Chickens in the Presidio Heritage Gardens!

By Michael H. Imwalle

In 2013 Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Maintenance Chief Eduardo Garcia and I started planning for a chicken coop to complement the Presidio Heritage Gardens at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. After researching historic Mediterranean chicken breeds and consulting with interpreters at La Purísima Mission State Historic Park, Black Minorcan hens were chosen as the first residents of the outdoor Presidio exhibit. Thanks to a generous grant to the Presidio Heritage Garden from the California Missions Foundation in 2014, the dream of having chickens in the garden was finally realized.

In January 2015 I special ordered 10 Black Minorcan chicks from a hatchery in Missouri through Island Seed & Feed in Goleta, California. After months of anxiously waiting, the chicks were delivered to the feed store on May 9th 2015. My wife Terri and I excitedly picked them up and transported them to their temporary home at the Santa Inés Mission Mills property. Their surrogate mother was the “Chicken Whisperer” Leeann Haslouer. The chicks were brooded under heat lamps indoors at the Mill property. Leeann graciously volunteered to care for them until they were old enough to move to their permanent outdoor home at the Presidio. After losing one of the chicks, and one developing into a rooster named “Franceeeecsco,” we ended up with eight hens. On July 19th receptionist Brittany Sundberg and I moved six yet un-named hens to the coop/palace recently completed by Eduardo.

On August 13th I changed their feed to a mix of regular “scratch” for a mix that included “layers crumbles” which contains extra calcium and other nutrients to promote healthy eggs with good shells.

They're all grown up! Photo by Mike Imwalle.
They’re all grown up! Photo by Mike Imwalle.

They seem to enjoy their new home, feasting daily on a diet of Mission figs, Mission grapes, quince, tomatoes, carrots, tomatillos, and anything else that is ripe in the gardens. Thanks to a corps of volunteer “chicken whisperers” (Brittany Sundberg, Anne Petersen, Neeva Pradhan, Tacy Kennedy, and Barbara Chung) the girls are happy, healthy, and very entertaining. We look forward to the fresh eggs they will provide to staff and volunteers in the weeks to come and all the enjoyment they will provide to visitors to El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State SHP.

Mike Imwalle is the archaeologist and chicken wrangler at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

Cooking with a Pinch of History: Fig Empanaditas

By Anne Petersen

On Sunday July 12, Reina del Mar Parlor No. 126, Native Daughters of the Golden West, held their annual Pre-Fiesta Tea to honor descendants of Early California Families and the Directors of Old Spanish Days.  This annual event held at Casa de la Guerra, is steeped in tradition.  It includes a program full of music and dance, which is followed by a tea service that highlights several dishes from the Spanish and Mexican periods in California, made by parlor members.  In addition to tea and tea sandwiches, the historical delicacies include panecito (anise-flavored diced pastry dough), penuche and sweet empanaditas.

Monica Orozco helped me make fig empanaditas for our first tea as new members of the parlor.  I found this recipe in an excellent cookbook by early California descendant Jacqueline Higuera McMahan titled California Rancho Cooking.  You can find a copy here.

Ingredients

Empanadita dough:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

½ cup shortening

½ cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (we added an extra half                              teaspoon, yum!)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar to sour (do this in                    advance!)

2 Tablespoons flour, mixed with 2 Tablespoons sugar

Fig Filling:

1 ½ cups dried mission figs

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon butter

½ cup minced walnuts (we used slightly under this, so as not o                overwhelm the figs, and it was fine)

To prepare the dough:

Figure 1 AP
The dough, flattened and wrapped, ready to chill. Photo by Anne Petersen.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening until creamy.   Add sugar, egg and vanilla and beat until combined. In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine with a spoon. Pour in the soured milk and stir.  Stir in the rest of the flour mixture. It will be soft, that’s ok!  Flatten and wrap, chill for two hours.

To prepare the fig filling:

Grind sugar and figs in a food processor.  Simmer figs and sugar on the stove with water, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter for ten minutes, or until juicy and slightly thickened. Cool the mixture (we used an ice bath to speed it up) and add walnuts.

Prepare the empanaditas (this is where the magic happens):

Roll out half the dough at a time, keeping the other half chilled.  Sprinkle your rolling surface with the flour/sugar mixture before rolling to help keep it from sticking (We weren’t very accurate with the flour/sugar mixture.  You will likely need to add more as you work, so we just kept grabbing a bit from each jar). We found this dough to be more delicate than pie dough, so be gentle!

