Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Plant Habit and The Farm Culture

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Farm Culture
I blame EarthDance Farms for my plant habit, or at least unveiling it once again. It started as a child, but I did not know the habit had formed within my roots. I find ways to support my plant habit. Those greens and flowers are more than worth it! The greenhouse work, the planning, plucking, pruning, planting, sowing, soaking, and selling is therapy.
For this season in my life, I need to take on a part-time weekend job educating and selling spices, herbs, teas, and foodie accessories to patrons at the Olde Town Spice Shoppe on Main Street in historic St. Charles, Missouri. Tourists as well as locals are the client base. The owners at the spice shoppe are looking for a long-term relationship, and I think I am the one. Over the years I enjoyed being a patron at this niche store, but as an employee I get a dose of the foodie culture every weekend. I will write about my spicy adventures on this blog, as it is a part of my life now.
But back to the plant habit and farm culture. Dean & I do not want to get underwater with Deanna Greens And Garden Art. The first 3 years in any business are the most expensive and crucial. The plants and business grow together. I can still play with the plants a couple of evenings during the week, and on a Saturday or Sunday evening. Dean will be taking the plants to the farmers’ markets most weekends. I believe in knocking on the door of opportunity, as it leads to another opportunity down the road. My farming childhood, culinary background, home economics and human resources education with my wholeness and wellness passion are trails to more dreams. I cannot say for sure where, but I am on this path, enjoying the stops along the way. Not rest stops, but interactive interludes. My days of rest come few and far in between. No worries, I still make time for my hubby, family, friends, and church. Days away from work and chores are planned for this summer. Though my housekeeping has gone to pots, literally!

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Off To Market We Go

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This coming Saturday Deanna Greens And Garden Art will be at the Lake Saint Louis Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market for the first time this market season. We hope the weather holds out. Another cold front arrived yesterday with wet snowflakes overnight, and yet more storms on Friday evening into Saturday. 14″ coco-lined baskets of various ferns, swedish ivy, moses-in-the-cradle, and variegated airplane plants will be featured, if the weather stays above 45 degrees. A few small pots of the same will be available. I would like to showcase our cactus displaying her red blossoms. Fair warning: our inventory is 1/3 the amount we had last year. This is intentional. With a long winter and no electric, we have managed to keep most of the inventory alive in semi-heated garages. Miracles happen every spring. One of our tropicals, a bird-of-paradise is blooming beautifully and an elephant ear has sprouted, surrounded with lush green swedish ivy. In case this is your first visit to this blog, my husband Dean and I bought a greenhouse full of houseplants and perennials in November 2011, more than we can handle while working full-time jobs. The type of plants we will grow is changing. We want more annuals and herbs. In autumn I hope to harvest bird house and long-handled dipper gourds for the market, which will be grown near the greenhouse at Boone Hollow Farm on teepee trellises. They take a long time to grow, and even longer to dry for multi-purpose use.
The past 2 months we have propagated more geraniums, swedish ivy, moses-in-the-cradle, bridal veil, and wandering jews to make some beautiful terra-cotta planters and moss baskets. Our ferns and succulents have been transplanted into natural pots as well. The coco-lined hanging baskets offer a natural alternative to the plastic pots, what Deanna Greens And Garden Art strives for. Dean will be at the market all morning this Saturday, and I for the set-up and a prayer for cooperative weather and sales. Our annuals such as zinnias, marigolds, nasturtium, and various herbs have just been sown this week, so it will be a few weekends before bringing them to the market. No tomato or pepper seedlings this year. Not enough warmth in the garages. I shared our heating pads with my chef son-in-law, Mick. He will have a CSA that includes heirloom tomatoes. Some tomatoes may make their way to the farmers’ markets as well. Check in with chef and farmer Mick at TheBentPig@gmail.com. One of the other features this year will be “hanging herb and greens gardens”. More on this later.

The Stuff That Chicken Soup Is Made Of

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Chicken-Rice-Soup
It is a homemade chicken soup day today, as cool April showers water the earth. This spring keeps blowing in drastic changes in the air, with temperatures climbing into the 70’s and then dip down to the 30’s within hours of each other. Storms and tornadoes become a regular springtime threat in Missouri. This year it is flash flood warnings, and now the mighty Mississippi is cresting in some small local rivertowns. One of my favorite comfort foods is homemade chicken soup. During cold and/or rainy weather, nothing beats the aroma in the kitchen and flavor at mealtime.
My homemade chicken soup recipe includes fresh chicken and vegetable stock, herbs, and garlic are key. Organic brings out the flavors. It’s clean, no artifical product to dull the tastes. I roasted a chicken fryer for our Sunday dinner with plans to use the leftovers later. I simply put a fryer in the crockpot, added no-salt lemon pepper, a pinch of kosher salt, fresh thyme, and 32 oz organic vegetable broth. This slow-cooked for 8 hours while working at the spice shoppe. Sometimes I use a different herb mixture such as herbs de provence or an Italian blend. After our Sunday dinner, I diced 2 celery ribs and 2 carrots, minced 2 garlic cloves, and added to the existing stock from the roasted chicken. This time it is chicken-rice soup, so I added a 1/2 cup of brown rice. (If it is chicken-noodle soup, I add rice, gluten-free noodles.) I cooked for about 30 minutes on the stovetop. Then I added more vegetable broth and the leftover chicken chunks. The soup pot is in the fridge for lunches and future dinners. This is what we will have for dinner tonight. Steaming hot soup and a warm French baquette! Ummmmm!

