Category Archives: produce

Green Passion And The Porch

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As most weekend mornings go, I cannot sleep in long.  Weekday awakening before 5:00am makes it difficult to sleep much past 7:00 am on the weekends.  The weekend to-do-list is long, so Saturdays are packed. On Sundays, I start at a slower place making meditation and prayer a part of my morning. The front porch welcomes a cup of hot honey chamomile tea an inspirational gardening book, and me.  The sights, sounds, and smells of a rain storm bring freshness to the morning.  I became one with the springtime outdoors, crisp breeze and tender green plants and white dogwood blossoms.  A bit shabby from winter life, my potted plants are waiting for a play date with their gardener.  I withheld that Sunday knowing next Saturday will be a better time for gardening.  This time was set aside to rest rather than produce.

Besides my green passion needs to get fluffed up like a flatten feather pillow.  For months my focus has been our house, all those details with a major insurance claim … the funds, renovation, inspections, and the move back in.   There is a good-size pile of paperwork still needs sorting through, but it can just wait.  This gardener needs to get her green thumb out again, play in the dirt, sow some herb and vegetable seeds, design some pots of virid green life.  We had no time to sow in trays, so direct sowing it will be this year.  Better late than never.

Ambitious thoughts for another Saturday, Dean and I spent a good part of the day cleaning gumballs and rocks out of the front yard.  The neighbor’s gumball tree scattered its fruit all over the neighborhood with the help of the spring winds.  The rocks surfaced during the water and sewer line repairs.  Perennials were brought out from the garage.  The babies are seated in the cart while the large potted birds-of-paradise, lemon tree, asparagus ferns, geraniums, and arrowhead plant are now situated in the newly mulched landscape.  Our succulents have been outdoors on the front porch for about a month.  We placed a covering over them with a frost-forecast.  Fortunately March and early April have been mild like much of the winter. The herbs and green leafy vegetables will be sowed next weekend as well as annuals planted in a couple of moss baskets. Only so much time during one day. The journey is a part of gardening, not just the end result … one day at time …one season at a time.

I relax on the porch another Sunday.  This particular morning is special as my two oldest granddaughters join me.  Talking and soaking in the morning sunshine, it is a tender moment indeed like the fresh spring foliage…and more porch Sundays to look forward to.

One Special October Evening

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MarjoramSurprisingly, these October days have been fairly mild. The first weekend of October we had 2 nights of cold air, but stayed frost-free in Missouri. Dean and I were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that weekend, where frost covered the corn fields and pumpkins. Snow came down in the northern part of the state. In Missouri rain and more rain last week and through the weekend, but still no frost in our neck of the woods.
My herb bed still produces lush greenery. I have delayed potting the herb plants for the kitchen window. They do so much better in natural light, warm air, and a bed of organic soil. Tonight I needed to get away from the madness of the local urban troubles to my green sanctuary. Dean and I headed to our greenhouse situated in the countryside ar Boone Hollow Farm. Mild evening, still in the 60’s and the rain had passed for the time being. The creek had a steady flow over the rocks in the road next to the barn, which evenually leads to the greenhouse. Bugs sang their soothing tunes while we watered our geranium starters, hanging moss baskets, and the herb bed inside the screenhouse side of our structure. Despite the early sunset, I needed more green therapy. So I repotted some basil, sage, summer savory, wild parsley, and marjoram under the light of our gas lantern. Mid-June two misly sprigs of marjoram sprouted from a old packet of seeds. But look what produced, this huge herb plant. This October evening I pulled the marjoram jungle from its organic bed and potted it into a 14″ terra cotta pot. My pot overflows! Good organic soil, regular watering from the well or our rain barrel late summer into early autumn, and mother nature takes over. Oh how green friends can bring joy in life once again!

Farmers’ Market Fresh

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Freshly picked, organically grown asparagus and bok choy are my highlight purchases at the weekend farmers’ market. This evening I will put together an asparagus quiche for our breakfasts and lunches this week. And I will stir-fry the bok choy in sesame oil with garlic, and then toss with a bed of rice noodles for our gluten-free, low-fat tasty dinner on Tuesday. I cannot wait! Dean and I again are provoked to stay on this path of healthy eating with local foods, minimizing pre-packaged foods.
Last week we attended the St. Louis luncheon and celebrity appearance of Michael Pollan, author of many food relationship books. In the company of other locavores, foodies, and activists the menu included locally grown produce, raised pork, and freshly baked dessert. His newest book, Cooked came with the ticket price, and Mr. Pollan made himself available afterwards for his signing. Other books Michael Pollan has written are Second Nature, A Place Of My Own, The Botany Of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense Of Food, and Food Rules. These books range from gardening to food processes to food policies to food politics. I have already read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and now have in hand Cooked and A Place Of My Own, which a bit different of Mr. Pollan’s other writings. The latter is about the need for space, minimal but your own. I am anxious to get this one read. I have reserved from the local library the author’s first book Second Nature , which promises to be another excellent read. It is his personal relationship with the earth story. His famous film Food, Inc tells all in regards to food processing. I recommend this eye-opening documentary.
All this leads to Deanna Greens And Garden Art once again. What are we growing in our greenhouse? With the long winter and unheated greenhouse, we finally were able to sow some herbs a couple of weeks ago. Repellant flowers last week. Edible flowers this week. All organic methods. And this is just the beginnings … so much more to accomplish with this quest to good health.
I Serve The Kind Of Food

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!

