Heady with the aroma of growth


A simple bit of earth has the impressive power of evoking grand dreams. The magic begins with the arrival of winter’s dispersal of seed catalogs.

Boston heritage roses

If you garden and are anything like me you dream, and plan you scratch lines in the soil with the toe of your boot, you carve and through grassy strips creating new beds and expanding the old. You move this here and that there, in hope of better growth. Maybe this next to that would be better…you have illusions of a grand garden (or perhaps delusions).

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Notions gleaming with possibility and loosely tangled treasure bounce through your noggin, like spring peepers on your pond.

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Ideas flash like a a photographer’s bulb, if only they were as easily created as they are imagined.

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I imagine more garden paths, lined with pea stone beckoning you to enter herb gardens filled with basils, thyme, rosemary, and sage, or a bench tucked away in a secret cutting garden.

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Fields of french lavender lending their fragrance to dawn’s solitude.

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You feel the moss under your bare feet that cling to the damp slate slabs in an outdoor dining area. You sit, senses drenched with wisteria draping from the pergola overhead. Birds, bees, and butterflies going about the daily task of pollination (no chemicals to harm them in sight).

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It’s still much too cold here to get out and work the soil, so I sit sipping Earl Grey whilst I bide my time, content to plan and dream.

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“My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as  the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” Abram L. Urban

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Be well, dream, and do.

Jess

No action shots here folks, we’re waiting it out.


 

 

 

 

I guess, there really is no sense in complaining, we are all in the same boat. The weather has the upper hand. Mother nature must be hung up somewhere else and forgot we are stuck in winter. It’s like an old record that skips, the tune moves ahead just bit only to be bounced to where it began.

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So we sit and we wait, we prepare, we hope. DSC_6092

 

We take advantage, although somewhat reluctantly, of the quiet days. Soon the pace will pick up. They’ll be gardens to till and beds to prepare. The peas are ready to go in, along with the spinach, chard and other hearty greens.DSC_6102

 

There will be goats and llamas to be sheared. Barns to be spring cleaned.  The chickens will pick up their pace. I miss their eggs.DSC_6084

 

The grapes could use some love; with all that has been going on in the past years they have been sorely neglected. I am excited to be planting more this spring, along with more blueberry bushes.DSC_6108

We all need things to look forward to, don’t we. Human nature certainly. How sad must it be to have no hope, or faith in the future. DSC_6110

 

I keep telling myself to be patient, enjoy the here and now; rest while you can. There will be busier days ahead.

I am restless, I suppose everyone is at this time of the year [in the North East of USA].DSC_6122

 

Yes, Lexi, they’ll be time to play. But today we wait and plan, plot, and prepare.

Pups:

Richard the Yorkishire Terrier/Papillon mix (2 yrs)

Diezel the Treeing Walker Hound (3mos)

Finnegan the Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle aka Bernedoodle (7yrs)

Lexi the Black Labrador Retriever (6yrs)

Enjoy the wait.

Be well,

Jess

 

Feather your nest


The first day of spring is a perfect time to build your home; at least this couple thinks so.

Just outside my living-room window a sparrow family is building their nest in the Forsythia just swelling with buds.

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It’s not a terribly pleasant day for building. The sun is struggling to be seen through the clouds and we expect snow to fall.

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She is dressed rather plainly today, you wouldn’t want to muss your best finery would you. I don’t think she expected visitors.

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She simply won’t be seen this way in public and takes her leave. Thank you very much.

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Or perhaps she has stepped out for a few items of decoration to enhance the new abode.

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I think he’s decided to use this time to tidy up his appearance. I do believe she’ll appreciate his efforts. (or perhaps he has an itch)

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Where did she get off to; she can’t think I can do this alone.

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Oh, there she is.

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Do like how things are coming along? No? Oh well, it’s just the foundation.

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Maybe she doesn’t know I’m here…

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I believe she can see me now.

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Let me show off my chest a little; she’ll like that.

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How embarrassing, she didn’t even notice.

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Perhaps I should get back to work, she might like that more…I have to impress her somehow.

