5 April 2013, by gj
“I took some vacation time the end of May;” Mandolin told me the other day, “I marked it on the calender.”
“Why May?” I asked, “Is there something going on?”
“No…” he hesitated, “I just thought I’d help you in the garden. That’s when most of the work needs to get done, right?”
Now let me just back up a bit here, and tell you that over the years Mandolin has helped me with the most physically difficult gardening tasks- digging and installing posts for a fence, moving rather large rocks, even hauling some horse manure. (But just once.)
Gardening is really my hobby, he’s busy enough with the work that needs to be done on remodeling the house.
So all the wheelbarrow loads of soil and compost and gravel and wood chips, all the planting of fruit trees and brambles, pruning, tilling and so on, has been done by me.
My wonderful husband has yet to set seed to soil, and if he had, he would know that most of the work is preparation and done well before the end of May.
So as tempted as I was to ask “Who are you and where’s my real husband?” all I could say was “Why?”
After 35 years of marriage, the look on his face said much more than his words “I just think it’s really important that we get as much out of the garden this year as possible.”
If you’re wondering if there’s going to be a punch line in this post, there isn’t.
I’m about as serious as I hope I’ll ever be, much more than I want to be, and I am because I care about y’all and truly believe this is important.
Think about this:
1. The US government is spending far beyond our means. If we did what our elected officials (for decades and across party lines) have done, we would have had our car repossessed, our house foreclosed on, and probably would have had to declare bankruptcy. One city in California has already done so.
2. If you compare the government to yourself, that car that has been repossessed represents our infrastructure- roads and bridges, public transportation, utilities, municipal waste, etc. The home that was foreclosed on represents everything else- all public buildings, government agencies, hospitals and so on.
The bankruptcy is a declaration that you cannot meet the expenses you racked up, and in so admitting, will not be allowed credit for many years to come.
Note also, that those you owe money to can contest the bankruptcy, and you have to pay them what is due. You cannot just walk away from all of it.
3. We can’t just print more money, as that makes what money is already out there worth less. When the treasury department printed more dollars recently, they in effect gave anyone with a job a salary cut, because now what you earn will buy less. It may seem like a dollar is a dollar, but there’s so much more to it than that.
4. This cannot go on forever. Why is Homeland Security stockpiling weapons and ammo? Homeland Security, not the military. Why does Mandolin, a practical man if ever one lived, feel the need to get more from the garden?
This is what I want to talk to you about this weekend. I hope you come back and read on, just to be aware. Part 2 will be a look at how things might play out, and Part 3 will be information on what you can do about it.
What is the expression- “Forewarned is forearmed”
Even if you’re only armed with knowledge and a seed packet, you will be better off.
Categories: preparedness, special posts
29 March 2013, by gj
To be very brief, this blog came about through a fluke, a suggestion, and a mania for growing and preparing food. Writing it has made me a better gardener, a more daring cook, and has provided amazing opportunities to meet wonderful people with similar interests.
Now it happened the day before yesterday that the readership here broke the 100k mark. Admittedly I still find all this shocking; but even knowing it was going to happen, it was sooner than I expected. It was also inspiring; to see so many of you wanting to learn more and going out there and planting.
All it took was for me to mention my excitement and a few fabulous women quickly offered to give a gardening gift as a Thank You! to at least some of the gardeners that have come here. Aren’t they great?!?
Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening
Fran Sorin is a nationally known gardening expert, communicator, author, broadcaster, and journalist. Her multi-media exposure reflects her philosophy that gardening is a process that can teach individuals how to live more meaningful, creative, healthy and spiritual lives.
‘Digging Deep’ takes the reader, step by step, through Fran’s 7 stages of creativity, offering tools on how to be more creative in the garden and in life. It is available in Paperback and Kindle and has also been published in German.
Click here to learn more about this amazing woman. Also, if you sign up for her free newsletter, you will receive a chapter of her book for free!
