The other day I was in a garden and spotted this. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m pretty certain it didn’t start life as a garden ornament. I love creative thinking!.
The other day I was in a garden and spotted this. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m pretty certain it didn’t start life as a garden ornament. I love creative thinking!.
At the flea market this weekend, I bought this metal basket, decorated with these metal flowers. I’m not sure why, other than it’s Easter season, which makes one think of baskets, and it was a dollar and it’s got that pink and gold combo from the 50s that has started to appeal to me in a big way. Lately I’ve been thinking – just thinking – about redoing my kitchen to incorporate those colors. However, I doubt that will happen anytime soon. Or ever.
Hard to believe Easter is just a few days away. Greg’s mom invited me to come to Joplin for the holiday, but I can’t leave all my little plants. They would need definitely need water before I got back. They’re drinking it up at a prodigious rate.
My only Easter decoration is this little bunny I got last year who is residing on my desk. I had hoped to do an Easter tree outside, but after the blizzard, my tree’s leaves are all brown – not very spring like. I don’t think brightly colored, plastic Easter eggs would overcome the brown.
Today was a beautiful day – sunny and warm. I spent most of it hunched over paperwork and the computer screen finishing up the United Way application. But after 5 I was able to start working on my back yard a little bit. I hadn’t even removed the dead plants from last year. The tomato cages were still in place, with the remains of tomatoes long gone with them. I pulled those out and managed to get a little bit of other stuff out.
The lemon balm is growing, the sage has some green on it, and some of the lavender is starting to come in, too. I am so eager to have fresh food growing in the back yard again. I love the early mornings in the summer. Nothing like going out in the back yard while the dew is still wet, and seeing what’s happening in the garden.
I think I’m going to kill the grass in my back yard to make more room for garden. I hate mowing it anyway, and continually need more room for garden, so it seems like the perfect solution. I laid down a little bit of landscape cloth tonight in one small area. I was reminded I don’t yet bend well for extended periods of time. But, I can just do a little bit at a time, and I’ll get it done eventually. I think I’ll start at the back, beside the garage, and work my way forward. That’s the area that gets the most sun anyway. I also need to just spray round up on the grass/weed patch out by the alley. I think I’ll spend this summer killing it and next year I can plant something there that doesn’t require mowing. Is it time to mention again that I hate mowing? Apparently it is. I hate mowing.
There are so many things I need to get done around the house. For two months I didn’t really do anything and things have piled up to say the least. But now that I’m feeling more normal I’m trying to do at least a couple of things in the house every day to get life back on an even keel. I still feel “scattered” and hope getting things a bit more under control will help that.
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This is Stutzman’s Greenhouse, which is a spectacular place to go. It’s just a few miles outside of town. This afternoon, I intended to go to Stutzman’s, as well as a couple of other spots out that way, to drop off flyers for the garden tour. Greg decided he would go along and we’d eat at the Dutch Kitchen.
So, we went to Glenn’s Bulk Foods and left a flyer, then had a late lunch/early dinner at Dutch Kitchen, and then over to Stutzman’s. Somewhere along the way, someone mentioned Stutzman’s was having a big sale. Now, bear in mind, I’m a person who has already planted everything I intend to plant. I’m done.
That’s why I bought another full flat of plants today. Really, seriously, someone should supervise me better.
Although you have to understand, when we asked what was on sale, the lady replied, “every living plant in here is half off.” Half off? Everything? Those purple things and the blue things and white things? Yes. Everything. Half off.
In about 12 seconds I had gone back up front to get a cart and returned to wander the aisles.
I got two blackberry bushes, and some more flowers. I wanted a dill plant but they were about four feet tall and I didn’t think they would survive the transplantation. I got a couple of really cool foilage things. I’ll take some pix once they’re planted. Of course, I don’t really like to plant. I just like having it done. Unfortunate, that. However, as of yet, there is no gardener to do it for me so I believe it will be me getting them in the ground.
Greg picked up a couple of things, too, but he got tired of waiting for me. Stutzman’s has forseen this problem and provided a bench for such occasions. It’s quite the environmental portrait.
And, yes, those are real petals on the ground.
Check www.patsyterrell.com for the blog, art, and more.
This is lunch and dinner today – all fresh from my garden. I bought some goodies at the farmer’s market yesterday, including an eggplant, only to discover that I had not only some baby ones, but a couple of full grown ones as well in my own little garden. I’ll have to find a home for the one I bought yesterday.
I came right inside and cooked up the tomatoes, chives, oregano and basil with some olive oil and garlic, and some onions I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday into a sauce.
If it doesn’t look as red as you would expect, that’s because it’s made from real tomatoes, without any red food coloring added in.
