Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Turnip the Beet Burgers

Turnip the Beet Burgers

3 cups mixed grated beets and turnips
1 1/2 cups oats (or 1 cup oats and 1/2 cup wheat germ)
1 onion
8 oz. feta cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

Sometimes, you end up with a lot of root vegetables. Usually this is good news, but any food can get boring after a while. When roasting, raw grated salads and soups are not appealing, it's time to turnip the beet and make something different!

To make this recipe, you can really just grate up whatever root vegetables you have around. I had beets and turnips, but you could add carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, you name it. It will all be good. The more variety you use, the prettier it looks all grated up together in a bowl.

Once you mix in all the ingredients, you end up with something that looks like this. You should be able to press it into patties and either cook them up right away for a crowd, or freeze them individually wrapped in wax paper inside a freezer bag. I would like to say they go fine on the grill, but unfortunately, they fall apart. I heat them in a covered skillet with a little olive oil until both sides are slightly browned.

This is a great way to eat your beets and other root vegetables, and offers a healthy grilling alternative to processed veggie burgers and soy patties.

So, turnip the beet and get down in your kitchen!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Banjo Pickin' in the Garden

My newest needlefelted wall hanging is a celebration of growing food, working hard, pickin' an old-time tune, and enjoying the simple things in life. In the heat of the afternoon, it's time to sit back in the shade of the pear tree for some banjo pickin'. The vegetables ripen in the field, the chickens scratch away in the orchard, and some fine old-time music floats on the breeze. It's a celebration of living life close to the earth.

You can check it out in my Etsy shop here:

Banjo Pickin' in the Garden


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Melon Ball

When a local farm advertises a Melon Ball, with watermelon tasting and a melon eating contest, you take them up on that. Organic Redneck Growers is a wonderful organic farm down the road that we have been visiting for blueberry picking since my kids were little. We seemed to keep missing all their fun farm events over the last couple years, but one of our friends just moved out there this summer and is keeping us in the loop. We took the kids on Sunday afternoon, and headed out for some watermelon adventures.

The first thing we saw when we pulled up were lots of happy people walking around eating melon samples. There were over 50 varieties of melons spread out on long tables, ranging from red to green and colors in between. My favorite was a green variety called "Vida Lime" that indeed, tasted like lime. We found some really good cantaloupe varieties we want to plant next year too.

The schedule of events promised all kinds of fun. They had me at seed spitting. Farmers really know how to throw the best parties!

I'm pretty sure that "all the watermelon you can eat" was a dream come true for my son. In fact, the entire event was. Imagine an afternoon of being encouraged to do all the things your mother tells you not to do; "Don't eat all the watermelon," "Don't eat too fast," "Don't play with your food,"  "Don't smash melons in the yard,"...you get the idea!

We had a pretty fierce team for the watermelon eating competition. Between my 13-year-old boy and two of our friends, that watermelon didn't stand a chance. I've seen Nate in action at pot-luck dessert tables, and I would have bet top dollar on these three.

Believe it or not, it is really hard work to eat a whole watermelon under pressure. You could tell everyone was giving it their full effort, and it did not look easy.

I am proud to say our team took third place!

The greased melon relays were filled with shenanigans, laughter, and a few busted melons.

Then we came to the "melon thwacking." Yes folks, hitting flying melons with a baseball bat is a thing.

I can't explain why smashing melons, pumpkins and various members of the Cucurbitaceae family is satisfying on such a deep level, but the sound of that "thwack" really resonated with my soul.

I must say, we had a smashing time at the Melon Ball, and I can't wait for next year!

Friday, August 21, 2015


"My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias."

~William Allen White.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hiking Tenas Lakes

The Central Oregon Cascades are scattered with a multitude of high mountain lakes, and with our close proximity up the McKenzie, I have been enjoying getting out there and exploring them. This last Sunday we were on our way across the mountains for some live music in Bend, and since the show wasn't until later evening, we decided to do a hike along the way. I hadn't been up the old McKenzie Pass in a while, so we decided to go that route and hike to Benson Lake and the Tenas Lakes. Ever time I heard someone talk about them, I though they were saying "Tennis Lakes." As it turns out, "Tenas" is a Chinook Jargon term for "small," which makes perfect sense for this little cluster of lakes. The trailhead is at the Scott Lake Campground, a spot I always enjoy visiting, and the roughly 5 mile round trip with minimal elevation gain was just the right hike to fit into our day.

Benson lake is about 1.4 miles in on the trail, and proved to be a great resting spot. The lake is fairly good sized, and looked like it would be a great spot for backpacking with younger children or for a quick overnight trip when you can't hit the trail until later in the day.

The huckleberry fields along the trail were a welcome sight, after our huckleberry trip was a total bust the day before. It's just too hot and dry this year.  Fortunately we still have a few quarts leftover in our freezer from last year. With the lean huckleberry season, we appreciated finding a few fresh berries to munch on all the more.

Another 1.1 miles down the trail we encountered the  beginning of the Tenas Lakes. There are about 6 of them in all, fairly small, and clustered close together.

With all the large rocks and clear turquoise water, these lakes looked excellent for swimming. Other people seemed to have that idea too, because it was fairly crowded. I would aim for a week day or off season time to go back and camp overnight.

A couple of the lakes were smaller and more marshy, and looked like good places to observe some local wildlife at less busy times of day.

Speaking of wildlife, a bald eagle visited us and made a few circles overhead while we sat out on a large rock outcropping to rest in the sun.Whether he was flying low, or we were sitting high up there on that rock, it was a rare treat to get such a close view.

The longer I live here, and the more I explore the area, I feel like I'm truly coming to know this place. The topography, the lay of the land, where things are at in relation to one another and the landmarks I can recognize to orient myself are all blending together with day-to-day life on the homestead to create a sense of place and home. After a lot of years of rootlessness, moving around and weathering big life transitions; getting to know these lakes, mountain peaks and tributaries feels equally important to planting fruit trees and building garden beds. It feels like exactly what I should be doing at this stage in life to get situated for the years ahead. Branching out and rooting down.

Take the McKenzie Pass Highway (242) and turn at the Scott Lake turnoff. Drive all the way through the campground to the parking lot and trailhead sign.

Here is a link to William Sullivan's Oregon Adventures:

And the USFS Website:

And an article in Sisters Nugget News: