I am Three Rivers

I started writing this a while ago but the idea would not blossom. So, like one of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I put the idea in the bottom drawer to ferment a while.

It makes sense to me now.

I am Three Rivers.

🪜One river is in Full Flood.

🪜My Second river weaves Full and Gentle with total confidence in and out of the flood.

🪜The third is a Determined Trickle across hot stones veering off course searching for a chance to wreak mayhem.

But water always finds a way.

We are curious creatures – us humans. Curious as in nosy. But also curious to observe. We can have a whole world of thoughts running just below the surface but nothing will show on our faces.

An unmoored raft of ideas, history, disappointments and guilt twirl about our brains as a dance or a dirge. Both sometimes.

It is hard to keep up with everything in our heads.

How about your head? What is going on in there? Anything you feel like talking about?

I had friends to visit during the week. They always take over the kitchen and play Chopped. You know, like the television show. They walk about the gardens, and trees, foraging, tasting. They pull jars of interesting things from their bags then pour a wine and talk about things. Then they cook!

Invariably this is three meals ending with breakfast.

And after they have cleaned up and packed up and driven off with arms waving out the car window I have food for three days left in the fridge!

Business as usual – back on the farm.

My tutoring portfolio is growing fast!

My sustainable spaces writing is developing slowly – there are a few tech challenges with starting a newsletter, workbook and course with a tiny subscription. And a private way for everyone to talk to each other – building community is so important! I need to get my head around it all.

But the scaffold is almost there –

🌳Little steps.

🌟Live Simply so the Planet can Live Large.

☀️Maximise Minimalism.

✨Create Resilient Sustainable Spaces.

🌜PreCycle.

Thoughts? As usual feel free to chime in. We are the Fellowship of the Farmy after all. All thoughts welcome.

Today I am bringing straw into all the animal and bird houses. Although it is not cold yet we need to prepare the shelters for winter.

And these naughty birds need to be retaught to go back in the duck house at night.

Plus all those chickens roosting in trees! They will not survive a winter out there.

Time to get to work!

Enjoy your day.

Cecilia

Muesli Cookies – A meal in a cookie!

If you don’t have time to make breakfast; two of these cookies and a strong cup of coffee will set you up!

First make your own favourite breakfast muesli.

Muesli

My muesli is different every time. Today I toasted oats, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, quinoa, raisins and dried blueberries. Everything except the fruit goes into a large baking pan with a dash of oil.

Bake on low until toasted. At the end of the baking period I add the dried fruit and a swirl of honey. Then toss together. Bake 4 more minutes.

Cool.

Breakfast cookies.

Cream together: 2 sticks of soft butter with 1 cup of brown sugar.

Then add 2 room temperature eggs and 2 tsp of vanilla.

Blend in: 3 cups of muesli and 1 and 1/2 cups of AP flour. ( I used Janie’s Mill organic Red Fife) plus an extra 1/2 cup of raisins.

Scoop even sized balls of dough and roll with wet hands. Flatten with wet fork.

Bake at 375 for 15- 20 minutes. Until slightly brown around the edges.

Cool on rack.

Have a lovely day! I know this is a short post today but I really wanted to remind you about these cookies. We used to make them by the hundred when the woofers and farm cadets were here. Do you remember?

The hey days! Hay Days!

Good simple food.

Take care!!

Cecilia

What’s next for this meal?

Let’s think before we cook! So we can eliminate food waste in our kitchens. Say to yourself – “Whats next for this meal?”

I don’t have trouble because we have pigs and chickens but in other houses the people get to eat all the food!

Here is Wai!

Do you remember when he first came to the Farmy?

Here is a funny story about him. We don’t want to go back too much further for Wai. That story is so sad. But he survived! And is the resident curmudgeon.

We were all ready for the cold but this week it is back up in the 50’s. Nice and warm.

Here is a Ukrainian Poppy Seed loaf. This is not a sweet cake. From The Moosewood Cookbook.

We cleaned the windows in the glasshouse to let more light in. The water collected while the shower warms up is all carted into the glasshouse for watering the plants. Also water in buckets makes a kind of heat sink – helping the area to stay warm. But, like I say, it has not got cold yet!

Today I will start some Thanksgiving Loaves of bread. My contribution is also the Baked Acorn Squash. I cannot get enough of this!