I cut up one eggplant and sprinkled the slices with salt and pressed them to get some water out of them. However, I didn’t let them sit for two hours, as is always suggested. But, they didn’t need it.
I dipped the eggplant slices in egg and dredged in flour with salt and pepper, and fried in a little olive oil. By the time they were done, the sauce was ready to be pureed. I layered an eggplant slice with some cheese and then poured the sauce over all. Naturally, I added freshly grated parmesan on top and garnished with some tomatoes and a basil leaf, and sprinkled with fresh chives.
It was delicious! I mean, really, really, really delicious. Even though I’m alone in the house, I exclaimed, “That is good!” outloud to myself when I took the first bite.
I am becoming more and more devoted to the idea of having food as recently picked as possible. There’s a world of difference in how it tastes. If I’m not careful, I’m going to be canning before I know it.
Obviously, I need a bigger garden. This fall I think I will take the side of my yard where the garden is and get rid of the grass so I can put more garden in next year.
Oh… and dessert… the rest of the fresh blackberries from the farmer’s market yesterday. Yum!
Today I’ve had my first “harvest” from the garden – two grape tomatoes. They were tasty.
I’ve been gone a week and my eggplants have gone from being about 10 inches tall to over two and a half feet. The same with the cucumber. That doesn’t seem possible and yet it is. I’m not sure what happened while I was gone, but they suddenly got very happy.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the “locally grown food” concept and how important that is. It stands to reason that something grown down the road from you, or in your backyard like these tomatoes, is likely to be fresher and better-tasting than something grown 3000 miles away, picked green, and shipped to your grocery store.
Estimates are that our food now travels an average of 1,500 miles before it gets to the dinner table. The benefit to this is that we enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables year round because they can be grown in places with temperate climates and shipped to us. The downside of this is that we’re not getting the freshest things and that there are some costs to this that we’re not paying for at the register – namely we’re adding to air pollution with all that shipping, which is not helping the global warming issue any. It’s ironic that even in places where food is grown, it’s often shipped to distribution centers, then back to the area where it was grown in the first place.
Another issue is that we’ve lost family farms and have moved more toward a corporate farming culture. Those family farms not only provided a livelihood for the farmers, but they also kept money local, whereas that may no longer be true with corporate farming.
For me, the big issue is that we have lost touch with how food is “manufactured.” I think many kids – and adults – have no sense of how food is actually grown. The more distance is involved in delivering our food, the more distance there is between us and the knowledge of how it comes to be. Do kids know what pigs eat? Do they know how we get milk? Do they know potatoes grow under the ground? I won’t even ask if they know things that grow underground need to be planted in the dark of the moon and those above ground should be planted in the light of the moon.
Some have suggested we should all try to eat locally grown food. I think that’s more of a challenge for some than others. If you limit “local” to 100 miles, as some have done, that’s a very different thing in Kansas than it is in California.
However, I think we can all try to be aware of where our food is coming from. Is it coming from a place within a hundred miles? From within your state? From within your country? We can all try to be aware of this, even if we’re not at the point where we can make significant changes. I think it’s valid to consider the sources of our food nonetheless.
I was looking through some of my digital pix tonight and found this one of the herb garden taken on June 3. Quite a change from how it is now that I posted a couple of days ago.
At some point things just go wild, and June in the time, obviously. I just posted that pic of the tomatoes and herbs a day or two ago so this really struck me when I ran across it. Hard to believe that’s less than a month’s time.
I grew up on a Kentucky farm, and we always had a big garden. I guess when you have a bunch of people to feed, you get pretty interested in a garden. My mom canned green beans and peas and tomatoes, and froze corn. We ate potatoes fresh from the garden and never thought a thing about it.
When I bought my house, one of the considerations was that I wanted enough land to have a little garden – nothing big – just a little garden. I adore fresh tomatoes and in the last couple of years have really loved having fresh herbs. It seems each year the garden gets a little larger. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all, just curious.
Gardening used to be a necessity. Now it’s more of a nicety. However, I’ve started to think of it as an esential. We are spoiled because we can go to the farmer’s market, but not all of the things sold there are fresh out of the ground. We’re fortunate because there’s a large number of Amish and Mennonite farmers around here that still farm and bring their goods to the farmer’s market. But there are also places that just buy the produce elsewhere and sell it at the farmer’s market too. I can just go to the grocery store for that.
Thinking about gardening caused me to think about all the other things that are no longer essentials, but that we might all be better off if we did nonetheless. Think about how often you cook dinner compared to how often your grandmother did. I’m in the same category myself. I don’t cook as much as my mother did, or as much as I would like to. But it’s easy to go out to eat. It’s social and it happens a lot.
