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By: Barbara Fisher,
The Sun newspaper has teamed up with some of the most popular children’s authors and entertainers to introduce a new weekly feature encouraging parents to read with their children.
Specially written ten-minute stories from authors including David Walliams (Mr. Stink), former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant) will be published in Saturday editions of The Sun.
The Get Kids Reading campaign is part of a wider Read On, Get On campaign with Save the Children that calls on the government, local organisations and parents to tackle illiteracy and get children reading.
David Dinsmore, Editor of The Sun, said: Illiteracy in Britain should be something our schoolchildren know only from the pages of their history books. Getting kids to read about things they're interested in is half the battle. With exclusive stories by top children¹s authors and free e-book offers, we will be helping parents find ways to make reading an easy everyday part of life.
Justin Forsyth from Save The Children said: We want every child to be given a fair and equal chance to learn to read well. We applaud The Sun for getting behind this campaign, and look forward to working with its readers to restore literacy to its rightful levels in the UK.
Other contributors who have supplied ten-minute reads are Susanna Reid, Rizzle Kicks and David Baddiel. The newspaper is also running a national competition to find the next budding children’s author with the winning story published as the final instalment of the series.
The Sun bus is visiting schools giving away books throughout October and free children’s e-books will be available to download for Sun members.
Disclaimer; I received no financial compensation for writing this post and have no material connection to the brands or products mentioned.
Autumn has definitely arrived in Somerset. The dahlias are at their best, and the apple trees are laden with fruit. Yesterday, we received a visit from a hummingbird hawk moth and could hardly believe our eyes! What on earth is it, we asked? A baby hummingbird? A bug? Terry rushed for his camera, and I rushed for the Internet! The moth was too quick for the camera, but the Internet revealed all.
According to the BBC Nature Website
Hummingbird hawk-moths are found in Britain all summer long, especially in Southern parts and in Ireland (odd that this is the first one we’ve seen?) They beat their wings at such speed they emit an audible hum. Their name is further derived from their similar feeding patterns to hummingbirds. Hummingbird hawk-moths are strongly attracted to flowers with a plentiful supply of nectar such as honeysuckle and buddleia. The one we saw was flitting between our honeysuckle and a neighbour's buddleia…
The photographs that follow were all taken in our garden…
In the Other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Autumn Fires by
Robert Louis Stevenson (from A Child’s Garden of Verses, 1885)
I discovered the most wonderful walled in garden on my bike ride. It's been there for years, but I only happened through there this summer.
A burst of morning glory color signals the beginning of the end of summer.
The sun filling the green walled garden makes for a very peaceful place. A gravel walk, an interesting collection of medicinal herbs... a lovely quiet space on a sunny sunday morning.
Happy July! Here's a smattering of what's blooming now -
The borage is tall and lush and breaking out all over in blue stars (the bees are very happy about this)
The ornamental mullien is towering with spires of tiny blooms (which I must cut down before they go to seed - else there will be gazillions of babies everywhere).
The beebalm looks like shaggy red star-bursts.
The rue is fading, and the feverfew is coming on strong -
- coming on strong, and blooming *everywhere!*
The dainty fairy-rose is covered with pink clusters.
The full-size roses are winding down (David Austen cabbage roses) -
These are sterling-lavender - heavily-scented blooms.
Some of the early veggies are bolting and blooming (some of which I allow - since their flowers are sweet and delicious. These are radish - which will turn into succulent, crunchy seedpods. Delicious in salads!)
Calendula is opening everywhere.
Volunteer foxglove comes up all over the yard.
As do poppies. Hot pink or lavender or some cross of the two.
We are picking fruit daily - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries... The figs and arguta kiwis are growing quickly - SO many clusters. It will be a good crop this fall.
For all its neglect, the garden is doing remarkably well. :-)
In other news, the studio chicks are also growing like weeds. I've had to move them into a larger box. We'll see how long I can bear to keep them indoors. (The larger they get, the safer they'll be from raccoons and other dangers when they get moved outdoors).
Happy summer - happy July!
By: Susan Miller,
This is an illustration as a promotional piece. I love patterns, and flowers. I am excited for the people in the nice summer areas, ours are hot here in Florida. So, enjoy your summer.
By: Patrick Girouard,
By: Steven James Petruccio,
I had a good time creating these characters...a grandmother and her grand-daughter in the garden.