An Assortment Package of Moo Poo Tea
Annie Haven – Woman Rancher continues her family legacy of farming and ranching naturally. As the owner of Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew Annie offers a full line of 100% natural soil nutrients which are harvested, processed and Eco hand packaged from the by-product of her grass fed livestock. Environmentally conscious gardeners across the country, Canada and beyond are successfully growing chemical free with her special brand of Moo Poo Tea.
Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew is safe for all garden, indoor plants and soil types. Hydrate seeds before planting to in crease germination, feed overwintering plants, use as a drench when transplanting, soak bare root roses, shrubs and fruit trees 24 hours before planting to reduce stress and stimulate root growth. Feed Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew throughout the growing season for increased bloom and vegetable yield naturally. Connect with Annie and learn more about her all natural soil conditioner product line here: http://www.manuretea.com
Culinary Herb Collection
Cathryn Zommer offered:
CULINARY HERB GARDEN FROM SOW TRUE SEED
An annual assortment of eight scrumptious flavors to compliment any well-appointed kitchen. Grow these herbs close to your kitchen and harvest often to enhance all your favorite recipes. The hand packed collection contains: Organic Genovese Basil, Organic Chives, Organic Cilantro, Organic Bouquet Dill, English Thyme, Organic Italian Giant Parsley, Broad Leaf Culinary Sage and Summer Savory.
Sow True Seed is an Asheville, North Carolina company entering our fifth season and devoted to sustaining a rich heritage of preservation and the ecological wisdom embodied by seed handed down from generation to generation. We specialize in GMO- Free traditional, heirloom, Appalachian and organic favorites selected with care for gardens nationwide.
We are happy to work with established and new gardeners alike—not only by selling seed that can be saved but by supporting the vital exchange of seed-saving knowledge. This tradition of and commitment to active preservation is at the heart of our founder’s mission: Carol Koury started Sow True Seed in 2009 out of a desire to pass her hands on understanding of where food comes from and love of growing flavorful, fresh-picked and contaminant-free vegetables onto her grandchildren and generations to come.
Today, we offer over 550 seed varieties including vegetable, herb, and flower seed, garlic and sweet potatoes, as well as seed collections, books, gift certificates, and more from its warehouse and retail home in Asheville. Our Grower’s Program expands annually, contracting with regional farmers for Appalachian varieties to propagate and preserve for our customers in the Southeast and beyond.
We also carry seeds on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, the global catalogue of unique tasting and endangered heritage foods. We are proud to collaborate in this effort by offering a number of these varieties, including delicious heirlooms like Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato, Cushaw Green Striped winter squash and Moon & Stars Watermelon. Our website is www.sowtrueseed.com.
One of a Kind Handmade Potting Apron.
Matching hand finished towel.
The art of sewing is not completely lost! Cheryl Pendleton Knepper is keeping it alive with her delightful assortment of handmade items. She has generously donated this potting apron and hand towel for our contest. These pictures do not do justice to her work, I have seen it in person and as a sewer I was very impressed. You can find more of her handmade items at J & K Designs. A great place to shop for something unique!
Not only does she sew, Cheryl is a like-minded gardening enthusiast and writes about on her blog The Intrepid Gardener (Gardening 101).
Answers to the questions I get the most.
This is just part of the package that I’m including: A signed copy of each of our how-to manuals as well as an assortment of our homemade soaps will be my way of saying Thanks!
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post anytime until midnight EST Monday 4/1/13. A random drawing will then be held for each of these wonderful items and shipped directly to the 5 persons whose names come up first.
I can’t send everyone a prize, but I will continue to offer you gardening information and tips, recipes, and a little humor along the way.
Happy Spring and thanks so much for stopping by!
Categories: gardening people, places & things, special posts
8 March 2013, by gj
Today is International Women’s Day, a day set aside to look at all the work that has been and is being done to reach equality for women all over the world.
Real women like soft, silky things.
