Here I go...

Join me on my new adventure - Van Living!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nature Boys: Original Hippies & Rainbow Tribe

Those of you who are over 50 
might remember a haunting melody sung by Nat King Cole 
called "Nature Boy."  
Here is a link for those who would like to hear it:

Few people know the origin of his beautiful song, 
and the history behind it.  

The composer of “Nature Boy,” 
eden ahbez (no capitals per his request), 
was born Alexander Aberle in Brooklyn in 1908. 
The original sheet music of the song 
shows a photo of ahbez-long hair and beard, 
highly unusual for the 1940s. 
In some respects, 
ahbez was the prototypical hippie twenty years ahead of his time, 
for in addition to his appearance he lived a simple life, 
wore a robe and sandals, 
was a vegetarian, 
and even was reputed to be living with his wife 
under the “L” letter of the famous “HOLLYWOOD” sign.
Early in his life Aberle and his 12 siblings were orphaned,
some sent to a foster home in Kansas.
Alexander didn’t stay long and embarked on a wandering life,
eventually ending up in Los Angeles.
In 1947 he left a tattered manuscript
of his composition “Nature Boy”
backstage at a Nat “King” Cole performance.
Cole liked the tune and subsequently recorded it for Capitol.

The label’s executives, however, didn’t know what to think about it
and held off releasing the record.
Yet Cole believed in the song and its simple message,
and live performances proved the song’s appeal to the public.

Eventually the Capitol hierarchy released Cole’s recording
and the rest is history, as it’s said.
Many in the music biz refer to people like eden as a “one hit wonder,”
and even though he did write a few more songs
and recorded an album in the early 1960s,
none of his compositions drew much attention.
He continued to live in his simple way and died
in 1995 at age 86,
after being struck by a car.

His unusual story and life
still capture the public’s fancy,
and a television special filmed in 2000
dealt with “Nature Boy” and eden’s experience
with Nat King Cole.
* * *
Bill Pester was another "Nature Boy"
who was born in Saxony, Germany in 1896.
He left Germany to escape the military service in 1906
and settled in the majestic Palm Canyon
in the San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs
where he built himself a palm hut from natural materials.

To support himself
he carved walking sticks from palm blossom stalks,
sold postcards,
and gave lectures on living a healthy lifestyle close to the earth.

In his own words:
"Man was intended to live in a state of nature. 
All man's troubles, sickness, anxieties and discontent 
comes from a departure from nature. 
I would advise you to go back to nature 
if you want to be cured; 
give up your extravagant habits, 
your high-priced hotel life, 
quit taking medicine 
and discharge your doctor. "

Bill lived on Cahuilla land
and was loved by the Native Americans.
With his naturmensch philosophy, raw food diet and long hair,
he was mentor to eden ahbez
and to the American-born Nature Boys.
For a closer look into these fascinating characters
who were the ORIGINAL "hippies" 
I suggest reading Children of the Sun by Nivaria Press. 
You can find it at a reasonable price if you scour the internet. 
Children of the Sun is a tribute to the people 
who through scorn, ridicule, and rejection paved the way for the future; 
with particular focus on those who were pioneers 
in nature cure, raw foods, and social reform 
from the conventional lifestyle toward a more natural existence.

And the best part of it all is that this took place from 1883 - 1949.

Fascinating book!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Crossroads Community Cafe

Yesterday I made the long 5 hour drive 
from Portland, Oregon to Coos Bay, Oregon 
to see my specialist. 
As I drew near Coos Bay,
I began looking for someplace to eat. 
I wanted a healthy meal, not fast food. 
And I'm on a tight budget, 
so I needed something affordable.

I saw a sign as I pulled into a tiny town called North Bend. 
It said "Crossroads Community Cafe."  
There was a parking spot right in front, 
and I nabbed it.

As I walked up to the building, 
I saw a sign on the window saying
Soup and Salad

I walked in to a warmly decorated spacious room.
A friendly waiter asked where I would like to sit. 
I chose a corner table facing the street. 

The waiter then asked "Have you been here before?"

I said, "No, I'm just passing through from Portland," 
and he began to tell me about the 
Crossroads Community Cafe. 

"We got our idea from Sisters of the Road Cafe in Portland!" 
he excitedly explained. 
Then he went on...

The Crossroads Community Cafe is like no other restaurant. 
Every patron eats for $1.50. Every meal is 100% home made and healthy. 
Every human being is treated with dignity, respect, and kindness.

At the Crossroads Cafe, 
they believe that everyone deserves a home cooked meal everyday.

They run the cafe with volunteers. 
Volunteering at Crossroads is easy. 
Part of what builds the Crossroads Community are the people who help out. 
There is a place for everyone here. 
Volunteers can clean, or cook, wait tables, 
or find their own way to help out. 

The cafe serves only two home cooked entrees 
on Monday through Friday from 10 am to 3 pm.

I chose the soup and salad.  
The salad was fresh, crisp, and quite large. 
It was served with triangles of pita bread.
The navy bean soup tasted like my grandma's 
and was served in an approximately 1/2 cup serving. 
The meal came with whatever drink you chose
- I had coffee - 
and was topped off with a piece of 
home made freshly baked cherry coffee cake.

All for $1.50 !!

Of course, people who can afford it 
often leave extra cash.
This is the money that supports their efforts.
I left $5 for my meal.
There is no place in town I could have eaten that well 
for so little cash.

