We're extremely busy this week with some home projects, so we figured we'd simply share a few interesting photos each day. Here's today's -- a big plate of freshly picked cherries from our yard! ?These are smaller cherries than you'll find in stores. We believe they're sour cherries, which is a very healthy variety, even though they're not as tasty as Bing's or Ranier's. ?They're reportedly good for pies, though. I've eaten tons of them so far; ?they're at their peak at the moment here.

I tell you... the dangerous thing about cherries is something you'll only discover when you're out there on a ladder, standing on that tip-top rung (which clearly states: "Do NOT stand on this rung!"), and you're reaching higher and higher for that next bunch of nature's goodness. Even in this situation, you find yourself thinking: "If I could just reach a *little bit* higher!" ?Sooner or later, you have to realize that some cherries are there for the birds, squirrels, and raccoons.

While I was growing up in the Midwest, I had a rich uncle who lived out East in Philadelphia. I didn't know him very well at the time, but would often glean stories via the family grape vines of his business successes. After high school, I attended college in Northeastern Pennsylvania -- Wilkes University -- where, incidentally, I first met Wendi! :-)

Being out there, I got to visit my uncle from time to time, and dine with him and his family. ?Among other things, he was quite the gourmand. I'm not so sure what he'd have thought of raw foods, although I suspect he'd have appreciated the many gourmet efforts.

Hi there, lovely Pure Jeevan family members!

It's so sweet that many of you are concerned about us, wondering where we are and what we are doing since the blog has been quiet for quite some time. We feel very loved! *blows kisses to everyone*

Well, our trip to Portland, Oregon, went well. We bought the fixer-upper home that will eventually house Pure Jeevan, and did some preliminary work on it (it's a *true* fixer-upper and is going to require *a lot* of work and investment). A few times during our stay in the new home, Jim and I both looked at each other, wild-eyed, wondering what we had done. Following one's intuition can be a bit scary at times, but we've learned over the years that things always work out for the best and that these sometimes scary, unknown times are what help us grow and learn in ways we had never imagined.

Here they are!! Images from the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! There were more taken by the ashram staff; once they are sent to me, I'll include those, as well.

Page One: Guests

Page Two: Raw Food

Just a quick announcement today:? I just pressed "send" on our gorgeously produced November 2009 e-newsletter. While we've done periodic newsletters in the past, we've now revisited our commitment to doing them regularly. So, each month going forward, we plan to send out a new e-newsletter.

And they're always crazy fun!? They're kind of like bouncing on a trampoline -- like flying, you know ? Nothing but care-free, transcendent happiness, soaring amid the tree branches, smiling ear-to-ear, gravity-defying hair flying every which way. (Okay, maybe they're not that much fun. But, they are at least generally enjoyable -- and informative!)

Just a quick notice that we've posted our December 2009 newsletter. Each month, we email a link to our newsletter to all Pure Jeevan family members. (If you're not receiving that, you're mising out on a ton of awesome raw inspiration and information. You can click here to sign up -- it's free!)

We'll be back tomorrow to continue our coverage of the Chicago raw food scene. As I've been saying for a few days now, you won't want to miss these great interviews!?

What's Valentine's Day without a little "Smooth Love," right ??Here's how we created this simple, creamy delicious, smoothie:

  • Start with the water and flesh of one young coconut. We had one left over, still nice and fresh, from our recent trip to the Florida Keys (more raw food videos and posts coming soon from that trip!).
  • Add three to four oranges, peeled (and de-seeded if necessary)
  • Add two to three large bananas
  • Add 12 ounces of frozen strawberries (or to taste)
  • Add a small handful of raw almonds
  • Add a bit of raw agave nectar or a few dates, if you have them.

Blend in your high-speed blender until smooth ... and share with a loved one! Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Today we thought we'd introduce you to a common wild edible known as Purple Deadnettle (or, more dramatically, the Purple Archangel). Watch the video and let us know if it grows in your area, and if you've tasted it!

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Jim here... "Do I Need to Eat a Certain Percentage of Raw Foods to Call Myself a Raw Foodist " This seems to be a common question among some people interested in pursuing a raw and living foods lifestyle. I fielded such a question recently online, and thought I'd recap my own answer here, somewhat edited for enhanced clarity:

I know what raw foodism means. And, if you're here, you probably do to, or at least you're interested in it and know the basics. But, to the mainstream population, raw is absolutely unheard of, totally out of the box -- relatively speaking. So, let's begin by taking a look at who in the world has potentially heard of RAW. Let's start more broadly and then hone in.

Jim here... Certainly, we're all familiar with the old saw, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink," right ? So often, the life of a raw foodie is perfectly captured by that saying. We are, of course, the ones leading our equine brothers and sisters to the sweet trough of raw foods, just as others coaxed us into the barn for our first drink.

Have You Been Led To This Post ??

So, what is this post It's a big old horse trough to which, if you're a raw foodie, you can lead others. Or, if you're someone unfamiliar with raw foods, and have been sent here by another, what you'll find below is the water. No one can make you drink it. And, please don't be offended at my comparing you to a horse because (1) we're all horses, (2) this is all just my strange opinion, and (3) horses are beautiful, magical beings! Being compared to a horse is a compliment!