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.

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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!   

Founding Day Photos are Here!o

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.

 

SBTHP Participates in I Madonnari this Weekend!

One motif from SBTHP's entry.  Come to the festival to see the whole thing! Photo by Anne Petersen.
One motif from SBTHP’s entry. Come to the festival to see the whole thing! Photo by Anne Petersen.

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is preparing its first-ever entry in the I Madonnari chalk festival at the Santa Barbara Mission this weekend.  We can’t show you the entire design we have planned, because then it would ruin the surprise, but we can present a bit of a preview.

Madison Lowrey (right) and Dana Hughes during a test run on SBTHP's I Madonnari entry. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Madison Lowrey (right) and Dana Hughes during a test run on SBTHP’s I Madonnari entry. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Artist and Higman Intern Madison Lowrey designed SBTHP’s entry in conjunction with Education Director Melissa Chatfield.  This week Lowrey and fellow Higman Intern Dana Hughes worked on a test run before the big day on Saturday.

A preview of the entry as artist Madison Lowrey works on blending the colors. Photo by Anne Petersen.
A preview of the entry as artist Madison Lowrey works on blending the colors. Photo by Anne Petersen.

We hope you will come out to support our team and all the great entries at I Madonnari this year.  Admission is free, and the festival runs from 10am – 6pm on May 23, 24 and 25.

See you there!

California State Park Commission Visits El Presidio SHP!

On April 30, 2015 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation was honored to host the California State Park and Recreation Commission during a recent meeting in Carpinteria.   Executive Director Jarrell Jackman and Archaeologist Michael Imwalle took the commissioners on a tour of El Presidio SHP, and then the group adjourned for dinner in the newly-restored Alhecama Theatre. The Channel Coast District of California State Parks hosted the evening meal, which included delectable Middle Eastern cuisine from El Presidio SHP tenant Zaytoon Restaurant.

The following day Park Commissioners  met just south in Carpinteria where they heard several presentations about partnerships and local parks projects, and discussed issues of importance to the future of parks with members of the community.

Park Commissioners, Channel Coast District staff and SBTHP staff gather for dinner in the Alhecama Theatre. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Park Commissioners, Channel Coast District staff, and SBTHP staff gather for dinner in the Alhecama Theatre. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

The California State Parks and Recreation Commission is made up of nine appointees, who help establish policies for the guidance of the parks system, and report and make recommendations to the governor, via the director of State Parks, on the status of the parks.

SBTHP is proud to have been a part of the busy agenda of the Parks Commission’s recent visit.

This Painting Will Come to Life Next Week…

Chapel Painting (800x600)

…when local artist Charles G. Burggraf captures the guests at our upcoming Candlelight Dinner in the Historic Presidio Chapel on Friday April 24, 2015.  If you are attending this spectacular evening, then you will be painted into the scene while enjoying a gourmet, period-themed meal and live entertainment.  Interested in joining in?  Click through to the link above for more information.  This truly unique work of art will be auctioned off at the end of that memorable evening.

We also look forward to seeing everyone at the Founding Day Festival from noon-4:00 PM on Saturday April 25.  This free, community event includes a reenactment of the founding of the Santa Barbara Presidio, interactive demonstrations for children and families, plenty of food, and performances throughout the afternoon on two stages.  Join us again that evening for Rancho Roundup from 4:00 – 10:00 PM, with a concert by headliners Double Wide Kings and food from Georgia’s Smokehouse.

Together these events at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park make up our Celebrate Santa Barbara! program.  For more information about all three, click here. See you next week!

SBTHP Unveils the Prince’s Plaque and New Donor Wall for El Presidio SHP!

Ceramic Artist hJeannie Davis and plaque-designer and SBTHP Development Assistant Christa Clark Jones with the prince's Plaque. Photo by Clint Weisman.
Ceramic Artist Jeannie Davis and plaque-designer and SBTHP Development Assistant Christa Clark Jones with the prince’s Plaque. Photo by Clint Weisman.

