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{garden update}

30 Apr

the weather here in Maryland has been so confusing for the last two months. i think we even had a frost last week! however, i do believe we are finally hitting that spring stride… and i’m so ready!

i’ve been steadily getting my garden ready, also! currently, i have lots of sprouts coming up, hooray! i also have a lot of weeds, boo! but i’m holding off on doing too much weeding just yet so i make sure not to pull any sprouts. typically i don’t have any weeds and i take pride in that… but i’ll just have to be patient for now. 😉

here are some pics to show the progress. {if you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably already seen these… and if you don’t, please do – here.}


Continue reading

{nature hike}

30 Mar

nothing like a stroll in nature to clear the mind, connect with the earth, and welcome the new season!

it’s been a little chilly here lately {boo!} but just recently, i took a little walk with my cousin through a beautiful trail nearby and we both had our cameras in hand.

here are a few of my favourite images from the day.

happy spring, y’all – hope it’s springing where you are!


stumbled onto this along the way!

had a little fun taking pics of it…

these trees kind of remind of me aspens

nothing like sunset over the water…


how’s the weather where you live?

{belated full moon post}

19 Feb

i took some pretty pictures of the moon a while back and never got around to posting them. since we recently experienced a full moon, i thought i would share some of those images here with you.

also – my favourite quote :

“to be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best to make you something else, is to fight the hardest battle you are going to fight… never stop fighting.” – ee cummings


{new garden season!}

15 Feb

hey y’all!

it’s a bit early in the year for such things, but this area in the northeast offered some nice weather this past weekend, so i was eager to get outside and get my hands in the dirt! as you know, there isn’t much that makes me feel happier than being in nature – and especially, being in a garden!!!

#farmeraudrey

it pleases me to say – that i finally found a community garden that is only about 15 minutes from where i currently live. i am so excited about it! i was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the plot i adopted is about 3 times the size of the last one i took care of in north carolina! this gives me so many ideas on what to plant, and i am feeling so grateful!!!

please stay tuned… as there will be more updates to come… but for now, here’s a brief overview of the work i did this past saturday when the temperatures were in the high 50s!

before…

during…

after…

the person who took care of this plot last season planted lots of beautiful garlic and onions… which apparently are mine now! and although i am very grateful to have them, i will have to figure out what to do with some of the crops since ultimately i will need to have access to the foundation before it’s time to harvest them…

also – i feel like it doesn’t look like i did much {haha}… and i still have a lot of work to do… but i was there for about 3 hours and i was able to clear out a lot of weeds, etc… i also brought a souvenir home, in the form of a slight rash on my arms from all of the random things i was pulling out of the ground and off the fence line, in my attempt to start prepping the soil {haha!} but fret not, my body and skin are just fine now… that said – next time, i ought to consider and/or be more conscious about wearing longer sleeves… sometimes i just get right into the thick of things, without thinking much… 😉


are you prepping for a garden this year? please comment and share what you plan on growing and any tips you may have! i love to hear from and talk with fellow gardeners! ❤

also – please follow me on instagram for more updates!

 

 

{maryland crab cakes – food and foto style}

5 Nov

a little ramble to preface this post…

i just love living in maryland once again! this is my home. i’ve traveled all around this country and lived in several different states, and yet i came back here… so i feel like there’s something to be said about that. one of the things i love most about maryland is the seafood! every time i lived anywhere else, i was always trying to recreate the seafood experience that exists in this region. i remember one time when i was in colorado, i actually paid to have some maryland crabs shipped to me because i was craving them so intensely! at the time, i was working for a specialty market that was able to hook me up, so that was awesome!

i swear i could eat steamed maryland blue crabs every single day… 24/7/365! during the summer months, i splurge a little and treat myself to them once or twice a month. now that the season is ending, i’m feeling a little sad and will miss enjoying them on the regular. that said, i was gifted some crabs last week by some loving and generous people, so i ate some {most!} and picked the rest and saved them for crab cakes. actually, i was going to save the meat and freeze it for making some crab soup over the winter… but i decided to whip up these crab cakes instead. i guess that means i should eat crabs one more time before the weekend so i can save the meat for winter! {do you understand my logic?! ;)}

did you know that late summer / early autumn is actually the best time for enjoying steamed maryland blue crabs? it’s mostly because they have beens swimming around and eating all summer and getting bigger and therefore more full and delicious!

