Category Archives: palette

A Pot Of Green

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potted-microgreens

The “F” bomb will be coming to our neck of the woods soon enough. I am starting to think about improvisations to ensure a daily diet of greens. My palette has grown accustom to fresh organic arugula and lettuce since May.  I think a fresh pot of microgreens seeded every 3 or 4 weeks throughout the colder months will do it.  I have the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen to put my pot(s) with the patio door to provide light. My herbs feed me nutrients also. Smaller terracotta pots of herbs will be seated in the kitchen window.  The 480 square-foot room addition extending the kitchen into a family room and a small guest bedroom will give a new place for my green friends. There is always a place for green life in my home.  How about yours?  Where do your green friends stay in your home?

terracotta-pots-of-herbs

A Lone Sunflower and Wispy Feathers

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LoneSunflower

Summertime textures and a palette of colors keep the canvas alive. The humid afternoon storm cleared with a lone sunflower opening as the clouds parted. A seed remnant from bird feed tossed during the past long and cold winter sprouted in our moss basket near the kitchen window and has grown to bring sunshine to my day. In the evening a breeze cuts through the humidity as Dean and I drive down the country highway to the farm where our greenhouse resides. Wispy feather clouds less than an hour before sunset seem to paint a silhouette…
Wispy feathers grace
golden eye with black shadows
hides behind hat brim

Anna Marie Gall
June 17, 2014

The Dust of Everyday Life

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At times life can get messy or just plain mundane. A change of pace is in order, but another trip north isn’t feasible. So this past week and weekend I spent my leisure time in St. Charles, Missouri as well as worked my second job in the same historical town. The weekend I sold spices and gave out culinary advise to visitors and locals while at the spice shoppe on historic Main Street. One of my creative expressions, the culinary arts comes alive while there. Thursday night was an open house affair at the Foundry Art Centre in Frenchtown, where the French immigrants settled in this town over 200 years ago. Met some local artists, and viewed some creative art pieces in their studios. For the audience, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle tells us. I think and feel when I gander at artwork. While at the art centre I entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to a September concert featuring the Man In Black, a Johnny Cash retro singer along with his band. And I won that raffle! Friday night was a catch-up double date with my brother and sister-in-law at Picasso’s Coffee House on historic Main Street. We talked about their trip to Hawaii and our trip to Minnesota, and about the kids and grandkids. Picasso’s has all the artsy ambiance that its name signifies and sharing “the art of coffee”. Folks sipping on coffee, tea, or spirits listening to a local jazz trio, Peaches. A couple of other locals brought their saxophones billowing high notes to the low bass, so it made the group a lively quint for a few songs. A famous Picasso quote is painted onto a wall of the local establishment. “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” For the artist, musician, culinaire, author, and gardener a cleansing is experienced while engaged in their art form. Creating pots and gardens with plants and garden art definitely does this for me. I transplanted blooming red geraniums into the large planters outside the greenhouse this weekend. These 4-month old cuttings had good root systems, ready for a broaden growing space. Coming up with our signature flower, the geranium must be it as I primp and fuss with them everytime I am at the farm. I am learning how to grow them organically, friendly on the ecosystem. Once I had a geranium for over 6 years, bringing it indoors every winter. It would shed leaves through the dormant months, and I would wonder if it would come back once May finally arrived. Every now and then it would bloom while near the kitchen patio door, white snow in the contrasting background. Always in a terra cotta pot awaiting the spring and summer months. One year for Christmas gifts I created some book marks for my foodie friends with this saying,“Friendship, like geraniums bloom in the kitchen.” Not sure who to credit for those words, as many people have quoted it, but it is true on both accounts. I want to take a try growing scented and ivy varieties. Though the old-fashioned red contrasting with the broad green leaves are my favorite palette. I will bring my geraniums inside late autumn, sheltered from the cold, non-electric greenhouse and outdoors. Pruning and propagating once again for next spring. Life continues …