Steven James Petruccio
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, Oxford World's Classics
, april fools
, arthur conan doyle
, sherlock holmes
, short stories
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Here at Oxford University Press we occasionally get the chance to discover a new and exciting piece of literary history. We’re excited to share the newest short story addition to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in Sherlock Holmes: Selected Stories. Never before published, our editorial team has acquired The Mystery of the Green Garden, now believed to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first use of the Sherlock Holmes’ character in his writing. Written during Doyle’s time at Stonyhurst College before entering medical school, the short story displays an early, amateur style of writing not seen in his later published works.
The Mystery of the Green Garden is set during Sherlock Holmes’ childhood – a rarely discussed part of Holmes’ life. Holmes’ is only sixteen years old when he is called to his first case. Unlike many of the stories in the Holmes series which are narrated by the loyal Dr. Watson, Holmes himself tells the short, endearing tale of his mother’s beloved garden. Getting our first look at his parents, Holmes briefly describes his mother as a “lively but often brooding woman.” We catch only a glimpse of his father who he calls a tireless civil serviceman with, “rarely enough time to fix even a long ago missing board in the kitchen’s creaking floor.”
Before attending university where he first acquired his detective skills, and moving to 221S Baker Street to practice his craft, Holmes lived at 45 Tilly Lane overlooking “a lush, never ignored garden.” Described as his mother’s favorite pastime, she gardened tirelessly day in and day out. As a young boy he recalls “spending countless hours playing in the dirt as mother tended to her beloved flowers and ferns.”
One morning, Holmes wakes to discover the garden destroyed. Flower beds are overturned, and shrubbery and plants are ripped apart. His mother is beside herself upon seeing her hard work demolished, and Holmes vows to discover the foolish culprit behind the dastardly act. A neighbor provides the first clue that sets the wheels in motion. His elderly neighbor who often wakes “before the sun has met the sky,” describes to Holmes a “tall, lean man with a crooked gray cap” that he saw running down the pathway between their two houses in the early hours of the morning while everyone in town still slept. Without any experience at solving cases, Doyle displays the first use of Holmes’ abductive reasoning skills later developed in the stories. As Holmes gathers clues as to what seems to be a random act, a story bigger than anyone can imagine slowly unravels.
April Fools! We hope we haven’t disappointed you too much. Although The Mystery in the Green Garden is just the work of a fool’s mind, there are seven Sherlock Holmes novels in the Oxford World’s Classics series. Sherlock Holmes: Selected Stories includes over a dozen stories truly written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the OUPblog. Subscribe to only Oxford World’s Classics articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.
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Today was my last day at the garden. It had to be cleared out before the end of the month, so I went over to pull everything out and thus end my growing season. I was once again gifted with little surprises. A few remaining red and green tomatoes, broccoli and tender sprouts that grow from where I removed that large cabbage head earlier in the season.
The garden was just beginning!
The cucumber died out a while ago. They were my first reliable crop, so sweet, juicy and crisp. After tasting how much flavor they had, I realized why I hadn’t previously been fond of the vegetable: they’d had no flavor. My bell peppers didn’t do anything for months, but I left them in the ground to be surprised with a bumper crop of peppers in the past few weeks. I learned this year that turnips greens have been genetically modified so that turnip bottoms grow on separate plants. So, I was quite happy to find the baby turnips when I pulled the turnip greens (tops) from the ground.
I left the sage, basil, catnip and marigolds. They were worker plants and will thrive a bit long.
I’ve learned a lot from all these different plants. Sometimes it was just about the plants and sometimes it transferred to what I can know about people.
The garden today
I’ve learned a lot from the planters, too. The older, retired white Americans, my African American colleagues, the Filipinos, Ghanaians and Kenyans have all shared their harvest, their wisdom and their love of gardening. I started out gardening with my sister and loved the days when we would reminisce about my mom’s and grandmother’s gardens. The drive over got to be more than we realized it would be, but I kept on, probably surprising both of us. I’ve blogged and FBed about this garden way more than I ever thought I would. I think it filled a social, spiritual and creative gap for me. I’ll miss it, but life goes on.
So, I began my morning planning my day, my week and thinking of all the committee work I have in front of me, the growing pile of books I have growing for BFYA and the articles I need to write for tenure. My phone rang and all this seemed rather pointless.
