In gratitude for dried spices

 

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This morning saw the last harvest of the basil plants in our greenhouse.  I have harvested the basil all summer.  It has been a bountiful and generous plant to us.  With the last harvest I dried one giant bowl-full of leaves in our food dehydrator, and after crushing the dried leaves down into a pint-sized mason jar it amounted to about 8oz. of dried basil.

Never have I felt that a dried spice was such a treasure.  Looking at that measly 8ounces, which may last only a month or two of roasted chickens, I realized how much I had been taking dried spices for granted.  To create that 8oz. of dried product I had spent probably several hours planting, watering and caring for the plants.  I had kept a consciousness about it, in other words, I had made mental space for those plants so I would not forget them as I had previous years, and learned the lesson that when you forget about your basil plants you only get a fraction of the harvest that you could if you pay attention.  (They go to seed and then it’s over.)

Is it even worth it?  I wondered, considering I could buy dried basil in bulk at the Co-op or even from Costco where I get my giant containers of chili powder.  Yes because at least now I look at dried spices differently.   Maybe now I can appreciate the labor others put into dried spices.  Also, I am sure it will be delicious.  And each time this winter we eat something spiced with our basil, we’ll remember the summer rays of sunshine and smile.

~ Amy

A Woolley Wedding

43 beautiful

Last weekend we had the first wedding ever at The Woolley Mammoth!  Owner Jeff married his sweetheart Amy in the vegetable patch they had tended together for several months.  Rich in kale, cabbage and dahlias, the guests were seated in curved garden rows “amphitheater style,” all aimed at a center spot against the rock wall where the nuptials were held.  In the background pigs grunted and cows mooed.  It was a blazing hot and beautiful day.  The bridesmaids wore fairy wings as a nod to the whimsical, costume-filled place Jeff and Amy met:  The Oregon Country Fair.

For months Jeff and Amy as well as some housemates and several volunteer helpers had prepared the garden and grounds for this epic day.

After the ceremony guests were treated to fresh home-grown strawberries in champagne and for dinner homegrown pork, garden kale, cabbage and potato salad served with Jeff’s red wine.  We had rented a popcorn machine and our friends brought their own carnival ride to share, “The Orbitron.”  In the ballroom an 8-piece band was jamming.  We had 140 people spilling out onto the side and front patio, filling the great room, dining room and side room aka “the nappery.”  It was a grand ol’ time!

Fires and Getting Naked

naked-clothing-bellingham On October 31, Woolites Jeff and Amy opened a natural clothing store in downtown Bellingham, Washington.  Their store is called Naked Clothing and can be discovered at 126 W. Holly Street.  The store grew out of Jeff and Amy’s “beta test” this summer when they opened shop every Saturday across from the Farmer’s Market in Bellingham.  Now they’ve expanded their line, featuring not only the signature prints Jeff silk screens out of The Woolley Mammoth, but also other quality natural fiber clothing, gifts and green home items, even including bamboo furniture!  Jeff and Amy’s vision is to help create a more natural, sustainable world, one piece of clothing or home item at a time.

To get to their online store CLICK HERE.

For their hours CLICK HERE.

To visit the Naked Facebook page CLICK HERE.

While Jeff and Amy have been gone, uh, constantly, the rest of our household has filled up nicely with several new Woolites who relocated from the Seattle area.  Escape to the country!  Also, Chris, Will, Ryan, Jamie and Jeff have been hard at work building a woodshed large enough to shelter a big load of wood- enough to keep us warm through these chilly nights.

Keeping on top of firewood is one of those consciousness-building exercises.  If you forget you are cold.  To make it work you must remember all the steps:  Cutting down, chopping, stacking, building the shed, building the fires, keeping the fires going…

We rely on our wood stoves as a main source of heat in the house.  Additionally, there is radiant heat piping available.  With the enormity of the house, relying on firewood helps us save money and plus it is very cozy.  The four house cats are usually curled up on the stones surrounding the fireplace in the great room.  Or if you put a high chair next to the stove in the kitchen they will snag the prime spot quickly.

We are also very lucky that if we get extremely chilled outside, there’s always the sauna!  Stay warm out there.  Warm and woolley.

We’re Building A Grand Hall & Could Use Your Help

DSC_6411This Fall we are transforming our pool room into a Grand Hall to accommodate an Aikido dojo/classroom/performance space for the Sedro Woolley community.  This beautiful space will have a floor large enough to accommodate 30-40 yoga students, with a hidden root cellar underneath.

We could use your help.

If you have building/construction/carpentry experience and would like to support the creation of this unique community space, we would love to hear from you.  One option is to live and eat with us (on us) in exchange for helping a certain number of hours each week.  Or you can volunteer for just a few hours, donate, or make another arrangement.

Whatever contribution you would like to offer, we appreciate it!

To schedule a time to come help, call Jeff at 360-647-3437.

Our address for donations is:  PO Box 372, Bellingham 98227

Thanks a bunch!