On March 26, 2015, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled a plaque on the Presidio Northwest Corner defense wall commemorating the 1995 visit by Prince Felipe of Spain to Santa Barbara.  The plaque is also the first of several which together will serve as the donor acknowledgement wall for El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park.   Spanish Consul General Javier Francisco Vallaure and Mayor Helen Schneider were among the dignitaries present at the unveiling.  For many more photos of this beautiful Santa Barbara evening, visit our Flickr set here.

The Curious Case of George M. Millard Books

by Madison Lowery

Untitled-4 (800x800)Charles Johnson, Director of the Research Library at the Museum of Ventura County, joined us at Casa de la Guerra on Thursday evening, March 12, to share the intriguing tale of an historic bookstore in Santa Barbara that, despite boasting a collection of some of the finest rare books, remains unknown to most: George M. Millard Books. Johnson offered a glimpse into the past, recounting the story of Alice Parsons Millard, a woman whose passion for books, fierce attention to aesthetics, and shrewd business sense gave birth to a collection of some of the world’s most finely crafted books. He came across her while conducting research on what he thought was a different business, the Tecolote Bookshop, formerly housed in El Paseo de la Guerra (currently located in Montecito).

Charles Johnson speaks with guests, including Eric Kelley, owner of another famed local bookshop, the Book Den.  Photo by Anne Petersen.
Charles Johnson speaks with guests, including Eric Kelley, owner of another famed local bookshop, the Book Den. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Mrs. Millard was a woman of exquisite taste, and her marriage to revered book dealer George Madison Millard afforded her the ability to interact directly with prominent artists and citizen collectors. The couple worked with renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to build two custom homes, one in Oak Park, Illinois and the other in Pasadena, California. After her husband died in 1918, Alice continued to work in the world of rare books and became respected as a book dealer, travelling across the United States and Europe to assemble her inventory. As a woman book dealer, her mark in historical records is somewhat circumstantial, so Johnson walked audiences through the steps of his detective work, backtracking through rare book catalogues and cross-referencing listings in phone books. In so doing, he managed to trace the origin of the Tecolote Bookshop to the Mrs. Millard’s inventory through that of her late husband’s business partner.

Guests enjoy the reception at Margerum Winery. Photo by Anne Petersen.
Guests enjoy the reception at Margerum Winery. Photo by Anne Petersen.

Throughout the lecture, Johnson engaged the audience with historic maps, showing the location of Mrs. George M. Millard Books and the shops of prominent Santa Barbarans who worked in what is now El Paseo. Guests were pleased to learn that they were sitting very close to the one of the locations of the bookshop, as they made their way through the patios of El Paseo to the wine reception, hosted by Margerum Winery. Special thanks go out to Rani McLean of Margerum Winery and our guest speaker, Charles Johnson, for creating an exceptional evening of intellectual curiosity.

Madison Lowery was awarded SBTHP’s Sue Higman Internship and is working in SBTHP’s  education department this spring.

Cooking with a Pinch of History: Pozole

by Brittany Avila

Last month I had the honor of partaking at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s  annual “Presidio Pastimes by Candlelight” event, where the birthplace of Santa Barbara is brought to life solely by candlelight for an evening full of historical demonstrations of Presidio life. I had the honor of running La Cocina, naturally, where SBTHP Receptionist Brittany Sundberg and I prepared pozole by candlelight. This was not an easy feat, but the hearty and warm recipe from California Rancho Cooking was a welcome treat at the end of the cold night. The next time you’ve got a little chill, this is the perfect dish to warm your body and soul.

Ingredients:

2 cups canned hominy

2 lbs of pork (butt end of the loin, chopped)

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups onion (chopped)

1 tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. garlic (minced)

2 cups red chile sauce

2 bay leaves

1 cup water

4 poblano chiles (charred, peeled and chopped)

1 tsp black pepper

Inside la cocina at El Presidio SHP. Photo by Brittany Avila.
Inside la cocina at El Presidio SHP. Photo by Brittany Avila.

