Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lemon tree, very pretty....



And the lemon flower so sweet...

They are finally getting ripe! We have waited almost a year for these babies... They are not quite ready, maybe another month. We'll be moving in less than 3 weeks, hope the tree makes the move ok.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Farmers Market




I finally got to the Farmers Market today after months of not going. Oh, how I missed it! This is the first time that I have gone to the Bluffton Farmers Market - loved it! I dropped David off at the gym and headed into old town to find it. The street was blocked off, so it was easy to find. I wish I had my camera, but alas, maybe next time. I found several organic farmers and every vendor was local :) I got fresh yellow beans, baby turnips, a huge sweet potato, gorgeous baby purple/white eggplants, a couple of granny smith apples, a tiny little cantelope and some local, raw Tupelo honey. It was so enjoyable, can't wait for next week :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – what kind of name is that? Does it tell you what the book may be about? Not me.

I started reading this book because I have enjoyed every other book Donald Miller has written. Little did I know it was going to be his best work yet! I finished the book and wanted to read it all over again. That’s how good it was.

Donald Miller teaches us about the store of our lives by telling us how he is changing the story of his. It’s basically the story of how his book “Blue Like Jazz” is turned into a screenplay for a movie and how they have to change the story in the book to make it more interesting for people to watch.

I loved how he came to the realization that his life wasn’t interesting enough to hold someone’s interest and how he could change the direction, or story, of his life.

Very motivating. He showed me that everyone can choose to live differently and doesn’t have to be stuck in the same old routine; that your story can be inviting to others and they will join in.

Donald Miller got me off the couch, on my bike and eager to find the next chapter in my own life.

Two thumbs up! Pick yourself up a copy and read it! And then give someone you know a copy… Head over to Thomas Nelson Publishers, they’ll help you out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

As part of the Thomas Nelson Publisher Book Review Bloggers, http://brb.thomasnelson.com, I had the opportunity to read Max Lucado’s Fearless before it was released. The full name is Fearless, Imagine Your Life Without Fear. This was my first ever Max Lucado book. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but people I know always say his books are great. I can say that it was ok, but I would be hard pressed to go to great.

In the world we live in, there are a lot of reasons to be fearful – terrorism, job loss, the economy, violence, and death, to name a few. Mr. Lucado tackles many topics and offers scriptural back up to combat each particular fear. I am sure that if you are a person that lives w/ fear on a daily basis, this book will be comforting to you. I have to admit, it is nice to be reminded of the bible verses. I would definitely suggest this book to someone that I knew was going through a particularly scary or stressful time. It does not however, make me want to run out and purchase another book by Max Lucado. – borrow one from the Library maybe, but probably not buy one..

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Noticer - review

I signed up to be a reviewer for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ and I just finished reading the book "The Noticer" by Andy Andrews. It is the story of an small town on the ocean in Alabama where people just live ordinary lives. An old man named Jones shows up and helps people "notice" things about their lives that they can't see. Jones has been in and out of the town for as long as people can remember, but no one really knows him. He just shows up unexpectedly and talks folks through situations, from being homeless under a bridge to learning how to speak to your spouse and saving your marriage.

This book is a fairly easy read in which each chapter tells a different story. The story line changes as the old man, Jones, drifts in and out of people's lives and there is only one person whom Jones revisits during the book. In each story there is a small nugget of wisdom that anyone who reads will be able to pull from. We all go through life with a bit of tunnel vision, the author reminds us to open our eyes, and our perspective to see the whole story, to change our perspective and to change our lives.

I read this book as a downloaded e-book. I believe that I would have enjoyed it more having the actual book in my hands as opposed to my computer. Living in a coastal town myself, it would have been easier to see myself in the characters if I had been sitting on the beach reading or by the side of the pool instead of on my living room couch, indoors, by myself. It would make a great book to read on vacation. I have never read anything else by the author, Andy Andrews, but would be willing to try after reading this one.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Serpent


Poisonous? Not poisonous? Anyone a snake expert?




Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pretty flowers for a dreary day

It is dark, dreary and cold outside (60 degrees) and we haven't seen the sun since Saturday. I thought everyone might need a little shot of gorgeous.




Saturday, May 16, 2009

1st set - success!

The bluebirds have successfully raised their first set of babies. Over the last few weeks, mama and papa were busily feeding the little chirping sounds coming from their house. We never actually saw the eggs or babies, but we sure heard them. Those parents never quit feeding them. From sun up to sun down, they brought food to the house. Constantly.

