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Quote of the Day: Wild Food

March 16th, 2014

What wild food could be more common than dandelions? We all know what they are. Even children in New York high-rises have probably picked and blown on the feathery white glove of seeds, as children everywhere do. Those ethereal floating seeds land then grow into the tasty and nutritious plant that all gardeners wish a speedy death. It wasn’t always so. European settlers brought dandelions to the New World as a necessity for medicine and food. The young leaves emerge in late winter, providing large doses of vitamins A and C just when they are needed after a winter diet. Traveling with us, dandelions have been brilliant in colonizing every sate. Where’s their habitat? Anywhere we are.

Connie Green and Sarah Scott The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes

Oddly enough, I have a few dandelions in my basement right now. They are growing out of a few of the potted trees I overwinter down there. Now that the grow light is on, the dandelions are lush and green. I’ll be harvesting them this week for a meal.
dandelion_salad
Even though there’s still snow outside, the wild spring greens will be here before we know it. I know my body is craving the bitterness that they will bring to my plate.

Do you eat dandelions?

In My Library: the Edible Garden Edition

January 23rd, 2014

I realized that I haven’t featured books from my library recently. This time around, I settled on part of my edible gardening shelf.
Kitchen Gardening Books 1
We’ll start off with the newest addition to my shelf The Complete Kitchen Garden. This book is fantastic if you are wanting to set up a traditional pottage. It’s filled with layouts and ideas for including a small potager in your landscape.
Kitchen Gardening Books 2
In the French Kitchen Garden: The Joys of Cultivating a Potager is a sweet little book filled with beautiful watercolors of vegetables and garden layouts. I love watercolor art, so this book is a joy to look through.
Kitchen Gardening Books 3
Gardens of Plenty: The Art of the Potager Garden is a fantastic book for those of us that love to look at photos of grand edible gardens. Even though the gardens in this book are mostly large and very involved, there are lots of ideas that can be incorporated into the small home garden. This book is one of my favorites to flip through on a cold winter evening.
Kitchen Gardening Books 4
Next up is The Art of French Vegetable Gardening, an older book. Even though the photos are older and not as artistic as we’re used to with newer books, there are still lots of beautiful things to see inside.
Kitchen Gardening Books 5
My all time favorite edible gardening book is Creative Vegetable Gardening. This is the one book I would keep if I could only have one book on my shelf in the edible gardening section. If you want your edible garden to be pretty this is the book for you. This book is filled with loads of creative ideas, from the more classic to the more laid back garden styles. There’s definitely something for everyone in this book!
Kitchen Gardening Books 6
Classic cottage gardens are among the things I love, especially those that include vegetables, herbs and fruit. Naturally, I LOVE The Cottage Garden. This book made it’s way into my library many years ago, in fact it was one of the first books I purchased when I fell in love with edible gardening. There’s something captivating about traditional cottage gardens. This book is filled with beautiful imaged and wonderful ideas on how to make your garden like the stunning cottage gardens of England. I love pulling this book out on cold winter evenings and dreaming of my future cottage garden!
Kitchen Gardening Books 7

Do you have a favorite edible gardening book? 

The Series:
In My Library – part 1
In My Library – part 2
In My Library – Part 3
In My Library – Birding Books

If you do want to purchase any of these books or anything else from Amazon, use my Amazon Link, I’ll earn a few pennies to help pay for my now outrageous hosting bill for this blog!

Friday Favorite: Old Gardening Books

October 18th, 2013

I’m a big fan of old gardening books, and I find myself frequently purchasing them at used book stores and for only a few dollars off Amazon. One of the reasons I like old gardening books is because they often offer more in depth information than is available in new books. There are times when I get frustrated with new books because they have to assume everyone is a beginner and there are a few chapters of the basics of gardening. It would be nice to have a disclaimer that the book is for more experienced gardeners and then give me more information about the topic at hand.
vintage gardening books 3
My most recent vintage gardening books are both by Thalasa Cruso. I have read many of her books ‘Making Things Grow’ is one of my favorites. This time around I purchased To Everything There Is a Season: The Gardening Year and Making Vegetables Grow.
vintage gardening books 2
I especially like the illustrations in Making Vegetables Grow. I’m considering purchasing another book just so I can cut them out and frame them.
vintage gardening books 1
I’m not sure where I originally heard about Thalasa, but these two books were recommended in To Eat: A Country Life, which I read recently while traveling. I think I heard about a few others in Onward and Upward in the Garden, another vintage gardening gem.

Do you have any oldies but goodies gardening books to recommend?

Book Review: Eating on the Wild Side

July 30th, 2013

A few months ago I was contacted by the publisher about reviewing Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health. Since I’m very keen on growing my own food and eating healthfully, I figured it would a perfect book for me.
Eating on the Wide Side Book 1
After reading it, I really like this book and heartily recommend this book to all gardeners who are interested in growing the healthiest edibles. Even if you’re not a gardener you will find great advice in this book. Each chapter focuses on a different type of vegetable (like alliums, tomatoes, potatoes, etc). After explaining the history of each vegetable group, the author gives advice on how to choose the healthiest option of each whether you’re growing it or buying it. For example, when it comes to lettuce, the dark red varieties contain the most antioxidants.  She also recommends enjoying greens that have a peppery taste or a slight bitterness, like radicchio and arugula. Since Jo is a gardener, recommendations for the most healthful varieties to grow in your garden are included in every chapter, which is in my opinion extremely valuable. She even includes options to look for at the supermarket so you can maximize your grocery dollars by selecting the most nutrient dense vegetables.
Eating on the Wide Side Book 2
I also corresponded a little with the author. She sent me some beautiful photos of her garden in Seattle to share with you. Her gardens overlook Puget Sound and Mt Rainier, talk about a great view while gardening!
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 1
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 2
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 3
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 4
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 5
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 6
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 7
Eating on the Wide Side Garden 8
What I love about the recommendations in this book is that not only are the vegetables healthier, they’re stunning! Why wouldn’t you want to add these healthy, colorful vegetables to your garden?

What’s your favorite darkly colored vegetable?

In My Library: Birding Books

May 16th, 2013

Many of you are avid readers, like me, you are probably interested in what other people have on their bookshelves. While I was looking for a book the other day, the thought hit me that you might be interested in seeing what books I have gracing the shelves in my home. This will be a series, every now and then I’ll feature a few of the books on my shelf and tell you about them, where I got them, if I love them, etc.
bird books 1
Growing up, my parents were interested in birds. We had a bird book in the house and I can see where sightings of different birds were jotted down in the back. My parents gave us the book, but it was old and the photos were fairly faded. Proper identification was difficult at times. As a result, Mr Chiots and I have purchased a few new bird books to help up identify the feathered friends we see.
bird books 2
bird books 3
bird books 4
These books go with us as we travel, just in case we spy a new and interesting bird. They certainly come in handy. We love them both for different reasons. Stokes Birds is full of vibrant photos making it easy to identify birds. Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America is filled with detailed drawing that note the differences between birds of of the same family groups. We also have a bird ap for our iPad, we use it often when searching to identify birds we can only hear.

Do you have any good identification books?

The Series:
In My Library – part 1
In My Library – part 2
In My Library – Part 3
In My Library – Birding Books
In My Library: the Edible Garden Edition

If you do want to purchase any of these books or anything else from Amazon, use my Amazon Link, I’ll earn a few pennies to help pay for my now outrageous hosting bill for this blog!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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