No work for the rest of the week which is unnerving. A fluctuating income is not a comfort. But I continue to work and write and move slowly towards my Sustainable Spaces coaching site.

When I make a meal I am always looking to what is next with the meal. Freezing lunch sized portions or making stock and freezing that.

A fry-up!

When creating your Thanksgiving feast remember to think the food through to its next iteration.

☹️Dumping food into a bin is obscene.

So cook in a way that enables you to eat the leftovers. Fry-ups are my favourite. Above is macaroni cheese fried in salted butter! The cheese in the cheese sauce caramelized and the breadcrumbs added crunch. This was delicious.

If you can’t eat those left overs immediately – pop them into containers and into the freezer and don’t forget the note on the fridge telling you what is in the freezer. No meal likes to sit in the deep freeze for too long.

That Turkey carcass will make a great stock! I freeze stock into small two cup containers. Use up all those plastic containers that cottage cheese or sour cream come in. ( oh how I miss my milking days!)

PS Dogs love mashed potatoes and green bean casserole! And stuffed acorn squash for that matter!

PSS Note the dog blankets on the couch! 😳🦋 The dogs are old now. Gone soft!!

Have a great day!

And in the comments tell me your fav way to save leftovers. It is old fashioned! We love old fashioned!

Cecilia

What’s next for this meal?

Let’s think before we cook! So we can eliminate food waste in our kitchens. Say to yourself – “Whats next for this meal?”

I don’t have trouble because we have pigs and chickens but in other houses the people get to eat all the food!

Here is Wai!

Do you remember when he first came to the Farmy?

Here is a funny story about him. We don’t want to go back too much further for Wai. That story is so sad. But he survived! And is the resident curmudgeon.

We were all ready for the cold but this week it is back up in the 50’s. Nice and warm.

Here is a Ukrainian Poppy Seed loaf. This is not a sweet cake. From The Moosewood Cookbook.

We cleaned the windows in the glasshouse to let more light in. The water collected while the shower warms up is all carted into the glasshouse for watering the plants. Also water in buckets makes a kind of heat sink – helping the area to stay warm. But, like I say, it has not got cold yet!

Today I will start some Thanksgiving Loaves of bread. My contribution is also the Baked Acorn Squash. I cannot get enough of this!

No work for the rest of the week which is unnerving. A fluctuating income is not a comfort. But I continue to work and write and move slowly towards my Sustainable Spaces coaching site.

When I make a meal I am always looking to what is next with the meal. Freezing lunch sized portions or making stock and freezing that.

A fry-up!

When creating your Thanksgiving feast remember to think the food through to its next iteration.

☹️Dumping food into a bin is obscene.

So cook in a way that enables you to eat the leftovers. Fry-ups are my favourite. Above is macaroni cheese fried in salted butter! The cheese in the cheese sauce caramelized and the breadcrumbs added crunch. This was delicious.

If you can’t eat those left overs immediately – pop them into containers and into the freezer and don’t forget the note on the fridge telling you what is in the freezer. No meal likes to sit in the deep freeze for too long.

That Turkey carcass will make a great stock! I freeze stock into small two cup containers. Use up all those plastic containers that cottage cheese or sour cream come in. ( oh how I miss my milking days!)

PS Dogs love mashed potatoes and green bean casserole! And stuffed acorn squash for that matter!

PSS Note the dog blankets on the couch! 😳🦋 The dogs are old now. Gone soft!!

Have a great day!

And in the comments tell me your fav way to save leftovers. It is old fashioned! We love old fashioned!

Cecilia

GREEN SOUP AND RED FIFE BAGUETTES

Oh, the life I lead now!

Lots of food! I live in a life of frugal plenty.

Which reminded me of a story:

When I was a young solo mum with too many children and not enough money; I stole toilet paper.

TOILET PAPER!!! 💀😂

Unashamedly!! (But only if there was more than one spare roll. And only if it was the kind with the cute wrapper. Plus I never stole one ply. I mean, a girl has her pride).

And mostly my loo rolls came from the local community college where I worked as a life drawing model once a week. They paid me to sleep, naked of course, and I was always hungry in those days so I had ‘good bones’! Anyway it was a great job for a young solo mum with too many children and not enough money!

