Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sun and Moon

Yesterday, we were in love
the sun and I
softly warming my back as I transplanted leeks
pinking my cheeks while I moved some stone
lulling me to dreamily sleepiness as I rested with iced tea
and a garden book.
But it was the moon who whispered outside my window
rousing me from sleep last night
freshly washed from a lunar eclipse
high and bright in the sky
calling me
to flirt a while.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Giving Thanks Friday


This week I am thankful for:

Crisp, clean sheets and soft pillows and nights where rest comes easy.
Answered prayers for a brother-in-law who came through valve replacement/bypass surgery and is now resting at home comfortably. 
Birthday celebrations for my mother-in-law and sister, for the love flowing in them and for them. 
A husband who not only tolerates my "hair-brained" ideas for home improvement but often helps me implement them.  : )
The birthing of two tiny lives, full of promise, to our extended family this week.  Welcome Lucie and Jocelyn - and much love to both families!
Rain and sunshine and turned up earth where peas are nearing two inches in height.
New beginnings for a much loved family friend who has weathered unthinkable tragedy with great faith and wonderous grace.  Her life begins anew tomorrow as she walks down the aisle to marry her beloved.  May God bless them both...

What are you thankful for?

May your weekend be filled with wonder, laced with peace and bursting with love...

(Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1)

Friday, March 28, 2014

What I learned in March

This month I learned:

You should use caution when opening the display sheds at Home Depot for there may or may not be a gentleman taking refuge in there with a boom box via the 1980's. 

CAN eat just ONE thin mint Girl Scout cookie, as opposed to many, from the box and still live.  (Okay, technically I ate two from the box because I had just ONE on two different days.  Whatever.)

While I should be reading the MSN article on 6 stroke risk factors for women, I would rather click on what Daphne Oz named her new baby girl.  (Philomena Bijou Jovanovic in case you are wondering)

Spraying the mirror with hairspray rather than window cleaner (hey, I was trying to multi-task) does not make for a very clean mirror. #cleaning fail

Drug deals are still happening out in the open in small town hardware store parking lots and they don't care who is watching.  Bold.  And sad.      

Even confidence isn't a guarantee that you (as a guy) can rock confetti striped, capri length, pajama pants in public (topped with a hoodie and worn with hightops and socks), but you did entertain me : )

Removing the closet doors (while working on replacements) for a couple of weeks can be great inspiration in prodding you to get rid of stuff you don't really need.

Grace is still amazing. 

Linking up here today: http://www.chattingatthesky.com/


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finding Hope


Some days
all I see

Then light breaks forth
on second glance
there it is

It was there all the time
Even when I couldn't see it
"When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer."
Psalm 94:19
When hope takes root
Miracles blossom

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Let's Get Growing!

I am honored to be teaming up with Robyn from http://simplyfreshdinners.com/  to bring you a gardening and recipe series.  Posts will appear simultaneously on both blogs.  I will be sharing some gardening tips and she some garden-inspired recipes.  We hope you will follow along with us.


Whether it’s a conscious choice to live a healthier lifestyle, with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, the rising cost of fresh produce due to this year’s drought, or desire for non-genetically modified organics, first time gardeners are literally taking root.  If you have been considering a garden of your own, a simple way to get started is with container gardening.  It has never been easier to go organic than in containers filled with rich soil.  There is also a much lower incidence of disease or insect damage when using containers than with in-ground gardening.  Containers are perfect if you are short on space.  You can use them on patio, decks and even balconies.  It is also a convenient form of gardening for those with mobility problems, arthritis etc. as the containers can be placed on tables or stands for ease of access.

·         First up:  The container

The number of containers is limited only by your own imagination.  You can choose from the endless varieties of terra-cotta, lined metal, wood and (if you live in a warm climate) pottery.  You can also find cement pots and, a favorite of mine, half whiskey barrels.  Of course the latter two will be hard to move after filled so keep that in mind.  Don’t overlook wicker baskets, old tea kettles, discarded metal buckets and more.  Consider what will suit your climate, clean thoroughly and be sure to add holes for drainage at the bottom.


Keep in mind that a small container will hold less and require more watering.  A medium to large pot will leave more room for the plants to spread their roots and require less water.  If you find your container is the perfect width but is pretty deep you can fill the bottom with third or without with gravel or rock to save on cost of soil.  If you are concerned with the possibility of leeching chemicals I would avoid packing peanuts and plastic pots (many people use both) and stick to more natural materials. 

·         Next up:  Soil

     Your best bet in soil for a container is to use regular potting soil.  This is a blend perfect for growing in pots and there are many quality bagged soils available at your local garden center, including organics.  Most include built-in fertilizer that will feed your plants from start to finish.  Regular garden soil is just too heavy and will not drain well.  If you plan to plant a lot of containers you can also make your own potting soil mix.  (See link in resources below)
·         The fun part:  Seeds or seedlings
Starting now, your local nurseries and garden centers have racks and racks of seeds and (depending on where you live) little seedlings ready to plant.  If you want instant gratification go with seedlings.  If you are the more patient type give seeds a try.  They are the most economical choice and I am amazed every single time a new bit of green pops up.  You can even do a mix of seeds and seedlings. 


