Monday, April 29, 2013

Aromas Country Garden Joyce Oroz

Every year there is an Aromas Country Garden Tour. I recently previewed the gardens and found them to be not only beautiful and soothing to the soul, but ingenious and well thought-out. One garden has an extensive water capturing system that every man and any woman worth her salt will appreciate. I saw picturesque barns, a grapevine fence and wonderful water features. 
The annual Aromas Country Garden Tour is May 11th, the day before Mother’s Day, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Wouldn't it be fun to treat Mom to a tour of ten country gardens in the Aromas hills? Whatever it is you love--flowering, beautiful, vegetable, practical, drought-friendly or old-fashioned gardens and orchards, you will love this self-guided tour.
Enjoy the occasional bird, duck, chicken, goat, horse, artist. Yes, artist. Aromas Hills Artisans will be stationed along the dappled paths, showing off their artwork. You can expect to see paintings, jewelry, pottery, etchings, stained glass, gift cards, photos and so much more.
We invite you and your friends and family to join us at the Aromas Grange, corner of Rose Ave. and Bardue Ave., where tickets are just a $15.00 donation, (tax-deductable) per person, $25.00 for two people and $10.00 for seniors (sixty-five and older) and AHA members. You will be given a booklet with a map of the gardens in it.

Follow your map, weaving through the Aromas hills and discover one garden gem after another. May is an excellent month for flowering bushes and trees, sprouting and climbing vegetables and quiet moments near lake, pond or waterfall. This year there are ten lovely properties ranging from mostly flowers with some vegetables to mostly vegetables and fruit trees. Personally, I enjoy seeing old barns, chickens and goats. And don’t forget the horses and ducks.
Two Master Gardeners will be available for your gardening questions and the Aromas
4-H ers will be on hand at the Aromas Community Grange to sell plants and boxed lunches. The Aromas Water District will have a drought tolerant plant list available for free.

Don’t miss this garden! There is a very special garden and orchard this year, located at Anzar High School. ¼ acre of raised beds of vegetables and flowers plus ½ acre of fruit trees have been planted and cared for by students in Principal Charlene McKowden’s horticulture class.  The organic vegetables and fruits are picked, packaged and sold to the school staff and students to help pay for seeds, plants and tools.

What to do for lunch? I have a fabulous idea, dine at the Aromas Grill. It's the best in town!

And if you have time, drop by the Dragonfly Gallery. 

Aromas sits at the corners of three counties (Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito). In 1999 local artisans, headed by a poet, formed the guild known as the Aromas Hills Artisans, or AHA’s, which now boasts more than seventy members. The artists meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Aromas Grange. The guild plans events, supports and inspires fellow artists and shares new ideas and techniques. Membership is only $25.00 per year.
The “Aromas Hills Artisans” is now a non-profit philanthropic organization which promotes art education through scholarships to members, enabling them to attend workshops. AHA sponsors hands-on workshops for the community twice each year and they have a continuous, revolving exhibit of artwork at the Aromas Grange.

Friday, April 26, 2013

All Arts Joyce Oroz

Today I am passing on a reminder for artists living in San Benito County.
Here is a local one day art show in San Juan Batista. Please visit the website listed for more information. It is being organized by Bob Vasquez, who served on the San Benito county's Arts Commission back in the day. It is a show that looks to become an annual event.

The All Arts Connect Foundation is proud to present the First Annual "All Arts Splash". To take place at the beautiful Casa Maria 600 First Street in San Juan Bautista on Saturday June 15,2013 from 12:00 to 7:00PM. All Arts Splash will be a gathering of local artists exhibiting their art work along with live music and demonstrations. A silent auction and special performance by winners of the Voice of the Valley. Admission is $1.00 donation. All proceeds go towards art scholarships.
For more information visit

Speaking of artists, Shirley and I hope you will join us tomorrow, Saturday the 27th, 2:00 to 4:00 for a festive meet and greet plus a real-life demonstration of basket weaving at the Dragonfly Gallery. Not ordinary basket weaving--Nantucket basket weaving. Shirley will show us how it's done and maybe she will hula during intermission. Speaking of intermission, does anyone like home made cookies? As if that were not enough, Shirley's beautiful photo greeting cards will be available for purchase.

The Dragonfly Gallery has a new artist--a fabulous jewelry maker, Laurie Tholen. Drop by and see her unique creations!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Danger or Blessing in the Garden? Joyce Oroz

Today was a nice day for gardening, WAS. Everything was blooming and the honey bees were buzzing and I’m trimming a giant blossoming Bee Bush named Rosemary and all of a sudden the bees forgot their flowers and turned on me like they were afraid I would take away their lunch. Actually, I did clip off some of their blossoms, but there were still plenty to go around. One bee landed on my left hand. I quickly pulled the stinger out-- looked at my right hand, an official landing pad for stinger-bees, and ran. But not far because my feet were tangled in the hose, giving me time to pull three stingers out of my right hand. I dashed into the house and prepared two bowls of Epsom Salts in hot water for a good soak. The phone rang. It was my friend so I told her I had to go soak my hands. She reminded me that bee stings can be used as medicine for arthritis. It sounded like the bees had done me a favor so I dumped the Epsom Salts and suffered all afternoon. Turns out I’m not good at suffering. I’m soaking as we speak. 
Now it is a day later and my ten-pound hand is killing me. I've done the baking soda paste--would do the tenderizer if I had any, in fact, I would hurl my body off the nearest volcano if I thought it would help. So my advice is: take care of the sting or stings immediately--don't wait until your hand looks like something from a Bee-rated monster flick.

The internet had plenty to say about my little experiment. Here’s what I found:

Apitherapy, also known as bee sting therapy, is an alternative treatment for arthritis. According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, some doctors, primarily in Eastern Europe and Korea, advocate this treatment, with patients stung up to 80 times a day. The use of bee sting therapy dates back to the second century B.C. in Eastern Asia.

·        In a 1988 study on rats, clinicians at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece determined that the venom in bee stings slowed the progression of arthritis. In a study in conjunction with Montreal General Hospital, researchers found the venom slowed down the creation of interleukin-1, a compound that causes pain and inflammation in arthritis. The most recent study, in South Korea, determined that a compound in the sting blocked inflammation in mice.

In Humans

o                                               According to the South Korean study by the Seoul College of Korean Medicine, bee sting therapy works in a manner similar to acupuncture, but the compounds released by the sting also help fight inflammation. However, studies of the effects on humans have been inconclusive. In 1941, a study printed in the American Journal of Medical Sciences found that bee therapy did nothing to help people with arthritis. After advancements in medicine and other treatments for arthritis, studies on apitherapy are no longer deemed important. However, the 2005 South Korean study suggested more tests on humans, since the results in mice were promising.
o        Dangers
  According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, up to 2 percent of the population is so allergic that a few stings could kill them. Undergoing apitherapy without knowledge of allergies could be fatal. If undergoing apitherapy, it is recommended to have on hand a first-aid kit that includes epinephrine, which can be used if the patient goes into anaphylactic shock. An allergic reaction can include swelling in the face, eyes and throat, which could constrict and make breathing impossible.         


Friday, April 19, 2013

Dancing With the Joyce Oroz

Today I am going to race from my favorite cake recipe over to a stash of race cars and high-end wheels you won't believe. If you can locate Scotts Valley on a map of California, you can find the Canepa Car Museum where dozens of fabulous cars are displayed indoors. Wipe your feet, cause this place is pristine. The cars are beyond yummy! Ever see a 1949 Bentley Mark V1 Woodie? How about a 1922 Battistini Buick or a 1993 Jaguar XJ220-33-OMG123 ......A 1984 Lamborghini Countach?
These dazzling automobiles are only half the story--the quiet luxury half, spotlighted and pampered on the first floor of the museum-sales showroom.
Moving up to the second floor of the Canepa Museum, we find dozens of race cars in mint condition and large hanging signs above each one giving the history of that historic car, it's races and who drove--such at Steve MeQueen. Not making that up! Everything from an Indian Scout Flat Track motorcycle, to a 1959 Lister Costin Chevrolet, to a 1995 Ferrari 333 SP, to a 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR! But that's just for starters and the histories of these cars are impressive.
I remember watching Paul Newman on the "big screen," racing his car around curve after curve, holding my breath and pushing my right foot into the floor. When I was old enough to drive, it was my old bulky 1952 Pontiac convertible that swerved and squealed around the turns. My hometown got a little snow about every five years, so naturally I tried out my car on snow, even though the canvas top was permanently in the "down" position.
I don't know if it's "my generation" or if all generations are fascinated with the beauty and ability of automobiles. All I know is, I recently made another trip to Canepa's and now I have visions of beautiful cars dancing in my head. Josephine would love this place!
You will find the Canepa Museum at 4900 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, CA--just off Highway 17.

How about this little number with parachutes coming out it's back end?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Torta Del Joyce Oroz

Torta Del Re—King’s Cake
This is a traditional cake of the Piedmont region of Northern Italy.
It is also a popular Passover cake among Italian Jews.
And appreciated by gluten intolerant people all over the world who appreciate delicious cake. Use sugar or substitute with stevia or xylitol. I like to use half sugar, half substitute.