Enjoy your day.

Be Well,

Jess

Leprechauns. Do you believe in fairies?


First let’s just say, Leprechauns are sharp dressers. One account tells us that he has a red coat with seven rows of buttons and seven buttons on each row. Dapper indeed.

Another says he wears a gold embroidered tunic, a scarlet coat, his hair in yellow ringlets. ( prefer him in red hair, thank you) His skin, whiter than foam of wave and… cheeks redder than the forest’s scarlet berry. That doesn’t sound very menacing, does it?

Leprechaun can be found above all in the Irish Midlands and Connaugh, though in more recent sightings, they have been spotted in England. There was the Liverpool Episode in the 1960’s. This city, you say, is an unlikely place for a rash of wee people sightings?

Well, I hear, they were being seen by children at night in the city’s parks near schools and libraries,as well as, houses and garden walls. So intense was the excitement, that on one occasion a crowd of people gathered near the bowling green in Edge Hill during the summer of 1964; all hoping to see fairies, children were armed and ready with their jam jars and nets.The frenzy built until police were brought in to contain the curious.

Later the same decade, a woman living in Wavertree claimed that three little men in green clothes had been sitting on her backyard wall, throwing stones at her dog, and other women saw them climbing a tree in Wavetree Park. 

The leprechaun (aka leithbrágan) is quickly told: ‘The Leprecaun, a solitary Irish fairy … they may be seen sitting under a hedge mending a shoe, and if you are quick enough to capture him (keep your eyes on him) you can make him hand over his pot of gold, he is a rich little skinflint.  

If you do take your eyes off him, he will vanish. Making a fool of you for trying to contain him. 

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A solitary fairy, which is somewhat strange as he spends his time drinking, smoking his pipe, and making shoes for others fairies.   Have they always been so disinterested in the company of others? I wonder.

An early medieval text describes how King Fergus (no, not the race horse) was taken by a group of Leprechaun to the sea. Fergus awakens and grabs three of his captors, sparing their lives in return for a wish.  Fergus’ demand for a wish ~ money, (they are very wealthy little shoe makers indeed). This might explain their recluse type behavior.

You decide; coincidence or fact filled lore?

I, for one, am on the hunt, (I could use the money). I think I should add some shamrock to my garden, I think they’d like that.

Be well,

Jess

Just One Tiny Seed…


Spring, opportunity, hope, I think these three words belong together. It all starts with one tiny seed, sown with hope, and if by magic, it becomes a towering sunflower, a a clambering vine of beans, a 40 pound pumpkin, or a sweet smelling sweet pea, isn’t that hard to believe?
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Yet, it happens; reminding us with hope, and determination anything is possible. Nurture your even the tiniest seed of a dream, and with work and perseverance it can be. I still have to pinch myself at times as I look around this Shoppe. It was a lot of work, and many, many hours of work; it still is, but, is worth it.
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If a seed can burst into life in NYC, it can grown anywhere!

Following your dreams is not for the faint of heart, if your want it, really, really, want it. You must put in the work. Some folks, think if you dream hard enough, it will fall into your lap. Nope, that’s not how this works. [Well, I guess you can dream of winning the lottery. That’s not much work..] But, you get what I’m saying right?
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Right now, I’m dreaming of making a really fresh sweet dessert. I noticed this morning there are lots of rhubarb stalks ready to be picked. So, I’m thinking Strawberry- Rhubarb Squares, a shortbread type of dough… I will work on the recipe today, pick the stalks tomorrow…and I am a little excited now. I will share photos tomorrow.

Be Well,
Jess

Asparagus. Asparagus? Yes, Asparagus.


An aphrodisiac. Yeah, you heard me; Nicholas Culpepper, a 17th century herbalist, wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman.”
In 19th century France, bridegrooms were served 3 courses of asparagus at their prenuptial dinners (not absolutely necessary, I hope, but asparagus lore nonetheless) to, well, you get the picture.

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Can you tell I’m in the mood ~ for Spring!

