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Quote of the Day: Linda Joan Smith

March 23rd, 2014

We connect with the garden through our feet. Toes in the new-clipped grass. Clogs crunching on gravel. Soles on brick pavers. To set our feet upon any one of these is to savor the garden’s pleasures, lured by a well mown path or lulled by a sun-blessed patio. These form the floor of our outdoor home, the foundations on which the garden–and the gardener–rests.

Linda Joan Smith (Smith & Hawken Garden Structures)
dirty_bare_feet
It won’t be long my friends!

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?

Quote of the Day: Garden Structures

March 9th, 2014

Organizational structure is essential to the garden’s functional and aesthetic success. The paths, arbors, hedges, and other elements that create it are the garden’s bones. They hold the garden up, define it’s form, expand it’s possibilities and bring it to life. They are the framework on which the garden grows.

Linda Joan Smith (Smith & Hawken Garden Structures)

building_rock_pathways_in_the_garden 1
My previous garden waiting 6 years before pathways and hedges started to form a framework. I was hoping to get things going sooner here, but I’m still trying to figure out exactly where everything will be. This isn’t something you want to rush either since many of the features that add form to the garden are rather difficult and expensive to change.
boxwood hedge 1
Defining the form in a garden, it’s something I think about all winter as I look at the garden around me. Not only is it a good time to do it because there aren’t any plants to distract you, it’s also a good time because you have time.

What kind of framework do you have in your garden? Is it something you notice & appreciate in winter? Do you need to add features that add framework to your garden?

Quote of the Day: Susan J. Bissonette

March 2nd, 2014

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.”

~ Susan J. Bissonette

My garden is still covered in a blanket of snow, but it won’t be around for much longer.
working in the garden in spring 9
I must say, for a while I was rather dreading the end of winter. There was still much needed rest on my mind. It seems I’ve finally rested up and I’m starting to get giddy with excitement for spring.  Perhaps it’s because I started my first seedlings this week or maybe it’s that I’m finally tiring of winter. Either way – I’m starting to get excited for spring!
spring peas 2
I want to see bare earth and the beginning shoots of green.  I want there to be smell in the air and softness to the wind.  Most of all, I’m ready to feel the warm sun on my back as I push seeds into the cool dark soil!

Are you still waiting for spring or has spring already come in your garden?

Building Our Communities Through Food

February 23rd, 2014

We can feed our hunger for connection by eating seasonally and also by buying directly from small farmers at the farmer’s market. Forming relationships with the people who grow our food, and taking up opportunities to visit their farms, is a healing practice. It is important for the farmers as well. The majority of small farmers are not in it for the money – farming is no longer lucrative. They do it because they have a love of independence, because they love working with the land, and often because they believe in building a food system that is based on relationship. They get immense satisfaction when their customers take an interest in their farming practices and in how and why they grow their produce.

Jessica Prentice – Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection
farmers market
As I was at the farmers market on Friday morning I was thinking about why buying local is so important to me. It’s about a lot of different things, including health, but most importantly, it’s about directly supporting small farmers and producers in my community.
farmers market 1
farmers market 2
farmers market 3
Waterville market 5
The truth is that many things I buy at the market could be grown in my garden, now that I have more than enough space, but I want to invest in the local food web not just for myself, but for others who can’t grow their own. I want to get to know the person nurturing the chickens that produce the meat I purchase for our cats and dogs. I want to chat with the lady who makes the cheese.  It’s very important to me to encourage those that have taken on the burden of growing good healthy food for those in their community even before they had customers to purchase them.
Belfast Farmers Market 5
Waterville market 4
Belfast Farmers Market 3
Personally, I believe we’re heading down a dangerous path with our food in this country. Far too many people are expecting the government to draft legislation for the changes they want to see happen with the food system. What it really takes to spur change is for people to put their money where their convictions. We’ve chosen to invest in our community and it’s good to know that there are others out there like us. I know that should anything ever happen the folks at the local farm will continue providing milk for those of us who purchase from them. We won’t have to worry about not having cash to pay for it. They in turn know that if they ever need our help, we’re willing to step up as well. This is what community is all about and I’m certainly happy that we embarked on this road a few years ago, it certainly has been rewarding!

Are there any changes you’ve made in your life over the past couple years that you’re starting to see the rewards from?

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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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