Monthly Archives: May 2014

photo of the day


How does your garden grow?

Got gardening on your mind (or, better yet, under your nails)?


Photo by GradyJames via Wikimedia Commons

I think it’s safe to say we’re all dreaming in green by now, so I gathered a peck of ponderings on the subject, written by writers you may recognize. It seems the plant may be mightier than the pen! But we knew that already, didn’t we?

Read on, and then tell me, “How does your garden grow?” …

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow.'”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


Photo by Nick Hubbard via Wikimedia Commons

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”

– Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden


Photo by M Tullottes via Wikimedia Commons

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space—a place not just set apart but reverberant—and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”

– Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

“Gardening is akin to writing stories. No experience could have taught me more about grief or flowers, about achieving survival by going, your fingers in the ground, the limit of physical exhaustion.”

– Eudora Welty


Photo by Michammel via Wikimedia Commons

“We gardeners are healthy, joyous, natural creatures. We are practical, patient, optimistic. We declare our optimism every year, every season, with every act of planting.”

– Carol Deppe, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times


Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia Commons

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

– Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg


Photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga via Wikimedia Commons

So it’s your turn to share whimsies and wonders from your precious plot. I’m all ears.


Illustration by William Wallace Denslow, 1902, via Wikipedia

What are you growing? What crop is faring best this year? Which goodies have made it to the table so far?


photo of the day


Today’s Recipe: Rhubarb Lemonade


Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Patti White!!!

Patti White (#4415) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Dyeing for Color Merit Badge!

“While visiting Shaker Village of Pleasant in Kentucky a year ago, I was fascinated with the weaving and dyeing that was perfected by the Shaker women. They not only used dyes from plants and insects, they also harvested and spun wool from their livestock and kept a worm farm for the purpose of making silk. In their gift shop, I purchased a book called Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing by R. Adrosko to mark my enthusiasm for trying to dye fabrics when I returned home. An excellent historical account of dyeing fabric, the book also had simple-to-follow, tried-and-true recipes. I was committed to using only plants that were growing on our property and to get a variety of colors.

I set an electric hot plate on my planting table in the garage, found an old 2-gallon pot with a lid, and set out to plan my ‘color wheel’! My fabric was 100% cotton muslin, torn into varying sizes.

Here are the recipes I used and the results:

Fabric prep mordant for berry dyes:
Prepared fabric by boiling in 8 cups water and 1/2 cup salt for 1 hour.
Thoroughly rinsed, but kept fabric wet.

Mulberry Dye: 2 cups berries – 4 cups water
Boiled and mashed. Strained through cheesecloth. Put strained dye back in pot and added 2 cups water. Added fabric to dye and boiled for 1 hour. Rinsed off in tub with garden hose and hung to dry.


Fabric prep mordant for plant dyes:
Prepared fabrics by boiling in 8 cups water and 2 cups vinegar for 1 hour. Thoroughly rinsed, but kept fabric wet.

I followed the same recipe and proportions used in the Mulberry Dye, but used these plant materials: spinach, yellow yarrow, walnut sawdust, pink rose petals, and coffee grounds from my kitchen.

I wore gloves while working with dyes and put the strained mash from each batch in my compost pile. I love the muted shades of my dyed fabrics and hope to someday make a mini quilt using just these fabrics. I presented the idea to my 4H quilting girls as an idea for a project for next year’s county fair. We’ll see!!”




Maybe you’ve heard of the phenomenon geocaching—it’s traveled far and wide. It’s been mentioned in many publications (Mom devotes an entire page to it in her Glamping book). We went geocaching as a family for the first time last weekend. Who wouldn’t love a real-life treasure hunt for folks of all ages that’s based entirely on the honor system?

It starts with a map of your current location from the official Geocaching website.

Photo May 25, 3 26 29 PMSome best friends to help navigate are always handy. And hiking shoes for a cache in the woods are a good thing. Spiderman goulashes are also helpful.

Photo May 25, 3 28 15 PM

Off we went! Geocaching will give you actual coordinates for using a compass, and we’ll do that when we’re a bit older. We chose the GPS route this time and …

Photo May 25, 3 44 49 PM

On a wild goose chase we ventured!

Photo May 25, 3 45 24 PM

We searched high and low …

Photo May 25, 3 28 33 PM

while we worked together to find the treasure …

Photo May 25, 4 14 23 PM

And when we did, the kids could barely lift their bounty …

Photo May 25, 4 15 22 PM

But the score was definitely worth the three-mile trek. The master rule of Geocaching is that if you want a treasure, you must leave a treasure for the next person and ALWAYS sign the guest log! We hope someone likes the mini John Deere tractor my daughter traded for paddles and a ball.

Photo May 25, 4 52 25 PM

Geocaching is a wonderful adventure for family and friends. Thank you, Geocaching, for encouraging our kids to head outdoors. We’re hooked and can’t wait for our next adventure!




WiNNER! Milk Cow Kitchen Giveaway #4 of 5

And the winner of the fourth of five Milk Cow Kitchen books I’m giving away

milk-cow-kitchen_1070 is … mia_giveaway-2333 Nancy Couden, who wrote on May 15, 2014: “My cow’s name would be Mammie. I want a Dutch Belted. My mother’s mom was Pennsylvania Dutch and we called her Mammie. I’d make buttermilk, buckwheat waffles with blueberries, bananas, walnuts, and plenty of maple syrup.” Watch for an e-mail from the farm, Nancy. Congratulations!