Quick Cinnamon Bread (egg-free)

Makes: 1 loaf
Preheat oven 3500 F

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Flax Egg = 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed soaked in 2 Tbl water
1 cup buttermilk,
[if needed make homemade buttermilk: 1 cup milk plus 1 Tbl vinegar]
2 cups flour [ white or fine whole wheat]
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cinnamon mixture:
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Make flax egg:  add 1 T ground flax  in 2 T water, let it sit for 5 minutes.

Make Cinnamon Mixture: In a small dish combine 2 t cinnamon with 1/3 cup sugar.

In a mixing bowl: Combine 2 cups flour with 1 teaspoon baking soda.

In a separate bowl, cream together ½ cup butter, 1 cup sugar, and flax egg mixture.

Once this is creamed slowly add in flour mixture alternating with 1 cup buttermilk.  Stir only until blended, do not over mix.

Place half the batter into an oiled loaf pan.

Sprinkle  3/4 of the cinnamon sugar mixture on this first layer of batter.

Add the remaining batter to the loaf pan, top with remaining cinnamon sugar.

Create swirls of cinnamon throughout the dough by using a knife inserted into the batter, then twisting and turning it throughout the batter.

Bake 45-50 min, [test with toothpick]
Cool before removing from pan.


Sun, Shade, Partial Sun, Partial Shade – What does it mean?

Often these terms are confusing even for a seasoned gardener, so below are some 20170502_182451guidelines to shed light on the subject, and help you plant with confidence.

Full Sun: 6 hours of direct sunlight anytime during the day. It could even be 3 hour in the morning, then 3 more in the afternoon, but 6 hours total is the minimum.

Partial Sun: 3-6 hours of direct sunlight, but provide some relief from hot afternoon sunshine.

Shade: Less than 6 hours of sunlight, is considered a shady area.

Partial Shade: 3-4 hours of morning or early afternoon sunlight, then shaded or getting indirect light in the late afternoon.

Dappled Sun: Similar to partial shade, some sunlight makes it through the branches of deciduous trees.


Full Shade: Lessen than 3 hours of sunlight. Morning sunshine is the best, then receiving some dappled sun or filtered light during the day.

Shade Tolerant: Plant prefers more sunlight, but can be planted in partial shade. Possibly deceiving statement, because plant performance could be substandard if planted in partial shade.


Note:  Some plants listed for shade gardens in USDA Zones 7-8 may perform better in full sun in Zones 4-5.

Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas





Yesterday, November 2nd,  the last tomatoes were harvested!  

IMG_20170923_150913_702Even with Ashland’s early summer heat wave in late June, two months of smoke filled skies from forest fires, and an early light frost on September 22nd,  this season was the longest and most robust tomato harvest ever experienced in the Lucas garden.  

What made the difference this year?  Was it the 60 lbs of rabbit manure worked into soil in mid-February, the rice straw mulching in mid-June, the removal of all the new growth and stem suckers in mid-September, or all the above?  It’s always difficult to determine why one growing season yields a better harvest than previous years, but gardeners are delighted when is all comes together and produces a bounty of tomatoes!   

Top producers 2017:

Better Boy: Large fruit, high yielding , disease resistant.* Indeterminate, Harvest in 70-75 days

Early Girl: Medium fruit,  early producer and longer season than most varieties. Indeterminate. Harvest in 57-63 days.  

San Marzano:  Medium fruit, elongated heirloom paste tomato. Somewhat longer season than other paste tomato varieties.  Seeds stay true from generation to generation.  Indeterminate.  Harvest in 85 days.

Jeweled Enchantment: Medium fruit, heirloom slicer, long season producer. Hard to find seeds! Indeterminate. Harvest 70-75 days.

*Indeterminate–  Plants continue to grow and  fruit throughout the growing season.  Determinate – Plant stops growing when fruit sets and all the fruit ripens at approximately the same time over a 1-2 week period.

 Tomato Bisque Soup

4 cups chopped fresh Tomatoes
½ cup onions, chopped
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
½ cup butter ( or  ¼ butter &  ¼ olive oil)
¼ cup flour
1 qt. milk (or nut milk, either Almond or Cashew)
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried parsley
¼ tsp. baking soda

Phase I:   Cook Tomatoes in large sauce pan for 15 minutes.
Add & stir in baking soda to hot tomatoes just before combining the Phase II mixture.

Phase II:
Salute onion & celery in butter for 5 minutes
Add flour, cook 1 minute
Stir in milk, salt, & parsley; cook on low 15 – 20 minutes or until thickened.

Slowly pour tomatoes  and the onion- celery- gravy mix into a blender. Remember to vent the blender cap and start motor slowly for stream to escape.  Pulse  or Blend until desired soup consistency is achieved.   Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.   YUM!

Article and photos by: Carlotta Lucas

Oregon Snakes

One of many nice qualities about living in Oregon, is its non-poisonous snakes, well all but one!


Western Rattlesnake –   Photo By Gary Stolz, U.S. Fish & Wildlife/Wikimedia

Snakes are beneficial to gardeners, they eat mice, voles, rats, slugs, Japanese beetle grubs and other gardening pests.  Only one snake species in Oregon can harm humans, and that is the venomous Western Rattlesnake.

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) reported,  “there are two sub-species of the Western Rattlesnake in Oregon, the Northern Pacific subspecies, found in southwestern Oregon, in the middle and southern Willamette Valley, as well as the Columbia Plateau. The Great Basin subspecies is found in Oregon’s south central areas and the southeastern region. ”

ODFW says Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catenifer) are often mistaken for Rattlesnakes, because Gopher Snakes shake their tail, hiss and strike out with their head, but Gopher Snakes are not venomous, nor do they have rattles on their tails.  Other snakes in Oregon are also harmless to humans and they are beneficial to the environment, too.

Gopher snake

Gopher snake – Photo by Julia Larson/Wikimedia

Oregon snakes:

  • Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)
  • Western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
  • California Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata)
  • Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
  • Northwestern Garter snake (Thamnophis ordinoides)
  • Pacific Coast Aquatic Garter snake (Thamnophis atratus)
  • Common Garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
  • Racer snake (Coluber constrictor)
  • Western Terrestrial Garter snake (Thamnophis elegans)
  • Ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)
  • Striped whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus)
  • Sharp-tailed snake (Contia tenuis)
  • Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus)
  • Night snake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea)
  • Rubber Boa (Charina bottae)


Charina_bottae _ Rubber Boa _ USDA Forest Service

Rubber Boa – photo by USDA Forest Service

To learn more about Oregon’s snakes, click on the links below:



Download Oregon’s Fish & Wildlife Brochure … Oregon_Living With Snakes pdf


By: Carlotta Lucas