i used to be so intimidated by making crab cakes because it is the ultimate maryland delicacy and i felt like there was no way i could make a good one. and then on a random sunday, i just went for it! i kept the recipe simple, as you know we like to do around here, and they turned out terrific! typically i don’t eat a lot of fried foods, but in this case i prefer the fried crab cake over the broiled or baked. at least when i make them at home… it just seams to taste better that way.

here’s a little foto story about my recent crab cake making journey…

i started with about 2 cups crab meat {that i hand-picked}, one egg, and roughly 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mustard, and then i heavy-handedly sprinkled in some old bay…

i gently mixed the bread crumbs, old bay, and crab meat together… then mixed the egg, mayo, and mustard together…

i gently blended the wet and dry ingredients {don’t want to over-mix, need to keep it lumpy!} then put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes…

finally, i created two patties and fried them in vegetable oil until crisp and golden brown on each side. i served with a mayo/mustard combo dip and old bay garnish.

may i just say i am SUPER proud of myself for doing this?! these crab cakes turned out so delicious and i am glad i got beyond my fear because now i have one other dish to add to my recipe repertoire and to share with those i love!


do you like crab cakes? or seafood for that matter? comment your favs below!

{autumn is for all things pumpkin!}

31 Oct

particularly on halloween, right?!

as you know, i prefer to eat seasonally so i’m on my squash and pumpkin kick at the moment. the farmers markets are closing this weekend or next, so i want to get out and stock up before they are done for the season.

contrary to popular opinion, i don’t do pumpkin lattes. they are too usually sweet for me. i do, however, tend to eat my weight in pumpkin seeds!

i simply cut a pumpkin open, carefully dig out the seeds, soak them for about an hour, then toss them with some olive oil and S&P and throw them in the air fryer for about 15 minutes. they don’t last long… they are so crispy and delicious! this was the firs time i tried making them in the air fryer. i have always baked them, but i’m so glad i tried it because they turned out amazing and in less time! i am eager to make more.

once i’ve devoured half of my pumpkin seed supply {haha!}… i scoop out the roasted pumpkin guts, add a little water, blend in the vitamix, pour in a large pan with some homemade veggie stock, add some spices, and serve with pepitas and mini toasts… NOM NOM!

i made a huge batch of this soup and so i froze some, canned some, and shared some…

both of these recipes are on par with my motto – KISS – keep it seriously simple. they are also healthy and support the 100-mile diet concept. i hope you enjoy and please comment if you try or have ideas of your own to share!

oh, and here’s the costume i wear every year – my “pumpkin king” onesie!

happy halloween!

{homecoming portraits : mister C and miss R}

29 Oct

would ya just look at this adorable couple!

i had such a great time taking some cute and fun fotographs of them right before they went out for their first homecoming experience! {ahhh, remember those days?!}

these types of portrait sessions are my absolute favourite! i love spending time with the youth, they always make me laugh and bring out the best in me! i especially love it when we establish an instantaneous connection! the lighting and weather in northern maryland were just perfect on this late october evening just before dusk, with the colourful autumn sky and leaves changing and falling. this sweet couple were both full of personality and instantly connected comfortably with my camera. i just love it when that happens so naturally!

here are a few of my favourite images :

i loved fotographing these cuties!

i loved their colour scheme!

i loved their laughs!

i love the preset filter i used for this image!

i loved their spontaneity! at one point, i asked them for a “silly” pose and this is what they gave me – haha!

i loved this candid moment! the struggle was real – trying to pin his boutonnière on properly.

i loved this solo moment when i asked miss R to “twirl” for me!

i LOVE this image! it is my favourite shot of the day… i LOVE the light and the chicken coop in the background!


i loved this portrait session so much!

{DIY up-cycled candles}

25 Oct

i love to repurpose things! do you feel the same way?

i know from personal experience that so many items get tossed out and/or thrown away, unnecessarily. i spent a large portion of my career in grocery retail trying to educate people on this subject… but i still don’t know if most people are acutely aware of where our “trash” goes. i feel like our society tends to have this mindset of “out of sight, out of mind.” that said, it is known that some of the highest physical peaks in parts of this country are not something like a mountain-top, but actually more like the tip-top of a landfill.

take that in for a moment… isn’t that crazy to consider?!

all of that said, i love to find ways to “up-cycle” items that would normally get thrown away or would end up in a landfill. recycling is a great option, but sometimes i think we tend to forget about the fact that we can also repurpose things. it’s easy to throw a decent glass jar into a recycling bin… but have you ever considered if you can reuse it for something else?

case and point : i have been loving these yummy french yoghurts that i have recently been buying at my local grocery store. i like them for many reasons… yes, they taste great! and that’s a major selling point! but the main reason i like them is because they come in glass jars. i LOVE to support and also repurpose products that choose to use glass… i’m all about minimizing plastic consumption!