And yet I stole their toilet paper any chance I got!

I carried a huge handbag then – still do actually!

GREEN SOUP

Any greens. I had kale and spinach, red stemmed silver beet still loitering in the garden. Pick a big bowl of them. Chop and char the edges in a dry cast iron pan.

Caramalised onions. Two.

Garlic chopped and charred. ( the charring adds an extra round of nuttiness to an otherwise quite bland soup. But don’t go crazy:

Cover in good chicken stock. Simmer for at least an hour.

Season and blend – I use a stick blender.

Then while I am waiting to serve the soup I drop a whole halved and charred lemon to raise that taste profile another step.

And a whisper of freshly grated nutmeg.

BAGUETTES

There are four stages to my baguettes.

1. The first evening:

1/3 cup Red Fife flour . A tiny bit less than 1/3 cup water . Pinch of yeast. Stir up, place a plate on top of the bowl and leave on the counter overnight. This is the sponge.

2. The second day around noon:

Mix all the bubbly sponge with about one and a half cups of water and 1/4 tsp yeast. Give it a minute then add 1cup of Red Fife flour and 2 cups of a High Protein Bread Flour. Lastly: 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

Mix.

Stretch and fold three times over the next hour.

Set aside to rise for 3-4 hours.

3. That same evening:

Cut the dough into three. Pat into ovals. Roll up twice and gently roll out into fat sausages to construct the baguettes.

Allow to sit overnight, on a tray, in the fridge, under a damp cotton towel. I have a heavy linen cloth that I flour and roll between each baguette to keep the shape.

4. On the second morning:

Allow the baguettes to rise on the counter, as the oven heats to 450f . Slash.

Bake in a steamy oven for 25 minutes.

You know how I hate writing out my recipes – so adapt as you see fit.

Ducks are more fun! The ducks are going back into their duck house at night. Very obediently I might add.

I am still catching the odd hen and putting her in the henhouse and hauling all these big roosters out. I love rooster catching nights. They are big strong fierce birds and it gives me great pleasure to get them off the backs of those girls.

I have rooster catching gloves!

Now: How about a cow! Such matronly ankles!

Think like a cow.

Sunset over a field of wheat.

Did you see this?

Too funny!!

Cecilia

☀️Live simply so the planet can live Large

🦋Be the Butterfly

A Simple Friday Dinner

At home. A simple Friday dinner at home. Fridays deserve super easy nourishing dinners. (And a glass of crisp white wine!).

Baked acorn squash!

You can use any little pumpkin. I love acorn squash for the lovely scalloped edges.

Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Be careful not to pierce the skin. Sit the halves on their flat bottoms in a baking dish.

Into the cavity I place a teaspoon of salted butter, a slice of bacon and a little local honey. (The options are unlimited but you will need a little fat and gentle flavors – this dish is all about the taste of sweet autumn pumpkin). And simplicity!!

Gently place in the middle of the oven – be careful not to let those pumpkin halves fall over.

Bake for a good hour on 360F. Until soft.

Often I eat my little pumpkin dinner just like this with a spoon.

Or, after you have baked the little pumpkins, you can fill them with wild rice, top with diced red onion and serve on a bed of finely sliced kale and roasted walnuts with a light red wine vinaigrette.

The wheat is above ground! Sprouted. Greening up! Away!

The fields have had a few good rains and warm days.

Have a lovely weekend.

Don’t forget to 🌟 live simply so our planet can live large!

Cecilia

Butternut and Spinach Lasagna

Lunch on a leaf raking autumnal afternoon.

Vegetarian lasagna. Some would call it a pie which is fair! A meal full of seasonal oranges and golds and deep green fresh greens. The vegetables caught between layers of summer tomato sauce, cheese, and home made pasta.

When eating seasonally these are the foods of the cooling months. The heart foods. The chickens will stop laying soon, there are only leaves left in the garden and benches of orange pumpkins are on stand by in the cool room. So there is a natural urgency to eat well and prepare for the cold seasons.

We need to stock up and eat up because winter is coming.

This pasta was made with Black Emmer flour but you can make it with good old All Purpose or whatever you have in the pantry.

🌟Do you have a flour-mill close by? See if you can find some local flour from local grains and help build a robust supply chain of food close to you. Keep these little businesses alive.

