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Cramooz Adventures

Last week, I spoke to Michelle Aguilera who is behind the “Stone House Mini Donkeys” Instagram account. The interview focused on how she became a donkey owner, and insights around donkey care. The backstory A few years ago, Michelle and her husband of 24 years decided to move from Charleston to Oregon with their three kids. The reason behind the move was a desire to spend more time outside. They had family there, and were looking forward to living in a climate they considered more appealing (the “less bugs” thing

It’s April 2020, and this blog is about what we learned in the growing season 2019 – so yes, I should have done this recap earlier. Better late than never? Our first year was incredible, fun, and a massive learning curve. Last year, we made a few changes up-front: We expanded the size of the garden and the number of beds Three of the beds were turned into raised beds by lining them with old ceramic roof tiles What used to be the tomato bed got converted into an asparagus

Earlier this week, I had a wonderful talk with Gloria from Farmstead Talk. We "met" on Instagram, and chatted via Zoom. Ah, the beauty of social media and technology. Gloria is a retired nurse (back at work to provide additional Covid19 support to her community) who lives on a farm in the mountains and embarked on a project to interview one homestead for each of the 50 states in the US. Then she decided to expand her interviews to international projects, which is where we raised our hand, almost

Earlier this fall, I finally met Antonella Notari – the cofounder of an agriturismo in Italy, Podere Trafonti – in person. A mutual friend connected us, and was spot on when she said we had a lot in common. Regardless of the age difference between us, with years of “corporate life” behind us, we have both opted to shift to a simpler life. A life closer to nature, on a farm, and hosting guests. In our first conversation, over coffee and a hot chocolate (piled with whipped cream, my

Somehow, even though "write a blog for Casa Beatrix" is often on my to-do list, it just as often gets bypassed in honor of other commitments and to-do's. I am working on changing that, but in the meantime, something else that is preventing me from posting blogs is the feeling that there is so much I want to share with you (ironic, I know). So, to take the proverbial bull by the horns, here's a quick and dirty all-around update to reset my feeling of guilt on not sharing

Imagine finding the most delicious, crunchy, slightly tart yet still sweet, apple. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a tree that produces such fruit? The trouble is, apple - and many other fruits - seeds are a genetic gamble - no seed will ever produce the same fruit as it came from. This is why fruit producers use often grafting to reproduce winning fruit. Grafting is both a simple and surreal concept. You cut a branch off one tree (the "scion"), and stick it on another tree (the "rootstock"). Done

When I was eight or nine years old and living in Switzerland, I asked my parents if I could dig up a patch in the garden to grow things. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but the response was “of course!”. Somehow, my idea of growing vegetables morphed into a little rectangle under the kitchen window. Half was planted with basil, and half with mint. The basil died, and the mint took over (knowing what I know now… duh). Last year, I finally got my wish! Starting our

We begrudgingly gave up on mushroom foraging and headed back towards the car. Our friends Jacky and Menno had found a small handful of purple mushrooms, but the outing was pretty much a bust. Mojito didn’t care, he loved running around in the woods and exploring. Mojito's discovery We were not that far from where the cars were parked, so I whistled for Mojito. He had been ahead of us on the path, but seemed to have veered off on some adventure. Nothing. I whistled again. Still no Mojito –

In the business plan we drafted while traveling, we called our future home “Cramooztopia” to make it easier to refer to. When we visited properties we liked, a few got nicknames such as Babylon or Dreamland. We figured that once we found our actual place, inspiration would come for a real name, to use forever more. The Process It was harder than I thought. From the moment we decided to buy the place in September 2017, we brainstormed regularly. It was as painful as it was fun. Our ideal was a

Everybody has phases. Good ones, bad ones, “meh” ones. I have frequently blamed Mercury in Retrograde for stretches of time where nothing seems to quite fall into place the way it should, and at least 50% of the time, Mercury was indeed to blame (conveniently). This is not one of those times. On the eve of my “leveling up” to the tender age of 36 (just go with it, I am the birthday girl after all), it feels like I not only paddled at the right speed, managed to

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