We used to rest on Sunday. Even those who weren’t religious rested on Sunday. Now we run like maniacs, trying to cram in more weekend time because we have no time during the week to take care of our lives. And, ironically, the people I know who are church goers seem busier and more frazzled on Sunday than those who don’t go to church. I’m not sure when the “rest” part comes in – for any of us.
Why are we all running crazy all the time? There are still 24 hours in the day and people were working much harder 100 years ago than we are now. They found time for all kinds of things, so why can’t we? We have dishwashers and laundry facilities and cooktops and yet we can’t get it all done. They were hauling water and building fires and killing chickens.
There’s something wrong. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but there’s definitely something wrong.
Of course, I’ve always known about myself that I would have made a very good 1950s housewife – all except that answering to the husband part. Other than that I would have been excellent at it. Excellent, I tell you! I’m made to be a corporate wife or other such thing. I throw great parties, I’m a a good cook, I lunch with the best of them, I still write thank you notes – I would be so good at it in so many ways. I just am not willing to have no control over my life financially. It’s too scary in a world where divorce rates are over 70% to let my future be determined by someone else. That has always been the problem.
I love the idea that one person in the couple is staying home to raise children these days, but I’m scared for everyone of them. If you’re not being paid to stay home with your child, and can therefore save for your future – and that of your child’s – in case of divorce, you have no financial standing. I know all about child support and alimony (a rarity these days), and I also know how much of it is owed. I just could not bring myself to be that trusting – especially not with a child’s welfare at stake. Of course, no one ever thinks they’ll get divorced. None of those 70% that did thought so either.
Well, I have meandered… no big surprise there… but I think I’ll stop for the night…
We have had a few wet days here. This morning about 7 I went outside to peek at the herb garden in the back. I say “herb” but I also have a few tomatoes, a cucumber and a couple of eggplants out there. I’m tickled to say I have some little green tomatoes.
I set up the watering system a day or two ago, so the timer had set it off and I was watering the bed as the air was so moist everything was already dripping. But, generally, it’s very warm here this time of year so you need to water. In fact, we set a record today of the lowest high ever – it was 72 for the high today. I’m not complaining – at all – but it’s weird.
Things have really started to grow in the last couple of weeks. I think it has to get warm and stay warm for awhile for a lot of plants. Apparently we’ve reached that time of year – today notwithstanding.
I’m tickled with my little herb garden. Everything is doing well. You can see here on the left the chives, sage, lemon balm and cilantro. The cinnamon basil is just slightly out of view on the left. On the right the sweet basil is out of view, too. I planted four plants, which I think is going to be a lot. I have two last year and was going for three this year but after the hail beat one of them to pieces I got an additional one. But that one recovered a bit so I’ve now got four. I should be able to keep everyone I know in basil.
I also have some lavendar, rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, dill and two kinds of parsley growing. I am looking forward to homemade tomato basil soup this summer. I’ve also decided that next year I’m putting cilantro in the front flower bed. I’ve been picking it as a cut flower rather than anything else. In fact, I’ve been creating bouquets out of all kinds of herbs the last few weeks.
At the moment, my dining room table is graced with a bouquet of cilantro.
I love, love, love having fresh plants inside. I need to grow more blooming plants suitable for cutting. Although, something I learned at the artist’s retreat last year is that different kinds of greenery can be really wonderful – even without blooms. And some herbs – like sage – hold up really well for a long time. I also need to plant more pinks, as they seem to be in continual bloom and last a long time after cut. This is the bouquet on the table across from my door.
The Garden Tour was a big success and it’s done for this year. I am thrilled with the response we had. Tomorrow I have a lot of detail things to take care of for it, but I will also take some time just to rest and think.
As is always the case, there are people who are unhappy with things – always. I’m not sure why that is, but it must just be human nature. Fortunately, I don’t have any of those people in my world by choice, so my contact with them is limited. And I’m blessed that none of them are on my board. I just could not deal with that kind of negative nit-picking all the time.
Peggy and Gary were a huge help, as they always are with any project. They are both such positive, fun people to be around. I don’t know what I would do without them.
We did well today, and that’s a relief. These events take a considerable amount of energy and this one was a real bear to get done due to circumstances beyond our control. But it all worked out.
Dick Westphal did a piece of jewelry for us to raffle off. He is such a gifted designer. And very generous with not only us, but other non profits in town.
One of the home owners today was playing music in her backyard, in addition to sharing her garden. I’m continually amazed at people’s generousity.
I didn’t get to all the homes as I was filling in at one of the locations. But it seemed like everyone was having a good time.
We had a fabulous day for it – sunshine, breeze, and it wasn’t terribly hot. I think it only got up to the mid 80s today. Some years it has been over 100 the day of the garden tour so this was a pleasant change.
