Monday, July 26, 2021

Child's Vintage Shirt Donated to Jane's Show


Child’s Black Cowboy Shirt

Jane Brucker Exhibit


This shirt was gifted to me from my children’s paternal Great Grandmother who was fondly called Noni. It is the only piece of her that we own. Lena Barbeau (Noni) was a woman with a zest for life. During summers until Noni was eighty-five, she could be found on the south side of the Santa Cruz Wharf in a string bikini.

Noni created jewels out of vegetables, decorated holidays with joy, and appreciated beauty. Noni’s Great Depression sensibility taught me not to waste the flour when creating biscotti and how to dip only the tip in white wine.

“A glass of wine with dinner, for the soul.” Noni said.

“Harry wore this, you know, my brother who was killed in a hunting accident.” She said when she found the shirt wrapped in an envelope the year before she died.

The shirt fit a toddler boy, about age three. Though Noni claimed her brother Harry once wore it, I do not think that was real. I received the gift just before she was sent to assisted living in a dark tunnel of memory.

Because the shirt had a ghostly feel, I never put it on my blonde-haired boy. I planned to frame the shirt with the embroidered red ponies and build a Western theme room like in some Presidential library. My children are seventh generation Californians, we are familiar with homespun stories of buckaroos.

We share a piece of the cowboy past of my family and the secret recipe for the “cantucci” (biscotti).

½ cup almond oil

1 cup white sugar

3 ¼ cups all purpose flour

3 eggs

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon anise seeds

1 teaspoon anise extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon real vanilla

1 cup salted almonds

Grease for cookie sheet

Preheat oven 375 degrees

Mix dry ingredients saving aside 1 of the 3 cups of flour

Beat by hand the eggs, oil, extracts until smooth, add sugar and

beat with fork until combined, about 1 minute.

Cut the almonds with a sharp knife into 3 diagonal slices, yes cut each one.

Reserve the cup of flour and mix all the wet and dry ingredients BY HAND

Do not handle too much or knead the dough, it should be cold.

The tricky part- add half of the remaining cup of flour to get the dough to feel

sticky like playdough and dryer than toothpaste. The amount of flour depends on

humidity of your kitchen. There is a balance of not touching the

dough too much, refraining from eating raw eggs, and now sharing a glass of wine.

Use the remaining flour sprinkle your board and roll the dough into one rectangle.

About 1 inch thick

Grease a cookie sheet and move it to the cookie sheet.

Bake 25 minutes- then cool to touch.

Cut on diagonal into ½ inch slices.

Put back on cookie sheet bake one side for 6 minutes.

Remove from oven and carefully turn the cookies to other cut side and bake 5 minutes

The cookies should be golden.

Then cool and enjoy the nuts that escaped, with a dry white wine.

Much Love to Jane

Caroline Gerardo Barbeau

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Raising Monarch Butterflies II

Monarch Poem: Milkweed in the garden scrubbed to the nubs. Caterpillars climb stems eating all that's green. People saving Monarchs we should be clubs. One sneaks in the house causing quite a scene. I've been raising monarch butterflies for a long time.
When I lived on the ranch I had an acre of four varieties of milkweed,
it haunts me that the new owner failed to water the plants.
Some chrysalis were hidden in my potted plants when I moved
and happily the butterflies followed me. In the video one sneaks into the house and I set her free with a paper cone.
Bouquets for your enjoyment, a painting by Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez,
and butterflies collected at a Hopi reservation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Raising Monarch Butterflies

I've raised, hatched, and set free millions of monarch butterflies.

I planted two acres of four varieties of milkweed on the ranch.

Where are they travelling on the winds today?

What hazards, mountains and fires to surpass?

Wherever you are my children be strong and

remember days of cello music and protection.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Flowers From the Field or in Containers

nigella flowers in the field

peony, pink stock, tulip, hydrangea arrangement

Cattelya orchids bloom on a long strand. 
I like to remove two lower ones and 
bind a little bit of floral tape to give 
them support in an arrangement. 
The first one is soft pink hues. 
Sometimes I choose one monochrome color, 
sometimes two, or just try 
everything there is no wrong combination

Nigella damascena, Eustoma, commonly known as lisianthus 
or prairie gentian, snapdragon, scabiosa, sea holly, 
and more in this white, silver, yellow, and blue bouquet above.
white hydrangea, orchid, roses

A bouquet of flowers starts with the greenery as the structure. 
Above is a white and green combination of orchids, 
roses, hydrangea, and anemone and more.

I planted these ranunculus bulbs two years ago.
Tecolote is supposed to be a medium pink 
but here she is in a pot on the porch all hot magenta glory. 
In California they are easy care and 
I don't pull them out to protect from cold. 

Potted flowers act as wonderful flower arrangements 
that can receive full sun outside then come in to be 
enjoyed while in full bloom. 
I dead head off the petunias and geraniums 
to keep them repeat blooming. 
Containers need good compost and drainage as 
I like to crowd the plants to make them sing together.

Nigella in the field. 
Black and white,
the blue ones didn't 
pop up this year.
Be fearless to combine flowers that bloom at the same moment. 
Above is a wild combination of colors and textures.
 Change the water daily to cut down on bacteria and keep them cool.
wall of succulents

I'm playing with these vertical tubes to be able to grow more on the patio.

borage and epis
A simple white container has held ten years of spring arrangements. This is the first year I have had success with petunias. In the picture is this is Easy Wave Yellow that I traded seeds with on the seed exchange. In my ongoing war with slugs and snails I continue to try new organic methods. Snails love to eat petunias down to the roots. I don't know if you can see in a couple photographs I have dishes of beer, little plates of yeast and sugar, coffee grounds, egg shells, diatomaceous earth on the surface of pots or on the ground. Many years ago I had a friend who started a snail ranch (escargot) and the buggers always escaped the pen. Please eat escargot. 
strawberries and herbs
Sage, thyme, and strawberries are another type of arrangement 
on a sunny wall.

I love borage for it's blue flowers and furry leaves. 
It has a cucumber flavor. 
Come on over I can make an exotic cocktail with the flowers. 
If you are not a drinker, it's also good mixed with 
fresh squeezed meyer lemon aid. 
I may put you to work on the weeds so we can enjoy it icy cold.