At the register, I spent a little time speaking 
with one of the ladies who started the Community Cafe. 
She explained there were many elderly 
and homeless people in the area.
They wanted to serve the community.  
And what they could do was COOK!

While I was eating, several local folks came in 
with donations: fresh vegetables from the garden 
and loaves of bread.

Anyway.. I was impressed with this little out of the way place.
More communities should do this.

If you're ever driving the coastal route through Oregon, 
and pass through North Bend, 
stop in and  have a meal at the 
Community Crossroads Cafe.

Everyone is welcome!

If you have food or money to share, drop it by
or send them a donation.
The address:
Crossroads Community Cafe
1972 Sherman
North Bend, Oregon
Telephone: 541.751.0141

Monday, May 02, 2011

Fabric Softener Alternatives

Fabric softener is something 
I lived without for most of my life.
We just didn't use it.
Scented softener is one of the biggest challenges 
for an MCS Canary, 
and as such, 
should be something that people without sensitivities 
look at VERY closely 
as far as safety is concerned.

The fumes from scented fabric softeners
are extremely toxic,
not only to the person WEARING the clothes
but to everyone within
smelling distance of them
AND of their dryer exhaust.
By using scented fabric softener,
you are poisoning the entire neighborhood.

Scented fabric softener 
will send a Canary running to their nest, 
taping up windows and doors 
to escape the toxic fumes.

So how DOES a person 
get those new fangled fabrics 
soft and wrinkle free?
What are some safe options?

The first option is Apple Cider Vinegar. 
Even by the gallon
it is much less expensive than fabric softener!

If you live in a city with a health food store like New Seasons,
you can often buy vinegar in bulk
supplying your own jar
and save from having to recycle 
all those insidious plastic jugs.

To use it, 
add 1/2 cup to the rinse water when you're washing.

I know. I know.  
While grandma used to stand by the machine 
and WATCH the wash,
many of us are much too busy these days.

But the benefits could outweigh the annoyances.

First, no plastic jugs to recycle.
Second, no dangerous chemicals down the drain.
Third, no dangerous chemicals to be absorbed by your child's SKIN.
Fourth, soft wrinkle free clothes.

Don't worry about the smell.. 
it quickly goes away.
Use it on your hair too, 
instead of conditioner.
You'll be happy 
with the squeaky clean, tangle free shine!

A second option 
is to dilute DOWNY sensitive fragrance free fabric softener 
and dip a damp cloth or a wool dryer ball 
into that
and toss it in your dryer.
.Of all the fabric softeners, 
I've found this one to be the least toxic for me.
There is no smell.

I mix one cap of liquid softener with 2 CUPS of water.
I keep this in a small plastic bowl 
with a lid on top of my dryer.
I keep 3 wool dryer balls inside my dryer.
These not only pound the wrinkles out of your clothes,
but the wool attracts lint and makes your clothes lint-free.
I make my own dryer balls by needle felting wool. 
Some people make them by wrapping wool yarn into a ball,
but I find those eventually fall apart.
You can also find these on
Once I'm settled into my house,
I will post a tutorial on making them.

dip one ball 
into the diluted fabric softener solution
and toss it into the dryer with your wet clothes.

It works GREAT!
And that one CAPful of fabric softener will last 
for (literally) WEEKS
saving you a lot of money,
saving the earth from more garbage,
and saving people from toxic chemicals.

If you can't find wool dryer balls on Etsy,
you can order them from me.
I sell them for $12 for 3 balls.
Mine have lasted a year so far.

When the balls fill up with lint, 
you just pull it off
or shave it with a sweater shaver
and continue to use them.

Try it.
You will be pleasantly surprised.

Until next time,
Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without!


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Home Made Mango Sorbet

Well.. it's not REALLY sorbet, which is defined as a frozen dessert made from sweetened water flavored with fruit  This is simply whipped frozen fruit - but it is fabulously delicious!

I often buy overripe bananas at a good price. I take them home, peel them, put them in a ziplock bag and pop them in the freezer. Then I use them in smoothies, or when I want banana ice cream. All you have to do is break them in pieces, put them in the food processor, whip them up and serve.


So Emma wants sorbet and I don't feel like going out.
We're going to make sorbet from what we have at hand.

About 2 cups of Trader Joe's frozen mangos
a slice of  fresh pineapple
and 2 ripe bananas.

To prepare my pineapple, I just twist off the stem, then cut off the top. After I cut my slice I want to use, I turn the pineapple upside down on a plate and keep it in the fridge until next time. This keeps it fresh and causes the sugars to drain down (actually UP) into the top.

Put all of this into the food process, and whip it up!

Here's what it looks like... a bit soft still.
I would normally put this into the freezer for about 15 minutes, then whip it up again, and it would be firm enough to "mound."  But Emma can't wait!

So we're eating it soft serve.

This whipped up fruit is great to pour into those little Tupperware Ice Pop Molds

You can use just about any fruit or juice, including banana, pineapple, mango, peaches, durian, watermelon, and even citrus (mixed with other fruit).  If you want your kids to eat veggies, you can even make really yummy pops using vegetable juice mixed with fruit juice, then poured into the molds.

Try it! They'll love it!
One benefit is you  KNOW the ingredients and there is no trash to recycle or toss.
A second benefit is that it's a great way to use those extra ripe bananas!

So until next time

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do Without!