🌟Make friends with your farmer.

This pasta was made with four fresh farm eggs plus one egg yolk, (the cats got the left over egg white), three cups of flour, and enough water to bring it all together. Black Emmer is thirsty so I used about 1/2 a cup of water. Add your water cautiously – you want a stiff dough.

Allow the pasta at least 30 minutes to sit before rolling.

Scorch and roast the root vegetables.

Caramalize two onions. Pulled out some summer tomato sauce. Make a heavy bechamel with butter and flour, milk and cheese and lots of pepper.

The lasagna was constructed with the layers of home made pasta sheets, onions, tomato, butternut squash, spinach and cheese sauce.

The topping, which I crumbled on just before baking, was fresh breadcrumbs (I pulled apart a slice of Black Emmer bread) with dry roasted garlic and sage that I threw through hot salted butter.

Free style it! Just make sure to have enough liquid in the mix to cook the pasta.

Bake at 375F for an hour.

(Pop back to this post if you want to make enough pasta for a tribe: Pasta and Bread – remember those days when the house was full of people!! )!!

Remember that lasagna likes to sit for a few hours (or overnight) with a gentle weight on top to press it. After it has sat for those hours I add the last layer of bechamel, cheese then garlic and sage breadcrumbs. Then pop in the oven to cook- add 15 minutes if cooking straight from the fridge.

I have to admit that homemade lasagna is a mission, so make a huge pan of it so you can pop some in the freezer for a lazy meal.

Ok! After lunch I am going back out to rake more leaves in under the trees. Those leaves are life giving for the trees. I never burn leaves.

The chickens will get a few bags into their run too!

Cecilia

The Wheat Is In The Ground!

They harvested!

The next morning they spread the matured chicken manure. (And yes it stunk!).

Then there was a shallow tilling to mix it in.

Then they planted. Through the night.

The planter wheezed and sorrowfully rolled, like an anxious shoemaker’s elf, through the soft night, along it’s designated path and sowed the organic wheat into the rich black soil.

( I dreamt of my childhood sailboat jetty that night. As the planter sailed repeatedly passed my bedroom window. The planter carries the sounds of halyards ringing as the masts rock in a gentle sea breeze).

And then, like a blessing, it rained, a good thorough deep drenching rain.

Literally a couple of days after the soybeans were hauled out, the Soft Red Winter Wheat seeds have been tucked into the soil preparing to germinate.

And Tima has been let out of her field for the winter.

Here is BooBoo in his adoration chair. Watching me write.

Have a lovely day!

Cecilia

The How

The How is In the Plan. Read on! And comment!

For a plan we must have an objective.

🌟My objective is to create a resource for people who want to develop a home that aligns with their concerns for the welfare of the planet and its people. To enable discussion, conversation and support amongst like minded people. To use minimalism to simplify our homes. To create an online hub to exchange ideas.

(It helps me a lot to roll these initiatives past YOU so – chime in with any ideas you have.)

It is important to me that I am creating community. Not just sitting atop my compost pile pontificating.

To enable and teach our how people to create Resilient Sustainable Spaces I will roll out the plan in three parts.

1. The free newsletter. A monthly catch up with tips, encouragement and useful facts. Now, I know how we ALL hate those shouty newsletters with wild proclamations of making your first 100k by next month and losing all that weight in 6 weeks and all that other bullshit. This will just be a letter from me – hand delivered to the inbox with the tips from each week. Nuggets the community has shared, recipes, planting suggestions, money saving ideas, back to the future in our kitchens, clothing, lots of good stuff.

ALSO: The Free Newsletter will have a link to subscribe to the:

🌝 Sustainable Spaces Personal Plan

2. The Sustainable Spaces Personal Plan: A person will sign on – have a zoom call consultation with me to work out what their objectives are. Then we will make an appointment to go through their space/home/rooms together, and all that jazz. They will still receive the monthly newsletter. Plus they will receive a weekly personal email with tons of useful stuff and containing their personal plan for the week.

☀️The subscribers will all be invited to A Community On Call. A community of like minded people in a continuous thread of discussion. I think that a Slack group would suit us here. I will be available all the time. And as the community grows this will become our hub! Where everyone can chat to each other and exchange ideas.

Together both in the emails and chat we will talk about:

🤔How to apply minimalism to maximize your lifestyle.