So I’m going to tell you a story.
A long long time ago, oh about 52 years or so, there was a little girl who loved to play in the dirt. She especially enjoyed using the toy backhoe that belonged to her brothers, to make paths and mounds and just move soil from one area to another.
Her mother was a bit concerned; she recalls a conversation about this activity that she overheard.
‘Maybe we shouldn’t let her play in the dirt like that. She’s a girl after all. I’m not so sure this is a good thing for her.’
‘Oh let her go,’ her father said, ‘She’ll be fine.’
Flash forward about 15 years.
The girl, now a ‘young lady’ is well versed in baking and sewing. She makes most of her own clothes and according to her mother “You’re the most feminine of all the girls.”
She wants to take Industrial Arts Class, but is denied because “You’re a girl.”
Real women like shiny things.
Now to the present, the woman is moving furniture at her work.
“You’re the strongest woman I ever met” a coworker said, “you should have been a man.”
After all this time are we really still looking at women based on how ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ they are?
In a country where women have it much better than most others, we are still not seen as equal, or it would not matter how we spent our free time, or even if we got our hands dirty.
Real women don’t like creepy crawlies.
Here’s to all the women of the world- whether they polish their nails or scrub dirt out from underneath them.
As for me, operating a life size backhoe is #1 on my Bucket List.
Get involved here.
Categories: gardening people, places & things, special posts
25 December 2012, by gj
By their very nature, gardeners are a giving sort; always happy to pass on tips and seeds.
Since this is the season of giving, we decided to celebrate by handing out 5 signed copies of our gardening manual to you.
Well, maybe to you- an online randomizer will pick 5 names from all those submitted.
Santas not included
For a chance to win, all you need do is post a comment here. Perhaps you have a favorite garden quote or a tip you would like to share.
Those would be wonderful.
Maybe there is a particular variety of veggie others would be happy to know about, or a natural way to get rid of a garden pest that you have tried successfully.
Please share with everyone, any time until the end of the year, and your name will be entered.
One entry per person, one prize per household.
Good luck and Thank You for stopping by!
NOTE 1/1/13: And the winners are:
Sharon S., Amy, Diana, Steve G., Beth, and since I found another copy in the box, Rafael
Categories: addiction, special posts
21 December 2012, by gj
Today is the winter solstice, and as such one of our favorite days of the year.
It means simply that the winter tide has turned and the days will be getting longer- little by little we are headed towards spring.
Today also happens to be the day the Mayans stopped keeping track of their calender… scaring more than a few people.
I’m guessing it was a simple matter of the funding stream for the project running out.
So if today isn’t the last day of your life, what is it?
Y’all are soo smart! Yes- it’s the first day!
With that in mind, these are my wishes (and unsolicited advice) for you to make the rest of your life way better:
healthier fast food
1. If you know you should quit, just do it.
Stopping smoking was the hardest, and best thing we ever did. It really sucks, really really…but it does get easier over time.
Seriously, it took 3 months before I could wake up and place my feet on the floor before I thought of smoking.
Now, it’s hard for Mandolin and I to remember ourselves as smokers.
Whatever you are doing that you know in your heart you shouldn’t be- take the time to suffer through it and stop.
It will get better, I promise.
2. Think about what you stuff in your face.
We have found that if we avoid meat, dairy and breads, we feel better. For us, that works.
If you feel wonderful, rock on. If not, try a change in your eating habits. After all, you know that old saying ‘you are what you eat’ is so true.
Please don’t ‘Diet’ – just make a personal lifestyle change.
yoga on the wii
3. Take a clue from the animals.
If you have a cat or dog, consider following their example- nap and stretch whenever possible. Consider a 5 minute yoga stretch in the morning or before bed. It can do wonders!
Naps might be a little harder to come by.
gardening is meditative
4. Don’t sweat it.
If today was the last day of your life, how would feel about it?
Did you make time for what was really important?