i’ll get off my soapbox for now, but i encourage you all to think about what you throw away… and perhaps {re}consider a creative way to reuse some of the items you may normally toss out or recycle.

and now… onto today’s blog. 😉

a friend of mine gifted me some old candles that had been stored for a long time. the wicks were no longer usable, but the candles were in good condition and still had a great scent! so – i decided to take them home and reuse them to make some DIY {repurposed and up-cycled} homemade candles.

as i mentioned, i had been saving these yoghurt containers. i also repurposed some old candle containers.

i used my double-boiler that i scored at a local antique store {YAY!} i purchased the wicks and wick-holders online, and then i simply re-melted the wax and allowed it to cool slightly before pouring. this is not exactly a perfect method. there is a bit of science to candle-making, which i’ve recently discovered. temperature plays a factor, and in this case my DIY at-home method typically created a ‘sink-hole’. however, i also discovered that in my case, this issue was easily rectified with a second pour. plus, i’m not generally aiming for perfection with this project. {wow – can’t even believe i’m saying that!}

so – overall, i think they look awesome and i am proud of myself and the dedication to creation!


have you ever made your own candles and/or repurposed old ones? i would love to receive your feedback!

happy creating!

 

{funky fungi}

6 Oct

speaking of mushrooms and fungi – check out this fantastic wild funky fungi that was recently gifted to me. apparently it’s edible, but it was just a little passed its prime when i got my hands on it. this amazing thing grows wild on a tree in a friend’s backyard. i wish i could remember the name. perhaps she will remind me before i decide to post this blog. another good friend of mine said it looked like a brain – haha. {he’s constantly saying silly things like that}

i love the golden colour! it reminds me of {yummy!} chanterelle mushrooms, but i was informed that this is technically a fungi. so now i’m curious about which is which… how to distinguish the difference, if there is one?! i think it may have something to do with the underside – the gills?! i’m going to do more research, and i welcome any insight from my amazing readers and/or forager friends!

so without further ado, here are some artistic fotos i took of this fascinating creation from our incredible earth.


update 03/17/22 : i am pretty confident that this is a “chicken of the woods” mushroom”… 


 

it does kind of look like a brain in this foto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{fantastic fungi – local edition}

30 Sep

y’all – i LOVE mushrooms! i always have. they fascinate me. i recently watched a super cool documentary that i highly recommend you check out – fantastic fungi. in discovering that film, i learned that mushrooms aren’t really a plant and they aren’t really an animal… they are like their own category. understanding that made me love them even more! i wish i could articulate just how amazing mushrooms really are. essentially they have an entire underground system in which they are all interconnected… and in some ways, mushrooms connect all of us, too! it’s just mind-blowing to learn and think about!

the weather has been just gorgeous here in maryland as of late. simply and purely perfectly autumn – warm sun, cool breeze, crisp air… the best! which means i want to get outside as much as possible! and so i went on a beautiful nature walk the other day and i must’ve seen at least 30 different kinds of mushrooms! i was constantly stopping and marveling at them. i snapped some pics with my phone and so i wanted to share what i saw.

i hope you enjoy and i truly encourage you to watch that film. i think i’ll watch it again and again!

{thirsty thursday – homemade komucha on tap}

22 Jul

i totally need to make a detailed post about this very soon.

i have been making my own kombucha for about 3 years now and i love it so much!

my favourite flavour is ginger, which is what is pictured in this batch.

are you curious about kombucha? it’s so easy to make and it is a wonderful health tonic full of minerals, amino acids, and gut-supporting probiotics. i’ve been consuming kombucha for almost 2 decades and a few years ago i finally started making my own.

stay tuned, and i’ll post more about my scoby {lovingly named “scooby”} and all of the other fun things that go into brewing kombucha at home 🙂

{always look for the silver lining}

1 Jul

just a lil’ reminder 😉

 

and also, i had the best intentions of updating this blog more…

and i still do…

and i will again…

and i thank you all for your patience and for showing up, even when my presence is a little more vague and sporadic than usual as of late…

and it truly means so much to me that you continue to choose to follow along in my journey, and read my blog, and engage…

 

and i’m thinking of my sweet cousin tony today… ❤

 

and that is all… for now…

{i heart lighthouses}

15 Mar

hey y’all.

is anyone else experiencing spring fever?!! my goodness, i’m SO ready for warmer weather!!  and getting a small taste it this past week has me feeling the excitement of new beginnings and gardening season and all of the other wonderful things that spring has to offer!

