A native bumble bee

We appreciate the ecological importance of native bees. We grow flowers in our permaculture polyculture guilds that attract bees. This bee is pollinating grape hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum.

The yummy pumpkin cinnamon rolls are already half eaten!

A new cold frame

It fits over my raised bed made with recycled plastic. Terrific! We plan to grow summer and winter squash and cucumbers in it during the warm months and then leafy greens in the fall and winter.

Pumpkin cinnamon rolls

I’m trying something new for sourdough quarantine baking: pumpkin cinnamon rolls. The two cans were the perfect amount. Because the filling is wetter than regular cinnamon rolls, the unrisen rolls are droopy. I don’t think it will matter, but I’ll see! I intend to eat these for breakfast, so they are healthier, too: less sugar, basted with melted vegan butter, but none in the dough or spread on the rolled out sections.

Beautiful bread creativity

Sourdough focaccia is the best of both worlds. Great ideas for bread bakers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/dining/focaccia-bread.html?referringSource=articleShare

Vegan WWII Mayonnaise Cake

My vegan version of World War II Mayonnaise Cake, baked at 7,000 feet elevation. Mayonnaise Cake was created by inventive cooks who looked for ways to make familiar foods in a time of rationing. The mayonnaise substitutes for butter and eggs. I used Vegenaise and a modified New York Times recipe.

My recipe:

Cocoa Vegan Mayonnaise Cake

1. Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil: Try using tea or coffee to add flavors like espresso and peppermint.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Frontier Coop Dutch-processed).

3. Pour in the boiling water, let sit for a few minutes to make it easy for the cocoa to dissolve, then whisk until smooth.

4. Whisk in 2/3 cup Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. The liquid portion will become smooth.

5. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups flour (I use home ground whole wheat, but commercial whole wheat pastry flour all-purpose flour work, too) until there are not any lumps.

7. Use a spatula to help pour the batter into a greased 8- or 9-inch diameter pan or cookie sheet with bar cookie indentations or a cup cake pan (smaller cakes are better at high altitude). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on altitude and size of cake(s), until the tops spring back when the center is gently pressed.

#MayonnaiseCake

#VeganMayonnaiseCake

It’s time to create a sustainable culture

https://karenretra.com/home/solar-cooking-resources-and-photos.html

What if there was a year-round method of cooking that was low cost, powered by sunlight, non-polluting, and easy to do even in college dorms, apartment balconies and off-the-grid locations? There is: solar cooking.

In the 21st century, the need for sustainable cooking solutions is great, including fossil fuel-caused climate change, the end of cheap oil, and deforestation due to firewood collection. Whether you spend a couple of hours building a simple solar cooker out of cardboard and foil, or buy a sturdy commercial model, it is possible to do everything from simmering to blanching, poaching, steaming, sautéing, braising, baking, roasting, toasting, pan frying, grilling, food canning, medical sterilization, and even making ice (at night!).

My book includes the following information:

  • How to choose the right solar cooker for you based on your climate and lifestyle needs
  • More than 100 vegetarian solar recipes and tips
  • How to adapt slow cooker recipes to a solar cooker
  • How to adapt your favorite recipes to a solar cooker
  • How to safely can foods using USDA canning guidelines
  • How to create a year-round sustainable cooking system that combines the use of solar cookers, fireless cookers, pressure cookers, and biomass-fueled stoves and earth ovens
  • No fuel, no stove, no electricity, no problem …….

    I’ve been solar cooking for more than 25 years. I prepared myself for the Anthropocene. It’s here, as more people now understand. I’m redoing an old garden. This is the best place in my yard for my solar oven, so I need to incorporate that element in my redesign of my yard.

    A garden in progress …..

    We planted a bare root apple tree. We’re waiting for a cold frame to arrive. We have, beds and containers to plant, seeds, biochar, compost tea mix, and more. More seeds are on the way. We intended to create a permaculture garden three years ago, but multiple life events got in the way: divorce, remarriage, plumbing disasters, major and minor surgeries, sudden health crises, and more, and that was before the pandemic. Almost four years of observation of the yard’s microclimates has been helpful.

    I think at this point, the necessity of home food production and greater local resilience and self sufficiency will reenergize the permaculture and Transition Town movements.

    First swallowtail butterfly of the year!

    Beneficial insects are a key ingredient in successful permaculture gardening, providing pollination services, pest control, and showing us beauty. Wild animals are highly useful in permaculture landscapes. They are especially important in vegan permaculture gardens, which are not animal-free.

    Never forget the usefulness of beauty, especially during these difficult Anthropocene times. We require beauty to thrive as human beings.

    Our dear friend Robin moved in with us just before the Covid-19 pandemic became a problem. They helped us dig a hole for our new dwarf apple tree today; we are very grateful for their help as both LynnAnnRose and I have extensive osteoarthritis due to birth defects and accidents. They are an artist and hairdresser with an eye for beauty. They noticed the swallowtail and took wonderful photographs.

    More pics of the apple tree and permaculture garden-in-progress tomorrow.