Friday, April 26, 2013

Arbor Day, 2013

 It's not going to be an exceptional Arbor Day in Michigan this year. I usually look forward to the blooming trees and bushes, the faint glow of green as the buds on the trees start to form, and just looking at the sky with the tree branches making spider web patterns overhead. But today the sky is gray, once again.  The flood waters are receding so road travel is good, but seeing all of the trees that have fallen over because of high water is devastating. Luckily, I didn't have to suffer the consequences; we are in an elevated area that is well away from the river and many lakes.
   It's not a good time to plants trees today, here, but as soon as the earth dries out and the sun begins to shine regularly again, we will be planting more apple trees for our small orchard, and adding a few more maples to our woods. I'm looking forward to walking nature trails and other wooded areas.
   In a another month Michigan will be a glorious green again and we can thank our tree friends for their participation in our color palette.  Michiganders take nature pretty seriously.  As a matter of fact, The Conservation District's motto is, Your Land, Your Water, Your Michigan. This motto should apply to any state. We need to take pride and ownership in our surrounding landscapes and feel blessed with all we have been given.
 Don't forget to check out your local Conservation District for tree and wildflower sales; they usually have great prices --  especially on or near Arbor day.

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Garden Books on a Rainy Day

   It's still raining here.  We've had continual floods and yesterday a light dusting of snow.  Spring is very, very late! So I've been browsing Amazon for some garden books to, hopefully, give me some kind of gardening experience through reading. I thought I would pass along the four that most interested me.

   The first book I came across was Your Backyard Herbal Garden, a guide to over 50 herbs plus how to use them in cooking, crafts, companion planting, and more.  I can always learn something new in this area. I have been planting and using herbs for about 35 years and there is always something else to learn. Herbs  are  simply amazing!

   The second book that interested me was Lasgana Gardening.  Well, who could go wrong with a title like that?  But I was immediately drawn to the subtitle -- No Digging, No Tilling,  No Weeding, No Kidding.  This book is all about layering for a little-to-no work garden.  Is that possible? I'm not sure.  I'll have to look into it.

   Great Garden Companions is a book about how to plant a pest-free, disease free garden by using certain flowers and herbs among your vegetables. Nature has a great plan so you can avoid chemicals, and the author, Sally Jean Cunningham, is eager to teach us all about it.

   Vertical Gardening is something I began to look into last year. We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, and squash vertically.  Some worked and others did not.  I need to find out what I did wrong.

   Some of these books are available on Kindle through Amazon and Android epubs are available through other Internet sites like or 
   Sitting back in my easy chair, browsing  garden books is almost as good as being outside in the sunshine and dirt. Well, not really, but it's all I've got for now. 

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013, and How We Can Do Our Part

 Once again it's time to take a look at how we treat our Earth, our planet. It's Earth Day, 2013.  Did you get that?  OUR Planet.  We didn't just end up here willy-nilly.  It was given to us to use, but to use wisely, so it will last for generations to come.  Just as I tend my garden so that it will flourish this year and the next, we must tend the Earth.

   When I was a younger woman, I remember making jokes about our parents and grandparents and how they saved string, plastic bags, and newspapers for future use. They had gone through the Great Depression and they knew what it was like to go without.  Now I have become them. Each year, I gently expand my thinking into how to recycle.  We didn't go about it in one fell swoop.  It was too difficult to change our wasteful way of life overnight.  This past year, I became just like the grandparents I made fun of in the past.  We started saving bread bags so we don't need to many Baggies, we store extra food in reusable containers whenever possible, and now use plastic grocery bags for all kinds of things, so we don't have so many to get rid of.  We use cloth bags for the grocery store.  I have a favorite pre-mixed soup I like for a quick lunch. It comes in a Styrofoam container; I now wash that container out and use it to plant seeds in my indoor greenhouse. I save milk containers to use as covers for my vegetable plants to protect them from late frosts.  Leftover Popsicle sticks work great as plant markers.

   Last year we had several pieces of old fencing left behind by a previous owner.  I took one look at them and decided they were not going to the dump.  They made great uprights for climbing vegetables.  Instead of throwing out or burning an old ladder, we decided it would be perfect for a clematis vine to climb on.  These are some of things you can try if you are aware of looking for them. It takes just a small change in old habits and soon you are looking for things to recycle and feeling good about yourself for doing it.

   Begin today, Earth Day 2013, and start to change your ways;  take care of our Planet. She's been doing a pretty good job so far of taking care of you!

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Friday, April 12, 2013

Deer in my Backyard

Aren't they adorable?  There is a herd of deer that usually stay in the wooded area but these two were caught red-handed in my backyard.  I love looking at their serene faces and the gentle way they graze, BUT this area that they are in is where the newly planned garden will be turned over as soon as the weather breaks.

Bad habits are hard to break so I suspect a lot of trouble this summer.  Hmmmm.  I have my ways which are not harmful to the deer, they might just wish they had picked on someone else before the summer is over!

But just look at those faces!  Isn't the little one sweet?  I might be a little more gentle than I at first thought.
Do you think deer are trouble or fun to watch or both?

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Monday, April 1, 2013

Omar Khayyam and Spring

It's the first day of April, April Fool's Day, and I certainly did feel fooled when I woke up.  After a fairly nice Easter weekend, we had a cold snap, and now there is a light dusting of snow on the ground. This poem by Omar Khayyam made me feel a little better. I hope it boosts your springtime spirits, too.

"Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly--and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing."
-  Omar Khayyám

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite