps everyone’s land cleared and keeps the hay. Win / Win.FullSizeRender 3 copy 4.jpg
I never actually met Hay Guy. He just shows up and waves at me as he drives by. He even leaves some of his big ol’ tractor equipment behind. After the hay is cut, he lets it dry out for a few days.

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A few days later he arrives with a different piece of equipment that flips the hay over to dry the other side in the sun.
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Another few days Hay Guy arrived with with Hay Guy Two and together they baled it. Very cool watching these guys work. One tractor takes the dried and spread out hay and puts it back into neat rows and the other Hay Guy drives over the neat rows and picks it up and spits out a perfect bale of hay.

FullSizeRender 3

I never thought in a million years that I would have bales of hay. I have bales of hay!

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It was the next week that I noticed everybody, and I mean everybody, on their mowers mowing. Well, apparently after all of this work one must mow because the hay is still about four inches tall. I stopped a guy down the street who was mowing and he said he would come over and mow mine the next day.


He showed up with a friend and this time I had to pay for mowing service. However, the guys were great and both work on a large organic farm on the weekdays. They even agreed to help plant my lavender and hook up irrigation when the time comes. Yes!

Awesome Wicked Cool Doors

Starting my 1,299 mile journey to Sequim, Washington from Santee, California, I had the brilliant idea to stop at an architectural salvage shop in downtown San Diego. I was looking to find some really awesome wicked cool doors for my farmhouse to-be. After all, how often do I have a trailer in tow to pick up and transport such awesome wicked cool doors?


Let’s just say I think the doors were meant to be mine. There was a huge Art Walk going on downtown and I miraculously found a parking spot – on the street – for me and my trailer. I walked into the shop and standing before me were my doors. Tall and green and perfect! Just one problem: the doors are huge and my trailer is, umm, not so huge. I told the shopkeeper that if we could get them to fit I would buy them. Believe it or not I have photographic evidence proving that I had only one inch to spare. Success!


After traveling on the road for some time with my mom and high school best friend, I discovered that the trailer’s roll-up door was not going to open. Not even an inch. The awesome cool wicked doors had settled and wedged the trailer roll-up door shut. I spent three days living in my travel clothes and borrowing literally everything from my two companions.

On day four it was time to return the trailer and somehow we had to get the bleeping roll-up door open. We stopped at an RV mechanic shop in Sequim and two nice men who reminded me of Laurel and Hardy came to the rescue and tried to force the roll-up door open. We tried driving and hitting the brakes hard for a shift. Nothing. My best friend tried her best Karate Kid move on the doors and nearly kicked a dent into the roll-up doors. Nothing. We tried jacking the door open. Nothing. At least an hour we worked on the roll-up door. Somehow we managed a few inches and I could start to unload my contents in the small gap. My bestie then got the roll-up door open about a foot and decided to slither up and inside the small gap. She did it! From inside the trailer she was able to hold the wicked cool doors up while Laurel and Hardy worked on the roll-up door. It worked. The roll-up door rolled up and my bestie celebrated by screaming F*** ya!

I have awesome wicked cool doors for the entry to my studio at Lavender Mills Farm and it was totally worth it.

Lavender Wand Tutorial

I’ve had a couple of requests for directions on how to make the lavender wands, so I thought I’d share with you. Easy to make and the scent lasts a very long time. Great for drawers or closets. How about placing one on a gift package for a little extra something?

Lavender Wands

Lavender Wands

Instructions: Because the wands need a firm stem, I prefer to use English Lavender. It has a long stem with the flowers at the end of the stem. You will see lavender sold in the home improvement stores like Spanish and Goodwin. Spanish lavender would not work well because it has a bulky flower head and Goodwin Creek Lavender is a bush with stems that are too short. Look to plant English lavender (Lavandula Augustifolia), also called true lavender.

Cut Lavender

For the wand, choose stems that are strong with firm flower buds.


Discard stems that look like this:


You will need 1/4-inch lavender colored ribbon, fabric scissors (to cut the ribbon), floral wire, and wire cutters. Optional: 1/8-inch lavender colored ribbon to tie the wand at the bottom.

IMG_6838Cut 4 feet of 1/4-inch ribbon. Gather 13 lavender stems and trim off any leaves. Some of your stems may have branched out with two smaller flower stems. Pull those off as well. Place 1/4-inch ribbon so that one end of the ribbon is about 2 inch past the end of your flowers. Wrap floral wire around the stems and the ribbon. (This photo shows only an inch of ribbon – you want the ribbon to be another 3 or 4 inches so that the ribbon is hanging past the flowers about 2 inches.)


Turn the bundle upside down and begin folding the stems over the wire.


Again, make sure you have more ribbon hanging past the flowers than this photo shows.

Fold over stems in a circular pattern.


You will have the short tail of the ribbon and the long tail end of the ribbon inside the bundle with your flowers. Pull out between the stems the long tail end of the ribbon and begin to weave to the right. Keep a tight weave.

IMG_6845Continue weaving around over and under. Sometimes a stem will hide behind some flowers and you’ll lose your place so if you come to an over/over or under/under, you’ve skipped a stem.

IMG_6846Continuing weaving all the way down until you just pass your flowers.



Grasp your short tail ribbon that was inside the wand and the long tail ribbon and wrap around once or twice and tie an overhand knot.

IMG_6851You may want to pull off any flower buds that are poking through the ribbon and tie the bundle at the very bottom with 1/8-inch ribbon to keep the stems neat and tidy.

photoTo freshen up the wand, gently roll between your palms to release the lavender scent. Enjoy!





Papertrey March Blog Hop Challenge #2

Hello friends.

As promised, I’m posting another card for the Papertrey March blog hop. I embraced the challenge and used purple sheet metal by Architexture in a Papertrey cover plate. I’ve had the sheet metal in my stash for years. Looks like I bought it on clearance for .50 cents. The sheet metal cut through like butter. Gotta love the shine. photo 1

I also cut tissue paper wrap and white card stock in the cover plate die. The background is the printed paper that shows through in some of the 2

Thanks for stopping. Hope you’re enjoying the blog hop.


Papertrey March Blog Hop Challenge

Hello friends.

I’m joining in Papertrey’s March blog hop. The challenge this month is to use something shiny. Isn’t this a happy spring birthday card? Do you spy something shiny? The button! I sewed the clear button on a piece of satin ribbon. (I wonder if satin counts as shiny.) Just a couple of stitches to sew the button and ribbon together and no worry of it coming apart. The sentiment is embossed as well.

Ruby Rose 002c

Ruby Rose 001c

Enjoy the blog hop. Since I was so quick to get this project done, I will submit another project with a little more shine. Hop on back in a while for another shiny project.



Papertrey January Blog Hop Challenge

Hello friends. It’s a Papertrey blog hop! I’m looking forward to hopping on everyone’s blogs for some Pink inspiration. If you’re starting on this blog, visit Nichole Heady’s blog for details on the hop. I had fun with this challenge and made a couple of cards to share.


I have to say that my favorite stamps to use right now are from Mum’s the Word and Background Basics: Postmarks. I also love Tag Sale #3 and I hope Papertrey releases more de-bossed dots shapes in the future. hint hint. I did take the neutral color options and used white and a little grey for the leaves and stems. I started with a scalloped vellum envelope and cut it in half. The back flap is what you see and I tucked the tag behind the flap of the envelope. I tied up the corner of the flap with DMC floss #899, which matches the pink Hibiscus Burst well. I embossed the sentiment on the vellum envelope flap from Hello, Friend in white.


My second card.


I used an embossing folder for the base of the card. The vellum is stamped with Inside & Out: Well Wishes and I tucked the pink Faith and Hope die cut ribbon behind the vellum. Washi tape and a satin ribbon finishes it off. IMG_4813

The third card has some green and linen, so it’s not technically part of the blog hop, but I thought I’d share as a little bonus. I hope you don’t mind. 🙂


Same gorgeous Mum’s the Word stamp, tag and background. This time I added the die cut hello. To give the tag a little shabby chic look, I used a white-out pen along the edges.


Enjoy the blog hop and thanks for visiting.

Ingredients (all Papertrey, unless noted otherwise):

Well, Hello There
Mum’s the Word
Background Basics: Postmarks
Tag Sale #3
Hello, Friend
Hibiscus Burst Ink
Other: DMC floss #899, Memento Long Fog ink, vellum envelope, brad

Take What You Need
Inside & Out: Well Wishes
Faith and Hope die
Other: Cuttlebug embossing folder “Charles”, washi tape, ribbon, brad

Mum’s the Word
Background Basics: Postmarks
Tag Sale #3
Hello die
Hibiscus Burst Ink
Ripe Avocado Ink
Other: washi tape

Make It Monday #148

Hello friends.

This week’s Papertrey challenge is presented by Dawn McVey. She shows us how to generation stamp with line images and multiple colors. Check out her video.

Here’s my take on the challenge:Love 001c

A close-up of the generation stamping using a single line image. I stamped in two colors: Spring Moss and Ripe Avocado.

Love 003c

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s cards. I had a little trouble finding a line image to use. I guess I don’t own that many line images. <grin> Time to browse my wish list!

Have a great week. We have a Santa Ana blowing through so unseasonably warm days and we really need the rain.

Papertrey Stamps – Tweet Talk, Lovely Leaves
Papertrey Inks – Ripe Avocado, Spring Moss, Dark Chocolate
Papertrey Die – Tag Sale #8
Liquid Pearls

Make It Monday #147

Hello friends.

It’s Monday and I do love Mondays because I get to play along in another Make It Monday challenge from Papertrey. This week’s challenge is to use a multi-layer image from a single stamp. Betsy has an awesome tutorial here. Yet another way to look at and utilize the stamps I own. Here’s my take on the challenge:
Best Day 001

Here’s a close-up of the multi-layer image from Big Ticket Basics.Best Day 002

Big Ticket Basics
Get To the Point
Wonderful Words: Congrats

Pear Fruit Leather

Hi friends.

Sharing my super simple recipe for fruit leather today. We received a huge box of various fruits, candies, nuts, etc. for Christmas. The pears were individually wrapped and were amazing. However, the pears began to ripen faster than we could eat them. Time to fire up Guinevere, my awesome Excalibur dehydrator, and make some pear fruit leather.

Pear Fruit Leather

3 pears
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. lemon juice

1. Wash and dry the pears. I do not like to peel the pears – hello, all sorts of nutrients and fiber here – but I do core them. So, go ahead and core the pears. Cut up into pieces and add to your food processor.Pear Leather 001c

2.  Add the cinnamon, honey and lemon juice. Puree until you have a nice consistency. You may want to add a little more sweetener at this time.

3. Pour pear mixture onto the non-stick dehydrator sheets for your dehydrator. Using an off-set spatula, spread out on the sheet to about 1/4 inch thickness.Pear Leather 002c

4. At this time, you can add any other ingredients. I sprinkled toasted pecans, flaked coconut and chia seed.

5. Dehydrate on 135° for 6 hours. You will know the leather is done when it is dry and not sticky to the touch.

6. Let cool on sheets. When cool, pull off of the sheets and cut into strips. You may want to roll up on parchment paper. Store in an airtight container. Can keep up to a year in the refrigerator.

Peach Leather 003cThis recipe is for pear leather, but you could adapt it for any other fruit leather. If you want to read more about homemade fruit leathers, visit the Cooperative Extension Studies website.

Make It Monday #146

Hello friends. I spent some time today working on Papertrey’s Make It Monday – Angled Backgrounds challenged. Be sure to view Ashley’s video for a tutorial of this technique.