Then one day, they just weren't around much. We gave it a day or two and then checked the house. Sure enough, a well built nest was inside, but nothing else.We promptly cleaned out the nest (under instruction from the lady at Birds Unlimited) so mama and papa could start all over again.

And...they got right back to it. All day long, bringing nesting materials into the house. I'd love to be able to get a camera inside to see how they do it. Hopefully next time we'll get to see the babies!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mothers Day Flowers

A week late on posting the picture, but these are the gorgeous flowers I got from Stephie, Jacques & Ellie for Mothers Day. What a nice surprise they were!

They win

I have decided that I planted the strawberries for the squirrels. I have given up. They win! I hope they have enjoyed the unripe berries, the flowers, the leaves, the whole plants. I bought someone else's home grown strawberries yesterday at the farmers market and they were delicious.

There is a lot of peace once you let go....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baby Turnips!


Isn't it cute? It's about the size of a fireball - hopefully not as hot :)

Another Great Article

I found another great article that I wanted to pass on.

Who's afraid of a little organic garden?

By Barbara Damrosch, published Thursday, May 7, 2009 in The Washington Post

It seems like a pretty innocent idea, doesn't it? Planting an organic vegetable garden in your yard so that your kids can eat fresh, nutritious, safe food. But now that Michelle Obama has gone and done it, big agriculture is terrified that we'll all follow her example. First came a letter addressed to her from the Mid America CropLife Association, which represents the chemical fertilizer and pesticide industries, urging the first lady to give "conventional" agriculture equal time. One of the authors separately told association members that the thought of an organic garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. made her "shudder." And an industrial agriculture media group, CropLife, started an online letter-writing campaign to encourage Obama to use synthetic pesticides, euphemistically called "crop protection products," which her effort seemed to impugn.

Such a response might seem comical if it did not highlight so clearly the fear these industries try to inspire to convince us that our world would crumble without them. The association's letter asked Obama, "If Americans were still required to farm to support their family's basic food and fiber needs, would the U.S. have been leaders in the advancement of science, communication, education, medicine, transportation and the arts?" It goes on to explain that nobody has time to grow their own food. The message: Leave food production to the experts.

The fact is, Americans are planting peas, carrots and potatoes in surging numbers, partly out of economic necessity and partly out of dissatisfaction with the nation's commercial food supply. And a lot of these new gardeners are using organic methods. The Obamas' garden is a great example to follow, but it's also just a sign of the times.

Maybe the pesticide ads, with their military rhetoric, aren't working anymore. Perhaps gardeners are taking a wait-and-see attitude about stocking their sheds with an arsenal of poisons. What if we staged a war against the beetles and the caterpillars and it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction to be found, only the odd nibbling pest here and there to pick off and squish? What if we found that well-rotted manure and homemade compost, patterned on the natural world's fertility program, grew plants better than something sold in a bottle? When gardeners nurture the life in their soil by keeping it free of harsh products that might imperil it, they often find that there is nothing they have to buy except for a few seeds. That's dangerous knowledge.

The great dark secret is that nature is generous and determined to make plants grow. Much of how this happens is still a mystery and a worthy study for our country's best scientific minds. It is also a worthy subject for you, and if you are naturally curious you can learn a lot from your garden. Meanwhile, grow some tomatoes. You're in charge.

Article copyright of Barbara Damrosch. Reprinted with permission.
Creative Commons photo credit: Green Colander

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eating Local

I found this article from localharvest.org that I thought was a great explanation of how to begin to eat local and wanted to pass it on:

LocalHarvest.org

LocalHarvest Newsletter, February 24, 2009


Many times each month, people ask us exactly how they can begin to eat locally. The questioner invariably understands the 'whys' of the proposition, but is daunted by the 'how.' So this month we offer a short primer on eating local food, with emphasis on the notion of transition. Let's start there. The first thing to remember is that eating locally is a continuum. If you allow yourself to get drawn into an all-or-nothing mindset, the proposition will seem impossible. You will get derailed by the list of the imported foods you think you can't live without. Bananas. Coffee. Chocolate-covered yum-yums. Don't start with those things. Don't even put them on the table the first year. Eating locally is about doing what you can. It is about making the most of your region's agricultural strengths. It is about beginning to pay attention. Where should you start? Focus on whole foods first. Highly processed foods are made with many ingredients that are shipped from afar, processed, and shipped again. It is simpler, not to mention healthier, to put your efforts into simpler foods. Start with one or more of these food groups: produce, meat, dairy products and eggs. In many cases, you can buy these foods directly from farmers, which is often a highly satisfying experience in and of itself.