Dependents

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Spiral Herb GardenThe tax year of 2012 Dean and I both did not claim one of our six children as a tax dependent. It has been years for either of us since this has occurred. They are all grown up! According to our accountant, our tax deductions came from our greenhouse business this year, not our children. We took a loss this tax year, as last year. Greenhouse rebuilds are costly and timely. An expensive hobby rather than a business, maybe? I’d rather be playing in the dirt and planting green things for my eye palette or taste palette than gambling at the casino, perusing the neighborhood bars, or loafing on the couch. We have a hefty tax return coming which will in turn be reinvested into Deanna Greens And Garden Art. Electric for our structure is around the corner, with propane and solar heat as the next big investments.
I never viewed our Deanna Greens And Garden Art plants as dependents, but that is what they are. And they depend on us to thrive in this world. Water, food, and light on a regular basis, and Mother Nature does her part. I am so anxious for the weather to warm up enough to get our plants under the shelter of our unheated greenhouse. The plant lights in the garages have done good, but the natural sunlight is what the plants need to get greener, fuller, and growing with such vigor. Rain water (or snow in our case!) catching in the rain barrels will provide more minerals for our plants. After a few weeks in the greenhouse, the plants will be moved to the screenhouse to avoid scorching this summer. That scenario seems so far away. We are still under normal temperatures for March. Come on Spring, we need you!
Planning out the growing and market season, Dean and I will have some annual flowers such as marigolds, zinnias, and wildflower mixes. Marigolds are a great natural insect repellant for your vegetable garden and patio area. Zinnias and wildflowers make beautiful summer bouquets. Organic herbs such as basil, thyme, sage, chives, and nastrium will be sold live in pots of various sizes. We will make some potted herb gardens. Garden spoon signs and homemade lavendar soap will be brought to the farmers’ markets. I will design some relic stepping stones and have them ready for market on Mother’s Day weekend. And then there are houseplants, with succulents as our specialty plant. Currently, we are in search for unique pots to divide and transplant our huge succulents into. We hope to plant some vegetables for our consumption. Any leftovers will be frozen or stored for next winter’s pastas, stews, and soups. The circle of life … Parents provide and care for, grown children provide and care for …
Tune in for local farmers’ market information in my next post or two.

The Alternative

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So much of our thinking and planning seems to align to conventional practices.  This is in every area of our lives, relationships, career paths, foods we eat, medicines we take, what we spend time with or on, the house we live in, so on and so on.  Break throughs in sciences seem to tell us that some old practices have been the best practices all along.  For instance, the present interstate highway system we have has caused major traffic congestion in the cities, and kept local commerce from growing.  The lecture I attended at Washington University last week where  John Norquist gave the alternative.  Tear down some of those interstates in the city.  Allow secondary arteries, the urban streets to be available for travelers to slow down and visit the city, create more jobs, circulate more commerce, allow pride in the citizens to show off their cultures.   Maybe more walking and biking will be encouraged with sidewalk systems.  Hooray for out-of-the box thinkers!  St. Louis City and County are looking into this option.  What do Milwaukee citizens think about the similar project that took place in their city? 

Then there is the Slow Food movement.   (There is that word “slow” again.)  This started in Europe, Rome, Italy to be exact as a direct statement to the fast food construction plans for a McDonald’s back in 1986.  According to founder and president Carlo Petrini, “everyone has the right to good, clean, and fair food”. That means quality, flavorful food, it is natural form, and produced and tranported in an ethical manner at a fair price.  A person who eats locally, is called a locavore.  Slow Food includes local food.  (There is that word “local” once again.)  Foods grown, produced, and consumed on a local level will support local folks, right?  So this is where Deanna Greens And Garden Art resides.  Local!!!  I cannot wait to get those beds raised and plant some organic seeds for herbs and veggies.  We hope to sell more seedlings to local farmers, and herbs to local farmer’s market folks next spring.  And Dean & I will consume lots of our own homegrown veggies.  Veggies are the alternative to pre-packaged, processed grain products.  Herbs are the alternative to salt and synthetic chemicals the food label lists.  Check out the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis from your local library and see what today’s wheat and corn are doing to our bodies.  Or Dr. Davis has his own blog:  www.wheatbellyblog.com.   An eye opener.  Yes, an alternative diet, yet what we ate like before WWII.  Old practices return.

Dean and I personally shop local as well.  95% of our Christmas gifts are bought locally.  Wine from Chandler Hill Vineyards and foods & crafts from local artisans.  I hope you supported Local Saturday in your community a couple of weeks ago.   Last weekend we slowed our pace down, savored a local beer and satisfied our palettes while listening to local music at our neighborhood joint, the St. Charles Coffee House.     www.saintcharlescoffeehouse.com.   What is your favorite local eatery?  In our travels, Dean & I look for those local joints, and we may visit yours!