A fun and easy container idea is to do a “salad” garden anchored by a variety of lettuces in reds and greens.  Add some radishes, maybe some arugula and even some edible nasturtiums or pansies for color and or topping your salad with.  Be sure to check the seed packet or check with the nursery attendant to be sure the flowers are in fact edible and have not been treated with pesticides.  Harvest the tender lettuce leaves by trimming them with scissors when plants are young and they will keep producing.  You can also add more seeds to have a continuous crop available.  Salad gardens like the cooler weather as does spinach which is also another great container plant. 

As the weather warms (hooray!), you might consider sun loving vegetables like carrots or maybe some bush beans.  If you are thinking tomatoes the cherry tomatoes are a better choice for a beginner than the larger tomato varieties and just one potted plant can produce quite a crop!

In addition to vegetables, strawberries in a hanging basket, barrel or pot is also a great addition to a container garden.  Once you get your feet wet with container gardening you can branch out into many vegetables, maybe a blueberry bush in a barrel or even a dwarf fruit tree. 
Be sure to read the seed packages or seedling tags for planting instructions regarding depth for planting and spacing as well as for location (sun/shade or a combination) of your container.  I have also learned the value of the trained staff at my local garden center (rather than the big box stores) who are willing to share their knowledge as well as their passion for gardening.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.    
I hope you are inspired to start a container (or many!) of your own.  It’s fun, it’s easy and, with your first taste of home grown spinach or a sun ripened strawberry, you will find it is also very rewarding. 
Here’s are two recipes for those beautiful fresh vegetables and herbs that will be thriving in your containers.
Healthy After School Snack for Kids

Sugar Snap Peas with Yogurt/Honey Dip
1 pound of trimmed, washed sugar snap peas
2/3 cup of yogurt
1.5 tablespoons honey
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Sugar Snap Pea Salad
This salad may look mostly green but don’t be fooled.  It’s flavors are diverse and sharp and there are many different textures.  Delicious!
10 oz sugar snap peas, washed and trimmed
3 tablespoons sliced almonds (toasting is an option)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tablespoons fruit vinegar (blackcurrant is perfect with this)
¼ tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper
Handful of shredded carrots (I bought the packaged ones)
3 cups lettuce (your choice, buttery baby lettuce, boston, red leaf, escarole)
1/3 cup snipped fresh chives (1/2-inch pieces)
1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add snap peas and cook until bright green but still crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.  Pat dry with paper towel.
2. Toast almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
3. Whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add lettuce, carrots, chives, tarragon and the snap peas and toss lightly.  Sprinkle with almonds.
For suggested regional planting times for your climate check out this post from Mavis of One Hundred Dollars a Month:   http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/regional-planting-guides-for-backyard-gardeners/   
Find great articles and helpful tips at:  http://www.organicgardening.com/
Make your own potting mix with this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens:  http://www.bhg.com/gardening/container/basics/make-your-own-potting-mixes/
Pictures #1-4   http://www.deconome.com/
Green Onions – http://www.burpee.com
Cherry Tomatoes – www.nandyala.org


Friday, March 14, 2014

Giving Thanks Friday

This week I am thankful for: 

The sound of my husband mowing the grass for the first time this season.  Spring really is on it's way!
The return of the spring birds and all their morning "chirpiness".  I love listening to their sounds in the early morning hours.
Tazo green tea blend with lemonaid.  The one from Starbucks is great,  but the knock-off recipes found online come pretty close (and fit my budget better). 
And outing with my mom and daughter - three generations of fun.  We visited Target, the Dollar Tree and JoAnn Fabric with a break in between for lunch at Panera.  
A sweet blogger friend (Thank you Robyn!) who generously offered and created blog buttons for me.  
A trip to the local garden center (ok, two trips) with my husband to spend our saved anniversary money for June bearing strawberry plants and some late bearing ones as well, seed potatoes and several packets of organic garden seeds.     


What are you thankful for?

May your weekend be filled with wonder, laced with peace and bursting with love...

(Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Giving Thanks Friday


This week I am thankful for:

The garbage collectors.  I know it's their job, that they interviewed for and get paid for doing, but really, it's a stinky, messy one and I am very grateful each week when they cart our trash away.     

Seed packets.  I have been reading the backs of mine, sorting them, gazing fondly at the art and photographs on the fronts and dreaming about all the wonderful things that will be popping up in the garden over the coming months.  (Pea seeds going in soon!!)    

People willing to share their knowledge with others.  I am amazed at the wealth of free information (from web sites, blogs,You Tube and even our local hardware store clerks) that people are willing to share just because they are passionate about cooking, gardening, photography etc.  Free learning?   Sign me up! 

Online bill pay.  I love that most companies have given us an option to receive our bills online only.  It saves paper (which saves trees and produces less chemical use) and is an easier way for me, personally, to monitor our accounts.  I also feel better knowing that a bill with our account information is not sitting in our rural mail box when we are not at home.  Paying online (comes with risks I know...) has streamlined the bill paying process for our household by leaps and bounds.

Encouragers.  Those spreading the negative are everywhere making the encouragers job that much more important.  And just the smallest words of encouragement can make ALL the difference to someone.  Let's be open to sharing  a word of encouragement with someone we encounter this weekend.                


What are you thankful for?

May your weekend be filled with many reasons to give thanks!

(Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1)