Cut out 3” circles (we happened to have a glass with a mouth exactly 3″ diam.).  Place a bit of filling (as much as you think the dough can cover) on half of each circle and fold the dough over the filling. Press the edges with a fork to seal. Press holes on the top with the tines of a fork. Bake until golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.

The recipe should make 14 -16 empanaditas, but we made almost twice as much with each of the two batches we made.

Two batches of empanaditas ready for the tea, with Monica Orozco.  Photo by Anne Petersen.
Two batches of empanaditas ready for the tea, with Monica Orozco. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Enjoy!  We found that making a multi-step recipe like this is exponentially better with help from a friend and some good music, but you can make them any way you like!

The volunteers who contributed to the tea produced a feast, and our empanaditas, if we do say so, were among the first treats to go.  Here are some bonus shots of the beautiful layout, and a of the amazing Alexandra Freres, Spirit of Fiesta 2015, performing.

Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara trust for Historic Preservation. Monica Orozco is the Director of the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library.  Together they are new members of Reina del Mar Parlor 126, Native Daughters of the Golden West.

An Evening in the Basque Country

By Anne Petersen

Basque Lecture (582x800)On May 28, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s Education Department hosted Professor Iker Arranz and Chef Aingeru Etxebarria for a memorable evening of Basque food and culture at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.

Education Director Melissa Chatfield introduces the speaker. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Education Director Melissa Chatfield introduces the speaker. Photo by Anne Petersen.

 

Professor Arranz of University of Nevada, Reno, is a visiting faculty member at UCSB, and taught a popular course in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese during spring quarter titled “Culinary Arts and Basque Culture.”  As the community outreach component to the course, Professor Arranz and UCSB Extension brought part of the class outside the lecture hall, and out to a local audience at the Presidio Chapel.

 

Chef Aingeru Etxebarria and Professor Iker Arranz. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Chef Aingeru Etxebarria and Professor Iker Arranz. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Following an introduction by Melissa Chatfield, director of education at SBTHP, Professor Arranz charted the history of Basque gastronomy and culture. He theorized about the definition of cultural identity.  Rather than being made up of a series of discreet, identifiable components like language, dance, poetry, etc., each one intrinsically Basque, Arranz argued that cultural theorists are working with the idea that cultural identity is made of a diverse collection of traditions and traits. Each one might borrow or blend with traits from other cultural identities, but when brought together, they form something identifiable as Basque culture.

Professor Iker Arranz discusses the geography of the Basque country. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Professor Iker Arranz discusses the geography of the Basque country. Photo by Anne Petersen.

This notion of blended cultural markers, he argued, can be experienced in tangible form in the fine, Michelin-star-rated cuisine produced by the best contemporary Basque chefs.  He finished with a series of mouth-watering photos of cuisine from Basque restaurants, in which he argued, discreet ingredients cannot be identified due the transformation undergone in the preparation of the dish, but together, they produce a dish that is intrinsically Basque.

A confection of fruit and cream. Photo by Anne Petersen.
A confection of fruit and cream. Photo by Anne Petersen.

After the lecture, the audience adjourned to the Presidio orchard to test this theory themselves with several delectable small plates by Chef Aingeru Etxebarria of Esceual de Cocina. Chef Etxebarria traveled to Santa Barbara specifically for this program, and we are pleased to have hosted him during his visit.

Spanish Consul General in Los Angeles, Francisco Javier Vallaure de Acha addresses the audience. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Spanish Consul General in Los Angeles, Francisco Javier Vallaure de Acha addresses the audience. Photo by Anne Petersen.

We also thank the Spanish Consul General in Los Angeles, Francisco Javier Vallaure de Acha, for making the trip to Santa Barbara especially for the evening, and for addressing our community audience.  For more on this special program, and Basque culture and food in general, please click here and here for great articles by Rosie Sullivan.

Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

What’s new in the Presidio Heritage Garden?

by Neeva Pradhan and Kelly Hu

Presidio Heritage Garden Interns. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Presidio Heritage Garden Interns. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

Hello! We are the Presidio Heritage Garden interns, students at Anacapa School. This semester we have four students helping out: Neeva, Kelly, Nichole, and Jae Heun. We are quite an interesting group and very diverse. Kelly and Jae Heun are international students. Neeva is from Nepal and Nichole is half Colombian. Three of the interns are finishing up their last semester at Anacapa School.

