Sunday, June 27

Summer Harvest

Spring came and went, now into summer! This is a particularily exciting one for me. We expanded our garden this year, and watched as our labor started to grow. In between the two gardens we have a small patch of blackberry bushes. This year a cardinal family nested in the berries and as the buds turned to flowers to berries I kept thinking I hope they move before it's time to pick! As I picked berries Friday night and saw the empty nest, I knew that mama cardinal had read my mind! Mr and Mrs Cardinal were friendly while we did our meandering around the garden, pulling weeds, and watching the garden grow, but they made it known they weren't far away from the nest, lighting on the fence posts, dive flying but never at us, chirping, and staying close to their babies. Then one Saturday while picking our first batch of beans I peaked into the tomatoes, and there planted on a sturdy branch was one of the baby cardinals...
I couldn't help but think this would be my best opportunity ever to get a closeup picture of a baby bird! And it was. I thought he was just the cutest, including the crest on top of his little head.
So with that said, back to picking berries. I picked enough to make a batch of jam. Skip trimmed the branches last fall and this year they're overflowing! Some have gone in the freezer, some in berry smoothies, some on cereal with breakfast and now yummy jam!
Today I froze summer squash, have made zuchinni bread, zuchinni cassarole and will again tonight for dinner, and even have given squash away this year. Today I'll also make my first batch of dill pickles. As we expanded our garden this year, things are more spread out, our plants are bigger than ever, they have more room to breath. I planted corn, have never done so before, and we are already seeing the cobs develop with their silk. Oh God must've known I'd be so easy to please as I play in my garden and prepare what I can for winter. Last year I made awesome dill pickles and salsa and never had to buy any this past year.
And - where does Johnny Green fit into all of this? I've begun submitting my manuscripts and first book to traditional publishing companies, so while I wait for any replies, you'll find me in my garden! Have a wonderful summer and do whatever it is that you find pleasure in!

Monday, June 7

Green finds!

Darby, my sister-in-law, and I visited Charleen's shop, Green in the Blue Ridge in Lexington, VA over Memorial Day weekend. What a treat! We both came home with children's books made from elephant poo, recycled crayons, a stuffed dog made from recycled water bottles and admired all the other things in her shop made from recycled product! Check out her blog, Of course, she sellsJohnny Green and the Little Green Man and one of her patrons came in while we were there and left with a signed copy! Not only is her shop full of amazing treasures but it is located in the oldest building in Lexington, "The Castle". You will certainly enjoy just meandering through the town of Lexington!
After our visit at Green in the Blue Ridge, I pulled out an article printed in our local newspaper, The Smith Mountain Eagle, to show Darby. Classrooms around the county are making $$$ for their schools by collecting and sending juice cartons, cell phones, etc. in to TerraCycle, TerryCycle then makes cool and useful things from these and sells we checked them out. I ordered some pencil pouches and recycled pencils for giveaways at my events. If you are a teacher, or want to make $$$ for your organization, hop on board with this idea! Everyone benefits! Just wanted to share with you just one more way of working together to Help Save our Green Earth!!!!

All good things come to those that wait!

The day to plant has come and gone, the day to harvest is here! It is so exciting to pick the first of everything in the garden...we planted radishes this year for the first time in many and have already picked and eaten our fair share. Would they not have so much dirt on them, they wouldn't have made it to the table. The best, crisp and just hot enough. We've harvested our first broccoli, collard greens, lettuce and just sit now (besides pulling those infamous weeds) and watch as the garden grows and transforms itself from garden to our own organic produce! I know the months ahead will be busy canning and freezing all of our favorites for the year to come. I'm proud to say that we never purchased one jar of salsa, or dill pickles from the store this past year! What an accomplishment. This year I have my very own salsa garden - well most ingredients at least. Here's a picture of our first picking of radishes! Pretty cool don't you think?
Aside from boasting about my garden...I was determined to get a picture of our finches munching on their food in the thistle sock. We have plenty of the yellow finches that visit year round, but seems only on pair of purple ones....I just love the purple ones. I stood out by the truck and finally got a picture of 4 of the finches swaying in the breeze on the sock and then from inside the house, was able to get the purple pair.
It was pretty interesting watching the call -
one finch sat on top of the iron hook calling to the other birds and gradually the others came, the second, third and fourth, all males. When the pair of purple finches ate at the feeder, it was just the two of them. Not sure if this is typical, since I'm not a real birder, but it was interesting to watch! So, now I sit looking forward to the wait - - I'm sure time will pass quickly-- and I'll have my hands full with preparing food to put away for next year!
I remember my mother when I was a young girl busy with her friends in our basement canning, freezing, chatting away and enjoying the harvest! I do too, and as I think about the joy in doing so, and how wonderful it is to eat and share with friends and family I know that all good thing do come to those that wait!