in the spirit of daylight savings time, i took a short drive and a short hike to a little area close by to where i live. which reminds me… i have much to update on. your fellow gypsy queen has moved… again. i’m living back in maryland, where i spent many of my years as a youth. lots of reasons brought about this decision, and i am happy to be back and i love being so close to the water again.

all that said, i can walk to the river in 15 minutes, and i can drive to this amazing place in that same time. i feel most alive when i’m close to a body of water {preferably the ocean – which is still pretty close!}, and so i am loving living in this space again! given the 60 degree temps this past weekend, i felt inspired to get out of the house and take a drive to watch the sunset over the water. i brought my camera, so i’m sharing some of my favourite images… mostly it was me playing around with a bunch of filters and edits. i really love lighthouses!

i have so missed blogging and i look forward to getting back into a more consistent rhythm with it!

thank you to my loyal readers and those of you that engage with my posts, send me messages, and truly care about what i’m doing, and my life, and my art, and all the things. it means the world to me and i am so thankful to be back doing what i love so much! i hope you enjoy these fotos.

xxoo

signs of spring

signs of spring

mushrooms?!

sunset through the trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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{praying mantis egg case : part 2}

3 May

garden season is finally here! which means my happiness meter just skyrocketed! 🙂

i recently gave my praying mantis egg case an apartment upgrade by relocating it to the community garden. i {safely} tied it to a trellis in my plot.

the praying mantis serves as a wonderful addition to any garden, since they are a beneficial insect. they prey on other insects that may otherwise be harmful to crops and soil.

plus, they are totally fascinating to admire and watch! and i am hoping i am able to witness the case hatch and capture it on film!

i will be checking on it regularly, so stay tuned for more updates!


#farmeraudrey

{praying mantis egg case : part 1}

29 Apr

a good friend of mine recently gifted me with this very unique and beautiful creation from nature.

have you ever seen such a thing?! do you have any idea what it is?!

i suppose the title of this blogpost gives it away 🙂

this is a praying mantis egg case!!!

as many of you may know about me, i am somewhat obsessed with the praying mantis. i had never seen an egg case before, but i was completely thrilled when this showed up in my life! {i think i even cried a little}

and so of course, i had to take some {perhaps too many?!} pictures!

i think the details are just so mesmerizing and are something to behold and appreciate! Continue reading

{bodacious blood oranges}

14 Dec

i think it is so incredible how nature provides us with the right types of food for each season.

for example – blood oranges are in season from december to march. which is the perfect time to consume them for that extra vitamin c punch during the winter months!

and aren’t they just so magical?!

{cool cabbage – the sequel}

19 Nov

badass back-lit cabbage leaf… because, why not!

{an autumn stroll through historic yates mill county park}

22 Oct

in the mid-morning hours of a brisk and blissful sunday, in the glory of a charming and colourful mid-october, in a pleasant little nook of north carolina, i took myself {and my camera} on a spontaneous date with nature…

… and we both needed it.


{foto friday : cool cabbage}

12 Oct

the details on the leaves of plants such as cabbage completely fascinate me!

 

{homemade gummy bears}

9 Oct

i have been making my own homemade gummy bears for a while now, and i have been meaning to write a post about it…

i have always loved fruit snacks, gummy bears, et al. however, the ingredient list always detoured me – even the natural ones are full of mostly sugar.

so, i did some research and realized that i could be making my own gummy fruit snacks! and not only that, but i could make them GOOD for me!

my curiosity was piqued when i started looking for a clean source of gelatin to help with collagen production and joint support.

…which i don’t have pictured here because i typically transfer everything i buy into a glass jar… {no shame in my game}…

anyway, i wanted to incorporate gelatin into my diet and that’s when i got super stoked about the idea of making my own gummies! so i found these silicon molds on amazon {along with the gelatin} and looked up a few recipes to get me started.

as usual, i like to keep things as simple as possible. some recipes call for honey or a sweetener, but i like to avoid added sugar where i can {so i can guiltlessly enjoy a candy bar from time-to-time}.

so – here is my very simple {2-ingredient!} homemade gummy fruit snack recipe – which yields about 200 gummies and the ratio can be adjusted accordingly :

  • 1 cup fruit juice {i usually opt for concord grape}
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder

you could add in some honey or agave for sweetness, but i find the concord grape juice to be sweet enough on its own.

sometimes i’ll add in some elderberry syrup for additional health benefits during the cold-season months. Continue reading

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