My son and DIL
My son’s brother in law passed away last night. Kyle was in his mid 20s and because he suffered with cystic fibrosis, spent much of his life in a care facility. I have to confess I really didn’t know Kyle so, I’m really not sure why I’ve wilted into a puddle today. Perhaps it’s knowing my son and daughter-in-law are in pain and there is nothing I can do for them. It could be because I can relate to the horror my son’s MIL is going through having now lost her child, or maybe it’s just anger at the American health care system.
Kyle stayed at home as long has his physical needs could be met. Once he needed more care and equipment than could be available there, he was moved and that’s when his nightmares began. There have been broken bones, infections and so many other instances of what I’m going to call neglect. Clothing items, toys and trinkets bought for him often disappeared. They were “lost in the wash”. Now, this is one child with a ferocious mother. This is one child, one human child abused in care facilities right here in the US. There are certainly others all of whom are voiceless.
Who speaks for the mentally and physically challenged? They’re not in YA fiction or children’s picture books, not on CNN, not in Starbucks commercials and not in Steven Spielberg’s latest movie. My, god, who would want to see about that? The thing is, we all have people with special needs in our families!
We do hear about the tremendous blessings felt by those who love and care for the less abled, but we never hear about the challenges they face finding or affording care or the abuse they face at the hands of their providers. Silly me, I thought people who worked with those who are disabled did it because of a special calling.
I would like to hope Obamacare with alleviate some of this, that it will get prenatal care to women so that many debilitating illnesses can be cured in vitro and so that better long term care can be there for those in need. I want to hope.
Kyle is gone. Kyle was a special one here in this garden of humanity. The sun shined on his smile. Some of the crap thrown on him was fertilizer, too much of it wasn’t. The best part of him lives in full bloom.
Filed under: Me Being Me
, Sunday Reads
This post would have been up hours ago if I hadn’t been having Internet issues. Service just shouldn’t be so intermittent in one’s own home. I’m just sayin’
This may have been my last visit to the garden. I was surprised with a head of cabbage that I missed in previous visits and green peppers that just began to grow. I run through the photos on my phone and I’m just amazed at the growth that has taken place. This time, I didn’t even think to take any pictures. Growth happens whether we’re watching or not.
In recent years, there have been amazing blog posts that contain research relating to various facets of diversity in YA lit. Do publishers look at them? Are their decisions impacted at all by the data that is collected and analyzed? I work in a world that frowns on blogs and the information they relate as if it is all bogus forms of cheap entertainment. Knowing that, part of me wishes some of these research posts were submitted to journals, but I am so glad the information is made accessible to readers, authors, editors and publishers. Information is power. I think more impactful than where these reports are posted will be the replicated efforts that better document trends and hopefully change in the industry.
Can we try to collect these reports? Please leave a link to others in the comments.
I know there’s more! I’m sure Debbie Reese has collected figures, but I haven’t found anything…yet. Are there numbers on Latinos? Asians?
This 2008 article references a Brigham Young Study I’ll trying get a hold of this week.
The Brigham Young study analyzed the race, gender and family background of human characters in 82 Newbery-winning books through 2007. The analysis compared three periods, starting with 1922 through 1950, followed by the era in which the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, 1951 through 1979, and concluding with the 1980 through 2007 period.
Black and Hispanic protagonists became scarcer during the past 27 years. American Indian and Asian main characters increased in number — to two each.
Latino protagonists disappeared from 1980 through 2007 and black ones fell to two from a high of five between 1951 and 1979, the study found. White main characters rose to 19 from 18 in the same period.
The last book with a Hispanic protagonist to win a Newbery Medal was “Shadow of a Bull,” by Maia Wojciechowska, in 1965. The book dealt with a young Spanish boy’s struggle to follow in the footsteps of his slain bullfighter father.
Books by authors of color and with characters of color aren’t written just for people of color. (Corollary: Books by white people aren’t written just for white people.) So, POC books and authors fight the good fight and show up anywhere and everywhere that readers can be found such as at book signings, local library events and conferences. Readers of color have to show up to.
Think about it.
If publishers and editors don’t see us at conferences and signings, their notions that we don’t read or buy books will only be re-enforced. Show up to these events, inquire about your favorite author of color. I say this out loud to remind myself why I’m going to ALAN this year and why I’m especially thankful that author Lyn Miller-Lachmann proposed a panel with her, myself, Kekla Magoon and Rene Saldana Jr. I think I saw names of three other authors of color in the program. So disappointing! I really hope to see more people of color than that in the audience.
