Hi, I’m Elka.

A year and a half ago I moved away from my home of 23 years in Southwestern New Mexico, which was completely off-grid, in a riparian canyon, to southern Oregon. My former partners Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf Hardin are still there, supporting their rather idyllic existence with their magazine for herbalists, Plant Healer, as well as an annual herbal conference.

My life, for all those years, revolved around food & family, building and tending fires, moving water around, and playing in the kitchen. Making messes, enjoying the heck out of the results, and cleaning them up. Homemade bread, endless pots of soup and panfulls of stir-fries, pastries, jams and chutneys, pickles and other preserves, and fun homemade condiments. Filling mason jars, emptying them, and filling them once again. Even in the winter!

It was really, really hard to leave the canyon. But, ” the nature of nature is change. Sometimes things have to re-arrange”…. it’s a song I’m working on! I’ve always sang a lot, and Wolf and I, once upon a time ago, even made a CD together, but now, in my brand new life, I’m able to focus on making new songs more, and sharing all the inspirations I’ve soaked up from my years in the canyon.

I recently quit my nice, comfortable job as a chef at a hot springs spa, although there are things I miss about it, for sure. I’m mostly living in my van, touring the west coast now with my musical partner, James. I do consider southern Oregon to be a home-ish kind of place. I doubt anywhere will ever seem to be home to me the way the canyon was. But part of why I left Oregon was to find out where I might feel most at home. I wonder how long this journey may be?

It’s sometimes hard to deal with life without my beloved river and the precious kind of quiet, and the starry sky, and the wind in the pines, and some particular smells that I can’t quite find anywhere else. But there are many, many new blessings. Like simply riding my bicycle through a new town, surrounded by so many trees full of flowers, and recognizing familiar plants in the ditches that I often stop and harvest. While folks in their cars sometimes give me funny looks! And sharing songs and food that I cook with wonderful people that I meet, and get to know, is something so joyful for me it’s hard to put words to it, really!

You can email me at enchantedcanyonkitchen@gmail.com if you’d prefer that to leaving comments on the posts.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog!

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