A few years ago, a friend whose family loves chow-mein hotdish and Cheez-its asked me what three things she could do to better her family's diet without triggering a lot of grumbling. She was clear: she was not ready to take on the whole pantry, and neither was her family. Sound familiar? She knew that if she felt overwhelmed, the changes wouldn't stick. But three things seemed reasonable to her. After talking more about her food buying habits and priorities, we came up with this: Buy high quality chicken. Get organic milk. Shop at the farmers market when you can. Now, we live in Minnesota, where small-scale farmers make good meat and quality milk readily available, but the growing season is short. Other places in the country will have a different list of logical first steps. My LH colleagues, for example, live on the Central Coast of California, where gorgeous fresh veggies are available almost year round, but meat and dairy from small farms is a little harder to come by. For people there, just committing to shop at the farmers market or to join a CSA would bring local foods into their diets much of the year. Another regional difference concerns food preservation: neither my colleagues in California nor my friends in the South spend much time canning and freezing. Here in Minnesota, we do, because that is the way to enjoy local produce in the long winter. Getting to know what grows well in your state - and when - is a valuable part of your education as a locavore.

As you begin to dig more deeply into your region's specialties, you will find that some of these cost more money than their anonymous counterparts at the supermarket. If you are one of the many Americans experiencing real financial distress, this may dissuade you from choosing them. But it is important to remember that there are ways to work around price if you have some flexibility in your food budget. For example, you might choose to buy high quality meat and cheese, but eat it less often, and instead eat more lower-cost whole foods like grains, beans, and in-season produce. Check out the LH blog for a close-up look at the home economics of my family's local foods-based diet. Finally, it pays to remember that for most human beings, change is difficult. Food is so fundamental to our sense of well-being that changes in that arena may be met with a lot of resistance. If that is the case in your house, go slowly and look for small windows of opportunity. For example, enjoy lots of local strawberries when they are in their glory. If you can, go out to the farm and have fun picking some of your own. Really pay attention to how good - and how different - they are. Acclimate your taste buds and over time your family may decide that the local ones are worth waiting for. You may even decide to throw a few bags of berries into the freezer for later. And you're on your way...

In sum: Start with whole foods. Don't make it too hard. Study your region's agricultural strengths, and play up to them. Look for ways to be creative with your budget. Be gentle with your self and your family as you try out new habits. Do these things, and you will set yourself up for a highly satisfying adventure in local eating, and a deeper connection to your food.

Erin Barnett
Director, LocalHarvest

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Should I let them live?

Please notice the smeared red juice on the netting. We spent the day on Thursday in Charleston never imagining what was transpiring at home. Last time the squirrels ate the berries, they missed one really large one, hid under a leaf. We've been waiting and watching this ONE berry begin to ripen. Apparently the combination of the smell of the ripening berry and us not being home was just too much for the freakin squirrel to handle. I WAS NOT HAPPY! This morning I counted 7, yes I said 7, squirrels on the ground under the feeders. THEY WILL NOT WIN! I'm a little scared to go to Charlotte this Monday & Tuesday for business, but we really don't have a choice. We can't let the freakin squirrels run our lives, can we? I will say that if I don't get at least ONE berry off of those plants this year, I may let hubby get the pellet gun.

Freakin squirrels...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's your favorite dressing?

I'm ready to give chard away to anyone who wants some, I'm about over it. But... here comes the lettuce. What is your favorite dressing? I like a nice light oil & vinegar w/ maybe some fresh herbs and salt & pepper thrown in.

Those darned squirrels

If you missed my tweet several days ago - the freakin squirrels ate all the strawberries off of our plants. I mean, we only have 3 plants, but... I actually think it is worse having only 3 plants because we will only have so many berries to savor. Anyway, they ate EVERY ONE! I was sooooo mad! So...I had to make a little hat from some netting that I had to keep those little critters out of our berries. It's ugly, but it works. For now. There are more flowers coming, so hopefully we will still have a good showing. Freakin squirrels!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

my poor tomato plants

I finally planted these poor babies. They are just pitiful. Since I didn't have enough pots and didn't want to spend money on buying more, I planted one in a cracked pot that I had and buried it the ground 3/4 way up the pot.
I dug 3 holes in the sand, filled them up w/ organic topsoil and planted some 3 babies in the topsoil. This is definitely an experiment, I have NO idea if it will work.
And last but not least, I planted the remaining one in the big pot w/ the lettuce seedlings (don't they look good?)

I'll keep you updated on how they are doing and what method is working best.