Mike Imwalle tending the baby chicks destined for the Presidio chicken coop.
Mike Imwalle tending the baby chicks destined for the Presidio chicken coop.

Over the past few weeks, we have planted many vegetables such as squashes and corn. We harvested fava beans and some Christmas lima beans. We also cleared out weeds for the highly anticipated chickens which are going to arrive in July.

We got to help set up for the Presidio by Candlelight program, when we put up over fifty luminarias around the Presidio. We were very excited for the Presidio’s Early California Days program when Neeva and Kelly dressed up in traditional clothing.

3
A shoot on the grape vine in the Presidio Heritage Garden.

One of our projects was planting clippings from the grape vines. First we cut the small branches and peeled a strip of bark from the base of each branch to expose the cambium. Then we cut the branch bases at a diagonal angle. Finally, we rolled each branch in root growth hormone powder and potted them individually.

Although we have had times where we might be missing a few interns, we are never short on enthusiasm.

We got to watch the squash and watermelons grow. Recently, a new batch of bananas have started to grow. We planted marigolds, which added some golden colors to the Presidio. We were lucky to have worked at the Presidio during spring and summer because we got to enjoy all the fruits and vegetables that had grown. We got to eat Valencia oranges, lemons, avocados, cabbages and carrots.

Master gardener. Photo by Elise Goodell.
Master gardener. Photo by Elise Goodell.

We’ve enjoyed working with the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation these past few months, and were be sad to go after our last few weeks in May. We appreciate Mike Imwalle for making the last few months of senior (and junior) year fun for us all.

Every year the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation welcomes several interns from Anacapa School to work in our heritage gardens.  During their internship they get plenty dirty and learn a lot about crops and gardening in Early California!   

Representing Presidio Families at the Mission on Memorial Day Weekend

By Dana Hughes

Interns Madison Lowery and Dana Hughes shadow in the Presidio Chapel, while volunteer Shauna sketches the crown. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.
Interns Madison Lowery and Dana Hughes shadow in the Presidio Chapel, while volunteer Shauna sketches the crown. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.

On Memorial Day Weekend, I had the honor of helping tell the story of the Presidio’s soldiers in a unique medium: chalk painting. The I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival takes place in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo annually to raise money for the Children’s Creative Project, and for the first time this year, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation entered a chalk drawing in the festival. Designed by Higman Intern Madison Lowery, the eight by eight foot square depicts a soldado’s adarga, or shield, in brilliant red and royal blue, emblazoned with an image of the  Chapel at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park and Spain’s motto, “Plus Ultra,” or “further beyond.” Floral designs grace the shield and evoke the patterns of women’s embroidered shawls.

The finished depiction of the adarga. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.
The finished depiction of the adarga. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.

Madison, Education Director Melissa Chatfield, Jim Young, volunteer Shauna Moses and myself started early Saturday morning sketching the design that Madison had carefully plotted out, surrounded by artists representing over a hundred organizations, each carefully placing their first few lines. Throughout the day, a myriad of scenes, faces and stories were born from these initial lines. “Look at the house!” a young boy cried as he watched the adobe Presidio Chapel emerge from the pavement, and he and other visitors got the chance to learn a bit about the building and its history.

The event was a lively draw for people of all ages, who enjoyed food, live music, and art throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully tourists and budding artists alike left the festival feeling inspired by the imagination of Santa Barbara artists, and feeling intrigued about the soldados who carried the thick hide shields in the Santa Barbara of two centuries ago.

Dana Hughes is a Higman Intern in the Education Department at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Mike Hardwick Speaks about his New Book on Mission La Purísima Concepción

Hardwick bookOn May 21, Michael R. Hardwick gave a lecture in the Chapel at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park  about his hot-off-the-press new book, La Purísima Concepción: The Enduring History of a California Mission.   The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation was pleased to host this first speaking engagement to support the book and help celebrate the work of this longtime volunteer, member and Lifetime Honorary Director of the organization.

MIke Hardwick during the reception. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.
MIke Hardwick during the reception. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.

Hardwick shared with the audience his early experience an an archivist at Mission La Purisima and his continuing interest in the Mission, now a State Historic Park, near Lompoc, CA.  Hardwick’s historical account of the site is the culmination of his life-long commitment to the study and interpretation of Mission La Purisima.