To begin, I thought I would give you a glimpse of our lighting conditions in La Cocina when Brittany S. and I prepared the pozole. As you can see, this picture showcases our “stovetop” which is a counter of ladrillo with a small cut-out for a fire, and copper pot on top. Settlers of El Presidio de Santa Barbara would have been in the same conditions if not worse to prepare their night time meals–based on first hand experience, it’s a challenge!

Preparing the pork. Photo by Brittany Avila.
Preparing the pork. Photo by Brittany Avila.

Begin by chopping  the pork loin into bite-size chunks. As you can see by my chopped pork pieces, I like my stew “chunky.” Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large pot and add pork.

Different types of meat can be used in pozole, leaving hominy as the signature ingredient in the recipe. Hominy comes from maize, which was originally grown by the Aztecs in chinampas, or raised gardens.

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Hominy. Photo by Brittany Avila.

This is our pile of hominy for the stew straight from the can. Settlers in Early California wouldn’t have simply had to open a can to get this ingredient, but instead would’ve have to soak maize kernels in mineral lime to get them to the nixtamal or hominy texture.

Allow pork to simmer for one and one half hours. Meanwhile, begin preparing the poblano peppers and other chopped ingredients.

Roasting poblanos on the comal. Photo by Brittany Avila.
Roasting poblanos on the comal. Photo by Brittany Avila.

Chili peppers are native to the New World, and were commonly used as spices by Native Americans.

Cook the poblano peppers on skillet until charred. Then, peel the charred skin off of the pepper.  We used a comal, or iron skillet over a fire on our ladrillo stove top to char the peppers. This took about 5-10 minutes on each side.

Photo by Brittany Avila.
Photo by Brittany Avila.

Of course, Santa Ines Mission Mills olive oil (my favorite!) was used to grease the comal.

Chili peppers have five different forms, with the three most popular being bell pepper, jalapeno, and cayenne.

Brittany Sundberg prepares the vegetables. Photo by Brittany Avila.
Brittany Sundberg prepares the vegetables. Photo by Brittany Avila.

Chop the pepper, onion, and garlic into fine pieces. My sous chef ever so carefully chopped ingredients as close to a candle as she can get in our dim lighting! Add hominy and all other ingredients, and stir continuously for 30 minutes or until the broth has thickened.

When Europeans first settled in Mexico, maize was considered to be any grain grown in a particular region, including other grains such as wheat and barley. Later, it was exclusively referred to as the corn we now consider maize today, which is soaked in an alkali treatment of lime mineral to create what we today call hominy, or formerly nixtamal. It was this treatment of maize that prevented the spread of pellagra, a disease of the skin caused by maize consumption, because it brought more nutrients within maize to the surface.

The finished pozole. Photo by Brittany Avila.
The finished pozole. Photo by Brittany Avila.

Here is the final product, which received rave reviews from our cold and hungry volunteers at the end of the evening. It was perfectly described as hearty with a kick! And just like that, you have a hearty, traditional stew! Serve hot, and prepare for some spice!

The Brittanys, seen here in traditional Early California dress, had a blast setting off smoke alarms and creating delicious aromas in La Cocina.

Brittany Sundberg and Brittany Avila. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Brittany Sundberg and Brittany Avila. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

Works Cited

Foster, Nelson, and Linda S. Cordell. Chilies to Chocolate: Food the Americas Gave the World. Tucson: U of Arizona, 1992. 3-4+.

Johnson, Sylvia A. Tomatoes, Potatoes, Corn, and Beans: How the Foods of the Americas Changed Eating around the World. New York: Atheneum for Young Readers, 1997.

McMahan, Jacqueline Higuera. California Rancho Cooking: Mexican and Califorian Recipes. Seattle: Sasquatch, 2001.

Brittany Avila is Volunteer Maestra de Cocina for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

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