🤔When to make decisions to simplify your lifestyle.

🌝 How to live and eat seasonally in your hemisphere. 

🤔How to conserve water.

🌕Creating resilient spaces in a warming world. Storms. Flooding. Architecture.

🤔How to cut down on wasted food using meal plans.

🤔How to cut down on waste using the concept of pre-cycling and a ton of interesting ideas.

✨Garbage and how to avoid it.

☀️Plastic and how to avoid it.

🪜Cardboard and what to do with it.

🤫Meal Ideas because the kitchen is the hub of a sustainable home.

🌳Garden plans. If a person has a patch of ground to grow in.

Etcetera. Etcetera!!

Talking to each other openly without the threat of attack is so important. I know we need to listen to different points of view but I also know that I don’t need to be attacked by climate change deniers. So a private room to plan and chat and support each other is imperative. I see too much nastiness out there, so I want us to have a safe place to launch all our ideas.

Because we can make a difference. Each one of us.

The Fellowship of the Farmy has taught me this.

3. Lastly. The Workbook. This is a work in progress. And a big one. Written in seasonal chapters. It will be a paper book that our people can order that will enable a person to make their own plan with specific challenges to meet each week.

SO!! What do you THINK!

Does this make sense?

Many of you have been with this sustainable farm almost as long as I have, so I invite you to join in on this discussion. You and I have been working towards this for fifteen years!!

And what about the pricing?

Should there be an option to only join the Community Chat combined with the newsletter? Then another (more expensive) option to subscribe to the Sustainable Spaces Support with my personal emails and plans and all that jazz.

As usual and of course thekitchensgarden.com and her Fellowship will be the Mother Ship.

🌳Little steps.

🌟Live Simply so the Planet can Live Large.

☀️Maximise Minimalism.

✨Create Resilient Sustainable Spaces.

🌜PreCycle.

My head is swirling with ideas and research and speakers and articles and fantastic stuff to help our families be resilient and sustainable.

The organic soybeans have been harvested. The leaves are falling. The chickens are laying less and less. The pigs are beginning to build their winter beds.

Talk soon!

Cecilia

RAIN – Pouring Rain in a Golden Morning

It rained yesterday afternoon and is still raining this morning. And after months in California the rain feels luxurious.

Probably an inconvenience to the city people but joyous to us out here in the country. It has not rained since I returned to the farm. The harvest is a few weeks off yet and no hay on the ground.

So rain is good.

Rainy day cat.

All the wild gardens opened their leafy hands to the big gulps of wet rain and just inhaled.

This is me with my professional face on! Tutoring yesterday.

Everything in the garden breathed in and the newly trimmed bushes did not look so sad anymore.

Pumpkin bread from earlier in the week.

The oven is on! Bread and cookies on the way today.

BooBoo hides under the bed from the thunder.

Sunrise was at 7.04 AM. Sunset will be 6.19pm. The high will be 65f a low of 40f and rain off and on all day.

And then the sunrise burst through the rain clouds and everything went golden just for a moment.

🌟Live Simply so the Planet can Live Large.

☀️Maximise Minimalism.

✨Create Resilient Sustainable Spaces.

🌜PreCycle.

Have a wonderful day!

🕰 Want to go back in time? Here is the Farmy on a October 12th, 2011.

2011!!! A different world.

We have been at this sustainable thing a long time, you and I!

I could go on! But I need to get ready for my mornings teaching. Teaching in my socks! 🫢

Cecilia

https://thekitchensgarden.com/2011/10/12/celi-diet-meatballs-on-silverbeet/

The Why

So why am I writing a piece of work (that is presently a spreadsheet) to help our friends and online community and families “maximize minimalism to create resilient sustainable homes”.

It will become a course you see. A pathway for ordinary people like us to live. There will be an email list. A course and a community. Tons of useful tips and facts. And a lot of discussion.

So why am I launching into this?

Well, for a start I have been walking the walk for quite some time now, so it is time I talked the talk!

Maybe it is a guilty conscience – I feel awfully guilty for the years when I did not even think of the environment I lived in. Though we have to get over the guilt. It is not useful. The planet is turning into a rubbish heap: so change it- we need to stop whinging about how bad we feel. Feeling guilty helps no-one. Get over it and get on with it.

