A Field Trip To Snow-Line Orchard

It’s sometimes hard to believe that there is such a thing as a Fall season here in the Los Angeles area when it’s still in the 80’s and 90’s in November. But guess what? It exists! And we have an apple picking season to boot. What could get more Fall than that? To ring in November, we drove about an hour east into the apple growing foothills of Oak Glen, California. While many apple orchards in the area do allow U-Pick Apples - David and I visited Riley’s Farm a couple seasons ago and had a blast - I have not yet found one that allows canine visitors. Snow-Line Orchard, however, is dog-friendly but does not offer U-Pick Apples. And that was fine by us so long as Hoku could come with! We had a lovely time wandering through the beautiful orchards and property, admiring the Fall foliage and of course, indulging in their famous, hot-from-the-fryer mini apple cider donuts.

DSC_0545.jpg
DSC_0650.jpg
DSC_0705.jpg
DSC_0638.jpg

We visited Snow-Line on a Friday morning and had most of the orchard all to ourselves to explore. The glow of Fall foliage cast through the trees by the morning sun made for a pretty magical walk. Hoku loved sniffing the lower hanging fruit and made himself comfortable on a bed of leaves and, as we later discovered, a couple of rotten apples. (Thus ensuring a certain bathtime fate upon our return home.)

DSC_0777.jpg
DSC_0550 copy.jpg
DSC_0730.jpg
DSC_1088 copy.jpg
DSC_0838 copy.jpg

But what many folks visit Snow-Line Orchard for is the mini apple cider donuts, made with their very own blend of apple cider, freshly pressed at the onsite cider mill. We bought a generous half dozen donuts - because they definitely gave us more than that - and Hoku couldn’t keep his curious nose away from the bag. And while I had admitted in my previous post a dislike for things of a cinnamony nature, the house blend of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top of these donuts (henceforth known as crack) may just have converted me over forever.

DSC_0934.jpg
DSC_1070 copy.jpg
DSC_1063.jpg
DSC_1017.jpg
DSC_1021.jpg
DSC_1053.jpg

And to end our fun day trip, here’s a Fall foliage leaf toss gif courtesy of my little sis/ expert leaf tosser/ person who planned a cuter Fall outing outfit than I did, Janelle. Happy November :)

hh_leaf_toss.gif

DIY: Painted Shiba Pumpkins

It’s officially the season of pumpkin and cinnamon-spiced-everything! Even though I’m actually not a fan of either (sorry, hardcore Fall people), I’ve always loved decorating the house with pumpkins to celebrate the beginning of the holidays. While the tradition at our house has always been to carve a pumpkin, I thought I’d try my hand at painting one (or rather, three) this year. And let me tell you, it was so much fun I might just be painting them every year from now on. (Plus, they last longer too!) Modeled after our Fox & Bagel Shiba sticker patches, this painted Shiba pumpkins DIY is super easy and guaranteed to make your front doorstep the cutest one on the block this Halloween when the trick or treaters come a-knocking.

hellohoku-shibapumpkins-01.jpg

Materials

Pumpkins (I used orange pumpkins for the red and black & tan Shibas and a white pumpkin for the cream Shiba)
Acrylic Paint in Black, Orange and White
Foam Brush (for large areas)
Paint Brush (for details)
Uncoated Plain Cardboard (I used an old packaging box)
Scissors
Toothpicks
Clear Tape

hellohoku-shibapumpkins-02.jpg

Directions

Prepare your work area with newspaper or plastic.

Take your pumpkin and look for it’s best angle. This will be your Shiba pumpkin’s face. Sketch on the details (eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, and cheeks) lightly with a white pen or oil pencil to help guide you as you start painting. Use the foam brush to paint on the base color: black for a black and tan Shiba and orange for a red Shiba. I decided to leave my white pumpkin as it because I really loved it’s original, creamy white color! Some white pumpkins are a little more on the yellow side, so you may choose to paint over those if you wish.

