wissackon hike #2


I went on a hike to Wissackon with my friends Liz & Ellen a couple of Sundays ago. It was just a bit after I had been there with Adam, but between the two visits I saw stark differences in the landscape. It's amazing to see with your own two eyes nature adapting to spring. It happens so fast. Brown turns to green, flowers burst open, and where there was once a dead, dormant feeling, you can again feel life and happiness. Lord knows Marley enjoyed it. After playing in the stream, running up hills, and climbing on fallen trees, we finished things off with some soft serve and boy was it perfect. I.Love.Spring.

weekly scenes


Life has been yogurt parfaits and a lot of plants lately. We've been working our little butts off in the garden, and trying to squeeze in all of our regular hobbies around it. Needless to say, things have been busy, but busy with all good things. I ain't got nothing to complain about. I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride. 

wanted: urban moonshine


I recently came across the Vermont-based company, Urban Moonshine. After meandering around their site and watching a couple videos, I have to say, I'm eager to try out their products. 

They specialize in bitters, meant to help with overall health through an organic, all-natural means. I had never thought or heard of bitters from a health perspective before, but according to Urban Moonshine they're really great for the digestive system. They can help with bloating, gasiness, and heartburn. they also speed up sluggish digestive systems as well as help detox the system. 

The core reasoning behind it all is that we evolved eating bitters constantly. Consuming them now is just is a return to what our bodies were built for. The root of health is good digestion, and bitters help to strengthen and engage the system.

I really loved what their head herbalist said in their video, About Bitters. It's right in line with my own personal ideals, and seems like a great reason to try the stuff:
"We always try to encourage folks to move towards plants and not pills; to move towards that which is less processed as opposed to that which is more processed; to move towards that which our body recognizes and understands as opposed to our best guess as to what nature might want our body to use." 

There are several different blends they offer, and each come in a spray, dropper, or pouring bottle form. I love the idea of using the dropper and just plopping a bit on my tongue a couple times a day. It seems so easy to remember and do. Here's a little peek at the ones I'm thinking of trying first.

The Immune Tonic
Designed to be taken over time for prevention with medicinal mushrooms and roots! 
- Increases resistance to seasonal allergies
Energy Tonic
great for over stressed over worked and depleted folks looking to support their adrenal system and encourage their body's endurance capacity, similarly, it's great for athletes who put stress on their bodies

Citrus Bitters
An exotic, full bodied twist on their certified organic, handcrafted version.

building plant beds


Here it is, the next step in our backyard garden adventure. After getting our plants started it was time to make a home for them to live in, two very big 3' x 6' homes. It involved down and dirty measuring, cutting, and drilling - and boy was it fun. 

To source the wood for our project, we stopped by one of the coolest spots I've discovered in Philadelphia to date. The place is called Atlas Wood Products, and it's located in a northern - I must say it, ghetto - part of of the city. We rolled up to this giant warehouse in the middle of abandoned ruins on one of the prettiest spring days. I had no idea what to expect, but we met up with the guy who ran the place and began to follow him inside. You first walk through a labyrinth of junk, this guy's a character, and then you make your way into a big open room filled with stunning wood creations that he's made for clients. I was immediately inspired, and then he took us further in to where we found what must have been the size of four football fields filled with wood.  Everywhere you looked there was wood of all kinds - palettes, barn wood, treated, scrap...you name it. We looked around and got all the wood we needed, including palettes to set our planters up on for water drainage.

After picking up all the materials we needed, we brought everything home, and over the next week began to piece our planters together. It felt so good to get tough - lifting heavy things, drilling in screws, and huffing and puffing around. Next time around, I think we'll be a bit more accurate and will design the planters differently, but the whole project was very fun. After all, we're no experts, we're only starting out and learning along the way. This is all just the beginning.

Measuring & sawing...


And there you have it. Two big planters to make a home for (most of) our plants in the backyard this season. I know these pictures make it look like Adam did all the work, but I swear I helped too.

 Next step, transplanting & soil. I also have a fun palette garden how-to that you won't want to miss. 
Stay tuned!

salmon wild rice


Easter Sunday rolled around. I am not a Christian, but I wanted to make something nice. After all, it was a holiday, it was Sunday, and I had the time and ambition to cook something good. To get started, I picked up salmon, peas, and chives at the grocery store. I paired it all with wild rice whose dark color would allow for the pinks and greens to pop. I treated it like a risotto, although not Arborio, and cooked the rice slowly with a stock. To make it creamy like risotto, but in a healthy way, just add in some almond milk and coconut oil at the end. Finally, everything gets a nice drizzle of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors. It's a healthy, tasty, and let's face it, beautiful!, spring-time dish.

1 Cup Wild Rice
2 Cups Water
12 oz Salmon
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube
2.5 Tbsp Chives, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3/4 Cup Almond Milk
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
Juice from 1 Lemon

1. Add your wild rice, water, and vegetable bouillon cube to a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and let the rice cook down. 
3. Once almost all of the water has evaporated, add a spoonful more. Do this three times or so. On the last time, add almond milk and peas, then let everything finish cooking down.
4. Stir in chopped chives, minced garlic, and coconut oil, then set rice aside. 
5. Heat up oil in a skillet, and quick cook your salmon.
6. Tearing the salmon apart with a fork, stir it into your rice mixture. Squeeze lemon over it all and finish stirring.

in bloom


We have the most beautiful Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at the office right now. I don't know how one thing can be so utterly beautiful, but it is. Each year, they never cease to amaze me. When I saw them opening up this spring, I made mental note to bring my camera the next day, and climb in for a short photography study. So intricate, so soft, they create a magical little world all their own. 

in this instant


It's been a while since I've done an "In This Instant" post, so here it is. Some of my favorite iphone snaps from over the past few months. Follow me on Instagram for more.

p.s. sorry for the silence, life has been crazy busy!

first hike of the season: wissahickon


Last week Adam and I ventured out into the woods for the first time since temperatures have begun to rise. We went just twenty minutes away to Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia. Everything is still very dead and, without their leaves, you can see structure of the each tree. Nature has a lot of rebuilding to do, but there is no doubt that she will heal. I'm just happy that the time to really enjoy her glories lays just around the corner. In about a month's time we'll be backpacking and shopping the farmer's markets again. This spring and summer is going to be blast, I can tell already.

weekly scenes


It's been a great two weekends. The beginnings of spring have made me very productive, yet propelled me into a lavish, life-enjoyment state all at the same time. I want nothing more than to be outside when the weather is this beautiful. I find excuses to take a long walk or sit and read in the park for hours. I got it in my mind to spoil my little yogi toes with a pedicure post an especially sweaty practice. The utter pleasure it gave me to do so justified what felt like a frivolous expenditure. At the same time, I've been going after projects that have been in the back of my mind for awhile. The feeling of working on something and making moves towards completion is so fulfilling. Overall, I'm satisfied to see my life in balance - propelling forward, steadily happy in the present, and focused in the correct areas.