We had eight people this year who said they would do it next year so maybe this fall I will try to line that up.
I’m going to take some time now to work on my life. It desperately needs some attention.
Today I got outside and cleaned up the flower bed and planted some of the bulbs I bought recently. I planted daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. I still have tons more to plant, but got weary of doing it this afternoon. I may have over purchased. The smell of mint is strong in the flower bed. It hasn’t completely died out.
It was a beautiful day today, but we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow so thought I’d better take advantage of the day. I cut back some of the perennials, but left a few that haven’t quite died out. I figure the snow will take care of that if we really get it.
I also got the Christmas tree base set up and got the tree out of the shed. I drug the bag up to the back door but will probably have to bring it in the house in pieces.
I took a very long bath tonight, and read and thought. I’m in a contemplative mood lately and will be posting more about that here over the next few days and/or weeks. Things are shifting in my life, that’s for sure.
It has been a very quiet day for me. I went to Roy’s for lunch and they were swamped with people visiting for the holidays. I popped into the hardware store briefly and got home to meet with a gentleman about doing some work on my house. Other than those interactions, I have been alone with myself and my thoughts. I don’t think my phone has even rung today.
I did go get groceries after midnight. I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow, when everyone realizes we might get a dusting of snow and descends on the stores as if we will never get another shipment of food. I was out of yogurt and apples. That’s my signal to go to the grocery store. I bought a pomegranate tonight. For some reason they’re very decadent to me, maybe because we only get them for a brief time each year.
Well, I must get some rest. I have a very full day ahead tomorrow. I want to make more progress on Christmas decorating and finish my Christmas letter.
This morning I got up and started producing more things for the garden tour. One of my former board members allows me to copy at his office for free, and since I produce 800, 32 page books for the garden tour, that’s a ton of copying. That would be 12,000 actual copies, which at 6 cents each that is sort of the going rate – a total of $720. Because of his generosity, I’m able to do it only for the cost of the paper – less than $50. I did some yesterday afternoon and finished this morning.
Volunteers came this afternoon to help me get the books assembled, stapled and folded. I had asked for six people – had four, plus me – but we got it done. Unfortunately, I had hoped to do some other things while they were doing books so now I’ll have to do that tomorrow. But, at least the books are all done.
They are nice – not exactly as I would have liked, but being sick two of the days I had set aside to produce it means it’s just not the way I would have had it ideally. But, probably only I will know the difference, and it looks nice – has some good looking ads that I think are probably well-targeted to this audience.
As soon as the books were done, I ran to the bank and to the printers to get some things cut. I stopped in to Diana’s to say hi while the printer was cutting my forms – they’re on the same block.
Teresa was in Diana’s store visiting so I got to see her. And Jocelyn was in the back giving a Reiki treatment. I stayed at the store while Diana and Teresa ran down to Smith’s market – a wonderful little fruit and vegetable market we have here.
Greg and I had planned to have dinner, but he was so tired he decided to go on to bed – he had been up all day after being up most of the night. So, Jocelyn and I had dinner with Lauren, her granddaughter.
Lauren discovered for the first time tonight that I have long hair and wanted me to fix it like Cinderella. Unfortunately, I don’t know Cinderella’s hairdo, so that was a bit of a problem. She played with it a little bit and I’m guessing we’ll be doing that again in the near future. She’s three – almost four – and about as adorable as they come.
I ran right to Lowes after eating, to get some flowers.I went and looked the other night so I could buy them pretty quickly tonight.
I think the weeds in my front flower bed are finally dead – I hope so – because I just invested some serious cash in flowers to go in it. I planted four of them tonight but it was dark by the time I got home. So, I’m going to try and get up early in the morning and do it. It will be far too hot later in the day to be messing with it.
I can already see that I’m lacking some different kinds of plants – I have purples and yellows and I need some other colors and also some with long, skinny leaves. I know that’s not very sophisticated for those of you who are gardeners, but I’m not that knowledgable. I just want it to be flowers instead of weeds.
I have some volunteer morning glories coming up so I need to get strings out for them to climb. I love morning glories. I also planted a honeysuckle last year – had forgotten about that until it started looking like a honeysuckle. I know some people think they’re weeds but I love them – viney things going everywhere really appeal to me.
I wish I had taken pix before I started killing the weeds and then with them dead but still in there, but I didn’t. So, now I’ll just have the flower pix, but so it goes.
I’m going to try and be diligent about keeping track of what is planted where. I have no excuse now that I have a digital camera.
Well, I must go bathe. The mosquitoes have come in full force in the last couple of days. I’m not sure why, but I swear they are the size of small birds. The little blood suckers just love me, so I doused myself in spray before I went outside but now I’m really wanting to get it off of me.