Wait for the base color to completely dry before painting on the white cheeks. Once the white cheeks are completely dry, then paint on the eyes, nose and mouth. Although you will probably be tempted to carry on painting (I am totally guilty of this), this step is super important as you don’t want your paint colors to blend together and create a brownish, grayish mess on your pumpkin.

hellohoku-shibapumpkins-03.jpg
hellohoku-shibapumpkins-04.jpg
hellohoku-shibapumpkins-05.jpg

As your pumpkins dry, it’s now time to work on the ears. Take your cardboard pieces and sketch out two triangular ear shapes with a pencil. Use scissors or an X-Acto knife to cut them out. You will most likely have to make adjustments to the curved part where the ear meets the pumpkin as each pumpkin will have different grades of roundness. Paint the ears and wait for it to dry.

hellohoku-shibapumpkins-06.jpg
hellohoku-shibapumpkins-07.jpg

When both the pumpkin and cardboard ears are completely dry, do some test ear placements on your pumpkin and make any final adjustments to the curved, bottom part. Stick the toothpicks into the pumpkin where you want the ears to be placed and use a small piece of clear tape to secure them on.

And that’s all there is to it! A simple and festive DIY for any Shiba lover. Happy Fall days, everyone!

hellohoku-shibapumpkins-08.jpg
hellohoku-shibapumpkins-09.jpg

(Hoku’s definitely thinking there’s something a little odd about the three new Shibas that showed up to our house over the weekend, but can’t exactly place his paw on it.)

hellohoku-shibapumpkins-10.jpg

September in Review

Here are some scenes from our September around here. I’ve been trying to be a little more proactive about putting down the phone, being present and embracing this thing called JOMO (joy of missing out) which as a natural introvert, turned out I was already pretty good at. With my sister in town to help me with some things, it was also nice to just hanging out, eating homemade bread and pastries (a shared love), and spend entire mornings talking about nothing at all over coffee (another shared love), because that’s what sisters do best.

DSCF1497.jpg
ACS_1339.jpg
ACS_1329.jpg

At the start of the month, I felt motivated, for approximately 30 minutes, to work on organizing/redesigning my office bookshelf. This is as far as I got. Does anyone have shelf styling tips for finding that perfect balance between aesthetic and utility? I’d love to display knick knacks/ tchotckes and books side by side in a way that says “Come read/interact/play” instead of “Please don’t touch and ruin this perfect #shelfie” which is the vibe I get from a lot of design inspo office tours. Can something refined and look put together and also lived-in, loved, and useful? Hoku finds my musings uninspiring.

DSCF1527.jpg
DSCF1521.jpg
DSCF1537.jpg

Meanwhile, the garden actually did get a much needed Fall refresh. We said thank you and goodbye to our beloved watermelon patch, sweet peppers, and eggplant - which believe it or not, was still going strong. I found it so ironic that the best summer producer in our garden was the veggie we were least fond of. That’s right, we actually don’t like eggplant! I thought that if we grew it ourselves, maybe we’d change our minds about it. (And we did make a few dishes, which were actually not bad.) But by the end of August, we were swimming in eggplant with no end in sight and I couldn’t do it anymore. Still, a successful experiment in trying something new.

DSCF2074_1.jpg

I love those weekends when the three of us spend an entire morning at the nursery, followed by an entire afternoon working side by side amending the garden bed and planting new veggies. Well, two of us. Hoku supervised. We planted parsley (David wants to make Pasta Aglio e Olio from one of my favorite movies, Chef), tatsoi, broccoli, kohlrabi, bok choy, snow peas, brussels sprouts and bibb lettuce. Leafy greens season is my favorite.

We also had every intention of dusting off our homemade grow light and getting some seeds going, but we never actually got around it. Which we all know is just a euphemism for, we got hella lazy.

IMG_9818.jpg
ACS_1437.jpg

The last of our sweet peppers went into a yummy pasta. And we haven’t turned over our tomatoes yet since they seem to be hanging on, but they are definitely the least happy about it being Fall.

DSCF1713_1.jpg
DSCF2055.jpg
DSCF2039.jpg
DSCF2091.jpg