I don't intentionally skew what I share about my life, though I realize I am certainly more inspired by certain things (plants, pottery, Tajer) than by other things (exercise machines, my day job). But that doesn't mean they are not big or important or even meaningful parts of my life. The gym has been a place I've spent a lot of time the past few months. I started weightlifting when I was 13 so while I am perfectly comfortable in a gym, it's not my favorite place to get fitness in and I spend years, decades even, avoiding them. I utilize gyms more in periods of great need: needing to get greater results out of limited time to put in. Working a day job during winter days with short daylight hours makes it more difficult to get out and active. Having other priorities and dealing with confusing health issues over the past few years has put me at a fitness deficit, so I'm enjoying my time catching up with my body moving needs.


arianna (37), exercise (1), gym (1), health (4), self-care (1), weights (1), winter (12)

Arianna (26), Degree (68)

Summer 2015

bee and flowers

Due to my pottery making addiction taking up so much of my time these past couple years, I don't spend as much time with a camera in hand. Though I have managed to get out with my camera a few times. While mostly birds, bees, and plants, these are some scenes from this summer.

bee and flowers bee and flowers bee and flowers hummingbird hummingbird

I spent some time chasing hummingbirds around this gorgeous bottle bush, watching them enjoy it before it was cut down the next day. The trunk was angled and growing into the area that is planned for a "shed" (future home of Rick's music studio). I allowed the suckers at it's base to remain and have since selected one to cultivate into a new tree, with support to keep it going in an vertical dimension and not lean over into construction zone.

hummingbird swallowtail butterfly and butterfly bush swallowtail butterfly and butterfly bush swallowtail butterfly and butterfly bush agave flower agave flower

While agave plants flower only once after many years, even decades, and put so much energy into the flower stalk that it shrinks and shrivels the leaves, and kills the plant...
there are always lizards sunning at my folks house in Potter Valley.

lizard lizard radish flowers artichoke flower

We had some new "pests" in the garden this year, though I did not expect to see any as large as the two deer that repeatedly visited us until we managed to barricade their access from the creek. They had done some grazing of our fruit trees, mostly apples (which we could easily spare) but also plums from our young multi-graft tree, and most worrisome, they had stripped the leaves and tops of my baby bi-graft apple trees.

It was exciting to discover the deer in my garden several times and felt like a bit of magic or a symbol of the abundance I've been blessed with. It's contrary to growing food in such a small space to have them around, but it's also a little sad to me to have to keep them out.


The photo above is of a buck with a few points on his rack, though unfortunately hidden in the photo. Below is the younger buck who was even shyer and never came as close to the house, he's hiding behind the chicken coop, probably having just eaten my one nectarine fruit off a graft from last year.

deer tomato horn worm

Although I haven't seen these incredible creatures since my childhood garden, when I saw some tomato plants stripped of leaves along with poops that looked like berry clusters, I knew immediately what I needed to look for. I also knew it would be difficult to find camouflaged in the tomato foliage. After some long staring at all the green leaves and stems, my pattern recognition system finally spotted one, and then another.

tomato horn worm

We also had an egret visit for a bit.

egret egret

Our one little trip this year was a weekend in Nevada City and Yuba River. This is the covered bridge, known to be the longest single-span covered bridge in the world.

yuba river covered bridge

agave (3), bee (5), birds (32), bridge (8), butterfly (5), creatures (54), deer (1), egret (2), flower (3), garden (30), hummingbirds (2), lizards (5), potter-valley (66), river (1), summer (2), worms (2)

Power Balls

power balls snacks

For some years I've been making these easy and nutritious little snack balls to save on pricey snack bars, reduce packaging waste, and better control the quality of ingredients. If you have a food processor, you too can make these little treats. What goes in them can suit your preferences and what you have on hand.

What's your favorite snack bar and what does it contain? Look it's ingredients to get inspiration for making your own flavor. If your favorite bar contains ingredients that you don't have or wouldn't ever buy... you probably shouldn't be eating it!

power balls snacks

There is a lot of flexibility in the ingredients. The two main parts are: 1) nuts and/or seeds for protein and substance and 2) dried fruit as a sticky binder and for sweetness and flavor. Any additional ingredients add mouth feel, health benefit, or more sweetness or flavor. See sample recipes below, but this is something you can get creative with. You can be as simple and easy as just two ingredients such as cashews and dates, or get complex and pack the nuggets with superfoods.

I add the "dry" ingredients first, the nuts and seeds, plus any powdered additives or spices. Pulse lightly or process more thoroughly, that's a matter of preference for a smooth mouth feel or to maintain chunky-course nuts for a little crunch. Then add the "wet" ingredients, the dried fruits, oils, sweeteners, liquid extracts (e.g. vanilla, orange, stevia).

power balls snack blending

Some items blend better when chopped prior to putting in the food processor. For example, the mango slices I currently have are very dry and tough. Even though I cut them to smaller pieces with scissors before adding them, they jam up in the blade and I need to stop it and move things around several times until they get better incorporated.

power balls snacks

Process until combined and clumping together. If it still appears dry and doesn't easily roll into balls in your hand, more wet ingredients should be added and tasting it will give you a clue which direction to go. If it is not sweet enough for you, add more honey or maple syrup, or dried fruit that still contains ample moisture. If it is sweet enough, you can add more coconut oil or olive oil for more moisture, though if it's already appearing or feeling oily, do not go this route. If it feels too wet to hold it's form as balls, you can add more dry ingredients, nuts, chia seeds, dry banana chips, shredded coconut, powdered maca, spirulina, etc.

Form into balls with clean hands. They can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks or freezer for up to six months. I like them less cold so take them out of the fridge prior to eating or leave a half dozen or so in a container on the counter for a couple days, they are not super perishable if kept sealed.

Tropical Mango

2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup hemp seed
- - process, then add:
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp bee pollen
2 cups chopped dried mango slices
1 cup dates
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
- - roll in shredded coconut

Turkish Delight

1 cup raw pecans or almonds
1/2 cup pistachios
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
- - process, then add:
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried figs
1/2 cup dates
1 Tbsp honey
(Olive oil is a good flavor addition here if more moisture is needed without adding sweetness, add just a drizzle at a time. Although I find the above combination usually releases a lot of oil on it's own.)

Chocolate Cherry

1 1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw or cold pressed cocao powder
1/4 cup hemp seeds
- - process, then add:
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup dried cherries (tart, sweet, or bing
1/4 cup goji berries
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp maple syrup
- - roll in cocoa powder

power balls snacks

food (12), recipe (4), snack (1)

Degree (68), Nutrition (5)

Red-Shouldered Hawk

red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk

birds (32), hawk (2)

Birds (29), Winter Trees (7)

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