Here’s my take on the challenge:

Chapel 001c

I chose various shades of white and grabbed a few embossing folders to give some dimension. Love it! The textures and shades really turned out great. Foam adhesive is used under the tag to raise it a bit from the card. Chapel 003c

Papertrey: Love and Marriage stamp set, Tag Sale #8 die
Embossing folders: Cuttlebug and Sizzix
Swiss dot ribbon, heart medallion
Chapel 005c

Papertrey December 2013 Blog Hop

Hi friends. I’m participating in Papertrey’s blog hop challenge “tied up with string.”

Here’s a gift that I made up for some very special friends. It includes a wicker charger, plate, teacup, napkin, lemon and candy inside the teacup and tied up with a green velvet ribbon, tea bags, and a label attached with a sparkly clothespin.

Teacup 001I put mahjong tiles in a teacup and had each gal pull out a tile with a number. The number corresponded with her special tea cup.

tea cup 002

teacup 003The label was made with Papertrey: Stylish Sentiments Holiday Stamp, Label Basics Stamp.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.


Make It Monday #145

As promised, I’m sharing the card sets I made for my Circle of Friends (a group of women I’ve known for over 35 years). I’m reposting for Papertrey’s Make It Monday #145 Al la Carte.

Gift Set 001c

Gift Set 002Aren’t the onesies cute? My family joked that I was setting up a nursery. I left the cards blank so the girls could fill them out and send as a congrats card, but I can see this used as an adorable baby shower invite as well.

The set included a birthday card and matching envelopes. Danielle Flanders made a really cute boxed set of cards using Papertrey’s plastic containers here. Great idea! I saved the packaging from Papertrey stamp sets I’ve ordered in the past. It fit the cards perfectly. With a little more time, I could probably fit another two cards in each box…say, a wedding and just-a-note card?

Here’s a close-up of the onesies:

Onesie 001 Onesie 002 Onesie 003 Onesie 010 Onesie 005 Onesie 006 Onesie 007 Onesie 011 Onesie 008 Onesie 009


Onsies Group

I could make these all day! Again, just using little bits and pieces to dress them up.

Using the onesie die from Papertrey, I cut the card base onesie and then another in whatever paper I was using for the top. Paper piecing tip: If you cut your decorative onesie in half, you have a top and a bottom that you can mix and match on two different cards. The little raised dot embellishments are made with Liquid Pearls. Also used tiny snaps, tiny buttons, flowers, lace, trim, ribbon and border dies. All rubber stamping and animals are from Papertrey stamp and die sets: Bitty Baby Blessings and Sweet Baby.

I finished the box off with a wrap-around sleeve and then added Everyday Photo Finishers. I love how the set turned out. So much so that I made two of every card so I could keep one. I think I need help.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit. Have a very merry Christmas!

WMS Pajama Party Christmas

Salt Shakers 001cHere’s another project for the Waltzingmouse pajama party to create something Christmas. I love this project!

I’ve been collecting little Christmas bell jars for years and this year I decided to make one of my own. After an unsuccessful and exhaustive search for an affordable small glass globe, I happened upon some salt shakers. Just about the right size to fit tiny Christmas trees. These little Christmas shakers were born. I hope you love them, too.

Although no Waltzingmouse in this project, you could easily add an adorable little WMS tag. I’m new to WMS and I see quite a few sets that would be cute with this idea. I just might try a garden theme with a nest and little eggs. Wouldn’t that look adorable for spring?


Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Here’s an easy crock pot meal. Similar to something I like to order at Chipotle.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

There is even enough for leftovers tomorrow night.

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (15 oz.) can black beans
8 oz. fresh or frozen corn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
avocado and sour cream, if desired

For rice:
1/4 cup lime juice
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup rice

Combine ingredients (except rice ingredients) in crock pot with chicken on top.

Cook on low for about 10 hours or on high for about 6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred with fork. Add shredded chicken back to crock pot and keep warm until serving.
Serve over rice. Garnish with sliced avocado and/or a dollop of sour cream.