Complication is an Understatement


It has been quite a summer, I don’t feel as though I am any further ahead than when I began.

I do suppose, our crazy, busy, complicated lives are very different, though much the same.

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We try to keep it simple; life is a lot.

A lot of dreams. A lot of work. A lot of family and friends. A lot of expectations and a lot responsibilities.

Inevitably there is a lot of juggling.

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The juggling game changes from time to time, it moves from juggling your own needs with the needs of sick family member; their needs take momentary precedence.

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The juggling changes when a loved one enters your life anew. You welcome the ball changes.

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Life is never enough.

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Never enough time.

It flies by, try as  you might to capture it, holding it close so that it doesn’t slip through your fingers…then it’s gone.

Years pass, you hardly notice.

Wish as you might, they are gone.

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Never enough energy. There is always one more task to be completed.

Just when you think you’ve reached capacity, another undertaking manifests. You find a new spark.

You do.

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Would it be conjecture to say you feel the same?

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Accomplishing more than you ever thought possible.

Daring to dream of that which should be unattainable.

Be well,

Jess

 

 

Those moments.


I have been crazy busy, trying to get the gardens back in shape after the long, cold winter, and two seasons had passed by with little to no attention.

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What a job.

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I sheared a friend’s llamas and the goats are sheared; of course today is 50*.  I’m certain they’re questioning my motives right about now.

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With a life so busy and full of to do lists, it’s easy to miss the pocket-sized moments of beauty and wonder, isn’t it?

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I need reminding, from time to time, to lift my head from my daily tasks ~ listen to the birds chirp their own particular warble…

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this gives nesting a

Notice that one cloud, as it moves past the sun, beams radiating warmth on your upturned face.

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reminds me of Nemo..

Let nature take hold of your soul, breathe her in, fill your heart.

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Be well,

Jess

 

 

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.

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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

It’s almost March…It’s almost warmish (almost)


Although the shortest of days have gone by and whatever nastiness of weather we have before us; the month of February passes.

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March is near, and each day we ebb out a few more cherished moments of sunlight.

Minute by minute, the days lengthen out, almost imperceptible, even as the growth of a child. All at once the moment comes as if by epiphany; we notice we are out of doors in twilight for another quarter of a precious hour.

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The air is still bitingly cold.

The sun shines strong enough to cause icicles to drip, that is hope.

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My fingers ache to dig in the garden’s soil. To feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on my neck.

I think I will spend some time today sorting and gathering seeds saved, seeds bought, clay potting pots, and all of the thingamajigs, and whatchamacallits a gardening crazy girl could wish for.

I wonder how many seedlings will survive a Walker Hound 3 month old pup? Maybe I should hold off on that.

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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

You may need a weed. or dandelions, not just sunny face.


At the start of this years garden and yard cleaning season; I am thinking of all of the chemicals folks think they need. To have perfect lawn is not so perfect anymore, it come with its fair share of guilt. Doesn’t it? Round up, the most publicized weed killer, kills more than just the weeds, so we are finding out. It has been doing a number on bee populations as well. I was never one to use chemicals much anyway. Have you ever sat and watched your toddlers and young children frolicking on your freshly mowed lawn; only to have the sinking feeling come over you with a gust of hot air? Oh how lovely, look at my children rolling around in the poisons I just spread all over, is not a picture of parental bliss. Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah, weeds. Some how we have the silly notion that nature has this all wrong, and we need to correct this mistake. . How dare Mother Nature throw weeds willy nilly all over our lawns! For crying out loud.

Weeds need love too and weeds can be beneficial; they can add fertilizer to your soil, increase moisture content, attract insects, and repel insects. Some are good to eat, some have medicinal benefits, some have both. Take the dandelion for instance, honey bees love them, they are a natural diuretic, and they can be eaten in salads or cooked. You can even use the to make dandelion wine, for goodness sake. THey help less hardy plants as well, their tough tap roots bring nutrients to the surface for neighboring plants to use.
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Dandelion greens are packed with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, E, & K, and calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium & copper. Dandelion greens are also about 14% protein, which is MORE protein per serving than spinach, Popeye’s favorite muscle-building food. Dandelion greens are especially beneficial for the liver and aid in flushing out toxins and remineralizing the body. It’s high beta carotene and flavonoid content also benefits the immune system and cardiovascular system. Dandelion greens are also one of the richest sources of plant-based Vitamin K and Vitamin A . If you pick them from a back yard, just make sure they have not been sprayed with any pesticides and wash in cold water before using. The leaves can also be dried and later used as a medicinal tea. So, go ahead, add a few dandelion leaves to your soup, salad, green juice, or smoothie.
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Or how about Purslane? I swear this stuff can grown in concrete! Purslane is eaten throughout much of Europe and Mexico. It contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. It can be eaten in salad, stir-fried, or cooked like spinach. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicines to treat infections and topically to soothe and heal sores. A great companion plant for tomatoes and peppers. It breaks up hard soil and hardpan, brings nutrients and water up from deeper than crops can reach, provides healthy ground cover, stabilizing soil moisture.
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Alright, could someone please help me down form this soap box? I’m done, I’m done, I swear don’t leave me here…
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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