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Dolce far Niente – or – the art of doing NOTHING. Replay.

img_4049I am sure I have used this title in the past. But you know how the saying goes: Do something for at least 10,000 hours and you will be an expert.

Only a few thousand hours in, I have mastered the art of doing nothing. Me: mother of two, wife of one, keeper of chickens & a dog, community leader, 4-H parent, chauffeur, family referee, business women crafter, housecleaner, cook……

All you need is a like-minded friend and place to go. Off grid is preferred, but not necessary.

I am writing you while sitting on the porch, overlooking the majestic Lake Tahoe. This is the third time my friend, and partner in crime, Marie (you will recognize her as the other half of TwoWitchesinSuburbia) and I have rented a car and made our way up here.

We pack clothes, paint stuff, witch stuff, books, computers, practical shoes…..

I pick her up, and our first stop is to buy food. We both love to eat, so our basket is filled with bread, cheese, prosciutto, fruit, COFFEE, wine, snacks, etc.  Some would call it indulgent, we call it getting back to our European roots.

The ride up the mountain is leisurely, with lots of stops for coffee, random historic site adventuring, etc.

When we arrive, we unpack the food, open a bottle of wine, and exhale.

That last sentence about describes our weekend: Dolce far Niente.

We have figured out why we are such good friends for 16 years. We can both just be. We do not need to be entertained, we do not talk all the time, we do not need to “do” things. We talk short walks to make space for more food, plus the high elevation just about takes our breathe away when we just venture to the beach. We decided “going hiking” was overrated the first time we came here.

We can sit up here, stare at the lake, and be completely content. As long as there is food, and wine.

Our everyday lives are CRAZY. We are both artist’s and life entrepreneurs. We live in suburbia, and between us, we have 5 children, 2 husbands, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and lots of chickens. The families revolve around us all the time, and we manage just about every aspect of them. We both sell art, we both manage businesses. When we are here, we are just Heike & Marie, basta.

With that said, my message to you today is short & sweet:

Take some time away for yourself and just enjoy LIFE. Sit quietly and realize all the things that are good in your world. Breathe.

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Last five images courtesy of Marie Delange-Carlson :).

You can follow our every day adventures at Goddess in the Groove and Marie Delage-Carlson



Chicken Poop for the Soul

The sun was out, the breeze was blowing, and I was shoveling chicken poop.

A glorious afternoon!

I realized, while scooping poop, that I was happy & content. You might be wrinkling your nose, wondering if I have lost my mind.

I see this hour that it takes me to rake out, clean, de-spider, fill up with straw/food/fresh water as a Zen moment. It gives my brain time to think about all kinds of things that are pushed to the back when I am on the computer, phone, or in conversation.

The physical side, though it does not entail much heavy lifting, gets my heart rate up and makes my muscles stretch.

My chickens are scratch, peck, pooping around me to keep m compnay :).

I have often marveled at the happiness of farmers I know, who work HARD and early, and yet are happy doing this every day. Their morning routine sounds like a marathon to a suburbanite like me. Yet, I understand now how the physical labor, the brain space, and the result (a clean coop to go in, both for myself and the chickens, who just LOVE to play in the clean hay!) can be highly rewarding & balancing.

Suburbanites: Instand of getting up in the morning, having coffee, getting dressed, then hopping on the computer, becoming a commuter, or going to some form of inside, man-made space for a big chunk of the day, you can be outside (You could just be taking a nice long walk!). What would that do for your soul?
In and out of cars, wading through wafts of email (which, I have to say, only 5% is relevant in my case), going shopping, errand running…..blech!

I’d rather scoop chicken poop.

Chaos Recipe #2

This one is for my friend, DJ Kirby. No curry this time :).

You will need:
1 chicken
1 crock pot
1 big jar of salsa, hot or mild (I like to use the fresh salsa from the refridgerated section, or Mango salsa!)

Clean that chicken, make sure you remove the bag of giblets, throw it into the crockpot, cover with salsa, and turn on the pot. (I am highlighting that because I forgot that step the other day and came home to cold chicken…..).

When chicken is done, 6-8 hours later, remove bones and shred. Return to crock pot with sauce. Serve over rice, or wrap up in a burrito shell with sour cream!


(I am so glad Benjamin can’t read yet. A little horrible, crock pot chicken right over the post of Benjamin with his ‘friends’…)

Chaos Recipe #1

My life is always in a jumble, and some days seem to “peak”. On these days, I use my Chaos Recipes to make sure we are at least well nourished ;). I don’t do chemical foods, and I don’t have a microwave…so they are fast and hands on. If you have a Chaos Recipe to share, PLEASE DO!

Coconut Curry Chicken

Enough Chicken breast to feed your family 🙂
1/2 of large onion (can be left out)
1 can of coconut milk (this is enough for 1-1.5lbs of chicken. Do 2 if you have more chicken or like it saucy)
1 can of chunky pineapple

Rice for the side

Cook Rice.
In a large iron skillet, heat 2 tbls of olive oil. Add your onions and glaze slightly, then add cubed chicken breast. Saute’ until the chicken is done, adding curry in the last minutes of cooking (we LOVE curry, so we add alot. Measure out what you like). When chicken is done, add coconut milk and heat. Let simmer a few minutes. Drain pineapple and add. Once the pineapple is hot, it is ready to serve!

Serve over rice and with a green salad (or spinach) with a simple viniagrette.

Takes about 20 minutes.