King’s Cake


5 eggs, separated
2 cups almond meal
½ t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
Zest and juice of one lemon
Artificial sweetener equal to 1 ¼ cups sugar

Heat oven to 325, grease 10 inch baking dish or pan

  1. whisk egg yolks until light in color
  2. beat the rest of the ingredients except egg white,
ending with the almond meal. It will be stiff.
  1. beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  2. combine one third of the egg whites with the rest
of the mixture to loosen it up.
  1. fold in the rest of the egg whites, and put in pan.
  2. bake for about 30 minutes until toothpick comes
out clean. Let it cool completely in pan.

Don't worry, there is no cabbage in this cake recipe

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pat Tharp Joyce Oroz

My friend, Pat is beyond creative--she's insanely busy building a village out of bird houses. If her letter to me doesn't inspire you, better check your temperature and make sure your heart is still ticking. In real life, Pat is a landscape professional but she has a full range of abilities, like carpentry, masonry and a broad knowledge of plants. But her specialty is surprise. The surprise people feel when they see her amazing Christmas and Easter villages.

I have to thank you for the inspiration you gave me! I went to Michael's looking for Easter houses and found a whole collection of bird houses that are the same size as the one you painted for us. Well, to make a long story short; my nook table and kitchen bar are filled with paint, unpainted creations ready to be discovered, drills, balsa wood, Easter stickers, all kinds of creative border material, etc. I have been working non stop for 3 days and could not be happier. I have remodeled 3 bird houses into what I have been searching for years to find. I have sawed off some to the lower perches and made the bird house openings into doors and windows. I found some adorable birds with really colorful feathers, to sit on the higher perches. I have been experimenting with stencils, foam stickers, self adhesive tape, ribbon, etc. I think they look so cute. I made one into a church, I added a fence to the second floor of another to make an outside patio, found tiny clay pots to make flower arrangements for the patio, etc. I wish you were here to "play" with me!!
I have to work outside today. I am finishing the trench for the new gas line. I have dug it 17" deep and 28' long so far. I need to go down a little deeper, but I ran into the old line and have to take it out before I go any further. That should be loads of fun! Sam is here to help, but it still won't be as much fun as painting.

Today I made 2 tunnels for the little trains and made some Easter signs for the streets. I finished painting the houses. I think I have 14 now. I am now making the train tunnels and have them all finished except the one under construction. I will work on some of the trees next. They need to be a little fuller, so I will add branches. The "pail tree" ended up to be a jacaranda tree. It looks cute with the bird sitting on the branch.
.....stopped at Hobby Lobby.  I also found some very realistic tiny birds, some topiary bushes, tiny flower pots, and some very cute tiny bird houses on poles.  The village is growing, and I hope you are here next year to help me put it together.  I finished making 4 tunnels for the trains, and have filled tiny flower pots with wee little flowers. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Who's Securing the Ranch?

Spring has sprung, birds are singing, deer are feeding on my roses and bugs are eating everything the gophers didn't get. Feeling out numbered, I recruited a professional. I know the pro is in good shape because he slept all winter. 
Solow showed up for work looking strong and relaxed. He immediately secured the perimeter of my property by peeing on every post, bush and tree. No right-minded deer will enter his marked area. 
He proceeds to a back yard snail invasion, collects them in a bucket and drags the bucket next door to a gaggle of ducks. They always appreciate a free meal. 
Solow is working harder than any basset I know. Already he is digging dozens of holes across my property, figuring to come across a gopher sooner or later. He has a plan to relocate the little beasts if he should actually catch one. 
Rather than step in a hole and break my ankle, I’ll just enjoy the out doors from inside. Isn't that what windows are for?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Principal Prager Pulls no Punches..........Prager

                                                     This is not Mr. Prager..... this is Michael

If I were the Principal of a school.....this is the speach I would make, but Mr. Prager beat me to it and he is a real principal of a real school.
A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give.
By Dennis Prager

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so.
There is no greater calling than to teach young people.

I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.

First , this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity.
I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if  your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships.  The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity -- your character, your scholarship, your humanity.   And the only national identity this school will care about is American.

This is an American public school, and American  public schools were created to make better Americans.  If you wish to  affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity, race and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America , one of its three central values -- epluribus Unum, "from many, one." And this school will be guided by America 's values. This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.

Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties.  Those clubs just cultivate narcissism -- an unhealthy preoccupation with the self -- while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself.
Second , I am uninterested in whether English is your native language.  So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

My only interest in terms of  language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America 's citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country.  And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here -- it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English -- but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly.  Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have
their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's property -- whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can't  speak without using the f -word, you can't speak.  By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as "Nigger," even when used by one black student to address another black, or "bitch," even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend.  It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth,  we will end all self-esteem programs.  In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way -- the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago -- by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth,  and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming.  No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue...   There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian.  We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately fortunate -- to be alive and to be an American.

Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of  Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Johanna's Carrot Joyce oroz

Today we will bounce (or hop) off the "Easter bunny theme" onto the "carrot cake theme."
My husband loves carrot cake (health food in his word) but he hates gluten-free anything except a certain recipe for gluten-free carrot cake given to me by my dear x-sister-in-law's daughter, Johanna Sherley. This cake has the texture and moistness of the real thing.

Gluten-free Carrot Cake

3 cups almond flour
1 t sea salt
1 t baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar or sugar replacement
1/4 cup grapeseed oil                                                        
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups grated carrots

1. combine dry ingredients in large bowl
2. mix together eggs, sugar and oil in medium bowl
3. add carrots, raisins and nuts into wet ingredients
4. stir wet into dry
5. pour batter into 2 well-greased 9 inch cake pans
6. bake at 325 for about 30 minutes or more

Frost with cream cheese frosting:

whip together 16 ounces of whipped cream cheese, 2 t vanilla and 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Monday, April 1, 2013

Artist of the Month, Shirley Joyce oroz

The “Artist of the Month” title for April has landed squarely on the delightful, intelligent and talented, Shirley Sedgwick. She is a bright light in the AHA guild and a shining star at the Dragonfly Gallery. April will never be the same now that our hula instructor has taken the title and displayed her lovely baskets and cards at the Aromas Gallery.

Shirley has a history of living in interesting parts of this country. She has photographed wildlife in California, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Washington State, not to mention more exciting places like Africa and Prunedale. It all started with a little Brownie camera, until her husband, Charles gave her a 35 mm upgrade. Shirley worked as a docent along side Charles the Zoologist. Her up-close and personal photos of wild animals are spectacular, but I also love the very creative and sensitive shots of dogs, cats and flowers.

Because of her interest in primates, Shirley earned a Masters in anthropology. Living for a time in Massachusetts, with a knowledge and interest in developing civilizations, she naturally learned to weave Nantucket Lightship Baskets. The Cadillac of baskets. Here is Shirley in her own words:

 "The Nantucket Lightship Basket has evolved since settlers first inhabited Nantucket, Massachusetts in the 18th century.  Its creators were first influenced by the Algonkian Indians who used simple weaving patterns in their baskets and later by the Nantucketers who added strength with a wooden bottom.  The beauty of the Nantucket Lightship Basket was perfected by the sailors who served aboard the U.S. lightships in the 1840’s through the 1890’s.  They added a third element in its evolution."

 "Because lighthouses could not be built easily on the mud and shifting sands of the Nantucket shoals, the United States government commissioned lightships to be anchored in that area to caution whaling and other vessels of the hazards off the island.  The lightships would be anchored in a given location for 3-5 months at a time.  To pass leisure time many of the seamen, who also were coopers (people who make or repair wooden casks or tubs), became basket makers.  They developed the technique of using molds (from their cooperage skills) in order to give their baskets exact measurements for use in trading, selling, etc.  This third element of the Nantucket Lightship Basket became the final development in its evolution.  Naturally, each basket maker added his own personal signature trademarks of creativity."

 "A beautiful Nantucket Lightship Basket is characterized by its wooden bottom, its tight rattan or wooden weave, and its mold-based construction."

  "My interests in both basketry and photography were enhanced while living in New England.  As an anthropologist, I found the evolution of the Nantucket Lightship Basket intriguing.  The sailors on the lightships incorporated the knowledge of the Indian basket makers with their own cooperage skills to develop the beautiful lightship baskets. And having been raised in California and Hawaii, I found the beauty of the four seasons of Massachusetts soothing to the soul and mystifying to the eye.  I was able to capture images from the early spring through the fall and into the snowy winters.  Those pictures, added to my already developing file of animal photos, have given me many years of pleasure in photography."

 Thank you, Shirley for a great history lesson.
The lovely baskets are available at the Dragonfly Gallery, 380 Blohm, Aromas, just in time for May Day, May 1st. 

Saturday, April 27th, Shirley will be demonstrating her basket weaving at the Dragonfly Gallery from 2:00 to 4:00. Please join us for refreshments and Hawaiian music.