 

Summer Update – Many Changes!

Woolley PiggiesDear Woolley Mammoth Friends,

We have some news for you!  In fact so much we’ll keep it to the bare essentials.  For the frequent updates on all the little happenings here, our Facebook page is the place to be.

First of all our website is looking beautiful thanks to a website tuning by Be Human Marketing.  You’ll see new information about classes, personal retreats, residence and more, with a new monthly newsletter you can join.

Projects:

  •  Jeff and Amy have been raising Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs!  They are great rotatillers for our garden, vocal and friendly companions, and delicious on the bone too.  We recently had a big cook-out camping party on the river where we roasted one over a spit.
  • We’re building a new Aikido dojo over the pool to accommodate our Aikido classes.  If you’d like to come we have Aikido on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm.  $50/month.  So worth it!
  • All summer we’ve been harvesting tomatoes and peppers from our finished greenhouse.
  • Last winter Jeff and Chris finished the cedar paneling in the pool room, just in time for our big New Year’s Bash.  Good work guys!Pool Room

Developments

We have some openings for residence!  A couple of longterm Woolites are moving on to adventures and new love.

We’re also looking for people who want to teach classes here, from yoga to bellydancing.  Please let us know soon if you’d like to be interviewed!

Until next time…

Love to all.

Pantry foundation preperation

Jen and Ian prepping the bedrock for the pantry foundation.

Working on the kitchen pantry addition. The pantry will house several refrigerators and ice boxes, a bulk food section, chopping block, and probably a community message board. Awesome work with the hammer Jen!

New Toolshed area!

Jeff in our new toolshed area - before adding hooks for tools...

We’ve added a much needed tool area to the basement where there is walk out access to the gardens. It’s now filled with tools hanging on hooks and is the go to place for pick axes, shovels, rakes, and the like. Our garden beds are just outside the door so the location is ideal.

Mother’s Day Brunch

The dust has settled and the sun has set on our annual Mother’s Day Brunch.   We started off at 10am and went on until about 5pm.  It was a great chance to meet people from surrounding communities and towns, and even a few long distance travelers.  We had a smorgasbord of culinary delights both from our own kitchen and from our guests.  The masa cake Mexican table was the brunch’s centerpiece, complimented by a dessert table with fruit salads and gluten free desserts.

Baby chickens and ducks were a highlight of the house tour.  Guests enjoyed playing cornhole, a midwest specialty brought to us by Chicagoan community member Q.

The indisputable highlight of the party was two sets of Q and Ty’s uniquely wonderful music.   All in all it was a marvelous day, fitting for celebrating our appreciation for our mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!!

A Vitamix haiku

Precision cut blades

A catastrophic frenzy

Dinner is complete

~ by Ian

inspiration for a haiku

We really, really like our new Vitamix blender.  What can we make in it, you ask?  The real question is: What can’t we make in it?

So far:  almond and cashew milk, peanut and almond butters, super smoothies (orange rind and all), brown rice flour, coconut cream for Thai curry, tahini, hummus, mayo, mosaic tiles… (just kidding on that last one.)  Ever since we got one of these Super Blenders in the kitchen, there’s been a near-constant flurry of experimentation to see what yummy things it can whip up.  Heck, you can cook soup in it, for crying out loud, with the whirring blades going so fast that enough heat is created for cooking.orange smoothie extraordinaire

We’re always looking for new ideas to push our Vitamix envelope, so please share any ideas and recipes. And if you want to try your hand at a Vitamix haiku, feel free to post it in the comments section below.

Naturally Nourishing Nettles

nettles smoothie

yummy nettle smoothie

Nettles grow in abundance in the woods here at Woolley Mammoth. So we figured, why not take advantage of what Mother Nature has to offer? Traipsing outside in the early morning to harvest a day’s supply of nettles might be a little chilly, but it’s fun.  And look what we get out of it:  we add nettles to our smoothies, we stir-fry them with portobello mushrooms or kale, we dry the leaves for future use,

portobello nettles

portobello nettles

and we sit around sipping cups of nettle tea while we ponder all the health benefits nettles provide:

According to one of our gardening reference books, “Carrots Love Tomatoes” by Louise Riotte, nettles offer many benefits to the garden as well as to humans.  It makes neighboring plants more pest-resistant, strengthens the growth of mint and tomatoes, and stimulates fermentation in compost piles.

For humans, nettles are rich in vitamins, iron and protein, they aid circulation and are a good remedy for anemia.

Heck, nettles are great for animals, too: According to the book, chickens and turkeys that are fed powdered nettle leaves will grow bigger and fatter, and their eggs will be more plentiful and have a higher food value.

Look around your area to see if you can find these little Wonders of Nature.  (The leaves and stems can be mildly irritating to skin, so wearing gloves is helpful.)  If you can’t find any, come visit us at the Woolley Mammoth and we’ll share ours!

nettle patch

nettle patch

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