If you’re a librarian looking for ways to get involved in ALA and make a difference, this information is for you.
Committees with openings:
and the Committee Volunteer Form (which requires you to sign in):
YALSA has dozens of ways for its members and supporters to get involved, including many options for virtual participation. Whether you choose to volunteer to gain additional leadership opportunities, build your resume, increase exposure in the association or library community, or give back to the profession, YALSA relies on you to help support the association and make a positive difference in serving teens through libraries.
Whichever way you choose to get involved, we are committed to providing you with a meaningful experience. If you have any questions, or would like additional information, we’re happy to help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390.
And yes, dammit! There are malls in Kenya! And paved roads, car dealerships, universities, banks and yes, even book publishers! I remember when The Cold War between the US, Russia and China played out in Africa and now it’s this ‘war’ between… who is this between? Who are the players? These extremists in the East and in the West? It’s playing out all over Africa, from Mali to Kenya and to Somalia. Great people to follow from various locations across the continent to keep you aware of mostly literary and a few political occurences.
Storymoja Hay Fest @SMHayFest
Writers Project Gh @writersPG
African Library Proj @AfricanLibraryP
Jalada Africa @JaladaAfrica
I’m thinking about mooncakes and Moon Festival while my friends in Taiwan are just getting over a massive typhoon.
Bless the people of Kenya who are mourning and grieving. Bless the people of Taiwan who should be celebrating the autumn moon festival but are suffering from a massive typhoon. Even from these tragedies, there will eventually be growth; god willing!
Filed under: Sunday Reads
I often feel compelled to buy summer squash even though none of us are huge fans of it. It looks so cute! So versatile! But then I get home and have to scheme to get anyone to eat it.
Truth be told, I still love the deep-fried squash I grew up with in South Carolina. Ilios Noche, a local restaurant, serves a fantastic updated Greek version of fried squash—with tzatziki!
But I may be onto something here with the basil puree. It definitely gave the squash a nice punch. And it was way easier than making pesto. Don’t get me wrong, I love pesto, but I hardly ever make it.
The basil puree from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is super simple, basically basil in the food processor with olive oil, lemon juice, a tiny bit of garlic, plus salt and pepper. I can see it with roasted veggies, potatoes, chicken, pasta…lots of possibilities. So glad we planted basil seeds. I had no idea it was so easy to grow from scratch, and now we have an overabundance.
What are your summer squash (and garden veggie) go-to dishes? I’ve also found that soaking the slices in Italian dressing before grilling is pretty yummy.
My colleague, Valentine, with illustrator Faith Erin Hicks
About this time last week I was finishing my last Best Fiction for Young Adult committee meeting in Chicago. I met with 14 other libraries and had such good discussions about the best of what is being published in young adult fiction. Despite the lack of age, gender or ethnic diversity in the group, I have to say I was quite impressed with the attention to selecting a wide range of fiction for teen readers and attention to what matters in literature. I just can’t say enough about this group of women and how much I’m enjoying and learning from this process.
I didn’t like missing the entire conference, though! I can only technically say this was my first ALA because I didn’t get to do anything. OK, I did make it to the exhibit hall Friday evening where I was able to meet Laurianne Uy, Kekla Magoon (with whom I’ll be presenting at ALAN this fall), illustrator Faith Erin Hicks and Hannah Erlich (who has been sending me books from Lee and Low for years). I also found Soho Press and Kathie Hanson from Native Voices Books, NativeVoicesBooks.com.
John Lewis signing his new book. Photo courtesy of Valentine
Alice Walker. courtesy of Valentine.
But there are so many people I didn’t get to see or meet! So many events I missed!!
ALA is HUGE!! I missed the quilt exhibit, movie previews, parade of bookmobiles, cooking sessions, author readers and signings. While I was in meetings, my colleague was texting me photos of her meeting John Lewis and Alice Walker.
To be honest, I knew I’d miss these things. But mentioning all that went on at the conference gives me the opportunity to share the wide reach of librarians. While there were hundreds of presentations, there were thousands of meetings during the event. From diversity to literacy, ebooks, international libraries, data management anddigital
preservation, all that was there! And more!
I’ll be at ALA Midwinter where we’ll once again hear from students who have been reading BFYA books and twe’ll again discuss every book recommended after which we’ll vote on which we’ll add to the BFYA 2014 list. I’m still struggling to get caught up, but I refuse to be as far behind in January as I was in May.
