Friday, February 23, 2007

Feels Like Spring

What a difference a week makes. We went from being in the 20's to being in the 70's. It could turn cold again tomorrow. That's how these Tennessee winters are.

So, with my garden log and seeds in hand, Althea and I headed outside. We always start our cole crop seeds during the middle of February. We start all our vegetables from seed. Most get planted directly into the ground, but there are some that get planted into flats.

Every year we try to grow something new. This year's headliners for the spring garden begin with Cheddar Hybrid cauliflower. It's bright orange and packed full of vitamins and minerals. Another cauliflower that we're growing is Graffiti Hybrid. It's dark purple. Something you don't know about me yet- I love to grow purple vegetables. When I saw the purple cauliflower, I knew that I had to try it.

Copenhagen Market Early is the cabbage variety that we're going with again this year. It heads early and is finished before the heat gets too bad and the cabbage worms try to completely take over. DeCicco and Green Goliath are the Broccoli varieties that we're planting once again. We've always had good luck with them. They grow good-sized heads. I don't care for the sideshoots on broccoli plants. By the time they are growing, the worms are too bad to fool with trying to cut anything worth eating. I'd just as soon pull the plants and go on to the next vegetable that will take their place.

The rest of the spring seeds go right into their beds. I'll hold off telling you about them until it's time to plant them.

Some of my spring beads arrived. And now that my studio is 3/4 clean, I will be sitting down to make some new earrings and maybe even a few bracelets and necklaces. I love working with blues and greens and browns. Oh hell, I love working with any color in the spring. Check my shop every now and again for new listings.

Before I sign off, I'd like to share my recipe for Soil-less Seed Starting Mix. I make my own because it's less expensive and I just like to DIY.
1/2 part spagnum peat moss*
1/4 part perlite*
1/4 part vermiculite*
mix and store dry. when you're ready to use it, put it in a container and add enough water, mixing as you go, until the mixture holds together.
*I use a quart yogurt container to scoop and measure the dry ingredients.

Check back next week. Our seedlings should be sprouting through the soil by then. Until next time.....

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's Official

Spring is just around the corner. The signs are all here. My daffodils are in full bud, even with a sprinkling of snow on them. The mockingbirds are doing the NBA chest butt. The wild green onions are growing in the yard. And I got my APS seed starters out. Ah, spring.....

It's time to start some of spring garden seeds. The cole crops are the first to get planted. Broccoli, cabbage and cauilflower seedlings will soon be poking through the seed starting mix. This year I'm planting orange and purple cauliflower. These are two of the new varieties that I'm growing in the '07 garden.

I placed a gemstone order this week. It might sound ordinary to you, but I very rarely buy gemstones anymore since my vintage addiction took over. The beads are due to arrive on Monday. I'll be posting new pieces in my Etsy shop soon, so keep checking back to see if there's anything that strikes your fancy.

Soon my leisure time will be less and less as the Earth comes back to life. This bear is going to have to come out of hibernation and get back to work. I think I'll take advantage of every last minute before I'm mowing grass, working the garden and (dare I say it out loud?) staining the siding on the house. Now, what do I want to do until the mad rush begins? Until next time.....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

What better way to say 'I love you'?

~~~~~Than to get lost in a sea of Chocolate Pie~~~~~

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Comfort Food

What is comfort food? Is it a seasonal thing? Is it something that you crave when you want to settle into your favorite chair and make the world go away?
It could be summer- sitting out by the garden , under the pines, eating homemade ice cream. Or spring- leaning up against the siding on the house, absorbing the last rays of sunshine, eating a bowl of fresh picked strawberries. How about autumn- nothing says comfort more than a slice of pumpkin pie made with a freshly harvested pumpkin.

And then there's winter. There is nothing better than a fire in the wood stove and the smell of something baking in the oven. I believe that's where the origin of 'comfort food' came from. What better way to heat a house than with a simmering pot of soup? If you've ever lived with wood heat, than you know what I'm talking about!

The winter has finally settled in, here in Tennessee. It feels so cold outside. Maybe it's just because it has been unseasonably warm. All I know is that I have to go into 'comfort mode'. Tonight when John comes home, there will be something baking in the oven. When he opens that door and comes in from the cold, after a long day's work, he'll be greeted by me, Althea and the aroma of a fresh baked Chicken Pot Pie. Until next time.....

Saturday, February 3, 2007

HeartLine 2007

Sale going on now in my Etsy shop
All HeartLine earrings are now $15.00 a pair
Sweet treats for you or yours
Happy Valentine's Day!

Speaking of sweet........................

We finally got our first snow of the season yesterday. I ran outside with bowl in hand and made some Chocolate Soy Snow Cream. This can also be made with milk, cream, rice milk, or whatever you wish to try. The following recipe makes two servings. Or, unless you're like me, barely one serving.

Cook over low heat just long enough to dissolve the sugar and blend the ingredients:
1/2 cup cocoa (or carob powder)
1 1/4 cup raw sugar (or the sugar of your choice)
1 cup milk

take off heat and add:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cold milk

At this point, I transfer the mixture into a large bowl and set it outside in the snow to cool. When it's cooled, I start mixing in snow- a little at a time, until the desired consistency is met.

This does not freeze well at all, so unfortunately you are forced to eat it all immediately.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Why Vintage? Part 3.

It had been raining for days, with no end in sight. Our tent was pitched in Miss Amy's yard in Falmouth. Normally, the weather wouldn't have bothered me. After all, we were in Jamaica. But our things started getting wet and I was sick. Miss Amy invited us to set our tent up on her porch. You don't know how happy that made me! By now, my cold and fever had settled in, with no plans of leaving any time soon. That was until Miss Amy brought me a handful of leaves and instructed me to "chew these leaves and DO NOT spit them out". I did exactly what she told me to do. I was back to myself in no time. I would love to know the name of the plant that she gave me and I'd give anything to be in her yard again, in the pouring rain.

I'd been attracted to the healing powers of plants long before we went to Jamaica. When you live in the woods, you become familiar with the plants around you. I learned oh too quickly about poison oak. I'm one of those people who break out in a rash just by brushing against it. I learned about the medicinal properties of jewelweed. It grew along the creek at my old place. I always made sure I had some jewelweed tea, frozen in ice cube trays, in the freezer. As soon as I felt that familiar itch, I'd reach for the golden cubes.

The more I trekked around in the woods, the more involved I got with the plants that grew there. I bought a plant ID book and several other herbals and started researching and experimenting with these magical plants. I talked to anyone that I could find that knew anything about herbal healing. A lot of the same country people that taught me about gardening knew about the healing power of these plants. And if they didn't know, they knew someone who did. And once again, I absorbed as much knowledge as I could. I buried my nose in my books, but my most valuable lessons came from these cottage herbalists and the plants themselves.

My bookshelves are crammed with herb books. My medicine chest is full of tinctures, salves and oils. My gardens are dotted with herbs. It all comes together perfectly in this life that I carved out for myself. It's an age old practice that has been around for centuries. It's vintage. Until next time.....


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