39 Degrees!

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Brrr!  It got down to 39 degrees one  night this week!  We found shelter for our tropicals, since the greenhouse is still being rebuilt.  Our garage makes a nice make-shift greenhouse.  Some tropicals have new homes already.  Like that 12-foot fiddle leaf fig.  It is repotted into a beautiful red ceramic pot and placed inside our parents’ condo with a cathedral ceiling, only 2 miles away.  We can still care for it until we get an eager buyer.  Then there is our biggest hibucus that will be transplanted into a bigger pot next week, as well as our big bird of paradise.  These too will be 2 miles from us.  Some of our littler tropicals make their way to my full-time workplace.  We have a large foyer near the elevator with windows nearby.  Deanna Greens and Garden Art plants will like their new indoor home for the autumn and winter months.  Tomorrow we will have mild weather for the 1st day of autumn. I love autumn, the palette it sets.  And the cooler, crisp air.  Wind blowing in the leaves.  The bittersweet of autumn is saying “good bye” to some of the summer flowers I have so much enjoyed in my yard.  The greenhouse will be filled with green life once again in a matter of days.

Sea Shells

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My stepson visited the South Padre Islands during his spring break.  He shared this lovely photo.   These sea shells have so many different designs, arranged in the sand based on species, time, water, sun, the whole life system.  Below is a poem sparked by the photo …

Our lives are like sea shells in the sand. 

Arranged on a palette, seemingly haphazardly.  

A beautiful seascape with the ocean, sun, wind,

and sparkling sands highlighting.

Small, significant, striped, or speckled shells.

Ridged, in the rough, raw, reckless, and ruffled.

Omnipresent, opaque, oval, and an oyster’s home.

 Is your life smooth sailing right now? 

Or does it feel hollow echoing sounds,  

reminders of voices from the past? 

Storms interrupting life?

There  is a Pearl awaiting discovery.

Through Art Only

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 Oscar Wilde once said,  “It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection.”  Art forms are many, and more is the artist in each of us.  The contrast of a black and white landscape captured through the camera, the colored palette made from a weaver’s loom,  the Gothic design of an architect’s arched door, a foodie’s crisp salad greens garnished with red nasturtium, artisan apricot beer accompanied with the baker’s cracked wheat bread, the wind sounds slowly dancing from a flute, the flow of a poet’s words; these all are the artist’s perfection.  I find journaling and blogging the avenue to keep my artistic mind going.  Time is an element for most of us, but I encourage all to take time to at least journal your thoughts.  You never know what inspiration will come to you …  Relic stepping stones for the garden are my next artist’s project.  I cannot wait to mix up some concrete and artistically arrange my “finds” into a one-of-a-kind design. 

Below is the gothic doorway of the Carmo Church in Lisbon, Portugal.   I found the photo on the internet.  It emphasizes the gothic arch.  Accompanying it is a photo of my home parish All Saints Church in St. Peters, Missouri, a gothic style church.  The parish was founded in 1823. 

 

Contrasting Weather

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I watch the weather like a farmer.  I grew up with this ritual, and continue.   Spring seems to bring the storm fronts, but its started early this year.  Above normal warm one day, and then comes that front bringing clouds and rain followed by cooler air.  This cycle continues.  St. Louis’ record high for today is 84 degrees set in 1990, and record low is 1 degree in 1948.  The norms are 54 and 35, yet today we are currently at a sunny, clear sky 71 degrees.  It is gorgeous!  I took a stroll around the block during my lunch break.  The crab apple and bradford pear blossoms are busting out today!   A walk to the indoor pool after work will be refreshing, though still too cool for an outdoor pool!  The next front is due in on Wednesday.  This contrasting weather creates a beautiful palette for us to behold.  Clouds, storms, rains, sunshine, and rainbows …  Is not this a picture of life?

Thoughts

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The brain can distort your thoughts if you have an acute infection, fever, tumor, Alzheimer’s, lacking certain vitamins and minerals, or severely dehydrated. Non-prescription and prescription drugs and anesthesia can distort things in the brain as well.  I have a colorful picture of the brain I found on Photobucket, a bit of art if you will in hopes for brighter days to come.   Yet life is not too colorful these days, a gray palette.  My father has a brain tumor, and underwent surgery this past Friday.  His thoughts are distorted right now.  Words come out wrong or no words at all. Previously, we know his distortion has been caused by the tumor, but now we are not sure if it is post-surgerical swelling that is causing the distortions, or other things now.  Prayers are requested for my father’s full recovery, and strength for my mother and family.