Rain Comes to the Avocado Grove

avocadosinthewindEarly March 2014 finally brought rain to Southern California, and everyone was grateful.  We had 3.5 inches in a short time, after months without any measurable rainfall.  Unfortunately, along with the rain came some powerful winds.  I took this photo as we were waiting for the winds to arrive.  The question:  would those avocados hanging at the top of that tree endure the storm? Continue reading

TechMunch LA at Disneyland: Food Bloggers’ Conference Extraordinaire

Disneylandcollage1When I first moved to California in 2007,  I went to Disneyland.  At 22 years old, I was thrilled to finally see the Magic Kingdom that we had watched on television every Sunday night in Vermont.   That television show, The Wonderful World of Disney showed a place that we could never have imagined seeing for ourselves.  California was so far away, and very different from Vermont where I had grown up.  I’ll never forget the first time I visited Disneyland…magical!

A few weeks ago I had the chance to go to Disneyland again  for TechMunch, a conference for food bloggers. Continue reading

Mimi Avocado is Two Years Old: A Giveaway to Celebrate!

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Today I’m relaxing with a cup of coffee and a piece of pumpkin bread, thinking about the past two years of writing Mimi Avocado.  When I first started my blog I wasn’t sure how to get started, so I took a class,  went to conferences, read books, tried out tutorials online,  and began meeting other bloggers  online publishers.  I soon discovered that the people I met had several things in common:  curiosity, creativity, and generosity.   I have yet to meet a blogger who wasn’t willing to share their knowledge,  happy to trade ideas and strategies,  and eager to hear about what others are doing.

Each time we come together for an event,  meet one-on-one for lunch, or pick up the phone for a chat,  one topic always comes up in the conversation:  community…beginning with our families and neighborhoods, but stretching to include the people we meet through our writing and photography.   It’s an ever widening circle,  always expanding to include  new writers, readers, and friends from around the world.

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November 16 marked two years since I started writing Mimi Avocado.  The sweetest part of  that day came as a gift of homemade pumpkin bread from my son and his fiancé,  and a note that meant the world to me.  It’s one thing to know that all of you are out there reading my posts, trying recipes, enjoying photos. It’s another thing to realize that my own family sees what I do…and would reach out to  recognize it in a supportive way.

Blogging has brought funny and crazy times to our household.  “What did you hide in the lasagna this time?”  “Is that for dinner or is it for your blog?”  (answer: both!)  The family is  beginning to get used to the collection of odd plates, bowls,  and placemats  that is growing in the pantry…props for photos.  And the camera in the kitchen.  “Can we eat that, or are you still taking pictures?” Continue reading

Maple Fig Relish

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One day last summer  I invited some blogging friends to spend the afternoon at the ranch.  We usually take turns hosting a monthly meeting  to encourage each other’s goals and share blogging tips,  but  this time we all needed a day to just  relax.    Mary Platis of California Greek Girl brought  melt-in-your-mouth  pulled pork,  some small buns, and homemade fig chutney for pork sliders.  I’ve had pulled pork sliders with barbecue sauce, but never fig chutney…and it was life changing!

 The next week Mary brought me a whole flat of fresh figs from the California Fig Advisory Board.  Our blogging group had been invited  to create some fig dishes and post them on our blogs to promote the California Fig Fest being held in San Diego.  What to do with all those figs? Continue reading

My Fearless Writing: A Virtual Adventure with Crescent Dragonwagon

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photo by Daniel Holtz

You are walking through an avocado grove and you notice this tree stump.  AND the snake.  Do you (a) run?  (b) try to touch it?   Or do you just stand there and observe?  This handsome little guy is a baby rattle snake…he was  born this summer and is just learning to get around on his own.  On this warm fall day he came out to take a nap in the sun.  Our son found him coiled on an avocado  tree stump,  but  knew to stay clear…because a baby rattle snake is more likely to deliver a full dose of venom when he bites…and baby rattle snakes don’t have a noisy rattle that warns of impending danger.

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undeveloped rattle on the end of a baby rattle snake (photo by Daniel Holtz)

Such a tiny snake would be easy for a hawk to snatch and carry away, but the bite of a baby rattler can kill.   There is  no noisy rattle on his tail to warn away those who might do him harm, as his rattle has not yet matured.   During warm weather, we stay out of the dry leaves along the edges of the roads in the avocado groves.   Best to stay out in the open…and wear shoes!

Unless you live out in the wilderness, you probably  don’t expect to encounter  snakes or other wild animals.  Just seeing a picture of a snake is enough to startle some folks out of their comfort zone!  That  deer-in-the-headlights feeling of initial panic,  followed by ‘what do I do now?’ and finally the decision to run away or quietly observe, is similar to the process of writing for many of us.  How do we get  past a frightening obstacle  that stops us in our tracks?

During this past month,  I have been participating in the very first Virtual Fearless Writing Workshop,  presented by writer, teacher, and author  Crescent Dragonwagon.  The workshop is not just about writing.

“If you’ve ever found yourself stopped cold by unexpected change, doubt in your own abilities, uncertain outcome,  other peoples’ needs, or unfamiliar economic, technological, or social conditions, Fearless Writing offers a way to stop being stopped.”

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I brought an avocado from our farm in California for Crescent Dragonwagon when we met at Aldrich Library in Barre, Vermont

You may remember the post I did about Crescent’s cookbook,  Bean By Bean a year ago.   Last summer  I was excited to meet Crescent Dragonwagon in person when she spoke  at Barre, Vermont’s local Aldrich Public Library “Meet the Author” series.   We had already become Facebook friends after we connected on social media, and I had been interested in attending one of  her annual Fearless Writing Vermont weekends.   Continue reading

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