So, now I’m back to work in my little library in Terre Haute. I’m finishing out summer projects and preparing materials for the fall. I’m finally getting a department chair at about the same time the library dean is leaving. Change is inevitable, isn’t it? We’re always surrounded by an abundance of opportunity, the trick is to be prepared. And, to have courage!
I had been neglecting my garden. Before.
Filed under: librarianship
I put down roots in the Haute this weekend. We’ve finally had a sustained break from all the rain and hopefully there will be no more morning frost so I got vegetables and herbs planted in my garden.
There are a couple of pieces of land close to campus that have been divided into plots for community members to grow crops each summer. Sounds nice, huh? Well, it gets even better! There are tool sheds on the grounds with gardening implements and wheel barrows. Leaf mulch and horse manure mulch is available and area farmers provide inexpensive straw to help the soil retain moisture. This wonderful deal isn’t free. There are dates by which certain progress must be made and a portion of the harvest must be donated to the local food agency. Nope, nothing is free, but this comes awfully close!
My sister drives over from Indy and we’re farming together. We’ve planted cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes (too many!), sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, turnip greens, okra, sage, dill, fennel, basil and catnip. While the herbs will be a welcome part of the harvest, they’re also strategically placed in the garden to ward off pests.
I’ll be balancing my time at the garden with the time needed to finish the few dozen books I have to finish for BFYA which will be at ALA in a few short weeks. I won’t do much there other than committee meetings and catching up with people I’ve probably never met before. If you’re going to be there, please let me know!
I do plan to see Kathy aka The Brain Lair and I’ll congratulate her in person for being named her local Teacher of the Year. This is an awesome accomplishment for any educator but, especially for media specialists/school librarians who most people don’t recognize as such. From the article, from knowing all the great things Kathy does, I know she’s more than deserved this award!
I never give a second thought about what I share here. I find information I enjoy and I look forward to sharing it. When it comes to the give-a-way on Anali’s First Amendment, I have had second thoughts. I so want to win one of those prizes that I hate to limit my chances! But I will, not only for the sake of my readers but also to help draw more support to The Arc.
Anali’s First Amendment is hosting the All Aboard the Arc annual fund raiser to benefit The Arc of Massachusetts, which serves men, women and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The blog has much more information about the Arc and ways you can donate to support this worthy cause. To help bring attention, there’s a giveaway and it ends Monday 20 May.
- Firehouse Subs gift cards
- Greyston Baker brownies
- The Greyston Bakery Cookbook
Author Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass) also recently blogged about one of her passions, Partners in Print, an organization which supports literacy development mostly for ENL students. In the post, Medina provides unique insights into what it’s like being bilingual.
I have a co-worker from Congo who often tells me what a disadvantage she has because she’s not a native English speaker. (I’m smiling because she often reads these posts.) She’s lived here some 40 odd years, but still translates in her mind. One wouldn’t know this because she never misses a beat, no matter it be a technical cataloging question or a casual conversation filled with U.S. idioms.
Most native born Americans only speak one language like me and will have a difficult time understanding the difficulties these adults and these students, face. I am so amazed by their linguistic abilities, that I don’t see the problems. Thanks to Medina’s post, I understand more.
Don’t miss artist Jimmy Liao (The sound of color )in the Gallery on the PaperTigers website.
Have you looked at Google+Hangouts yet? Again I say: Google concerns me. I was listening to a piece about Google on NPR this past week about their new voice search. The story also mentioned Google Travel which will read information from peoples’ photos to help plan vacations. They’ll look at both faces and places to determine your ultimate spot. One more way for them to collect data. No, I’ll not be using an Android, Google Chrome or Google Glass. I want to think I’m making you work for my information.
I don’t watch Scandal; I’m an Elementary girl. I think it’s interesting that while Kerry Washington, an African American woman, can be promoted for her sexuality, Lucy Lui, an Asian American woman, cannot. Neither can Sandra Oh who preceeds Scandal in Grey’s Anatomy. Read Lucy Lui on this topic :” I kind of got pushed out of both categories. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating.” MORE
If you have time to up your professional reading this summer, don’t miss Voya’s 5 Foot Bookshelf: Essential Books for Professionals Who Serve Teens.
I’m so glad to be getting my hands in the soil! So thankful to be growing my own food and for the people I’m meeting in the process. I’ve found one more thing to help fill my summers days, but there’s always time for the things we want to do!