After Hardwick’s lecture, the audience of friends, colleagues and the interested public, joined Hardwick for an outdoor reception, during which SBTHP staff presented him with a congratulatory cake to celebrate the book launch.

Hardwick celebrates with SBTHP Executive Director Jerry Jackman and friends.  Photo by Melissa Chatfield.
Hardwick celebrates with SBTHP Executive Director Jerry Jackman and friends. Photo by Melissa Chatfield.

About the Book:

In two centuries, La Purísima Concepción went from a fledgling frontier mission to a renowned California State Historic Park. Once home to many Spanish soldiers, settlers and hundreds of Chumash Indians, La Purísima held the seat of the California Mission government under Father Mariano Payeras. It withstood catastrophic events, including widespread disease in early years and a great Southern California earthquake in 1812. Emerging from ruins for the last time in 1934, after restoration by the Civilian Conservation Corps, structures appear today as they did in the early nineteenth century.  Author and archivist Michael R. Hardwick chronicles the story of La Purísima and the resilient people and culture that made a lasting influence.

You can find your copy of La Purísima Concepción for sale in La Tiendita, the gift shop at El Presidio SHP, or through our online shop via this link.

 

Behind the Scenes at the Installation of The Art of Preservation Exhibit

by Anne Petersen

Click through the image for  more detail.
Click through the image for more detail.

This week we installed The Art of Preservation:  The Oak Group Remembers Ray Strong at Casa de la Guerra for a 2-month run.  The project reflects the fruit of many meaningful community collaborations, and we can’t wait for everyone to see the results.  The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is one of 10 host institutions throughout the county celebrating pioneering landscape artist Ray Strong with special exhibitions during the month of June.  For a list of all the exhibitions, click here.

Sullivan Goss Gallery coordinated the Summer 2015 Ray Strong exhibition project as part of a larger project to honor Strong’s legacy, which will include a beautiful full-color book, and an online database of Strong’s work.  For more information on the Ray Strong project, click here.

SBTHP is proud to partner with the Oak Group for our contribution to the Summer 2015 Ray Strong exhibition series.  Strong, who inspired plein air landscape painters throughout California and Oregon,  was co-founder of this local painters collective, which focuses on the power of art to help preserve and celebrate open space.  For the exhibit, Oak Group members loaned Ray Strong paintings from their private collections, and also paintings of their own that evoke a strong connection to Strong, their colleague, mentor and friend.  The Oak Group’s preservation theme dovetails beautifully with SBTHP’s preservation mission.

To produce and install  the exhibit we also rely on the help of volunteers and friends of SBTHP.  Special thanks go to co-curator Bill Dewey, a member of the Oak Group and SBTHP’s Artifacts and Exhibits (A&E) Committee for his help coordinating the project.  Intern Lauren Trujillo  corresponded with artists and made and installed the labels for the show.   A&E Committee member Kathi Brewster helped hang all the artwork.  We are also grateful for our partnership with the Oak Group and honored to display the treasured paintings by and memories of Ray Strong that members shared for the exhibit.  Special thanks also go to Chris Chapman for sharing her Cloud Dance as the featured painting for the show (seen in the header of this post).

We hope to see everyone at the free public opening for the exhibit on June 11 from 5:00 PM  – 7:00 PM at Casa de la Guerra.  We will also be open for free during the July 2 First Thursday program from 5:00 PM  – 8:00 PM.  And, of course you can always visit Casa de la Guerra during regular hours from  12:00 – 4:00 PM Friday through Sunday.

Anne Petersen is the Associate Director for Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

Founding Day Photos are Here!

Founding Day 2015 by Myriah Nina Photography  (1) (683x1024) Collage On April 25, 2015 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation celebrated the 233rd Anniversary of the founding of Santa Barbara at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. The community enjoyed a service in the Chapel, a wonderful ceremony, including a reenactment of the founding of the Presidio with the Soldados de Cuera, dancing by Las Fiesteras, birthday cake courtesy of Reina del Mar  Parlor No. 126, Native Daughters of the Golden West, the debut of this year’s Saint Barbara, living history demonstrations, and a gathering of Presidio descendants! Enjoy the wonderful photos by Myriah Nina Photography, Margaret Celaya Mira, Debra Prescot Waterfall, and Michael Imwalle on our Flickr page, here.

Up-to-date news, notes, and behind the scenes at SBTHP

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From the National Association for Interpretation

Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library

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