It’s never too late to start you know.
Here’s the thing, and it may sound weird- but we’ve gotten to know a lot of you, and there are many others out there reading this.
If today WERE the last, our lives would have been better off because of you.
Since it’s NOT, we want to help yours be better because of us.
The Secret of Life
The song reference.
Categories: special posts, you are what you eat
3 November 2012, by gj
As this post is being written (ahead of time, just in case) the east coast is bracing itself for what has been dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’ and is considered to possibly be the worst storm to ever hit us.
If ever you are faced with a similar situation, here’s some info you should know to better be prepared.
as of 10/28/12
By now the storm is over, and as much as there was ample notice this time, things do happen unexpectedly too.
Some people were stuck in their apartments for days after 9/11. Many of us have seen first hand how even an expected storm can bring a city to a halt.
On the other hand there are a lot of people preparing for the worst, living off the grid, and getting ready just in case something even worse happens.
growing food is easy
How prepared would you be?
Now, I’m not suggesting you build a fallout shelter; but if you had to make something for dinner other than reservations, would you be ready?
learn to use canning pots
I know many of you have told me you use some of these posts as lessons for home-schooling.
I love that, by the way!
So I’ve assembled a short reading list here for you grown-ups to help anyone learn the basic skills that time seems to be forgetting.
Pass them on to your kids, and grand-kids… before they are forgotten forever.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use them; but isn’t Being Prepared always better?
1. How to make bread.
2. How to sew a basic straight stitch.
3. Basic First Aid -print this out and keep with your first aid kit. You do have a first-aid kit, right?
4. Cooking Veggies 101
5. How to grow your own food (sorry, couldn’t resist.)
6. How to cut a whole chicken.
7. How to water-bath can food. Got you again!
8. A basic disaster Survival Kit
and last, but not least-
9. Learn to defend yourself
If you would like to learn even more, like how to make your own detergents, you can find a lot of that info here:
Make Your Own – Save Money on Pinterest
Prepper Chicks FB page
Allstate’s 4 Survival Skills Every Kid Should Know
Categories: saving money & time, special posts
28 October 2012, by gj
Mandog is ready
When you live in the country you need to be at least somewhat prepared at all times.
Usually there is ample warning when a storm is coming, and such was the case this past week.
after all, they're chickens not ducks
Mandolin had gone to the home center a few days ago to pick up some lumber, and when he came back he was chuckling.
“Guess what they had stocked up right near the front of the store.” he said.
“No, but I’m glad we got ours last year. I heard they were already sold out. It was water, big stacks of bottled water.” he said, “I figured we didn’t need any.”
Of course, he was right.
“I don’t think there’s much we need to do before the storm, maybe the laundry?” I wondered.
“We just need to put away anything that might get caught in the wind, and top off the gas tanks.” he concluded.
an alternative heating source
Still, I felt like I should do something to prepare.
so I made bread
Stay safe my friends!
the song reference (Rated PG13)
Categories: keeping up with the joneses, special posts
4 July 2012, by gj
If you’ve been coming here for at least the last few months, you probably have read that the fourth day is always:
day; where garden writers around the world post something along that theme.
In honor of America celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on this date way back when, I’d like to share my thoughts of how gardening can give you more independence.
sauce, soup, sauce, snack, snack
The most obvious thing you can do is to grow food- both fresh for eating and stored at home.
If you dehydrate, can, freeze and/or store fresh, you can enjoy homegrown all year round- and have some freedom from dependence on others for your food supply.
Of course, we do buy some things from the market, and that’s okay; because each year it is less.
There are other ways planting a garden can ‘grow’ some freedom for you.
For example, did you know that fresh garlic dropped in a hot mug of clear broth (you can make your own) can help ward off a cold?
Likewise, homegrown eucalyptus and pine needles make a wonderful infusion that when gently steamed can aid clearing stuffy sinuses.