Maybe because we have to start now. Here. To make a stand for Simply Living Simply.

Maybe because I feel happier and healthier eating clean food and living lightly and I want to help us all do that too? (yuk that sounds so sanctimonious).

Maybe because we need to combine modern technology with old fashioned norms to enable good happy wholesome lives for our grandchildren’s children. But where is that information?

Maybe because HOME is the most beautiful word and we all need to feel secure in the ability of our homes to shelter and protect us from the elements. Yes, I will be talking about architecture too.

Maybe because we are on the cusp of great changes environmentally, financially, and climatically so we have to thoughtfully design a way of living that can adapt fast to the changes ahead. I will be talking to the money guys too – investing in solar and wind is a thing. Self-powering houses! I love that!

We have become dependent. How I hate being dependent.

I saw a question on LinkedIn the other day asking how often you make a home-cooked meal but the writer had another term for it. I can’t remember what it was. Not ‘from scratch’ – some other term. Oh, I know what it was – prepped. How often do you prep a meal.

But SO MANY of the comments were from people who did not cook!

No one taught them how?

They missed the point?

So many people were saying that home cooking was for the holidays. When they got hungry they got take-out delivered or went to the supermarket to buy a meal. They gave away the power of food.

But the expense! My poor frugal heart! and the packaging! Plastic packaging is not cool. And losing touch with the concept of cooking a meal and serving it hot at a table. We are the next Incas.

Wherever I live there is a home cooked meal every night. (And to be clear I am not the only one cooking). If I am alone (and left to my own devices) I pan fry grated potatoes with bacon and onion into a kind of frittata but in a pan. Then cover it in grated cheese and flip – sometimes that works – so the cheese becomes the base and cooks and sizzles and caramalizes (and nothing makes me happier than fried cheese) then when everything is crunchy I lay it, like a huge potato pancake, on a plate and cover it in vegetables and Greek yoghurt.

When I make pasta I make extra for the freezer. Especially ravioli. That’s prepping. Right?

If I am being clever the fresh vegetables I buy are immediately cut up into serving size pieces and stored together in a covered glass bowl in the fridge. So I can just reach in for a serving of veg every night.

I need to go back and find that LinkedIn post so I can say I prep too!

So why am I writing this piece of work? Why am I creating a three month course?

I want to build a community of like minded individuals and families and companies who can support each other in building resilient sustainable homes and work spaces. So we can move forward with confidence. So our food and supply chains are safe and local. So we can save each other from the flood. Not just pretend the storm is not coming then wait for help.

I can do the heavy lifting. My team and I will do the research – by the way you are on my team. And we will get the info into peoples pockets.

I want to spread the word that we CAN do something. That our actions are viable and respected.

I know that changing from a plastic toothbrush to a compostable one won’t actually overcome plastic pollution but it will change the way we think. It is a chicken step. Scratch Scratch Peck. Remember? And we are a whole flock. Together we can make a difference.

No doom and gloom- I promise.

🌟Live Simply so the Planet can Live Large.

☀️Maximize Minimalism.

✨Create Resilient Sustainable Homes.

🌜PreCycle

PRE-CYCLE! This is my new word. Or (in other words) don’t bring that shit into the house to begin with. I don’t want to have to throw it into an over filled recycling bin with another dubious journey ahead of it.

I still have single use plastic in my sights. Much of this plastic is convenient. Individual punnets of anything are a luxury. And the convenience of easy disposal has made us lazy.

Maybe we need to toughen up and get used to the idea that our lifestyles today can not be as convenient as they were a decade ago.

So – as my Farmy researchers and The Fellowship – what can you and I ban from the house this week.

The latest: Plastic Bin liners. GONE. Small containers of cat food! GONE. Plastic toothbrushes. GONE. (Though all the toothbrushes I have used across my life STILL EXIST somewhere- never gone- aah).

🤔OK – what else?

LEGO is allowed because I have Lego that is forty years old and yet another generation of kids play with it. So Lego is on the good list!! 😂😂 it is reused again and again and again.

See! Not all doom and gloom!

So, what do you think?

Cecilia

PS As usual I seldom edit when writing my blog – because I am amongst friends. So let’s pull this apart and put it back together in the comments.

PSS 🌳The trees come this week!