What is spring without asparagus?!Do you have asparagus growing in your garden? If not, it’s not hard to get started, you just have to be patient, well. for a couple years!spears

You can get asparagus crowns at most garden centers.
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Dig a furrow about 10 inches deep and wide and as long as you want your row to be. Fill the trench about halfway with compost and place your asparagus crowns on top, about 10 inches apart and cover loosely with soil and water. This is best done in the springtime as soon as the danger of frost has past.
You won’t get any spears your first year, but the fern-like foliage will still be pretty. Make sure you mulch well every autumn to keep weeds down and a steady stream of nutrients coming. Asparagus is a hungry plant.
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Do not harvest your asparagus until it’s at least three years old. This allows the plant to have time to build a strong root system. When your’s is ready; gather the asparagus and leave at least one stalk in the ground, for good luck, so the lore goes; actually it is common sense, it leaves seeds for sowing.
Asparagus is great for permaculture because it can live 15 years or more and keep providing you with tasty spears each spring.
It grows best in sandy, alkaline soil in full sun, but it’s not picky. It can handle a bit of shade and less than perfect soil too, as long as you fertilize it well.
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Your plants will start sending up shoots shortly after the frost has past and may continue well into June. Cut the shoots near the base when they are about 10 inches long and about as thick as your finger. If they are thinner than a pencil, your plant isn’t ready for harvesting yet, or it’s gotten tired of being harvested and needs to be let alone. Make sure the heads of the spears are tight and haven’t started to feather out. Once they’ve started to get ferny, it’s too late to harvest them.
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Asparagus is best eaten fresh, but if you want to save some for later, put it in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers and store it in the fridge. If you want to save some for a long time later, steam the stalks for about five minutes and then freeze them in a freezer bag.

Asparagus is a good diuretic and is full of nutrients to help build up strength. Asparagus is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you’ll find. It is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A, C and thiamin, contain no fat or cholesterol and are low in sodium.

It is best lightly steamed so that it is tender-crisp and bright. I like to serve it with a tangy lemon butter sauce.
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PS. It’s a good food to eat when you are doing a bodily cleansing, a great “spring tonic” kind of food.

Soup’s on…at Picasso’s: chicken noodle with kale, corn chowdah, and creamy carrot curry (vegan)
try a citrus salad on baby kale, or grilled pear and pork on mixed greens.
Turkey burger with vidalia balsamic jam!

Be well,
Jess

And All is Berry and Bright…


Feb 2013 Gio
Gio.

I will enjoy the snow fall we about to be “blessed” with, up to 24″. I find it refreshing, well, a refreshing change from grey days, and brown fields…blanketing everything in white; plays so beautifully against the deep blue of the winter skies(on a sunny day).

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Phantom of the Opera.

Yet I yearn for Spring, to dig my fingers into the earth…see precious livestock being born…feeling the warm rays of sun on my face! There’s nothing quite like the smells of the earth on a warm Spring day. Daffodil, crocus, tulips,and apple blossoms…mmmmm. When many trees and shrubs look as if they are most certainly dead but then slowly begin to show signs of life. Why wouldn’t we yearn for Spring?

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some berries for dinner tonight…nom,nom..

We live for the rhythm and beauty of our day-to-day lives, yet, we start our Spring watch in early February.[don’t we] Did the groundhog sees his shadow; if he does, he will be frightened back into his den and we will experience yet another six weeks of winter.No impostors allow, this seasonal predication relies squarely on the shoulders of, no other than Puxatoney Phil. So, we hold our collective breath…and,…and,…Phil did not see his Shadow! An early Spring?!

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The yard will look like a totally different landscape by this time tomorrow.

Of course, depending on where we live…this could mean many things… As Henry Van Dyke said, “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.” I usually can’t do much planting until May…but, a bit of color pops up here and there as early as the end of March depending on snow cover. Perhaps that is why we yearn for Spring; could it be that we all long for a peaceful, delicious garden?

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OOPs, Mali. 🙂

For now, I will dust of the toboggan, gather some neighborhood kids…and WHEEEEE…enjoy this Old New England winter

Be well,
Jess