LIfe Changes

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Afternoon Tea Antique German Walnut WardrobeSaturday my family spent over 12 hours going through my father’s belongings. Piles of fishing & hunting gear, carpentry and gardening equipment, dog accessories, his own artwork, books, rocks; all things hobby needed new homes. Furniture would have been donated to the Goodwill, though Dad’s grandchildren desired a piece or two. Some pieces are handcrafted by my father from the Bates Family farm’s barn wood. I inherited German heirlooms passed from my father’s mother Anna Kurz, my namesake. Fine china and a walnut wardrobe built in Germany were brought to the United States in the early 1900’s when the Kurz family settled in St. Louis, Missouri. I wonder how many afternoon teas were served with the china set, and who was served? A crafty secret compartment in this wardrobe was discovered. Did Dad make this, or was this his father or grandfather’s work? Something to ask Grandpa about. It was like a life in fast motion, childhood through the many stages of adulthood wrapped up in a day.
Change … difficult at times, and welcomed at other times. Always here to stay. A life shortened, some days it’s hard to believe my father is not here any longer with us. Reality hit Saturday night into Sunday morning, as it was past midnight while driving home from Pike County, emotions raw. None of these treasures replace my father. Nothing can. Some are sweet reminders of the joys he found while alive on this earth. In June more change to come with my mother moving closer to our home into her downsized, yet elegant villa.

Color My World With Flowers

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In the greenhouse business, we have an opportunity to sow, plant, propagate, grow so many varieties of plants. Of course, the main color is green. But with flowers, the contrast with the green creates a canvas indescribable. Photos say so much, but in reality a person can use all their senses: see, feel, hear, taste, and smell the magnificence of God’s creation. I will share a collage of flowering plants from our greenhouse, gardens, and my want-to-grow list.
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27

Rumblings Of Spring

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Storm FrontThe clouds have been ominous since early this morning at daybreak. As the sun came from the east, the clouds and cold front came from the southwest, meeting for a spectacular contrasting display in the sky. Rumblings of spring have been heard all day, some rain produced from those clouds. I observed from my 5th floor office in Clayton, as a tornado watch had been issued until 9:00pm tonight. We need the rain, come rain. No high winds or hail, and definitely no tornadoes. please. The unseen sunset this evening was met with heavy cloud cover. Rotating, violent winds brought about alarms and sirens all around St. Peters just before 8:00pm. Composure, an herbal supplement was given to our nervous labrador, and we tried to find Celine, our timid cat but she found low shelter somewhere in the house. I enjoyed two strawberry daiquiris spiked heavily with Captain Morgan while the local tornado alarms blared for 15 minutes just minutes after savoring homemade fajitas and saffron rice by Chef Mick. While no basement, we were feet from our interior bathroom just in case that train sound started. So much for rumblings of spring. The storm screams and alarms blare to tell us spring is here in Missouri. We all survived, thank God!

Miss Kitty

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Miss Kitty
Our beloved Lily, “Miss Kitty” passed this morning. Lily had many names, “Miss Kitty”, “Lucy” short for “Lucifer”, and many more. She has been Dean’s household companion for almost 12 years, mine for over 3 years. Miss Kitty was full of piss and vinegar, but loving her own little ways. That kind of spunk you grow to love. I remember the first Christmas she spent with Dean & I as a couple. While a cranberry-nut loaf filled the kitchen with a lovely aroma, I placed a holiday towel in a basket on the kitchen island awaiting the warm bread. I turned away to pull out the loaf from the oven, as I spinned to island with my hot holiday goods, there sat “Miss Kitty”. In my basket. I left “Miss Kitty” to enjoy the comforts of her new snug bed, and promptly found another basket and towel.
More recently, she cuddled in our laps with frequency. Tumors … assumed cancer. We will miss you, our “Miss Kitty”. Glad I got to know you.

This Season’s Farmers Market

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Lake Saint Louis Farmers & Artists Market
Check out my Farmers’ Market page: https://deannagreensandgardenart.wordpress.com/farmers-markets/
I have updated information on when Deanna Greens And Garden Art will be at the markets this season.
Support local! Buy homegrown! Enjoy fresh! I hope to see you there!

A Weekend Day In My Life

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I had so much fun putting together a few words and photos for the WordPress “Day In My Life” photo challenge yesterday. That post focused on my weekday life. Please read that post: https://deannagreensandgardenart.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/a-day-in-my-life/
My weekend is somewhat different. I am not focused on employee wellness, but plant wellness! I want to share another small collection of words and larger collection photos to describe my other life. To simply say “green” describes my weekend day. “Green plants” to be exact. I love plants. I grew up with them, and cannot live without them. A few other essentials are identifying bugs; a walk to the greenhouse over the creek after visiting at the barn with the farm neighbors; herbs to make my dishes taste delicious; and lemonade, to make life sweet!

A Day In My Life

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Leftovers packed in lunch totes; early morning commute met with the sun in my face while putting make-up on; a kiss good-bye from my sweetie as he drops me off at the Clayton campus; personal e-mails perused; work e-mails followed through; a multitude of onsite fitness class rosters collected; information gathered for another disability claim; a meeting to make; lickety-split lunch; research or webinar on yet another wellness topic; a networking telephone call; an employee whining on the next telephone call; a walk for my sanity and fresh air; a spot of afternoon tea; possible vendor to interview; a wellness project with a timeline to keep; another Scrabble word placed on the board for stress relief; unwind on the way home; greetings from the family: two excited Labradors, three grandkids, two adult children, and eventually the two brave cats; dinner extraordinaire from Chef Mick or Chef Anna; plants propagated or pruned; garden art designed; a post read or written on this blog; sweet slumber; this is a day in my life.