When I was in my early twenties I was a little bit bothered by the fact that I’d rather stay home and make jam than go out and be social like the rest of my friends. And then I grew up, and learned to totally embrace my domesticity. So far 2011 has been a year of projects, big and small, with some huge ones on the horizon. The boyfriend, S, and I moved into a great house down in a super lush canyon last November. It was the only place we looked at. We were sold when we walked down the stairs onto the front porch (complete with a swing!) and all we could see from every angle was green. It felt like being in a treehouse. The backyard is huge. One of the first things that S said was, “I want to build a brick oven.” And so it was, the first of many DIY zygotes to form between the two of us.

Our porch


S hasn’t started the oven yet, but the space has been cleared, and all of the building materials and supplies have been ordered! They should be here any day now. It’s been a long road since the moment he decided he wanted to build it, until now. There’s been lots of reading, waiting 3 weeks (very impatiently) for our oven plans to arrive, tree chopping, shrub removal, weed pulling…not to mention the 2 retaining walls he built along the way so that I can plant a garden. We have a lot of space.

In his element


I decided to grow everything from seed this year, and ordered an ambitious amount of seeds from Seed Savers. My kitchen windowsill has become a mini greenhouse, with 7 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and peppers to name a few of the things I’m planning to grow. We also have a sunny hill that runs along side the house, where I will attempt to grow watermelon and cantaloupe. Last time I tried to grow melon, they didn’t work out so well. Here’s to second chances.

Needless to say, a lot has been going on, but perhaps the most exciting project I’ve been playing with is my beloved starter, Harold. When S decided he was going to build a brick oven, I figured I needed to learn to bake bread worthy of it’s own oven. I’d always been intimidated by bread, and especially bread made from a starter. It just seems so….complex, and easy to mess up. It’s always easier to teach yourself how to do something when you really want to learn, and are patient with yourself. I bought the Tartine Bread book, by Chad Robertson. I already own the Tartine Bakery cookbook, and have always said that someone who knew nothing about baking could teach themselves how to bake just by reading the techniques in this book. The bread book is written in the same manner…and already I’m making bread that looks and tastes like the real deal! I’m like, totally geeking out on bread.

The first loaf

Stay tuned for more projects! Such as my obsession with chalkboard paint, succulents, and pork butt, all coming soon. I promise.

64 Responses to “The simple life”

  1. Jess said:

    Mar 17, 11 at 4:18 pm

    I’m always happy to see a new post from you. And I love hearing about your DIY zygotes. More! More!

  2. Andrea said:

    Mar 17, 11 at 6:53 pm

    You Are Wonderful. :)

  3. Jeff said:

    Mar 20, 11 at 12:20 am

    found you through a profile that was done on you. love your blog and your style. i was also a yacht chef for many years. so weird that i was just thinking about either building an earth oven or a brick oven. just ordered the book off amazon. thanks for the info.!

  4. Alice Q. Foodie said:

    Mar 21, 11 at 2:26 am

    I just found the instructions for building a brick/adobe oven from Sunset magazine – it’s not super huge, but it looks pretty doable! I pinned it on Pinterest if you’re on there – it’s on my outdoor inspiration board. Congrats on your engagement and hope to see you soon! xxoo

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