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Filed under: Sunday Reads
, meg medina
Wow, what a week last week! All the destruction and loss of life in Boston and Texas, then Boston (where many loved ones live) on lockdown all Friday. I don’t know about you, but I’m still kind of reeling from it. My heart goes out to all those affected by these tragedies.
On top of that I’ve got the reverse culture shock that seems to visit me after every big national conversation. It’s often jarring to hear what people say when they’re frightened and trying to make sense of it all.
So it was welcome therapy to dig in the garden with the kids yesterday. We planted annual flowers, not pictured here, but we are so enjoying watching our vegetable garden.
I let the kids pick their favorite vegetables. Our five-year-old chose “salad,” which is what he calls lettuce or spinach. The way he uses the word is very German. Our eight-year-old chose carrots, and they’re coming up very nicely.
I started peppers and tomatoes indoors. They used to look like this:
But then I set them out for too long in the sun and fried nearly all of them. Ugh. I was so proud of them.
There are still a few that appear to be living, so I’m trying to nurse them back to health.
Meanwhile, I’ve been sewing a lot (very therapeutic), and I’m barreling ahead with some rewrites in my novel. I’ve been getting some ideas from the book Structuring Your Novel by Robert C. Meredith and John D. Fitzgerald. And my protagonist is facing some reverse culture shock of her own, so at least I can use mine.
What about you? Growing anything in the garden this year?
Have a great Monday!
Every day I go out my back door, down the walkway to my studio.
It is still winter around these parts, even though severe cold appears to be behind us. In Colorado we KNOW that we could still get 3 feet of snow! .. all the way into April.
Still, in my mind I have been planting flowers now. This flower bed that looks so bare, will be full of plants in around 12 weeks! The grass will be green even before that! I am so excited! I love Spring! I love when the birds get back from their vacation down south! The woodpecker is already pounding on our chimney and I just smile! Its all signs of Spring! Soon I will be working in my studio with my door and windows open. I am READY!!!
Filed under: The Great Outdoors!
By: Tatjana Mai-Wyss,
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In honor of Halloween I've decided to celebrate October with a series of portraits of poisonous plants.
We have a lot of Pokeweed here in South Carolina, and although I knew it was poisonous and grows like, well, a weed, I hadn't given it much thought. It turns out the US constitution was written with ink made from fermented pokeberries. Once you start looking there is a lot of information about the American pokeweed
. It 's a "food and medicinal plant", native americans used to paint arrows, feathers and even horses with juice from the berries, and although every part of the pokeweed is poisonous, it's also a popular food
. Surprisingly enough, the berries are the least poisonous part .
By: jenny sue kostecki-shaw,
Hello again! While I haven’t had energy to write in this space after long play+farm+work days, I did take some photos and wanted to share a glimpse of the magic that has filled our summer. For starters, this barefoot garden fairy in jammies during a golden rainbow sunset. And I have to point out the shade covering with the red roof — someday, this is going to be my studio and I’ll be creating art with this lush, green view out my window. Baby steps.
After a lonnng drought, this year we were blessed (and surprised) by monsoon after monsoon which nourished our spirits (and skin!) and transformed our garden and landscape. I never tire of the Tibetan-like mountains growing in our backyard.
It’s funny how every year we get equally — if not more — giddy over our first fruits! We learned less is more, for us, with tomatoes in the greenhouse. Two plants are perfect for us. I also discovered why my cucumber plant was gigantic and covered in flowers but had only 2 fruits. Pollinators were not finding their way into our greenhouse…so I opened another window screen AND I buzzed around, painting each female flower with a male’s ‘paintbrush’. (I didn’t know the females all come with a teeny tiny fruit, like an egg, waiting to be fertilized!) By the way, have you seen this???! Still, other mysteries were left unsolved.
In August, Tulsi and I took a homesteading workshop at the Lama Foundation. I loved gathering with so many others geeking out over worms and compost, live bacteria, poop, and strange smells. We made kimchi and our own sourdough starter with Sandor Katz. It was great energy going into the harvest and preserving season!
I was especially proud of my cabbages! Which I then turned into quarts and quarts of sauerkraut that fill a shelf in our fridge. And just last week, we harvested our first 4 GORGEOUS (and decadent) winter squashes! They are almost too beautiful to eat. (Almost.) About 2/3 of our onions are now braided and hanging to cure, under my red studio roof. And aren’t these the happiest, most colorful beets?! Many are now pickled and canned, others are waiting to bake, and about twice as many are still maturing.