Lavender is not only beautiful in the garden, and delicious in baked goods, it has a soothing effect that can reduce stress and help with sleep disorders.
And that’s not all, you can also grow your own adult beverages.
raspberry cordial anyone?
Whether you like wine, brandy or flavored liquors- fresh, homemade is always better.
Because you garden, you now have some independence from Doctor’s offices, grocery stores, pharmacy visits, assorted medications, psychiatrists, trips to the gas station and liquor stores; plus you can dump the gym membership.
All that from just a seed?
Our forefathers would be proud.
Categories: special posts, you can grow that
20 May 2012, by gj
It was back in 1985 that I was in a bad car accident, and left with some livable physical injuries.
It was many years later that the real damage surfaced.
taking the little one out for a swim
Panic attacks while driving set in, followed by similar spells whenever I encountered railings or anything that involved heights.
It got to the point that I could barely drive, just enough to get to work and home again.
My (former) Doctor recommended medication, but that just made me apathetic- and you know that’s most certainly not my style.
So I started fighting back- forcing myself to do what I wanted to be able to again-drive anywhere.
Catskills Nursery Wildflower Festival
I did get to the point where I could drive, as long as there was someone with me and no substantial bridges- especially over water- were involved.
I was still limited though, and since I hope to travel as a Gardening Speaker after I retire, I need to be able to drive by myself and to any destination.
a gnome is always a 'good sign'
Of course I needed more reason than just that, so when I was invited to attend the Catskills Nursery Wildflowers Festival by Ken Greene of The Hudson Valley Seed Library- I had sufficient motive.
The trip on this beautiful day was 75 miles each way, not counting the 8 extra miles I logged when I got lost. That was well worth it though, as I found the beautiful swans when I stopped for directions.
so many plants, so little time
When I entered the old bridge that is over the Delaware River my hands began to shake.
By the time I got to the end of it I had to pull over.
To be honest I was so scared I didn’t know how I was going to get home.
lurking in the shadows
Finally I found the festival and enjoyed walking among the plants and the many other gardeners there, even answering some questions about Prickly Pears.
It was a very calming experience.
tomatoes and peppers from Hudson Valley Seed Library
Beautiful heirloom tomatoes and peppers loaded into my car, I headed back.
I thought of what Mrs. Jones-Ninja used to say while we were driving- “It’s just a bridge Mom. It’s not going to fall down because you are on it, and before you know it you’ll be off. Relax.”
and more tomatoes and peppers
She is right of course, so I relaxed and headed home.
Not so much hand shaking this time around, and a sense of accomplishment as big as the Oxheart Tomatoes I’ll be enjoying come summer.
happy to be free
And now I also have this, to always remember I can be as strong as I want to be.
Categories: gardening people, places & things, special posts
13 May 2012, by gj
the fam out for a stroll
Them that raise us teach us everything from how to hold a spoon to how to raise our own children.
Here are just a few of the lessons we’ve learned:
- That nobody is better than you, and likewise you aren’t better than anyone else.
- Never get into an argument with a fool, they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you on home turf.
- Anything worth doing is worth doing the best you can.
- That although you may think there is not enough time to do something the right way, you will find there is always enough time to do it over.
- Choose your friends well, you will be judged by the company you keep.
- That there is a right way and a wrong way to hang a curtain; and although the difference is subtle, it’s quite obvious when you know it. Life can be the same way.
- Good manners never hurt anyone.
- Decide when your kids are young what your priorities are- that they eat their veggies, clean their rooms, say ‘please and thank you’- then pick the one that is the most important and stick to it. The rest they’ll learn over time.
- When your children are adults remember there is a big difference between helping and interfering.
- That your children will become adults much faster than you could have imagined.
- That to be a parent is to forever have your heart held hostage.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers and Step-mothers, and to all those ladies who help us- Aunties and Best Friends.
To all those Mothers still waiting and all who have conceived and lost, my heart is with you.
Categories: special posts