How are your seeds doing?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More funny birds



We truly learn something new everyday. Recently I learned that when birds eat too many berries, they actually get drunk! Another thing learned since moving here is that palm trees flower, which then in turn form berries. this is the time of year that the flower spikes are FULL of berries. The birds love them. Several different times a huge flock of about 50 birds have come and attacked the branches full of berries and gorged themselves. I was thrilled to find, with the help of binoculars, the birds are Cedar Waxwings, which in my opinion are the most beautiful bird God has created. The palm trees right outside our sliding doors are about 25 feet or so tall, so it is kind of hard to get good pictures, but I did the best I could so that YOU could share in my joy! The funny thing is after they eat a lot of the berries, the whole flock starts flying round and round and are "giddy" and quite loud. It's hard to describe it without seeing it. Here is a picture (that I did not take) of how beautiful the Cedar Waxwing really is.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

a little seedling update

Since it's been quite a while since I talked about my seeds, I thought I'd give you a little update. I am starting to thin the turnips and am tossing the baby greens into my salads.
The chard is growing so fast, that I need to be cutting it everyday to keep up w/ it. I find that if I add it to my salads, I won't get sick of it and I get a little boost of iron to boot!The tomato plants REALLY need to be transplanted, I have to buy some additional pots and get them in. Maybe I'll just give the new transplants as gifts to people since Dave doesn't eat tomatoes - one plant will most likely be enough...
My green beans have sprouted and are coming up quickly, I need to get the trellis up. The red beets have sprouted and the spinach is growing fast also. I'll need to start thinning the lettuce in the next week or two and probably start another batch of seeds. So, all in all, things are moving along nicely, it is still interesting growing veggies in containers, I'm learning as I go. If anyone has any tips, I'd appreciate them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The bluebirds and the squirrels

Our lives may be boring to some, but nature entertains me. I told you about the bluebirds moving into the little house we put up for them. When they are out and about gathering and feeding, the male has been landing and perching on our screened doors. It's the craziest thing! Whether the sliders are open or closed, he just comes over and lands on the screen. I was able to get a few pics, but I can't get too close or he flies off. So far, the female hasn't come as close. It's such a riot, they are ALWAYS together. They watch out for each other. The male always arrives first, checking things out. When he feels it's safe, he ever-so-quietly calls to the female and she flies in. The male always checks the house first, then the female goes in. We haven't looked inside to see if there are any eggs, but we assume since they keep coming back, there probably are, or are about to be.

Well, we also have about 5 squirrels who come consistently to the one feeder that they can still get to. The bluebird house is attached to the side of the condo next to us and there are about 6 small trees nearby. When the bluebirds are around, they vehemently protect their house. They pair up and dive bomb the squirrels when they are in the trees. It's an absolute riot! If I can ever get it on video, I will surely post it here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

what's for dinner? chard?



The swiss chard is loving this cool, sunny spell and is growing like crazy. I asked David to create something with it and he asked me to pick up chicken and feta cheese at the store. Can't wait to see what's for dinner soon... I'm sure you'll be able to read about it over at hubby's blog

The bluebirds have moved in!



This is very exciting to me, which shows you how boring our life is. I can't seem to get a picture of them coming or going from their house, quick little guys... I'll keep trying though because I know you all will be waiting anxiously (please try not to lose any sleep).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

memories



I just came across this picture that my oldest daughter took of our birdbath at our last house in Endwell, NY. We had a TINY backyard and we made this little bird sanctuary right outside the kitchen window to look at while doing the dishes.

One of the reasons I love living here







It started as a bunch of shadows coming from over head. I thought it was crows coming to the feeders, but then I saw them, seagulls. Nope, wrong again - white Ibis. They just kept landing in the pond - there ended up being about 20 of them. This is definitely one of the things I love about living here. They stayed for about an hour and ate their fill and then moved on. So cool.

Monday, February 23, 2009

finding a home

I read a blog post recently over at Pearl, the Prickly Pear, called "Homeless" and I really wanted to steal the title because that is exactly how I feel right now. She was posting that she and husband, after a long period of "church homelessness", have finally found a church where they feel at home.

I long for that.

For the 18 months that we lived in Charlotte, we never really found it. We tried to force it, but forcing doesn't work - duh... So far in Hilton Head things are not looking good. We have been attending the same church since early January and still don't feel like we belong. We are normally freaks in the world, but apparently we are freaks in the Church too. We seem to have a different outlook on what it looks like to be a Christian than everybody we have met.

I guess we'll keep moving forward and following Jesus, what else can we do?

tomato babies


God is awesome!