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Bad Art Day: Batik

July 25th, 2017

A few friends and I started a Bad Art Club, we get together (hopefully once a month) and have a good time making art. We call it the bad art club so that no one is intimidated by feeling the need to make beautiful things. In reality, all art and creative pursuits are beautiful and the process is part of the joy and fun of it. On Sunday, we got together for our big day  of batik. It was long (10 hours of hard work), but it was so much fun.












What new creative pursuits have you been embarking on recently?

Friday Favorite: Gherkins

July 21st, 2017

I’ve always loved little gherkin pickles, both the sweet and the dill ones. Many years ago, I was given an old Farm Journal Cookbook that had a wonderful recipe that made crunchy sweet pickles. I always thought it would be perfect for gherkins. I tried growing an heirloom gherkin pickle, it didn’t do well. When I saw ‘Adam’ gherkins in the Johnny’s catalog I decided to give them another go.

Unfortunately, the cut worms got a few of my seedlings, so only two are producing cucumbers at the moment. I seeded two more to fill in a bit, but I definitely need to grow way more vines if I want to have enough for a couple batches of pickles. The problem with the tiny cucumbers is that you need loads of them to get the 3 lbs needed for a half batch of pickles. I’m thinking next year I may grow a row of 15, make one large batch of pickles, then rip out the vines and plant fall peas or broccoli.

The recipe I’m using is very involved (10 days it takes to make a batch of pickles). At least I have four vines of ‘Boston Pickling’ cucumbers for making regular pickles, so I’m harvesting those very small to increase my yields. I may also use the recipe in ‘The Joy of Pickling’, all the ones I’ve tried from that book have been fantastic.

What’s your favorite type of pickle?

Summer Bouquets

July 20th, 2017

The cutting garden is providing a lot of flowers for both our home and for the homes of friends. Every few days I head out and cut annuals and perennials.

The cosmos, dahlias, and cerinthe started blooming last week. There are a few annuals I want to add to the garden next year just for cutting, especially bupleurum.

Along with the annuals I seeded for the vase, a few climbing and spray roses are starting to really start blooming. The speedwell is also really putting on a show this year. But really, it’s the cosmos that are the queens of the bouquet at the moment.

What’s your favorite annual flower to grow for cutting?

One of These Things…

July 19th, 2017

When I replanted the front foundation garden, I wanted a hedge of ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas across the front of the house with a row of boxwood below the rock wall in front of the hydrangeas. The goal was a monchromatic garden with only a few varieties of plants to make this area by the front door more calm and peaceful.

I had one hydrangea that I brought from Ohio. Since I wanted the garden to mature quickly, I decided to buy two more to fill the space rather than wait for ones I propagated to mature.

Annoyingly, one of the hydrangeas is not an ‘Annabelle’ at all. In fact it has golden foliage and lacecap flowers. It stands out between the two ‘Annabelle’ shrubs. It’s not an ugly plant, in fact I quite like the golden foliage and the little flowers. It will have to be moved though, because it doesn’t complete the look I was going for.


The good thing is that the flanking shrubs are large enough that I should be able to simply start layering the branches towards the middle to fill in the gap. It will take a few more years, but I won’t have to risk buying another plant and ending up with the same problem.

Have you ever had a plant not end up being what it was supposed to be?

A Favorite

July 18th, 2017

Every time a flower blooms I’m reminded why I have it in my garden. My favorite flower is whatever is blooming at the time. At the moment, the peony poppies are exquisite.

I have these blooming in all sorts of colors, lavender, dark pink, light pink, white. There are single ones and double ones. Next year I’m thinking of getting a few seeds for some dark ones, I’d love to see some almost black ones in with this pink color.

What’s your favorite thing blooming in the garden right now?

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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