Housebound or Reclused

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SnowboundPainting
These late winter snows create survival tactics to say the least. For me with my cold allergy, severe side effects could take my life. So I take precautions, carrying extra gloves, hat, sweatshirts, boots, blanket, and epie pin if we ever have a vehicle breakdown. Of course good snow tires and vehicle maintenance is a must. We have the kitchen fireplace and fire wood in case the furnace would go out.
My mother lives an hour north of of us in Pike County. Pike County is always 10 degrees cooler than St. Charles County, and produces more severe winter storms. We received about a foot of snow the past 10 days, where Mom’s neck of the woods received two foot of snow. Her neighborhood is just outside of the town of Bowling Green. All her neighbors are older like herself, though Mother has a heart condition which keeps her indoors during extreme heat or cold. Normally she has senior assistance come to her house twice a week, but this past two weeks it posed a problem for the agency to get to their clients. I called Mother every day or two, checking on her. She kept saying I am fine, I have food, drinking water, medicines, and a warm house. But she failed to see what her mental and soul health needed. Survival tactics also mean taking care of the inside person as well. Since father’s death in October, Mother is lonely and still mourning. A computer, TV, or novels go only so far. The human voice and human presence heals.
Thursday evening, I decided Dean and I would go up to see my mother on Friday morning after we got the van packed and our banking done for our trip to Kansas City. A funeral wake Friday evening, and a graduation party on Saturday afternoon were the plans with Dean’s family. I asked my mother to come with us, though she declined. I am so glad we went to my mother’s home. She was snowed in, housebound. Two-foot snow piled high on the gravel driveway, mailbox, garage, and sidewalk to the front door. When Mother opened the door, she looked old and reclused to me, almost did not recognize her, and she me. It scared me and made me sad. After helping Dean clean the sidewalk off, while he finished the rest, Mother and I talked. Mother said she must have made a mistake, and should have come down to St. Charles County with us last week. After digging our way out Friday morning, we went into town for a couple of errands and ate lunch at one of her favorite local cafes. Mother just bought a villa a mile away from our home, plans to move there in June. But June is three long months away still, maybe three or four more snow storms away.
Make a visit to your neighbors and family, no matter what age or condition they are in. Their soul depends on it. “Words mean more than what is set down on paper – it takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning”. ~ Maya Angelou

Are You A Locavore?

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Arugula
Are you a locavore? Congratulations, if you! Others may be asking, “what is a locavore?” Here is the paraphrased dictionary definition to this 3-year old word: One who eats local foods whenever possible, typically foods grown, raised, and produced within the consumer’s 100-mile radius. I am a locavore. And whenever possible I shop local for most of my other consumer needs. So what are the top 5 reasons to buy local foods and goods? #1 You boost the local economy. #2 You know the integrity of the product you are buying, if you know the farmer or producer. #3 With most foods, you will have a longer shelf life. #4 With herbs, vegetables, and fruits, you know the produce was harvested within a day or two for better nutritional value, not weeks or months ago. #5 You have encouraged “green practices” with less fuel usage with less travel of the product.
For me, it is all about the food! One of my many passwords is “arugula4me”. Each time I enter this password, it reminds of the fresh arugula that will come from Deanna Greens And Garden Art 1/4 acre plot at Boone Hollow Farm in a few short days. I am salivating just writing about it! Dean loves the way the word “arruugulaa” rolls off my tongue, the only time I sound like I am from Italy. Do you have a farmers’ market in your neighborhood? What do you buy from your local farmer(s)?

Prune, Prepare, and Produce

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PruningOur fiddle leaf fig trees have been a matter of many global WordPress searches ever since I wrote about them last summer. I have an update. We repotted them in artsy ceramic pots before moving them to indoor winter shelter. Such a chore with the 14-foot one! Our 14-foot and 7-foot trees were moved to Dean’s parents’ weekend condo just about 1 mile from our home. We have cared for and watered them regularly, though they are going through a winter shedding of older brown leaves. New leaf growth started to bud out around the lower section earlier this winter, and more buds appearing in the middle section of the 14-foot trunk this past couple of weeks. Due to the lanky appearance and thinning foliage at the top, we decided to prune both of the trees. We took 2 feet off the 7-foot tree, and the 14-foot tree has been prune to be about 8-1/2 foot tall now. We hope this will aid the lower and middle buds to produce many shiny green leaves. Pruning is an act of kindness really, preparing the plant, forcing all its energy to the fresh green growth. At first it felt like we were killing the plants, but not the case at all. Holy scriptures tell us “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful… (John 15:1 & 2 New International Bible) We used organic fertilizer and watered the trees after the pruning. We expect big things from our fiddle leaf fig trees. Maybe a profitable sale of these showy trees this summer?! We are licensed to sell only in the state of Missouri. If interested, please contact me through this blog.