I think this season (our 6th) has been our best yet! Why? We were more relaxed (and experienced) and didn’t stress over weeds. We didn’t grow massive amounts of cut flowers, but our house was always full of bouquets. And we seemed to grow the right amount of everything. I think we have a TON of food for the winter (loads of squash and roots that we can store and don’t have to preserve NOW) and we didn’t waste any food. That might sound funny, but it happens! It can be tricky knowing how much to grow of what. And although I am not a Queen Preserver like some friends of mine (they are AMAZING), I have preserved a LOT already and a sweet variety. I learn more each year! (Of course, I need to figure out how to finish on canning days by bedtime so Tulsi and Patrick don’t have to migrate to the tent. Ha.) I’ll try to post a final tally later this Fall of what I preserved, and please, please share what you have preserved! Sometimes I don’t know ‘what’ to preserve!
I love this last picture. It is a seed pod dangling from a Cleome/Rocky Mtn Bee Plant. One of our favorite ‘to-do’s’ this time of year is collecting seeds. We have thousands, millions, billions of seeds stored in jars to plant and to share. It reminds me of the infinite possibilities in life, if we give our attention and love to our intentions.
We have a few weeks of exciting travel coming soon — Colorado, Chicago, Madison, St. Louis, and Maryland! I’ll share on the flipside. I’m also blogging (most) Fridays at motheringwithsoul.com if you haven’t wandered over yet. I hope you are enjoying garden goodies, too, and enjoying your Fall! It’s my favorite time of year.
This is the zucchini princess, the first summer squash of the year.
We have already been enjoying lots of dill and basil, and some astonishing multicolored beets. We have to be vigilant though, the competition is fierce. I've had to put my pacifist tendencies aside - if I don't get the potato bugs they'll eat my plants, and the potatoes are supposed to be purple!
to save the garden
I prune the honeysuckle;
mourning the lost scent
I am struggling lately with some very difficult and painful times in my family. Somehow this picture speaks to the deep sadness and loss. Poetry and photography is a comfort.
Today's Friday Poetry round up is with Marjorie at Paper Tigers.
July is usually the time when summer finally comes to stay.
The jury is still out on whether that will be the case for 2012; however, today has been beautiful, sunny, and a perfect 70 degrees.
Summer makes me think of berries, especially the ones that come from my very own yard.
It makes me think of hamburgers on the grill and homemade hamburger buns.
I am pretty excited to try these out tonight. I used a recipe from here, and it was SO easy, which is exactly what a pregnant-trying-to-finish-grad-school-girl likes to hear.
Oh yeah, and then there is this…
We have officially transitioned into the 3rd trimester!
And Fran could care less.
I’m not sure if the ruler is supposed to convey how big I am going to get (oh gosh), or just how far I’ve come (again, oh gosh). In any case, I love that all four members of the Johnson family are present and accounted for.
We are getting more and more excited to meet this little person, and I can’t stop wondering what he/she will look like.
Pregnancy has not been without its ups and downs. Last week I went in for my glucose test and flunked it.
(I really hate these tests where I can’t study and prepare.)
So, my doctor told me I had to endure the three hour glucose test.
For those who are not familiar, for the three hour test you have to fast for ten hours prior. Then you go in and the nice phlebotomist takes your fasting blood. Thirty minutes later they give you twice the concentration of glucose that was administered during the first test and you guzzle that in five minutes. Just try to imagine a really, really sweet Sprite without the carbonation.
Then they take your blood at one hour…
and three hours.
Oh yeah, and even though you feel nauseated from the sugar coma, they tell you that if you throw up you’ll just have to take the test over again another time.
Thankfully, I did not chuck my non-existent cookies.
Plus also, I passed!!
Bring on the cookies and ice cream!!
So far, baby and mamma are healthy and co-existing nicely. Except when baby uses mamma’s bladder as a trampoline during a hike and mamma has to consider whether it is worth it to squat along the side of the trail even though there are tons of people around.
Oh the dignity that is pregnancy!
I hope you are all enjoying a happy and safe 4th!
your very pregnant friend, who is only going to get larger in the coming three months.
1 Comments on Happy 3rd & 4th, last added: 7/6/2012